Personally and generally, age 18 is one of the significant years in the trajectory of human’s intellectual, emotional and physical development.
It is a person’s first year as an adult. I call it the year of initiation into adulthood.
My 18th birthday was very significant to me. It was the year I finished secondary school and made the first move in the pursuit of happiness and destiny. I sought to relocate myself out of the land of my youth, Ondo to Lagos and the rest today is history.
I make bold to say that 18 was the super prime of youth. Mental and physical energy was at it peak. My sense of personal and social responsibility was being sharpened, though I did not fully understand what it was all about. That was the year my name appeared in print for the first time, my first article: ‘Soldiers Molest Us,’ was published on June 10, 1988 in The Punch Newspaper.
At 18 all of my life was laid before me, having passed my WAEC at one sitting in Saint Joseph’s College, Ondo and was determined to pursue a degree in Law or English Language.
It would have been a monumental and irreparable loss of a life full of dreams and mental and physical energy to fulfil it, if my life was snuffed out at that super prime of my life while trying to pursue an education and as law abiding young citizen. It would have been a huge loss to my family, who had invested massively in my development and the society at large, who would have benefited immensely from the fulfilment of my dreams.
That was exactly what happened to Micheal NDANI, a twin,18, a student of Good Shepherd Major Seminary, kidnapped on January 9, 2020, when gunmen invaded the school located at Kaukau in the Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
He was shot dead on January 31, 2020, after his abductors had received the demanded ransom, paid by his school. He was one of the four kidnapped. It was reported that while the remaining 3 was released, the abductors, who were members of Boko Haram, claimining that they wanted to send a message killed him.
It was reported that after the demanded ransom had been paid, the kidnapped boys were released to run into the bush and while they were running for their lives, the abductors shot sporadically at them and Micheal NDANI was shot in the neck.
Michael and his siblings were orphans raised by their grandmother, who is now aged and it was reported that she was the worst hit by his brutal murder and expectedly so.
Like many other precious and innocent children and young people, whose lives have been snuffed out for no other crime than growing up in a nation where the WELFARE and SECURITY of the people has never been the primary aim of government, as enshrined in the principles of Social Contract from time immemorial and same is adumbrated in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The sad thing is that Micheal NDANI’s killers may never be brought to book. The sadder thing is that the other young people, particularly in the Northern part of Nigeria are not immune from similar attacks on their homes and schools. The saddest thing is that we now live in a nation, which sheds the blood of her future as an odious libation on the altar of the complancecy and collision of the state and it’s government.
The foregoing are more extremely disturbing noting that one of the strongest campaign promises of the present regime is the security of life and property and vanguishing of terrorist groups. The five-year old bad news now is that terrorist activities seems to have increased and hit the roof under this regime, performing worse than the administration it supplanted in 2015.
Let me quickly warn that the state of the nation today and it’s security is a threat to all. Thus I conclude that WE ALL MICHAEL NDANI. It is the poor Micheal NDANI and his blood and faith family today, it may be the turn of the upper crust before the end of today. In fact it may be my turn.
Please before you pray ‘God forbid,’ please note that it is what we forbid on earth that will be forbidden in heaven. We have no right or locus standi to beseech God to forbid on earth what we have allowed through the cold cowardice not even starting a conversation and speaking truth to power.
Let me conclude by a short analysis which comes from my observation of international politics. It is my well considered observation that the nations in which terrorism have become an unconquerable security malaise and menace are either war-torn or failed states.
It is the practice of terrorist groups to capitalise on the instability of a war-torn or failed state, (governance has been relegated to the back burner of national life) and build their bases there. Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, Libya, Iraq are immediate examples. In unique instances like Somalia, they architect and execute the failure of the state. It is important to know that terrorist groups do not operate in the entirety of the state, though the entire nation has failed, they operate and hold firm sway more in a particular area or region of the country for different reasons, which is not the subject matter of this piece.
Where exactly are we in Nigeria, war-torn or failed? Today, we seem to bear disturbing similarities with the nations listed above, where like terrorist activities have become a permanent emblem state identity and insecurity and fear has become the national anthem?
I guess the point Reverend Father Matthew Kukah was making in his homily at the funeral service of Michael NDANI was by that by the information and analysis available on the table, WE ARE ALL MICHAEL NDANI and it is matter of time before we discover this scarily daunting reality.
Please before you call for the head of the Reverend gentleman, empathize. See what he sees daily and feel what he feels in the innermost part of his being as a human being and a leader of a faith, whose members are under constant threats of their lives and property being exposed to avoidable terrorist attacks.
Do have an INSPIRED week.
I am Taiwo AKINLAMI and I remain Sober on My Knees this LORD’s day as I do SOCIAL PROTECTION ADVOCACY now and forevermore.