“Nigeria Is sick—but it’s fantastically stupid to suggest burning it down and start afresh,” A. S. Gashinbaki writes. “Insofar as violence have any effect at all, its effect is clearly to breeds more chaos.”
By AS Gashinbaki
The pages of common man’s history in Nigeria are littered with hope and despair, frequently alternating in rapid succession. These tales are unique not because of their frightening frequencies, but most often than not their hope and despair usually stems from same source: Their leaders.
Nigeria is sick—but it’s fantastically stupid to suggest burning it down and start afresh. Those who truly understood the depth and dire of Nigeria’s problems ditched it cause squarely on poor leadership. While those who are still scavenging its surface continue to recklessly blame everything and everyone from, declining oil revenues to ethnic bigotry and religious fanatics. But perhaps, their outrageous diagnosis isn’t as destructive as their prescription: Violence.
For them, the dysfunction of Nigeria can only be cure through razing, arson and lynching. But history has demonstrated again and again that insofar as violence have any effect at all, its effect is clearly to breeds more chaos.
For instance, on January 15, 1966 young military officers, who naively thought the socio-political problems of Nigeria could be solved by firing few bullets, led a bloody coup across the country. That singular ill-advised event laid the foundation for the subsequent chaos which would ultimately result to civil war, costing millions of lives. Sadly, 50 years after, that flawed ideology is still consuming lives and billions in property damages. The latest being the recent hijacked of the #EndSARS protests In October by elements of IPOB (a pro-Biafra group) in some Southern cities, which led to lootings and lynching.
While the year 1966 was the beginning of a 3 years nightmare in Nigeria, it is, however, the dawn of a more horrific decade in the communist China.
Sensing that his grip on his party is rapidly diminishing, the chairman of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and former president of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Mao Zedong, began accusing his critics in the party and government of being sympathetic to capitalism and urged the nation’s youth to purge them out violently.
His call-to-armed against the established authorities was received eagerly by the reservoir of disgruntled youth who then sprung to action, unleashing mayhem everywhere they went. China quickly descended into anarchy, millions of lives lost, historic artifacts and properties worth billions damaged, no one—not even moa himself—knows how to restored order to the country. The crisis was to linger on till Chairman Moa’s death in 1976.
One would have supposed that such successful bloody and lengthy campaigned of violence would ushered in a period of great prosperity to the Chinese people; but alas, the opposite would prove to be the case. The Communist Party would have to undo Mao’s policies of the Cultural Revolution before China would begin to prosper once again.
Looking back five years later after the revolution in 1981, the Communist Party itself proclaimed the cultural revolution as, “the most severe setback and the heaviest losses suffered by the party, the country, and the people since the founding of the people’s republic (in 1949).”
The Chinese case study isn’t the first time violence would result in far-reaching negative consequences which left the people worst off.
In 44 B.C. in an effort to prevent the Roman Republic from descending into monarchy, a group of 60 Roman Senators conspired to get rid of Consul Julius Caesar whom they accused of trying to declare himself king. So, on 15 March, of the same year while Senate was in session they brought out their concealed weapons and brutally stabbed Caesar 23 times to death.
Instead of restoring the republic as they hoped, their callous acts, would led to tussle for power which plunged Rome into the horrible pit of civil wars. When it finally emerged from the debris of civil strife in 31 B.C. it did so not as a republic but empire, with Julius Caesar’s grand-nephew and adopted son, Augustus, as the first emperor, reigning till his death forty years later.
The irony is, the conspirators violently bided to prevent a dictating king, but ended up with a despotic emperor, instead.
From Napoleon’s France to Saleh’s Yemen, back-tract to Hitler’s Germany, forward to Al-Assad’s Syria; all offers you a glimpse of the cataclysmic chaos that can befall any society that sees violence as a viable solution to its problems.
Violence isn’t a cure but a curse. It is never meant to mend bridges but to burn them. It should be employed only as a means of last resort, even so, not to unleash, but to refrain.