History is human with boundless humanity. And that is why nation states keep benefiting from it, at least for the ones that constantly consult their past. Africa, along with Nigeria, has struggled to evolve from its immemorial perception of potentiality to realization. It has been an elusive human metamorphosis such that it is tough for dreams to come true.
In a sense, Africa, along with Nigeria has seemingly phased out the unfashionable military governance that decimated the African landscape, such that the psyche of an African is rooted in a sort of survival instinct where choices are minimal or non-existent.
The history of Africa places her outside the contending hegemonies of the world, which perhaps is why certain school of historicism, supposedly progressive, once insisted that Africa has been placed outside world history. This school of thought couldn’t advance this argument beyond the confines of hegemonic subjectivity, it couldn’t expel the non-hegemonic African in world history.
For many, Africa is more a concept than a bounded space. It is at once part wish-fulfilment from colonialism and part reality. It is of course, generally acknowledged as a warehouse of yet untapped natural resources. Even as Africa exists as a desire for some, so does it constitute a nightmare from which others pray to be awakened, a piece of history’s tapestry whose threads can be unravelled without loss of definition to the rest.
But it is not all gloomy for the producer of the Black man. Countries are re-inventing infrastructural revolution. From Botswana to Tanzania to Ghana and to Rwanda. Post the genocide in Rwanda, the East Africa nation of 12 million people has been witnessing infrastructural revolution to quickly catch up with the lost years. GDP growth rate in Rwanda averaged 2.62 percent from 2000 until 2018, reaching an all-time high of 13.20 percent in the fourth quarter of 2002. The small nation is the bride East Africa. Africa is indeed, rising. But how is Nigeria playing its game?
Clearly, Nigeria is taking baby steps in creating democratic space for dissenting voices and ideas to thrive, but to an extent. Given the contemporary poverty of politics and the inability of our ruling elite to understand and situate the multi-dimensional nature of the developmental crisis facing the nation, it is always not easy to accept that democratic life is improving. However, with uninterrupted intra-democratic transitions for almost 20 years, no doubt, democracy has evolved.
There are times when you feel that with all its faults and ethnically fragmented landscape, it is a great honour to be a Nigerian. With its great personality and combustible mix of macho and masochism as well as its mysterious allure, Nigeria is a great country waiting for a great leader. As I have written before, under the existing configurations, we may have to wait till the end of time for that mirage. But there are moments when something happens to remind one of the great possibilities of this nation if we get it right. More so that biological clocks also tick for nations, the country is growing old fast.
On the economy, let’s leave that for another day.
But it is not the same story with the security of the same democracy whose organic clock is ticking fast. Perhaps, and it seems so, that the present leadership of the nation’s democracy is clueless as to what is needed to completely root out Boko Haram and address farmers/herders’ clashes. More so, denizens no longer blush about it.
Perhaps, the Nigeria we now know has metamorphosed from primitive practices and cannibalistic savagery of nude figures dashing in and out of dense forests, to a post-modern Nigeria with chemically polluted, sprawling civilizations, corrupt tendencies, failed institutions and disease-ridden interiors; of stick-thin, half-dead children in IDP camps staring fixedly in different postures of hopelessness at an impending fatality. This, unfortunately, has shaped our subconscious, that we no longer blush about killing, occasioned by herders/farmers’ clashes and Boko Haram rampages. It is a sorry trend.
As I have written before, the Nigerian project has reached a critical brink of failure. The nation has become a helpless pawn in a play of giants. The land is cursed with fuming blood on the plateau. While this gang rape of innocent souls continues, we are continually treated to feast of politics without a meaningful feast of decimation of our collective adversaries threatening our continued existence as a people who once shed tears for change.