Sam AwedaTuesday, January 27, 2009



Continued from Part 1

et anyone tell me why the Black race should command any respect?


How many significant things have we contributed solely from the Black continent to the industrialized world i.e which originated from the Black continent? Yet we utilize everything that are invented ranging from automobiles to anything one can ever think of.

Take Nigeria as example. The second Republic senators had great obsession for aircrafts and were competing with one another on the class of their aircrafts when so many towns had and up to now, no good access roads, when towns and villages were and still shanties, with no potable water, no electricity etc.

The insatiable passion for luxury by our imposters, called leaders has led to our impoverishment. They are responsible for the ridicule we face the world over. They are fast at acquiring things, which those who produce them are themselves not able to utilize.

How do we appear to the countries, which produce them? Anything other than laughing stock or 'fools'? "A nation of consumers who produces nothing but uses everything"

Nigeria is one of the few nations on earth who can allow a brain of Prof. Ayo Awojobi and his likes to lie un-fully utilized until they are no more. All the rulers, be it Military or Civilian, past and present have no sense of urgency to put the country on the map of Industrialized nations.

Japan was turned into rubbles in 1945. But because she knew what she wanted and not just on the lip, between then and now, she has become a member of the most powerful eight countries (G 8) of the world, really the second economic power. Her citizens are respected anywhere in the world.

Nigeria in her own case has relegated herself from a developing country to membership of the club of the poorest nations of the world.

Certainly, we still have the likes of Awojobi around who only need to be provided with the enabling environment to invent things that will accord us some pride, which in turn will make us to enjoy some level of respect across the world. But unfortunately, this is not the concern of our politicians.

I wonder how many people know that the late Professor Awojobi had his first degree in Engineering at the Ahmadu Bello Univerisity, Zaria. I wonder how many people know that Prof. Wole Soyinka had his first degree in Ibadan, as well as the likes of the late chief Bola Ige.

I became very friendly with a young man in my days at GA. Tech, Atlanta. He was a Ph.D student and a former student of Prof. Awojobi in his undergraduate years in Lagos. He recorded the Prof. as saying that he would retire from teaching, the day he had to go with prepared notes to teach undergraduate Engineering students.

Nigeria is like a baby, who crawled at the required time but soon as she started to walk, developed stroke (paralysis) and went back crawling. She thus failed to run when due. At the due time when she was expected to start to understand, she became deaf and as a result became dumb (unable to speak) because a person must be able to hear before he can speak. A child starts to speak what he hears others pronounce. So, in all, the baby failed to thrive (grow).

When I was in high school some decades ago, Nigeria was often referred to as a developing Nation and we were hopeful that we were nearing the Promised Land. I wonder how we should be described at present. Certainly we stopped developing.

One other problem, which has led to our backwardness, is "Narrow mindedness" of many of us. We do not think of any long term positive gain, which the duty assigned to us can bring to us, our children and the nation in general. The concern of most people is the immediate benefit to themselves and that is why someone who has the duty to disburse scholarship fund will hold on to it instead of prompt disbursement to the recipients.

The callousness of Nigerians is unimaginable. I remember in the early 80s, the behaviour of some staff of the Nigerian High Commission on Fleet Street, London, which has the sole responsibility for the affairs of students who were on Scholarship whether states' or the Federal. While some of the officers, like one Mr. Adeoye, a fairly elderly man, was most industrious, there were those of them who all that concerned them is the gains they would make from the different funds. And ask me what they use the monies for; they lavished it on the women of low virtues who they have brought from home. They would keep their wives in Nigeria but cohabit with their "soyoyo" women in London.

A visit to the Commission at the period I am talking about will tell you promptly how each of the women arrived England.

The women were always in the office to gossip and fight because some of the officers would have brought two or more concubines from home and when one party learns of it, she comes to lay in wait for the other, resulting in shouting on one another and many times resulting into scuffle. The hopeless concerned Officer might feel unconcerned initially but after it ends up in physical combat, he either tries to separate them with threat that he was going to repatriate all of them home or he simply walked out on them and leaves for the other Embassy site on Northumberland Avenue where there was a canteen that served pounded yam with goat meat and bokotoo (cow tail), leaving the women to their fate.

