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BEFORE THE STORM WEAKEN THIS HOUSE By Ibraheem Abdullateef


Pray, dear Kwaran, this land doesn’t become a political warzone reference point in 2019. The security makeover of Ilorin presently, is not only scary but frightening and alarming. The everyday drumming and dancing of death and assaults on our streets due to attacks and reprisals by the two dominant political parties ; PDP and APC could be a strong signal of the inglorious days to come. And as these death and assaults on our brethren grows unabatedly, we are strangely as a people, keeping our hands folded. For whatever that means, it could aptly be described to be a subtle approval of this political pogrom. Perhaps as a people, we feel there’s nothing bad if Kwara changes from the State of Harmony to the State of Armoury. But as it stands, the neck breaking speed at which Kwara is sliding into anarchy is not only appalling but disturbing so much its capital Ilorin, could become another Rwanda, Syria or Pakistan in the next few days. Really disturbing.

But what’s perhaps most disturbing is the seemingly silence from the appropriate quarters. if it is acceptable that the people have not grab the precariousness of the situation, it is worrisome that the leaders of the Emirate are still asleep and slumbering while the roofs of their homes would soon be carted away by wind – a political wind, that if proper care is not taken, may demolish the whole house! Yet, it’s most unsettling that the good-meaning sons and daughters seem at home with the way our dear ancestral home, Ilorin, is hanging in a precipice. Maybe, just maybe their inactivity and sudden deafness and dumbness amidst throe of death and canary that has found a new home on this land is the new way o showing patriotism! So much if Ilorin were a mother, I would feel most sorry for her at this point in time for obviously lacking brave and caring children to speak and fight for her peace and happiness.

We had woken up to political brigandage about two weeks ago involving this same political parties; PDP and APC. On that occasion, they had gone on uncultured political banality of destruction of banners. They had shredded the display banners and billboard of one another into pieces. The following event showed they were merely testing the waters as they finally began brewing that water of discord and anarchy at the annual IEDPU event which had the Emir in attendance. Strangely we never took the warnings.

Instead, we had hit the social media as advocates and solicitors of the erring political parties in stark forgetfulness of sense of patriotism to the land of our birth. When we could have raised eyebrows and pitched thick voices of disapproval against such cultural ineptitude, we sought chicanery and subterfuge and moved on like nothing ever happened. Ok, the oddity of politics untying and unknotting the bolts of cultural fabrics was no matter to us since it is the season of politics after all, respect , prestige and honour for our seat of authority and symbol of the authority Emir may be disregarded, defiled and yet ‘ forgiven.’

But if only we had taken the earlier incidences as the possible opening of the proverbial Pandora’s box, perhaps this land wouldn’t be having about a dozen of able-bodied youth lying sick in bed. Perhaps there might not be a family in grief and mourning over loss of a promising youth to a political riot as the political rally of one of these parties recently unveiled. The reported peaceful rally which had began at Fate Road before journeyed to the heart of Ilorin with its movement in areas like Oja – oba, Adeta, Pakata and surrounding streets, became an homicidal ground where brothers killed brothers freely with no iota of honour, esteem or shame. Media records said two were feared dead and several injured. Yet, we didn’t sit up. We have become a city that never learns.

If truly we hadn’t become a forgetful people, should we be toeing this path of political destabilization, destruction, extermination and elimination at this age? If truly we are a people that learn, was 2003 not enough a lesson? Yet they say history is never to be forgotten to serve the hot plate of experience when necessary; for the past is irreversible but the present may be written beautifully for a pleasing future. . But as it stands, it doesn’t appear like my beloved Ilorin learnt from her ugly past which brings about the unsavoury present and uncertain future- politi- culturally. Daily, the odds are painting a grim picture!

