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The Eastern Wildfire

The Eastern Wildfire


By Dr. Samson Abanni

Have you noticed how we have become an armed society, a community  at war with itself.  We can call the wielders of guns various name and argue till eternity about their origins but the truth is that without the cooperation of the soil the beast cannot walk on it. The arms now being wielded against  our people are not in the hands of those we have chosen to bear arms but a hunting dog has to hunt, if not the wild animals then the chickens. The question is, who trained all these hunting dogs?


If an artist is to make a portrait reflecting the state of our society today, the sight will be very gory. There will be blood everywhere and many heads without trunks, fear will hang in the air and there will be many communities of kidnapped victims. There will be helpless columns of men not sure where the next unknown gunman will come from or whether it’s the man standing next to them. Bu in the midst of this confusion it is important to pause for a brief moment and reflect. 

Do you think there is a special breed of us who are prone to being brainwashed and given arms to bear against society? What is the motivation of the unknown gun man? Our haste to take these issues in our strides is a reflection of a society that is incapable of self reflection; even as we keep disappearing for ransom there has not been any solemn assembly in the region to discuss the matter, as if its our goats that are being slaughtered. Why would a man leave to another, a problem that has set his thatched roof on fire? We are a society of reactors. We wait to react to events then relapse to inactivity pending when another event faces us to reconsider the matter. We are proving how incapable we are of looking just ahead the bend to preempt what’s coming, because if we do, we will understand that the men we now fear the most- the unknown gun men are first the products of society, of our value system, that idolizes mammon and the hierarchy of honor which is determined by the deepest pocket. 

Every society has its value system as its highest determinant of acceptable  conduct. This dictates what should be pursued if one is to have the respect of his kin, and here everyone seeks acceptability among his people. The triggers for the violence now inherent in the region may be external to us but if it wasn’t met with a hospitable culture it wouldn’t have thrived.  Though someone will ask, how do you remain an oasis of peace in a country in flames? But we have seen places with no new fires. So, the quiet acquiescence of the red caps to the burning of things that belonged to the so-called enemies of our people has made among us arsonists who can no longer sleep without burning things. And now they burn our own. Our religion of relentless progress is beautiful but it must be told where to get its converts from-how do you plunder violence to build peace and sincerely expect to have peace? A man of trade must never sell to Death simply because he is a man of trade.


I wish we can all say that the young men who hunt our people for ransom are doing it for political ends and not to satisfy the hunger ravaging the land or to build mansions and be thus counted as worthy sons. Then If they are doing it because  they are hungry-because the distribution channels of the centre no longer bring nutrients from the centre our way and “man has to eat’’, then we can re-distribute our wealth, from the haves to the have-nots, to cushion the effect. What is the point of being the region with the highest concentration of millionaires if we cannot prevent the poorest among us from starvation? What is the point of having billions and being celebrated by your community where young men eager to work cannot find capital to start small businesses? He who has his own house will be less likely to start a fire in the neighborhood. Our society must reset her values from the import placed on building the largest country homes to helping the country home put more sons in business, more children in school and influence our young men from the path of quick  wealth-hot money that burns a hole in the pocket and leaves behind it a trail of tears. Let us call our values and question them. The culture of making marriage the exclusive reserve of the rich by setting the bride price too high, the culture of worshiping mammon without inquiring about its source etc are things we must sit and re-evaluate, what have brought us thus far may not be what may tide us through the next phase. We have to starve those who make money from drugs and crime, of respect, especially those who feed our young with illicit drugs-if we do not take the rotten meat from the kitchen table, we cannot complain that the house is being beseeched by flies.


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