Sometime ago, we read a compelling piece on how great our dear Nation could be. Here is another part to that beautiful write up, read and enjoy…
THE QUEST FOR THE UNIFICATION OF OUR AFRICANISM: On the quest to birthing one of the greatest countries on earth
OsitaChidoka, the new aviation minister wrote a compelling article called the bridge builder; “Structuralists vs Essentialists” quoting a little excerpt from it;
“The Structuralists are those who believe with good reason that the problem with Nigeria is the structure. The definition is wide and varied. The Structuralists range from those who believe that the error started from amalgamation, to those who believe that jettisoning the three regions was the original sin, and those that talk vaguely about “true federalism” (Federalism is defined as a system of government in which the individual states within a country have control over their own affairs, but are controlled by a central government for national decisions ).
They argue that nothing will work in Nigeria until we resolve the structural issue. Resolving the structure also range from dissolving Nigeria either to the three regions or pre-1914 ethnic nationalities or the six Geo-political zones. Another option is return Nigeria to ‘true federalism’, meaning among others; fiscal federalism, devolution of power and return to derivation. The Structuralists argue very convincingly that a building on false foundation cannot stand, hence the need to return to the foundation.
The essentialists, for want of a better name, are those who posit that the lack of leadership, weak institutional framework and absence of rule-governed systems and processes, among many issues, which are fundamental to nation building are the problem; and that while we wait for the structure to be rebuilt, we should focus on the present. The Essentialists, broadly agree with the need to ‘restructure’ Nigeria. But while we wait for the restructure, our national resources are vanishing; our competitiveness as a nation is fast eroding and the capacity to manage a post-restructured Nigeria will be non-existent. They argue that suspending national revamp of rebirth while waiting to resolve so called structure is now a bogey for non-accountable leadership at all levels.
Let’s go back in time to seek to understand the structure of Nigeria. First, Nigeria is a colonial convenient contraption. The amalgamation was not intended to bring together some lost brothers like east and West Germany. It was purely administrative. That argued, we also need to point out that most countries in the world are creations of conquests or convenience. Since the amalgamation, efforts have been made to build a nation from largely tribal units not large enough to cover the cost of colonial governments individually. If the colonials were to create nations along linguistic lines, your guess is good as mine how many countries would be existing in the Niger area. I therefore argue with the view that our colonial masters seized sovereignty from multiple tribal states and aggregated it into a new structure called NIGERIA”.
I am not proposing any of the side is the best option yet, even though I am fundamentally an essentialist.
Karl max once said “history repeats itself, first as a tragedy, secondly as a farce/mockery or a joke”
“Regardless of regional distribution, all Somalis speak the same language (very rare in Africa), practice the same religion – virtually all belong to the “shafu I nite” of the sunmi faction of Islam. They have the same type of cuisines (with only minor deviations). Though there is a small Somali Bantu population descendants from various east African populations. Most of them though converted to Islam.
In this sense, the country does not compare to Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, or Ethiopia where the plethora of ethnic groups and tribes, makes bringing everyone onto the same page a mammoth task. Yet Somalia is a country so divided it has failed to form a unified government since the beginning of the war in 1991.
As at today, Somalia is now been divided into three regions each with a separate president and each from a different clan. It’s a place suffering from severe draught, starvation and conflict. Somalia is now a hub and base for international piracy. It is estimated that the collapse of Somalia has cost the world more than $15billion since 1991”.
“Sudan once the largest and one of the most geographically diverse states in Africa, split into countries in July 2011 after the people of the south voted for independence. The Christian and traditional south had for decades been struggling against rule by the Muslim north.
However, various outstanding issues especially the question of shared oil revenues and border demarcation have continued to create tensions between the two successive states. Sudan has long been beset by conflict. Two rounds of north-south civil war has cost the lives of 105 million people, and a continuing conflict in the western region of Darfur has more than two million people from their homes and killed more than 200,000 people.
Apart from the lives lost, the separate countries are not faring any better. Poverty and hardship has increased and national economic development has been halted”.
I sincerely wish that structural division was a solution. There are so many variables at play about the human nature that we don’t understand.
In George Orwell’s animal farm; one night, all the animals at Mr. Jones manor farm assembled in a barn to hear old
major; a pig, describe a dream he had about a world where all animals live free from the tyranny of their human masters. The animals inspired by his philosophy of animalism, plot a rebellion against Jones. Two pigs; snowball and napoleon prove themselves important figures and planners of this dangerous enterprise. When Jones forgets to feed the animals, the revolution occurs, and Jones and his men are chased off the farm. Manor farm is renamed ‘ANIMAL FARM’ and the seven commandments of animalism are painted on the wall.
