For thousand of years, white doves or pigeons release is known to be a popular custom in many cultures and world religions. From Egypt where the first known white dove releases occurred nearly five thousand years ago to China, Greece, Rome and parts of Europe, such releases all have positive connotations; though they differ slightly in mythology from culture to culture.
At whatever ceremony where it is traditionally done however, the release of doves or pigeons represent peace, honesty, love and loyalty or generally act as a good omen. Importantly, in places like China, it represents peace, longevity, and is used to ward off evil.
And so, for Nigeria’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day commemorated annually to honour its fallen service men; many of who fought hard to keep the country ‘one,’ and put behind it the memories of a bitterly fought civil war (1967 -1970), it is totally understandable to see such ‘ritual’ as part of the annual activities.
What happens however, when the birds refuse to take flight?
It may be difficult to interprete with the 5 senses, but wouldn’t it be sending a strong message if multiple nudges by President Muhammadu Buhari couldn’t inspire the birds to do what they naturally do on any good day without any encouragement?
For anyone who believes in God, it is common knowledge that the ‘spiritual (unseen) controls the physical (tangible) and for a country where religion is a big thing; this message from the ‘world beyond’ may just be too loud to downplay or ‘off the mic’ from where it is blaring.
With heightened issues of insurgency, banditry, kidnappings, cattle rustling and robberies on our highways and railways (read as Abuja-Kaduna rail line), Nigeria is far from harmony. Just maybe, the birds who are attuned to sensing danger, responded to what the President and his advisers have perfected the art of pretending isn’t real or technically absent.
That Nigeria is bleeding, and an honest day of remembrance for the nation’s fallen heroes that would have been a sober affair that acknowledges the continuous failure of its leaders to secure the country.
Nigerians on social media have zeroed in on the incident to remind President Buhari and his cabinet that if he remains determined to not listen to the citizens he leads with a body language that screams ‘zero enthusiasm,’ maybe it is time he responds to the preternatural sign of the non-flying Pigeons.
As the event commentator said, “white Pigeons are a symbol of peace.” That they refused to fly may also be telling us the pigeons have come home to roost.
It is time to listen!
Temidayo Taiwo-Sidiq is a Political Journalist, Analyst and Social Change Advocate with major interest in Nigerian Politics, Governance and Sports.