September 26, 2022

Nigerian Flag half-mast PHOTO: BASHIR AHMAD<br />
When I thought of giving a peculiar identity to this column today several considerations popped up every now and then in and out of me with amazement. But the foremost of them which I want to give vent to here and now have to do with the concept(s) of Nigeria that remains undivided: in short, the concept(s) of undivided Nigeria – your country my country our country that is seemingly no longer your country my country our country.
There are many persons who imagine that they no longer are in Nigeria. They are every moment intimately conscious of what they call themselves now: aliens in Nigeria, strangers in a land that they once belonged to but which now they don’t feel its existence and its continuance in existence in their being or identity or humanity.
They are certain beyond any argument anyone may advance or beyond any demonstrable evidence, no matter how each one is perfect and simple enough, that their identity as a person or as an ethnologist in Nigeria has since ceased to be. What impression could be responsible for this idea that has since been engraved in the consciousness or imagination or memory of every individual who asserts what die-hard Nigerian ethnologists will want them to repudiate? This question may be seen as an absurd one in numerous quarters that are more than numerous.
A friend of mine, a seasoned literary studies professor in one of our top-most universities, has, in a patriotic conversation and chat with me, called Nigeria as it is presently a “Yeyenatu of a country.” I have always admired and respected him as a patriot, a Nigerian patriot, who believes (or believed) in undivided Nigeria. With everything that is unluckily everything that the political runners of Nigeria compel the country and all of us to experience, does (or did) he still believe that this country should stay undivided? His answer was not a straight-forward one as I thought he would give.
After branding Nigeria as he had branded her (“Yeyenatu”), I compelled him to go the whole hog for my ostentatious imagination and edification. His peculiar brand of pungent humour was branded in my memory: “Yeyenatu is a Yoruba popular coinage from “yeye,” a Yoruba word; it means a farce, or something comedic. The suffix “natu” is simply to further intensify the ludicrous; in a way, it is in the same class of qualifiers as “mumu.” Yeyenatu is something useless, “arrant nonsense,” or worthless. Therefore, Yeyenatu of a country can mean a joke of a country. Yeyenatu of a country is …. pungent…”
My reply to my friend follows: “May “Yeyenatu” enter my imaginary, imaginative and creative creation and creativeness soon, very sooner than very later. My journalistic greed is equally ready to have a bite and a swallow of “Yeyenatu.” It is invitingly inviting all its sensibilities sensitively.” This is what I called my sumptuous reply to my friend’s definition and explanation of yeyenatuistic “Yeyenatu.”
Those we vote for to pilot the affairs of this country are the turners of Nigeria to the “Yeyenatu” state that is our bane today. In fact, the presidency has turned Nigeria to a “Yeyenatu of a country.” Nothing is worth anything today. There is no peace that is peace anywhere. Without justice there can’t be peace and without peace there is and there can’t be prosperity that is prosperity anywhere, as we all know or ought to know. The other day, that is, not long ago, a female student in Shehu Shagari College of Education in Sokoto was murdered, annihilated entirely in circumstances that turned her into a perfect nonentity. Deborah Samuel was entirely blotted out of existence by persons who could neither think, nor feel, nor see, nor love properly because they did not consider her as belonging to their demesne which is really our demesne. What happened occurred because of the traitors who populate our central government. They allow murderers, annihilators, haters, pain-causers and pain-givers and slaughterers to do as they please in the land. This is not fiction. So why should this land your country my country our country called Nigeria stay undivided?
There is Deborah Samuel in every one of us. Every one of us has his or her identity, personality and humanity which she or he wants to preserve – as a person, as a member of a distinct ethnic nationality and humanity of the human race that wants to romance and perceive and receive and enjoy the luxury, happiness, success and dream of being equal members and partners in the Nigerian brotherhood and family and universal human community. If these cannot be granted and guaranteed we should not confound ourselves further in this “Yeyenatu of a country.” We should split and divide. But is this the best option for us? I think not.
Many, many people there are who will want me to yield myself to burning fire for my present thought as I am thinking it.
They may be in the right as well as I am and we are – I must stress it, essentially different in this particular. We can compel our treacherous politicians and political helmspersons to lead us out of the unknown and mysterious absurdity that guides their actions that are not guaranteeing everyone the right to life and the right to lead Nigeria. We must compel them to abide by the “ethics of care” which “is concerned especially with fostering connectedness among people.”
Each ethnic nationality has the right and must be made to feel and perceive to have the right to produce central political leaders, including the president, to lead Nigeria. Every ethnic nationality must flourish in Nigeria. All kinds of biases and arbitrariness and tyranny must be avoided and jettisoned now. The idea or notion of the dominant group or nationality must die now in order not to cultivate what India cultivated in the nineteen thirties and nineteen forties and nineteen seventies which inspired a divided India that remains divided to this day as India, Pakistan (1947, formerly West Pakistan) and Bangladesh (1971, formerly East Pakistan). Are they happy today? Not exactly with all troubles that are more than troubles in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. And can Nigeria afford to go this way? We must unite to save Nigeria. Can we?
The recent attack on Catholic faithful suffered this past Sunday, June 05th at St. Francis Church Owo in Ondo State clearly calls to question the patriotic, moral and ethical emotions that defy benevolent scrutiny. Our central government’s personages and presidencynologists are lacking in this regard. They so far as we can see and tell have not been acting for the sake of all Nigerians and all ethnic nationalities or our humanity in general; they fortify instead their instinct to preserve themselves and to promote “an actual human relation between themselves and particular others” we now call Jihadists, bandits and Boko Haram terrorists and terminators. Let me tell them this: win they never will no matter what they do or do not do to divide Nigeria.
There are many of us who subscribe to the characteristic stance of undivided Nigeria that must no longer be a “Yeyenatu of a country.” We must cooperate in our conflictual condition or situation to realize what we must realize through our exploration of the music of love and care for one another in unity and brotherhood without egoistic and discriminatory nothingness. This assertion will remain indelibly in my consciousness and my person and identity even if Nigeria is eventually not undivided. There is no manifestly manifest contradiction and confusion and absurdity in my perspective. Thunder!!!
Afejuku can be reached via 08055213059.
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