This is why, as- a- matter- of- fact urgently, the leaders of the Emirate , marshaled by the Emir should arrest this growing trend before it reaches the climax. The political madness if uncured quickly is not only capable of raping the peace and stability of this state but could birth bigger and mightier enmity in hatred and vengeance in the minds of the people that may be very grievous and grave. God forbid calamity, what we have in our hands is not to be taken with kid gloves. A situation where brother faces his brother with death wish isn’t a community pride. It’s disheartening enough that our youth forget easily the spirit of brotherhood and communal spirit of love and togetherness for fleeting emotions and misguided passion for their different political parties. Summarily, before politics cripple this land, we should aim for its head.

The leaders of the two parties should be summoned immediately. A leader should take responsibility for his/ her people’s misdeed. It would be fine if the Emir reminded these politicians of their duties and responsibilities to the land of their birth. If they had made Ilorin a political battleground to exert political vendetta should the Emir not be worried? These people should be clearly told quite frankly that bloodletting won’t be condoned in this land. This exactly, was their doing in 2003. They had started the same way again. Like that unfortunate point in time of our political history, in the end this season we go, but what of the lives wasted? Have we been able to revive the cold lives of those maimed in 2003? Yet, these politicians would stop at nothing to achieve their ungodly interest unless somebody calls the bigger shot of dissent. The common people of Ilorin normally would look to the Emir to guard and protect them, would that be too much for the paramount leader we revere?

In addition, the Emir should meet with the various security agencies. A man whose home is burning doesn’t close his eyes to sleep. The revered leader should leave no stone unturned to court the friendship, support and relationship of every security agency to secure his land from the political invaders. If political riots won’t stop erupting and headhunting the peace of the land, there should be no reasons for the concerned peacekeepers to be at ease. The recent death and assaults on our people and vandalisation of homes and properties is total departure for the culture of peace and harmony this city is known for.

The Emir and the council of traditional leaders including Alanguas and Mogajis should initiate and lead peace sensitization campaign in their various communities. Since these people are the mouthpieces of their various communities, it’s high time they became agents of peace preaching and walking the talk, after all family is the smallest but most important unit of the society. Let the charity, they say, begins at every home! Our religious scholars including the respected Pastors should be charged with sermonizing the importance of peace and tranquility. I tell you; it’s in a free land that the people attend churches and mosques. A rancorous, warring environment spares no one, even a leader becomes a refuge in his own domain.

Meanwhile, the Emir could do well addressing the state. I feel nothing is too big a sacrifice to save this land from becoming a graveyard burying its own seeds. An encompassing radio address featuring all radio every radio station in Kwara where the Emir preaches peace and implore his children to embrace the bigger culture of patriotism could be the most effective antidote to this unrest. I remembered vividly how the jingles for the last Durbar Festival rented the airwaves for a whole good month. And I am sure if there were this assaults and counter assaults, the event could have become another battleground. This is to amplify the need for orderliness to be restored quickly enough through the instrumentality of media. The respected voice of Emir of Ilorin imploring and pleading could pour cold water in the burning souls of the societal dissidents. A peace- themed jingle signed by the Emir could continue in the airwaves till after the elections. Electoral violence before, during and after the elections is capable of escalating, if not properly checked, to a bigger issue of insecurity and terrorism!

These, even if quite controversial, may absorb the Emir and our community leaders of the rumours of partisanship. If they could not close the eyes and knock the head of the politicians to restore peace and order to the land they lord over, even when their loyal subjects are being chopped by daggers and naïve guns of crazy men, why should we not believe anything? Particularly, when there’s nowhere in the world where a leader is at rest when his people die an avoidable death. Contrary to what we might believe, political arson, assaults and brigandage is avoidable if there [is a] are willing leader [s].

And before Omoye dashes into the market, the leaders had better clothed her dignity. Before this precipice become actual rain of terror and doom in Ilorin, the concerned leaders and well- meaning sons and daughters of Ilorin had better adequately prepare for the storm threatening to come. In any way, erosion won’t want to demolish a house, it’s the landlord that will not let it make him homeless. In this case, political violence is the erosion, let our Emir the landlord secure his house. This house is safe no more!


Ibraheem Abdullateef
eggheadibra@gmail.com

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