By Michael Ayotunde
A moment of silence is often a gesture of respect, particularly in mourning for those who have died.
It is a period of silent contemplation, devotion, reflection, or meditation. It is also similar to flying a flag at half-mast.
Report has it that the first recorded instance of an official moment of silence dedicated to a departed soul may have taken place in Portugal on the 13th day of February in 1912.
Another account also stated that the tradition came to effect fully in 1919 exactly one year after the end of World War I. It thus became an official part of the annual service on remembrance day. Notably during the moment of silence, people often bow their heads in reverence, and or remove their hats, and do not speak or move – while the duration lasted.
This is notably done as a mark of respect and or honour to the departed. It has thus become a global phenomenon. Where and when this is observed after the demise of loved ones, it is usually characterised by expression of emotions; safe to add that genuine expression of emotion is usually attached.
Corporate bodies, governmental, non-governmental organisations and other individuals have adopted the concept as a mark of respect to honour departed loved ones or associates. It has no doubt gained traction since inception.
Accepting this on a neutral ground is understandable and quite engaging. What is however disturbing and nauseating is when this ‘sacred exercise’ is wilfully concocted and organised just to score cheap political points. This they mostly do all in the name of playing last respect to departed souls or individuals – victim(s) who ordinarily should not have found themselves in such unfortunate situations, were relevant bodies to be alive to their statutory responsibilities. This amounts to nothing but a macabre dance on the grave of the departed souls and a slap on the people’s sensibility.
Such expression of concocted emotions to sympathise with victims’ family over an avoidable mishap, should not under any circumstance have a place in our world. It is nothing but devilish, wicked, callous and deceitful. It’s the height of hypocrisy. This should be condemned and fought with every fibre of our being. How could that ‘One-Minute’ exercise atone for the loss of innocent lives, blood being shed daily just because of another person’s negligence? The irresponsibility of one or more has now become the responsibility of all.
Because why would you have abdicated your statutory responsibilities in the first instance, and in the process innocent people are made to suffer and eventually became casualties – and in turn, you announce One-Minute moment of Silence as a mark of honour? It is saddening that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) announce a minute silence to mourn those who lost their lives in the unfortunate Abuja-Kaduna train mishap, still with nobody being held accountable.
Interestingly, the Minister of Transportation, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, had earlier blamed other government AGENCIES for the delay in installing sensors on the rail tracks. After this grave allegation, one can surely bet nothing would come out of it – it certainly will go the way of others in that order. Here we are today still battling with problems that emanated from the adulterated fuel imported to the country. Not a single person or more have been held responsible.
Barely 48 hours after the train saga, report also came of yet another dare devil attack on rail facility, with more casualties, and in little time, Aso Rock will condemn the act, set up investigative panel whose assignment is usually pre-determined and ultimately declare one-minute silence to placate families whose loved ones were unfortunately hewn down in their prime. While this is done, whoever cares to visit survivors who most of the time find themselves in hospitals, usually embark on such self-serving missions with their photographers. In the process, they snap pictures with those in excruciating pains so as to get public sympathy that they truly have the interest of the people at heart.
Are all these why they were voted in the first place? Dancing on the graves of hapless victims and taking photographs with people who have negligently been subjected to excruciating pains – for no fault of theirs? And these they do to gain cheap political points.
Indeed, there was once a country! (Quoting the words of the Legendry Prof Chinua Achebe).
Has things not finally fallen apart?
This certainly cannot be an accepted way of life.
Before now, there have been cases of similar attack. Precisely in October 2021, suspected bandits blew up the rail track with explosives. There have also been relative incidents and other clear warnings along the corridor but were clearly ignored by relevant authorities. The Abuja-Kaduna route despite the funds sunk in it, has consistently turn to danger zone – no thanks to the activities of suspected terrorists code-named bandits.
The other day, it was a case of fuel shortage – imagine a train running to a halt in the middle of nowhere, leaving passengers at the mercy of marauding kidnappers.
Security forces have been accused of failing to act despite intelligence on planned attack; Governors have admitted lack of capacity to govern; lives, in short, have been lost; One-minute silence too has been held by FEC; so, where do we go from here? Siddon look until another catastrophe happens?
The directive by the Federal Government calling for immediate implementation of security solution amounts to medicine after death. Was the so-called solution locked up before now?
The greatest undoing of this government is its penchant for selective interventionism in most critical aspect of our national life. When it was time to deal with Yoruba Nation campaigner, Chief Sunday Igboho, and the IPOD leader, Nnamdi Kanu, FG acted with utmost precision. They even went as far as tracking Kanu down in abroad.
But the very terrorists under their roof, the same government find it difficult to tackle them. They are instead being pampered.
They should be reminded that whatever that is considered good for the goose is also good for the gander.
What Nigerians crave for is peace, prosperity & economic transformation; end to bloodshed; end to kidnapping; end to terrorism; and not an endless observance of One-Minute Silence every now and then.
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