– The Sun News

Nigeria in search of history

Newton Jibunoh

Sometime last week, as I pondered on the next topic for my column, I was reminded by a member of my desert expedition team that drove with me from Nigeria to London in 2008, Ebun Olatoye, that next month would be the 10th anniversary of that journey and also the 15th anniversary of my first solo expedition driving from London to Nigeria across Europe, the Mediterranean Sea and the Sahara. While I was still reflecting on all this, I got a call from a lady that called herself Aisha from Kaduna. The lady said she had followed my stories for over 40 years and has been following my contribution in The Sun newspaper and wondered if Nigerians do read because, if they
do, they would come to realise that I warned the country barely 20 years ago about the current crises we now seem to be experiencing with the herdsmen. Then in an angry voice, she told me that Nigerians kill our history and kill our heroes as well. I was not sure if that was a compliment; however, I thanked her for following my story and reading this column every week like she said. She may be right because I know of a few heroes that have been killed and a few historical moments that are no longer remembered.

I recall the Independence Building in Lagos that was built to commemorate the most important moment in our history, our freedom. It was the most beautiful sight you could find anywhere and the tallest building in Nigeria that attracted tourists from all over the world. It was a monument sited in the most celebrated open space known then as the Race Course but now known as Tafawa Balewa Square. Another masterpiece was the Federal Secretariat in Ikoyi. These buildings were examples of a city that was a masterpiece to behold. We were a nation that treasured its history and created lasting memories with the present. Decades later, many of the monuments lie in deplorable states, almost as if what they represent no longer matters or is no longer remembered.

As it stands, it appears that no government in Nigeria today including the federal government can afford to build such monuments certainly not with the way we share our profits and capital coming from our oil resources. So, for today’s column, I will attempt to recall the past by sharing some historical and iconic photographs from my expeditions.

In 1968, I went on my first expedition, driving from London to Lagos, Nigeria. It was a solo trip. I didn’t choose to do it alone but because no one wanted to come with me. It was the same with my second trip, this time from Nigeria to London. However, this time around, it wasn’t an isolated trip though I was making the journey alone. NTA and CNN covered the expedition all the way to London including the warm reception that I received there by the then Nigerian high commissioner to the UK, Prince Bolaji Ajibola. These expeditions made me more aware of the extent of degradation taking place in the environment and how little was being done to stop it and repair the damage that had been done.

Ten years ago, I turned 70; it was a time when climate change and desertification, drought and famine were very topical issues engulfing many countries, especially in Africa. Nigeria, like many other countries, was just realising the need for climate mitigation and adaptation. It was forgotten that I had warned the nation about impeding catastrophes.

With the little support that I got from the diplomatic community, the foreign affairs ministry and a few private organisations, a team of six men and women volunteered to accompany me on my third expedition with the theme “Passing on the torch,” because I knew then that it would take the younger generation to continue and complete this campaign as some of the projects to mitigate would take somewhere between 40 and 50 years to materialise. We were flagged off in Lagos by the then governor of Lagos State, then the ministry of foreign affairs and the ministry of the environment in Abuja and the emir of Kano Alhaji Ado-Bayero in Kano.

We crossed the Sahara, crossed the Mediterranean and drove through major cities of Europe spreading the advocacy and linking desertification to climate change under the banner of FADE (Fight Against Desert Encroachment). Strangely enough, we were able to park in front of Eiffel Tower in Paris, the British Parliament in London and also the front of the London Eye. In all three places, we were celebrated even though we oftentimes parked in a non-parking zone to capture the moments in stills. On our return to Nigeria, we made a report to Lagos State government and were subsequently invited to Lagos State Executive Council meeting, where I made a presentation warning the country about the impending migration from the desert-affected part of the continent and Lagos being the more likely city to be the recipient of such and also the threat to food security. It was at that stage that Lagos decided to get more involved in the campaign, which resulted in a collective fourth expedition inside the Sahara at Agadez. What was to be a yearly expedition was unfortunately brought to a halt due to the activities of insurgents like Boko Haram.

There is a point to all this. A nation that does not recognise and value its history, whether bad or good, may never learn to do better in the future. Many times, history sounds out warnings of things to come that we can prevent, if we take action on time.

For the benefit of younger Nigerians who hopefully will become leaders of tomorrow, the history of Nigeria must be preserved because there is so much to learn from every good or bad move that we have made since Independence.

We must try not to keep sweeping the bad under the carpet because it will return to haunt us indefinitely.


About author

Tokunbo David
Tokunbo David

Writer and editor.

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  1. Ezekiel Okeke 5th July 2018 at 7:37 am

    This territory natives are not searching history, never do. This territory natives are writing history, has written history. Those illiterate fools in the illiterate adventure with the fraudulent political name Nigeria, are the ones searching history- searching history which has consumed them and must consumes the to full extermination in this natives territory of Disintegrated Republics and on African Soil- they are British bandits and fraudulent criminal America with their fulani fraudulent criminal sultanate political government with its emirates and the dead fraudulent political name Nigeria with their brainwashed terrorism mercenaries nickname military, police etc., and the generation of failures which succumbed and accepted fulani Political Control via fulani fraudulent criminal sultanate political government with its emirates under the dead fraudulent political name Nigeria with their brainwashed terrorism mercenaries nickname military, police etc. controlled by British bandits and fraudulent criminal America with their fraudulent criminal UN of 20th century world international order. The judgment day has come in this final conquest of the Liberation Revolutionary Warfare of the natives under the natives Disintegrated Republics which ends in Sokoto- the sit of the satan of this natives territory and under Southern Countries Union- SCU which comprises Asia, Africa, South America and parts of Europe under which 21st century Africa exist and secured. This is 21st century world international order. 20th century world international order is dead and gone forever. God Is With Us!!!

  2. Dr.Uche Kalu 5th July 2018 at 1:12 pm

    Damn you, Mr. Newton Jibunoh!
    While you were driving from London to Nigeria in 1968, I was a 19 year old Biafran Army Officer; an Upper Six High School Student, who had left school and took up arms to defend my peoples against the Nigerian Vandals and Savages, who had invaded our God’s own Christian Republic of Biafra, the Land of the Rising Sun!
    It seems as if, Mr. Newton Jibunow is so starry eyed that he is quite oblivious of the incipient genocide going on yonder in the North of our country.
    This moribund failed country of ours is soon gonna be a history if
    the power-that – be, the Fulanis and their Caliphate of Sokoto don’t agree to have the country restructured before heading for Presidential Election in 2019.
    Of course, the Fulani Caliphate of Sokoto is wont to insist on the maintenance of its current firm grip on our Fatherland.
    But Mr. Newton Jibunoh and his fellow ”On Nigeria ” proponents ,can be rest assured that come 2019,we Biafrans shall be holding Requim Services for Nigeria and chanting
    Nunc Dimittis for our God’s own Sovereign Christian Republic of
    Biafra,the Land of the Rising Sun.
    No to the status quo ante bellum!
    Down with Hausa/Fulani /Kanuri Islamic hegemony!!
    All Hail Biafra, the Land of the Rising Sun!!!

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