Initially, the rebellion was a success; the pigs because of their intelligence, became the supervisors of the farm. Napoleon, however, proves to be a power hungry pig who steals the cow’s milk and a number of apples to feed himself and the other pigs. His lust for power increases to the point where he becomes a totalitarian dictator. As more of the seven commandments were broken by the pigs, the language of the commandments are revised and finally reduced to a single law; “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than the others”
In the south-eastern part of Nigeria today, even though they share the same language, as you trickle down to the minority indigenous clans and communities, the language itself starts exposing a lot of dissimilarities. Shared common interest’s starts presenting a very wide divergence. Even in local indigenous communities, a sect still refer to other sects as “three fingers” and consider themselves “five fingers” because they are superior and more in number.
In the animal farm, the animals fighting for their freedom is a good thing. But would they have fared better if the control of the state was to be lead by the horses rather than the pigs? The simple answer is that “I don’t know”. But one thing is clear, you cannot close a hole by digging more holes. That’s just plane ignorance. All you will achieve at the end is create a large black hole that will swallow everything and everybody.
When you hear of United States, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, European Union etc. Do you really think that these people are united because they share a common value system? ‘That’s not possible!’
As the story goes, one day in 1665, a young man was sitting under a tree when all of a sudden, he saw an apple fall from above. And with the fall of that apple, Isaac Newton revolutionized our picture of the universe. Newton proclaimed that the force pulling the apple to the ground and the force keeping the moon in orbit around the earth were actually one and the same force. Newton unified the heavens and the earth in a single theory he called gravity.
This unification birthed “modernity” and gave humanity the power to plot the course of a rocket that first landed men on the moon. Three hundred years later, another scientist named Albert Einstein extended this theory of gravity in his theory of general relativity; that included space and time. This opened up an entirely new age; the age of laser beams, telecommunication, satellites, black holes, neutron stars and even the origin of the universe itself. This power was possible because he was able to unify more elements of the universe together.
This intuitively, means that the more components involved in the unification, the more powerful the final product. This fundamental truth is so obvious in nature. Which is why everybody excluding Africans are uniting together for one simple major reason; “it makes them more powerful, prosperous and happy”. Not necessarily because of a shared common value. Besides, the 2nd generation of the post civil war babies in Nigeria and Africa has values that can be considered almost 60% Un-African. Thanks to the information age and globalization that has been created by technology and global economy.
Life exists because nature is an expert at creating perfect balance; good and evil, light and darkness (light only makes sense to us because there is potential for darkness), weak and strong. The sun is a burning furnace with an internal temperature of about 15,000,000 degrees which naturally wants to blow out. But the gravity on the surface wants to crush it in. so we enjoy the light from the sun on earth simply because a perfect balance is created between these two extremes.
Disunity especially national disunity is just disequilibrium between the rich and the poor. The haves and the have not, the royals and the peasants. And nature is against such in-balance. It’s just like the disequilibrium that occurs in distribution of resource allocation and house labor distribution between siblings in a family. When it’s not even, ill-feelings are generated. That is injustice!
Over 16billion dollars have entered our treasury since 1999. Where did it go to?, what was it used for?, Nigeria parliament has discussed a report said to reveal that $6b (£4b) has been defrauded from the fuel subsidy fund in the past two years.
The major presidential aids and appointments seem to come from a particular zone in the country.
The national budget that is meant for everybody is being shared by a few group of people and some parts of the country are being given more developmental preference than others.
These and more disequilibrium is the main problem. The quest to restore balance I believe is the destiny of my generation and not make a mockery of history by repeating an already failed experiment.
Deep down, we all yearn for a harmonic convergence. Anyone coming from a disjointed family understands this. And we intuitively know that we will be more powerful unified. But the problem is that unification takes a lot of energy.
Look at these LEGO bricks below. They are made up of the same components and having the same form and structure with opposite lock and key components. It’s very easy to put them together.
But look at these other ones below, even though they are composed of the same form of matter; neutrons, protons and electrons. Physically unifying them together will require a lot of work.
A lot of re-innovation, rediscovery and deep thorough redesign will have to be done individually and communally in order to successfully put them together.
The first work of unification is the work of purpose. The truth and beauty about purpose is that the “purpose” of a thing is found outside that thing. You can only get order out of an external purpose or use. Look at those LEGO bricks again. You can only figure out how to fit them together when you give them a bigger purpose to play outside of themselves; like to make a beautiful toy for a child to play with. All of a sudden, ideas start flowing, and purpose is achieved. Unification becomes easy.
