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Behind Every Dark Cloud Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Henry Ekwuruke, Nigeria Oct 12, 2005
Environment , Human Rights   Opinions


The master of rhymes Geoffrey Chaucer aptly remarked in his masterpiece The Canterbury Tales: “The gifts that nature often endow us are those that least befriend us.” It seemed Chaucer had Nigeria in mind when he penned down the above though centuries ago. A cursory look at “the giant of Africa” testifies that over concentration on the oil sector to the utter neglect of the other segments of our national life is the bane of Nigeria.

Where are the groundnut pyramids of the old, cotton, coal, palm oil and the rest of them? The “pecuniary” accruing from sharp oil deals has eclipsed them. Today our refineries cannot be operated and maintained because those who know better prefer the petrol dollar that flows into their private pockets to the welfare of Nigerians.

Consequently, in the bid to partake of the national cake, things have fallen apart and the center is on the verge of collapse. This was not the dream of the early nationalists. The nation was foremost on their mind. They were a different breed.

When the military struck, they promised us heaven and earth, but we now know better. After his eight years of terror, a renowned economist late Dr. Pius Okigbo informed us that, “IBB reversed the gear of nationhood and took us forty years behind. He is bracing up for the polls come 2007. Then, he may take us to the era B.C. Once beaten, twice shy. During IBB’s regime or tenure ship as the Military President of Nigeria, drug peddlers and fraudsters were the movers and shakers of the society. Then came Abacha who dealt with a handful of them and the rest of us before the unprecedented coup from above.”

The noble laureate, Wole Soyinka gave a succinct definition of the era when he said, “Somehow, we deserve an Abacha as a reminder of our collective failure!”

In like manner, the perennial inferno at the Niger Delta calls to mind the immortal words of Shehu Usman Dan Fodio! A kingdom can endure with unbelief, but it cannot endure with injustice. Describing the Niger Delta experience, Karl Maier in that perfect work on Nigeria “This house has fallen,” wrote: “At the source of nearly 280 billion dollars Nigeria has earned from petroleum export in the past three decades, it also stands as a momentum to the failure of the modern nation states to care for its people. Theirs was a life of grinding poverty played out above some of the most lucrative fossil fuel deposit in the world.”

Concluding he remarked, “It is here and other similar tiny settlements hacked out of the tropical forest of Niger Delta that perhaps the most serious question were being posed to the future of Nigeria.”

Since the dawn of democracy, we have not fared better because the fraudsters and drug peddlers who went underground during the Abacha era metamorphosed into political class together with the military. They were the ones who had the money for campaigns and the attendant paraphemalia. What do you expect from them? We dare not delve into the alarming rate of cultism and prostitution in our higher colleges orchestrated by our fathers in power.

In this connection, late Professor Claude Ake prophesized, “We have essentially relations of raw power in which right tend to be coextensive with power and security depends on the control of power. The struggle for power then is everything and is pursed by every means.” With these calibers of men at the high places, the health of the nation persistently deteriorates. No sector of the society is left out from this decay, even the churches and mosques. There is always a strong relationship between the pocket and morality. According to Baruch Spinoza, self preservation (conatus essendi) is the fundamental urge in man.

In our era, people do unimaginable things not just for self-preservation, but “to belong.” We have been passing through great pain and sorrow, but behind every dark cloud, there comes a silver lining!



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Writer Profile
Henry Ekwuruke

Henry Ekwuruke is Executive Director of the Development Generation Africa International.

mireille | Nov 26th, 2013
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