If Nigeria fails, and I speak to degree of failure, for it is already failing catastrophically, it shall jeopardize the future of our seeds, and that of our race.
I was going to title this, The Burden Of Knowledge. But I won’t. I have refrained from the presumption of labeling everyone else as idiots, whilst laying claim to some intellectual capacity, which I do not possess. But I am completely convinced of the fact of the collective myopia of the Nigerian peoples. Ruiners and the ruined. The ruled and the rulers. Mutually devoid of the capacity to see, not to speak to the inability to envision. Blind bats! All puns intended.
I was at a gathering of men in the late afternoon and early evening of our lives. One of our numbers was having a barbecue in his backyard. Just us men, his family having traveled to the UK for the summer holidays. There were about a dozen of us men, no women, and the banter was in full flow before I joined the party. My entrance inevitably pulled the conversation towards the Nigerian question, and the lamentations that ensued would mirror the same ones that you would hear from Otuoke to Otukpo. The pains of the Nigerian peoples are unrelenting and common to all, even though they might be expressed in different tongues.
Then a long time friend came into the party, his must have been about the fourth such entree to what had become a well lubricated scene. Well tenderized suya had aided and abetted the liquor, and we had been oiling our vocal chords as we cackled as a gaggle of geese, wailing impotently over our country. I have been knowing this cat since our days in Okokomaiko. Hardworking man. Loves his wife and children without reserve, and educating his children has been his life mission. We are quite chummy and have shared sorrows and joy together. He is a friend. Let’s call him George.
George’s son had just graduated from Yale. He made a First Class. My friend is not a wealthy man. He does not own his own home. His children are the houses that he has ignored to build. He saved and scrimped, and so did the wife. They have deliberately sent their children to the best schools that money can buy, and they have dedicated their lives to the children. Their first child, a girl, had graduated with a Second Class Upper from a UK university, and now practices law in the father’s firm. We were universally happy for him, and we poured another round in celebration of our friend’s sacrifices, and the son’s resounding success. And then it began.
“He has been offered a full scholarship by Yale for his postgraduate studies” quipped Kunle. He lives next door to George, and whilst the rest of us hadn’t seen him since he returned from the graduation ceremonies, Kunle had all the gist and was in full flow, the father being less inclined to crow about the amazing results of his son. The several opportunities that have opened up to the young man started tumbling out, and the rest of the coterie of old men jumped on the bandwagon. The job offers in Europe, some from banks in the city of London, stock markets and brokerage firms in New York and all over America. I listened and was saddened by it all. I left in my usual unobtrusive manner, but I left a sad man. Saddened by our inability to see, and our failure to envision.
I wasn’t jealous. I am extremely happy for my friend, and I am ecstatic for the young man. But I am deeply saddened by what I heard about the future being envisioned by the gathering of my peers for the young man, and I was heartbroken to behold the inabilities to connect cause and effect. Nigeria is dying before our very eyes, but we have failed woefully at understanding this truth, and we are ourselves dying off and in several cases, we are also killing off the future of our seeds. Let me attempt to beam a torch in the hope that you might just be able to see what you have deliberately refused to see.
My generation is spending untold amounts of money on the education of our children. It matters little your place on the social ladder, you might be rich as Croesus or you might be the regular Joe in the civil service, your social and economic standing is irrelevant to the fact that you are solely responsible for the education of your children. The Nigerian state has long abandoned all pretense of being committed to educating the Nigerian child. The statistics are depressing for those that have retained the capacity for thought, and when the schools are available, illiteracy is what they teach. If you are reading this and resides in Lagos, chances are that whilst you attended public schools, none of your children would be attending one. If you are to have your way.
That I couldn’t hear a single person speak to a future incorporating Nigeria for the best of our seeds, educated sacrificially and at great financial cost, left me dejected. I was forced to confront a fact that I have railed about for a while, my deep doubts about the capacity of the children of the Nigerian middle classes, to survive in the country that they are going to inherit from us, their fathers.
Our children, the very ones on whose behalf some of us slaves daily, the ones that we have spent our lifetimes protecting from the evil realities of the country that they live in, even though several were deliberately born in foreign countries as an insurance policy against the country of their origin, are not possessed of the capacities required to survive the Nigerian state that they shall inherit from us, if we are not decisive and deliberate, in seeking a revolution in pursuit of their future. If we shall fail to rescue this country for our seeds, let me tell you what I am seeing in the dark.
Our seeds shall become as vagabonds. The true vagabond is the man devoid of roots, torn away from his lands of origin and stripped of his cultural and spiritual identity. The black man is already, largely a cultural and spiritual vagabond, rendered so by the centuries of brutal slavery, cultural and spiritual genocides, systemic dehumanization and the enforcement of an inferiority complex rooted in the destruction of the self esteem of the entire race. These truths are lost on some of the most intelligent ones, and are reflexively rejected by the incurious, but you would see it clearly, if you would dare to look.
The future of our race is in our own lands. If Nigeria fails, and I speak to degree of failure, for it is already failing catastrophically, it shall jeopardize the future of our seeds, and that of our race. I am not fixated on the idea of Nigeria, and it might very well be that we are better off separated, if a restructuring has become impossible to achieve, or inadequate to resolve the issues besetting Nigeria, but it is my considered opinion, that we must urgently seek a resolution of these issues, if we are not to irreparably imperil the future of our seeds. Inaction is not an option, and indolent prayers unyoked to radical actions, is as useful as a fart on the beach. God will not save Nigeria.