The Intellectuals in Nigeria  

      You're animated as you prepare to listen to, or observe the actions of an intellectual. Why? The scripture told us that, a companion of the wise will be wiser, and the foolishness of a fool will be exacerbated as he gangs out in a companion of fools. True, you derive wealth of knowledge from intellectuals. Don't you know that they are different groups of intellectuals on this planet earth? Of course, Nigerians have made incredible prints all over the world in spite of their limited modern technology. However, another group of "intellectual" co-exists with these magnanimous people: the list is too long to mention.

      In the military circle, Nigeria will forever remember and mourn Major Chukwuma Nzeogwu, whose parents hailed from Asaba, but was raised in Northern Nigeria. A brilliant and broad-minded Nzeogwu died during Nigerian's Civil War, but his legacies are still honored and cannot be forgotten. Suffice it to say that, Nzeogwu was a model in the army of our time, beyond Nigeria's boundaries. Another Asaba indigene raised in the North and whom General Ibrahim Babangida (IBB) hangs out with is Chief Sunny Odogwu. As the saying goes, show me your friends and I will tell you who you're. Of course, both men are "intellectuals" as IBB is a self acclaimed genius and Chief Odogwu being a self made mouth-piece and geology Professor of Kaduna, Northern Nigeria.

      Thisday newspaper of June 26, 2006 told us that, "oil belongs to the North says Babangida's In-Law. The oil flow from North Africa and could have been prevented from reaching the south." I dare say that, any body who believes that Odogwu had not discussed this national issue with his cohorts before this newspaper interview is a fool. As it is, Odogwu does not even know if the whole geographical area of Nigeria lies to the West of Africa and not North of Africa. Furthermore, Odogwu did not reason that the oil liquid as he puts it could have all flowed to South Africa, or got trapped in Niger Republic. Why the liquid did not all flow to central, East or South Africa is of course beyond his limited thoughts. Same publication quoted Odogwu as having said, "I created the states that all of them are using now - Edo or Delta name it, all the states of South-South, starting from IBB to Abacha." You can imagine the caliber of people that had managed the affairs of this oil rich country, Nigeria. At least it's no more a rumor how Asaba was made the capital of Delta State. Creation of state is good for better administrative purposes but the criteria for creating such states are relevant because it must impact on the people. You should expect confusion after states were discussed and created by people without simple knowledge or vision; people with sleepless nights that make vital decisions when drunk in beer/brandy while chewing northern delicacy, "suya." As silly as the interview may be, it's a fine revelation not to the people of Delta State but to the people of Delta Province. While they, (People of Delta Province) were quarreling among themselves why the capital was moved to Asaba, their fate had long been decided by incompetent men (IBB and Sunny) soaked in alcohol. Was anyone in Delta Province as close to IBB as Sunny? No, so would anybody from that area think that, in an era of creating States not by economic, cultural, geographical, or ethnicity, but by who knows who, the proper criteria would ever be adhered to? Therefore, the people of Delta Province must realize now never to be set-up again by outsiders to fight and destroy themselves. It's painful that it ever happened in the first place. Why would Odogwu not be a millionaire when his brother, IBB looted the nation's treasury including all the gains of the Gulf war? We're yet to know what EFCC has up their sleeves. Sure, it's okay for EFCC to prosecute the rotten eggs in Nigeria, thereby deny them of electoral opportunities, but it will be a big joke for EFCC to weaken the political spirit of Southerners with the threat to expose bad people and clear the way for IBB to contest 2007 election. Thus, if EFCC cannot expose IBB's fraud, then, they (EFCC) have no moral obligation to probe anybody in Nigeria in view of the forth coming election. There are dozens of Nigerians ready to unravel IBB's fraud from the financial records, so to say, that IBB has a clean record, to contest election and has not been probed before now is absolute nonsense. The fact is that, the barrels of oil were exported to Europe and America. As such, records of payments and subsequent withdrawals can be obtained easily till this day from abroad, and the Central Bank of Nigeria. The deliberate burning of important documents in the various ministries has not totally destroyed evidences against IBB and his fellow military rogues. The Punch newspaper of June 30, 2006 said, "The EFCC chairman recalled that Nigeria's external debt, which stood at only $4 billion in 1985, ballooned to about $20 billion in 1990." Keep in mind, a loan is different from the gains of the Gulf war, yet IBB who committed all these atrocities is insinuated to have clearance to campaign for election. God's given common sense tells us that, it's not only when you're able to trace looted money, that the culprit is guilty. As long as evidences are available that the accused person stole, he must be convicted. What gives anyone the impression that IBB Muslim brothers in Saudi Arabia will reveal any information concerning their Muslim brother's wealth, if that is where he (IBB) have starched all our oil money?

      As an African, the United Nation (UN) scribe, Kofi Annan identified African's most crucial problem of African leaders stealing from their countries and depositing the loots in foreign countries. He (Annan) therefore solicited for the UN body to endorse traced looted funds be returned to the country of origin. This is just a kind of help especially to African nations and must not be misconstrued to mean that only those with traced funds abroad are thieves.

      Anyway, let's now return to the issue of intellectuals. I was bemused and flabbergasted with that talk from Odogwu. Nevertheless, was Odogwu just being facetious? No, though the interview was inane, because news goes the entire world in a jiffy, as such, the comments were reprehensible of a Nigerian. In response to Odogwu's interview, Johnson Toyo, through NigeriaWorld website of June 28, 2006 said "stupid Sunny never listened to his teachers beyond primary six if he attended secondary school at all, and obviously never attended a class in geography for a day in his life. It's time, we brought him out in public, whip him to order and tell him how really stupid he is and then let him go and spread the message to his likes." The recommendations of Toyo are enough for Odogwu. However, I'm worried with the flogging recommended for a 67 years old Odogwu because it's not the doctrine of the Christian religion to cause the death of anyone. Therefore, are we sure his age that did not come with wisdom can withstand flogging? Yes, he will not die with only six strokes, but will live to remember the consequences of his stupidity. Does anyone think Odogwu ridiculed himself? No, he did not. It's the belief of the North that, they own the oil wealth in the South, and political power hence, their thoughts, and imaginations remain the same. After all, a State in the North has it as a slogan inscribed on their vehicle plate, "born to rule."

      Instances abound of "intellectuals" in Nigeria. Years back when a political heavy weight in Kano State was asked about mineral resources in his area, his response was on soft drinks: Coca-cola, sprite, seven-up etc. "'Haba', there are lots of Coca-cola, etc available", the henchman said. These "intellectuals" are inept and grievous. What do you expect from a Chief Justice of a nation? Knowledge, integrity, honesty, etc. In terms of truth, the supposedly intellectuals often prevaricated. Vanguard newspaper of June 27, 2006 quoted Nigeria's Chief Justice (CJ), Salihu Modibo Alfa Belgore, as having said, "Past military rulers who seized power by force in the history of our country came on board to cure dangerous maladies capable of disintegrating the Nigerian nation." Though a terse statement as it seems, these publications go all over the world since technology had made the world a global village. In this modern age, a nation's CJ can say this, so why do we blame most part of the world when they look down on Nigerians. For him to give a round of applause to his Northern brother(s), you also wonder if the CJ knew Nigerian history at least from date of Independence to 1999. You also wonder if the CJ read political science and if he is able to apply that knowledge to democracy, which is in an infant stage in Nigeria. History cannot overlook these "intellectuals." 

July 3, 2006