By Jubal Free-Man Dabo
THE BOOK OF LAMENTATIONS:
IT FLOWS IN THE BLOOD AND WE ARE 30% AMONG 70%
Let me take a while to talk to my self. I know who I am, they often say I can tell my story better. I am the suffering soul, buried not by my opposer’s wickedness but my the folly of my youthful age. I am the most fortunate unfortunate Nigerian Child. I grow day and night high and heavy, big and fatty old but foolish. I sleep and wakeup, work and walk stand and sit all day long in the class but never learning. This is who I am and a product of my own doing.
MY GREAT GRAND FATHER
He was hospitable, peaceful and loving, but only to his Visitors. I grow the corn, palm trees, and care for the chicks till they are chickens. I know when I am call to harvest or Kill the chickens which is my only source of information on the visitors visit. I am tempted to say day and night that with my great grand father the visitor is the most loved. He will tell grand pa and daddy “You are mine and all I have is yours, you can always have my wealth but the visitor only enjoys this day” apparently my great grand father is the only one on earth the Biblical prodigal Son’s parable is mend for.
On this occasion, great grand father welcomed the visitor the second time. This time he came on his beast carrying a basket of cola nut. After all the merry great grand father call us to say our usual fair well words to the visitor. The basket was still on the beast as at when the visitor came. Great grand Father found the basket beautiful and his words of admiration made his visitor offered him the basket in exchange for the ancestral water pot. Great grand father had to seek the approval of his Brothers Ham, Atyap, Bajju, Gwong, Gworok, Numana, Sholio, Takad … an approval he received. Our great grand fathers then exchanged our ancestral pot for the basket of cola nut. Grand Father and Father were forced to now battle with making water pots as long as they live, and that is my first inheritance. The skill to make an adulterated, fake and unrealistic ancestral water pot.
The visitor left with the ancestral water pot, a pot that will always be accompanied by the beautiful ancestral traditions, so everything left for nothing but a basket of cola nut. The basket that left with our unity in return left us foes to each other. As the ancestral pot left, our mind and common sense left with it. so is our freedom, dignity and pride. all gone. Back home our great grand fathers are fighting for the basket, everyone wants it in his house, and that is my second inheritance. Always I want it with me and in my house. even when this basket is long destroyed.
At the other end the visitor is enjoying my ancestral inheritance with water always at his disposal while my throat day and night is dry. Now I have to beg him for water that flows from my ancestral inheritance and that is my third inheritance. The perfect ‘mastery’ of boat licking and dependence on the visitors generosity that never comes without a price. Sadly enough he never offers this conditional generosity until when the pot is most empty. He offers me the rejected portion of my inheritance, when it comes I fight all my brothers from other great grand fathers before I am able to keep it. In most cases we fight and fight with no one gaining possession of it. Few years back a brother from Gwong got hold of my ancestral inheritance right from the other end. It was original but my second inheritance, Oh my second inheritance that caused my hating him till the visitor is able to get my ancestral inheritance back.
MY GRAND FATHER
The visitor had gotten what he wanted. my ancestral inheritance, my birth right, my pride. So now he visits the land not with a visitor mentality but with a mentality of a master visiting his slave. He came with power and might, in robes of war and with the Northern chains of enslavements. It was always at harvest time. He killed my uncles, send my father and other uncles into hiding and when they were out from the rocks, their barns and so my others uncles’ were empty, our grand mothers, and mothers were forcefully taken into marriage, against their will, against the will of my ancestors. Oh my Ancestral inheritance. The visitor will never return again until another harvest time. This generation breeds fear in me, made me and my brothers grow with the slave mentality. believing nothing will come but from the generosity of the ancient visitor.
Later when the visitor will return in peace, It was for his cattle to have food to eat water to drink from the tears that flows from our ancestors’ cry up from the sky. A cry from the pains of the gains of the visitor from the fall of their children. My grand fathers accepted him as did my great grand father. The gave him our fertile lands for grazing, grand mother will even cook for him and take it to him at his ‘Ruga’. He will eat in smiles of excitement while grand mother and my growing aunties will go into the woods fetching firewood. when aunty goes for the plates she will carry with her some of the firewood they fetched and give him. The firewood he will later use in the late evening to rust one or two maize from fathers farm behind his ‘Ruga’. While Grand father taught father that was how to treat a stranger, the stranger was teaching his children to always remember we will be forever his slaves. While grand father was teaching father to forgive the wrongs done him by this visitor’s children, trust and treat them as brothers; the visitor was teaching his children never to forgive father’s mistakes but always take any opportunity to retaliate pass misdeeds. While grand father was teaching father to allow the visitor dwell in the land for as long as he (the visitor) wills, He the visitor was teaching his children never to let go the land for it is their inheritance.
