The wailing of catholic Bishops conference of Nigeria
Sir: I empathise with the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) on the loss of two priests and 17 fellow worshippers in a church in Benue State, in the hands of killer herdsmen who slaughtered them like fowls. Reports have it that less than 48 hours’ interval, not less than seven other persons were killed in another church in the same state. The Bishops are, therefore, more than justified, wailing “We are sad. We are angry,” and “We feel totally exposed and most vulnerable” in the face of “these dark clouds of fear and anxiety.” Moreover, they query the wisdom of asking people to defend themselves, when the Army, Police and other security agencies who are trained and employed to protect people are “compromised” or something like that.
The Yoruba say an elderly person who is talking and sweating is wailing. The CBCN wonder what people can use to defend themselves. How many persons are trained and equipped to defend themselves? Yet, such statements as “defend yourselves” are made out of frustration. Sometimes it works when vigilante are formed; Nigeria is in a state of anarchy under the presidency of Muhammadu Buhari, with reference to some states and particularly Benue State.
What is the solution? The Catholic Bishops say what I have been saying since 2015. In the words of the Bishops, “It is clear to the nation that Buhari has failed in his primary duty of protecting the lives of the Nigerian citizens. Whether this failure is due to inability to perform or lack of political will, it is time for him to choose the part of honour and consider stepping aside to save the nation from total collapse.” Has Buhari that type of honour and dignity? Did the Bishops think they were talking to somebody like Pope Benedict XVI? Are they not aware that Buhari has supporters’ group that are campaigning blindly for his re-election that will make him stay in power until he is 81 old?
Musicians and other artists should unite and team up with the Third Force being coordinated by the former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, to give us an acceptable presidential candidate from North-Central. The South-West has served eight years in Aso-Rock. Ditto the South-South in person of Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan. The North-West is serving its own second term in person of Buhari. Political order and discipline demand that the North-Central should take its turn in 2019, to be followed after eight years by the South-East, then North-East, before South-West again.
Prof. Oyeniran Abioje wrote from University of Ilorin.