By Patrick Doyle
I REALLY think it is time we dealt with the delusions of intellectual grandeur that seems to plague some of our brothers in the diaspora especially those in the United States, US. Living in America does not make you a SAGE, if anything Americans are not known for being the most enlightened people on earth. One such deluded intellectual Lilliputian, recently engaged me in a one sided academic debate. I made a comment about how hinging the current socio economic woes of Nigeria or any nation for that matter on a single historical event is a major cop out.
Certain people appear to have a fixation with the whole celebration of the ‘Awo phenomena’. For them blaming Awo is their entry to relevance. For crying out loud, the event took place 62 years ago and Awo has been dead for 30 years now. My dear Mr. opinionated diaspora brother, in an attempt to bamboozle me reminded me that he is not only resident in the US but was also educated there and as such is privy to certain profound truths that elude mere mortals like us who reside in Nigeria.
According to him, our proclivity in Nigeria not to harness data for the purpose of forward planning is our bane, unlike the geniuses in his adopted country who have perfected the art. How the event referred to can be misconstrued as data was and is beyond me. In his warped estimation, except Nigerians find it expedient to castigate Awolowo and the lay the blame of ‘OUR WOES’ on AWO, we will continue to wallow in the waters of underdevelopment.
The tunnel vision of my American sage was so fixated on this one event as the seminal point of all of Nigeria’s woes. The Imperially inspired amalgamation of Nigeria that gave the British an economic advantage, the Westminster carefully choreographed constitutional conferences that gave one region in Nigeria the political trump card and other acts of omission and commission by practically all political administrations in Nigeria, all apparently do not factor in our woeful national journey into under development. As far as my diaspora friend is concerned that carpet crossing event amounts to data that must be regurgitated, analyzed and appropriate blame apportioned before Nigeria will progress. Below was my response to him, I hope I wasn’t too rude?
‘The word DATA refers to a multiplicity of verifiable information usually concerning trends in a mathematical algorithm gathered over time. This sir, does not refer to nor should be considered historical fact of a single event.
My postulation which apparently went over your head was that obsessing over a dubiously recorded or even factually recorded historical event is unhelpful and potentially divisive.
You need to get over yourself and become a solution provider instead of seating comfortably in the US to fan the embers of division from there. I have Irish ancestry , yet my love for Nigeria remains supreme. By the way, the Irish are the largest white immigrant group in your famous US.’
The point being made here is that I have noticed that the most vociferous and uncharitable critics of our dear nation are majorly in the diaspora and have dual citizenship. Clearly, whatever conflagration they inspire or instigate in Nigeria poses no physical threat to them or their immediate family. My charge to such ‘over enlightened’ beneficiaries of the ‘excessively free societies’ they now live in, is that they should channel their ‘informed insight’ and limitless right of free speech to topical issues in their place of abode.
We who have chosen, to sink or swim with Nigeria can do without their ‘enviable political sagacity’ and divinely inspired insight into the problems of Nigeria. In short they should maintain their lane, as we here in Naija say.
*Mr. Doyle , wrote from Lagos.