A brief Call to Who we are

asimov

We don’t like to talk or read a lot about our history and traditions. Many of us have decided to streamline ourselves strictly to things that would bring us immediate pleasures and ephemeral benefits – commercial nonsense and professional certifications. We have substituted professionalism for intellectualism. We have decide to buy into the idea that intellectual development and mind-stretching cognitive exercises is for the Gods, relegating ourselves to the bottom of the thinking pyramid – proles if Orwell’s 1984 has any truth in it.

When asked why we do not talk about our history, like the Nigerian-Biafran Civil War, many of us claim we do not want to hurt the ‘sensibilities’ of others, but we always talk about these ‘taboo’ topics in deprecatory under and over tones to each other, for example “these Igbo people ehn, them too like money”, “na so Yoruba people dey ooooo”, “omo no go try that mallam ooo, you want make him slash your face”. Indeed these slurs exist today. If indeed we begin to have effective discourse about the events of the past maybe our cultures would evolve to one of diversity-cum-tolerance void of nepotism and dark interpretations of ethnicity and tribalism.

We like to believe the politics practiced by those at the helm of affairs does not concern us. I dare anyone to leave his house during ‘sanitation’, then you would know indeed the politics of the country concerns you. Many of us, especially the literate elite are completely apolitical and those who are not lack real understanding of politics and history as regards to their immediate environment. We have politicians that lack any knowledge of history – regarding the politics of those in the past – and a citizenry that also lack any real understanding of political history.

This is why history would continue to repeat itself on more dangerous levels. Our newspapers and magazine articles and columns over the span of 50 years have a striking resemblance in content that one would begin to think we have been stuck in the past. We could avoid or solve many of our problems by following or avoiding the steps of the ‘ancients’. But how can we pull this off when we do not know what the ‘ancients’ are. It is when one analysis past events and discovers existing patterns that one can begin to make real predictions and propositions about future events.

We like to give the excuse of spate literature. I have heard nothing more false. We would prefer to buy the latest ACCA and ICAN study guide, or ‘fifty shades freed’ instead of Bernard Odogwu’s “No place to hide: crises and conflicts inside Biafra” or Samuel and Obadiah Johnson’s “A History of the Yorubas from the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the British Protectorate”. Indeed if we really want to know, we can find out.

bernard odogwu book cover                                                history of the yorubas

As a caveat, I would like to add that apart from certain personal equivocations I find no problem with professionalism and all it minions in whatever shape, size and format they choose to take, my dilemma rises from the prevalent anti-intellectualism and pseudo-intellectualism rife with in  many circles, including our apex citadels of learning.

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2 thoughts on “A brief Call to Who we are

  1. May be we never feel like stepping out of that restricted comfort zone; We all know, history can be such an eye opener 🙂 Do you believe in the concept that history repeats? I am just curious to know. Thanks for sharing the reference.

    1. Man is a standard, in the sense that all human beings are archetypal – at some fundamental level – if not there would be no point for disciplines like psychology and sociology. They would not have the over 50% (statistic off the top of my head) success that still makes them relevant. This I believe is an important reason why history repeats itself. But when one takes the study of history seriously one can consciously make steps to avoid or approach what ever obstacle one is facing because of the knowledge one has of the history of that obstacle. One may walk unknowingly into a minefield and get blown up , others too would get blown up when they walk in, but the individual who takes into cognizance that indeed many individuals before me approached this field and where blown up, begins to ask questions, and then discovers by history evidence that the field is laced with mines. He could either avoid this field, or walk across it with caution because of the knowledge he has just acquired about the history of the field. Hope this helps. Thanks for reading

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