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Re: Africa must weep for Nigeria
- Prof. Sir Abukuse V.E.P.Mbirika
( Monday, March 6, 2006 )
I fully agree with you that Nigeria is a country that has lots of potential for greatness and in fact, could be great, had it not been for the fact that some Nigerians, like some Sudanese, think they are more than one country accidentally glued into one. Those who think that way may not be grasshopper thinkers at all. Just look at Nigeria; the Northerners have, culturally and religiously, very little in common with their Southern, Eastern and Western brothers. If nations were grafted together on the basis of what they have in common, The Igbos who have much in common with the Bantus of Central and East Africa, would be totally a separate nation from the Hausa and the Fulani in the North, who have much in common with the Arabs in the Middle East. The Yoruba, by size and socialization, would be a nation by themselves.
If no new and fresh thinking mushrooms in Nigeria, we can expect future wars between the Igbos and the Hausas. There could be a solution and here it is: Let the Igbos have their own nation as they demanded during the Biafra war of 1960s. Also let the Hausas have their own nation with their capital in Kano, not Abuja. Let the rest of the small tribes share the remaining part of what is now Nigeria with the Yorubas.
What if this arrangement is still unacceptable? If that be the case, let the Hausas depart Nigeria and join their religious brothers in the Middle-East and let the Igbos rediscover they have many cultural ties in common with the Bantu of Central and East Africa and on the basis of what they have in common, move and join them, starting in the Congo. They need not carry anything from Nigeria. The Congo has all they need. The Yoruba and the remaining tribes would populate the departed areas of what is now Nigeria and hope there will be peace at last. If all that failed to bring peace, we would ask God to directly rule Nigeria as He did with the Israelites before there was King Soul.
The last suggestion is, let the English who caused the mess in the first place, by bundling together people with very little in common, come back and clean up their mess. Only watch out very carefully this time. The English have very light fingers and seem to enjoy it. They are totally incapable of learning from history and they may just as well walk away with the remaining natural resources.
Incidentally, Nigeria has no monopoly on "inane set of idiots ever to be granted human form." Check out what is currently happening in our own back yard, Kenya. As though stealing over a Billion dollars from people starving to death was not sinful enough, it is reported that some people dreamt they smelt a rat and on no other evidence besides the dream, tried to put a stop on the freedom of the press by burning the printing press. We have seen "shenzi" acts before. Could anything be more "shenzi" than that? Even Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka would find it hard to come up with a Nigerian equivalent. "Nkozi sikelele Afrika," God bless Africa.
And, if I may make another feedback; Cardinal Arinze, if he were to become a pope, would not have been the first black pope in the Vatican. History teaches us that there were three popes from Africa before him: Victor, 189-199A.D.; Melchiades 311-312; and St. Gelasius 496 A.D. See Liber Pontificalis (Book of the Popes), p17, for Pope Victor; for Melchiades, sometimes called Miltiades, p 40 Galasius, p110 (L. R. Loomis, translator. New York, 1916.)
If Africa must weep at all, and it looks there are enough reason to do so, Africa ought to weep for its leaders.
Prof. Sir Abukuse V.E.P.Mbirika
Photo Above: Riot police secure a riot affected area in Kaduna, Nigeria, Saturday Nov. 23, 2002. The Miss World pageant was relocated to England from Nigeria after over 100 people died in days of rioting in the city of Kaduna and more trouble erupting in the capital Abuja, the venue of the pageant.
Photo Above: Starving Biafran children awaiting food and treatment at a medical clinic in Mabaitoti - Owerri.
*Article Reason For Rejoinder Above is Published Below
Africa must weep for Nigeria
The most tragically ridiculously thing happened a couple of weeks ago. Nigerians set the most patently shortsighted world record in modern African affairs.
When the hullabaloo over the Danish-Muslim cartoon controversy seemed to be dying down, Nigerians got it into their heads that they needed to get in on the action. They then set about butchering each other in the name of religious anger that was misplaced.
Muslims in Onitsha were supposedly incensed that their prophet had been insulted and went about looking for the Christians, again from Onitsha who were responsible. Christians, their righteous anger thus aroused, decided to take God’s place, and slaughter their Muslim compatriots.
Of course, the violence had nothing to do with cartoons published in far-off places. If it was, then those who took part in it must rank among the most inane set of idiots ever to be granted human form. I am willing to bet almost anything that few who killed or died had seen the drawings or would even be able to locate Denmark on a map.
The violence, much more likely, had all to do with the ethnic tensions and divisions that have wracked Nigeria since independence, and which will keep Nigeria from ascending to its rightful place in the circle of important nations.
On the surface, Africa’s most populous nation should be, at the very least, a second-tier world power. It has all the blessings that Providence provides. First is a large, energetic and inventive population. Nigerians are so driven that the national caricature has become something between the loud, brash African and the ever-imaginative criminal. Your pick of the Good Nigerian, on the other hand, could range from Chinua Achebe to Francis Cardinal Arinze, the man who was tipped to become the first black Pope.
Nigeria also has an abundance of oil, which should give it wealth that would buy influence where it matters. As the Middle East becomes unstable and the demand for oil from the ever-hungry Americans, as well as India and China, rises, Nigeria should be sitting pretty, enjoying its status as Africa’s richest country. Instead, it is picking up charred bodies off the streets, praying and hoping that civil war will not follow closely on the heels of the violence in Onitsha.
You see, along with the blessings, Nigeria has its fair share of curses. As a matter of fact, one could argue that Nigeria has been the cauldron of experiments when it comes to Africa’s benighted status. Ethnic conflict so bad that it exploded into the Biafra war of the 1960s; humanitarian crisis; the perennial image of the African child, belly swollen and eyes full of flies, staring death in the face, did not start with Ethiopia or Wajir. No, the Nigerians had already given us a precursor in Biafra.
The mineral curse of Africa is being played out in the Delta region of Nigeria. The people in the region who are dirt-poor and largely forgotten by their government watch in ever-rising anger as oil is shipped off to feed the hungry maw of western commerce, making oil companies rich.
Their ‘leaders’, who should be looking out for their best interests, are happy if they can skim off a little or a lot of the revenue that comes their way. So the people watch as their air gets poisoned by the burning off of excess gas and as their waterways, which should have been full of fish are covered in a thick sludge of oil killing off all life.
And the absolute idiocy of religious conflict, so evident in Sudan and other places, is again played off perfectly in Nigeria — imposition of Sharia law guaranteed to provoke the militants on the ‘Islamic’ as well as the ‘Christian’ side of the equation. People murder each other for some distant belief, forgetting the ever-present reality that they are so poor and their lot so wretched that it is the height of folly for them to do so. So weep, perhaps, for Nigeria, the superpower that might have been had God (whoever you believe Him to be) not blessed it and cursed it in such equal measure.
* Kantai writes on African Affairs and is based in Pretoria, South Africa.
Prof. Sir Abukuse V.E.P. Mbirika
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