Thursday, March 11, 2010

Hell is empty, and all the devils are here

"Hell is empty, and all the devils are here." - Shakespeare

First, please read the quote pasted above. Let the gravity of those words sink into your system. Then, if you haven't already, and if you're strong enough to stomach witnessing sheer and absolute horror, please click on the following link: http://www.anglicandioceseofjos.org/dogo.html

There is no other quote that better describes the recent inhumane attacks in Jos, Nigeria. If "a picture is worth a thousand words", then what do we say of pictures like these? It's unimaginable. Each picture represents a horrific, gruesome murder. Innocent women, children (and men) were brutally ambushed, attacked, maimed and murdered worse than animals. It's unthinkable that in 2010, after the world has gone through so much progress and development, some of us in Nigeria are still living like this. It's heartbreaking to witness these events. It's heart-wrenching to think of what happened on the morning of March 7th. It's unfair and deplorable. It's mind-numbingly sad, pathetic, and downright insane.

But this is the Nigeria we live in. A country full of extremes. Extreme wealth and extreme poverty. Extreme Joy and extreme pain. It's hard to imagine that this is the same Nigeria that just hosted the U-17 World cup; that just celebrated it's 50th Year of Independence and boasts of some of the most expensive luxurious lifestyles in the world.

Nigeria is the most populous Black Nation in the world; it is also very much a melting pot. It is home to 250 to 400 different ethnic groups, and is almost evenly split amongst Muslims and Christians (not to mention various other traditional Religious Belief systems). However, while in some metropolitan areas of the world, vast diversity is generally a positive attribute, in Nigeria that diversity is ripping us apart. We are different, but that should be a strength.. not a disease. Instead of learning from each other we resort to fighting. Instead of maximizing our varying degrees of potential, we resort to killing each other.

How men can devise this kind of terrible plot is beyond me. News reports have put the death toll anywhere between 200 and 500 people. Probably More. Innocent lives snuffed out for absolutely ignorant, ridiculous reasons. Mothers and children. Families destroyed forever. All because of some ethnic disputes, disagreements over land, or even religious differences. What's sad about occurrences like this is the fact that usually, there's some underlying resentment towards policy, authority, Government or the powers that be. But instead of finding some other way to address these issues, people resort to killing other innocent (and probably-frustrated-as-well) human beings. Maybe you're justifiably upset at the way things have been... is that reason enough to take the life of someone else who is innocent, and like you, probably just trying to get by in these harsh times?

The worst thing about the Jos attacks is the fact that this is not the first time that we've witnessed such horror, and conventional wisdom says it won't be the last. There's a song on my last album called "Why", where I tried in my very limited capacity to speak from the heart on situations affecting our Nigeria. I specifically mentioned "fighting in Jos, killing one another no remorse". This song was created by Cobhams Asuquo and I over a year ago; I was inspired to write, when similar killings occurred and a friend of mine lost 2 immediate family members. Little did we know that the song would prove to not only be an account of times past, but a prophecy of things to come as we are now witnessing the same evil history repeat itself.

My heart aches for those that lost their lives in Jos and for the families that mourn them. My heart aches for the present state of Nigeria. My heart aches for the future of Nigeria, but it shouldn't have to. I once read that the definition of Insanity is repeating the same actions over and over, while expecting a different result. We are all frustrated with the political and economical climate in Nigeria. We all complain and we are quick to point out everything that has been so wrong for so many years, and rightfully so, because it's just pathetic. But if we decide as a generation to do nothing about it; if we decide to turn a blind eye and ignore the need for change, then our future generations will inherit the EXACT same issues. And that will mean that we have failed them.

We all witnessed the inauguration of President Barack Obama in the not too distant past. The whole world watched in awe, as America, once the chief criminal in slave trade, voted in its first Black President. We all know the U.S.A. still has issues its dealing with, but President Obama's swearing-in is a day that will forever go down in history as a day that changed America. Prior to Obama becoming Commander-in-Chief, most people thought that there would never be a Black Man voted in as President of the USA. Prior to Malcolm X, Martin Luther King and co, most people thought black people would never be able to vote in America and that Segregation would never be demolished. I put it to you that we CAN change Nigeria's future, using similar formulas. Obama became President largely because the younger generations (and those young at heart) decided to exercise their God-given rights by voting for change. We can do the same here in Naija.

Change does not happen overnight... Some will recall that in the USA in 1994 there was a revolution of sorts, but partly due to somewhat dubious circumstances (Florida, etc), the Bush Regime lasted an additional four years. We are used to Politicians in Nigeria treating Power as a birthright and votes not counting, despite our calling it a democracy. But in the same breath, how many of us actually turn out to vote? 2011 might be the year that changes our country forever. We may or may not succeed in toppling the "birthright-mindset" of our leaders immediately, but we MUST, in the very least, get the ball rolling. We the (young) people must decide that we are fed up of the nonsense we've seen for years and vow to change things.

We still have no constant power supply. We must vow to do everything within our power to get our government to #lightupnigeria. We have leaders that are complacent and corrupt. We must vow to register-to-vote and to actually vote. We can, possibly, abruptly change and take charge of the future of Nigeria in the 2011 elections. Or in the very least we can IMPACT it so that it never stays the same. We are fortunate enough to not have to deal with any Natural Disasters, like the recent earthquakes in Haiti, or the Tsunamis in Asia. It's time for us to stop BEING the disasters, and to start being part of the solutions. I will be one of many young people completely devoted to bringing about change in this country because I believe we deserve it and it's long overdue. I hope you will too.

