The Last Nigerian Mohicans and Mayors

November 13, 2018 Nigeria , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS

Reuters photo



Prince Charles Dickson



Have you read the book The Last of the Mohicans: A Narrative of 1757 (1826), it is a historical novel by James Fenimore Cooper?


The Last of the Mohicans is set in 1757, during the French and Indian War (the Seven Years’ War), when France and Great Britain battled for control of North America. During this war, both the French and the British used Native American allies, but the French were particularly dependent, as they were outnumbered in the Northeast frontier areas by the more numerous British colonists.


At the time of Cooper’s writing, many people believed that the Native Americans were disappearing, and would ultimately be assimilated or fail to survive. Especially in the East, their numbers continued to decline. At the same time, the author was interested in the period of the frontier of transition, when more colonists were increasing pressure on the Native Americans. He grew up in Cooperstown, New York, which his father had established on what was then a western frontier of settlement; it developed after the Revolutionary War.


Cooper set this novel during the Seven Years’ War, an international conflict between Great Britain and France, which had a front in North America known by the Anglo-American colonists as the French and Indian War. The conflict arrayed British colonial settlers and minimal regular forces against royal French forces, with both sides also relying on Native American allies. The war was fought primarily along the frontiers of the British colonies from Virginia to Nova Scotia.


In the spring of 1757, Lieutenant Colonel George Monro became garrison commander of Fort William Henry, located on Lake George in the Province of New York. In early August, Major General Louis-Joseph de Montcalm and 7,000 troops besieged the fort. On 2 August General Webb, who commanded the area from his base at Fort Edward, sent 200 regulars and 800 Massachusetts militia to reinforce the garrison at William Henry. In the novel, this is the relief column with which Monro’s daughters travel.


Monro sent messengers south to Fort Edward on 3 August requesting reinforcements, but Webb refused to send any of his estimated 1,600 men north because they were all that stood between the French and Albany. He wrote to Munro on 4 August that he should negotiate the best terms possible; this communication was intercepted and delivered to Montcalm. In Cooper’s version, the missive was being carried by Bumppo when he, and it, fell into French hands.


On 7 August Montcalm sent men to the fort under a truce flag to deliver Webb’s dispatch. By then the fort’s walls had been breached, many of its guns were useless, and the garrison had taken significant casualties. After another day of bombardment by the French, Monro raised the white flag and agreed to withdraw under parole.


When the withdrawal began, some of Montcalm’s Indian allies, angered at the lost opportunity for loot, attacked the British column. Cooper’s account of the attack and aftermath is lurid and somewhat inaccurate. A detailed reconstruction of the action and its aftermath indicates that the final tally of British missing and dead ranges from 70 to 184; more than 500 British were taken captive.



Very quickly, The Mayor of Casterbridge: The Life and Death of a Man of Character is an 1886 novel by the English author Thomas Hardy. One of Hardy’s Wessex novels, it is set in a fictional rural England with Casterbridge standing in for Dorchester in Dorset where the author spent his youth. It was first published as a weekly serialisation from January 1886.


The novel is considered to be one of the Hardy’s masterpieces, although it has been criticised for incorporating too many incidents: a consequence of the author trying to include something in every weekly published instalment.


At a country fair near Casterbridge in Wessex Michael Henchard, a 21-year-old hay-trusser, argues with his wife Susan. Drunk on rum-laced furmity he auctions her off, along with their baby daughter Elizabeth-Jane, to Richard Newson, a passing sailor, for five guineas. Sober the next day, he is too late to recover his family. He vows never to touch liquor again for 21 years.


In this work, it’s drama galore, and reminds one of what Nigeria has been in the last few years, one hell of a drama.



Really one needs to have read the two books I talked about above to grasp my concluding paragraphs on a subject matter not many would want to talk about. And what is the subject…?


Come 2019 either Atiku or Buhari will be president, whether their official or unofficial ages both are the last Mohicans. Tinubu is a Mohican, for all the awareness he possess, Vice President Osinbajo is also a Mohican.


Many of the mayors of our political space are at their farewell stage; Tony, Mr Fix-it just departed, we are Africans and it’s almost uncouth and against the culture predicting the exit of an elder. However the truth is many of the Mohicans and Mayors that held sway are at their terminal stage.


The IBBs, TY Danjuma, Obj, Bode George, Yahaya Kwande, Balarabe Musa, every state, every click, profession or party has the last Mohicans, Oshiomhole is one of the many that have just about a decade or less…you can add to the list, it is a very long one of men and women who are in the 60s, they have been ex-this and ex-that, occupied choice offices, been there since Imo River.


The only fear is that; the current bunch whether not-too-young-to-run or already running don’t seem to have a grip, and are in the troubled waters that have been set for them by the outgoing Mohicans and Mayors of our space. The Mohicans have schemed and plotted to stay alive and relevant all the while, but there is always an end to all eras and the current Mohicans are at that point, but in Rufa’i’s words power won’t be given on a free. It must be fought for, must be collected or like Henchard in the Mayor of Casterbridge, the end will be full of complexities and like the Mohicans when they leave, it may be with plenty void; are we ready—Only time will tell.






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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