Victor Kwara Nicholas
“What destroys spinach is in the spinach”
The myth about the invention of shoes has it that in a certain village, the people there used to walk bare-footed. The king, filled with empathy decreed that his kinsmen should plant and water grasses all over the village in order to prevent their feet from being hurt. This went on throughout the seasons for decades. It was both a distraction and burden to them during the rainy and dry seasons respectively and thus, there was a decree from the king to ensure strict adherence because he “loved” his people. A boy of ten years of age approached the king and observed that using leaves or rags by the people may replace the old order. The humble king keyed into the idea and with time and technological advancement, we have shoes today. Change is a respecter of no status.
In the second half of the 18th Century, the Industrial Revolution, John Locke’s Treatise on Civil Government, the scandalous and immoral behaviour of kings coupled with corruption inter alia made democracy popular. Thus, this piece seeks to serve as a gadfly aimed at stinging Southern Kaduna think tank and other sons of the soil whose consciences have not yet been sold to mammon in exchange for any filth that is in contrast to our quest for an egalitarian nation. It sets also to correct the impression of who essentially ought to be a statesman. As I write, I remain like a tiny ant in the midst of giants, hence, I cannot swim against the stream. We intend to posit that our statesmen can take a cue from the events of the eighteenth Century vis-à-vis our socio-political quagmires in order that a “Neo-Southern Kaduna” devoid of schisms and or political/ideological triumphalism would be extinct. Are we semi-humans unfit to live decently too like our compatriots? For how long shall we endure suffering while smiling at the same time? Imagine these social insecurities and attacks on the Nenzit persisting for the next eight years, God forbid, amen! Time has come for us to collectively save the remaining socio-political soul of Southern Kaduna. Time has come for us to save our people who live in dearth. We have the moral obligation to nip these menaces in the bud. In contrast, future generations would be excused if they rewrite their anthem as “…the labour of our heroes past is in vain…” In our prescriptive quest to rebuilt a new southern Kaduna from these ashes, this piece calls for synergy and or division of responsibility for the common good.
Who a Statesman is
Marcus Tulius Cicero in 106 BC gave a clue as to who ought to be called a statesman. In order to prevent a serious conflict in Rome as an experienced figure in the politics of the city, he sought to proffer a lasting solution to any form of conflict. He did this by marshalling out a criterion that would be a blueprint to anyone who would emerge as a governor in Rome. For him however, a rector is a statesman who ought not to have occupied any political seat but any experience as once an occupier of a political office would be an added advantage. Anyone in the society with good moral grounds can be a rector (statesman). “…he would follow the concepts of moderation, equality and utilitarianism…his most characteristic will be prudence, armed with this, the rector will be able to foresee the deleterious influences seeking to destroy the state and thus guide against them. He will not be a law-maker…but rather an upholder of the existing law, his primary goal is to ensure the continuation of the state, he must observe the maxim that ‘the safety of the people is to be the highest law’…”
From the foregoing, we make bold to posit that the operational tenets inherent in Cicero’s theory of the statesman are apt and existential. Thumps up to all Nenzit for fulfilling the requirements enshrined in this aged-long criteria set for potential Roman governors. At this juncture, the Hausa maxim of ‘in kana da kyau ka kara da wanka’ is instructive at this material time, reason being that most of our people sleep on daily bases with eyes opened on account of attacks from “unknown known” gunmen giving us a genocide-like impression. As if to add salt to injury, the social insecurity as a result of near turning blind eye to what Late Gen. Murtala Mohammed said on Saturday 19th/10/1975 in Lagos about the federal character has left us in dearth, yet this said commission hinged on justice and fairness is embedded in “our” constitution.
From Boto in Zangon Kataf to Kishisho in Kauru LGAs, from Kusom in Jema’a to Fdan Kahugu in Lere LGAs, the cries are the same: serfdom, divide and rule! From Kaura, Kagarko to Chikun LGAs, the same cries are not different: suffering and smiling. Happy people I see in Southern Kaduna. God is with us albeit our vocal kith and kin are often locked up and or threatened for being vocal, our source of protection and socio-political security is God and our use of practical wisdom. Our responses to these problems are key, yet, the survivability and realization of this call depends on the response of our remaining statesmen/women. The time has come for introspection. I am not a pessimist, as an optimist, a neo-southern Kaduna will emerge at the end of it all, God will not forsake us. We shall rise above our losses and pains. Hey, is this a fallacy of self-consolation? Not at all! Hereunder are prescriptions for us to arrive at the promised land-Gurara!
Household management: Plato posits that “the family is the bedrock of the society”. We are not called with our ethnic identities, we are called “southern Kaduna”, therefore there is every urgent and responsible need for this in-house discourse to critically study the causes of our serfdom. What gave birth to this “divide and rule” monster, how can we shun this scandalous greed, shameful and disgraceful politico-ideological triumphalism whose effects have divided us more? Thank God we are Christians. This in-house interrogation of the gamut of our litany of quagmires would give birth to a new baby-neo-southern Kaduna, like a choir group that produces beautiful songs with different voices, which would be the effect of this gathering. It is feasible though the sell outs would be noted and carried along too. If we cannot learn from all these, then we are destined for doom!
Empowerment: Socio-political freedom remains a wishful thinking so long as “redistribution of poverty” remains a norm in any sane land. When Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah opined during the Requiem Mass of His Excellency, late PIY that “…and to you the youths of Southern Kaduna, there is a star shining in Kaduna…whether you are Mustapha or Christopher, Mary or Maryamu…rise up, match forward, conquer your fears…forget the bigotry of your fathers…politics will never remain the same in Kaduna…” As plausible and commendable as this prophetic clarion call sounds, without economic might, our youths may only live in fantasy. Self-empowerment is key, but a little help from outside may boast our youths’ zeal to go and conquer in the socio-political parlance. My sleep and happiness were “murdered” the day I saw a widow around River Wonderful in Matsirga fetching sand from the river to sell and take care of her children. For weeks too, I lost my appetite after seeing orphans crying of hunger with no one to help!
Tolerance: Herodotus writes (111,38) ‘once, while Darius was king, he summoned the Greeks who were at his court and asked them at what price they would be prepared to eat their dead fathers’ corpses. They replied that nothing… Then he summoned the Kallatier, an Indian people accustomed to eating their fathers, and asked them in the presence of the Greeks who had an interpreter at their disposal, at what price they would agree to cremate their deceased fathers. At this, the Kallatier gave loud screams of horror and implored him not to utter such blasphemy that is the way of the world”. Tolerance is both axiomatic and therapeutic especially when people insult or call you unprintable names on account of a just cause, smile and remember that for change to take place, one must strive hard to the level of discomfort constantly bearing in mind that what is difficult to handle or endure is always sweet to remember. Tolerate those that may cause any set back on our road to freedom!
From the foregoing therefore, we have alluded to the fact that the struggle to recapture and preserve the remaining socio-political soul of Southern Kaduna is urgent and all-inclusive, we have also deduced that the sons of the soil whose good consciences are unstained have the moral obligation to rise up and save the ship of our land that is about to wreck or capsize. We are capable, yes we can by God’s grace nothing should cow us. The time has come to create a neo-Southern Kaduna from these ashes. The time has come to act on what we have as a motto: unity in diversity. Southern Kaduna statesmen: The time has come!