NIGERIA: WHERE DID WE MISS IT: A Question and a Reflection – by Elder (Professor) Anya O. Anya


Text: 1st Chronicles 12:32; 2nd Chronicles 7:14; 2nd Kings 6:5-6.


Chief Emeka Anyaoku has often told the story of an encounter in Bangladesh during his period as the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth. He had just finished giving a public lecture which to all intents and purposes had been well received. Then a hand shot up in the audience. The Foreign Minister who was sitting by him on the dais whispered to him that the hand belonged to one of their brilliant but very cantankerous professors. When recognised, the Professor slowly and deliberately asked the provocative question: How can a man as brilliant, intelligent and distinguished as you come from such a disorganised and disreputable country as Nigeria? Chief Anyaoku’s case is not an isolated incident; it has happened to me three times in my international travels. It will continue to be our collective experience until we fix our country. Thankfully, our God says hope is on the way. So, the time of challenge for the Kingdom Men is around the corner.

The Pre-History And Story Of Nigeria’s Spiritual Foundation

The name Nigeria is derived from shortening the descriptive term: The Niger Area. The Niger River originates from the Futa Jallon Hills in the extreme western part of West Africa, precisely in Guinea. This area is the domicile of ancient tribes that have a reputation for ancient spiritual and intellectual studies including understanding the universe such as through astronomy and occultism. The early days of man’s engagement with science suggests that their understanding of cosmology and planetary phenomena was ahead of the early European studies. So, they have always been at home with the spiritual aspects of human existence. Indeed, a Nigerian prophet had been to the grove, i.e. the watershed where the Niger originates to say special prayers for Nigeria. He had encountered the griot who is the spiritual guardian and steward of the grove. The occultic tendency existed in this pre-historic culture before the later pseudo-Islamic culture. Here at home given the multiplicity of ancient peoples in the area of the Niger we can expect a multiplicity of ancient altars superintended by a variety of principalities and powers. The Ogboni fraternity before its so-called reformation has survived from this period. Thus, we may expect that until the emergence of the Christian faith in this clime, this general area was a jungle of contending spiritual forces. We need to understand therefore, the spiritual environment that surrounds our nation’s affairs before and now.

The Spiritual Environment and History

Before the emergence of the colonial powers in our affairs, the people of the Niger area had extensive interaction with each other and with the outside world. It started as an exchange between equals but was later to transit to inequality and ultimately to the slave trade and then the colonial experience. The factors that led to the transformation of the relationship from equality to inequality need not concern us here. At all stages, trade was the lubricant. However, since trade does not always encourage healthy morality and may often be amoral in the values it projects, it defines the type of men that are drawn into its vortex.

In this regard, two English men are particularly important for our consideration, namely, Sir Taubman Goldie as the prime mover of the period of trade and Sir Frederick Lugard who typifies the period of colonial occupation. It is important to note that both men had association with the free masons which is symbolic of their spiritual state. For Goldie, the thrust of business must be transactional and indeed the British Government bought his business interests in the putative nation, Nigeria, for Eight Hundred Thousand Pounds (€800,000). Thus, Nigeria at inception was sold to strange occultic forces. As for Lugard, the interest that drove him was not the interest of the governed but of empire. He was also partial to the pomp and circumstance of the Northern people which was why the prime motive for the amalgamation of the two protectorates, North and South, was balancing the books rather than concern for the welfare and convenience of the subject/peoples – the budgetary deficit of the North had to be balanced at the expense of the budgetary surplus of the South. The interest of empire in his view must always prevail.

It is of interest to note that when the time came for the transfer of power to “Nigerians”, the three (3) prime personalities – Azikiwe, Awolowo and Ahmadu Bello, all three (3) had a history of dalliance and affiliation with the occult. Many of the colonial administrators at that time also had affiliation with the free masons or Rosicrucians. It is important to point out that apart from this background, when the period of transition to independence came, the three prime movers did not share any common vision, purpose or strategic plan for the transition to independence. The result was that they took over the infrastructure of the empire without any review as to suitability to the emerging new nation – its political structure and usages, its economic infrastructure and its relevance to the African Society.

Needless to say no one gave thought to the vision applicable to the emerging new society of a post-colonial state. What vision was espoused and shared as to the philosophy and constitutional framework of the new and emerging society? None. Every structure applicable to the days of empire was carried forward lock, stock and barrel without any pretence to adaptability. The result was that we approached the problems of a post-colonial society blind-folded not to talk of the problems that could arise from the multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-religious setting. All features of the colonial estate were transferred to the new independent society including living apart from the people as living in the Government Reserved Areas (G.R.A.s) suggests. No wonder that governance was sundered from the welfare of the people in practical terms. Despite the aggressive pursuit of the new missionary activity that followed, the spirit of apartness (as between the rulers and the ruled) was encouraged especially in Lugard’s North. The environment that can encourage inter-penetration of the cultures of the various peoples as a basis for social and national integration was not considered. Thus, the basis for the emergence of a new nation of common purpose and common values undergirded with a code and mind-set shared by the emerging leadership elite did not exist. Thus, the new nation was decked out at the outset in borrowed robes and practices alien to the cultural milieu in which the nascent but modernising society was developing. The trajectory of the new society was driven by extraneous rather than endogenous factors. The leadership elite had no firm roots in the local environment and developed the pretentious of an adventitious culture.

