By Theo Adebowale
Three hundred and thirty three pupils from a school, a local council, or a state, is not a joke. When the Mathematics teacher asked me to find the factor, it was 32×37. It was at the National Assembly alone that that number of members would be found in an arm of the legislature.
It is doubtful if any political party in Nigeria can boast of financial members that are committed, dedicated, loyal and subject to authority and prosperity of their party and obedience to the Constitution.
To cart away 333 out of 850 or so population of school pupils is no mean task. No pranks, no flight, no assault, advertise Katsina teenagers as a special breed of teenagers that have been socialized with obedience and compliance. Almajiris would have to learn from the behavioural pattern of pupils in the formal school. They surrendered to their captors as the lamb that had no sin but offered to bear the sin of sinners.
This may be a subtle way of passing the message across that resistance and noisemaking is not acceptable in every situation. This, those organizers of the #EndSARS did not know even when victims of police brutality were not in any way close to 300, they organized protests to the knowledge of CNN and BBC, to create an impression that there was public displeasure at the federal government, an action, some northern youths believed could lead to a military coup. But here, we are with the federal government, state governments and civil society organisations appealing to those abductors to release their victims. Similar appeals were made to them after their Chibok operations, Dapchi abduction and several others. But given this twist, a harvest of boys, one can suspect that there would be a change of strategy and objective in the camp of bandits. They are likely to realize that caution must be exercised so that some disgruntled elements might not assume that anyone wants a military coup option.
They should be convinced that another government might not make resources available for repentant insurgents to be pardoned and absorbed into the Army, or granted overseas scholarship. At this time when the ruling party about to review its membership and reconstitute leadership, its strategists may have to look at those who may prefer party politics to military enlistment or overseas scholarship, they could be provided such opportunities in the six months window in direct shut cut to political leadership.
As for those who must protest police brutality, economic hardship, inflation, over-taxation, increase in power tariff and virtually any discomfort, government may just remain as it is. A government that has so much to do with rehabilitation of repentant terrorists may not have so much to say about agitation of political activists who have had their time and relevance. After all, the book of Ecclesiastics makes it clear that there is time and season for everything which means there is time for activism, a time for fatalism. Families, parents, friends of victims should adopt the Nigerian solution to every problem: pray Almighty God to rescue and bring back the victims.
In spite of the fact that there has been no response to that directive since the time of Chibok girls, and in spite of the publicity that accompanied BRINGBACKOURGIRLS, a small percentage of Nigerians believe they would just return home one afternoon in the scorching sun. They developed that faith following their knowledge of the duck and the hen. This fiction has an aerial view component.
The hawk went on an expedition, and shortly after returned with a baby duck, it went on another raid, returning with a chick. Elder hawks asked what the reactions of the mother birds were. The hen was violent, riotous and combative. It said whereas the duck was quiet and calm. The elders asked that the duck should have the baby returned immediately. She was unpredictable and too dangerous to dare. Somebody, in the course of the week said that philosophy was handy and effective in Zamfara and that it may be adopted elsewhere. It was told that whereas people elsewhere have been agitating for resource control, restructuring, fiscal federalism, the Zamfara State Government took a step of faith to mine some good quantity of gold within its territory. It packed the bulk and headed for Central Bank of Nigeria. According to the report, the consignment was promptly paid for. The master of the servant praise him because he applied wisdom.
Donald Trump, American President once announced that the just concluded presidential elections had been stolen. That would have been a big business opportunity in Nigeria. He made several other claims to further suggest electoral fraud. Whereas, he is generally ignored, the few references to his assertions were dismissive. It was such that his law suit was struck out by the Supreme Court. The Duck and Hen fiction is not applicable in America. The political elite in the United States of America are not constrained to be faithful to the constitution, to place America first in all things and to be seen to be guided by protection and enforcement of fundamental human rights, which make them announce themselves to be God’s own country.
As for 3x3x37=333, we cannot afford to make such a sacrifice in human persons to discourage people from assessing performance of public office holders and their tenure. Indeed government exists among others, to protect lives and property of individual citizens beyond what their resources can provide. What more, both the peasants and billionaire are convinced they are better off under a regime that delivers good governance? They are persuaded that unless it can deliver, no political leader is useful or relevant in public office.
And when COVID-19 vaccine is dispensed we must ensure that we are not marked for the beast by ritualists and power mongers.