Some of the women secretaries on the Fleet Street embassy of the time (early 80s) were equally hopeless and wicked. They carried the same behavioral practice of home to London.

There was one Mrs Adeniji (I hope I still got her name right) who worked for the hard working and conscientious Mr. Adeoye. This woman was horrible. She made many students to weep by hiding their files. In the first instance, it was so difficult to get anything done on the phone because the lines were perpetually kept busy by the staff of the embassy with their useless, unprofitable endless conversations with their friends, which had nothing to do with duty. So Students had no choice other than to come from their far locations to London, abandoning their studies in order to get things done and only to arrive at the embassy and not able to locate their personal files.

Things could be different for the Holy Spirit filled person anyway. After I completed my programme and it was time for me to return home, I filed my intention to be issued with my return ticket. But somehow along the line, my file got missing and the process could not continue. So I was getting stranded. In the first instance, the monthly scholarship value hardly carried anyone to the end of the month; so it was not a situation, where one wished to be stranded.

I got to the Nigerian High Commission on Fleet Street that particular morning in September and the woman secretary, Mrs. Adeniji was away. We were told she had taken her child to the hospital and would resume duty late in the afternoon. Little did I realize that the good Lord had kept her away for my salvation.

By 2.00pm, I had become hungry, having had nothing to eat or drink that day. I stood up (having become tired of sitting) by the entrance to the secretary's office, when the good Lord opened my eyes to a table, which was covered by a gray tarpaulin. On the table covered by tarpaulin was placed a typewriter and other items. I went straight to the table and I started to dismantle it. Students and others watched and wondered at the madness I was doing. Under the tarpaulin were some files including mine, wrapped in clothes. I shouted in ecstasy. Mr. Adeoye (the Student Affairs Officer) came out of his office to see it for himself. Mr. Adeoye was sorry and lamented "She must not have liked the owners of these files"

A number of times, we have to do some spiritual things, though it may appear foolish on the surface. Disobedience will lead to regret, but obedience will lead to joy.

I was just stepping out of the building when the devilish woman arrived. I smiled and greeted her. Great disturbance could clearly be perceived on her face as she saw me. I needed not to say anything to her, having had God disgraced her on my behalf. She would however get upstairs (her office) to meet other students who would put her to task.

God kept her away for my rescue and those of others, who the satanic woman had hid their files.

Can anyone imagine a citizen displaying that kind of wicked act to a fellow citizen in a foreign land, knowing fully well that it is not a society where people borrow one another money?

I recollect the serious anguish, which the Students of Oyo state studying in the UK in the early 80s went through. The home State Government insisted that it had remitted the students' scholarship fund to the UK while the Student affair Officers in the High Commission insisted it never got it. Eventually, it was discovered that the money was lodged in a U.K bank to generate interest for a fixed period. The patience of many Universities was exhausted and they had to throw many of the students out. The students had no money to warm their apartments and many had to remain in the libraries till the libraries closed. In essence, libraries became their home.

The fact is that those officials were so shallow minded. They had no consideration of the immense future benefits which could come their way and their children from the education of those students. This is why our nation cannot progress except we all change our selfish, jealous and greedy attitudes.

When Churchill took it upon himself to educate the son of Fleming, a very poor man, little did he know he was going to be a direct beneficiary of the education of the fellow in the future. But the fellow, Alexander Fleming invented the Penicillin drug, which eventually saved the life of Churchill's son, Sir Wilson Churchill after he developed a deadly lung infection.

Though I have read it elsewhere that it wasn't Churchill Snr. who actually paid for the education of Sir Alexander Fleming, the lesson of note is that by performing whatever duty assigned to us and doing whatever good thing that lies in our hands to do, we should do them faithfully because we or our children might benefit from it at a later date.

And if every citizen does what he/she needs to do faithfully, the nation stands to gain and be better off with visible progress in infrastructures. Then we shall be accorded the right respect we deserve in the comity of nations. We meanwhile have no respect from other races of the world because we all have been acting selfishly, with no foresight. The interest of the nation and the future of our progenies is not our concern and so we lag behind other nations in everything. How then do we expect the world at large to have any high opinion about us?

Continued from Part 1

Sam Aweda is President & Snr. Pastor, Jesus for the World Revival Mission