“There is this saying that united we stand, divided we fall. In Nigeria today we claim to be united, yet it is obvious we have disintegrated. We have been divided along ethnicity, tribe and religion. Christians versus muslims, Igbos versus Yorubas, Fulanis versus Nigerians. There was indeed a country. I strongly believe divided, we stand a better chance of surviving. The country is boiling and no one cares until the pot explodes.”
This morning I am empty. As empty as uncorked green bottles prostrate on the floor of a bush bar. My mind is a cauldron and as it bubbles I stare into space like Okonkwo after he had returned from killing Ikemefula.
I love the late Professor Chinua Achebe. I adored him. God bless his departed soul. He was indeed a man of the people much unlike our present leaders in Nigeria.
This was a man who chewed his wise words like a lobe of kolanut and spat it out without caring whose face was splattered. He was good with proverbs and he dished it sizzling hot like a bowl of yam pottage.
Generally, the Igbo race love their proverbs. To them, proverbs are the palm oil with which words are eaten. Achebe savoured this delicacy. Through Achebe’s superb and breathtaking works I knew him better. No longer at ease, Arrow of God, A man of the people, There was a country, Things fall apart. The last named book is my favourite and I fell in love with the character Okonkwo. I love his pride, bravery, fierceness, agility and the sole fact that he honoured and upheld the rich culture of his village Umuofia.
Okonkwo once said that if some people come into his house and defecate on the floor, what does he do. Does he close his eyes? No. He simply will take a stick and break it over their heads. That was the kind of man Okonkwo was and that is the kind of man we need to rule Nigeria.
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The times we live in require us to have wisdom and to use it in abundance when necessary. I believe the farmers from Umuneshi autonomous community in Awgu LGA of Enugu state applied strict wisdom in their acts and for that I brand them Okonkwo’s disciples.
It so happened that there were unconfirmed reports that some herdsmen had abducted some women from the above named community. The farmers, weary of reporting the recurring evil activities of the herdsmen to the non-chalant security agents, had united to protect their interests. They grouped and killed one bull belonging to the herdsmen and then mobilised themselves to search for the abducted women.
Unfortunately, the farmers (seventy six of them) were arrested by soldiers of the Nigerian Army who claimed they were tipped of the farmers’ activities. The swift response of the Nigerian Army when the herdsmen complained and the shabby response of the same security agency when the farmers complained shows that the Igbos are still marginalised.
These farmers should be praised for their effrontery for standing for themselves. The unholy activities of Fulani herdsmen is very popular in Nigeria. From the east to the west and southern part of the country their crimes are evident. They kidnap innocent citizens, rape hapless wives, maim innocent children, attack unarmed farmers and destroy crops of farmers with their cattle.
These wandering clowns cause havoc wherever they find themselves not minding the criminal fact that they always trespass on peoples’ lands. This local eyesore has been going on for long yet the President keeps mute each time the unholy activities of his kinsmen are reported in the media. This ‘I-don’t-care’ attitude shown by him has got to stop. Its time the Federal government looked into the problems caused by the wandering cattlemen. We haven’t even recovered from the menace the Boko Haram is unleashing and this ugly incident is already rearing its Medusa head. The President should take note.
There is this saying that united we stand, divided we fall. In Nigeria today we claim to be united, yet it is obvious we have disintegrated. We have been divided along ethnicity, tribe and religion. Christians versus muslims, Igbos versus Yorubas, Fulanis versus Nigerians. There was indeed a country. I strongly believe divided, we stand a better chance of surviving. The country is boiling and no one cares until the pot explodes.
We need someone with profound wisdom like Achebe to lead us into the promised land because we have wandered for long. We need a strong willed man like Okonkwo to salvage us. Let those who have eyes read and those who have ears listen. Eneke-nti-oba the bird once said that since men have learned to shoot without missing, it has learned to fly without perching. Let’s borrow a quill from the rich plumage of this Igbo bird and clean the insides of our clogged ears.
Rest in peace Iroko Achebe!
Rest in peace Okonkwo!
Nwafor Emmanuel, is a lawyer, creative writer and poet, and tweets from @eyesiclenwafor. He lives in Port Harcourt.
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