In 1842 Thomas Babington Macauly wrote my favourite poem titled ‘Horatius at the Gate’ and made a point that we can all learn from in Nigeria today. He wrote:
“Then out spake brave Horatius,
The Captain of the Gate:
“To every man upon this earth
Death cometh soon or late.
And how can man die better
Than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers,
And the temples of his gods,
“And for the tender mother
Who dandled him to rest,
And for the wife who nurses
His baby at her breast,
And for the holy maidens
Who feed the eternal flame,
To save them from false Sextus
That wrought the deed of shame?
“Haul down the bridge, Sir Consul,
With all the speed ye may;
I, with two more to help me,
Will hold the foe in play.
In yon strait path a thousand
May well be stopped by three.
Now who will stand on either hand,
And keep the bridge with me?”
Then out spake Spurius Lartius;
A Ramnian proud was he:
“Lo, I will stand at thy right hand,
And keep the bridge with thee.”
And out spake strong Herminius;
Of Titian blood was he:
“I will abide on thy left side,
And keep the bridge with thee.”
“Horatius,” quoth the Consul,
“As thou sayest, so let it be.”
And straight against that great array
Forth went the dauntless Three.
For Romans in Rome’s quarrel
Spared neither land nor gold,
Nor son nor wife, nor limb nor life,
In the brave days of old”.
(HORATIUS AT THE BRIDGE, LAYS OF ANCIENT ROME by Thomas Babington Macauly, 1842)
Macauly’s prose is beautiful and instructive. It is very long and I have just quoted a tiny portion of it above.
We, as Nigerians, must read his words carefully, learn from brave Horatius, the greatest of all Romans, and be inspired and guided by his courage and strength.
We must be proud of who and what we are and we must be ready to stand for something, even at the cost of our lives.
Some, who I love and respect, have said they have seen what is coming to our country Nigeria and that we must have a plan B.
I have seen what is coming to our country as well and I have been saying so for the last few months and years. However for me there is NO plan B.
We may evacuate our women and children but for those of us that are men I say again there is and can be NO plan B.
There is no running. There is no surrender. There is no capitulation. There is no escape. We have no other country. We have nowhere to go and even if we did we choose not to go.
When and if the battle finally comes we stay here and either FIGHT and WIN or FIGHT and DIE. We are Nigerians! We are lions! We do not run from the battle. We do not buckle before the enemy. We are not cowards. We are warriors. We are fighters.
We are men and women of strength and faith. We do not flinch in the face of danger. We do not run for our lives when the enemy is at our gate. We go out and meet them head on in glory and in power.
Boko Haram or any other terrorist organisation will NEVER fly its flag over Abuja and neither will they ever take Lagos, Port Harcourt, Enugu, Kaduna, Jos, Ibadan, Sokoto, Awka, Maiduguri or any of our other major cities.
Every Christian will fight them. Every Muslim will fight them. Every Southerner will fight them. Every Northerner will fight them. Every Middle Belter will fight them. Every Nigerian will fight them.
They think they are dividing us but they are actually bringing us closer together. We are not Malians, Chadians, Nigeriens, Taurags, Berbers or Arabs: we are NIGERIANS! And we will stand and fight for our motherland against these strange aliens and foreign invaders and their western backers.
Our God is mighty and He will NEVER abandon us. We will fight to the last man to preserve our nation and deliver her from the hands of these foreign barbarians that have come from a distant land to destroy us all and take our women, children, treasure and land.
Like great Horatius, we must stand at the gate and hold the bridge. Like gallant Horatius, we must fight and win or we must fight and die!
May God have mercy on our nation and our people and may He cause us to fight a good fight!