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The Blight Of The Prodigal Father By Achike Chude

July 6, 2022

Maybe we should not blame him for the first time lapse. Sometimes it happens that a man could be caught unawares. After all, it is said that to be once bitten is to be twice shy.

How is it possible that a father of thirty-six children plus one, whose duty it is to defend his home against invaders failed in his primary responsibility and three of his children were forcibly taken away? 
Maybe we should not blame him for the first time lapse. Sometimes it happens that a man could be caught unawares. After all, it is said that to be once bitten is to be twice shy.
But this father, bitten viciously by the misfortune of life was far from being shy. As he was trying to come to grips with the calamity that had befallen him and his large family, the despicable-minded fiends came back, killed an uncle, raped some of the women, kidnapped a nephew and niece and disappeared into the dark place they had come from. 
And it happened a third time! This time, his wife, another son and mother were not spared. They too are also currently in the forest with bandits and terrorists.
Shudder at the thought of what they might be doing to the women and girls in their drug-crazed stupor. Even the men and boys.
They say the father is heartbroken and distraught. He has sworn to deal with the vandals. 


But it hasn't stopped him from going to international conferences, parties, and meetings organized by other fathers and mothers whose families are intact, safe, and protected. 
Some of these other fathers and mothers sympathise with him but do not understand why he always attends all their events and conferences when his house is constantly on fire, under threat, and his people unsafe. 
They know that if they were in the same position as the distraught travelling globetrotter father, they would go nowhere but work day and night to solve their insecurity problems. 
Just recently, forty members of his extended family were murdered in a church on June 5th, Pentecost Sunday in Owo, Osun state. They were despatched to their graves while praying to their God. Since then, the aggrieved father has travelled to two International conferences in Portugal and Rwanda.
And on June 29th, at Shiroro, Niger state, another 40 people under his authority and command as father-in-chief were killed by over 300 bloodthirsty terrorists. 
And just as citizens of the great family of thirty-six plus one were still processing what happened at Shiroro, the 'loving and caring' father was on his way, five days later, to yet another international meeting. And the killed had not yet been buried not to talk of bringing the killers to justice. What did the father say about the massacre? 
- what he always says when his people are killed or kidnapped:
"We will deal ruthlessly with these killers"
And then he gets into his plane which his family of thirty-six children plus one, bought for him, and goes for another meeting.
Until another atrocity occurs!
Can someone close to him not have the balls to tell him that no responsible father can fail so spectacularly and yet be so impervious to his failures, or act with so much aloofness to the chaos and anarchy wrought by his fatherly failures? 
Can nobody close to him summon up the courage to tell him that his family is bleeding badly and falling apart? 
Should those who truly love him not be able to tell him that the volcano that has been active for so long is about to erupt, spewing destructive ash and larva all over the homestead. It will surely consume all of us if the madness continues.
North East, North West, North Central, South East, South West, South South, it is the story of thirty-six children plus one, in agony, turmoil, pain, terror, and losses of unimaginable proportion. 
Our brothers, sisters, aunties, and children, are dying everywhere and every day and there is no sign that it will stop. Do people think that death is the only problem?
The family of thirty-six, plus one is losing territories under our father who is also an army general that the bandits and terrorists, and unknown gunmen do not fear. 
Who will protect the people, our people? The warriors? 
They too need protection. 
But what has happened to the 'mighty' warriors that went into Liberia and Sierra Leone under ECOMOG to liberate members of our West African family. Do you mean that they could defend others but not ourselves? 
You see, charity does not always begin at home. 
But people are saying that the spirits of our warriors are still strong, their resolve implacable. 
They say that it is just the system headed by a prodigal father that is failing them and the entire family of thirty-six, plus one.
In a strange twist, people are saying that since the father cannot defend them, let them defend themselves, even under government supervision. The father has said a bloody NO! 
You see, we will all just sit back and die on our beds when the hellish invaders come calling.
Because they will! They are growing in strength and numbers, and temerity, arrogance, and perfidy.  
What kind of father is this?
His divisions, parochialism, incompetence, inactivity, affiliations, alignments, and lack of empathy are a danger to us all. 
This father just has to go. 
Sooner than later.
Hopefully, by 2023.