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The danger of not knowing (1)

THE Holy Bible says in Hosea 4:6 “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: Because you have rejected knowledge, l also rejected you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, l also will ignore your children”. Isaiah 5:13 put it slightly different, and this is what it says: “Therefore my people will go into exile for lack of understanding; their men of rank will die of hunger and their masses will be parched with thirst”.

Policeman at work along the dreaded Enugu-Abakiliki expressway

This must have been the reason the Bible admonished elsewhere that “buy knowledge and sell it not”. God likes His people to be knowledgeable and it is by so living that we justify His greatness. It means that anyone that is not thriving to be knowledgeable could incur the anger of Him who created us. This expectation of God cuts across all spheres of human endeavours, faith religion and creed.

This very wise admonition is not limited to the Holy Bible only. The Holy Koran, l was told in February 2014, by Sanusi Lamido Sanusi; then Central Bank of Nigeria’s Governor [in the first night hang-out l had with him in his official house in Abuja] hammered on the same subject matter with even more dangerous consequences for those who refused to acquire the “true knowledge of Allah”.

All over the world, the idiom that “Knowledge is power” has become a rigidly acceptable principle of perfection. It is for the place of knowledge that we now believe completely that “idea rules the world”. Knowledge has pushed the frontiers of development across the world of mankind. It is for this reason that the most advanced countries of the world invest mostly in the human capital, knowing fully that the development of this greatest asset is the only power to push for technology which drives the digital age.

This is the message Bill Gate brought to the Nigerian leadership community recently  when we had the rare privilege of having him talking to us in Nigeria – courtesy of our own “wonder-boy” and richest African, Aliko Dangote. Bill Gate highlighted the danger of not investing in the human asset within the interpretation of Knowledge’s acquisition.

Though one might not be too sure if Bill Gate timely and ever-green advice fell on fertile soil [because of the Nigerian leadership community’s negative approach to acceptability of increasing genuine knowledge, more so when you can only give what you have] the truth had been told; a fact we can only ignore to our collective peril.

It is against the background and importance of knowledge acquisition vis-à-vis the Nigerian political leadership’s lack of zeal for the pursuance of it [knowledge] that the topic of today’s discussion is being recommended for more serious engagement within the next weeks. And the best place to start, in my most candid and patriotic view of course, should be with our President’s outlook and this is being done with all due respects.

President Muhammadu Buhari stunned the International Community and most obviously embarrassed the Nigerian Community when he made a particular pronouncement in London, in a meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury; Justin Welby, on Wednesday, April 11, 2018.  He was explaining, in his most honest and understanding narrative, the ongoing killings of Nigerians across the country by supposed Fulani herdsmen.

The killings have long been linked to Hausa/Fulani herdsmen, with its leadership [Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association] and some herders of the Fulani ethnic stock having claimed responsibility; a claim which the Nigerian Minister of Defense [retired Brigadier General Mansur Dan Ali] and the Inspector General of Police [Ibrahim Idris] have adequately defended and justified in their own languages, was to be re-invented by our President and this is what he said.

“The problem is even older than us,” President Buhari said of killings. “It has always been there, but now made worse by the influx of armed gunmen from the Sahel region into different parts of the West African sub-region. “These gunmen were trained and armed by Muammar Gaddafi of Libya. When he was killed, the gunmen escaped with their arms. We encountered some of them fighting with Boko Haram”.

Muammar Gaddafi; the Libya former maxim leader and ruler for 42 years, was killed in the month of October, 2011, at the age of 69 – consumed in the crisis the West instigated against the Arab world. Seven years after the demise of the Libya strongman, our own dearly beloved President Muhammadu Buhari is holding him responsible for the killing in Nigeria. Could this claim of our President be out of lack of knowledge, not knowing or not willing to know what he should have known?

We shall come back to this soon as we will escalate the discussion of this “business of not knowing” to include another of the President’s public admission somewhere in March 2018, where he said that “I did not know that the Inspector General of Police did not carry out my order”. Just wait till then please.

By Godwin Etakibuebu, a veteran journalist, wrote from Lagos.


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