On Peace: Angry Cattle


Amb. Jonathan ABIOYE

Ed. 109
We must strive to be at peace with one another, it will pay us more. Whatever our “beef”, let’s grill it and eat it.

Even nature endorses peace and conflict resolution. Do you care to know how I found out? You should, so pay rapt attention.
I have lived in the North Central part of Nigeria all my life and even served in the North East (Yola, Adamawa to be precise) and so, the sight of herds of cattle being moved along paths in search of pasture is no new thing to me. But, at a time, what I had never seen was cattle or cows in conflict. And I had wanted to see this so badly that when, one day, the cattle chose the most wrong of places (right in the middle of the street that leads off the main road and into the area I wanted to access), I crossed the threshold of any fear and reluctance I had and moved forward. So it was like they were saying, “You have to witness this.” And how could I say no to a good show?
And so the show began with a clash of horns and a struggle. I was completely enthralled, albeit ignorant of the rules of the game and what the cow-world may count as an offence. Horns clashed, and head touched head, no doubt painfully, and the struggle grew increasingly fierce. The movement back and forth, depending on whose push was stronger at a given time. Their eyes, stormy and angry, screaming out words to each other, from vituperation to insult, from words of braggadocio to derision and every other colourful language in-between, as many as their savage minds could conjure up. As I watched on, I kept imagining how humans get to “beef” themselves and even erupt in violence on all scales from small to large, and I wondered how this could be one Iya Sikira and Iya Mulikat in one of the face-me-I-face-you houses in my ghetto area in Mushin or two men on the streets of Edo state who have slacked their ties and torn their hitherto neatly starched and ironed shirts on a Tuesday morning on their way to work because of an already averted accident due to rough driving and a sheer refusal to make apologies or to even be patient at all.

Anyways, back to the fighting cows, a stretch of time had passed and they were still fighting with no resolution in sight up till a time when a tricycle needed access to the road to Move out of the area, and then the most amazing thing happened. Right at the time when the tricycle turned the corner to that side of the road and began to close the gap between itself and the dueling cows, I noticed a bull (male cow) in the herd of cattle began to run straight towards them. It was clear that its focus was on them. ‘What could this ‘guy’ be trying to do like this?’ I asked myself. Anyway, let me watch. And so, I watched him run nonstop, closing the gap between itself and the fighting duo and ran straight in-between them, dislodging their heads and locked horns. And this was just in time to clear them all off the road for the speeding tricycle to pass. It was then that the fighting cows seemed to notice that they could have been in danger from a moving machine they could not see because they were so focused on fighting out their differences.

At this point, I noticed something else that was quite interesting. My eyes quickly roved down their bodies to find that one was female and the other, a male. Now, even after separating, the male was quite ready to leave but the female would have none of it, and so, she still tried to go back into active fight, her horns already down and charging. But to my amazement, this alpha bull, after sensing the female still had more fighting to do, began to charge at her midriff, pushing her vigorously away, appearing to shout “don’t you dare fight anymore” “Stop it” “Enough!” And after much chiding, the cow was urged out of fighting, the road was cleared for free movement, and the herd moved on, back under the leadership of their herdsman. Problem solved.
After everything, I could not help but to think of the various reasons why we get to fight ourselves, whether on the home front or between contrasting ideas or methods, between religions, sects, or even tribes. Sometime, the reasons for our fights are so mundane. It is true that there is bound to be disagreements due to our general human differences, but must they always escalate? Can’t we rejoice in our diversity rather than fight because of it? We must find a way to solve our problems. One of it is by yielding to authority to ensure a fair justice system, for where there is justice, peace is but a hair’s breadth away.

Another lesson is that we will never gain from discord, and every one is affected negatively. Like the cows, we always get so preoccupied with our tussle and fighting that we don’t see dangers coming, for example, lack of progress, plummeting resources and economy, physical damages, loss of lives and properties And the list is endless.
We must strive to be at peace with one another, it will pay us more. Whatever our “beef”, let’s grill it and eat it.

For Peacepace Initiative… towards peace.

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