By Chris Gyang
Is this our true story? Is this our true identity, what we really represent? How did we get to this juncture, this dark crossroads of political disjuncture where we have become threats to one another, the butt of the laugher of our friends who once held us in very high esteem?
Who tells the tale of this bleeding mountain? Is it the people who dwell in its verdant valleys, see and understand its predicaments that should say it? Absolutely.
But sometimes even these hill dwellers may not perceive its painful and anguished groan, much less the tears it sheds, most of which is imperceptible to the uninitiated, anyway.
We may be too absorbed in our daily pursuits of eking out a living from this shifting jungle, seeking for fame and glory on this shimmering, gaudy, stage that we may easily lose sight of the travails of these rocks.
But the rocks are also weeping. The granite is slowly turning to dust, soon to be blown away by the gusts of political racketeering, avarice, selfishness, distrust. Unlike the mountains that once bound and sheltered not only us but the country as a whole, these hills have now been turned into mere sand, drifting on the winds of political subterfuge and confusion.
Surely, the consequences shall be dire. And who triumphs at the end?
When the time for reckoning comes, we, our own, our descendants and the entire nation will be at the receiving end. And what shall we tell tomorrow’s children? That we were so much caught up in our own personal, petty, battles that we lost sight of the bigger picture that the future held? What kind of people are we, then?
We have since turned politics into a blood sport where red-eyed gladiators ruthlessly eliminate each other for the pleasure of their backers and their (gladiators’) self-preservation.
We claim that we of these lush valleys, we say that we have illustrious founding fathers to whose graves we pay homage daily. But did they ever foresee that we shall someday be so ferociously at each other’s necks?
Could they have had an inkling that this land for which they made the supreme sacrifice would be turned into the playground of shylock politicians bent on bartering our patrimony for flimsy, transient, political gain?
But all of us, I dare say, stand accused. Unfortunately, few of us can comfortably acquit ourselves.
We must pray that we do not fall into that category of the damned, of whom it shall be said that our forebears wept in their graves on account of our deliberate transgressions. Let us not be cursed for transforming their pretty, formidable dreams and mansions into glorified sepulchers.
The undulating green mountains that symbolize our state and the dogged and valiant spirit of our people are crying out, loudly; weeping for this political dispensation that has turned us into arch enemies and made politics a bloody, remorseless, battleground.
Plateau’s solid rocks are weeping. They tearfully moan that this is not the nature of a people imbued with the nature and character of rocks. The nature of being resilient and capable of absorbing and withstanding earthquakes with resolute calm and equanimity.
This is the Plateau spirit that should not be chipped away by political, tribal and political bigotry. The founding fathers who cast this virtue on the stones and rocks of our minds had this in mind even as they sacrificed their all for us; so that we should make this rocky piece of Nigeria a home for a proud people.
Can beautiful mountains, hills such as these weep? Closely observe Plateau State today and you will make sense of the notion that whenever human beings are engaged in bitter strife, nature often bears the brunt. That is the wisdom encapsulated in the timeless truism that when two elephants fight, the grass suffers.
We must be cautious that, as men and women endowed with the gift of discernment and differentiating between good and evil, we should always do the right thing, no matter the consequences.
Have we become so desperate, blinded by our self-serving ambitions that we have completely forgotten that even these mountains, rocks and hills weather? That only truth and goodness ultimately prevail? Try as much as we may to turn things into our own image, there will certainly come a time when their true form must manifest.
It’s in the nature of human beings to doggedly pursue their set goals, whether good or evil. But finally, good triumphs over evil. And truth prevails.
It’s just a matter of time. Of which, sadly, we have a very limited supply. And, most notably, an even lesser capacity to manipulate as we do politics.
Plateau is hurting. She is deeply wounded, gored, by the sharpened weapons, darts, of politics which have been mutually unleashed against each other. This fierce, internecine, battle is bound to leave scars that may take a long time to heal.
This contestation for political power, for reasons that are not often altruistic, has poisoned relationships between both friends and communities. Even within communities, long-standing associations have been shattered.
Religious groups, which are among the biggest and most significant social structures of our society, have been infiltrated and stymied by politics.
Ordinary citizens are so distracted and tormented by this noxious atmosphere that they cannot apply their minds and energies towards meaningful creative endeavours.
How does a government concentrate on bringing development to its citizens when political distractions and shenanigans surpass every other productive activity within the polity?
This democracy has become a bugbear to us rather than a driver towards alleviating the human condition. Can we extract any sense from this frightening chaos?
Indeed, we are caught between a rock and a hard place here. Incidentally, Plateau State is a rocky place, full of mountains and hills.
But, ironically, her people are blessed with the softest hearts on earth; hearts that uplift fellow men with boundless love.
This is because, just as He did with Peter, Christ has already built His Church on this rock – Plateau State.
GYANG is the Chairman of the N.G.O, Journalists Coalition for Citizens’ Rights Initiative – JCCRI. Emails: email@example.com; chrisgyang firstname.lastname@example.org