Photo Credit: AFP

Opinion: Boko Haram, Chibok Girls And The Sanctification Of Tragedy

By Wokinda Saresihn

Agree with me or not, trouble is brewing, and we common Nigerians are caught right in the middle of it. You can only don your ‘survival of the fittest’ cap while the tragedy lasts.

I am mad! Mad that some 59 young schoolboys were murdered in cold blood 25th February this year in faraway Buni Yadi, Yobe. I am enraged that their dreams and aspirations have been cut short in their prime. I was thus overwhelmed that barely 2 months after, we fell into Boko Haram’s booby trap again. It was the turn of some young schoolgirls in Chibok, Borno State to feel the national malaise- the incompetence of a nation. I am mad because I cannot imagine what those 200+ girls must have gone through in the hands of their evil captors. I am mad that things have so much deteriotated to the extent that anyone can just disappear or be kidnapped by anybody; even government agencies such as the DSS have lately perfected the art of kidnap.

And I am not just mad with the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, nor just with his security team (DSS, Nigerian Police, Nigerian Army, etc), nor the Governors of Yobe, Borno & Adamawa, cabinet ministers, politicians in general (just name it); I am also mad at everyone, every Nigerian who is complicit in this deterioration. Every Nigerian who has directly or indirectly contributed to how we got here. Every Nigerian who has sanctified tragedy, corruption etc as being a norm, part and parcel of our polity. I am mad, even with myself.

Yet while myself and optimistic Nigerians were recovering from the shock of the tragedies befalling our nation, evil struck again on the night of May Day, in the nation’s capital city Abuja. At that point you suddenly realise the truth behind ‘Tao of Anyhowness’ theory deeply entrenched in our daily living and Collective Psychology. Nigeria again lost some 19 or so precious lives and many injured to that gory episode. Tale upon tale of tragedy have so much tainted us that some of us are scared even to read news item early in the morning ( you can bet some are bored if they don’t get to see items of the sorry tales they have engineered in the news).

All through my Nigerian life, close to 3 decades of a lifetime now, I have constantly seen or heard of lives wasting away needlessly that sometimes its not even shocking or suprising to learn of unfortunate incidents. Sometimes I imagine my life which I have learnt to hold very dear being wasted by someone’s selfishness or carelessness, and I just cringe at such nauseating thought. Then you begin to ruminate what’s wrong with us as a nation. After 100 years of ‘forced’ nationhood, during which we ought to have gotten it right, we keep staggering in the murky waters of a lost course.

But as much as you might have a love-hate feeling about this country, you will agree with me we are better off glued together as NIGERIA. Whenever my perpetual optimism wants to give way and yield to this rain of ‘implosion’ I cling again to all shrapnel of the resulting chaos and piece together the Green-White-Green flag again.

And so the call from several quarters (mainly social media) that the President resigns in the face of all the incompetence reeking in every ember of his government stays welcome in many Nigerian hearts. Some said the military should come back while some who prefer to do away with all hope said Nigeria should just break up and everyone (ethnic group) go their separate ways. As erroneous as all these sounds, and as much as I myself agree with all the above positions, such propositions are catastrophic at best and in consequence knowing Nigeria’s difficulty rising through history. Come to think of it, who takes over if GEJ resigns? How competent is the fellow? What happens to the pride et al we all always enjoy as Nigerians whenever we accomplish anything of national importance? What happens if our military do not eschew virtue by returning power to a civilian regime after taking it (like they suprisingly do in Egypt)? Myriad questions are thus left unanswered and we are back to square one.

But again, you may begin to consider, is Ground Zero (square one) that undesirable? What are we bound to lose?

Going forward, ponder if there is more to all these than meets our ordinary eyes? Was President Jonathan right then in January 2012 when he low-key asserted some cabals exist who for selfish reasons do not want the nation’s petroleum sector to run efficiently? Is it true some unscrupulous elements re sabotaging things such as Gas pipelines meant for IPPs just to satisfying their own gains? Is anywhere in Nigeria safe anymore? Are we all complicit even in this corruption allegations we deride government of all strata of? Are there really evil top guns in the society behind the sponsorship of Boko Haram? Are Northern elites behind the idealogical brainwashing and social engineering which started the Boko Haram militancy? Are the conspiracy theorist who says the American CIA is indirectly connected to this Boko Haram onslaught right afterall? I say is the CIA working towards making true their prediction that Nigeria will break up come 2015? Is a respectable body such as the Nigerian Army infiltrated already as alleged by some? Can the promise a while back by some distraught politicians that they are not going to make GEJ’s government work out be true?… Add other questions or topics that have always bothered you here. If perchance you are not scared of an impending tragedy/trouble then I must congratulate you of having a rare mettle.

Lest fear not take over what is left of our faintly beating hearts, we may afterall need to pray that prayer which we have always ‘believed’ in, being the religious countrymen that we are; the prayer which some of us detests so much for its ability in tainting our pragmatism into subjectivity.


Let us first accept the evasive fact that we have problem(s), and that those problem(s) are [within] us; we can thus choose whether its the Jerry Rawlings formula or ‘Siddon Look’ afffirmative action which will suit us best to move forward as a People.


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