By Alaba Yusuf
“Those who live by the sword shall die by the sword” – a timeless statement from the Holy Books.
For the United Nations to set aside a whole day for the celebration of the birth anniversary of a mere teenager, 17-year-old Pakistani terror survivor, Malala Yousafzai, the face and voice for girl-child education is, no doubt, a clear testimony to the fact that: bravery pays and the investment in a good cause has its own day of bounty harvest.
Malala’s Day, as approved by the UN, is 14th July of every year. And rather than visit the Queen of England for tea, sponge cake and Yorkshire pudding, or sit at table with some global eminent people for lavish sushi, or spicy masala curry; the budding Amazon, yesterday, literarily ventured into the dreaded and horrific Sambisa Forest, a sickening haven of the Boko Haram sect. She was there, via Nigeria’s seat of political power, Aso Rock Abuja, to share a pizza of hope with the Chibok missing bunch of abducted school girls, apparently a lost generation of her age grade!
There, face to face with President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria, Malala unequivocally told the truth to the helmsman and his advisors. Malala used peppered bulala (horse-whip) on world rulers who deny their people the good things of life, especially qualitative education and gainful employment. She also called the bluff of terror agents and their sponsors, urging them to stop killing and maiming in the name of Islam; a faith that translates as peaceful submission to the will of God (Allah).
To Malala, there is a gross error in terror propaganda. And she’s staking her life to fight this humongous odd. Terror bandleader Taliban once pumped hot lead into the heady youngster’s head barely two years ago, while commuting to school with colleagues. The Taliban, just like the Boko Haram, detests Western education.
Miraculously, through the ingenuity of science and technology which are twin offshoots of Western education, Malala survived and gained full health. In Her Royal Majesty’s abode of Great Britain, her deformed skull had since gone under the scalpel for surgical and plastic reconstruction. Counselling and qualitative education followed in quick succession. All thanks, Malala lives a newsmaker!
Her dream of a radiant, brilliant and elegant global activist soon became a stunning reality beyond anyone’s expectation. But the cruel and wicked October 9, 2012 assassination attempt unleashed on this defenceless and helpless school pupil remains a recurring decimal of error on the side of terror propagators. Imagine if the poor girl had died like the millions of global terror victims?
Like Daniel in a lion’s den, Malala has taken her bulala to Nigeria, to whip the government and people of Africa’s largest population into the consciousness of fending for all at peace and war times. For her, a birthday wasn’t worth the cake of celebration when folks like her are in terror dungeons.
Therefore the fate of the Chibok girls, who are currently languishing in forced detention that has lasted over three months, took Malala and the world she represents to the seat of power; calling for immediate rescue action and cessation of hostility. The education protagonist also donated a whopping US$200, 000 as scholarship fund for the abducted students once released. It is no widow’s mite. For Malala is yet to engage in wedlock, let alone lose a husband.
Come to think of it, Malala was lost for words after experiencing the paradox of wealth and waste inherent within the Nigerian State. How could the world’s number sixth highest producer of oil be unable to sponsor children to school free of charge, she wondered aloud! She was also dazed by the sheer magnitude of the teeming population of out of school kids in Nigeria; one of the worst in the world.
Street urchins, aka Almajiri, are readily available anywhere in the country –particularly in the Northern States. Not even the nation’s capital Abuja is free from the prevalence and menace of their begging bowls. As a matter of fact, a country full of beggars and paupers of any kind isn’t too far from total commotion and confusion, if not a revolution! And the world is watching, closely.
Meanwhile, amidst this chaos and impending anarchy of unemployment and under-education stems out the contagious cankerworm of political witch-hunting and ethnic intolerance! I continue to watch in fear and trepidation, the macabre dance of a loving nation on a seeming path of self immolation. May it not be.
In fact, I confessed earlier today to my very close friend and world-star Richard Mofe-Damijo, RMD, how my personal DNA feels unwelcomed in the ‘too normal’ English environment, where I have come to stand by my son on his graduation day as a mechanical engineer at age 21. I cannot imagine him being in a Nigerian Polytechnic, College of Education or a Public University – mostly shut to knowledge and students almost all-year long!
The scenario is even worse, more so as it took a Malala’s visit to get our President to invite the parents of the Chibok girls for a hug of sympathy and promise of rehabilitation. Yet, 2015 Elections are in the offing! The PDP Caucus has just passed a Vote of Confidence in the President and his Vice, Namadi Sambo. Same day, the Adamawa State Assembly found it fit to impeach their Governor, Murtala Nyako of the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC. Nassarawa State is on cue too to give Governor Al Makura the boot. Meanwhile, Edo State has the uncommon pedigree of having two separate Houses of Assembly whereas Ekiti State is home and dry in the Federal Government’s kitty after a landslide election victory over the incumbent Governor Kayode Fayemi.
Finally, will the rule of might become the fundamental right in Nigeria? Commonsense dictates that the perpetrators terrorism and oppression of any sort need to learn from history. For impunity will never bring serenity, equity or unity. Only education, proper education, would create humane and urbane citizenry that will bring about transformation and socio-economic integration and harmony. Our nation quests for peace and progress. Lest the scriptures, like the law of karma be fulfilled: ‘Those who live by the sword shall die by the sword.’ God forbid! Nigerians should also forbid this ugly conclusion. Let’s uproot ignorance and plant tolerance in all spheres of our human endeavours. Only then can Malala’s message make any sense out of all these our nonsense! Long live Nigeria.
The Writer, Alaba Yusuf, is a public affairs commentator, strategist, publicist and international journalist based in Abuja