Questions keep flooding my head. Why are we like this in Africa? Why are we like this in Nigeria? What has happened to us in Africa? What has happened to us in Nigeria? Although many people may think that these questions are unnecessary, I do not. As a budding enthusiast of African studies, I have often had to turn (and I still do) to the interesting world of books for answers to some salient questions about why we are here, why we live, and how we should live as Africans, as people of peculiar history and origin. Peeping into the world of knowledge has taught me about many things: some good and some not so good.
One good thing that curiosity has revealed to me is that Olodumare (God in Yoruba), in his uncanny and stunning wisdom, designed the planets, of which ours is one. The same Olodumare gave to the people he made to live on earth different approaches to handling their affairs, of which religion was to later become one as an addition of humankind though. I understand religion to be one of the integral components of culture. Only an asinine mortal would argue against this. Language, as many people know and agree, is also a component. The Yoruba language is a component of the culture of those known as the Yorubas in Nigeria. I am ‘sanely’ and genuinely one of them. Similarly, the Igbos, the Hausas and several other races have languages as components of their cultures.
Before his death a long time ago, the philosopher-genius Karl Marx had reasonably foreseen that a people who forget their culture would lose grasp of their future. As a spiritual component of culture, religion is said to be humanity’s way of maintaining harmony with the Supreme Being, whom, in my case, I recognize to be Olodumare. Such harmony (or relationship) is spiritual and personal. It even stems from the mortal’s immediate cultural environment. The language of such a relationship is equally from within the mortal’s cultural milieu.
However, I am yet to find any sense in why a man should feel that his origin inflicts some sort of inferiority complex on his being and character – a fatal error committed by most brainwashed and misled Africans! This illogical feeling usually would lead such Africans to jump at alien origins – this is the portrait of any African being still in search of an identity.
In every human setting, there are misled African souls. A disheartening truth however is that it is in the Third World that you find them most. Third World is the phrase – to sound biological, a genus – that defines countries of the Southern divide (Africa, South America and some Asian countries). In the Third World, you will find ‘savages’, ‘black monkeys’, ‘barbarians’, ‘pagans’, and ‘the unsophisticated folks’ – according to the Gods of Africans – the West. Good thing some Pan-Africans have fired back at their white enemies, saying that we are not savages, monkeys or barbarians as they portrayed us. But the whites, through our anti-African thoughts, actions and attitudes, get exonerated easily. Every moment we rubbish our origins, roots, tongues, and black self-esteem to the detriment of our collective integrity as a people that have got distinct and naturally sanctioned ways of life, we encouragingly tell our Gods and Goddesses in the West that we truly are monkeys, barbarians, savages as written in their books about Africans. Apes still obey!
Nigerians (found in Africa) are also under focus here. From my usually critical chats with many fellow Nigerians, I have discovered that 8 out of 10 Nigerians are incredibly gullible. And this is regardless of their age brackets. They are so gullible that virtually all things – ranging from the most irrational to the utterly absurd– sink well in their heads. This is Nigeria, an ex-British colony. Although officially, she is almost 49 years old, history says she has spent well over a thousand years. Her citizens were once regarded as the ‘happiest’ and the ‘most religious’ on earth. Here, poverty is a friend of many, whose number surpasses those to whom it is an enemy. Such exceptionally ‘un-poor’ Nigerians are usually at the corridors of power.
They also are in the now famous and lucrative ‘Lord’s vineyard’, where people are fleeced and exploited by the few who know how to use their minds well, aided by some written but debatable documents. In the Lord’s vineyard, the application of logic is like courting a plague. In fact, one may call it a forbidden fruit. “Just listen, obey and do as the Scriptures say”, ‘victims’ are often told. It appears logical to declare then that a slave will think like a slave, even in freedom – after the chains are broken. Perhaps, the ‘slaves’ among us still wait to be told by the Cable News Network (CNN) or on Facebook that, over a hundred years earlier, Wilberforce stopped the monstrous ships that came into Nigeria through places like Badagry, Calabar, Port Harcourt and other ‘slavery routes’.
Wait no more to know that the slave trade is over. Not totally though, as we still have among us, people who would not disembark from the slave merchants’ ships. Let us, in our usual cowardly fashion, pray that God should set them free. Our collective progress is the worst hit for our passivity and cowardice, both in words and in deeds.
In this part of the world, so many incredibly silly statements beat our senses silly. And so are our abilities to reason critically. This is why I feel compelled to pass this to you all. Look around, shake a fellow gullible Nigerian and tell him or her, “Thou art incredibly gullible”.