My mind has been dwelling on how much effort goes into raising a child. From the moment a baby is conceived, all the mother's thoughts and plans revolve around the child - What foods to eat or avoid; What items to buy for the baby; How one will cope with childbirth....and so on.
One worries about their development - are they walking, talking .....?
One worries about their schooling - is the school good, are they being bullied......?
One worries about their friends - are they good friends, are they a good influence on your kids.......?
One even worries about their future - will they succeed, will they be happy.......?
All this worrying is rooted in the feeling that as a parent, your job is to protect your child. While we pray to God that our children grow up safe, happy and healthy; most parents worry - not because they feel they can control everything in their child's life - but, because they wish to be sure that they are doing their best.
With this in mind.........I ask the question: How will the parents of the murdered Corpers feel right now?
All week I have seen news reports about slain Corpers and I have grieved deeply.
These are children that as babies - were suckled by mothers; as toddlers - were fed by loving parents; as teenagers - were counseled and guided by worrying, adoring relatives; and as young adults - were supported by proud parents who watched them graduate and enter into the job market. Starting with the first act of going off - as educated citizens of Nigeria - to Youth Service.
When they got there, some people decided that - because of politics - these children (someone's most precious assets) deserved to die.
Somewhere in Nigeria, parents are wailing as they look at baby pictures of sons and daughters that they had high hopes for.
Somewhere in Nigeria, mothers are crying because children they held to their bosoms and wished safe journey have now been killed in conditions that even a dog will be spared.
Sadly, these attacks have become the norm.
I recall in the nineties, I went to Maiduguri for my youth service. My guardians who were Igbo had lived there for over a decade and ran a successful restaurant. They appeared settled and content with numerous patrons and friends. However, the year after I left Maiduguri, they returned to the South - their restaurant had been burnt to the ground during one of those riots that targeted Southerners.
Twenty years on......we are still dealing with this. How can we call ourselves Nigerians if we are afraid to travel or stay in certain parts of 'our' country? How can we call our children to 'serve our fatherland' when the nation is torn with discord and rancour?
Political analysts and observers are quick to point out that Nigeria as a country is a colonial abberation - an abnormal collection of tribes and cultures that have little in common. The North - South divide serves as evidence of this.
Increasingly, I see Nigeria as a Forced Marriage - peoples with huge differences who are forcibly brought together and who remain together because of a common asset. In most marriages, this asset may be their shared home, children or finances. However, in Nigeria's case, this is oil.
Like all bad marriages....I now wonder if it is time to call it a day? Are the differences now standing in the way of real progress? Do we owe it to future generations to accept that this marriage is not working....and for the sake of peace - part ways and negotiate a feasible divorce settlement ?
Should we be thinking of a referendum to ask Nigerians the question - 'Should Nigeria be split into two?'
Do let me know what you think.....
Nigeriavillagesquare.com is sponsoring a petition for ALL youth corpers serving in these volatile states to......:
- Be withdrawn immediately, redeployed to other states of their choosing, or be excused for the rest of the service year.
- Be excused from serving as electoral officers in the upcoming governorship elections as we are not convinced that adequate and confirmed security can be provided for them.
AND for the identities of all youth corpers who lost their lives in this violence to be made public.
You can click here to sign the petition