Tuesday, 21 August 2012

When will it end?

By Michael Orodare

It was the morning after the Bayero University Kano, BUK carnage and I was with my boss' driver in my boss' living room, as he flips through the pages of the national dailies, all he could see were bombings, killings and the likes, he told me humorously: 'Michael your people are at it again' I asked who? He said the BH of course.

We went back memory lane, discussing the Boko Haram insurgencies; Madalla Christmas day bombing and not excluding Enenche Akogwu, Channels Television reporter, who was killed in Kano in an attack which left about 200 people dead; and the Thisday Newspaper Abuja office bombing. He asked a question I couldn't give an answer to, he asked in Yoruba (Igba wo ni kiniyi ma pari na?) 'when will this thing even end?' a few seconds after he asked the question, I became moody and sombre, I was dumbfounded and couldn't get an answer from my bank of eloquence, humorously but with hidden sadness, I replied him: 'it will end when they've arrived at the number of people they want dead.'

After giving the wrong answer to a good question, I began to ponder on the question within myself, I was so perturbed by the question, I started asking myself the same question the man had asked me, 'when will all the bombings in this country end? When will the killings stop? Who will stop it? Why are they doing it? What do they really want?After about 30minutes of pondering on the question, I could not get a credible answer to the question. I have never felt embittered about BH previous attacks like the way I felt about the media attacks and the BUK attacks, the attacks were becoming too many.

Barely 24hrs after the BUK attack, when the nation was yet to recover from the tragedy, Jalingo started trending on Twitter, another explosion had just occurred again in Taraba state, and I asked myself again, when will it end?

They have failed to give the right authority an option of dialog, even when those at the helm of affairs were ready for a dialog, they failed to offer themselves for a dialog. We don't even know who they are and what they really want.

Should we beg Boko Haram? just like the question posed by the Online Editor of The Nation, Lekan Otufodunrin in his column in The Nation, Sunday 29th April, 2012. Even if the solution to the menace is to beg them, who do we beg, can we beg the invincible, who will beg them? Can we beg spirit-beings who have failed to reveal their identity and tell us what they really want?

For how long will the killings persist, why are they fighting the government with the lives of innocent citizens, a Yoruba adage says 'taba nba nija, sebi ti kaku wani? (Even if we are at war with someone, we don't wish them dead).

If they are being used for political gains, those using them for selfish political gains should please sheath their sword and offer themselves for dialog with the right authority.When will it end? When will the media stop having tragedy and catastrophic reports as their lead stories every day? When are we going to stop tweeting 'explosion rocks another city again?’

Demonizing and condemning the Federal Government and its agencies on the social network, and on the pages of newspapers whenever BH strikes will not proffer a solution to this carnage, rather, every right thinking citizen of this country should rise and together let's close end on this carnage, let's stop playing politics with the lives of innocent citizens.Let the carnage stop now so that together we can make this nation great again.

Do we wait until an entire geo-political zone is wiped off, before it is stopped? If it doesn't end now, when will it end?

Sunday, 29 January 2012


By Michael Orodare
When Wiwi as he is fondly called, one of the best footballers in my area then, joined the crowd who fled their homes for the safety of their lives on that ‘black Sunday’, he never knew he would never return home, he was one of those people who died in the swamp at Oke-afa in Isolo on January 27th 2002.
On that particular Sunday, January 27th 2002 (I was in JSS1 then); I had gone to church to worship with other members of my family, excluding my father who went to the office. The day was suppose to be a special Sunday, because it was the last Sunday in the first month of the year, I could not afford to miss service that day, because I was also a chorister in my parish. That day I had a wonderful moment in God’s presence.

But around 6pm on that Sunday, we were about 10 in a neighbour's room (Baba Gabriel) at 31, Adekunle Street, Oshodi, Lagos, we were watching Issakaba part4 (hope u still remember that movie). Suddenly we heard a heavy sound, someone said 'awon ologbo yen tun ti bere kon ma sare kiri lori pan' (those cats have started running on the roof again), because we are used to cats running on the roof, unknown to us it wasn’t the cats making the sound that evening, it was the sound of a bomb. Before that day I’ve never heard the sound of a bomb before except in Rambo, commando and Van Damme’s movie.
Five minutes later we heard other sounds repeatedly, we all ran out of the room to know what was happening, we were so worried about knowing what was going on, as we stood outside the house, we saw flames and fire in the sky at a not too far distance.

About 30minutes later while we were still standing in front of my house, we saw people fled their homes in their hundreds, most of them live very close to the Military Cantonment at Bolade Junction in Oshodi, they yelled at us as they were running “you people are still waiting, you better run for your lives, the cantonment is already burning and very soon it will get here.”
I started shaking with my heart in my mouth, one of my brothers, Metro as he is fondly called said “it must be Cameroun waging war against Nigeria, they said it and they are fulfilling it, it’s because of the bakassi peninsula, that’s why they are waging war against Nigeria, can you see (pointing to the sky) it is bomb they are throwing it, they must have gotten to the airport (which is not too far from our house).’

In less than 30minutes, the streets of Oshodi was filled to brim, people have fled their homes, they are running for their dear lives, my mother quickly fasten my younger sister to her back, Elizabeth who was just about 4years old then. She took me and my elder sister Tope, but the two other bros believe they can take care of their selves, we also flee our house with other neighbours, to safe our lives.
As we moved out, we didn’t have a specific destination, we just headed the same way the crowd were headed, the sound was becoming heavier and unbearable, even able men ran for their dear lives, cars were left on the street with their keys, GSM phone which was just introduced to Nigeria then littered the streets of Oshodi, that day could have been a very good day for someone who has been dreaming to own a car, or a GSM phone to be a pride owner of one of these valuables, but many never thought of this, as everybody were just running for their lives.

