Nigeria: The Flaccid Trigger [Part 1]

Ideas pull the trigger but instinct loads the gun” – Don Marquis

        “The black man says it’s the white man. The white man says it’s the black man. Indians say it’s the coloured. The coloured say it’s everyone” – Lucky Dube

The idea of me wasn’t even conceived at the time a lot of the following events transpired. Much of the story is fact; the rest is a sparkly brew of conjecture and rationalization. This is a tale of the “-isms” lineage of monsters – each one more nefarious than its predecessor.

The British society has been found to be one of the most prudent – financially. They just seem to have a natural knack for business. That’s why I’m convinced that their best businessmen (and women) must have been on their colonization committees – if any such thing existed! It is no coincidence that virtually all former British colonies are (potentially) successful countries today – USA, India, Hong-Kong, Brunei, Ghana, Bahrain, Mauritius etc. By their genetic wiring, they are not donors; they are investors – astute businessmen! They didn’t venture into any territory from which they couldn’t reap huge returns.

Interestingly, the British were not the first explorers to visit the shores of Nigeria. The Portuguese had already established trade lines in “Las-Gidi” (formerly known as Lagos) and Calabar; dealing in all sorts – even slaves. Then, the British came calling. I would imagine that they spent the first few weeks in awe of the abundance they encountered: intellect, music, farm-produce, natural resources, art – even the number of people. We were not exactly the neediest people on earth when they came. We had however seen the white man as a new god and some of us were prepared to be at par with him – no matter whose ox was gored.

Perfect business atmosphere! Businessmen have never been known to be the greatest of moralists! The foreigners set about identifying their “clients” speedily. It suited the foreigners just fine that a local leader would sell his subjects for a glimpse of his wrinkled face in the mirror. Our heritage suddenly became “renewable” under the weight of a few pounds! “Amokoko! Make me another one of those statues your great-grand father used to make. Take this for palm-wine”. Morals were such a scarce luxury that people became commodity. It was only a matter of time before our Akotiletas realized that there is hardly ever enough to satisfy the beast of wantonness. Ori Olokuns, Bini Heads, Bronze statues and Terracotta works were fast running out of stock.

Colonialism crept in like the shadow of a ninja – quite but potentially lethiferous. They say nothing unites more than misery. It was at the bottom of that pit that we found purpose – and above all else, unity. After many decades of cruelty, freedom was in finally in sight. By the dawn of that greatly anticipated Saturday in 1960, we had learnt to speak with a common voice. Unity had been born by a mid-wife named oppression. Everyone was happy – even the sun was in such a boisterous mood that it forgot to set punctually. Colonialism within our borders was over. The “enemy” had taken its seat in the cinema; we were now on stage. The big brother of the “-isms” had been forced into retirement; INDEPENDENCE was ours at last.

Of course, no one expected us to be a world power while still under colonial rule – but all that was soon going to change. We had become independent and expectations grew accordingly – well, so did excuses. The next excuse was another “-ism”! Its own name was Racism; much bigger and stronger than his ancestor (colonialism). Still, if “man A” refuses to receive “man B” into his home (or even be friends) for whatever reasons, “man B” should go back to his own home and make other friends. Afterall, we had it all going for us – Agriculture, Music, Art, Gold, Columbite, Iron Ore; plus, “man A” will always need oil from “man B”. My maternal grandfather once watched a british cab-driver ditch a white caller for a Nigerian. When he asked the cab-driver why, he replied “I love Nigerians. You are so rich you sometimes forget money on the seat”. We were the envy of all our neighbours {remember the Ghana-must-go story?} Yet, it was easier to blame racism than to invest in educating the public.

When The Bahamas (national motto: Forward, Upward, Onward TOGETHER) got her independence in 1973, her government spent half of the national treasury on education; building and equipping free schools. Now, they have a 98.2% literacy rate {Nigeria, <60%}, a currency at par with the dollar and >90.7% of their population above the poverty line {Nigeria, <30%}. We, on the flip-side, obviously misplaced our priorities; evident in more ways than one. For instance, in the epic battle between God and motivation, motivation always beats God pants-down. Take a close look at our national anthem. How else do explain that Stanza 1 (Arise, o compatriots, Nigeria’s call obey … {Your country calls you}) comes before Stanza 2 (O God of creation, direct our noble cause …{We call to you})? Sometimes, we don’t even remember to take the second stanza!

Please continue to Part 2

PS – I learnt of Olaitan Olanipekun Oladapo A.K.A Dagrin’s passing mid-way through writing this. Hope you don’t mind that I’ll drop a line for him. He was a truly rare naija talent. “Jor O!”. Here’s praying fortitude for his family, producer and fans! RIP DaGrin!

This entry was posted in Amokachi, Bahamas, Colonialism, DaGrin, JJ Okocha, Kanu, Nigeria, Politics, Racism, Saro-Wiwa, Soccer, Tribalism, Tunde Solate, Voting and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Nigeria: The Flaccid Trigger [Part 1]

  1. Fehintolu says:

    Nice piece, I have had my musings on this too, it has a lot to do with the slave psyche in which a slave cant cope with freedom cos he is used to the slave master providing for his needs and the "slave masters" too know this and will rather give us aid/infrastructure that will keep us dependent than help us develop a learning system that will liberate us. Its unbelievable to know that Nigerians spend over N200 billion yearly to study in europe (predominantly UK)and they keep coming yearly offering scholarships that will keep us going back to them. one can keep talking for hours on this but the truth is, we need education that liberates the mind and not just the body. Nice work

  2. so much clarity and humor…as though he was looking from above when it was all going down.a story, well time to read part 2.

  3. ... says:

    @Fehintolu These issues would bother anyone that truly loves this country. Thanx for dropping by. Thank you more for caring. We'll get there soon!@Undaunted Thanx, bruv. U're my inspiration. Pls proceed.

  4. Truth told. O God of creation has created all natural resources(including gifted brains) that we need to excel as a country, the only thing lacking is EDUCATION (Theoretical, Practical and Relevant PRODUCTION Skill). Knowledge is Power, Power is EVERYTHING.

  5. ... says:

    @Nangoze When I watched Obama's victory speech live on TV, I remembered our little gist back in ETF! Your faith in that guy has always been inspiring!!!

  6. Moninuola says:

    I don't really believe that we lost much save for the plague of slavery. Maybe this view is biased and I won't disagree with that. I just like their lifestyle (The modern one and not the old brutes)

  7. ... says:

    @Fola Of course, a caricature is always biased. Still, thank God I wasn't born in the slave trade era!

  8. I so love your writing. It get me buried in it till the end. I doubt if we would ever recover all we've lost to our grand "enemies". Racism, the father of Colonialism… Hmmm… Imisi, na you talk am o. lol- LDP

  9. Imisi says:

    @LDP Thanx. If we put our hands to work, I'm sure the future's very promising. About d "isms", don't quote me in a thesis oh! Looooool!

  10. Pingback: Nigeria: The Flaccid Trigger [Part 2] | De-Me-Stified

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