By Donu Kogbara
LORD Lugard, the British colonial administrator who was Governor-General of Nigeria between l914 and 1919, made some extremely unflattering comments about our forefathers in a book he wrote in 1922.
Last week, I asked Vanguard readers how they felt about Lugardâ€™s belief that the typical African in general and Nigerian in particular is â€œâ€¦lacking in self control, discipline, and foresightâ€¦His mind is far nearer to the animal world than that of the European or Asiaticâ€¦He lacks the power of organizationâ€¦He loves the display of power, but fails to realize its responsibility…[His 2 most noticeable character traits]â€¦are his lack of apprehension and his lack of ability to visualize the future.â€
This topic inspired a record number of responses, some of which are reproduced below:
From: BEN UDECHUKWU <firstname.lastname@example.org>
It is very painful to accept it, but everything Lord Lugard said in 1922 is still true today. He was prophetic. Today, Ikedi Ohakim, the Imo State Governor, confirms that â€œNigeria has become the black sheep of the world oil producing community for her lack of accountability and unproductive use of the oil revenue.â€ If you think Lugard was harsh, read Ikedi Ohakimâ€™s â€œThe Courage To Challengeâ€.
In as much as the words of Lugard sound insulting or racist, the man hit the nail on the head. The description he gave pertaining to the African could not be more correct (sorry to say). Let me even add salt to the injury by saying that, in terms of organization, 1 white man is equivalent to 10 Africans. If in doubt, look at how successful construction, aviation and oil/gas companies are runâ€¦Very few white men control hundreds of African workers. What does that tell you?
Lugard was writing about the African of 1922. I donâ€™t know what they were like then but must say it is a very untrue statement of the average African of today. It is very patronising and does not reflect the intellect and exposure of the average African of today.
I know quite a number of Nigerians who can only be described as buffoons. Behaving like slaves at the sight of any light skinned foreigner and referring to teenage oyinbos as â€˜masterâ€™ or â€˜madam. Using threats and violence to achieve their aims, lying all the time, professing and denying God in one breath and treating women like commodities. Lugard was at least 80% right about most Nigerians.
Last week, I also complained about the morbid rumour mill that is manned by folks who keep falsely insisting that the President has died. Here are some responses:
From: promise ogbadu <email@example.com>
Donu, You call it the morbid rumour mill. I call it the call for Yaraduaâ€™s resignation.
I was surprised to hear that Yaradua expressed disappointment over the rumour of his death as if he has not been living like a dead man.
Nigerians have long been disappointed with him over his non performance and incessant trips to Saudi for check ups and treatments. How long shall our leaders continue embarrassing us with their infantile obsession of traveling out for everything? Canâ€™t we build these hospitals? Canâ€™t we pay these Doctors? Canâ€™t we have these technologies? Canâ€™t we? Donâ€™t we have the money?
If the White men were still here, they would have built good hospitals for us… not becos they love us (they donâ€™t hate us either), but because it would have eased life for them. Because they wouldnâ€™t need to travel for a long distance to get world class medical attention.Â Our leaders? Reverse is the case.
The best thing Yar’Adua can do for himself and Nigeria if he loves her, is to resign now that he can. Let him not die on us. How can we have a President who is always on the sick bed, putting us under tension every time we hear the rumours of his death, and hoping his death will not throw us twenty years behind?
The worst things about these leaders is that they will not make life easy for the poor masses and they will not do same for themselves. Yaradua, build hospitals for us. Those hospitals will also attend to youâ€¦.I will not say long live Yaradua cos his life has not in anyway impacted on Nigeria for good…Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
+2348024518268Â Â EmekaÂ Nwabude: Yarâ€™Aduaâ€™s health condition generates the rumours of death because of the unbecoming secrecy about his health. Know one sees him departing for or arriving from these overseas treatment, he usually departs and arrives by dead midnight. The head of State of any Country is normally public property. The Country takes care of him, so the cause of his ill-health and how much it costs to treat him should be in the public domain.
In my culture when a death rumour is spread against someone, it makes the person live longer, President Yarâ€™Adua may not be healthy as people expect BUT HE WILL LIVE LONGER FAR BEYOND PEOPLESâ€™S EXPECTATION
Responses to firstname.lastname@example.org or 0802 747 6458 (text only)