Don’t get comfortable with evil
I am Omoni Oboli and I represent Naija! So that’s how the holiday came and went! Sometimes I just want to scream, “it’s not fair!” whenever holidays are over, but that’s life. We rest and then we work, and boy, do I have work to do! These and so many things make me thankful for the opportunity and the grace to work. I’ve enjoyed a well deserved holiday and now the show must go on.
Coming back from that well-deserved holiday to the scene of the massacre in southern Kaduna has been a reality bite I didn’t bargain for. I couldn’t believe the horrors of what we could and did do to our fellow man and citizens for whatever reasons. The images are haunting; men, women and children slaughtered in their homes and on the streets where they had felt safe to dwell unhindered in a “free” society. Sigh! May their souls not only rest in peace but also find justice for this unbelievable depth of evil against humanity. May God forgive us for all the ways we have somehow contributed, subtly, unwittingly or brazenly, to increase divisiveness and hatred among ourselves.
The unity and strength of our nation is being tested by us and our natural inclination towards a separatist attitude to ourselves, national issues, politics, relationships and business development. We seem to rise to the occasion to find new ways to set ourselves apart. This manifests in the way we speak to one another and how we refuse to see the other person’s point of view in matters that ultimately affect all of us regardless of our state, tribe or tongue. We didn’t bring Nigeria together, but we can make the most of our current status as fellow citizens by making life a little easier for those who live beside us for safety. Whether we like it or not, seeking the welfare of our neighbour is seeking our own welfare.
The fight has gone on for too long, and the it hasn’t yielded the desired results. All it has brought is mayhem and more mayhem, with the seed of hatred sown for the next generation to carry the flag and let it fly in the future. It can stop now when we all call out evil for what it is and see that we’re not somehow aiding and abating unpunished crime in our midst. There was a time when this was all foreign to us in Nigeria, and except for a few and far between isolated cases on a smaller scale, it wasn’t perceived as the norm. Today, many of us have gone so numb from the frequency of genocide that we have grown insensitive to its horrors. We simply hear of what’s happened, and as long as it’s not in our immediate neighbourhood, we just shrug our shoulders and move on.
Humans are evil by nature, and that’s why societies are there to help restrain the excesses of the few who are more prone to expressing their desires through violence. Parents are there to restrain their children from doing what their little hearts are naturally inclined to do, which is usually bad, so we know we would naturally navigate towards evil. This doesn’t have to be the case in our country. We can begin to impatially and consistently call out evil, corruption, incompetence, unwholesome acts or any other vices (especially those that affect the larger society), knowing that it will help to build our institutions and also produce the environment that we would love to live in, and would attract other nations to us.
I don’t know where to start from to address this issue any further, because it saddens me. I pray that my little cry today would stir the heart of someone who has the power to effect the necessary change to act decisively so that we can feel secure in our own homeland. Let’s not reduce this to a “them against us” narrative, but let’s begin to empathise with each other’s frustrations and work towards holding back the onslaught of evil in our land as we walk into this new year. I don’t believe anyone would be willing to give themselves more selflessly than we the people to help Nigeria grow. Let’s not always look to other countries, thereby developing an inferiority complex that works against our own people, which is another divisive attitude. We have lost children, mothers and fathers in a war within our society that most of us weren’t even aware was going on, nor know what caused it in the first place. I hate to go into the little details of greviances, for that would mean that there’s a good enough reason for these evil acts. When we all fight as one, the petty reasons would pale before a strong and vibrant people who not only know where they’re going, but are going there arm in arm.
Let’s work to leave Nigeria bigger and better than we first found it. Many other countries have done it, and we can start by learning how they did it. In my own sphere of influence, I have taken it upon myself to build confidence, unity and strength by suppporting, promoting and building my industry. When that has been achieved, I would have helped set up a stronger foundation that can build an even better film business for myself than I could have ever done if I was working as a Lone Ranger.
Till next week, let’s all work to unite this country as we also empathise with those who died in the carnage of Southern Kaduna. Keep smiling!