Against campaigns dominated by wild fears | The Guardian Nigeria News

Small clouds of dust rise and cling to our air. Until almost yesterday, our minds were shaped by fear. The question running through our minds was: who will save us? Not only saving us but providing us with an atmosphere that can shelter our souls. Today we seem to live in a charged atmosphere created by the presence of terror and fear. For several years, we have felt that our identity as citizens has been lost. There is this fear in our mind and we couldn’t locate it inside our body. We have identified empty spots in our bodies, our environment and even our souls. Now that we know what it was, after those years of exile, we still couldn’t find the strength and hope to fill that void and the void keeps growing the more we blink.

For a moment, the land looked different. The distress is evident in our voices. We couldn’t feel reassuring hands coming to our rescue as we continued to navigate into dangerous areas. It is possible that these wounds on our body, mind and soul were fatal. From our faces and our voices, everything was said. We were in awe without a voice, a voice of action to take charge of our future. But within us we want a different atmosphere.

In times of fundamental change, like the era we find ourselves in, we begin to ask ourselves more and more questions: where to start? In our country with an estimated population of over 217 million, there are soaring commodity prices, high unemployment and a general shortage of essential goods. Our nation is afflicted with a disease. The country is sick, very sick.
Looking to the present, we can confidently say that our new atmosphere of grief and depression beckons: farmers have been massacred on their farms, passengers set on fire on buses, schoolchildren kidnapped, students murdered by their school principals. school, suicide bombers in mosques, church and market place. There are memories of the EndSARS protest, the ASUU strike, and the hunger strike that escape the knocks and squeals of our society.

We continue to visit and revisit these memories that tear us apart. It is in these memories that we remember our loved ones and many of the stories yet to be told that the future generation is not ready to hear. But it is inevitable; we must find a way to silently tell these stories to future generations, in symbols and signs, which only the heart understands. They can’t ask, because these stories will make their ears spin in dismay.

Today we found ourselves sad and aimless. Our life in Nigeria seems to be coming to an end, not because the world is over, but because it has become clearer that our streets, our society, our climate and even our temperature have surpassed our thoughts. Rather, we now think to speak the sober truth, which is the future we want. It is the hope that we still have that continues to burn even at midnight when we are not certain of seeing the next morning: a dream that we have continued to harbor for decades that keeps us connected.

I think there is always something frightening in this realization. I know it scares me and others, but it’s one of the reasons I’ve dragged on writing about the future we dream of. I can’t escape those memories of the good old days after independence, when Peugeot cars were assembled in Kaduna; when Volkswagen in Lagos and ANAMMCO produced buses and trucks in Enugu. When our economy grew and the unemployment rate went down rather than up. They were old memories of going to school smiling because we knew we would come home safe and sound, traveling through moonlit towns and arriving at dusk; go eat on the farm without fear of being shot. I mean those days when we had high exports and very low imports; when a father would return home in the evening happily, because his children would be awake waiting for him; when we live with loved ones before insecurity separates us; those days when we traveled through the northeast to the south and to the northwest for our businesses; when we gathered in our places of worship or in the marketplace to pray and buy our necessities; when the neighborhood children have become your children and you a father to them.

It seems like those good old memories will never fade unless we look deeper into the nightmare we are trying to wake up from. But history is trapped in people and people are trapped in history. But I still believe that we can still change our history by rewriting it. Not changing the past because it cannot be changed, but using it to reflect our present time and create the future we dream of. A future full of promise that can change our situations and have an atmosphere, where nature smiles at us. We need to inject a degree of realism into a campaign dominated by wild fears and wilder promises. We need the impossible dream that successive generations have sought in the desert over the years.

The day is clear with an extraordinary calm. It’s a day like this that we get freedom as a nation. Our history crosses the plains, the mountains, the rivers and all that stood in our way. We need a future that can shape our society and make us brave to face it. We must take charge of our future and blow away the foul dust of history.

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