By Ikechukwu Enyiagu
Although Frederick Lugard’s curse-prediction/definition of the characteristics of the several ethnic groups which Britain eventually compelled into the near-century shame called Nigeria has been the discourse of several analysts for years; it however became resounding as Nigeria culminates towards its inevitable doom. I personally believe that every word needed to address the foundation of Nigeria has been released, but seeing that those leaders who have personally passed judgement upon themselves have not really come to terms (maybe because they have truly come to accept Lugard’s prophecy of doom as their destiny) with the irrevocable gravity of their many offences, I have decided to relate to them once more as they bask in the illusory euphoria of mere games – football games.
To make myself clear, I’d start with the first paragraph of the said Lord Frederick Lugard’s judgement of/on those he, in the pleasure of immorality with his mistress, named Nigeria:
“In character and temperament, the typical African of this race-type is a happy, thriftless, excitable person, LACKING IN SELF-CONTROL, DISCIPLINE, AND FORESIGHT. Naturally courageous, and naturally courteous and polite, full of personal vanity, with little sense of veracity, fond of music and loving weapons as an oriental loves jewelry. HIS THOUGHTS ARE CONCENTRATED ON THE EVENTS AND FEELINGS OF THE MOMENT, and he suffers little from the apprehension for the future or grief for the past. His mind is far nearer to the animal world than that of the European or Asiatic, and exhibits something of the animals’ placidity and want of desire to rise beyond the State he has reached. Through the ages THE AFRICAN APPEARS TO HAVE EVOLVED NO ORGANIZED RELIGIOUS CREED, and though some tribes appear to believe in a deity, the religious sense seldom rises above pantheistic animalism and seems more often to take the form of a vague dread of the supernatural.”
Deducing from Lugard’s description of our forefathers and their offspring above, what he, and by extension Briton, actually believe Nigerians to be are: Animals in human form, who waste whatever future there may be for the pleasure of today; who lack the ability to discern or plan for the future; who believe that the law is for self-endowment on those who can afford it just as the rich can afford diamonds, and a curse on those who cannot; who are the least of humans in all societies of the world; who never had any understanding of a true God (that, according to Lugard, should not be dreaded) except that they constantly live in fear.
Well, at this point, I’ll have to give credit to this man who mastered what destiny the country he was about creating would have. Although his predictions were made public in 1926 in a book called Dual Mandate, his assessments happened before the amalgamation of 1914. Many have got it wrong in that they actually believed that this Lord of a Brit, through his descriptions, was referring to the peoples he met before the immoral amalgamation. No! He was, instead, predicting the outcome of Britain’s determination to bring peoples with quintessentially divergent destinies together as one country. He took his time to pen what he foresaw as the outcome of Her Majesty’s decision. Possibly too, he could have advised the British authority against the amalgamation before it was carried out, although many Nigeria would still have it that he gathered generations of warriors and ancestral think-thank together single-handedly into an impossible compulsion and gave it a name: Nigeria.
There are no ethnic or racial groups in the entire world without their history of ‘the ignorant days;’ those bound under Nigeria had theirs too before the British invaded them. However, without Britain’s bloodied-interference in the lives of the people which today are called Nigerians, it’s possibility today would have seen Europeans struggling (and dying en route as well) to enter Africa as Africans have been doing and still do to date in flight to Europe – to their detriment. In other words, the prediction of Lugard could well have been realized in Europe in general and Britain in particular.
Nevertheless, I am dealing with the present leadership in Nigeria and how it clearly manifests the true nature of Lugard’s vision.
Good enough for those who love soccer games, Nigeria, on Sunday, February 10, 2013, won its first Africa Cup of Nations title since 1994. The country celebrated it in grand styles to the point that many even died in the euphoria of “winning.” The presidency celebrated this victory too. But the attitude of Nigeria’s senators and Reps as they eagerly awaited soccer victory, and especially, the president’s impulsive and barbaric reaction to this soccer victory, leaves much to be desired. If anything, it clearly reveals the soul of the Nigeria which Frederick Lugard amalgamated: A bunch of animal-like and child-like leaders who dance for toys but reject toy-making factories.
According to the February 13, 2013 headline of Daily Post Nigeria (and indeed several other Nigerian newspapers), the incumbent president of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, BSC, PHD, GCFR, BNER, GCON, perhaps in celebrating his utmost national achievement of having won a mere Africa recreational trophy, awarded/rewarded the players and officials of Super Eagles’ team with national honors, cash and plots of land in Abuja. To all who carry the soul of Lugard’s curse/prediction, this soccer-victory pleasure is all there is for these far-nearer-to-the-animal-world Nigerians to be happy for the day. As far as the presidency is concerned, it has given Nigerians all they wanted – all they ever needed. Here we see the culture of a thriftless, excitable, animal-like leadership in display. While they have destroyed and continue to destroy the houses of struggling and peaceful Nigerians all over Abuja/Nigeria without providing alternatives for them, they are throwing away plots of these very land, along with money, to those whose work bring nothing to Nigerians’ table, save the very soul of Lugard and his curse: thriftless and carefree wastages. What more could explain this show of bestial love? To Nigeria’s soul and leadership, a game victory equals spraying of unaccountable/unaccounted-for cash and plots of lands! To all who have bowed to the destructive spirit of Nigeria’s amalgamation, what the presidency did was simply customary and in line with our heredity. But to all who have sworn neither to walk in the destructive path which Britain and their son, Lugard, has set for Africans nor to let their children wallow in such destructive ignorance, the action of the presidency invites goose bumps and a shudder of rejection from/by all.
Finally, it’s no longer a question of if Nigeria is ripe for dissolution or a question of willingness; it’s a question of choosing life, future and destiny between the curse with which the maker of Nigeria, Lugard, has purposed to curse all who bear this name and the destiny which we shall determine for our individual selves, our ethnic groups and our posterity in line with God’s will for creation. Even now, that prediction has born much unpleasant fruits. But for me and my house, neither the curse of Lugard nor its fruits thereof in Nigeria will ever be acceptable, no matter how it is constantly compelled.