Friday, 17 April 2015

The Stupidity of a Nation: The Tale of A Never Ending Civil War

By Tersoo Achineku
There are two things that are infinite, the universe and human stupidity. From my past experiences I have learnt the hard way to stop using the sentence; How Stupid Can You Get? As it seems to elicit a silent reply; Challenge Accepted. Human stupidity these days have aggravated to frightening scales ranging from uploading a sex tape (Hail Kardashian!) to deciding to run for another term despite having the worst administration in Nigerian history or even eliminating a terrorist organization during a six week election postponement period after battling in vain for 5 years or my personal favorite, publicly wishing death upon a presidential candidate then immediately congratulating them upon their victory, EPIC STUPIDITY! But all these pale in comparison to inciting Yorubas against Ibos with a lecherous and unwarranted statement. With all due respect people, stupidity doesn’t define this, no, we need a new word, FOOLISHITY.

I wasn’t born during the civil war but 45 years later it seems like the war rages on, not with guns and genocidal killings, but with bitterness and unnecessary reminiscence. Combine the two together and what do you get? Ibos fighting shadows in solidarity to a lost cause ignited by a power lusting, Rick Ross bearded ‘hero’ and the rest of the country ever quick to point out the fact that Biafra was squashed like a mosquito drunk with way too much O-Negative. As if this cold war wasn’t enough, someone had to thaw it. You can try to defend him in any twisted way you might conjure but the truth remains, the Oba’s statements were not awesome. But before we persecute him any further, I would like to point out that his words are mere compliments in comparison to matters preceding his rant. No matter how we ignore it, the fact remains that the Ibos haven’t let a lot of things go. But you cannot blame them, their elders have fed the psychological bug of revenge and hate into their minds and that is why this nation continues to lag in stupidity and regression.

In our tour of stupidity we come across the legendary author Chinua Achebe. I might point out at this junction that I am a big fan of conspiracy theories. I love to imagine that certain acts taken by people in the know are actually geared at something bigger. Chinua Achebe died in 2013 to the dismay of the literary industry and everybody mourned. A year earlier in 2012, Achebe had published an auto-biography titled There Was a Country, a personal account of the Nigerian Civil War. There are few things we need to review at this point, 1. Achebe is a very big figure head in the Ibo society, revered as one of the greatest Easterners to have been born. 2. How the hell do you expect an Ibo man to tell the story of a civil war aimed at who? THE IBOS! 3. How do you expect an aggrieved people to react to a very jaundiced publication about a war that claimed the lives of many of their kin? The answers are simple and shows that one thing is still ruling our people, STUPIDITY.

The rash response of the Oba isn’t to be blamed, a seed had been sown, long before Ambode decided to even go into politics. A seed that all this while has been fighting an underground battle with the weeds of progress, before the ‘Legendary’ Achebe decided to rip the damn plant’s stalk to the surface. There Was a Country has to be coined the worst joker to be played by a dying man. If we could all throw away our ethnic and myopic sentiments, then we can reach the conclusion that the problem with Nigeria isn’t the fact that we fought a civil war a mere 7 years after gaining independence (One of our biggest mistakes till date if you ask me). Our problem is not that corruption has turned our country into a cesspool of unethical activities ranging from stealing billions of Naira to attacking a High Court session with thugs (kudos to the Bayelsa government). Our problem is not that impunity has become the order of the day, no, that isn’t our problem. Our problem is simple, we haven’t yet come to terms with the fact that our country is in shambles because its people are in ethnic, religious and tribal disarray.

Chinua Achebe and Oba Akiolu have not only shown that maturity and age have nothing in common, but they have also shown the deep crack in the wall that is Nigeria. We all parade ourselves as the giants of Africa but in 2011 when Buhari shed tears upon losing elections, the Northerners decided that it had been long since blood had been shed. We all call ourselves the future but the Yorubas cannot wait to chant Omo Ibo whenever they get the chance. We call ourselves the biggest and most developed black nation in the world but the freaking Ibos can’t wait to play victim whenever national issues arise. For crying out loud can someone tell these elders to move on? You don’t see the Confederates still chanting war cries in America do you?

If you are honest enough with yourself, you will agree with me that Nigeria would be a lot better if we acted as one nation. I dream of a country where there is no Hausa Ibo or Yoruba. I dream of a nation whose citizens are Nigerians before anything else. Nigeria has the potential to be the biggest economy in the world but what do we do every day? Fight each other. The British amalgamated our nation with expertise as they understood the strengths of each region. The Hausas are supposed to be our defense, the Yorubas our tactical and diplomatic front and the Ibos our economic and financial powerhouse. If we all came together as one, this country would be a whole lot better. But what do you have? Ibos publicly rejecting a presidential candidate because of his tribe and religion. Yorubas threatening to teach them swimming lessons and the Hausas sitting back in unnecessary silence. Stupidity.

In conclusion, I am terribly sad to say that despite the purported CHANGE that is coming to the country, we are going to be stuck in the sands of stupidity for a very long time to come. We need to come together as a people, one country, one voice with one goal, Nigeria. As long as the scourge of tribalism, discrimination and ethnicity continues to plague our people, we will continue to stupidly fight each other until our country is invaded by space aliens and we are forced to combine our strengths to eliminate the threat. Okay, that is stretching my imagination too far, way too far.

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