FEATURE ARTICLE

Professor Omoh T. Ojior, Ph.D.Friday, June 20, 2014
onimainstitute@gmail.com


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LOVE NIGERIA:
POTENT PANACEAS FOR THE ILLS OF OUR LAND

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igeria: The Obituary of the Living Dead," Emmanuel Chigozie Osuchukwu, a London based writer, published on Friday, May 30, 2014. To be fair to Emmanuel is to say that his thoughts as expressed in the publication were golden because they capture or cover the entire spectrum of the history of what has led to the present predicament of our country, Nigeria. If I must query the publication, and query I must, it is the title of the article. Nigeria and Nigerians are not living dead. Nigeria is still having some teething problems of which Nigerians themselves are a part of some of the problems of our country. Nigerians to a large extent are the problems of Nigeria because do not like Nigeria and they do not embrace what is Nigerian; let say the truth and let the devil be ashamed, if there is one.

It is now an established fact almost by all that most Nigerians are prone to corruption and greed which are by product of ignorance. These ugly virtues have led to the current situation in which our country has by itself invited Imperialist countries to its own compound. It is now that the Imperial spies have invaded the Nigerian domain to their sudden disbelieves that many Nigerians are jolted back to their seats while they were standing, and they are now asking: what is this happening to us? It is a shame that we have to be beaten very hard in the head before we can come to realize what we are doing to ourselves; that is IF ourselves invited invasion is anything to be considered.

I have in the past and continue to advocate the need for Nigerians to cultivate the attitude of mind that sees some of Nigeria's issues as that of growth that does not call for condemnations and name callings. Many Nigerians look for the worst English words, adjectives or concepts to describe Nigeria; some even curse Nigeria out of their annoyance and anger in ignorance. These things they do out of concern for Nigeria but, because Nigeria was not, according to their own observation doing what they thought to be the right thing a country like Nigeria should do. In other words, many Nigerians seem to have developed the worst habit of discussing Nigeria only in the negative; they do not seem to see anything good or positive about Nigeria and what Nigeria owns neither, nor do they think that Nigeria is capable to change even though change is the only permanent occurrence in the world.

Let us all praise Nigeria every day; see the good that Nigeria is to us all; "Nigeria is the only place we can call home," (Ojior, 1978); let us cultivate in our thoughts and actions what we desire of Nigeria; see the Nigeria of our dreams manifested according to our dreams, in other words, let us create the Nigeria we need. Many of us go through western education but never allow the schools to go through us. The correct use of our voice, words, and language is an essential aspect of the education we have received because we co-create with the Divine depending on how we use these tools that are our own voice, words, and language. It is in my opinion that what we as a people and our country are going through today are the collective actions and inactions of many Nigerians. No matter those who are or may be behind Boko Haram, it is still the manifestation of the collective will of those who see Nigeria in the condition it is now ever before the condition became apparent to the naked eyes. The behaviour that many Nigerians have always failed to see the good of Nigeria must give way in the heart and souls of Nigerians so that Nigeria may join the rest of the politically and economically progressive countries of the world. Nigeria is rich, attractive and enviable to others except some Nigerian natives. Furthermore, Nigerians need to embrace everything Nigerian and made in Nigeria including Nigeria's indigenous cultures, ancient traditional wisdom and knowledge sought for and utilized by others in their own communities.

The ills of Nigeria are curable. The ills that are the result of the highest form of corruption brought about by selfishness and greed, all which are the result of indiscipline and ignorance. The panaceas for these ills therefore, are understanding, consciousness, and love. The love that Nigerians generate towards one another and among themselves will allow Nigerians to appreciate themselves and whatever is Nigerian and of Nigeria. Greed and selfishness of those who want to rule Nigeria at all cost brought about the creation of Boko Haram, but Boko Haram cannot destroy Nigeria unless Nigerians fail to utilize the indigenous knowledge available to them. Boko Haram became the tools of those disgruntled political elements and religious fanatics in the country who want to rule over Nigeria forever.

In my earlier communications with Nigerians on this issue of getting rid of Boko Haram, I have suggested and advocated the use of ancient traditional wisdom and knowledge to deal with Boko Haram. I propounded that a people fight their wars with whatever they have or that which is available to them. There is no one way to fight a war especially a war of an insurgency that uses gorilla's warfare tactics. There should be no defined rules of engagement in such a war more so in a war that try men's souls; a war that threatens the sovereignty of a state. In such a situation, all protocols are normally ignored by state actors while decisive actions that validate the sovereignty of that state are taken and concluded. I also said that Nigeria should look inward and tap into the wisdom of the traditionalists who are still the custodian of such knowledge and wisdom. If you prefer, call it the knowledge and wisdom that is normally deployed by the witches and wizard of most communities throughout the world, ancient and modern. Yes, I am calling for the use of "witchcraft" to settle the nagging Boko Haram question in Nigeria. Boko Haram is cutting a deep wound on Nigeria by the sect's merciless frequent mass killing now. The kidnapped school girls are still with the criminal gang 2 months after.

