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Monthly Archives: February 2014

As We Honour Sir Fredrick Lugard . . .

As we honour Sir Fredrick Lugard, who effected the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern Protectorates of the British Crown to form a new colonial territory and his consort, Dame Flora Louise Shaw, who named the territory ‘Nigeria’. Millions, if not billions already budgeted will be spent on this ceremony. Speeches to eulogize him, extol his qualities as a leader, some will go as far as calling him the Father of Nigeria.

While we are at it, let us be reminded that we are far from changing, his thoughts of us as Africans of this race-type (Nigerians) stated below still bear resounding semblance to what and who we are today, we have not made progress!

Read for yourself:

In character and temperament, the typical African of this race-type is a happy, thriftless, excitable person

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

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, 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

Conspicuously deficient in the management and control alike of men or business

Loves the display of power, but fails to realize its responsibility

Willingness to work hard with a less incentive than most races

Has the courage of the fighting animal, an instinct rather than a moral virtue

Lacks apprehension and ability to visualize the future

In brief, the virtues and defects of this race-type are those of attractive children, whose confidence when it is won is given un-grudgingly as to an older and wiser superior and without envy.

Tunde Fagbenle wrote an article in the Village Square in November 23, 2009, titled, “What Lord Lugard Thought About Nigerians”.

Phewww! “What a country, Lugard, methinks you’re right after all”, another quote from the article which appropriately captures our ignoramus display of gratitude to one who spoke so lowly of us.

Lord Frederick John Dealtry Lugard (22 January 1858 – 11 April 1945) was High Commissioner of the Protectorate of Northern Nigeria till 1906 and Governor-General of Nigeria from 1914-1919,

So I ask, what are we posthumously honouring him for?

For telling us what we already know about ourselves, tantamount to Mungo Park’s purported discovery of river Niger. I am guessing his thought was that the natives didn’t know of its existence and weren’t making use of it before him.

Or for the divide and rule he created to keep us perpetually at each others throat, a situation that continually threatens peace and stability of the “geographical contraption” called Nigeria.

If for these two reasons alone, then he was right and still right when he wrote; character wise we are a happy, thriftless, excitable race. I am placing more emphasis on the extravagance display of ignorance.

As always, Nigeria we hail thee!

References:
“Queen Elizabeth, Lugard, Zik, 97 others bag Nigeria’s Centenary awards” – http://www.sunnewsonline.com
“What Lord Lugard Thought About Nigerians” – http://www.nigeriavillagesquare.com

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Posted by on February 26, 2014 in Personal, Uncategorized

 

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Elenpe’s Head

The story I am about to tell you ensued while I was having a hearty e-conversation with an online friend. We usually trade banters and believe me, she is a profound and passionate person when it comes to conversations. I am usually wit-alert when it comes to her, now you may want to ask what the conversation was about this time and why am writing it?

All I can tell you is that I used a word which had a completely different meaning from what I intended to express and she had formed an opinion before I could explain. When I finally could get my meaning across, she responded by telling me this story. Please read on:

Some centuries back in not so far away land of Oyo kingdom, there lived a wizard by name, Elenpe. Now Elenpe was feared by all but he and the king traded banters a lot and it seemed they were both comfortable with it. But one day, in one of his conversations with the Alaafin, he casually said; “igba wuwo ju awo lo”. Translated: “Calabash is heavier than a porcelain dish”, a statement the Alaafin disputed and so an argument ensued. Now the argument got so bad, and you know you don’t engage a king in an argument that may make him look stupid, and here we are talking about the Alaafin in an argument!

Elenpe stuck to his guns and Alaafin also would not yield, in anger witnesses were called to establish which one of the two was right. Everybody, and this stands to reason too, agreed with the Alaafin’s position that ‘awo’, porcelain dish is heavier than ‘igba’, calabash. In anger the Alaafin sentenced Elenpe to death, He was to be beheaded immediately. Surprisingly, and even unto the last minute, Elenpe would not relent that “igba wuwo ju awo lo”.

And so he was beheaded!

The instant his head came off, it immediately got stuck to the Alaafin’s right hand. Each time the Alaafin wants to eat, Elenpe’s head-in-hand, would divert the food to its own mouth and eat it. The Alaafin started to grow lean and all efforts to get him fed were sabotaged by ‘ori Elenpe’ stuck to Alaafin’s hand. Remember Elenpe was a wizard!

The other wizards in the kingdom were then called to resolve this issue as the Alaafin by now was almost dying from starvation. Elenpe’s spirit was summoned. When asked why he was tormenting the Alaafin, he said he was unjustly beheaded. And so another argument ensued again regarding “igba wuwo ju awo lo”.

The council of wizards and everyone present told Elenpe once again, that he was wrong!

But Elenpe’s still maintained his stand! And the argument heated up so much between him and the other wizards. Exasperated, Elenpe’s spirit suddenly blurted out; “ani mo ni, igba tutu wuwo ju awo lo!” Translated: “I said a wet (freshly harvested) calabash is heavier than a porcelain dish!” Everybody exclaimed, “Ooto lo so! o ba ti salaiye bayi ki won to be o lori, Alaafin o jebi oo!” Translated: “You are right! But, you should have said this earlier before you were beheaded, the Alaafin is not wrong!

And so the Wizards appeased Elenpe’s spirit through necessary sacrifices and his head dropped off the Alaafin’s hand, because in truth, the Alaafin was right, if Elenpe had explained himself better and clearly within the context of available time, he would have been spared!

So it became a saying in old Oyo that “Ai soro yan oro, lo mu Elenpe ekini, to wipe igba wuwo ju awo lo!

Translated: “Failure to explain with clarity was what cost the first Elenpe his head when he said calabash is heavier than a porcelain dish“. While in truth what he meant was that a wet calabash is heavier than a porcelain dish.

Moral of the story: Make sure you communicate what you mean with clarity and if need be back it up with explanation even before you are asked.

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2014 in Personal, Uncategorized

 

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