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Sunday, 11 September 2011

9/11 and the Necessity of Peace

Today marks the tenth anniversary of one of the greatest tragedy in human history. On this day ten years ago then I was still back at university in Nigeria preparing for my degree exams when I watched in horror the falling of the twin towers in New York. Before this unfortunate tragedy, I always looked at the US and indeed other western countries as very secure nations - the untouchables if you like. How wrong was I judging by how vulnerable the west became with later attacks especially the Madrid train bombings in 2004 and the 2005, 7/7 tube attack in London. This has got me thinking about what it takes for peace to reign supreme in a world that is continually seeking refuge in guns and mortars. To quote Martin Luther King, "peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of justice". What we see today is the presence of conflicts and the absence of justice.

This brings me home to the current state of affairs in Nigeria. I would never have believed that any Nigerian would be prepared to become a suicide bomber simply because of our love of life. But sadly this has now become a reality in today's Nigeria and we should be really worried. We should be worried because things could get worse before it gets better if steps are not taken to address the underlying issues that have led to the threat that we all currently face. I believe that if we continue to foster a society where inequality of opportunities that exists between the ruling class and the rest of society is as wide as the Sahara desert then we have got problems. If a society fails to recognise the ethnic and religious diversity of its people in the context of how it is politically structured, then you create even bigger fault lines.

Nigeria earns billions of dollars in oil revenue and yet the vast majority of its citizens live in poverty. Is that justice? Certain past leaders have been known to set up private schools and universities whilst still in office in contrast to millions of Nigerian children without access to good quality education. Is that justice? Many past and present leaders have a vast property portfolio both in and outside Nigeria but yet millions of people still live in shanties which they call house. Is that justice? I could write a whole book about how in many unjustifiable ways than not our people have become non-partakers in our common wealth.

The reality remains that Nigeria is not at peace with itself. I do fear though whether the establishment understands this angle to the problem. I doubt they do because they live in this little bubble where everything is fine and all is well. The only way I believe they will understand is for ordinary Nigerians to poke that bubble so that the ruling class will gain an insight as to how life can be a struggle. Expecting our leaders to do what is right is never going to happen I'm afraid - that is my view anyway. All sorts of ways to achieve this has been proferred in the past; whether you call it sovereign national conference or a peoples' uprising. The reality is that Nigerians need to take the gauntlet if we will ever achieve equity in the social, economic and political stakes. If we fail to do so, peace may elude us for a long, long time.


  1. i feel like nigeria is a ticking time bomb waiting to explode!

  2. Their kids are in UK, US. Attending the best schools money can buy, shopping at Harrods and living wonderfully extravagant lives.

    We look on. monkey dey work...

  3. When I think about some things in Nigeria, I feel so saddened. Over here, whenever we have discussions about Nigeria with other Nigerians, we could go for hours talking (and arguing) because the problems are so many and it doesn't seem like the leaders are doing anything about it. In the end, the conclusion is always that we as the people need to be the ones to rise up else we'll continue living in a dream thinking of how our country ought to be as opposed to how it is.
    You've really said it all...Our leaders living in a bubble and all. God help us

  4. The answer to your question is 'No, it is not justice'. One day, their downfall will come, just wait and see. Cos you can not oppress a set of people forever.

  5. @kitkat, it's indeed a ticking timebomb. One wonders how big the explosion might become

    @Ginger, tell me about it. I see some of them here but they live ina different from the one you and I live

    @Stelzz, God help us indeed

    @ilola, I absolutely agree. There is a limit to human endurance

  6. Very incisive post! I remain optimistic though it gets harder everyday when you see what's happening and it seems things will never change for the better.

  7. @Myne, I try to be optimistic but the harder I try the harder it becomes judging by the worsening situation on a daily basis.



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