Yahaya de Baptist:
Shortly before grand father was gone, the land had received another visitor from the ancient visitor’s home. He came with his agenda to give the land a new name. he Baptized all my great grand fathers long gone. And like with a charm he taught father to completely forget the ancient names. He taught father not to see his cousins as his true blood. He achieved this through this baptism of our long past ancestors. He taught father to call Ham, Jaba, Shiolio to be called Moro’a, Gwong for Kagoma … and where ever yahaya the Baptist resides, usually at the heart of the land, he called it Sabon Gari. And that was the Genesis of my detribalization. The White West World’s John de Baptist came after Yahaya. Hence the harm was already done and John simply blend in.
Few years later, My grand father’s ‘short lived’ generation gave way for my Father’s. The age of my father, the seeming age of enlightenment came with nothing new but a rebranding of this mentality. An age that saw my fathers’ romance with the white west world and also the ancient visitor’s world proper. The interplay of these tree cultures (my true culture, the visitor’s and the white west world’s culture) tends to make my fathers confuse. Oh! thanks to my ancestors who brought me fast enough to have a romance with my grand fathers age before it was gone. Through this privilage I was able to see the changes coming from my fathers’ age as opposed to my grand fathers’ and also know the difference there in.
I recall when grand father would tell me he was going to ‘watyap’ and my father will say he was going after grand father at Kaura. Grand father once left me a message to tell my father who went to the stream to meet him in the farm at ‘Tswak’ but my father will tell me I am joining grand father in the farm at Manchok, and my father never met my grand father. Grand father will tell me his only trusted brother is Gwong but my Father will say to me “Grand father only trusted Kagoma among his brothers” and my father never knew grand father’s trusted brother. Grand father will tell me there is a beautiful ancient head discovered in Ham’s home, Nok. But my father will tell me a beautiful head is discovered in Nok, Jaba’s house and my father never mentioned Ham. I recall again how my uncle Fantswam will tell my cousins that “Zamandabo, Kataf’s house was once set ablaze by the ancient visitor’s children”. And uncle never accepted Atyap his father’s brother nor give him a place of rest since it is Kataf not Atyap that he knew. And this was how my ancestral home gradually became detribalized.
John de baptist, was another agent of this kind change in the land, He gave me names that are easy for him to understand but difficult for any one else at home to even call let alone understand. He said they were names of the saints, names that my uncles who would later act John when he is gone will change to the ancient visitors tongue. Those who John Called Peter will be Bitrus, Paul will be Bulus and John will be Yahaya as if to say my ancestral tongue was a dead tongue hence no one thought of its resurrection, and we killed it again and again. All of us then vanished from each other. We were together but lost in the new culture. He, John was accompanied by his brothers the treaders and educators. They came bearing gifts in their hands as in the days of the christian literature’s wise men. Though, footprints of these new breeds are traceable even from the age of my great grand fathers, the effect causing my lamentations came at the late days of my grand fathers and so: My Fathers will battle with going to church first, then school, before the farm which is here the least of their concern. They will have to celebrate Christmas, then Easter, and then Sallah before our cultural festivals. They, my fathers were taught to wear black suit and white shirt while my mothers wear a white masquerade gown and are to be taken to the white man with the big book (I mean the one with the same colour of skin as God and the angels), walk into his sacred chambers and receive his blessings before their marriage can take them to the happy there after. My fathers were free to follow their heart, nurture and sustain their happiness first before any other thing. They were free to chose their wives that must be one to each man and are to careless about whatever my grand fathers feel about their choices. I mean, if my fathers where taught the right things, they were not taught how to moderate and check the excesses of doing the ‘right thing’, they were not taught how to refine the not so good cultural practices of old and fix them properly, they were not taught how to reconcile their traditional religion, culture and traditions with the new ones. And that was how the good cultural practices of my ancestors were all together flushed with the not so good ones. And the land became more and more detribalized.
Father and his brothers were progressing in school. They were told how intelligent they have proven to be, and their reward was to become teachers so they are taken to the teachers training colleges while the dull once move to work in the textiles, refineries and many other industries. Must of this dull ones were made to enjoy the knowledge of the magic of politics while my fathers were taught how politics is a dirty game. My fathers were told their traditional practices are primitive and uncivilized, worse so that it was devilish and should be completely wiped out and replaced with the visitors’. Ironic as this may be, it comes from a culture with books that say ‘no knowledge is a west’, ‘nothing is completely wrong’, ‘in every nonsense there is sense’. … While my father land was busy producing teachers, my culture was dying and dying with each passing second. to make matters worse, their rewards were said to be in heaven while any other person, including the ‘men of God’ receives their own on earth. I wonder why even the teacher who is meek should not inherit the earth. And my fathers also lived never to forget the preaching ‘slaves be submissive to your master’, they were sent to believe God is white and on earth all whites are masters; the devil is black, he is God’s slave therefore all blacks are slaves to the white. This was what the picture looked like.