I am not unaware that many Nigerians are shying away from the call one is making because of the unfounded, prejudicial concepts and irresponsible stigma placed on the form of worship, wisdom, and knowledge of the traditionalists in Africa. Historically, "witchcraft" is a prejudicial concept imported into Africa by Africa's former colonial overlord who brought Christianity to the continent to do exactly what it is doing in Nigeria today. What is "witchcraft?" one may ask. For the purpose of fairness and historical facts, western dictionary definitions of "witchcraft" are inadmissible, especially that such definitions were based on ignorance of the wisdom and knowledge of the traditionalists of Africa and other world communities older than western European Christendom. Witchcraft is not the use of sorcery and magic nor is it the intercourse with the devil or with familiar, and it not an irresistible influence and enchantment. Rather, an acceptable explanation of what has been wrongly conceptualized as "witchcraft" which actually implies the "craft of the wise," according to Judika Illes, is that of Ramond Buckland which sees "witchcraft" as

"an ancient "Pagan" religion with a belief in both male and female deities, with a reverence for nature and all life, and recognition of a need for fertility among plants, animal and humans. In western Europe Witchcraft grew into a loosely formalized religion with its own priesthood."

The issue of the concept "Pagan or Paganism" is untenable because the word "Pagan" was a name of an ancient Holy city in ancient Burma where people went for Spiritual solace like those going to Mecca in Saudi Arabia today. Therefore if an African way and manner of worship is reverenced and reverend, it is religious and a religion; consequently there is nothing pagan or paganistic in the African religion. It is simply a Euro-western way of giving a bad name to a good dog just to hang it. According to Buckland's definition of witchcraft, it has a specific religious path with doctrines and practices that are as well defined as that of any other religious faith, even if loosely formalized.

In the words of Judika Illes, the concept of "witchcraft" is a "construct created by Christians who had hostile perceptions of" the African way of worship, the wisdom and knowledge of the priesthood. This reminds me of Chief Priest Ebohon of Benin City, Edo State and Dr. J. O. Mume, Chief Tradomedical Consultant at Jom Nature Cure Centre at Agbarho, Delta State. Dr. Mume had employed the services of one Jeje Karuwa, a confessed Wizard of Igbise as a consultant at the Jom Nature Cure Centre. Chief Priest Ebohon used to conduct African religious services on Sundays in Benin in his native language, and he lectures around the United States of America. I will argue that there are many more of Chief Priest Ebohons and Dr. Mumes in Nigeria who are competent to be classified as "people with knowledge" using the Russian label for "witchcraft."

Nigeria cannot and should not run away from using the knowledge of its wise men and women of the craft just because the Imperialists and iconoclasts have degraded our form of worship, deities, and knowledge into that of demons and devils, while the devotees maligned as witches.

I have since contended that Boko Haram's devilish activities in Nigeria can be terminated without the use of the modern weaponry, and I earnestly suggest that Nigerian should employ the services of the people with traditional wisdom and knowledge. I have heard some Nigerians referred to what I am calling for its use as "remote control." With such a remote control, Boko Haram can be destabilized without endangering anyone else except the murderous gang. Nigerians should desist from seeing only everything that is wrong with their nation. As a great nation with enviable culture, abundant natural resources and human capital, Nigeria will evolve to the heights designed for it by its citizens in their thoughts and conduct.

Finally, I must say it again that the reason for the suggestion for the use of traditional wisdom and knowledge to resolve certain problems such as Boko Haram in Nigeria is to encourage the people with the kind of knowledge to use it for the good of Nigerians and Nigeria. There are witches and wizards all over the world, but African witches and wizards need to be motivated to do the right things with their craft like we see in other countries of Europe and the Americas. If the witches and wizards in Nigeria are made to cooperate with their ancient and traditional wisdom and knowledge for the growth and development of our land, Africa would become a heaven on Earth and formidable force unparalleled in modern time. With such a virtual force in nature, as possessed by the Witches and Wizards of our land; properly deployed, there would have been no need to invite some Imperial powers to come to assist in the dismantling of Boko Haram. Just think of it; how the Haitians dealt with Napoleon, the Great Military General; with his 32000 soldiers; none returned to France alive. The Haitians were poor African Slaves fighting for their freedom at that time with no modern weapons, yet they were victorious and they got their Independence on Jan 1st 1804. Off the thirty two thousand men, twenty four thousand died of unexplained plague while eight thousand were hospitalized. Was that not a feat? Let us clap our hands for the Haitians and for the wisdom and knowledge of our African ancestors.
Nigeria, love your own;
Use what you have to fight your war, and
Nigerians let us love our country.

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