One thing will always continue to baffle and amaze me, and that simply is how a certain group of individuals -who like to refer to themselves as members of the intelligentsia of our society- decide as black men to wear a white man’s wig on their head, judge and sentence their fellow black men. It is truly beyond me; offense intended to you lawyers reading this , because to me it is the highest level of mental slavery and i don’t understand it one bit. Offense will of course be quickly rescinded when you (and i know you will) explain the rationale to me, enlighten poor ignorant me as to the logic behind this singular act.
Indeed it is a singular act which might appear to have little significance in the grand scheme of things, but in my ignorant head it is of great significance. Reason being that these people are supposedly our learned fellow, the smart ones and I have no doubt that they are some of the smartest of us, which is what makes the whole thing sad. For if the smart ones decide that they need to wear the wig of a white man to be worthy to pass judgement, if they hold on to the most obvious form of MENTAL SLAVERY then what hope is there for the common, less learned people like you and I? But I am sure that it will all be clarified by a noble reader, because I know it can’t simply be that he want to masquerade as a white man. No way….we are not that stupid. Right?
What I suspect however is that most of us do not think of why we do what we do, we just do it because that is what people do. We do not realise that indeed it is not what people do, that is simply what the white man said we should do. And Bob Marley would probably roll in his grave if he discovers that decades on we have still failed to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery as he very much begged us to and we all sing along to him but yet don’t act, why? Because the irony of this type of slavery is that you yourself are not aware of your enslavement, there are no chains or whips, you alone are left to wallow in your mental contrapment. If only we attempt to ask ourselves why we do what we do. Why do I use a fork to eat rice when it obviously has holes in it larger than the size of the grains? Why do I knot a tie to my throat almost suffocating myself and wear a jacket when I live in a tropic climate and am very uncomfortable doing so? Why do I go to a dark room in the middle of the night and dance till dawn when my body tells me I should be sleeping? Why do I go to university when I know I will get no job? Why not have a 5year head start in my entrepreneurship of interest? Why do I marry and make babies and spend my life sending them through that school-marry-reproduce-die circle? Guess what? I know why, and I’ll tell you. It’s cos the white man said you should. And indeed you should, because he is your god. Innit?
Whys? Whys? Whys? Here’s a different why, and please I beg of you to help me answer. Why is the black man’s nation always backwards? Why did we never move forward? How is it that the world millions of years ago had different races and the black man apparently failed to move forward? So much so that the white man was able to come to our own land, conquer us, colonize us and enslave us for 450 years. It upsets me when we complain about slavery, but what were we doing when the white man was developing ships and guns that he used to enslave us? Why were we still carving bronze sculptures and farming when HE (our god) developed to a level where even of an obvious weaker physique was able to conquer and dominate us? Why? I beg you to enlighten this young ignorant ranting man. And then we deceive ourselves and claim to have FOUGHT for our independence. Oh you think it was a coincidence that 95% of sub-Saharan Africa attained independence within and around 1960 ? We all just happened to have outmaneuvered Europe at that time? Well FYI, in case you don’t know it was a deliberate move by post world war world -who having seen the devastation of war invented this new phrase called human rights – to give us back our land in good faith. Comparing Nigeria with South-Africa it will be obvious to us just how well we have done with the number of black years we have had here. We are doing really well abi? MINT nations, yay!
Pause here for a bit, I must at this point note that I am in no way against western education or accepting and analyzing the wealth of knowledge at our disposal; I am not boko haram. No! Death to boko haram. I believe we should be more like the Asians. Tap what you can, analyze and process the information. Don’t just copy and print a poor black and white version like an ink-deficient photocopying machine.
Back to the matter why? I have wondered and pondered. Let me ask a question I have asked a million times. If the white man and black man never met, ever ever. Do you think given a million years we would have invented things like electricity? Airplanes ? Internet?….. or would we have continued kpanshing and farming till infinity? Most agree on the latter. The question is why? The issue is not intelligence because after all we have our proud men who move over and excel in all tiers of the system. There is no doubt that we do not lack in an intellectual capacity, it appears to be an attitudinal issue, there something about the black man that makes us -especially when amongst ourselves – to just fail to get it right. We just decide to use the intelligence for scamming everything scammable, we just decide to choose the path of corruption, we choose not to care about our communities, we choose to kill and be animalistic, and have indeed efficiently and effectively carried on in this pathway of destruction in such a consistent manner, as consistent as Lincoln Burrows stupidity in all 4seasons of prison break.
