Of all the follies of man, the one that lures you to a quick and woeful end is the loss of memory. You become completely removed from life and even insignificant to the air you breathe. You are only floating to the ground like a falling leaf whose remains awaits to be desiccated by the sun; no fossils to be accounted for!
Compatriots! We stopped sniffing our nostrils of the tears we sobbed from the treachery of our kings who sold their brothers to be slaves. While the tears on your face brought you joy, here is a short account of the memories we lost:
As we watched the Mayflower
Vanish into the bowels of the dark Atlantic,
We waved with a smirk;
With it we bid farewell
To the best human treasures
Africa would never regain,
Oblivious of the material treasures
That have gone before.
When most African States gained their independence, many rejoiced in euphoria that trickled out tears from the depths of hearts. The multitude that welcomed Nelson Mandela on the other side of his tunnel, after a long enduring walk to freedom, can be likened to an awakening that meant new flowers would spring from the morning’s bloom. The joy of having to decide who wins elections in new emerging democratic states could only be likened to the rear privileges of deciding who fathers you. In such choices, you would make sure it is one who is fatherly enough; one who feels your pains, one who would sleep in the rains for your sake, and if need be, one who would let go his last breath for your kind to manifest the fruition of your essence.
With such leverage at the disposition of Africans, one would think that the economic gains and values from the Kilimanjaro Mountains, the bustling oil wells of the Ogoni Lands, the fertilizing caves of the Gold Coast to the unending bounties of the never-fallow vegetation of Africa would repay the lost glory of the deflowered maiden of the world. One would have thought that the plights and afflictions of the victims of Mayflower expeditions will throw out blows to the conscience of African leaders. Pathetically, we threw all that into the abyss, only to reckon with the words of Mahatma Gandhi as thus: “we won our freedom but lost our people”. Consequently, we are still perplexed by our choices because the beautiful ones are probably not yet born. In fact, the franchise we got became our predicament.
The history of Nigeria and perhaps Africa is no doubt filled with horrors and gory pictures when narrated sincerely. It is best described as what James Joyce says in Ulyssys as thus: “History, Stephen said, is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.” Probably, the horrors have made us look the other way, despising the irritation of its soreness. The unbended truth still remains that, no society thrives socially, politically or even economically without keen regards to the narratives that brought it to its current stage. Not even Mother Nature; for the last time the iroko tree forgot its root, it came down crashing in the forest.
It should be recalled that our kings who traded the strength of classical African civilization for frail dividends, left the continent to the dire consequence of imperialism. Dan Brown explains this bitter truth to us in the following caption:
“History is always written by the winners. When two cultures clash, the loser is obliterated, and the winner writes the history books-books which glorify their own cause and disparage the conquered foe…”
It was negligence of history that gave us out to slavery in the guise of colonialism. It made us slaves twice on our own lands! As it flourished, every single beauty that Africa beheld was downplayed in colonial literatures. So that if you read such without reference to postcolonial discourses that argued otherwise, you are bound to think theories such as craniology and the likes were God-ordained. This deliberate misinterpretation/alteration of the African history placed the continent on the tip of a poisonous arrow aimed to be fired into the zodiac of oblivion. George Orwell dovetails with this position when he says that the most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.
With these travails not farfetched, it still bothers on us how easily we jettisoned our memories, only to wake up to a replicated quagmire where the same plot glares us in the face, pricks our follicles and stabs us on the back. Our lack of will to a viable revolution is to say the least. The blind and cheap support we heap on irresponsible political office holders brings to fore the simple proof that we have not learnt to count our losses. We are simply a people waiting for our miserable end in the cycle of our own carelessness as Edmund Burk puts it “those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.” Chant this in whichever rhythm that soothes your soul, Africa and Nigeria has come to stay and the sustenance of their glory is on your shoulders; you are part of it!
God bless Nigeria and God bless Africa!
Alpha Enoch Yamush 2018©