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This Race is for the Swift

1. The Road to the Today

Humanity has made progress, since the dawn of time. We started our aspiration to the heights, on that morning of creation; immediately we escaped the primeval soup; that ancient cauldron, where light and heat, cooked chemicals into flesh and converted atoms to life

Reality was a canvass of boundless possibility. We seized that opportunity. We quickly ascended ladders of complexity. We acquired tissues and layers of organization, which placed the human animal in the stead, to conquer and dominate existence.

And conquer existence; we did!

We pioneered into the unknown. Rolled back frontiers of ignorance. Invaded sanctuaries of superstition and ripped fatalisms and nihilistic ontologies asunder. We interrogated life and continued to inquire into the very basis of reality. We scaled heights of space, and peered into the soul of the universe. We plumbed the deepest seas, and the profoundest depths of the human psyche, to confront some of our demons.

We have continued to swim across impossible straits; bridge improbable chasms; and span unbridgeable gulfs. We have continued to create universes of meaning; synthesize fabrics of epistemic significance; create conceptual schemes; construct architectural opulences, that genuflect to nature, caress our egos and serenade our senses with grand symphonies of symmetry and symbolism. We wrought signs and wonders. Created miracles. Nature bowed in subservience to our ingenuity.

The paths we blazed; since leaving the Rift Valley Lake-sides of the East African Plains, through Ancient Egypt; ancient African empires to Rome, were testaments to the adaptive genius of man. We criss-crossed untamed wilderness. We let cities, and nations sprout out of marshes, mountains and plains. From the early awakenings of the Renaissance, we strove to push the boundaries of human knowledge and civilization further. We rolled back the vestiges of the Dark Ages. The Industrial Revolution gave us a push that set us upon the path that led us to splitting the atom, and stepping on the moon.

2. The Hiccups, Prospects and Shots at Immortality

In spite of the heritage of destruction, the celebration of savagery and the banality of evil, we have convoked off our prowess as human beings; in spite of the perennial and brutal inhumanity, we have submitted those epistemic tools to, we succeeded in letting loose an energy; a process and an awakening that has been unstoppable since then.

Today, at the rate we are barreling down the highroads of progress, immortality and forever may be here in a decade or two. Artificial intelligence, reversal of aging in lab animals, colonizing Mars, securing food and energy sources, etc are all arrows shot at immortality, on a daily basis by those societies that saw tomorrow today

3. Where is NIgeria in this Picture?

Europe and the West, are busy taking shots at immortality in the here, while many Africans are busy, being conscripted and enslaved to a myopic epistemology of praying for immortality, in a heaven in the hereafter. While others are propelling themselves into prime positions of socio-economic advantages, Nigeria is busy creating an essential arena, where superstition meets tomorrow.

The whole metaphysic of Nigeria as a country, seems based on the philosophy of organized irresponsibility of power. This favored the colonial imperialists, that cobbled that geopolitical construct together, for their plunder. It helped them direct rivers of stolen African wealth, flowing like the Thames, into London, and other colonial metropoles. Lugard was the errand boy that chaperoned that heist.

Today this same construct, is serving the rich and privileged brigands, who hijacked the State, and turned it into a piggybank for themselves and their families, in a festival of infinite myopia since 1st October 1960. Those actively misgoverning Nigeria today, are armed with the metaphysic of colonial houseboys. The ontology is plunder. The State is there to serve their avaricious estates. And their only ambition is to steal anything that can be stolen.

Civilized humanity has been constantly churning out programs to colonize tomorrow, with cascading niagara of innovations. These are designed to irrigate and reconfigure the socioeconomic and cultural landscapes of not only their societies, but also that of humanity at large. They are comfortably consolidating their roles as world leaders, in all vistas of human endeavor. They are not resting on their oars celebrating their previous achievements. They are mapping out huge percentages of their resources for research, on how to conquer and domesticate the future.

In Nigeria, large percentages of our resources are mapped out to be stolen. Our greatest ambition as a country has been to construct the biggest and largest monuments to our superstitions. Our national destiny has been a project of perennial assault on decency. We build churches instead of research centers. We go on pilgrimages to massage our impious neurosis and consolidate our superstitions.

Our pilgrim routes lead to Mecca and Jerusalem. Never to the Silicon valley or any other center of innovation. We go to canonize our ignorance, instead of our curiosity. We come back to dumb our society with tall tales told by idiots; full of sound and fury; signifying nothing.

When we travel, we consign ourselves to centers of pleasure and religion. We come home with nothing save tales. When Westerners come to our shores, they come with eyes for opportunity. They look out for areas that bear resources they need for their advancement. They take our herbs and extract their pharmacological properties. They make drugs out them to heal their own diseases and to sell to us. Our own people that came back from Mecca and Jerusalem urge us to go and pray to be cured of our ailments. When they come to us, they take the ores of our earth. Convert them into finished products, for their use, and to sell to us. Our own Marco Polos come back only with tall tales garnished with maggi and crayfish to make inglorious rascality sound holy to our ignorant ears. And we clap and chant Alleluia and praise the Lord. And our poverty keeps abiding with us.

Serious countries and blocs like Europe and ASEAN region and China are building programs that fund and finance research across the sciences; while Buhari is busy flying to London for treatment. These guys are on a rampage in their bid to capture tomorrow; while poor Nigerian young people are on the social media, canonizing Saraki; a Bank wrecker as the best thing to happen to us since Ofe Ora. That is those who are not escaping Nigeria to die in the Sahara desert; sold as slaves in Libya or die crossing the Mediterranean in an attempt to come into some comfortable slavery in Europe.

Is it not eye opening that it was Abacha who talked about vision 2020 for Nigeria? Where has vision 2020 gone? Where did the funds mapped out for it go?

How much is Nigeria spending on research in any area?

Or are there no areas of immediate need, where Nigerian academics could become world Leaders? What about malaria eradication, which is now strictly a third world problem? Must we reinvent the wheels? Medical journals are filled with research on how Southern Europe eradicated malaria. What is Nigeria, where malaria incidence proliferates like the flu, doing?

Go take a look at the 80 Billion Euro, European Union Horizon 2020. Take a look also at their program titled Erasmus+. After that come back and meet me by the rivers of Benue, which is turning into our own Rivers of Babylon; and let us weep together.

Written by
Onyemaechi Ogbunwezeh
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