But why? Another why. Why do we choose to be so greedy? So selfish? So myopic? So heartless? Why have we failed over and over again? Why do we derive joy in suppressing our kind?
So many questions and so little answers….but wait first, I have some theories. Firstly I would love to believe that in ancient time we had little challenges; we had good weather, food and strength, while the western world had extreme cold, earth quakes, little muscle mass, over crowding, disease etc. We all know necessity is the mother of invention so that is probably why we were kpanshing while the world was making ships and guns. We simply didn’t need to make anything, we had it all blessed from God. Lucky fellows we were. Fast forward to modern day you and me- oh yes I have excuses for us as well- I would also like to believe that we are the way we are because of poverty and poor education. When a little boy grows with torn uniform, daily Eba and plenty hunger all that sits in his head is escape from poverty, that would explain why we all have a singular ambition and desire in life, which is to escape from poverty. Who cares that I can’t sleep on more than one bed a day? Who cares that I have no piece of mind because I am scared of kidnappers? Who cares that I will still eat just 3meals a day? Who cares that I will still die without a good name? After all I have escaped from poverty. Who cares about dreams and goals? I want money. Shikena!
How would I have a conscience when from childhood I was never educated on morals or patriotism? Except in that tiny subtle insignificant manner. Mschew, I am getting tired of writing and also running out of whiskey, so I better move on to the last point. The solution.
But first let me attempt to clarify the doubters, clear the Thomas’s who believe we are actually moving forward, who think the presence of cellular phones and latest cars is a sign of development, evidence that we are getting there. I put it to you that if in 1964 we were at 70% of the level of development of the western world, currently we are at best 40% the level of development and organization and sliding down like a child on his playground slide. Smoothly as though added by Mobil ultra engine oil. Need proof? I’ll give it to you. Firstly listen to Ojukwu speak, listen to Wole Soyinka, listen even to Obasanjo, the old school educated, you will notice a command of vocabulary, a fluency. It’s not about speaking English as a longuage really but about the command and confidence when addressing the public. Then fast forward to our more recently educated, listen to our Senators, our President, our Governors, the more recently educated. I won’t even mention Madame Patience who is a class of graduate on her own, spectacular spectacle.
Next analogy, if you have an educated grandfather, or an older father look at his hand writing, look at the similarity and boldness of all their writing patterns, then fast-forward and look at your own handwriting, a reflection of your personality? Or a product of your poor educational background? Another?
Federalism; go to your school and look at your Vice-Chancellor’s (VC) name and ethnicity, look at the ethnicity of the director at the ministries in your state in the 60s. Notice the wide variety of cultures and ethnic groups with no complaint. Now look today at your VC, look and see that all ministries are led and dominated by indigenous people, all VCs, all agencies. Federalism Federalism is indeed working, we are moving forward ko? Bah? Shey?
Another analogy? Ok I will grant you one last one. Look at the public’s response to injustice in the 60s, look at the riots in the west, look at the bravery of the press. Now fast-forward one last time in this thrilling ride across time zones to modern day response. Look at the response to Sanusi when he revealed that our major source of revenue does not get audited, $40billion missing. Basically sacrificed himself, revealing info that can topple even the US President, basically letting us know that we have no idea how much oil is sold daily. Basically at the end of a period the NNPC just says ‘Here, we sold 10naira oil today, have it‘…and how did we respond? On sentiment that’s how. ‘After all he is a Muslim who donated money to flood victims in the north, government money, how dare he, how dare he go against the man he works for‘. ‘How dare he? Bloody muslim man…he deserves it all‘. Allow me to deviate and say how glad I am that ATM fees which SLS took away are resuming, we should pay penance for the betrayal we gifted the only man in modern times who did something selfless. I am Igbo by the way, incase you care to know. Whiskey running low.
So please tell me why oh why we are the way we are. I omitted a theory for fear of the possibility of its realness, I omitted analyzing the possibility that it is genetic, that like said in Django Unchained there is something in our brains, something added or absent that account for this mentality we have, this persistent failure. It can’t possibly be. God won’t allow that. I can’t be genetically impaired because that would mean there is no solution. That would mean……Kai….No way. NO! Please reader, tell me that isn’t it. Explain to this young ignorant man. Give me some hope….I beg of you.