Kings of empires were historically imperial, feudal lords. They were fearfully revered. They could decide to take their baths with bucketful of another person’s blood if they wanted.
They were the law, the empires and the emperors- trinity of terror! To drive home the omnipotence of their cruelty, one of the wives of the Alafin in the Old Oyo Empire, due to familiarity, tested the potency of such power. She playfully ridiculed the king while naked by saying ‘ I don’t know why people fear a man with small organ like you?’ Alafin responded, ‘you don’t know?”.
Alafin went out to meet with his errand boys. He gave the two different pots and instructed to go straight to the home of his in-law (father and mother of his wife that made jokes out of anatomy) and bring their heads in those covered pots. The errand boys did as the king commanded. At dinner table, the Alafin beckoned on his wife and instructed her to open the two pots. She opened the first pot, the head of her father . The second pot, her mother’s head. Shocked by what she saw in the pots she alarmed in sudden grief state ‘iku baba yeye ooo!’ (Death, father! Mother!” Suddenly but sadly she came to term with why Alafin was being feared. Till today, Alafin of Oyo is eulogized with the phrase, ‘iku baba yeye ooo! While such cruel demonstration of power has ended with the Dark Age in most parts of the world, it seems Nigeria has just woken up to its reality. Ubiquitous unquestionable killings everywhere has seized her by the jugular. Mass murder, extreme violence and frightening intolerance have become mechanisms for settling scores. Vampires who are merchants of death, tears, grief and sorrow have taken over everywhere, mimicking the reality of state of nature. Impunity is the new order. How we got here is not difficult to fix. Unjust society is a rag of disorder.
Thousands of law will not safe her from explosion. Only structure that dispenses justice will! State envisages a legal entity with secured boundaries, within which people are protected; with their security and safety guaranteed. Any deviation defines a Failed State. An indicator of our fragility is crystal clear to even the blind. The foundation was laid by vagaries of injustices. Systematically and systemically, we have a nation that becomes apocalypse state of converging catastrophes built by ethno-religious hegemons with obnoxious nepotistic policies by powerful mediocre. If we understand how injustice tears states into shreds, we needn’t go far on how latent structural violence graduates to manifest extreme violence and violent extremism that now formed the non-receding cloud of anomie. Without justice, forget peace! Unjust country with angry young unemployed population, also with litany of rudderless rulers with advantage of power without purpose is already a terror camp. Rulers that deliberately decimate their citizenry, send their own people to gallows of poverty and drew them to nadir of misery by further denying them, the right to choose who governs them; thereby creating an ecumenical asylum- like state flooded with those Franz Fanon called the ‘ wretched of the earth’, striped of dignity by those appointed to enhance their esteem.
Impervious to advices and caution, they emerged as imperial kings of the wretched, who have been gruesomely placed under grave undertaking to the ends that they are no longer able to challenge the empire’s emperor – the lord of manor, who like Pharaoh knows not God nor respects humanity. These irritable occurrence of mass murder, the deliberate apathy of those with responsibility to act and the loud criminal silence of citizenry have dropped Nigeria into dark immensity of failure as a state.
A state that has become cocoon of duty derelicts, which turned what ordinarily should be their statutory duties to favor dispense and charity philanthropy. Where with mindless wanton killings and kidnap within her borders still have security agencies permissibly celebrating morbid successes and tagging tragic belated renaissance as outlandish innovation. For instance, it’s disingenuous to call Community Policing an innovation. It’s like converting calamitous dereliction of duty to a savvy art of strategic bravery! Just like a footballer seeing scoring goal as fantastic innovation to football. The question is has the police been doing International Policing all this long that internal mass murder has been going on? Assuming without conceding that the so celebrated community assumes space of innovation, without reconfiguring the current structure, culture and legal norms, the euphoria of the so called community Policing will soon disappear into thin air of the amoebic environment that is neither conducive to its adaptation nor suitable for its adoption! Securitization of Nigeria needs all inclusive security governance structure that incorporates all elements of security from bread to brain. The bullet mentality will disappear at appearance of justice powered national integration, collective ownership and personal responsibility!
It is idle to expect a country whose ruler is neither a philosopher nor a sage to understand the imports and importance of integration and appreciate its value and contribution to social cohesion and development. A country that has been under government of rats and rabbits in the last sixty years is bound to be ruminant for vandalistic rodents!
Empire that have become jokey euphemism for nest of vampires, who always find repression as an attractive pathfinder because they care more about regime security than building a secure people conscious of peace and development. Empire that has become a converged catastrophe built by ethno-religious hegemons, oiled with obnoxious nepotistic policies of her powerful mediocre. While writing my published treatise, ‘Graves of Gold’, focusing on Abacha and other living rogues earlier in the year, I didn’t envisage that a selphucre of diamond that mimics immortality would spring up in the ancient city of Ibadan,. Truly the world has its own benchmark for reward. Wendy windy air in a hot hell is not a bad idea in a thoughtless world of falsified immortality and obscene opulence. With glittery of light and cool temperature, Oyo can now behold the ‘paradise’ of its own departed constituted authority built by beneficial family. All true heroes are not remembered because of golden graves or diamond plated selpuchre because their reign just began when they died!
Vampires turned Nigeria to their empire because in the last sixty years we have become ineffectual and responded to their falsified omnipotence and crass irresponsibility with panic or withdrawal. A times we even allow ourselves to suffer psychosis or death because of their threats! We focus on consequences while overlooking the potentials of our emancipation. Roman-, Mali-, Songhai- among other empires are historical evidence that no empire last forever. Mansa Musa, Idi Amin and Pinochet, among the rest also testify that the reign of vampires is as temporary as vapor under blistering sun. It disappears in no time, provided we stop pampering it with shade of timidity or covering it with cloud of citizenry cowardice in Nigeria!
Gbenro Olajuyigbe is the Executive Director of Emergency & Risk Alert Initiative.