The events that have transpired 5000 years ago, 500 years, 5 years ago even 5 minutes ago, have determined what will happen 5 minutes from now, 5 years from now, 500 years from now and 5,000 years from now. All history is a current event. – John Henrik Clarke

I have tried to restrain myself from being drawn into the swirling public discourse regarding the current state of Nigeria, that is, its failing state… but when increasingly the space for commentary becomes filled with self-serving, often times poorly researched and written articles, surely my fathers before me and the God of Africa will be displeased that I have not applied myself fully to contributing my quota, along with countless other Afrocentric thought leaders, to ensure Africa is restored to its previously respected place in the world. 

I often laugh when I hear people say things like ‘we are in trouble in Nigeria’, ‘Nigeria has problems’, ‘Nigeria is a failing/failed state’. Are you kidding!?! Oh really, you just realized that? 

I laughed even more when I read an article recently where the author only just realized that Nigeria is doing everything to kill him. Lol. What a joke! 

No, Nigeria is not trying to kill you, or even its new-born’s. Not even at the point of birth where there is sudden power failure in the middle of the delivery at many of the glorified morgues that we call hospitals. 

It is not even trying to kill myself, who visited several hospitals over a 15 year period trying to diagnose a mild irritation until I decided to seek a second opinion at a foreign hospital where I was diagnosed under 15 minutes and told that pain killers such as Ibruprofen that had been prescribed severally to me in Nigeria was doing nothing but making the condition worse. 

So no, Nigeria is not trying to kill us my brother! 

The foundations of our problems 

The seeds of the problems that have brought us to the brink of failure were sown decades, perhaps even centuries ago. I often wonder why this isn’t a more widely acknowledged view by most Nigerians, I mean the information is out there staring us in the face. But like they say, if you want to keep anything from an African...

Furthermore, it appears we suffer from some rare form of collective historical amnesia, compounded by an outdated educational curriculum that was mostly designed and handed down to us by our colonial masters.

A curriculum that in my humble opinion, does nothing but prevent us from gaining deeper knowledge of our historical and cultural achievements, perpetuates the myth that we were a clueless people who had to wait for European explorers to discover our lands and rivers, and ultimately does nothing but mentally condition the majority of Nigerians for a life of servitude.

The result of this is a self-debasing malady where the average Nigerian cannot fathom the possibility that millennia ago, people of Semitic and Caucasoid origins journeyed to Africa to study at our prestigious universities, many even lying that they did when they didn’t. The same way we are now trooping to foreign universities, with some even presenting fake certificates, oftentimes of universities that do not exist.

As I argued in a previous post, we had the Oyo, Nupe, and Benin Kingdoms (just to mention a few) dating as far back as the 14th century with Portuguese explorers commenting when they visited the Benin Kingdom in 1495, about ‘the thirty main streets, all straight and wide, the radial (ring) road network which was far ahead of anything they had seen, the etiquette of the people as well as their cleanliness’.

The sad reality however now, is that we are a conquered people, relegated to the lowest rung of the development ladder. Slavery and colonization brought us to our knees. The informed know that it is the victor who writes history. The consequence is that Africa and its former glorious civilizations have been conveniently written out of history. 

Africa was divided along economic lines of European interest at the Berlin conference. A Marshall plan of the kind that was developed for Europe after the Second World War was never developed for Africa. 

The solution

The deeper knowledge of our history, of ourselves, holds the key to the one thing that can truly unite and liberate us as a people; this is our African-ness! 

This may seem an overly simplistic a solution to the uninformed, however it will not be the first time that the solution to a problem has eluded thinkers even when the answer stared them right in the face!

What we MUST realize is that WE ARE AFRICANS FIRST BEFORE ANYTHING ELSE; Christian, Muslim or whatever other ‘adopted’ religion that we practice. This is the only thing that can truly unite us and it must become our new mantra lest we are doomed to self-destruct. 

In case you didn’t get that, what I am saying is that before we were Christians, Muslims or anything else, we were Africans in spirit, mind and physical appearance. The predominance of eumelanin in our genes is testament to the latter fact. This will translate to increased tolerance because you would appreciate the other as a fellow African first, before you see them as anything else. This is our collective heritage.

It is only by truly realizing this, driven mainly by a deeper appreciation and celebration of our historical and cultural achievements that we can perhaps begin to gain a better appreciation of ourselves as a people. 

The other benefits would include collective self-confidence, improved self-esteem as well as the development of a healthier world view which is a prerequisite to holistic National development.

I mean what really differentiates a Nigerian from an American, British or Chinese? From the field of sports to aeronautical science, Nigerians have bested their contemporaries in different parts of the world. . I myself bested many of them both in the classroom and at work abroad so I ‘KNOW’ this for a fact. 

I remember running into Tuface a few months ago and we had a conversation along similar lines where he wondered why Nigeria could not arm its citizens with the same degree of confidence as more advanced economies did.

We MUST bring our leaders to the realization that we are no longer slaves bound in physical chains. That medieval time is long past. They must shed that colonial mentality that the masses must be haplessly subservient to their masters. We live in a totally different world now where silly statements like ‘telephone is not for the masses’ has no place.

The American, British or even Chinese authorities will never just abandon their distressed citizens both at home and abroad. The Chinese who we can more closely relate with have succeeded in bringing the perpetrators of recent terrorist attacks in their countries to book in record time. How different are they from us really?

We must value our people, empower and protect them both at home and abroad. We must overtly do this and never apologize for doing so. It begins with you reading this, how do you view yourself and your fellow Nigerian?

I laugh again now, because I know taking the foregoing to heart for most Nigerians is akin to the proverbial camel passing through the eye of the needle. Many will continue to pray and hope instead. Not that I have anything against either, but there is a point at which a people must begin to take their destiny into their hands, where even the Almighty will not be pleased should they fail to do so, as they delay the unfolding of its ultimate plan for humanity. 

Others will continue to hold on to the illusion that it is their God given right to rule Nigeria in perpetuity. There is only one inevitable outcome for both positions.

So knowing ‘Nigerians’, it will get much worse, before it gets better.

In the meantime however, government, please #BringBackOurGirls. They are our kin. Our sisters, daughters and nephews.

They are Africans first, before anything else…

Peace and Blessings