In search of Nigeria's ori inu
“There was a lot of goodwill. People worked to give this a go. But somehow, these so-called leaders frittered it away. They have sold out this idealism. Nigeria has just become the personal property of a few...” - Ulli Beier
An online medium last Monday published what it called a northern elders' perspective on the ethnic/ regional rumblings racking the Nigerian
nation. According to the report, a former military governor of the defunct North Western state, Usman Farouk boasted that the north was capable of crushing the South exactly as it did to Biafra during the civil war. " We conquered them, including their Bayelsa and gained victory," Farouk reportedly told an audience of impressionable youngmen at a religious programme in Kaduna. He also threatened the Yoruba south west with a continuation of the seaward conquest by the Hausa / Fulani through what he called "one mile military corridor" the North would open from Offa to the sea in Lagos. Incendiary talks like Farouk's have literally put Nigeria on fire in the last couple of weeks. From the South South to the far north, verbal bombs have so much riled the land that Boko Haram explosives evoke less fear and trepidation of what tomorrow holds.
Those who know fear that from all indications, the nation might have finally lost the war of national unity. It was not funny reading online, a few days ago, a certain Niger Delta fellow telling Yinka Odumakin that “Ilaje up to where Fashola has Lekki Free Trade Zone (in Lagos) are (sic) Ijaw land.” There is a frenzy across the land - the type you see in films about places where wars are imminent. Suddenly “everyone is holding on to his mother’s breasts” and flags of all shapes and designs are flying across the land. Maps are being drawn and redrawn and those to say ‘no this must stop’ appear too engrossed in other considerations to look this spectre in the face. The signs are so ominous every where apart from the south west where leaders fight over 2015 ambitions as if that year could exist as an election year even if the Nigerian nation evaporates under the incinerating heat of ethnic wars knocking on our door. Threats such as Farouk's which are served steaming hot on plates of insults never get reactions from the all wise, progressive Yoruba. The Yoruba would rather shoot his urine into his brother's homestead rather than chase away outsiders defiling his ancestral home. He is busy fighting domestic wars leaving potent alien forces to despoil his patrimony.
I have listened to exasperated Nigerians who keep wondering how the ship drifted this far on the high seas of fear and wanton bloodshed. The Yoruba would say a nation gets lost (as Nigeria has) only when it has severed its vital links with its very essence. They call it Ori inu (the inner head) and all beings, including inanimate ones, are believed to carry this essence from the creator. It is what defines how well one pushes towards one's earthly destiny. The Yoruba pray against the outer head negating the good in the inner one. What nation rakes in almost six trillion naira a year from tax and even more than that from crude oil sales, and still cries of hunger and deprivation? When such waywardness is manifestly the way of life of a being, it is shown that he has a problem linking up with his ori inu. It appears Nigeria has lost that contact. Like the inebriated under a spell of perpetual drunkenness, this is a nation that can no longer be placed anywhere except in the pitiable mire between the silly and the tipsy.
No other time since the civil war have situations been this uncertain. Can you say Nigeria is at war? Or can you say it is not simply because the formal christening of the ongoing mass destruction has not been made? Can you say there is no war really with hundreds of refugees internally displaced all over either by Boko Haram or by inter-ethnic hate? Even where explosives are not ripping men and buildings apart, there is debilitating hunger and inexcusable want in the land. Those who wear the shoes of the loss of Nigeria's inner head know the full implications of the disaster that has befallen the nation.
Talks about war and deaths hitherto held in low tones are made now on minarets of incivility. And before now, children were wary of how they behaved because of the need to preserve the family innocence. Today, the elderly are the ones holding the banner of loose talks and beating the drums of war. If you are in doubt, listen to words that come out of the mouths of Edwin Clark and his counter figures from the North like Usman Farouk.
"For you shall hear of wars and rumours of wars." We have been so careless to allow this biblical prophecy meet us unprepared. We have since passed the time of hearing of wars. The wars are here and we are too engrossed in our gluttony to realise that the feast is over.
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