Lastly, my heart still bleeds for Jos. I will never claim to be an expert on the problems that the region is dealing with, or the solutions. I do know however that we must all decide to collectively be a part of the change we all desperately hope for and deserve. May those who died Rest In Peace. May their deaths not be in Vain. May Peace reign in all parts of Nigeria and Africa. And lastly... May Change Come. Enough is enough.

~ B.W.

I will try and update this blog post with any relevant links for people that want to get involved, for now please check out:
http://www.lightupnigeria.org
http://www.enoughisenoughnigeria.com

32 comments:

Miss Natural said...

It really hurts, it really does. Please do update your blog with ways we can get involved.

Harry-Rami Itie said...

Hmmnn..

Well said... We need to pray for our folks in Jos though

Issey, Alice, Uche said...

Well said....We need positive action not riots.we need intelligence not brute force.enough is really enough.

Lamide said...

Great post. Well done.

yemibaby said...

we need positive changes in nigeria ...enough is enough hanhan....re we d only one in the world...killing innocent souls because of religion..may dose who lost their lives stay in perfect peace...btw! banky dis is a nyc blog..

efe.sakutu said...

Thank you and God bless you for this...every young Nigerian needs to read this.

Sweetness said...

its so sad, what Nigeria has become... bloodshed, hatred n greed.. May God see us thru these times.....

ibiluv said...

Jos.......senseless........

Amazonian Naija Queen said...

Very well said, I still have not looked at the Jos pictures. I just don't think I can handle seeing murdered children. May their souls rest in peace. God help Nigeria

Chibaby said...

Well said Banky..Heaven helps those who help themselves..we keep calling on God..the people need to do something as well.

Myne Whitman said...

Great post. To get involved go to www.helpnigeria.blogspot.com

NoLimit said...

My heart bled when I read this.This things ought not to be.
I'm with you on the 2011 change..-t's about time too.
Until we are sick and tired of being sick and tired,change may not come.
But @ this point in time,I have a feeling we are all sick and tired.
I pray leaders who are change agents will step out IJN.Amen

Funms-the rebirth said...

Well written, its so heart wrenching.... i have refused to see more of the pictures cuz i don't have the heart. It saddens me that in this day and age, human beings can actually kill each other like animals.

Like i have been telling people, when America decided they had enough of the Bush Administration, they all went to Vote..... and it counted...
As Nigerians, now is the time. Its a shame that i have never followed any Nigerian election but i can recount the last two US and UK elections and probably right a book on it and that goes the same for some of us.

We focus on the western world and neglect our home. Come 2011, i am using my vote, i hope we get decent candidates willing to make a change. Until then, i will help as much as i can, in my own little way to make a change.

May God intervene and use us in ways to help this nation.

Great Post.....xx

Anonymous said...

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panshak said...

God bless you Banky. My eyes are teary every second i remember i am a Nigerian.

Ayeesha said...

Dis post is O.P- on point!
I just pray dis jos situation isnt swept under d carpet like previous equally devastating crises.
Change is long overdue...

Samaila said...

Great talk there! But its time to ACT. Everyone seem to be saying same. Who pulls d 1st shot. EnoughIsEnough are doing it. We need more of that.

Taz said...

Sad. Don't know what to say. Can only pray that the people of Nigeria rise up and take the destiny of their great and wonderful nation into their hands and make it the powerhouse of Africa that it is. Tuko pamoja (we are together). Peace. Taz from Kenya.

Anonymous said...

nice write up, however the pertinent question is,how do we go about changing the situation of things?What can be done, what should be done, what can each of us do!!

well written Banky!

Anonymous said...

i seriously love your own writing way, very helpful,
don't give up and also keep posting considering the fact that it just good worth to look through it.
excited to browse through way more of your current article content, regards!

Zainab said...

Banky, thank you for speaking out so articulately on this issue. The true leaders in Nigeria are those in the public eye who are willing to engage in "real talk," especially in music and entertainment. Please use your platform extensively and responsibly, and encourage your fellow artists to do the same. Young people will join the cause if they are presented with a cohesive and realistic vision for the future, and concrete steps to get there.

Meanwhile we can all take small steps by reaching out to our neighbors and building trust and solidarity among ourselves.

Best wishes to you, Banky - e ku ise, o.

Jyte said...

Tears in my eyes as i read this..tears 4 the lives wasted in Jos..tears for my homeland - The NigerDelta..tears for Nigeria..tears of hope that things will change..all we have to do is start now..
God bless Nigeria..

Anonymous said...

Hey

Rather valuable information

Anonymous said...

Hey, nice site you got here! Keep up the good work!

H said...

Uhm...plz update.

Anonymous said...

hello


just registered and put on my todo list


hopefully this is just what im looking for looks like i have a lot to read.

Anonymous said...

Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find it; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

Anonymous said...

Intersting and hilarious, you guyz should do something about dat rat o before it goes after your feet while you guyz re sleeping! do give the monkeys some food when they next they come around *wink* Safe trip

Anonymous said...

Aaahh banky thank God, probably You probably receive msg's from people like me everyday I hope Christ moves your eyes to this msg. My Name is Shane Stona from South Africa studied music at campus of performing arts in SA... I play piano and guitar, sing and dance... N i skate. You probably know what I'm gonna say. Just one chance Banky I'm willing to fly to Naija n be under your wing n hopefully by you singed. 0725774099. Godspeed, 1 love!

Anonymous said...

Hey Banky pls can i have ur email address?

dayor said...

Its independence day, and I had to just come back here and read this...the prayer on my lips now is Oh God of creation, direct our noble cause

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www.thediaryofafatnaijagirl.blogspot.com

yinka I said...

HEY im a huge fan of yoursss please check out my cover to one of your songs omoge you too muchh !! http://youtu.be/3ILh2oJVoSc