War, in whose interest?

Are you still of the opinion that war is an option? Remember the innocent souls that will be torn apart with tears and pains. Experience, they say, is the best teacher.

The laws of times and seasons are indissoluble. Every season comes with its offspring and attendant peculiarities that can never be wished away. During the rainy season, the sellers of umbrellas, rain coats and shower caps rejoice because of soaring sales; who wants to be beaten by the rain? When it is dry season and the sun is perpetually shining on our heads, it’s the turn of chilled drinks and ice block vendors to be happy as their goods become hot in demand. There are countless “action and reaction” cases consistent with nature and life. Take the law of gravity. Throw a pen in the air and the ground gains a writing material. We can go on and on.

But why do I bother myself about such seemingly mundane things? It is because of what has been on my mind. The drum beats of war that is sounding over this nation, Nigeria. War is a precarious storm between two or more nations or groups of individuals, which escalates ruptured wounds that might be social or political in nature. War can be caused by disagreement or conflicts between two or more groups and/or nations. It can be caused by wrath, greed, lust, envy and pride of an individual or group of individuals.

So I ask myself: If war breaks out in the country, in whose interest is it? I am not aware we have started producing AK 47? I am not sure if we have started manufacturing Bazooka, PPS submachine gun, M39 Armored Utility Vehicle, Centurion tank, M3 Howitzer, mortar shell, masonry explosive and even bandoliers of ammunition – so that we would be selling these ammunitions, for our economic gain.

Presently, in Nigeria, everyone is crying out over increase in prices of foodstuffs but somehow, we are still managing to feed. There is unemployment, yet people are still actively engaged and even pioneering new businesses. There are religious squabbles, yet Muslims still go to mosque to pray; Christians still go to church to pray; idol worshippers still do their thing unhindered. Yes, in certain parts of the North, our brethren have difficulty doing this but even up there, they still find the means, one way or the other. The northern scenarios should give us enough food for thought that if this were to go large scale, how would things be?

Yes, we might be importing toothpicks at the moment but I have hope that we will soon be producing airplanes. Our balance sheet might not be looking so good. We spend heavily on consumption, but I believe, we will soon be mass producing. It might look hopeless at the moment, but I know there is hope.

Mahatma Gandhi won independence for India without a bloodbath. On war, he once wrote, ‘‘Was not war itself a crime against God and humanity, and therefore, were not all those who sanctioned, engineered and conducted wars, war criminals?’’

But what happens if war breaks out?
We might need a little reminder that great and budding careers will turn to ashes in the twinkle of an eye. All our incredible and beautiful edifices and places will be destroyed and shattered. Successful businesses built over the years will crumble in seconds. Bridges that took years to construct would be blown up in an instant. The most important resource – people – which we have an abundance of will be threatened as beautiful close-knit families will be disconnected in a jiffy – children would be displaced, lost, killed and some sold into slavery. Mothers searching for kids, kids searching for mothers; siblings will be separated in flash. Young and old would burrow deep into the heart of caves, trying to escape the jaws of death.

Who wants war?
Splatters of flesh, blood, bone into rubbles. Once beautiful and handsome faces will turn hollow and melancholy. Ever busy streets will be abandoned. The devastated and buried buildings will become homes for bombs, mortar shell, grenades, masonry explosives and rocket launchers. Exotic and highly priced cars will be smashed in seconds. Markets, companies and government agencies will lock up, if they are not buried in blasts already. Banks will shut down with no idea of when they will reopen. People will carry the remaining cash on them wherever they go as the pillows that would have been a hiding place would have been blown away. Luxurious apartments will be abandoned for jungles, rocks and forests – where people are hushed like animals, agonising and famished.

Food? People will scramble for food, scavenging here and there. It is a fact that presently, we do not have the capacity to adequately cater for the national local consumption. A while ago, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, expressed anguish over the exorbitant amount Nigeria spends on food importation – a whopping $20 billion per year. Remember that in the animal kingdom, if resources are scarce, animals kill their species or young ones for food. God will help us.

Are you still of the opinion that war is an option? Remember the innocent souls that will be torn apart with tears and pains. Experience, they say, is the best teacher. Many countries are yet to recover from the violence of war experienced – Somalia, Nepal, Syria, Liberia, Chad and Congo. Sudan is still feeling the impact of the whirlpool of war and violence – the war in the Darfur region killed over 300,000 and 2.5 million were displaced in 2003. That is not the kind of experience we need.

Timothy Chhim narrated his ordeal in the Cambodian war, “All I needed was just a tiny piece of food and few drops of water so I could move a little bit closer to real freedom.’’ Pathetic, that is the word. Almost 1.5 million Cambodians were killed during the reign of the Communist Party, Khmer Rouge.

Charlene Schiff from Poland narrated her nightmare during the Nazi target of Jews: “I spent two years in the woods alone. I slept during the day in a little grave I’d dug, and at night, I would crawl out and search for something – anything – to eat.” This is man’s inhumanity to man.
The most gripping issue at the moment is to keep the country united amicably – North, East, and West and South. The onus lies on the Federal Government to articulate a shared vision of togetherness -restructuring, national unity or whichever name it is called but it should be all encompassing. We need to stop targeting one another, thereby causing division and mayhem. Our talents and resources should be aimed to make our economy better.

Lack of faith in government’s programmes and policies, unequal distribution of resources and inadequate basic infrastructure, amongst others make idle hands easy tools of violence. Government efforts must be doubled to avoid unnecessary and incessant violence and bickering.
As citizens with moral rectitude, our stand should be against our common enemies – indifference, bad governance, injustice, crime and corruption, and not one another. Collectively, we will be much stronger and effective.

Anjorin wrote from Lagos. He can be reached on:

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