What is the result? My land became a land of great intelligence, it was a new glory it seem. And they will sing songs of praise to my land ‘center of Learning’ and as my fathers look into each others faces with smiles, the ancient visitor from the North will look at his brothers and together they will say ‘Wawaye’ referring to my fathers. It is this ‘glory’ that will make my fathers more and more place education above any other thing else. A reason why all of us their children are taught only education is the best. But they were not taught how to put to practice their intelligence nor were they able to learn.
Our Fathers bend down, threw their hoe and took books and pens, they threw the native wears for a short pant and a shirt and up the go to become intelligent slaves and poor. With all the intelligence the land was but in the hand of the illiterate visitor’s son.
AND IN MY AGE
All are now too intelligent to be corrected. Now we argue and argue never to agree. we only agree to the visitor’s glory. Now I am a slave in my father land, I beg for my rights to be turned into privileges and then given me. I beg and beg day and night for my freedom because my intelligence and the new culture tells me I should not take it. Even though my intelligence should offer me great advantages at taking what rightfully belongs to me. But it is so baked in such a way that my initial slave mentality never leaves me. I am nothing but the source of my continuous bondage. I was so train to place all hopes in others and see the government as most powerful and always right. I was so trained to always look up to someone for help, i was not taught to believe in my abilities. I was not taught words like resourcefulness, innovative, use of initiation and the likes. At a tender age I learned how to lay and lament about people so blessed that are refusing to help me, that do not want me to be rich like them and so on. A mentality that will form me into one who perfectly laments the problem and never delving into the solutions. I am perfect at identifying the problem but believes the solution lays far off where I must beg and wait for the generosity of old, a generosity I should have known will never truly come.
I have also learned to read and read and read never to count the gains of intelligence. How was I to center on monetary wealth when I was tought education is the most expensive wealth. I grew searching for the expensive and running away from being expensive. I learned to love and never expect to be loved back. I equally learned to give and never receive. In the sacred chambers I am tought to give as givers never lack while out there in the classroom I am configured into becoming a civil servant that will wait till month end before he is given his right that are defined privilages. I am taught to be contented with the little earning that is always spend in advance. I become a debtor even to the tithe boxes and envelopes.
I call the Igbo man ‘lover of money’ while I need it more than him. I become nothing but a manager of nothing sleeping and working on treasures I search all life long. I am not enterprising, but a ‘comfortable’ suffering child. I say I will not possess power particularly in the political arena, but day and night I pray that things will be influenced to my glory and emancipation. I know my problems, I know the solutions, but I am too busy telling the tales of the solutions and never solving anything. I become the fool playing wisdom for my ball. Who I have become, an educated slave growing and becoming the fool I should not be.
I AM THE FOOL I SHOULD NOT BE
In my age I only express my intelligence through constant criticism of everything except what I should be critical about, they find me everywhere doing everything for every land and people and nations except that land, people and nation I should be at and do things for. I and my brothers have knowledge of everything except the knowledge that education is most useful when practiced. I know very well the mistake of my past but do not see reasons to be the agent of making right the past wrongs.
In the political arena I now have discovered it is not really true the popular opinion that politics is for the dirty, I still know I can get back my past glory and pride only when I venture into the so called dirty game, but I still cannot convince myself into believing the fact that I should be the change I want. I am yet to learn that I will not be given my right I have to take it. If in fact I know I have to take it, the fear in me is still fresh and strong enough to keep me believing I cannot do it. This make me the fool I am not, one who sits hoping someday the sun will shine. I have become merely a saviour waiting for the saviour.
What are the gains of this journey from of old? what has my land to offer but a collection of intelligent slaves, with a large land mass laying west.
– A prayer camp with no redemption camp
– A land fit to hold campuses and not full flesh Institutions.
– A land with reach natural blessings still waiting for ‘Mangupark’ to discover.
– A land with a ginger processing company that is yet to wake up from slumber.
– A land with makers of Kaduna I mean slaves of Kaduna.
– A land that is only capable of producing second class citizens.
– A land with hands in kitchen but no mouth at table.
– A land long tagged as deserving independence yet still hoping to dream for such.
And they call us ‘Burkutu Damaged Brains’ we who are tagged 30% out of 70%
IF I AM NOT A FOOL I SHOULD NOT BE
If I think my intelligence is only expressed in grammar and in opposing my brothers then I am still doom to walk the night. If I must be free I must take and not beg. And the day I learn that I will not be given except I take, is not as important as the day I decide to take. If I am not the fool I should not be I will reduce the talking, I will stop begging for what i should take and start the action. Then I will prove to the world I am much more than 30% by taken what I have been begging for that I should take. I will not only beg for a second place, no! I am much more than a second place. I will take my own roof (Gurara State) or take our own roof come 2019 (Kaduna State).
Jubal Free-man Dabo is a writer and can be reached on: 08074962224
email: [email protected]