By Tijani Abdulkabeer
Over the years we have been confronted with what I term mild persecution from colleagues, friends and most especially the educated elite, whenever they see a fellow countrymen in Native(a typical Nigerian dress ) on a Monday morning, they have always argued that such a person is not “corporate in Nature “.It baffles when they have no other reason than saying “this is a western setting and it should be graced with western attire”. My response is always calm and objective. I am a free man and not bound by the Western civilisation. Our ancestors wore something before the advent of the “oyinbo dress ” among us.
Truly, the days have shifted from what it used to be and our way of life have really translocated. It is then incumbent upon every sane mind to embrace the change and live with it. The advent of technology has also played a major role in rewriting the history of the world. But when the history is rewritten, when our days change and ours become a more refined and modified way, then what is at stake? The indigenous culture and heritage? Our manners and sense of responsibility?
Many are those that are oblivious of the history of our dear nation. A nation that can be traced back to prehistoric settlers living in the area as early as 1100BC. Numerous ancient African civilizations settled in this region that is today Nigeria, such as the kingdom of Nri, the Benin Empire and the Oyo Empire. The kingdoms lived separately before the influence of the British which started as far back as the 18th century, such that led to the amalgamation of different protectorates and kingdoms. These kingdoms and states make up present-day British colonialised Nigeria.
Ever since then, the influence of the colonial masters has been felt and their ways of life has been embraced in totality by all and sundry, one would then think our fathers never lived and have cultures. One would then start to question why our heritage has gone into extinction. Without much effort, it will be known that the Western civilization that we adopted has narrowed our thinking against our culture, we deem it a piece of rubbish, it is now today an unconventional lifestyle. Should we continue to live this way? Should such unalloyed attitude persist?
We shouldn’t just sit back and watch our culture die piecemeal.
It is a common notion that the past should be forgotten but not necessarily in the case of a Nation, a developing one as such. A nation that forgets its heritage and culture will one day pay the ultimate price of doing so. Our fathers will say “speedily shall it dry, a river that forgets it fountain”. I fear that will soon be our lot. We still need much of the past to measure our progress and know how far we have reached. We need to learn from our fathers’ mistake so that we clear the coast of such error and avoid falling into the pit they once fell. We need the History as much as we need development .
To reclaim the lost glories of our nation and dear continent, it is not a facile job but rather a pick and shovel task that cannot be carried out by an individual but rather can be done when intellectuals and great minds who have an interest in our affairs come together and redeem our nation from such destructive path it treads .
It is due to this weighty reason that indigenous minds from different universities across the nation have come together to launch a forum named “THE NIGERIAN GOOGLE Initiative”. A corroborative effort that is geared towards the preservation of our heritage and culture, we set to tickle the armpit of the past to bring into the limelight age long occurrences and revitalize our culture.
Do you even know what becomes of the Oyo empire? Do you have a clue about the aftermath of the Dahomey war with the Egbas? The Sokoto caliphate is an integral part of what becomes our Nation, do you know?. Islam reached our Land during the 11th century and Christianity during the 15th, do the early men have faith and religion? Do you have a clue that the first university ever built was on our continent? How much of these facts are you well acquitted with?
No panic, this is what we set to do, this is what the initiative will take delights in bringing to our knowledge.
Conclusively , all members of the initiative are prolific pen pushers who yearn to dig the treasure of our world and continent with their pen. Stay relaxed and watch while we tread the path and fester our passion, stay tuned while we explore the embodiment of our living.
Tijani Abdulkabeer is a student journalist and can be reached via:Kabeertijani78@gmail.com