This is Nigeria, or is it (not)?
We may never know who did it. We hardly do. And when we do, prosecution will so bungle it that a judge is left no choice but to refuse to convict. Insurgency wins Pyrrhic victory. Then callous carnage, like bloody Monday’s in Nyanya, occurs, and the nation is at a standstill, dumbfounded. What took hours or may be days in planning was executed in a split second that fateful and tragic morning at the El-Rufa’i bus stop. In that split second, lives translated to the great beyond. Destinies were cut short for more than a hundred people, and for hundreds more, it is life with lasting trauma in bereavement, and dismemberment and vicious memories of mutilations and bloody flow from victims.
Those who have the liver could watch the video and hear eye witness accounts over the moaning and groaning of the afflicted and the bewildered associates of victims, who themselves merely cheated death by a hair’s breadth. Said one witness, “what I saw was a gory sight, many human beings like myself were burning in cars. They wailed struggling and saying ‘help me help me!’ ...Then silence - the help never came”. One shell-shocked woman could only ask no one in particular, “what is this, what is this, what is this?”
To say there is angst in the nation is to state what is plainly obvious. Nyanya, near Abuja is where ordinary folk like the foot soldiers of these insurgents live. It is an ironic life. The folks of Nyanya live to service the city of Abuja, in contradiction to the people for whom they work their life is brutish and devoid of all comforts. Overcrowded “face-me-I-face you” living quarters, with shared toilets (pit latrines) and kitchens. Even on foot, human traffic grinds to a halt until space can be found for one more step. In Nyanya live the lowest rungs of society - dreamers of making it big in Abuja and tolerating conditions far more squalid than those escaped from at home. To get to work in Abuja, residents of Nyanya leave home at dusk to take a position in the bus queue. Buses are overcrowded particularly the coaches popularly called el Rufa’i, for he introduced them when he was Minister of the Federal Capital Territory. The insurgents therefore chose the hour with the highest devilish intent. So far the believable story seems to be that they drove a car bomb into the bus park and detonated it.
Broken, I know many Nigerians are like me, angry, frustrated, and pained. Those innocents left home this morning to earn an honest living. They may have prayed to God pleading ‘Lord I hope this day is good. It was an early morning assembly of the expectant. They originated from all corners of Nigeria converging on Dream City that Abuja is different Nigerian nationalities, different faiths, assembled together by an all knowing God who was going to claim souls that belonged to demanding?
In one of the gory videos of the Nyanya blast, you hear someone’s voice asking “is this Nigeria; is this Nigeria; is this Nigeria? It is a pertinent question, akin to David Diop’s monologue on Africa in his poem Africa My Africa. One could continue where that bystander chok3d to a stop at. Nigeria is this you, whose back is bent under the weight of your many challenges.
President Goodluck Jonathan did well to cancel a trip to the South West and visit the site of the blast while blood was still fresh on the queues. He reflected the national mood in the quest for an answer to the question - is this Nigeria? Is this Nigeria? Who is behind all this?
Whoever claims responsibility for this dastardly act, Nigerians must rally round the flag and salute the troops having to turn their guns homewards upon a national threat that is within our borders. A nation is not cowed by insurgency. It rises up to the fight with stronger determination. Stakeholders must rally round the Government in all the ways imaginable. One of them as raised by Senate President David Mark for the media to sensitise society on security concerns, but it also needs to be emphasised that our bane as a nation is our corrupt nature. Leadership is not accountable and hence all strata of governance is