…While Rome Burned (Rhetorics)

There is a saying that accompanies a story I read as a kid. “While Rome burned, Nero fiddled“. Is that the best way to describe Nigeria and her leaders?

From Boko Haram militants choosing where and when to attack without a bother about Governmental response, to armed herdsmen choosing the choicest farmland for their grazing needs knowing there will be no retributory nor punitive action, to armed bandits ceding a portion of the Kaduna Abuja highway to themselves, knowing the government of the day is not interested in as little as a show of force. Where does this end?

In recent times, Nigerians have been victims of xenophobic attacks in South Africa. This time around, it has gotten to an unprecedented level. For the umpteenth time, the leadership of Nigeria choose an “unlooking” attitude, while South Africa’s leaders saw no need to call their citizens to order. But then why should they?

As despicable as the xenophobic attacks are, Nigeria happens to have a ruling class that is currently headed by the wrongest person for this situation. He might be the best for something else, but on this, he isn’t. Have we forgotten his past records?

Nigerians have always been welcoming to strangers and visitors alike, but have we forgotten “Ghana must go”?
It was a sentiment that Nigerians have never had. It is one that has never risen again. But a Head of State who believed that was the way to economically revitalize his nation, do you think he’ll be in a hurry to defend his citizens when they are attacked away from home?

All the progress that South Africa has made in the last decades, have they comfortably forgotten the role Nigeria and Nigerians played to put them on the path to progress?
A man who contributed out of his pocket money as a university student, to support anti-apartheid activities in South Africa, thirty years later, do you think he will be happy to receive the corpse of his son who has been murdered by hateful people in South Africa?

As much as Nigerians complain about the refusal of the government to encourage the teaching of history in our educational institutions, is this not looking like a common problem across the continent?
Meanwhile, leaders and citizens of other countries who are choosing to sit out this “war” or pointing out that Nigerians are getting what they deserve because they are too loud and proud, do you all realize that it can be your turn tomorrow?

And as for leaders elsewhere claiming “this will never happen in my country”, are you empowering your citizens to be educationally and financially sound, ensuring they will never be insecure when a foreigner sees an opportunity in your country and starts to get prosperous?

For Nigerians who have chosen to attack South African owned businesses here in Nigeria, do you know that your actions do more harm than good to our nation?
Do you know that you are creating a negative perception of Nigeria in the international business community that will discourage foreign direct investment in the country?

Do you know that your moment of anger, quest for vengeance and momentary profit will cost some fellow Nigerians their livelihood?
Do you know that a collective boycott and pressuring our lawmakers to take a punitive action on South Africa and South African owned businesses would have a stronger effect?

And if you do not live in your father’s or mother’s village, but support the attack of foreigners, do you know that when they are done with non-citizens, they might turn on non-indigenes before sanity is restored?
As for the Nigerians who are in a hurry to bring up how lots of Nigerians in South Africa or abroad are criminals, or asking what did they do first, are you even human?
Do you know the value of a human life?
Do you grasp the concept of rule of law?

And those justifying the attacks by saying there are other forms of violence in Nigeria against Nigerians, does internal aggression calls for external aggression?
Should every country begin to persecute Nigerians because Nigeria is unable to protect its inhabitants?
What happened to respecting the rights of others? Or treating your visitors with respect?

As for those that govern Nigeria and South Africa, like Nero infamously did, are they opting to play the fiddle while “Rome” is reduced to ashes?
Finally, can anyone remind me again what is the meaning of that word “Ubuntu“?

Wilson Joshua is a Video Editor, Content Creator and Creative Writer.
Follow him on Twitter and Instagram. @IJoswil