Since our refusal to perform our usual function at the Eagle Square on the 15th of January, 2021, many of you had greeted our actions with diverse opinions. While some blamed us for our action others hailed us. Again several reasons had been on the air, especially on the social media as to why we did what we did. This uncertainty of reason has thrown a lot of speculations thereby generating heat on the nation’s media sphere. It is on this backdrop that we have decided to address you on why we refused to fly at the instance of Mr President, Muhamadu Buhari.
First of all, it is pertinent to refresh our memory on the central philosophy of the Armed Forces Remembrance Day. The Armed Forces Remembrance Day (AFRD), also simply known as Remembrance Day, is a public holiday in Nigeria celebrated and observed on 15 January to commemorate the servicemen of the Nigerian Armed Forces.
It also honors veterans of the World War I and II as well as the Nigerian Civil War. Being a former British colony, Remembrance Day was formerly celebrated on 11 November as Poppy Day in honor of the end of the First World War.
Upon the government victory, against Biafran troops on 15 January 1970, the holiday was moved off the calendar of the Commonwealth of Nations and was changed to 15 January in commemoration of the conclusion of the Nigerian Civil War that sought to tear apart the unity of Nigeria.
Many have not taken time to ponder why we are always invited to perform the ” Flying Ritual”. For your information, we signify Love, Peace and Unity. So to commomorate, peace and unity in Nigeria following the end of the civil war, we were always there to do that.
We have been faithful in performing this important and significant function and we had never disobeyed. However, our continued obedience never meant that we were happy in playing a role that is not evident but we thought that with time, the leaders will come to terms with realities and make amends were necessary.
Unfortunately, several years after, Nigeria’s neck kept shrinking like a chronic liver cirrhosis patient leaving only the stomach and feet swollen with a yellowish eyes; obviously, signifying death.
HOW CAN WE THEN FLY?
How can we fly when we pleaded with the government of Nigeria for several years to allow what we signify ( peace ,love and Unity) become evident in the administration of the country and instead of abiding by what we represent, they took to ethnic and religious bigotry as a principle in governance.
How, how can we fly, when for several years, we pleaded with the government of Nigeria to look into the plight of the families of the fallen heroes and they paid deaf ear. Many wives of dead soldiers and children have taken to the streets while others had died of hunger. Is it only to come on every January 15, to lay wreath and speak good melodies about the fallen heroes? None of these events have translated into effective benefits to those concerned.
How can we fly, when the blood of innocent ENDSARS Protesters still reverberated in our minds. We watched them killed like a fowl and tears ran down from our cheeks. We were moved to defend them only to realize that we were mere birds. We had no guns no sword to revenge and we wept profusely.
Those youths were mere protesting police brutality and the government do acknowledged that they had right to do so. Why did the same government, turn back to usher in millions of bullets on those innocent youths who graduated from Universities without job. Yet, Billions of naira are discovered in private toilets every day. How can we fly?
How can we fly, when we heard that Herdsmen launched attack on farmers, killing thousands of people and destroying farms. We called the attention of the president and the only solution he could proffer was to introduce Ruga Settlement; that is moving the same Herdsmen to all the parts of the country with their cows to further cause mayhem.
How can we fly, when uptill this moment, Nigeria as a nation rated as one of the biggest crude oil producers in the world have concluded plans to import fuel from Niger Republic, a country adjudged as one of the poorest country in Africa with just about 20 million people. It is indeed worrisome and unbelievable. Then you want us to fly. We are ashamed.
How Can we fly, we know that many Nigerians can no longer feed their families. The dreaded COVID-19 pandemic which struck last year, became an oil well to those who hold power in Nigeria. Instead of facing realities on ground, it became an avenue for money making.
We watched them cart away billions in the name of sms, we watched them move away the common wealth of Nigerians in bullion van, in the name of isolation centers and now, the card on board now is the procurement of vaccines. We are ashamed.
How can we fly, when Nigerian students have been at home for over a year now owing to the ASUU Strike and no reasonable end is at sight. Many lectures have lost their lives within this period. Just last week, a Lecturer in Alex Ekwueme Federal University was killed by unknown gunmen while he was on his way to pick passengers as he resorted to taxi buisness to feed his family following non payment of salaries. What a shameful nation?
How can we fly, when a dollar is above N500 naira today in Nigeria and inflation is at the top roof. Consumables and food items are no longer within the reach of average Nigerians. Good meal is now for those who can afford it. We weep.
How can we fly, when conscience was murdered and no person in the Nigerian government have in his or her mind , the welfare of the poor masses at heart. To them, “the weak can die”
Indeed, our reasons are inexhaustible and time and space cannot guarantee it. The only thing we lay bare here is that we protested to inform the government of Nigeria that all was not well with them and that the earlier they tell Nigerians truth, the better.
We did the same thing in Imo State to demonstrate that our grievances also cut across governors of the states of Nigeria and not just the president.
We couldn’t have flown and never can we fly in Nigeria unless those issues raised are addressed.