The Nigeria vision 2020 is a very powerful vision
“By 2020, Nigeria will be one the 20 largest economies in the world, able to consolidate its leadership role in Africa, and establish itself as a significant player in the global economic and political arena”.
Imagine Nigeria as “a person”. One person making this kind of statement? Of course he/she can’t possibly be talking to himself. He’s making a statement to the hearing and sigh of hope to the rest of west-Africa, to east-Africa, to the whole of this beautiful continent and the rest of the world.
He wakes up every morning, consumes energy to stay alive and work tirelessly to live up to this vision. This one person is made up of 12 complex systems, interconnected and dependent on each other. Our heart, which is part of our circulatory system, does not beat unless our brain which is part of our nervous system tells it to. Our skeletal system is dependent on our digestive system for increase in size and strength. Our muscular system needs our respiratory and circulatory systems to supply energy in the forms of oxygen and nutrients. It takes all these systems to work selflessly in unison for normal human growth and development. They all work to keep this person alive so that he can fulfill the destiny of why God gave him life. The beauty of an external purpose is that when that is pursued with willingness and passion, the energy and efficiency to run the internal purpose becomes a walk over.
This one person is ‘Nigeria’ who have been birthed with a purpose to consolidate leadership in Africa, be the pulley that will lift the African continent out of the economic dirty mud that she is in and be the scientific and technological beacon that will lead the world to a new era. This ‘one Nigerian person’ unfortunately is fragmented into over 150 million people whom are still branching out. Who does not understand the science of interconnected efficiency. Whom have been inflicted with the cancerous growth of a chaotic and misplaced self identity. Whom fragmented self absorption and egotism has done nothing but produce corruption, ethnic and tribal conflicts, poverty, unstable leadership, strife, wars and terrorism.
It’s just like the heart in the human body hoarding the blood and nutrients it is supposed to send to the legs and threatening autonomy. Forgetting that if the leg doesn’t effect movement, it’s not going to get supplies of more blood and nutrients that comes from food.It’s not necessarily wickedness. It’s mainly ignorance and foolishness.
But the main variable that will ensure that this effective system is in place is the head. The leadership system is just like the body’s nervous system. It’s the body’s decision and communication center. They connect and control every part of the body.
Truth be told, Leadership in Nigeria and Africa has been a major problem from time immemorial. Sometimes, it’s even more cancerous than the rest of the body. But there is one vital factor about leadership that we tend to neglect most times. It obeys Newton’s third law of motion, which states that “action and reaction are equal and opposite”.
The reason you get a lot of resistance when hitting a nail into a wall is because the wall is hitting back at your nail. A Nigerian populace that has a zero tolerance to corruption, a people that work with justice and honesty as a primary purpose, a people without any form of racism, superiority, tribal and religious bigotry in their minds, a people that nationalism drives our work and political ethics, a people that takes personal responsibility for nation building than consistently complain, will in no time push back the leadership imbalance affecting the top. It depends a lot on you and the choices you make. Never forget that!
When this single minded purpose becomes a natural driving force, the next unification cycle defaultly takes over. Which is the breakdown, reformation, and build up of conformations, culture and ideologies. A seasoned sociologist will tell you how simply cultures evolve. They didn’t fall from heaven. They are attitudes and habits, mainly from a minority few. Which tends to spread to the majority. This attitudes and habits overtime evolve into conformations and cultures.
The driver of every culture is heritage. This heritage is the crux of our identity. And in Africa, we have a humble and rich heritage. A heritage that was developed by our primitive but strong and multitalented early African fathers. These men, though highly primitive built the beautiful, social and practical technologies you see in Africa; the beautiful cuisines, the fashion culture that is still a sensation, they pioneered the agricultural system , the communal family system etc. when you look at the beauty and diversity of Africa, you are looking at the spirits of these men.
But because they had little access to knowledge and enlightenment, they also produced faulty cultural technologies.
A good man that loves his family and people will do anything to protect them. He constantly tried to avoid conformity that will bring any threat to his family, constantly segregated himself and tried to conquer each other to avoid being conquered. He built up a lot of imaginary mythical ideologies because nature always conquered him through floods, eclipses, and seasonal weather changes. He was inadequately equipped to face the downsides of life and as a result, he engaged in socially degrading practices in a quest to make sense of his world. His ignorance pervaded his entire environment with an irrational perception of the real and he built a lot of faulty practices.
