HERDING INTO AN UNKNOWN FUTURE

Last year, President Buhari arrested Nnamdi Kanu, accusing him of urging Easterners to arm and protect themselves.

Today, ARMED herdsmen from our president’s own ethnic group have started falling on those same unarmed Easterners and on other unarmed peoples of Nigeria, killing, maiming, raping and slaughtering them and forcefully taking over their land. The spike in these activities has been all over the news for months, and rumours now abound that there is even a secret bill in the making to legalize the unconstitutional one-sided freedoms of these armed herdsmen.

President Buhari has not arrested or brought to justice any of his own armed kinsmen and fellow herders. Infact on this issue he has been uncharacteristically soft-spoken for an ex-soldier who has severally fumed of how he will use the military might and intelligence of Nigeria to crush any violent or armed groups within the country.

If this is not the cold cynical Conspiracy that it looks like, then it is a case of a president turning out to be more clueless, inefficient and inadequate than he accuses his predecessor of being. Choose one.

The world is moving ahead, leaving Africa behind to continue to wallow in our ancient small-minded animosities. The OAU was founded in 1963, yet Africa is still not united and still not honest with itself. The Biafran War ended in 1970, but Nigerians still don’t trust one another. We are in the fourth republic, but the law and the constitution are still being interpreted selectively. Caught between the opposites of Meritocracy and Federal Character, we have not yet solved the basic puzzle of what form our democracy should take in order to succeed long-term.

The Age of Oil is slowly coming to an End. During these decades of global oil-dependency, certain Non-African oil-producers have used the proceeds of the Oil Trade to catapult their nations from the dregs of primitive rural backwardness into mind-boggling heights of beauty, industry and technology. Today while we pathetically and anxiously monitor the price of oil daily like mindless helpless victims of a system beyond our control, some scientific nations are investing heavily in New Energy, rushing at a feverish pace to hurriedly create a parallel technological space that will eventually replace the fossil-fuel-based technology and infrastructure of yesterday. The economic dynamics of tomorrow will not be kind to Nigeria and Africa.

In the arena of social and cultural engineering, upheavals are rocking the universal human soul which will shape the global social dialectics of tomorrow. Displacement, migration and integration have become issues facing more and more nations and societies. Peoples and ideologies that have always been strangers to one another and seemingly mutually incompatible are now locked in an intense discussion on how to co-exist peacefully within the different contexts of their different social systems and nation-types. Those who bring the solutions will be those who rule the future.

Rapid advances in the synergising of equally dizzying advances in new forms of information and communication technologies keep opening up wider and more customisable possibilities for any person, groups of persons, peoples or nations who really want and are committed to progress – to source out, engineer and implement the solutions they need. Living in the transitional era of the matrix of all these forces, the times could not be more conducive for progressive African minds to finally achieve the leap out of the state and the sad image of a non-producing, non-inventing, self-oppressing, corrupt, beggarly continent to a self-dependent, socially secure, rights-protecting, technologically inventive part-carrier of the future. Knowledge, once the rarest and most sought-after power-broker in the world, has become a cheap commodity easily available to any serious seeker.

In the midst of all this, it is the more primitive problems that continue to bog us down. Ill-health, lack of education, corruption, power-abuse, tribalism, broken infrastructure, the lack of basic amenities, the lack of social security, the lack of a tourism industry, the lack of a culture of incubation of ideas and new technology, issues of human, civil and minority rights, insecurity, and the list goes on. And at the top is the baffling question of the paradox of why Nigeria, an African country, should make herself the crude battleground of two imported world-religions. At these present cross-road where only UNITY gives us a fighting chance to catch up with the global shift in technology and social re-engineering taking place. My favourite song in my village has very simple lyrics – “Idinotu, o bu ya bu ike.”: UNITY IS STRENGTH. When will African “Muslims” and African “Christians” figure out this little trick?

In an integrated world in which diasporan Africans globally are increasingly looking to the motherland as a source of inspiration, a fountain of ancient knowledge, a bedrock of self-respect, and a field of new progressive activity, self-mockingly the continent is momentum-wise worse off now than at the dawn of independence.

And now Fulani herdsmen have joined the fray in expansionistic dimensions last seen only before colonialism, taken up their walking sticks and their new sophisticated firearms and started brutally doing everywhere in the country the very thing the President said he would never condone or allow under his watch. Lailai.

We are watching. Africa is watching. Quietly?

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

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