#Think Along With Me

Fly, pigeon, fly

By Bayo Fasunwon


The Armed Forces Remembrances day with the traditions of speech, wreath laying and promises. It was however marked with comedy and political comments. Many had wondered why the Pigeons of the President refused to fly, and made several comments, as if this was the first time his Pigeons refused to suspend the law of gravity. They have however failed to observe that political opponents would have removed the feathers of the Pigeons, and or bribed them not to take the flight. On the other hand, the Pigeons could have so much fallen in love with the President and felt it was an anathema to leave his side and take an expected flight. But the Pigeons in the colours of peace refused to fly in celebration of the fallen heroes. Yours truly is of the opinion that they were mourning.
Like the many mortals gathered in remembrance, the Pigeons would have remembered that underneath the earth laid the remains of many gallant men and women who had laboured during the Civil War to ensure that Nigeria remained a united indivisible entity in the comity of nations. When one reads the various memoirs of war written by those who survived the three years rain of fire, one would appreciate the labours of these heroes slain. While many died beneath either the Biafrans or Nigerian flag; there were others who fell to the bullets of executions, assassinations and conspiracies. The Pigeon mourns for the neglect of their widows, and children to whom the promises of government were only lately or never fulfilled. No sane Pigeon would listen to the cries of the wounded, living soldiers or the cries of the relatives of the buried gallant officers, and rise to the heavens to relay the sad news to the souls marching in the celestial city.
While the Pigeons mourn for those whose blood cemented our union, they could not but weep even for those slain within the country of their birth since the Boko Haram insurgents began. The Pigeons could not understand what had befallen the Nigeria Army, feared and respected globally for their resilience, bravery and candour. These fans of the army remembered how Nigeria soldiers routed the Cameroonian gendarmes, performed excellently in ECOMOG, (Liberia and Sierra Leone), became a reference point in the Congo and other United Nation’s peace keeping missions. Now, before the bandits, herdsmen, Boko Haram and ISWAP, operating in their backwards, the gallant men fall as preys to their opponents, and only waits for a re-match to launch victorious set pieces. The Pigeon saw that the weapons of war in the hands of those for whom it was to soar were incomparably lower than their assailants’. It realized that among the livings, the monies for weapons that could have saved the slain from death were distributed, butchered and used to sustain their lavish lifestyles and quest for power. So the faithful, loyal and honest soldiers died, not for incompetence but because their ‘David’ wishing to cover up their corruptions had ill equipped their ‘Uriah’, and sent them on a suicide mission. They died while those who planned their assassinations lived to enjoy their blood money.
Did the Pigeon refuse to fly from the hands of a man who had contributed his quota in the amputation of democracy in Nigeria, but is now a beneficiary of democratic values? Every system, especially borrowed systems of administration require time, patience, trials and errors for it to be perfected and domesticated. There was no doubt that the early post independence democrats had their flaws. But they would have developed over the years, and people would also have been much more enlightened and thus strengthen the nation’s democracy. The military had however truncated the learning process of the political class. Armed with the weapons of elimination, they had murdered the men in Babaringas, and established the rule by decrees. However, we are all witnesses to the fact that the military had also engaged in the same crime for which they accused the politicians. For more than 27 years, they held sway killing one another in coups and counter coups. A widely accepted free and fair election was annulled, while corruption took an alarming turn under their illegal foray into politics. It was under their watch that the Giant of Africa was reduced to a dwarf in intercontinental matters.
Personally, my love for the military is unfeigned. But, in recent times, the military could not persuade the Pigeon to fly, as it sorrows for them and against them. It sorrows for their losses and their pains; also sorrows that Nigerians are losing respect for their meritorious, selfless duties and sacrifices. The politicization of the military and involvement in civil cases has become a mar on their camouflages. Just like the EndSars protests, many hearts have been broken over the lack of proper civil-military relations between the Military and the Civilian populace. There may be a need to re-orientate and educate the military personnel in their dealings with ‘bloody’ civilians, in order to promote the respect the former deserves.
In the movie world, the military partners with film producers to shoot movies that speak of their gallant efforts and pains in protecting the sovereignty of their country. The time is ripe for the Nigeria Army to go into partnership with Nollywood to showcase and promote the Nigeria military. People fear and respect the American soldiers, not just because of their dexterity, but because Hollywood had created a perception of invincibility about the America marines, and strike forces. A good movie about the efforts of the Nigeria military as against the Hollywood bad representation, (as was seen, in the Tears of the Sun), should be promoted. This would boost the morale of the soldiers, earn the respect of the citizens and of course act as deterrence to many foes.
The Pigeon would still fly and soar high, if we look at those areas that hinder the productivity of the military, and act fast enough. One looks forward to the day, when at the remembrance of fallen heroes, their widows and widowers would be happy, and their children glad, that government’s promises have been fully implemented.

Fly, pigeon, fly

We ‘ll block leakages to boost IGR

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