Nigeria: A nation at crisis
My president Buhari is allegedly on life support. I wish this were not true. My further thoughts on this are initially selfish: when can I return home?
My mother-in-law paid my young family a visit. We savoured our new moment. My child had just been born. How joyous is that?
My commute home with my mother-in-law has a joyous silence, yet it is long so I wish to reminisce on Nigeria. It still exists for her but in her mind only. Would she ever go back? Retire back home? Leave the UK for good? She doesn’t know. Trouble everywhere. It is better that she sends money to relatives. And so this she does. In her uncertain eyes I see the crisis in our nation.
Some Igbos are agitating for Biafra. Nnamdi Kanu’s followership is palpable. A sea of green, black and red. An adorned man. The best spokesman for the Igbos? Not quite. But the blunt end of this business of separating. In sophisticated climes, he would be a useful tool for seasoned politicians. A stark choice between reasoned dialogue and mindless agitation. But where are these politicians of Igbo extraction? Where are the sound alternative Igbo voices?
My father is a septuagenarian. He says those baying for war have not lived it. Nor have they seen its sheer brutality. Or the illogicality of its deaths. Or the downward spiral that ensues. He says of course the Igbos have no weapons. A lot of the agitation is mindless. He repeats that Kanu would flee to the UK where his family already reside. This is not news to me. But when my father speaks of these things, I listen intently for he lived the war. Yet my father offers no solutions. At his age he favours the status quo to the alternative.
Arewa youths gave an ultimatum. Igbos should leave the North. I had thought too many Igbos had left already. My mother left Kano as a child just before the civil war of the 60s; with her sisters and my grandmother. My grandfather died in Kano at the cusp of the war; I have never known exactly why; though I hope there is no hidden truth therein. The Igbos that should now leave are from a different wave. A third wave? A fourth? A fifth?
There is an existential crisis in my mind. Do I plan for a future in my country? Do I raise my child with Nigeria as his home – at least in his mind? Do I sit silently and watch? Do I give voice? If so, how? Do I wait for others to do it?
Do we only watch, in diasporas, our nation in crisis?