Dear Nigerian soldier, it is time to rethink all you were told, all you are called and in fact, all you do. Just like clay in the hands of the potter so is a Nigerian soldier in the hands of wicked politicians and men who control the system. On the 18th of November, over hundred Nigerian soldiers were killed by Boko Haram in a battle of misfits and up till this moment nothing has been said of the men who regularly pay the price of a corruption-laden compromised war. We know the whole point of the deafening silence by the President and his government is to stay true with the false narrative sold to local and international media that Boko Haram has been defeated. The propaganda and politics of the illusion sold must be upheld at the detriment of the lives of some hungry, angry, poorly trained, poorly motivated and poorly equipped soldiers.
A group have spoken of a ploy by Boko Haram to embarrass the President by the recent attack and you wonder if the lies and false integrity of the President is greater than the lives lost defending the country. Over hundred Nigerian Soldiers were killed by Boko Haram and some group think the reason for the attack was to embarrass the President of the country. If there is anything this present government exposed, it is that the so-called intellectuals and activists who pretended to be defenders of human rights in the past are just hungry cash-tivists whose sense of morality is dependent on their position in the system and the structure of their bank accounts. Is poverty this powerful? Many people adored men like Festus Kenyamo but now they know better. Will I also become a Zombie for an ailing government if it pays me well too?
How much money can change a man? What is the price of a conscience? The Nigerian soldier is killed and the government that employed him pretends it didn’t happen but rather than outrage or responsibility some Coalition see the embarrassment of an embarrassing President as the terrorists main objective. A Nigerian Soldier, like every other soldier out there, is called a hero, but how exactly is he one? How is a man who is underpaid, feared and disdained by the majority of the population for clannishness, a man who fights for a government that neither values his life nor pays a last respect to his corpse, a hero? How is a Nigerian Soldier fighting Boko Haram but hated on all angles by the Nigerians he has bullied and the ones he sacrificed his life for a hero? Calling a Nigerian Soldier a hero is the sort of incentive you offer an overzealous mechanical man to do your hard work for you.
The Nigerian mortuary attendant performs a lot of rituals for his psychological and physical well-being because of the cadavers he deals with on a daily basis but the Nigerian soldier who sees more graphic deaths than mortuary attendants has neither counselling to help his psychological wellbeing nor even enough food to feed his hungry stomach. The soldiers at the war front in Sambisa forest and in other areas of the North Eastern Nigeria are poorly fed but the generals leading from the back are robust, overfed with protruded stomachs that reveal disciplinary and health problems. It is said that the Generals in those fine quarters do most of the intellectual work but when you check and see that this war is about a decade you are forced to question the tactics of these military tacticians.
Who is fooling who and who is the war enriching financially? Who is benefitting from the deaths of soldiers and who leaks information to the sect? Who is in charge of food for troops and why are they poorly fed and underpaid? Why is no one fired, sacked or arrested for sabotaging the war against Boko Haram? These are questions a serious country should be providing answers to. The Nigerian soldier, like most soldiers all over the world, is plague with Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder that causes disorientation and destroys the psyche and body of the soldier, but in contrast to most, he is poorly equipped and trained to face terrorists or protect himself from harm or the deadly conditions that follow battle. Their homes in the barracks advertise trash and poorly built but in the same barrack, if you look closely, you will see that the homes of the high rank officers are in living conditions. The recruits have spoilt and overflowing toilets, their roofs are about taking flight, their doors are worn out and old fashioned, their floors are broken and breaking, their water is messed up where it exists, their discipline is irrational, their language is fear, their environment inhabitable for humans and some of us wonder why their children are often wayward.
Despite these you see Nigerians enlisting in the army. You still see young Nigerians whose goal in life is to serve in the military and so many reasons come to mind. One. Poverty. The increasing rate of poverty in the land has made any job a good job and the army offer you one. But these people fail to see the illusion driving their motivation. A scenario plays out. Poverty drives a poor youth to enlist in the army but the Army is the eternal home to poor people so instead of becoming rich or escaping poverty’s fangs, he is eternally under the control of poverty. Next thing is that he starts pilfering and harassing motorists and innocent Nigerians on the streets with his uniform and if he gets a shot at the top he will do exactly what the generals are currently doing to him.
Two. Power. Because of the poor education we received and receive in this country, some people have come to identify disobedience and barbarism with greatness. In Nigerian comedy, the comedians often speak of the Nigerian soldier whose slap resets the brain and how any interaction with them changes your perspective on what greatness really is about. Once it was reported that a female Nigerian soldier asked a young man who appreciated her beauty to do the frog jump and the young man did because of the gun she carried and the uniform she wore. Most people want this kind of power and Nigerian army and system have made this possible. This behavior can be well observed in Lagos, Nigeria, were the barbaric are the superior people. Jumping out of a moving bus is great. Tearing shirts and hairs to board a bus is legendary. Lying and cheating and betraying people’s trust just to make ends meets is wisdom. They bully Nigerians because they have guns and a uniform and where the people retaliate they give them the Odi treatment. They harrass civilians just for the fun of it. These set of soldiers get their own inspiration from uncivilised behaviors.
Third. The patriots who are hardly visible. These ones are often inspired by either the loss of a loved one or the desire to fight evil. They fail to see that their idea of evil is not the same with the idea of evil as seen by the generals and administrators of the country. Dear Nigerian Soldier, get this! The world is a messed up place and what you are told you are doing is different from what you are actually doing. This is for all soldiers. This world have owners and the same thing is replicated in every country. Every country has owners and their progress, direction and state is often controlled by these same owners. Do you really think the companies that make guns and other weapons will sit back and watch wars end?
All of these owners want money because with it, being in charge and controlling people becomes easy. They simply need to create enough poverty and problems and give stipends to those willing to acquire more money for them—soldiers. They tell them they are fighting to destroy terror but truth is, without their engagements, terror wouldn’t be in existence. They tell the soldiers that they are making sacrifices for their country but that too is a lie and the sacrifice is for those men interested in the war. The same men who send human beings to fight human beings and kill innocent people and call them collateral damages speak of loving humanity. Barrack Obama even won a Noble Prize for peace and I wonder whether Alfred Nobel will agree. Most times, the stronger country, like America, call the other side and weaker country evil, but the truth is, both are often evil, though the accusers are often the greater evil.
Both countries are manned by money loving evil leaders who call their wish and desires the wills and aspirations of the people and a dick measuring contest is established. One tells his countrymen the battle is to liberate them from terrorists and the other tells his countrymen the battle is to liberate them from terrorists. Truth is, both leaders are terrorists terrorising physical and emotional innocent countrymen who erroneously wielded them too much power. The soldiers are just the pawns in the game and they feed them with several bullshit to massage their ego. They call them Heroes and use words like Honor, Patriots, Greatness in describing how they helped personal interest on national attire.
What is heroic in killing innocent people who did nothing to you? What is patriotic in fighting senseless wars for senseless leaders? What is great in being a zombie and a robot and just a clay in the hands of potter? The Boko Haram war, like most wars in the world, would have ended if those in charge want it to end. The flow of money makes it difficult for any war to end. So, while a Nigerian soldier with a two year old and a pregnant wife back home dies in a war, his wife doesn’t get to hear of it, the local media do not want to embarrass the president by reporting it, his corpse is not shown any respect (does that even matter?), the President is quiet because any admittance will expose his hypocrisy on all fonts, a group calls it an attempt to embarrass the President while some say it is a honour to die for Nigeria.