By C.A. Bakas
The notion that certain group of people, because of their religion, ethnic and political beliefs should stand superior to others with different set of beliefs is extremely bigotry. No matter the color of your skin, no matter your ethnic origin, no matter your religion and set of beliefs, we still breathe the same free air, enjoy the same sunset, and the same color of blood runs in our veins. Or is your blood white? Blue? Green? Purple?
What makes you think that standing under the sun in a desert with the other fellow that you will be insulated from the scorching rays of sun while the other fellow stand exposed? Are you immune to disease that plaque humanity because of your belief? Are you immune to hunger, pain, suffering and death because of your belief?
The constitution of our country and state as of any free democratic society provides citizens with certain freedoms and rights which are echo in our holy books. The right to life and the freedom to pursue happiness are fundamental. Yet I had observed that in Kaduna state such rights and freedoms have been constantly strangled, marginalized and blow apart by the cold and heavy hands of bigotry and prejudices.
personally and collectively, we have bitter experiences with the duo above. Have we not seen it in our institution of learning during admission? Or haven’t we experience it during SUG elections which were canceled because the winner is not from certain ethno-religion background? In our public offices the same sentiment is offered. Jobs and higher positions are conferred to less qualified people because they are from a certain ethno-religion background. Vice chancellor of Ahmadu Bello university, Zaria was denied to a qualified candidates because of their ethno-religion background. In scores of other establishments and institutions the story is similar which has been going on for decades unabated.
The situation doesn’t stop there, since despite the segregation and oppression the southern Kaduna man and woman persisted in developing themselves in the face of injustice. And with determination and resilience is building a pyramid of enlighten giants.
In this light comes the open war of systematic ethnic cleansing by the so called “Fulani herdsmen.” How many potential doctors, lawyers, teachers, engineers , farmers, artisans, business Moguls, writers and artist have lost their lives in less than a decade? How much magnitude would be the collective force of this potentials to the southern Kaduna political and economic strength? The force of of their power is to be feared. And the best method the enemy employed is ethnic cleansing through pogrom and massacre.
Just almost a week ago, I lost my cousin, a potential engineer to the sporadic shooting aimed at my people in Samaru Kataf by same “herds men.” That singular act by this “herdsmen” reinforces the message contain in several attacks before it: that the southern Kaduna man and woman is not worthy of life in his state because of his ethno-religion background. My cousin traveled home to visit his brothers and share happy time with them, not knowing the evil fate that would befall him simply because of his ethno-religion background.
Go to southern Kaduna today, there are a lot of abandoned farmlands because the freedom to till them and yield harvest is being trampled by threats of bullets and machetes. The result is economy set back. This same land use to yield tons of yams, ginger, cocoyam, guinea corn, millets, groundnuts, palm kernel like no any other part of the state.
So I say to the southern Kaduna man and woman: lawyers, artist, writers, teachers, doctors, engineers, architects, politicians, artisans, farmers; are we going to remain silent in the midst of this injustice? Our fathers have failed us . But I would not be in the company of blames because I might be forced to answer questions as: how many of them compare to their counterparts were well-educated and politically enlighten to know their rights in the schemes of things in the state let alone shape the destiny of posterity by affirming those rights through their voices?
But we are a more luckier generation born and prepare “for a time like this.” We are saddled with gross responsibility to affirm and determine our collective and individual destiny. With this self-awareness, ethnical and personal dignity and education, we can have a collective voice to stand against this evil trend that is strangling our existence and trampling our freedom.
The gospel of truth and justice must be preached: we are not slaves nor subjects nor second class citizens in our father’s land. Nobody is “born to rule.” We are free people in our land that should provide us the opportunity to farm without fear of bullets, to rest at dawn in our homes without the dread of death, to live peaceful and secured while we pursue happiness, to pursue our dreams without being marginalized and segregated in our schools and offices. These are what is obtainable in a sane and free society.
Nevertheless, our experiences of religion and ethnic bigotry, prejudices and to a deadly extent, massacre is a wake up call. Posterity would not forgive our indolence. The tongues of truth and Justice must speak. No matter how injustice and his subordinates try to oppress justice, he will always stand triumph at the long run. Justice’s eyes is watching. He is not weak. It must be voiced without fear or cowardice. ” It behooves a wise man to look with bold eyes into those rarer danger which sometimes invade men,” Emerson admonished. Let us choose a better history and destiny by letting our collective voice travel to the four corners of the earth. It would someday come eye to eye with injustice at the table of equity where truth and justice shall prevail. Let it be said by our children and children children that a generation arose and determine a fairer and better destiny for them.
C.A. Bakas( A voice from SK).