Geoffrey Anyanwu, Awka Former Vice Chancellor of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Prof. Ikenna Onyido on Monday blamed the drastic drop in the quality in Nigerian universities on lazy Professors, who he described as “internet professors.” Onyido, delivering the keynote lecture of the 55th Meeting of the Committee of Deans of Postgraduate Schools in…
History must now stop poking fun at King Nero of Rome for partying while the country burned. We cannot keep enjoying Old Testament comic relief when the Current Testament is replete with a thousand and one even funnier scenes and scenarios. Or, can you compare Nero’s hedonism to Nigerians’ crass stupidity? About time we picked the worse: the man who went a-partying while fire raged or a people who play with fire?
Nigerians play with fire 25 hours daily. We talk about war as if we learned nothing from our internecine, bloody civil war that lasted all of three years. We put our states and regions ahead of country, as if we would have had those geopolitical entities without the country. We hide behind our little fingers to play the small politics that divides and rules by hate, injustice and oppression. We provoke each other with enemy foul language and intermittently engage gear two with dastardly threats for a particular ethnic group to leave our zone. We are not a country. We are ethnic groupings.
Nigerians play with fire, every other day. Imagine the bloodletting that our land has seen. Brothers kill brothers with ease. We cheat, dupe, disparage, and condemn each other as if there’s no God. Yet, we shout God the most. We abhor statistics; therefore we don’t have -and may never have- any idea of how many lives we squandered when kidnapping and armed robbery and militancy went wrong or when Boko Haram let off their treasonable bombs or herdsmen went on rampage. We sit around laughing or waving off these fatal idiosyncrasies because, as we always brag, God is a Nigerian.
The Good, Old One who sits high up there must by now be tired of His Nigerian citizenship. I mean, who won’t grow weary of compatriots who abide in sin because grace abounds? Nigeria is in soup because Nigerians want her there. Nigeria is trapped because Nigerians would rather she was never free. Everyone is playing the game: hypocritically looking away while foot soldiers inflict maximum damage on my Nigeria. Down south, eastern governments went on French leave to allow protégés a field day during the Biafra public holiday declared by nobody known to law but obeyed 100% by everybody under the law. How I love this country for being so uniquely-strange and almost chameleonically so strangely-unique!
Up north, since it takes two to tango, a few youngsters apparently alarmed by the snowballing momentum of the Biafra idea, called a press conference at a venue that said it all and issued ‘Biafrans’ living in the north quit notice. The ensuing global outrage was approaching fever pitch when a northern academic-cum political veteran took to the rooftop to declare that the terminal provocation had the seal of some high places in the region that was so rich that it fed the entire nation singlehanded for six unbroken decades counting from amalgamation year. Funny how some lies can ring like the truth. Not to be left out, south southern warriors have positioned to rubbish the amnesty. They have asked the country to return not only all the oil blocs but also what has been used up. Now we await the strong boys of the southwest to jump into the fray. Would they?
There are two possibilities. They may not because currently their man is the acting holder of the yam and the knife. But, understanding how things work in this country, they may for purposes of strengthening his hand and scarecrowism. One also expects their elders, who never shy away from intellectual warfare (read activism) to take a stand publicly in no time. That’s how we roll in Nigeria. We are one country by mouth but in our hearts we are a tribe or state. Nigeria generates so much motion but records very little progressive movement.
Yet, we display our trademark hypocrisy by carrying on as if we don’t know why the country totters. Nigeria’s undoing is the citizens’ doing. The current psychological warfare only shakes the foundation of Nigeria, not the components. If Ndigbo leave the north (whatever that means) what’s sauce for the goose must go round so the gander and company can taste it too. Nigerians should not play with fire. No, that’s not what to say. Nigerians should stop playing with fire because this country, with her massive fuel deposits, is a time combustion. One of these silly jokes could touch off a conflagration with global consequences.
We have had enough of posturing. Intimidation/oppression would never wish away Biafra, or any form of injustice witnessed all over the place (the degradation in the Niger Delta and almajiris in the north). In fact, both tools can only provide counter results. Further intimidation/oppression would only activate and accentuate what I call the fight-back resolve. How did our country gain independence? How did Nelson Mandela et al remove South Africa from the throes of apartheid? And, even farther down the road, how did God free Israelites from Egyptian stranglehold? ‘The violent’ took it ‘by force’. Praise the Lord, somebody!
The point I have laboured to make all this while is that Nigeria is in dire need of unity; which is quite easy to achieve. Patient, diplomatic engagement would break the type of ice that no force, no oppression, no injustice could. We should be smart enough to know that ethnic hegemony or the defence of it is not the answer. No one region or tribe is greater or smaller nor would ever be. By the way, I think that it’s inferiority complex that pushes a subset to want to claim superiority in the set. Nigeria has six geopolitical zones, 36 states and 774 local government areas; which are all the same. Our umpteenth ethnic groups are equal. We are one people before God and the law. Just the West tried to pocket Africa to no avail, no one tribe in Nigeria can ever succeed in commandeering Nigeria. To insist is a preface to breakup. The jury is out today being June 12. God bless Nigeria!
Like life, like football
I was at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State last Saturday to cheer the Super Eagles of Nigeria to victory over South Africa’s Bafana Bafana. But no, the 0-2 result at the end of 90 minutes left me completely deflated.
Still, I remain a Nigerian and a Super Eagles fan forever. I would neither give up on any-good-thing Nigeria nor join any-bad-group castigating Nigeria. Since the unexpected, painful loss, Nigerians have taken to every available public medium to ridicule our country and our boys. I forgive the fair-weather citizens.
However, I need them to know that the problem was not the team, not the coach, and of course not the stadium. The problem last Saturday was that as in life, you can’t win every time. South Africa had always lost to us. It was natural to expect that they would break that jinx someday. Nigerians should be consoled though that at the end of the qualifiers, this same Super Eagles shall top their group!