Victor Moses as a metaphor... A must read article written by Abimbola Adelakun

Victor Moses as a metaphor

Victor Moses as a metaphor
The story of Super Eagles winger, Victor Moses, that has made the rounds in both the Nigerian and foreign media, is simultaneously inspirational and discomfiting. As the narrative goes, he was out on the streets of Kaduna playing football one day when he got the news that his parents had been killed by rioters. It was during the Miss World riots when, according to rescue agencies, hundreds were killed and injured, and thousands displaced. Moses escaped, ended in London with his uncle and today, plays for the Super Eagles team that won the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa!

A storybook conclusion to an otherwise heartrending tale; my friend said she wept her heart out (we love stories that make us weep; that’s why Oprah Winfrey is popular) when she read his story. Such emotive reaction is my problem with the whole affair; shedding tears –literally or symbolically – at this account takes Nigeria nowhere. Moses was lucky to escape and gain a model life.
Here is my concern: Did Nigeria give his parents justice?
It is important to ask such questions, to remind ourselves how Nigeria routinely messes up people’s lives. That Moses has not thrown a lawsuit in Nigeria’s face is an act of patriotism that should prick our collective conscience. People were slaughtered during the crisis, others died in instalment. Help was far from everyone who died. Survivors still carry mortal scars. How many victims have a similar tearjerking story? If Moses had not had a strong support system to shoulder him and, had ended up a delinquent –like kidnapping a minister’s mother for ransom – would Nigeria have taken responsibility? What is vexing about the Miss World riot –and others that have perennially defined our religio-political landscape – is the shameful fact that the perpetrators are never brought to justice.
Our country does little to punish those who took it upon themselves to whimsically spill blood. A count of instances since Independence should rattle our human conscience. The way we mass-bury the dead and play the Ostrich after, benefits the ogres of religious extremism. We have patented a nationalist bend that enables us to ignore the uncomfortable; to insist on retribution is to be taken as raving mad. Nigeria fails both the dead and the living. Erroneously, we think the dead are the victims; we all are.
In a matter of weeks, it would be two years since the National Youth Service Corps members were killed in Bauchi State during the 2011 presidential election. While that incident generated national hysteria, it did not result in judicial redress. Rather than fish out the killers, the president reaped the biggest PR out of it; serenading the parents of the victims with blood money and empty promises.
We seem content to “leave it for God to judge” rather than go through the wahala (and consequences) of finding the killers. I have wondered on this page, was the conscience of those killers assuaged when they heard the parents of their victims got N5m each?
While all slaughter stories eventually recede from the front pages of our minds, the ghosts never depart, nor are the living healed. Today, we have spawned a violent society: People of Christian faith frenetically chant, “Die! Die!! Die!!!” in places of worship while others benchmark their sermons on hate and violence.
In Nigeria, the abnormal has been normalised
A Christian body issued a fatwa, recently. Hear them:
With this retweet, CAN believes that el-Rufai is set on a warpath with the millions of Christians in Nigeria. We must state that unlike others, Christians do not shed blood, take life, kill or maim others at the slightest provocation. Nevertheless, we must warn el-Rufai not to take Christians for granted and to inform him that it is with great difficulty that we have had to restrain our youths from taking the law into their hands; which by extension means bringing el-Rufai to justice on account of his incitement and insult against the Christian faith. We may not be able to guarantee this restraint the next time he makes any other explosive statement that impugns on the Person of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. He is, again, warned to desist from playing this dangerous and deadly game of Russian Roulette. A word, they say, is enough for the wise.
It is instructive that 11 years after, we’re still quarreling over religious figures. The anomalous has become standard. The Igbo say, “If a taboo is allowed to exist for a year, it becomes a tradition.” Nigeria exemplifies this. We have degenerated into a society where people self-adulate that they do not resort to deadly riots. Our sense of humanity has been that badly decimated.
Some of my Christian friends, who are ordinarily level-headed, say, “You know,” they mouth with traces of regret in their voices and body language, “it’s a good thing we are Christians. If we are Muslims….”
I have told each one of them to get out of my face with their hoity-toity supercilious prattle that reminds me of the Pharisee’s prayers: Lord, I am not like the rest of men…
My response to them: “If you think you are better than those bigots who take a knife to their neighbours’ throats because of a comment about the Prophet, why regulate your own moral temperature by their thermostat?”
For those who want Jesus Christ airbrushed to perfection, and would not hesitate to raise spectres of violence and death, have they asked themselves what Jesus himself could have done? While he walked on earth, they called him names. He did not fold up and die as a result of it. But then, if the Christian Association of Nigeria cannot help itself, should the Nigerian state be the one to turn the other cheek? Why not check these people’s excesses?
It is disturbing that history does not haunt us. The blood of thousands of lives we have lost in the past is still crying from the earth like the blood of Abel. Stories like Moses’ should neither console nor make us comfortable to make it a trophy. It should be a reminder of things left undone; those we let down and those we owe.
This, of course, does not take anything away from the success of the young man. I congratulate Moses’ sense of patriotism and I wish him a safe journey back to his base in Europe, far from the madding crowd of uncaring and insensitive leaders and irresponsible religious irredentists.

Source: Punch
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