The year was 2000, I was in Jos…it has been a few days since I started feeling sick…the symptoms were very familiar, cold, bouts of fever, weakness, loss of appetite and some nausea. I am not a doctor but I know enough to “realise” this is malaria. I knew because I have had malaria before and the symptoms are same. So I walked to a nearby chemist in Nassarawa Gwom and bought me some anti malarial drug.
4 weeks later I lay on the bed dying…it was the 3rd of May…my birthday. I was not feeling any better…I kept on with the anti-malaria treatment but still remained sick. I knew I was dying…I just knew it. I then did one last thing….forced myself to walk to the PHC clinic close by. I went to the lab for a series of blood test as prescribed by the nurse. Shortly after blood was taken off me, I slipped off the stool in the lab and collapsed into total darkness…
Year 2014 May 20th….
Yesterday’s Jos bomb blast did not come to me as a surprise actually. I am however shocked at the casualties and amused at the reaction of many especially on the plateau which was so predictable. It is sad how many lives were lost and how many more have been affected directly or indirectly by that callous act of few. So the question that begs for answer is what I have seen many write on different social media platforms. Questions like: why Jos again? we condemn what happened, where did we get it wrong? We shall rise again, the perpetrators of this act has burn in hell….blah blah blah.
The unending tension and crisis in Jos, Plateau state and Nigeria has been going on for some time now and we have been treating it the same way with same results over and over again. 2001 to 2014 is 13years since this spate of crisis began, 13 years of the same unending vicious circle of preventable loss of lives and properties. “one-step-forward-three-steps-back” development, years of fragile peace and insecurity even though a lot of resources has been spent on safety and security. Perhaps it is time we stop with the usual questions and we shall rise again talk and instead start looking at what we are doing?
I was sure I had malaria and treated myself with anti malaria drugs. I was at the verge of dying and passed out in that lab. The result came out and I had a severe typhoid it has eaten so deep in me that I was surely going to die if I had not gone to the clinic that day.
In the same way I think we have been treating the crisis with the wrong medication and unless we face up to the facts and admit it, the situation won’t get any better!!! I was not surprised when shortly after the crisis, I heard Christian boys in busabuji had set up road blocks and stopping cars to drag out muslims and kill them. Muslim boys were also said to have set up road blocks along bauchi road targeting Christians. There was looting and wanton destruction of life and property. This has been the same pattern that gets repeated time and time again.
I think it is time the truth be told. THIS IS NOT A RELIGIOUS CRISIS!!! Since 2001 hundreds innocent Muslims and Christians have been killed, hatred has been brewed between the two religions, in Jos, we now have areas demarcated along religious lines where if one of the other religion ventures in it is as good as signing ones death certificate. We have refused to vote potentially credible candidates because they are of a certain religion other than ours. We are losing it people; we can’t sacrifice credibility and right on the altar of very petty issues like religious sentiments!! So we have done all these yet the crisis has persisted…isn’t it time to open our eyes and drop the religious card? If it has not worked this far, it probably never will. This is NOT Muslims against Christians NO!!
SO WHAT AM I TRYING TO SAY?
Let us think deep. This cannot go on. We can’t keep going through this vicious circle of violence. We can’t allow the hatred and anger to keep destroying us and pulling us apart. This is no religious fight, it is no political fight. We can’t treat typhoid with anti malarial drugs, it just won’t work.
May the souls of all the dead from yesterday’s blast and resultant unrest rest on and may their bloodshed be platform and a foundation on which we will come together and do away with the “wrong medication” we have been attempting to treat this crisis with over the past decade and for once see the enemy for what it is. Only then shall we conquer this monster and rise again to our full potential.