By Sola Shittu
Honestly this is not the best of time for Nigerians to laugh especially when the nation is now a laughing stock in the committee of nations. For now, nothing works in this nation yet our leaders addressing us from their Olympian heights want the world to know that things are fairing better indeed for the country.
Kaduna is my holiday city courtesy of family friends and colleagues I have in the city. I cannot count the number of times I traveled to Kaduna in that same train that was bombed with my family enjoying the pleasure of a restored glory of the Nigerian railway which was the dream of those of us that grew up in the 70s to the 80s before it finally collapsed. One of my sons also attend the Command School Kaduna so I and my wife of course find the rail line the option to travel to see my boy on Open Day while I packed my car at Kubwa Station and returned the same day to Abuja. On the day the train was bombed I went into my Google Photos and saw the photos of my family eating in the train and the one we took outside Rigasa station.However, that the train was bombed and passengers were killed and kidnapped was not a surprise to me I remember while writing a story in the comfort of the first class coach of the train, I raised up my head and looked through window them told my wife about my concern on the security of the train and the passengers. I said what if bandits attack this train, that was my journalist mind talking.
My wife who was eating lifted her head and said “God forbid”. Of course I know her religious bias governs everything in her minds. I looked at her hand holding the spoon, the wrist band of RCCG permanently on her wrist. My little boy who was returning to Command School after holiday was completely ignorant of our adult discussion. I smiled and continue with my writing on the laptop on the table enjoying the comfort of the train journey to Kaduna.
At that time, what provoked my realistic musing, which my wife described as negative, was the way and manner our leaders; political and religious, brazenly defend banditry and even Bokko Haram terrorism in the country, holding meetings and negotiating with them on behalf of government. A discerning minds will surely know that the hypocrisy of Nigerian leaders; political and religious is a time bomb that will one day explode on all of us. For many years, terrorism activities of Bokko Haram was excuse away by leaders from the region who continuously attack the government for killing the terrorists.
Similarly, bandits and murderous herders are pampered and romanticized by our leaders, creating all kinds of words to address them just to avoid calling them terrorists. Now the chicken are coming home to roost and sadly, we are left helpless again.
The Abuja-Kaduna railway is a major rail traffic for those of us in Abuja even though the Station in Rigasa pose a challenge because of its distance to Kaduna metropolis, we still endure it.
So what came to my mind after the breaking news of the train bombing was that it could have been me or even members of my family.
Many times I weep for the younger generation because of the kind of country we are going to leave for them. A nation where loyalty of patriots and even security personnel is first to their faith, then their tribe with no place for nationalism. Today, history about the heroic deeds of Nigerian nationalists that instilled in us the desire to serve the country are no longer taught in our schools.On many occasions, Nigeria flag was flown on half mast to mourn the tragedy in other nations, I can not remember when last the country and her Government did that for my compatriots who were killed and maimed in their homes and hamlets on the farms, the highways and even the railways. Our leaders have lost the hearts to feel for Nigerians, on daily basis they swim in the pool of blood of innocent Nigerians who are victims of their doing and undoing. Yet, 2023 is around the corner and my gullible compatriots who are already ranting on social media will still go to the polling boots, sell their votes, (some are selling it already) and vote for the continuation of their misery.My heart goes to all the victims and families of Kaduna rail bombing, may Nigeria never happen to you again.
Sola Shittu is a journalist, activist, entrepreneur, publicist and change advocate. He writes from Abuja.