The Battle walks

By John Adewunmi. John, 19, is a student at Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria. Please read his entry and leave your comments below.

Injustice is like a battle that is never won but worn on the shoulders of its emissaries to infect justice. It walks everywhere to distract justice from achieving its purpose if empowered.

I write this as a victim of a fallen system. This is a system that has shattered the tentacles of justice. I live in a society where those that criticize injustice are discouraged by their very own people. Their opinion is that there is no need to fight for justice since great men before them had tried but failed. They cite examples of great nations that have failed in a coup to dethrone injustice and corrupt practices. No society is perfect is their belief. This society presumes it has no cure. Many a time only a small section is affected but it stains the good of all. The idea of living in a free world makes them ignore deeds that do not affect their lives.

Earlier this year, I participated in a debate competition. One of my colleagues during his speech enunciated clearly the words of a great man, Martin Luther Jr. He said “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”. My speech lost its credibility because of this quote. Those eight words became hate-words then. I never surmised that it will ever become a reality for me.

Some years ago, a gubernatorial election was conducted in a state in which I participated. Over 10 political candidates were contesting for the post from different political parties.The election was free and fair. There were adulations from different spokesmen and non-indigenes of the state. This has been one of the best elections so far. Other states with upcoming gubernatorial elections envied our success.  We were eager and anxious for the elected candidate to be announced. Some of my friends and I stayed overnight watching the TV desperate to know the winner. During the collation of results, a unit of a local government ward result was delayed. The result collation continued. The frontrunner was identified but not conclusive because the figures between the winner and runner-up were close. It was not also conclusive because the result of a particular unit in a local government was annulled. The result could have determined the winner. There had to be another election for that unit. The re-run election was scheduled for another day.

Few days before the re-run, there were rumors that some political parties tried to bribe voters from that unit. These rumors spread fast like a wide fire. We thought they were tactics used by various political parties to debase one another. There was no real evidence, only words on the street. Different news agencies had no interest in the story. We all ignored it until something happened.

There was a fight a day before the election.

Like every other day before elections, the ambiance of the unit was intense and noisy. The unit was going to decide the winner so it was intense. The place was full of  campaigns and exhibition of manifestoes. The fight started around 4:16pm. I was at the unit to witness the campaigns. Suddenly I heard a loud cry from people standing in front of an abandoned building. I got interested when I saw three men dragging a man from that building. They were strong and huge in structure. From my view, the man within their grapple was also fearless lanky with a bald head. He never looked terrified but angry he could not get loose. I saw the guys beating him. They dragged him to a small section behind the house. Some of the watchers followed. My inquisitive mind propelled my movement to the place. People talking about it told me the man was caught with a lot of voters’ cards packed in his bag.

The man was bleeding when I got there. Nobody tried to save him. We all feared those guys. They would definitely kill anyone that tried to stop them. Our view was gory. The ambiance of the room was full of pity. The man attempted to run away but his injury and weak body betrayed him. It all seems like it will never end. Every eye fixed on the battered man.

Many people displayed indifferent attitude towards the scene. We left like nothing happened that day.

We live in a time where the phrase “free world” dictates nothing but vagueness. It is unclear whether it means “the universe was given to us freely” or “our actions should be determined by nothing”. People use the word as an umbrella to hide all their illegal intentions. The existence of rules, regulations, human rights, law and order prescribe and conduct the behavior of people. The people who violate this conduct are not tackled. The free world has become a jungle where the law is just an abstract entity with no concrete value or impact. Our daily lives are structured by these rules but when we go against these rules, then, there is no disparity between man and animals in the jungle. Animals follow their instincts. Impulse determines their actions.

The re-run election went well. There were adulations for political victory all over the air. Nothing was said about the fight at the unit. The media focused on the election.

Until recently, in the northern part of that country, a governor-elect won a court case on the manipulation of votes by his opposition party. He won free and fair. There were credible evidences to support his claim. Few weeks into his tenure, the opposition party released a video on the internet. The video of the fight that took place at our unit years back was posted to erode the man’s governance. In the video, one of the thugs wore a vest under his jacket which belongs to the governor’s party. The vest is the attire worn by every member of the party all over the country. This raised so many questions. Did they beat up members of other parties to vote for them? Were the witnesses forced to testify in court? Are we safe? Which kind of people is he selecting to his cabinet? Will his administration deal with corrupt practices?

My knowledge of the fight changes nothing about the people’s idea about their governor. The numbers of those that saw it can’t convince an entire state not to mention a country. Nobody will voice out since no one did that day. Our words now will just be crumbs of pins thrown into an ocean.

Can he do anything without the support of the people? No. Despite winning without malicious ways, he has lost the trust of the people.

This is injustice walking on its heels preying on justice. Anywhere there is unfairness, inequality or prejudice it affects the existence of justice. In these circumstances, justice is a righteous man married to a lustful woman. She brings shame on her husband everywhere she goes if allowed.

18 comments on “The Battle walks

  1. Ruthie on

    Free world, indeed. The word “free” has always had a suspicious nature to it. “awoof dey turn Belle”, like the pidgin faithfuls would say. Keep writing.

    Reply
  2. Pickapen on

    This deserves a global recognition coz it shows the spurious jingoistic characteristics of injustice in every nook and crook of the world.

    The notion of “free world” has undoubtedly caused many people to perform actions that affect others and will continue to tamper with Justice if not clarified in our contemporary world.

    Thanks for apprising us about this injustice at your side. Keep the ink moving.

    Reply
  3. Peter Ufuoma on

    Funny enough, I was discussing this matter of injustices in the system with some friends just a few hours ago. This time though, the focus was on military brutality and high handedness. Some of my colleagues saw no need to be outrageous about the issue basing their arguments on the “no society is prefect” mantra you talked about in the beginning paragraph.

    This is a good write up and it directly addresses a lot of ills in our society. More power to your elbow.

    Reply

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