Standing With France; A Nigerian Hypocrite

So this is what I did…


I saw it on Facebook when a friend of mine did it and I was offered the option of doing same. I didn’t hesitate.

And it seems I did the wrong thing.

I heard nothing of the Paris disaster till this morning when someone raised the prayer during a small service at the Chapel. It was the most touching prayer point raised, at least for me. It left me sad, and of course I had to come back to read about what happened in Paris.

I cannot get over it, really, knowing fully well now that over 128 people have died. Some 80 teens and young adults were shot dead during a rock concert by the Eagles of Death Metal at the Bataclan. That group’s name is weird though.

Explosions near the Stade De France reportedly had people flung in the air, a few metres from where France hosted Germany in an international friendly game.

Here’s a short excerpt from Al Jazeera:

The assailants launched at least six gun-and-bomb attacks in rapid succession on apparently indiscriminate civilian targets.

Three suicide bombs targeted spots around the national Stade de France stadium, north of the capital, where Hollande was watching an exhibition football match between France and Germany.

Fans inside the stadium recoiled at the sound of explosions, but the match continued amid rising spectator fears.

Around the same time, attackers targeted a string of cafes in a trendy Paris neighbourhood, which were crowded on an unusually balmy November night.

At least 37 people were killed there, according to Francois Molins, a prosecutor.

I cannot imagine the gory sights and the sorrow many families are in right now. I honestly feel for the nation of France. These attacks have been described as unprecedented since the end of World War II.  Francois Hollande has declared a state of emergency and France’s borders have been closed.

I realised all of a sudden that sections of Nigerians were quite annoyed that other Nigerians chose to commiserate with France. They have branded us hypocrites and people with double standards bla bla bla

Here’s someone’s comment:

You don’t have to say more jare my brother. Hypocrisy and double standard is the currency of capitalism and sense of subservience is the syndrome of neo-colonial Africa.

Another person’s comment:

Its really stupid…no country sympathizes or stands in solidarity with Nigeria…we don’t even feel for each other… Next thing u see is “pray for France”…. Has France lost a quarter of lives lost in Nigeria?

I can go on and on really. If you are a Nigerian, all you need to do is check your Facebook or Twitter timeline and see the wonder of God in this nation.

Heartless. Selfish. Deep-seated prejudice. Malice. Racism. Many more.

I saw and heard all of that today. And this is my conclusion:

In as much as your neighbour didn’t sympathise with you, or you feel that your neighbour didn’t sympathise with you the way you expected, you have the right not to sympathise with that neighbour.

I think that is exactly what many Nigerians feel like right now. I will buttress with this comment:

So there was an attack in France. Quite sad. Facebook desires that we support them by changing our profile picture to reflect an admixture of their flag…I thought for a moment and paused…Nigeria has been daily or weekly dealt with by boko haram. I pondered for a while to determine the difference… One is a developed country, the other the giant of Africa. That’s all I needed to know. To your tent o naija man.

To your tent o Naija man.

Quite the Nigerian story and believe me we do it on smaller scales within the country, seeing ours is a nation of many nations. Talk about the protests by Nigerian Igbos in the East seeking a sovereign state. They don’t want to be a part of this nation anymore because they feel aggrieved by many things. To your tent o Igbo man. My roommate is Igbo by the way and he claims that is the voice of illiteracy. I tend to agree.

Down south, people barely relate with the Boko Haram issue, largely because it is concentrated in the North. You may hear comments suggesting that Hausa people and Northerners generally should keep killing themselves up north. In so far as bombs don’t go off in the South, many Southerners are unconcerned about the plight of the people in the thick of the Boko Haram problem. South has seemingly gone to bed in the tent.

Our government is inept. Handling the Boko Haram issue has brought a deluge of claims and counter-claims. Politicians have traded accusations over who the sponsors of the group are. The charade is now so embarrassing that it can only bring laughter so as to avoid a fit of madness. Government is snoring in bed in the tent.

