The Guardian (Nigeria)

Olakunrin: Season of tears, lies and denials

Ladesope Ladelokun


EVersince a daughter of Afenifere leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, was murdered in cold blood by suspected herdsmen on the Ondo-ore road, the Akure home of the nonagenari­an has been a Mecca of sort for genuine mourners and pretenders who only want to get photo ops to advertise their feigned compassion.

Understand­ably, it is not unexpected that lawmakers, governors and the presidency have taken turns to touch Akure soil in order to visit the bereaved because of the political connection of the victim - Mrs Funke Olakunrin.

On July 12, 2019, Olakunrin joined the burgeoning figure of Nigerians dispatched to early graves by the bloodthirs­ty fiends on rampage across Nigeria who now seem unstoppabl­e as they have turned vast swathes of the Nigerian space to killing fields, leaving citizens in perpetual fear.

Sadly, after the murder Olakunrin, an unnecessar­y debate ensued about who her real killers were. But, it must be stated that whether she was killed by Boko Haram elements, armed robbers or Fulani herdsmen is inconseque­ntial. What is disturbing is the fact that another Nigerian has been consumed by the nagging security problems that currently beset Nigeria. And, on this day, July 22,2019, she will be buried with tears flowing like a brook from her relatives and well wishers.

It is bad enough that Olakunrin was cut down by fiendish elements whose stock in trade is to unleash weeping, gnashing of teeth and sorrow on their victims; the death of one’s child at the departure lounge of one’s life can be depressing having lost a child earlier. This is why politicisi­ng Olakunrin’s death by either the ruling party or the major opposition party disrespect­s Olakunrin and the emotions of Pa Fasoranti.

Worthy of note is the fact that no death of a Nigerian occasioned by the current worsening security situation has at

tracted tears or sympathy from those in the power loop in recent times like Olakunrin’s. While one means no disrespect to the deceased and her family, ordinary Nigerians have suffered worse fate while men of power just look away with dry eyes, or even spit on their graves by blaming them for their death.

On the same Ondo-ore road where Olakunrin was shot, people have been killed and kidnapped. One can hardly recall anytime a delegation from the National Assembly, the Presidency or governors tried to outdo themselves in a harvest of tears and mourning. If the death of Olakunrin provokes the same reaction from Nigerian leaders each time every Nigerian is kidnapped or brutally killed, perhaps we will be half way to finding peace.

The tears of sympathise­rs and families of Funke Olakunrin had not dried when kidnappers abducted the 76-year-old mother of ex-super Eagle’s coach, Samson Siasia, only three days after Olakunrin was murdered.

And, just as the family of the septuagena­rian were still trying to come to terms with the ugly reality staring them in the face, Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, on top of the agony that has become an unwanted companion of victims merchants of death and failure of the state, said the security agencies had successful­ly tackled Nigeria’s alarming security situation. Hear him: “All these cries of insecurity which some groups and individual­s are taking it as a political game I think they should have a rethink because it is no longer the case. Insecurity has been tamed right now in the northwest; and even in other areas we are doing so well.”really? President Buhari boarded the same caravan a day after when he said, “those who politicise the isolated cases of insecurity in Nigeria are not patriotic Nigerians”. Buhari ‘s reference to “isolated cases of insecurity” inspite of unremittin­g kidnapping, banditry and killings across Nigeria is not only worrying but raises pertinent questions.

What are those around Buhari telling him? Does he read Nigerian newspapers? Could it be that he is fed with untrue security reports as posited by former Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Afakriya Gadzama? Was it up to three months that the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, said 1071 Nigerians were killed and 685 kidnapped in four months in crime-related incidences in 2019 alone?

With threats of reprisal attacks flying in all directions following unceasing violence visited on Nigerians by suspected Fulani herdsmen, nothing better signposts the grave security situation we live with. The President and Commanderi­n-chief of the armed forces must first see the entire country as his constituen­cy and ensure he is truly seen to be for everybody and for nobody to ignite the fading belief in one Nigeria.

Let’s call a spade by what it is; Nigeria is not winning the war against insecurity. Those who swore to protect us must address issues that threaten our unity as a country and security in the most holistic and purposeful manner. We will lose nothing if we seek help from advanced countries in the area of deployment of technologi­es to fight insecurity. Prioritisi­ng good governance, social justice and investing heavily in social infrastruc­ture will also go a long way.

Beyond the condolence messages from political actors to the family of Olakunrin as she is being buried today, the biggest honour she can get after her demise is neither the tears to mourn her nor the visits to Pa Fasoranti. It is to ensure that we no longer have our hearts in our mouths when we ply major roads in Nigeria for fear of being kidnapped or killed and ensure we have a safe country for all. May the soul of Olakunrin find rest.

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