Saturday 7 September 2013

Nigeria: The advent of our Dark Ages is upon us

The life of a discussion
A discussion on Twitter has a tendency to grow legs and we wander off to places that could obfuscate or bring more clarity to issues sometimes forgetting how we ended up where we are.
One such discussion started off when I wrote about the particular, the case of Senator Sani Yerima’s daughter being married off at the age of 16 with a particular focus on advocacy and activism for the education of the girlchild. [AkinBlog]
Much as I thought my points were so clearly made, I ended up in a discussion where some took a contrarian view more towards extrapolation, generalisation and indifference.
Idealism absent of realism
However, what struck me was the view that Nigeria needs a radical reorientation, and there is no doubt that the citizenry need greater awareness of their place in Nigeria, the direction we want the country to move in and that should hopefully extend to how we choose our leaders, the way policy is formulated and maybe some progress towards realising the potential Nigeria always had but never exploited.
We then ended in the argument and counterargument of who was being idealist and who was being a realist. Whilst I could be either, depending on the perspective of an issue, I do always hope that I have the ability to see more than the obvious and think beyond the things that could inform my bias and prejudices, I hope I am more of a pragmatist.
Though the issue of the reorientation of Nigerians is critical, I am of the view that it is not something that can be realised in the short term, a view I do not think my assailants shared, which could leave them sitting on the bench of the idealist far removed from the reality that in a population of over 160 million with the issues to do to leadership, religion, tribalism, education, health, politics and corruption, this concept called Nigeria is one massive ocean liner than cannot be manoeuvred like a racing car.
Nothing in the horizon for change
Much as the views of a Tim Newman who made insightful observations of Nigeria and Nigerians after a stint as an oil industry professional might put us on the defensive, there is no doubt that along with those in leadership today, there does not seem crop of Nigerians that could be randomly picked from any walk of life with the wherewithal to act any differently from the brigandage in power and that is looking down generations to come already. [Sahara Reporters]
Teju Cole, an author and insightful commentator on issues Nigerian and African in a recent interview said he was more interested in African realism than African Optimism. [Africa Book Club]
I have many a time commented on the fact that we seem to exhibit such vacuous optimism in expectation of sudden miracles fuelled by heightened hopes for the impossible that the reasonable will find improbable and the rational might just ridicule as foolish that we are left with two traits that Lord Lugard observed of us as far back as 1922 in his book, the Dual Mandate, when he said – “Perhaps the two traits which have impressed me as those most characteristic of the African native are his lack of apprehension and his lack of ability to visualize the future.” [AkinBlog]
Our Dark Ages have begun
It was in a discussion last night that all these thoughts came together when @cchukudebelu said to me on Twitter – ‘You know how the "Dark Ages" destroyed European society - something similar is happening in Nigeria.’ [Twitter]
The penny dropped, because this seemed to define the gradual decline of Nigeria in all facets of societal, economic, social, religious, political and infrastructural needs of our dear country. This has been going on for over a generation and it will not be turned around anytime soon, though we can start the journey to a new future from today if the will and the wherewithal exists for such to happen
A long hard look at ourselves would indicate, we are complacently and recklessly descending into Armageddon with the brakes having failed, and the country in the hands of an unconscionable kakistocracy bent on retaining power at any cost with the man in charge not giving a damn about the consequences.
Our claims have been disclaimed
The honest truth is that 2015 provides no year of the Messiah and whilst we pine and wait in vain for deliverance coming for somewhere besides ourselves we will simply be chroniclers of the advent of our version of the Dark Ages, it will be left to history to judge if we have been benevolent, treacherous or indifferent with the legacy of a nation bequeathed to us by our founding fathers.
On the 1st of October, 1960, this is what Prime Minister Abubakar Tafawa-Balewa said, “So that we find ourselves today being tested to the utmost, we are called upon immediately to show that our claims to responsible government are well-founded, and having been accepted as an independent state we must at once play an active part in maintaining the peace of the world and in preserving civilisation. I promise you, we shall not fail for want of determination.” [AkinBlog]
It goes without saying that our claims to responsible government have been found wanting and we have failed with every determination and opportunity presented to bring Nigeria round to the vision, optimism and hope that greeted our independence and our people when we stood as a nation ready to take its place in the commonwealth of our global humanity.
Knowing the context of our Dark Ages
Lest we be at a loss as to what the Dark Ages means, the following dictionary definitions should help us understand the task we have ahead of us, that it would be step changes, little alterations, tinkering and activism on a whole range of little issues that could create great impact that will be the parts from which a sum and product of total reorientation will emerge – there is no telling which generation in the near or distant future will really see the Nigeria we have yearned for all our lives, for those before us and those that come after us.
Dark Ages [The Free Dictionary]
An era of ignorance, superstition, or social chaos or repression.
The early or crude stage in the history or development of something.
The entire Middle Ages, especially when viewed as a troubled period marked by the loss of classical learning.
There is plenty of ignorance to go round as there is atrocious superstition, with social chaos and repression in Nigeria today and whether we are learning anything new to bring about change is as debatable as it can be until the world comes to an end.
Encapsulating Tweets
These series of Tweets I posted will help close this discussion.
@DoubleEph It suddenly dawns on you that Nigeria has a generational societal burden that we believe will dissipate with good 2015 elections.
It took the description "Dark Ages" by @cchukudebelu for me to confirm Nigeria is in a generational rut with no turnaround in sight.
There is no new leadership in the waiting that suggests Nigeria is on the cusp for radical and generational change.
I fear that we might just be chroniclers of Nigeria's descent into total anarchy with the kind of leadership we have.
We are so apart from the ideal we seek and the cohesion necessary to give Nigeria a heading towards it.
Whilst Nigeria is not a lost cause there is little reason for great optimism in the quagmire of our stark realities.
We have become the passengers of the times, whether history will judge us as benevolent or treacherous is another thing.
@kayodebakre8 We constantly make the mistake that a Messiah exists that we overlook other potentially able leadership.@KwamiAdadevoh
I fear that what appears in the current Nigerian intellectual is the adulation of people, the revising of event and very little in ideas.
Welcome to the advent of Nigeria’s Dark Ages.

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