By Femi Fani-Kayode
Over the last two days, my WhatsApp has been flooded & phone inundated with an overwhelming number of vexatious, malevolent, irritating & nauseating video clips of Nigerien, Burkinabe, and Malian soldiers marching & chanting war songs against our great country Nigeria whilst being applauded & egged on by ecstatic French-speaking crowds who are reigning curses on our beloved homeland & our President & burning our flag.
Surely even the most unpatriotic Nigerians find it hard to stomach this impudent affront from a bunch of wild and excitable protesters that are little better than slavish monkeys, camel jockeys & desert rats.
Yet let me try to be civil in this piece & contain my rage.
I am glad to take note of the fact that one of our most highly respected former Heads of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, and one of our most revered traditional rulers and Royal Fathers, His Eminence, Sultan Sa’ad Abubakar, the Sultan of Sokoto, have been asked by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and ECOWAS to act as peace envoys to our troubled neighbour Niger Republic, in an attempt to bring an end to the impasse that has been brought about by the removal from power and abduction of their democratically-elected President and the imposition of military rule.
I have little doubt this noble initiative will result in a peaceful resolution of the crisis and this is clearly the hope and aspiration of millions of Nigerians, particularly from the North, who have strong ethnic, religious, historical, cultural, and family ties with the Niger Republic.
Yet despite our overriding desire and overwhelming preference for peace and given the unprecedented sabre-rattling that we have heard and threats we have received from two of our other neighbours in the West African sub-region, namely Burkina Faso and Mali, the following needs to be stated.
Before provoking our nation into armed conflict and threatening us with war our traducers should know the following.
We are a peace-loving people who are kind, compassionate, hard-working & accommodating.
We do not seek conflict or war with our neighbours & neither do we relish in violence or bloodshed but if it is forced upon us we shall not shy away from it.
That is the Nigerian way: we never throw the first punch but we always throw the last.
Our traducers should also consider the following.
The size of the economy & GDP of all the countries in Africa ruled by military dictators PUT TOGETHER, including Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad, Sudan, Guinea & Niger Republic are nowhere near that of Lagos state ALONE.
Again in terms of IGR (internally generated revenue) Lagos state ALONE can comfortably fit them in her pocket ALL PUT TOGETHER without feeling it or batting an eyelid.
They forget that Lagos is just one of 36 states in our country & that the population of our entire nation, which is close to 220 million, is almost double ALL OF THEIRS PUT TOGETHER.
When you threaten great Nigeria with war please bear these things in mind & remember that historically we are the country that, by sending in our troops, delivered & liberated Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea Bissau, and Chad from civil war, fratricidal butchery, coup d’etat’s and mayhem.
Again we are the country that sent massive amounts of resources, material support & treasure to Angola, Mozambique & Namibia during their bitter struggles, civil wars & wars against colonial & neo-colonial oppression.
Finally, we are the country that, together with Libya & Cuba funded the Mandela-led ANC of South Africa, the Mugabe-led ZANU of Zimbabwe & the Nkomo-led ZAPU of Zimbabwe respectively in their bloody armed struggle & brutal guerrilla war against the white Boer supremacists & their apartheid Governments in their respective countries.
These are just some of the things that Nigeria has achieved in the past and, if properly led, organised & restored, can & will do all over again.
Our traducers also forget that we are the only country on the African continent that fought a brutal civil war in which over 3 million people were killed and not only managed to survive it but also chose to remain together as one.
They forget that we are a country that has almost singlehandedly confronted and contained the two most deadly terrorist organisations and armies in the world, ISWAP and Boko Haram, and a separatist movement known as IPOB with its own fledgling terrorist army known as the ESN and yet we still stand undeterred and strong.
Such is the courage, strength, resilience, fighting spirit, foresight, fortitude, and sense of patriotism of the Nigerian.
Before you threaten us with war think twice, study our history and learn about who we are and what we are capable of doing.
As Shakespeare wrote, “wake not our sleeping sword lightly” and know that we are “slow to anger but irresistible in battle”.
This is my candid advice to the young, wild, brash, and obviously naive young Turks and military dictators of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger Republic.
Great Nigeria will never bow or yield.
Be warned and run to the peace table. A word is enough for the wise.