BY NASIRU JAGABA
“WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE,” is a question that every true patriot, activist and crusader in the struggle for emancipation must rhetorically ask at a point, when hope seems to be failing.
When you realize that you have been caged like a bird behind the bars; when pain and grief are your constant companions; when almost all effort seems to be like a waste of time; when tears and sorrow have embraced your soul. “WHERE DO I GO FROM HERE?” this question is for you, it is a question that is borne out of the need to really reflect inwards. This is also a question being asked by lovers of our geographical God-given space, who determine to break off the chains of slavery. It is a question that calls for a rethink and re- strategizing. It is a question that calls for psychological and attitudinal reform.
Along their journey from Egypt to Canaan, the Israelites at a point were frustrated, dejected and lost in the wilderness around the region of Mount Seir for a long time without headway. They asked the same question, Oh God ‘’where do we go from here’’. God answered ‘’you have been wandering around in this hill country long enough; turn to the North.’’ And His answer gave them the direction that led them to Canaan (the promise land). Similarly, Daniel asked the question when he realized that Jerusalem’s 70-years desolation was about to end.
This question suits the predicament of the ethnic minorities in the North (middle Belt) who had wandered for so long in the thick dark wilderness of both foreign and local colonial masters.
On the cool day of 1st October 1960, we gleefully sang the songs of freedom with beams of hope that God has ended the long dark age of foreign domination. This was short-lived when we came to realize we had actually been handed over to new colonial masters. We came to realize that it was a baton transfer of colonialism from a foreign to a local colonialist. The colonial masters handed over Nigeria to the Sultanates with ethnic aborigines and their fertile lands as the commodity being exchanged. Nevertheless, the ethnic aborigines have survived this long because of the Gospel of Christ.
It has been an acrimonious experience for the ethnic aborigines in the Northern Nigeria (Middle Belt) whipped by both the colonial policy of ‘’indirect rule’’ and the Caliphate strategy of ‘’assimilation by deception”. To some extent, the indirect rule was lighter because it slightly preserved our culture, heritage, symbols and traditional institutions, but the caliphate strategy of ‘’assimilation by deception’’ whose main target is not only to destroy our culture, faith, symbols and traditional institutions; but to change their narratives, perspectives and thought. The core aim is the total conversion of the independent minority tribes into Hausa/Fulani culture.
There is no community in the middle belt that has not paid their dues so dearly; they watch their communities turn into carnivals of terror, leaving their homes full of orphans and widows. Parents watch their children growing up with clouds of inferiority covering their vision. While children watch their mothers and fathers psychologically enslaved through systemic marginalization, exploitation, manipulation, and deceit. They listen to statesmen and government officeholders talk against their faith and distinctiveness; while arguing in the same breath that they are not obsessives. They defile our communities and our offices with all manners of evil spell, they bury live animals in our land to disunite us, they invoke legions of demons upon those among us who occupy strategic positions so that they can control and use them as cannon fodders. They invoke the spirit of fear to destabilize our spirit and will. Day and night, we are never free from spiritual attacks.
All hope not lost, to us, the wilderness is a factory that prepares the believer into a weapon of immense power. In the wilderness, we found moral and spiritual liberty. In the wilderness, we found the inextinguishable light, a stanchless flame, an incomparable power. Why we are perishing daily is because we do not fully understand the knowledge of the glory and power of God; we are blind to see the power that is resting in our mortal hands, yet our hope is still alive because of that unquenchable Holy flame we encountered in the wilderness.
This present generation have no reason to fail because no darkness can stand the Holy light they saw in the wilderness. So, we have the choice either to be our own saviour by total surrender to the Holy light to trample darkness and give us direction or to be our own oppressor by snubbing the Holy light as a source of our illumination.
The generations of our ancestors heroically fought their battles in the wilderness and preserved what we call heritage; they fought wild animals, wild spirits, and wild kingdoms and were not defeated. They ran their race valiantly and they did not let the baton fall from their hands. They made sure they handed it over to the succeeding generation. Our ancestors relied on the powers of their local deities and they were so faithful in servicing the loyalty they enjoyed. Today, we come to a dreadful and a lazy generation, a generation that relies on gods rather than God, an unloving and unforgiving generation that worship the gods of pleasure and money, a generation that love only themselves, a generation that trust on transitory gods that cannot save or bring happiness to human heart.
Out of the disappearing residues of this corrupt generation I see a breaking of a brand new day, I see the raising of a new generation frizzling with Heavenly powers, an irresistible generation that no amount of evil spell can destroy their spirit and will for emancipation, a generation that will not rest until the glory of God take over the Earth, a generation dressed fully in the armour of God, that no weapon from the enemy’s camp can reach, a generation that will draw the attention of God’s mercy and loving kindness, a generation that will tell them to their face that even if our God will not save us we will not bow to your gods, a generation that will not be distracted with crumbs, a generation that will not be intimidated by prison cells or uniforms of brutality.
A generation breathed by the Holy Ghost, no mountain can block their way, every mountain will be brought down, every valley will be elevated, every stronghold will be broken, and seas will be separated into two water walls to make a way for us.