By Talemoh Wycliffe Dah, Abuja.
It is imperative to first commiserate with the family of Major General Idris Alkali (Rtd) whose disappearance on 3rd September 2018 and subsequent location of his car and paraphernalia has caused the family unimaginable suspense, pain and sorrow. May the Almighty God console you and grant you fortitude and strength for this difficult period. One must also console the Nigeria Army and at the same time commend them for efforts so far and yet to come.
Nigeria has lost a great man in General Alkali who has not only meritoriously served his country but served to the end successfully. The general’s greatness continues because his horrendous ordeal is unraveling a lot and will certainly, though painful as it is, leave Nigeria the better given the efforts of the army and other security organs of government. The perpetrators will be found and any cycle of evil around the pond and any other pond for that matter will be exposed and broken. The arrest of the gang will lead to more information that will expose and stop more evil. So the General fights on! This should bring more consolation to the family who will unfortunately repeatedly be reminded by comments, conclusions and unsolicited representations which the good person in question would not have appreciated.
One such (mis)representations must be the piece from MURIC’s Director, Prof Ishaq Akintola, who has drawn conclusions about who the killers are ahead of investigators.
This is unfortunate because in contemporary Nigeria, anything can happen. The Commander-in-Chief himself recently said that desperate politicians sponsor mayhem so that they can somehow prove a point. We believe him because he has a lot of information at his disposal. Also, we are all witnesses to assassinations in Benue when a certain group of people were blamed but investigations revealed otherwise. So we can see that premature, unsubstantiated conclusions do the country no good. It borders on fake news, the recent fight against which is endearing some of us to the Honourable Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
Prof Akintola also went ahead to coin a name for the perpetrators that is capable of fomenting discontent among the tribes living around the pond and a major segment of the Nigerian society. It is surprising how things have changed in Nigeria. One remembers how Nigerians argued against the country being blacklisted by the US after a Nigerian attempted to blow up a plane and at the beginning of the northeast insurgency. Caution and patriotism made us not to call names anyhow until it was unavoidably obvious. Coining hate phrases to practice as a wordsmith at his trouble-seeking foundry does Nigeria no good. It constitutes hate speech, the flame that ignites sectional conflicts that consume everybody.
The professor subtly appears to be happy that there is a terrorist organization, now uncovered and so people should stop calling others names, which seems to be his main concern. This euphoria of finding your brother farting, to be a bit vulgar for clarity, and so you feel he should stop seeing you as the only person farting does not clear the bad odour from either of you. It shows you knew it was wrong to fart all this while. And his piece can only make the other party happy that his nuisance has effect since it appears that every group in Nigeria wants to be respected for nuisance value.
At this critical time when events have queued up to cause discontent and disaffection, stoking the fire is the last thing the government and people of Nigeria can bear with. Communicating half-truths and drawing conclusions on unsubstantiated reports may cause worse reactions than a writer intends. If he continues this way the Professor will not only be stoking the fire but is also driving a thick wedge between two large country divides and unwittingly adding his name to the list of the enemies of Nigeria. Whenever you cause an entity to implode or explode, you are its enemy.
Being cautious and weighing all one says is a responsibility that all Nigerians must take. The elite must particularly bear this in mind because they are looked up to by the next generation. When a generation degenerates in morals and tolerance, it is often the fault of where it was generated from. Whenever you are infuriated by a story or happening, a little fact-finding will temper your anger and actions. Even when your findings prove it, thinking about the effects of your response should bring wise restraint.
▪Dah, a consultant gynaecologist in Abuja, sent this via email@example.com.
Of Prof. Ishaq Akintola and Name Calling
By Talemoh Wycliffe Dah, Abuja.