Our first stop-over was at a CAC church, where one of our neighbours attend, as we were inside the church, still not comfortable because the sound of the bomb just broke the ceiling of the church when we got there, my mother said lets go, I started crying ‘eje kama lo ema je kaku sibi o, eje ka ma salo’ (lets go, don’t let’s die here, just let’s keep running) my mother admonished me to stop the cry, but later she reasoned with me and we continued the journey to safety.
Still on the street, we started hearing different account from different people, some said the whole of Oshodi from Bolade junction has been consumed by the explosion, they also mentioned my street, it was then I gave up, I said to myself so ‘Ile wa ti lo’ (our house is gone). I was not so concerned about the house but the safety of my family.

We kept running, and the sound was becoming heavier, when we got to a street, I saw some men at the top of a house with a camera capturing the flames and the fire from the explosion in the sky, then I asked myself “why do people like endangering their lives, are they blind, people are running they are carrying camera, instead of them to run for their lives” I never knew I will end up doing the kind of job I was condemning those people of doing that day.

While we were Still on the street, we decided to stop at St. Jude’s Catholic Church at Old Ewu road, Mafoluku, there it was another scene of ‘nite of a thousand laff’, I saw people praying ‘Holy Ghost Fire, fire this fire’, some knelt before the statue of Holy Mary ‘Holy Mary quench this fire’,I almost busted into laughter, but due to the circumstance, I couldn’t laugh.
When we finally got to Ajao Estate along Murtala Mohammed International Airport Road, we decided to stop the journey in front of the Christian Pentecostal Mission Church (CPM), but some people kept moving, unknown to some of them and due to desperation of others to survive, as they continue in their flee for survival, they wanted to cross to a community in Oke-afa in Isolo, the way they head to was the swampy river they drowned in their thousands.

If we had not stopped there, maybe I wouldn’t have been alive to tell the story today.
When the sound of the bomb stopped around 9pm, my mother and other neighbours decided we should go back home, but I refused, I told them I’m not going home due to the reports I heard from people that where area we live has turned into ashes, but they forced me to return home.

On our way home, I saw cooking pots, plates and spoons. Different strokes for different folks, while many are running to save their lives I was wondering that some people still had the time to carry pots, what do they want to do with the pots, spoons and the dishes that littered the street.
I never knew any life was lost that night until the next morning on Monday January 28th 2002, when we saw it on the national television that hundreds of people had died at Oke-Afa swamp.

My neighbour, Ayodele Jeariogbe who came out successfully from the swamp, came home the next afternoon to narrate his story of how he escaped he said “I stepped on people’s head in the swamp to survive, many people have died there, if not for the help of some men who drew us out, I wouldn’t have survived.” Ayodele now holds a B.Sc degree in Accountancy from Olabisi Onabanjo University, many people like him who should be fulfilling destiny by now have died in the swamp at Oke-Afa.
Students in Oshodi boycotted School for about 2weeks until we were assured that there was no danger, before we all returned to our classrooms.
I commiserate with the families of those who lost their lives on that 'Black Sunday' evening. May God continue to give them the fortitude to bear the loss, and may their souls rest in perfect peace.


Thursday, 19 January 2012


Dear God;

Why have thou forsaken us, why have thou neglected our land, why have you ignored our pleas and calls. Our land is turning desolate, God why have you divorced our nation?

Wilt thou leave our soul in hell or suffer your holy nation to continue to see corruption. Day by day our afflictions are multiplied by those you made rulers over us, we stand on your word that we should obey all authority and they also claim to stand on your word which says ‘many are the afflictions of the righteous,’ but dear Creator why have thou fold your arms and watch them afflict us to this level.

As your beloved nation we have wandered in the wilderness for 52years, even the Israelites despite their sins and their atrocities, despite the fact that they abandoned you and long after other gods, they only wandered for 40years in the wilderness before getting to their promise land, dear Creator when shall we get to our promise land.

For this 52years of wandering, our health sector is nothing but a shamble, our hospitals lack the essential amenities, we the masses are made to suffer this woe, because our leaders and their family members are flown to the best hospitals in the world whenever they are ill.

Our education sector is yelling for help, malpractice is the order of the day at examination halls, most of our tertiary institutions no longer admit students base on merit, most of those who merited the admission are made to take the matriculation exam at least five times before they are finally admitted, why some have accepted their fate and have taken solitude in vocational training, some still believe in one-day ego-better, no wonder cultism is soaring in our institutions.

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) are still observing their annual fete, they’ve been observing this for over 47days and this year’s edition of the annual fete promises to be the mother of all fetes ever observed by the body.

Many qualified university and polytechnic graduates are still on the streets unemployed, they’ve taken solitude in menial jobs why some of them are been used as political thugs.

The state of security in our nation is nothing but a fiasco; many children are now orphans, many wives have become sudden widows, while many husbands have been turned widowers and many parents have been rendered childless as a result of the ungodly act of the deadly Islamic sect who called themselves Boko Haram. Lives of youths with promising and brighter future have been wasted in the course of service to their father land.

Dear Creator, for how long will all these persist, your word said can there be evil in a city and the Lord hath not done it, if truly you have brought this evil upon us, we plead for mercy from the pains of fruits eaten by our fathers.

Our economy is in a state of comatose, our currency has continued to depreciate, inflation has taken over the economy, poverty has took over the nation, if the report of the world bank is anything to go by, over 70% of the populace live below $2 (N300) per day.

Creator we have patiently waited for 52years, when will you listen to us and hear our cries. When will your people sing a new song.

Let thy kingdom come quickly, for the kingdom of men has failed us, come and heal our land, our dear Creator.

Yours Sincerely

Citizen Michael Orodare.