Aprolefrom1984's blog

Enough of this hysteria about Turai & her husband cont'd...........

In view of predictable comments from southerners to my earlier post about the fact that this Yar'Adua/Jonathan crisis is manufactured, think about this .....

Helping our poor brothers and sisters in Nigeria

Today is the beginning of Lent. For the benefit of non-Christians, this is when Jesus was tempted by the devil, while he fasted in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights.  Jesus established the message that worldly wealth and comfort are less important than spiritual gifts stored by  the Almighty in heaven. 

Anti northern racism hurts us all (or what we can learn from the north)

Nigeria is a mess because of corruption - at all levels of society. Electricity supply, water supply, roads, public services are all in a mess because people would take funds meant for the state and citizens and convert these to personal use.This evil is not confined to any one part of Nigeria. In all 36 states and at federal level, funds are not used for their purpose.

Igbos should know the truth, and the truth shall set us free

I'm proudly Biafran. I was born in the Scottish/English borders and returned to Nigeria with my parents just as the January Nzeogwu coup was happening. I have hazy memories of meeting Nyerere at Enugu aerodrome (and learnt years later that the commonwealth leaders were being evacuated as the rumours of a coup was filtering through). Anyway, my dad always said if his university degree lasted a year longer, his kids would've been spared the horror of Biafra as we'd have stayed put in Britain. After Enugu fell, we ended up in the hometown till the war's end.  I've lived in Britain for most of my adult life. 

Dem curse you?

This is the question her neighbours would ask if Nigeria were a lady of 49 years plus, nearly 50, who started off life so full of promise but ended up with children as thieves, fraudsters, looters in high places as well as terrorists. How else can you explain something that started so beautifully turning into such a mess? Let's look at things from the beginning: From 1914 - 47, British have the bright idea of educating and training 1 section of Nigeria as administrators, teachers and civil servants, while governing the other section indirectly through Emirs.A small elite cultivated to become feudal rulers with great privilege. 

The Result?

 In 1947 thousands of graduates in the southern region with political activism throughNigerian owned newspapers like Tribune and West African Pilot. In the north, nothing of the sort. In 1947, when Shagari said the north should go its own way, and Awo as pragmatist said oil and water can't mix, Zik naively said there should be one Nigeria, and as bad luck would have it, his view prevailed. In 1959, when elections happened to get ready for independence, the British decided they'd rather have their own tame and docile northerners in charge, instead of the intellectual Awo and this (threatening to the British) policy of free education for all. NCNC should have stood firm with the rest of the south, but as bad luck would have it, decided to go into coalition with NPC, with the resulting mess.

 In 1966, after the chaos of the late '64 elections and operation wetie in most of '65, a luckier country would have had people calling for re-elections and by-elections, instead we had the stupid coup.

 Instead of having the coup as a genuine revolution, it was twisted into tribal warfare. Why kill the northern premier as well as Akintola while forgetting Zik and Okpara? Ideally, all former political leaders should have been placed in jail instead of being killed.

 In  July '66, when the northerners wished to secede, the British got involved with their teacher's pets in the north and told them to stay as they'd lose out on the oil wealth to come. Lots of Igbos in the north killed as people there were too daft to realise that their neighbours since the 19th century were not aware of plots going on in army officers' mess and barracks. 

Ojukwu as administrator of Eastern region should have sought reparations for Igbos killed and gradually agitate and involve the rest of the south in eventual separation from the north. Instead, we had the economic risk of Biafra. When Biafrans resourcefully started to make resources that would have matched them equally with the federal troops, Harold Wilson's Labour government intervened and heavily armed the federal side. Egyptians and Russians shamefully intervened to bomb Biafrans.

 After the war, oil boom. Corruption really took off. Every tribe started having owambes and competing to spend money on the most useless and fleeting objects and fashions. Murtala Mohammed came and tried to help us join the civillized band of nations. Then 6 months later, Buka Suka Dimka thought we didn't deserve the good life and put a stop to development. 

Then Obasanjo and 2nd republic happened.

UPN was the only party with a genuine programme. But Nigerians decided to vote along tribal lines and threw that chance of development away.

 Then Buhari tried to lift the curse on New Year's Eve 1984. A genuine war against corruption started and that fizzled out in August 1985 when the worst atrocity posing as a government took over Nigeria. A nightmare made up of the bombing of Dele Giwa, the Naira becoming toilet paper and the greatest brain drain started. 

Then the greatest calamity. Nigerians voted for policy for the 1st time and forgot tribe. And the curse in the shape of Baba & Mama ngida cancelled the election, after foreign governments had congratulated the winner. Nigeria became the joke of the world. 

Then the 3rd republic and Obasanjo and the calamity of PDP happened. 

Just as Nigeria was ready to start dealing with climate change, commence environmental campaigns that could clean up the Delta and seriously address agriculture, al quaeda arrived in the shape of Muttallab. 

In a normal country not under a curse, Mutallab would have used his wealth to campaign for his ideals. Start a charity for disadvantaged children perhaps? Start sports groups in Katsina or Lagos where he was born. Or launch a religious movement preaching against materialistic excess. Or start a website like this one campaigning against corruption, using his religion as a standpoint. But no, he had to throw it all away and try to commit mass murder as well as suicide, while launching Nigeria on the road to Somalia. 

Back to the land campaign

The biggest problem in southern Nigeria is hunger.

Any single tomato or yam you buy in Lagos has been transported in from the north. It's strange that a region with such rich and fertile soil as well as climate that's a farmer's dream doesn't produce any food.

When the split with northern Nigeria happens, how do we feed ourselves? 

I know, I know, the government should have done this, but we all know they're useless and we have to take care of our own stuff.

The reason Biafra failed was hunger. Almost everything was imported and when the blockade happened, people quite simply starved.  

The reason there's so much political and moral corruption in the south of Nigeria today is hunger. People who are desperate would do anything to eat.

This fear of farming started in colonial times when everyone in the village aspired to olu oyibo. Olu in Igbo = work. To people from the start of the twentieth century, escaping the village and tilling the land to sit behind a desk while wearing white man's clothes = success. 

All of us on Sahara Reporters must think practically about how to revive and develop agriculture in the south of Nigeria. 

People on this site, while  commenting on issues have talked about making sacrifices as well as revolution.

The best sacrifice anyone can make is one that doesn't involve bloodshed or death. The best sacrifice is one that involves tilling the soil. 

A man who feeds himself decides his own destiny. We need to sort out the gullies and erosion in our villages. We need to plan market gardens amongst the rubbish dumps of Lagos and other cities. 

We should start by enrolling on horticulture courses and study these in our spare time. We should link up with city and urban farms near our residences and learn animal husbandry in our spare time. Some of us should learn construction and landscaping courses as well. 

A new nation won't really need that many computer programmers, lawyers, advertising execs, bankers and business men. The people who would help the country survive would be the farmers, builders, carpenters, plumbers, landscapers, sanitation workers, scientists, doctors, nurses and teachers. 

Without abundant food, a nation fails and industry can't develop till agriculture does.  A hungry nation can never be free of corruption as people would carry on being desperate. 

The serious suggestion that I have is that we should all get the practical survival skills we have and coordinate this through Sahara Reporters. Then we should actually visit and start practical agricultural and building projects. Small projects at a time, to help people develop. 

That would be true action, instead of us just talking on this site.  The best revolution of all is the development of farming so that food in the south of Nigeria becomes so abundant, it actually becomes cheap and can even be exported to other countries. 

That would be a sacrifice that those in diaspora who wish to develop southern Nigeria can realistically make. 

Ijeoma can be reached at igbokwenu2010@googlemail.com