These attitudes that overtime became habits pervaded the entire continent. And overtime, they morphed into a way of life; A culture. A culture that morphs itself overtime and taking on new skins to adjust to any new trend or modernization that develops. A culture that has become pathologic to our development.
The modern Igbo man has no personal reason for not wanting to integrate with the Hausa man. The Yoruba’s and the ijaws has no divine commandment to keep stereotyping each other. The Fulani man wasn’t given a divine assignment to hate the efiks, he just has a cultural feeling that makes it seem uncomfortable. A culture developed by men that never had access to one tenth of the knowledge and enlightenment that we possess today. They never knew that the earth was round or that it revolved around the sun. They didn’t understand that greater power comes from greater diversity channeled in uniformity. They didn’t understand ideas of social contract and liberal democracy. The complex dynamics of our economic system was far from them. They didn’t understand the power of vaccines. Even though he understood herbs to an extent, small epidemics like malaria used to kill a lot of his children. They didn’t understand that the right of women ensured more societal liberty, freedom and prosperity.
Tenaciously holding on to some of our harmful cultural molds as invariants or constants demands a big slap on each of our faces by our early African fathers. All these men wanted to do was; protect their family, create a strong family and communal identity, ability to provide for themselves and their family, and freedom to make their own choices while exploring their world.
Once in a while, an Igbo man makes a scientific feat, a Yoruba man revolutionizes something in arts, an ijaw man becomes a political icon, an Hausa man becomes an economic hero. When such exceptional figures emerge, you start hearing words like; a true oduduwan, a gifted Biafran, an original son of arewa republic, a product of the Niger delta republic. Even the person’s minority indigenous tribe and community wants to own him for themselves. It says a lot about our fundamental human quest for freedom and power. It’s just that we have not yet grown smart enough to realize that we have a much higher chance for that freedom and power in uniformity and a shared common national identity.
You can’t pour new wine in old wine skin. It’s just a loose-loose game. Because, both the wine, the container and the owner of them both will lose out at the end of the day.
We cannot evolve or maintain our present civilization with some of our present harmful cultural molds. (Don’t forget that some of them are very good) It’s an old inefficient container. It is only when our culture has evolved that our hard work and enterprising spirits will start yielding compelling positive results. Which will become a self-reinforcing feedback process that will open up more enlightenment, power and freedom.
There is no preset perfect cultural container that we are supposed to evolve to. The western traditions is not and cannot be a model. We just have to come out of our absolutism and evolve in our Africanness. And discover what Africanism was really meant to be and not what its presumed to be.
The coming Nigeria future when Nigeria will be one of the most desirable nations to live in. when Nigeria will be so economically buoyant that we would be among the top 10 most developed economies of the world. When the green passport would be among the most sought after in the world. When the average Nigerian higher institution will be comparable to the Harvard’s and oxfords of today. When our movie industry will transcend the Hollywood of today.
When our democracy will become a model for the rest of the world and have a truly representative nation in terms of the government. When our scientific feat and exploits has started taking men to Europa (one of the moons of Jupiter) and back. When our energy innovations provides the highest environmental security, economic security and political security. When our engineers, scientists and technologists produces more innovations and inventions more than market can meet up with (we discovered a cure for cancer, we revolutionized green energy innovations, we unified the laws of physics). Where our social security services is so large it’s taking care of our neighboring nation’s citizens.
This type of successful and powerful country will be devoid of any Niger delta militant seeking for emancipation. It will be devoid of any pro-Biafran agitator seeking for a new country. What the real Biafran really want is freedom. And freedom is not a Biafran halo on his head while carrying around a devalued Biafran currency. But freedom is the ability to make choices he wants and plan for the future of his children. Boko-haram will not even find the environment to thrive. One of their survival weapons is our strong divisional sentiments.
This quest, this power, this freedom, this prosperity, this truth can only be realized when we stop playing the igbo man, the Yoruba man, the hausa man, the ijaw man, the efik man, the Fulanis, the biafran, the oduduwan, the arewan, the niger-deltan, the easterners, the westerners, the southerners, the northerners, the Christians, the Muslims. (It’s such a pity we see ourselves like this way). We need to start playing one team: NIGERIA.
Take a look at the map below,
It’s a map of Africa turned upside down. Its shaped like a gun and Nigeria happens to be the trigger point.
We are the ignition and the birth place of the next global economic, technological, and scientific revolution that will happen soon in Africa that will shake history once again.
Please we need to stop this blame game, ethnic dance, class driven, religion bigotry nonsense. We have work to do!!