Soon, individuals will go to their tents and sleep deeply while their neighbour is looted and violated. They will peep, but they will do nothing, because neighbour did nothing last week when bad things happened.

Neighbour supposedly did nothing.

Individual tents everywhere…

As at 2013, Nigeria ranked fourth in the list of countries with the highest number of terrorism-related casualties. In the face of that statistic, government officials kept on looting the treasury and enriching themselves.

Today, DHQ will say they know the sponsors. Tomorrow nothing happens; the DHQ talks about a different matter entirely. How far?

Even to me, as passionate as I am about the Nigerian cause (and I an a believer in the nation of Nigeria), it begins to appear funny. It makes me believe that the people we have entrusted with the security of life and property in the nation have gone to their tents, and we are left exposed.

The international community cannot just jump into our situation with the many intrigues and games surrounding our politics and evident in our internal relations. Do we really want to get things done and done right?

I don’t think so.

Our media does not really provide us necessary information on the Boko Haram violence. In fact, in light of recent matters, Boko Haram really becomes an issue, so to speak, only when a bomb goes off again. 

So how really are we prepared as a nation to deal with our issues? When will our issues affect us so much that we recall our representatives who aren’t doing anything to further the cause of justice? When will unity become our strength?

And how can we conclude that the West does not sympathise with us. Often tines, they are even more informed about our issues than we are. Let us not pretend like we care more about Nigeria because someone chooses to commiserate with France. We are on a regular so engrossed in our own lives and how to make ends meet that we do not even think of the next person, let alone Borno. There are people in Nigeria whose N5 can’t even go into charity for their “brothers”. They will raise all hell and set up a commission of enquiry into why one person should get help. Such selfishness, embedded in us.

I cannot count how many times I’ve received comments here about the struggles we face as a nation. From Europeans and Americans and the like. I remember commenting once on a post regarding Boko Haram and the number of responses from people was overwhelming. The post was written by an American and I was the only Nigerian who commented on it.

You should even read the sort of comments we as Nigerians write on our issues. Very “patriotic”. Very “prayerful”.

I don’t know why I’m surprised. This appearance of solidarity with Nigeria is a fallacy. We don’t even love each other so how can we love others? If you really love Nigeria so much, you should have gone ahead to establish precedence in caring for your people and fighting the cause of justice. That would (still not) give you the right to open your mouth in times like this. Otherwise, lips should remain sealed.

And let there be an introspection campaign so you can treat the unnecessary guile in your hearts.

The simple #PrayForParis trend has brought some criticism from many Nigerians who believe other well-meaning Nigerians ought not to pray for France. I mean…

Come on! How can it be that if a tragedy occurs to another, the first person I pray for is myself? And they justify that by saying things like removing the plank in our own eye before removing the speck in another’s eyes. What does that even mean? Isn’t that a rather shoddy application if the Word of God?

When did we become this selfish? And yes, so we can’t pray for others because we have issues?

What makes people think we don’t pray for Nigeria? I may not be praying for Nigeria but look at the gatherings periodically, of Christians and Muslims. Every first Friday, people in large numbers are at the RCCG Congress. From there, it’s MFM’s Power Must Change Hands. There’s GOFAMINT camp and Deeper Life can and many many many many many other churches.

Are we saying that in all of those gatherings, not a single prayer is offered for Nigeria? Do we know the untold millions who get on their knees in the corners of their room to pray for Nigeria?

I think that I fit out in this Nigeria. I think that these people bringing up these criticism do not even really have anything to offer this country.

They aren’t compassionate, because selective compassion is no compassion at all. I believe they don’t even pray for Nigeria like they suggest others should do.

Yes. Because I’m a Christian. And prayer is relationship with Christ. And no one in a relationship with Christ will consider it an aberration to pray for others in the midst of individual struggles.

Not a one.

That seems to happen only in Nigeria.



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