“Where there is no vision, the people will perish.”(Proverbs: 29:18)
Last week, death and its merchants again stalked the city of Kano, Northern Nigeria. The consequence was the sad death of the Emir’s “horsemen”. Death was very close in its mission. By the time it left, it had sneezed out angry bullets from the deadly nostrils of their guns. Those evil bullets snuffed out lives, which include the Emir’s personal staff, i.e. his “horsemen” and the lives of ordinary residents of Kano. Reports said the Emir of Kano, Ado Bayero, and his son, Ciroman Kano, were the primary targets. They survived but their “horsemen”-those who must defend the Emir even in death did not survive. Souls fell while the evil merchants of death fled with their killing toys.
But a day after the visit of the merchants of death to the Emir of Kano, as these evil traders in death fled with their mission not completely fulfilled, a private jet landed at the Kano airport for the Emir. The merchants of death must have looked back at the revving jet, gnashing their teeth while contemplating with their killing toys with contempt because they missed their target-the Emir of Kano, Ado Bayero, and his son-Ciroman Kano. They must have bit their tongue, hissed and wondered at the killing toys and asked why their messengers of death failed them. No one will ever wish them another visit as we pray for peace in our land. May the souls of those who died from the attack on the Emir rest in profound peace as we all continue to count our losses. I wish the people of Kano, and the Emir, great health, peace and security.
The attack on the Emir has caught the imagination of Nigerians because he is a frontline member of Nigerian ruling elite. And given that the image of a country is primarily the image of its ruling elite, what any prominent member of the Nigerian ruling elite does and does not do after a questioning of our existence such as this will impact the image of our country home and abroad. Hence, where the Emir left for to contemplate and for succour is significant for us as a modern civilized, democratic society that genuinely cultivates the ethics of honor and respect for itself and its citizens. Thus, even though this may be lost on we Nigerians, it is significant to note that the Emir did not go to a Nigerian city or an African city for succour immediately after this evil act. It is sad and significant that the Emir followed the regular trajectory of the Nigerian ruling elite- a poor trajectory that does not bring honour, dignity and respect to us as a people. It is significant and sad that the Emir, Ado Bayero, left immediately for a foreign country (Britain) after a major attack on him and the emirate-an attack which was a continuous questioning of our being as a people.
The grief and sadness that can befall a human being after such close shave with death as we had it with the Emir last week can and should be understood. This is why we as humans were filled with genuine empathy for the Kano people and residents and the Emir. But with respect to the Emir, that is where it ought to stop in a respectable , honourable modern civilized democracy we aspire to be. This is because the condemnable assault raises questions of how Nigerian ruling elites have managed and damaged our country, and where they run and flee to after the consequences of their damage come home to roost.
So I ask why should our Emir suddenly depart for a foreign land after the Kano tragic killings? When last did the British Prime Minister, the Queen or any member of the British ruling elite visit Nigeria for succour to cool off after their own measure of adversity or visit for medical reason? My question is deliberate. It is in-our-faces- kind of question. If the Nigerian ruling elites think this is an absurd question then they have accepted a permanent state of inferiority to other peoples and nations. If we failed-adults can live with such state of inferiority and playing third and fourth class to citizens and elites of other nations, we ought not to allow this to continue for our children, and youths.
Second, since it is obvious there is a justifiable need for the Emir of Kano, Ado Bayero, to cool off, and given the security challenges in the Northern part of our country, why can’t the Emir cool off with any of his brother royalties in Nigerian cities and towns such as Lagos, Ibadan, Ife, Enugu, Onitsha, Benin, Port Harcourt etc where there is relative peace ? Why London and not any of the Nigerian cities or even African cities?
These questions are simple and disarming. If these questions did not occur to our ruling elite it means they have accepted a state of inferiority to other elites in other nations, and that they never built consensus within themselves at home to allow them get the relevant protection outside their “domains” in tragic situations like this. If a troubled member of our ruling elites-this time around an Emir, Oba, Obi etc- cannot go to a fellow royalty to cool off after an adversity in his “domain” it means, they did not and could not even build safe havens for themselves within the country. It means they do not have an agency, which is the first condition of any people that want to rule the world or taken seriously in the world. It means the Nigerian ruling elite did not even build their own country for themselves. In the 21st century, they are okay being third, fourth class citizens to other ruling elite from other nations.
So contrary to received opinions, this irresponsibility and inferiority of our ruling elite is the greatest threat and damage to the image of our country abroad because the image of the ruling class is the image of the country. Our ruling elite are visionless. And a people without a vision will perish. It is obvious that the lack of vision of the Nigerian ruling elite is killing the country. It is unacceptable. Hence, we must act to stop this.
Adeolu Ademoyo (email@example.com) is of Africana Studies and Research, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.
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