Not fit to recite the national anthem

August 1, 2016 OPINION/NEWS

By

Prince Charles Dickson

So, if a turtle loses his shell, is he naked or homeless?

The idea of Nigerian unity has always been more myth than truth. “There’s never been one Nigerian culture or religion but rather several “Nigerias”. The country was settled, not as a single enterprise, but by entirely separate groups of people founding separate colonial clusters with very different ideals and goals.” I strongly argue, believe and finally posit that we assimilate not to a Nigerian culture, creed or spirit but to our regional culture, creed, spirit and nuance.

While the above is true, we are struck in disagreement as to whether there was or will be a day when our different cultures will share a common belief in objective truth and morality. And this is the focal narrative that informs this admonition, when ambassadors cannot recite the national anthem.

Our contestations are often on a three-way selfie trail, at the expense of an all-embracing multifaceted narrative. So my friend, big brother and cerebral Prof. Anselm Odinkalu writing on ‘The Igbo Question: A Response to Jibrin Ibrahim’, posits: “…Dr. Ibrahim had recently written about Barewa College, the legendary High School in Kaduna State that appears to hold a patent on producing Presidents and powerful people in Nigerian politics. But what have these people accomplished for Barewa, for their people or for Nigeria? All the Presidents he pointed to are from “the North”. But what have the people of this region had to show for their political musical chairs? Despite this lock on power, all the three zones and 19 States of northern Nigeria put together have less Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) than the six states of South-South Nigeria; the seven States of North West Nigeria (a zone that is a net importer of human resources from other parts and with nearly 30% of Nigeria’s population) together have just a little over half of the IGR of the five States of South East Nigeria which is a net exporter of human resources to the rest of Nigeria.”

And while this is an open contestation, add that to the fact that we have the Yorubas who constitute over 40 million people in total; the majority of this population is from Nigeria and make up 21% of its population, according to the CIA World Factbook, making them one of the largest ethnic groups in Africa.

These are the people that only in one state of Ogun can brag about Chief Olusegun Osoba, one of Nigeria’s all time leading prophet Fela Anikulapo Kuti, his brothers Olukoye, and Beko, and their mother Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti.

Obafemi Awolowo and MKO Abiola both acknowledged, as ‘Presidents’ Nigeria never had. And in no particular order Sen Abraham Adesanya, Wole Soyinka, Ola Rotimi, Mike Adenuga, Oba Otudeko, Tai Solarin and crown it with Chief Olusegun Obasanjo ‘OBJ’.

How about the Ndi-Igbos…The CIA World Factbook puts the Igbo population of Nigeria at 18% of a total population of 177 million, or approximately 32 million people. Southeastern Nigeria, which is inhabited primarily by the Igbo, is the most densely populated area in Nigeria, and possibly in all of Africa

And one state can brag that it has Nnamdi Azikiwe, Owelle of Onitsha – the first President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and historically, the only man whose name appeared in the Constitution of his country (Nigeria’s Republican Constitution of 1963).

Dr. Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme, hails from Okoh town, is a frontline Politician, Architect and the first executive Vice-President of Nigeria, serving 1979 – 1983.

Nwafor Orizu – hails from Nnewi, the first Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. And Dim Emeka Ojukwu – a native of Nnewi, the leader of the secessionist Biafra Republic; Senator Dr. Chuba Wilberforce Okadigbo; a native of Ogbunike, was President of the Senate of Nigeria.

Emeka Anyaoku – the first black Secretary-General of the Commonwealth and recipient of South Africa’s Order of the Companions of Oliver Reginald Tambo for his role in initiating talks between the apartheid state and the African National Congress (ANC);

Or Chief Jerome Udoji – from Ozubulu, a social reformer was the first African to be made a ‘D.O’ (District Officer) by the Colonial Administration. Cardinal Francis Arinze, once considered a potential Pope.

Louis Odumegwu Ojukwu – a native of Nnewi who was the first Nigerian millionaire and first president of the Nigerian Stock Exchange;

Professor Chinua Achebe – a native of Ogidi and best known for the classic, Things Fall Apart, was the first African writer whose books are standard curricula in schools and universities across the world.

I have done the above on intent, because if there is a people that is stereotypically believed to lack leadership, to be perpetually a conductor and water fetcher on the Nigeria drive and kitchen; they are the Igbos.

And in it’s very acknowledgment of WAZOBIA, a coinage taking into cognizance these three ethnic nationalities makes mockery and disenfranchises several millions of her citizenry that are not boxed into this classification.

So, today, most Nigerians are convinced that truth is whatever they say it is, that we must tolerate whatever does not harm us personally. We’ve lost any moral compass or consensus. When the hub of the wheel is gone, the spokes will eventually break.

And we are all dramatic because some ambassadorial nominees fail to recite the National Anthem, …ranting why our ambassadors to be cannot patriotically recite the anthem, like it is the first time it has happened, ranting like we are not the same people whose kids are littered all over the world acquiring foreign and class education, whose kids are taught more of nursery rhymes than patriotism…

We rant as if the anthem really means anything to us, like we ourselves can recite it, when we are more Ijaw than Nigeria, more Nupe, more Igala, more Idoma, Tiv, more Tarokh than Nigeria. When there is no ideological frame, no drive than a collection of myths. Beloved Nigerians dem no fit recite the national anthem, you wey sabi recite the pledge you don do Nigeria any better. Can the anthem of the Nigerian state mean something to us all, can it cause a rebirth, a true change or are we doomed to this continuum of one chance?—Only time will tell.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

princecharlesdickson

Prince Charles Dickson

Currently Prince Charles, is based out of Jos, Plateau State, and conducts field research and investigations in the Middle Belt Region of Nigeria with an extensive reach out to the entire North and other parts. Prince Charles worked on projects for UN Women, Search for Common Ground, and International Crisis Group, among others. He is an alumnus of the University of Jos and the prestigious Humanitarian Academy at Harvard and Knight Center For Journalism, University of Texas at Austin. A doctoral candidate of Georgetown University

Born in Lagos State (South West Nigeria), Prince Charles is proud of his Nigerian roots. He is a Henry Luce Fellow, Ford Foundation grantee and is proficient in English, French, Yoruba Ibo and Hausa. Married with two boys, and a few dogs and birds.

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