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How country, my friend?

–E de kampe.

—Saw someone looking so much like you buying boiled corn by the Junction and hoped to God it was your apparition and not the real you I saw. So I decided to check you up.

—By which you mean you’ve come to help yourself to some. Take one and don’t wolf it down, because that is the only one I will give you!

—That’s mean and you know it. And it is out of sync with the generosity of nature prevailing now. Lots of rain, bounteous food and verdant vegetation with everywhere turning green, replacing the burnt and patched…

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–Cut the preachment please. Everyone knows the rains bring plenitude of food and the landscape turns green which is good for the eyes.  You do not have to be William Wordsworth – the English celebrated nature poet –  to grasp that reality. I still maintain I can spare you only one cob of corn.

—Talking about plenitude, the violence, thankfully is beating a retreat, still here with us, sporadic but there. It tapers off for some time and just when we are beginning to think it has gone, then gboam! Another happens to remind us that the age of violence is still around.

—That’s definitely a wrong reading of the state of events by you. Even the high school boy knows we are now bound to violence. If it is not the senseless killings in Yobe, Maiduguri and Jos, then it is the one that occurs on a bridge in Lagos in broad daylight. The other day a retired army general was changing a flat tyre on one of the bridges when his assailants jumped him, took his money and stabbed him. And this does not include your regular political hired thugs on prowl scattering death and destruction as being witnessed in Edo state.

—We are saying the same thing. I did not say the violence has gone, I said it is reducing, at least since General Andrew Azazi was given the boot and Sambo Dasuki appointed in his place by Jonathan.

—Just like that, you’re ascribing your phantom ebb in violence to the appointment of Sambo Dasuki. If I didn’t know I would’ve said you are on his payroll. The man has barely familiarized himself with the enormity of the challenge he has been called upon to solve and you are already talking about the disappearance of the violence.

—Well, at least he hit the ground running, unlike his predecessor who sat o his hands, as it were, during his tenure. He has paid a visit to Yobe and Maiduguri and spoken to the elders there. Call it early forays but it speaks volume about the new mindset he is bringing to the job. The former man hunkered down in Abuja and chose to pontificate about the root cause of violence, while the perpetrators bombed away cities and their inhabitants with heedless abandon.

—Still, it is early days yet to score points. For now, it is merely a difference in style– the one footloose while the other is desk bound. Time would tell which one of the approaches would bring the desired result and whether or not your champion would find the magic wand to give Nigerians their peace of mind back. By the way, the other day he told Nigerians that he was in possession of phone numbers of those undertaking the bombings.  Surely, that sort of information shouldn’t be public knowledge. People in his position don’t usually spell out the detail as he has done; they merely set out the outlines and leave the rest to your imagination. You catch my drift?

—But are we not missing a salient point here?

—Which is what?

—That finally, Goodluck Jonathan mustered the courage to wield the big stick or the axe, if you have a sadistic mind, an act many had thought he was not capable of enacting. The man has shown he is not without guts, after all, to face down people who are said to perform not up to par. Ever since Andrew Azazi took the president and his behemoth party to task and laid the blame for the upswing of violence at their door steps, everyone knew his time was up. What Andrew Azazi did was politically sacrilegious, rubbishing the image of the biggest party in Africa and the ruler of the most populous country on the continent was tantamount to biting the bullet. You don’t publicly upbraid the president and continue to hold on to your post. He should’ve walked away from the job at the venue where he gave the speech.

—Right from start the Andrew man was a fall guy, anyway. What gave rise to the phenomenon of violence we are combating would take years to solve because it has its roots deep in the imbalance of socio-economic opportunity which those ruling over us have scarcely begun to address. And gruesome as it is, the crisis merely is a dress rehearsal to what anyone can see coming on the horizon, if concrete plans are not made to provide the opportunities. It is a social time bomb whose safe detonation would demand not the selfish grand larceny going on now in the name of government, but a sincere effort to grow the economy that would throw up opportunities for the hordes banging at the gate to be let in. True, Goodluck Jonathan showed mettle in relieving Andrew Azazi of his post but anybody can do that, particularly if the buck stops on your table. He should show the same cold determination and courage necessary in averting the looming showdown.

—Your tirade is so prosaic it could be dismissed as mere populism, painting a lurid and catastrophic future fit to frighten the hell out of anyone has been the stock in trade of dreamers like you. Nothing like that would ever happen in Nigeria and the simple reason for this is that everyone wants to go heaven but no one wants to die. Nigerian leaders knows that deep down Nigerians would not take out and out actions that would radically change Nigeria as we know it, that is why the uncanny buffoonery goes on unabated.

— You misjudge the silence of the lamb for cowardice. Some day the beast would wake up and come to his own by insisting things must be done as it should.

—That would be the day.

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