NIGERIA: THE ENTRENCHMENT OF FEAR AND DIMINISHING CONSCIENCES By Hashim Suleiman

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The interior of the recently attached Abuja-Kaduna train

Dorathy Thomson once said “The most destructive element in the human mind is fear. Fear creates aggressiveness” and I cannot agree less to this because it’s so obvious that fear is gradually taking over our society to the extent that we’ve basically become very aggressive to one another including the few ones who have still got some element of courage and conscience left in them. Everyone has become more scared of losing their economic advantage as against developing any sort of dignity. Shouldn’t this be enough reason why some of us will be genuinely afraid of the future.

I read in some tabloid lately where a few clerics and statesmen were listed as those remaining with guts to tell truth to power. First, I was moved by their little numbers and secondly moved by why such a character has become something to cheer in a country of 200 million individuals. An inestimable number of individuals have successfully instilled fear in a society of this large number to the extent that everyone wants to stay indoors or pay heavy flight fares to travel for important issues or sometimes leisure as we are well known for.

What’s going on now is that fear has been appropriately cascaded to every cadre of our society. The elite has successfully intimidated the lot of the middle class into always attempting to speaking only on those things that sound politically correct, apologies to young men like Deji Adejanju, Alwan Hassan, Ayo Oyalowo and a few others whom I have followed closely and admired their guts of speaking truth to power regardless of their human imperfections. I have had to argue fiercely recently with one of my friends over the sacking of the Apo Mosque Chief Imam, Shikh Khalid when he attempted to paint the matter to resemble something like APC Vs PDP kind of a thing. He attempted to insinuate that the Chief Imam was a PDP supporter and what not but I wondered how that related to the words the imam said which I heard over and over again and found nothing other than courage to speak truth to power, whether as a reminder or whatever any leader or influencer might make of it.

I had once written an article to defend Prof Isa Pantami when these same kind of conquered citizenry went bullying him to speak to the issues at hand by playing back his sermons of years before where he had shared his opinions at the time over the happenings. I insisted in that article that he had a right to hold political opinions and rightly so, you can have a read of that here: https://dailytrust.com/pantami-and-his-citizen-right-to-political-opinion. I wondered why those bully’s could not themselves utilize those mischievous voices of theirs into spitting their fair share of speaking up to the happenings in the country which they considered inappropriate. They always want people to only say what they considered correct while they hide behind their fingers in fear of speaking to lose favors and economic advantage.

I couldn’t have made a case for Prof Pantami and not make same for Sheikh Khalid, that will amount to hypocrisy and sycophancy from me, characters which I abhor with all I’ve got in me. I also felt it appropriate to echo these matters perhaps some could read and tell others to imbibe the virtue of bravery because you can believe that posterity remains on the side of those who stand by truths especially for the sake of the wellbeing of others. The society stands to suffer a lot when the middle class whom are largely the opinion molders have been conquered by fear.

When you go down the echelon, the downtrodden have also been conquered by their own version of fear and this time it’s insecurity. The communities practically live and share space with these criminals but you and I may not know because they will never say. The thinking will be that even if they will not say or report, what stops them from organizing and forming a common front to face the enemies but they won’t because the entire frame of the society have been successfully conquered by fear and I personally have wondered how such will ever be reversed considering how deep these fears have eaten in.

It is not the depth of how much fear has eaten into our society that worries me the most, it is the depth of how much men and women of conscience have diminished from the society. Every individual is been oriented to only work to protect their economic advantages even at the detriment of their dignity and morality. Sycophancy has become the order of the day, the downtrodden have become perpetually scared of their opposite contemporaries and all these will make some of us wonder what the future stands for a supposedly brave nation like Nigeria.

Ramadan Mubarak and Happy Easter in advance.

Hashim Suleiman
oneheartnaija@yahoo.com

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