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  • Writer's pictureNnaemeka Ali, O.M.I

Nigeria Burns, Fiddle Not

As Nigerians vote in a few days, the political idiom “Nero fiddled while Rome burned” comes to mind. Though it might not be literally accurate, it’s certain that Nero, figuratively, fiddled while Rome burned. This is because Nero was known for taking advantage of crises to advance his political programs, and the destruction of Rome by fire was one of those occasions.

In July AD 64, a great fire ravaged Rome for six days, destroying 70 percent of the city and leaving half its population homeless. And though Nero was not in Rome when the fire started, he later took advantage of it to confiscate the areas razed down during the fire outbreak. And what is more, Nero took the opportunity to accuse the Christians of burning the city, resulting in massive arrests and executions.

Looking at what is happening in Nigeria today, history is repeating itself again. Nero is again fiddling while Rome burns. The monster we created is on the prowl, and those who made them are now taking advantage of the chaos they created. They are taking advantage of the mess we are collectively into to execute their disastrous plan.

For example, the political instability and insecurity plaguing us today are, on the one hand, the fruits of disasters orchestrated by close to two decades of rule by the People’s Democratic Party. And in the other hand, it’s the outcome of a poisonous time bomb planted by the APC-led government of Muhammad Buhari.

Unfortunately, those behind this well-known recipe for disaster are again sitting on the steering, blindfolded, ready to carry the entire nation on a deadly road tour. The truth is that we all know that these guys are out to commit a massive suicide. They also know we are aware of it. But, having rendered us powerless, they believe undoubtedly that we will again head to their snares. Their traps have been garnished with poisonous baits, and like vampires hungry for blood, we are ready to die if we can taste that red body fluid.

Regrettably, we are all bewitched to enjoy the fatal fiddle in the hands of our killers. And like a fly without an adviser, we advance with these corps to the grave, blindly dancing to their Surugede, although we know that Surugede is the dance of the spirits.

Today, any Nigeria who does not see the urgency of salvaging this nation already on its knees is like Nero. Besides, worse than Nero is anyone who takes advantage of the situation to create an ethnic or religious narrative that will jeopardize our unborn children’s future.

Luckily, many young Nigerians have decided to break the jinx of our ethnic and religious wars. They have understood that no one is supposed to sit on the fence in this crucial moment of our history. But sadly, the situation is so complicated that it will still take more hands-on deck to undo the knots around our collective necks. We must wake up before forcing our people to suicide.

We also know these leaders who are vying for the Aso Rock villa. In the past eight years, impunity has reigned, with the president ignoring both the judiciary and the legislative arms of the government. Muhammad Buhari, on several occasions, has manifested his “I don’t care” attitude to all the situations of our nation. Insecurity has never known this height in our history as a nation. For weeks, no one has had access to their money. The country is at the point of a war outbreak, with youth out on the road causing havoc and mayhem.

And even though we are tired of this craziness, we know, deep in our conscience, that his mandate is nothing to what awaits us if some of these candidates win this election. The massacre during the EndSARS protest will be child’s play.

My fellow Nigerians, it’s true that no individual can salvage this nation even with a magical wand, but the wrong leader, and we know who they are, will destroy our remaining sanity.

We agree that Nigerians are resilient people, but at the stage we are, it’s no longer resiliency but madness. This is no time to joke if we would instead not allow future generations to be ashamed of our generation. So, as you vote, don’t vote for yourself. Vote for your children and children’s children. Do not vote for “gari and eba”; vote for a better Nigeria. Vote for peace and prosperity; vote for anyone you can entrust into his hand, anything precious to you. Vote for hope. Remember, Nigeria is burning, do not fiddle, please.

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