Skip to main content

Collective Amnesia: The Curse of a Nation


It is cliché that history often repeats itself because people never learn from it. In instances too numerous to rehash, the Nigerian State has been a case in point. In our socio-political life as a nation, we find ways to always get it wrong; and for all the brilliant punditry in the world about fixing Nigeria, it is in the basic things that we are found wanting. Sadly, with an educational system in debacle, the disciplines of history are continually on the decline. One fears for what the next generation of historians will have to continue their trade with the emerging paucity in both class and content in Nigerian historical literature.

Arguably the most talked about national concern today, the Niger-Delta Avengers group, has snowballed into a monster few saw coming. There were initial genuine concerns in some quarters that a defeat for erstwhile president, Goodluck Jonathan, at the last polls will mean a return to the creeks for the militants, but few heeded the caution. The political class was too entangled in the power jostling that every other issue seemed child’s play in comparison. Alas, the militancy albatross is fully upon us and one cannot help but wonder that ‘we have been here before.’ There is a worrying trend in town that any group who losses out in a democratic election, resort to the old creed of ethnicity and religion to foment its grudges and ‘play the victim.’ While not suggesting that the Avengers are avenging the defeat of ‘their son’ in the last election, one cannot help but wonder about the timing of this brouhaha. Buhari’s victory has dowsed insurgency in the North-East and resurfaced the Niger-Delta militancy in the South. It’s a striking development and everyone is at liberty to draw his own conclusions.

However, the bigger issue in the resurgence of the secession creed in the East and militancy in the Delta is that the Nigerian state never seemed to have learnt the lessons of the past. Irrespective of how well meaning the Amnesty programme initiated by late President Umaru Yar’Adua was, there were flaws in its skeleton framework that suggested it was a mere palliative to a greater problem. While the programme returned relative peace to the region, it failed to address the fundamental questions around resource control, regional development, economic inclusion and socio-economic sustainability. Perhaps, we were deluded that the ascension to the throne of a Niger-Delta son was going to be the last jigsaw we needed to align in solving the Niger-Delta puzzle. Alas, we were wrong. Today, the amnesty programme has changed the lives of a few, made billionaires out of a handful, and left a new breed of agitators and cannon fodder demanding a change in a different voice. With the defeat of Goodluck Jonathan and the emergence of a new sheriff in town who clearly has his own ideas, the familiar problems of militancy and secession are back with us. We never learn from history. For too long, we have thrown handouts to deep rooted issues, we have uncannily glossed over the tough questions; we have deluded ourselves that time will fix things by default and we have ultimately retrogressed in many ways. It is common knowledge but it is worth reiterating that things don’t change themselves, people change things.

History is replenished with lessons of how not to do things; and therein lays the power of the past. No programme that attempts to enrich a few from the creeks will be the long term solution of the Niger-Delta. It is time not to go that route anymore. In same vein, it will take more than mere rhetoric and a few appointments of people from the East to achieve inclusion of the region and put an ‘RIP’ on the clamour for secession. The problems are not on the surface and having the courage to discuss the real issues and force the dialogue is the starting point in the quest for a sustainable solution. We must learn from the past.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

4 Powerful Lessons You Gradually Learn as You Let Go of the Past

1. You can have a heartbreaking story from the past, without letting it rule your present.

In the present moment, we all have some kind of pain: anger, sadness, frustration, disappointment, regret, etc.

Notice this pain within yourself, watch it closely, and see that it’s caused by whatever story you have in your head about what happened in the past (either in the recent past or in the distant past). Your mind might insist that the pain you feel is caused by what happened (not by the story in your head about it), but what happened in the past is NOT happening right now. It’s over. It has passed. But the pain is still happening right now because of the story you’ve been subconsciously telling yourself about that past incident.

Note that “story” does not mean “fake story.” It also does not mean “true story.” The word “story” in the context of your self-evaluation doesn’t have to imply true or false, positive or negative, or any other kind of forceful judgment call. It’s simply …

5 Ways to Stop Worrying About What Everyone Thinks of You

1. Remind yourself that most people are NOT thinking about you anyway.
Ethel Barrett once said, “We would worry far less about what others think of us if we realized how seldom they do.” Nothing could be closer to the truth.

Forget what everyone else thinks of you today; chances are, they aren’t thinking about you anyway. If you feel like they always are, understand that this perception of them watching you and critiquing your every move is a complete figment of your imagination. It’s your own inner fears and insecurities that are creating this illusion.

It’s you judging yourself that’s the real problem.

2. Acknowledge that external validation is only getting in your way.
Spend time clearly and consciously articulating to yourself how your thoughts about what others are (potentially) thinking plays out in your life. Think of situations where it gets in your way, and identify the triggers and the regrettable responses it causes in your life. Then identify a new behavior that cr…

18 Things I Learnt in 2018

1. One day at a time. I have learnt that you will not always find all the answers, and some things will always remain grey. But the secret is to always take life one day at a time. Some things will only get clearer along the way. Don’t try to enter the future all at once. There is power in un-clarity.

2. Random check on people can be really powerful.
A friend recounted to me how through a simple phone call she was able to salvage her friend who was on the brink of plunging into third mainland bridge. Care, and truly care for people. Ask ‘how are you’ and really mean it.

3. Dreams do come true.
Earlier this year, I’d fiddled with the idea of how great it will be to speak on the TEDx stage someday. Interestingly, I wrote this as one of my 2018 goals even without having a clue on how. On December 1st, I ticked it off. It’s a cliché but you honestly have to see it, before you get it.

4. Stick to your plan.
More than ever before, I have learnt the power of sticking to your plan; the late…