Nigerians and the Hurry to move on

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Within a space of two weeks or thereabout, Nigeria and Nigerians woke up to the news, first, of Busola Dakolo, a photographer by profession and the wife of popular gospel musician Timi Dakolo, speaking up to a rape incident which was allegedly perpetrated by Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo of the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly church (COZA) in 1999.

The second was a case of physical assault perpetrated by Senator Elisha Abbo representing Adamawa North against a woman in an adult toy shop somewhere in Abuja as seen in a video that went viral on social media.

And thirdly, there was the RUGA issue which had sparked national and international outcry and outrage because it is seen as a tool of the North’s fulanization/Islamization agenda of the country. Thankfully, it has been suspended by the federal government. 

Expected, a lot of conversations, actions, and reactions have been generated around the three topical issues. And they were as logical, ridiculous, and interesting as they come.

In the first case scenario and just as the story was developing, a group of placards carrying Nigerians reportedly took to the streets of Abuja and Lagos respectively to either lend their supports or show their displeasure and disgust for the man of God, Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo.  

And it was by the whiskers that there were no violent altercations from the worshippers and the protesting mobs.

As that way going on, more ladies have also come out to say the randy man of God had allegedly abused them sexually in the past.  And the questions that immediately popped up on the lips of a lot of people are either “why always him or is he the only young, handsome, and rich pastors around if perhaps those were the catch?

Just the same way, a coalition of Northern groups have issued a 30-day ultimatum to the federal government to rescind its decision to suspend the RUGA settlement plans which is for, as the government puts it, livestock farmers across the length and breadth of the country.

The action of the Northern groups to threaten the expulsion of Southerners living in the North if after the expiration of their ultimatum nothing is done by the federal government is both uncalled for, provocative, and unfortunate.  

Meanwhile, leaders of thoughts across the South-east and South-south of the country, especially, now feel justified for their opposition to the plans. Because according to them, the evil plans of the North has finally been exposed.

And the whole thing reminds me of the repeated threats by Niger-delta militants to blow up oil pipelines in that region or in the extremity of their demand threatening to declare Niger-delta republic, primarily, if anything untowardly should happen to their son and former President Goodluck Jonathan, whom they had then suddenly come to own more than other Nigerians who voted him into office.

The same lines of threats have also been issued in recent times, especially, if President Muhammadu Buhari wins in his re-election bid.

I think that was, like I use to say, one of the many pieces of unnecessary ethnic baggage of distractions that come with every Nigerian President.  And it is most regrettable.

As if that was not enough, it has also reared its ugly head with the coming of the incumbent, Muhammadu Buhari, whom a lot of overzealous and unlettered Northerners youths and elites alike have come to see as perfectly representing their ‘born to rule mentality.’ 

The wife of the pastor who has been accused of rape too, in a manner of all loving wives did also come out to say that her husband cannot commit the act for which he’s being accused as if she knew him from Adam.

That dose of solidarity from the wife didn’t come to me as a surprise, though. After all, like the Yoruba would ask rhetorically, “who will the fly had supported if not the sore afflicted?” I hope you all get the slant?

In the end, as the pastor puts it, acting on the advice of his spiritual fathers and mentors, he did release a statement that he was stepped down from the pulpit to allow for proper investigation into the rape allegation. And if I may ask, has he got other choices if the country runs perfectly on the rule of law?

But in all the trending comments both in the traditional and the new media, I’ve singled out warped thinking concerning this rape issue. And it is about Busola’s decision to speak out on an incident that took place when she was only sixteen.

The very idiotic sentiment that got me thinking is “why did it take her so long to speak out about something as serious as a rape”?  Not only did some people see it as a belated, they equally see it as lacking the burden of proof.  

Again, you would think they are the professionals saddled with the responsibility of investigating the veracity or otherwise of the incident. Yes, primary evidence may be lacking but that does not completely remove or nullify the provability of the case. Like I said that should be left to professionals.

And so one is tempted to think there has been all along a fixed timeline to reporting acts of criminality in general. They have suddenly forgotten what did in the legendary American comedian Bill Cosby who faced a similar barrage of accusation from his victims from back in the day.

Forgetting also that by the virtue of someone of her status speaking up, we can actually get more people who have been a victim in the past to want to talk about it openly with the hope that the society will not judge, shush, stigmatized but understand and help them to heal in good time while bringing the perpetrators to book.

Indeed, as it has so happened a lot more people are beginning to talk.  

As regards the distinguishingly slapping Senator Elisha Abu of the Federal Republic, prompted at best to me he seems, he has gravitated through a temporary show of defiance or rationalizing his action to put out a statement amid a choreographed tearful remorsefulness.

He has tendered an unreserved apology to his victim, his constituency, his friends and family, the international community, his fellow distinguished Senators, and the thinking Nigerians ordinary or otherwise, who rightly you will agree, have been collectively embarrassed and scandalized by his thoughtless action.

In view of the tearful remorsefulness and tendering of unreserved apology by the Senator, however, justice, some people are beginning to vigorously campaign should be tempered with mercy. To put it simply, people are saying ‘let’s just move on’ even when justice has not been seen to be served so that others with similar intentions are deterred.

As if there is a part of our laws that says once criminals or alleged criminals show remorse and apologize then they should be left off the hook. Then the pertinent question to ask is what happens afterward to the injuries of the wronged?

And I think the hurry to move on syndrome is one that has permeated the thinking of many Nigerians and has continued to negatively impacted processes and procedures of effectively doing things.

Nigerians are always in a hurry to get on the bus and come off it. They are in a hurry to navigate encounters with law enforcement agents, even if they are on the side of the law by way of succumbing to their cheap blackmails which are designed purposely to extort money from them.

They are impatient to wait their turn where such is in demand even if it requires that they part with money to compromise the system.

Indeed, in Nigeria of today just as in the Nigeria of yesteryears, there are backlogs of unresolved social, political, economic issues hanging around the neck of the country. And it baffles me sometimes when all many of us want is just to move on.

Trust me; I’ve nothing with moving on and I’m not advocating that people like Busola get stuck in their unpalatably traumatizing experiences. But just as moving on is great and welcome, resolving the outstanding issues should be prioritized as well.

Otherwise, those unresolved challenges and problems will still come back to haunt us. And you all will agree with me that haunt us they have if events in the country thus far are anything to go by.

That Nigeria and many Nigerians today are troubled is clearly as a result of decades and decades of issues that were allowed to slide just because we prioritized moving on over resolution of core national problems. It was a case of postponing the evil days and they are here and multiplying. And all we want to do again is move on.

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