Multiple Cultures And The Dual Kingdom

If we examine the economic foundation of the different cultures of Nigeria, we would find that they show progressive variations from the semi-feudal system with emphasis on patronage, an underclass and a leisure class on the one hand to the other extreme dominated by a competitive, industrious and frugal system with emphasis on initiative anchored on merit and thus, entrepreneurial. The latter evolves easily into the modern world. The outcome from each tendency has been amply demonstrated in history – the semi-feudal tends to the dominance of conservative values while the competitive system tends to the promotion of progressive ideas such as drove Western Europe, America and lately, the Asian Tigers into the capitalist system of the modern world. Thus, Nigeria is always being pulled by centrifugal forces into two opposite directions. As the conservative ethos has tended to have greater political traction, the result has been a discernible deceleration of the developmental trajectory of the country. Unfortunately, this conservative ethos is dominant in the broad band north of the Tropic of Cancer, a broad swath of territory from Guinea in the West through the Sahel to Chad in the East. Not surprisingly, this broad swath of territory has much of the world’s poorest.

What is more, this broad swath of territory shares common features in culture and religion which constitutes it into a virtual empire. As the greatest concentration of such cultures here in Nigeria are in the Northwest, this region tends to suck into itself across porous borders, a substantial proportion of this conservative and poor underclass from the rest of West Africa. What is more, they are not too receptive to modern ideas and are therefore resistant to efforts at adaptation. In addition, many of the elites emerging from this culture tends to have a dual loyalty – to Nigeria and to the Virtual Kingdom of the Sahel and this has included those who have served at the apex of leadership in Nigeria. This has proved a clog in the wheel of the efforts at integration with contiguous cultures within Nigeria that could have pulled all of them together towards national integration with a common national purpose.

Unfortunately, the pull of the Virtual Kingdom has been greater for some of the elite of this region. It would seem in recent times as if a new dichotomy is emerging amongst the elite of this region – with some tending towards integration with the rest of the country while the nomadic fraction, despite the violence associated with them in their desperation could be pushed to adapt to new ways.

The dualism in loyalty shown particularly in the current leader has been most illustrated in the sectional and divisive appointments that have been his call. It has had unintended consequences in the current situation of enhanced divisiveness. Although the tendency has existed in many of the leaders from this zone in the past, none has been as brazen as we have seen in the last three years. One of the unintended consequences is that the South West, South South, South East and the North Central have found common ground in their response to the pursuit of sectional policies often with violent outcomes and have thus been drawn to each other. As a corollary, we have also observed that the leader’s political base has shown more evidence of fracture in recent times as between the nomadic and the sedentary segment of his tribesmen and as between the traditional leadership and the underclass of talakawas. It is clear then that God is now in charge, is busy demonstrating His purpose as well as underlining His strategic initiatives through the mystery of circumstances.

Strategic Constraints in the Emergence of Appropriate Leadership

Most Nigerians would agree that the quality and process of leadership selection has been a contributory factor to the under-performance of the Nigerian national integration and national development. The tendency to favour the conservative fraction of the national political elite has meant the tolerance of lower quality of leadership in terms of education, performance and the devaluation of merit. It has also fostered inequality, injustice and the tolerance of policies that are not fit for purpose such as quota system, federal character and even zoning in place of affirmative action. It has often led to the undermining of the democratic ethos and the tolerance of autocratic, authoritarian and militaristic tendencies in the body politic. It has also often undercut the constitutional order and the maintenance of law, order and good government.

The failure of the Christian Missionary Enterprise in the North also diverted Nigeria from God’s plan and purpose and contributed to the emergence of counter cultures and the excessive violence that has been our unintended and unexpected inheritance in recent times.

The Challenge

From the work of Elton, Babalola, Idahosa and their disciples, it has been evident from prophecies in the last 30-50 years that God has a purpose and destiny for Nigeria in accord with His end-time events. Which partly explains the ferocity of these times on the part of the evil forces. We now face a three-fold challenge:

  • the restoration of the righteous spiritual foundations and the return of spiritual values in the national life of Nigeria;
  • the pursuit of national integration; and
  • the pursuit of development in consonance with the welfare, good life and prosperity of the people.

It is seems clear that the purveyors of the dual mandate are unlikely to evince sufficient patriotic zeal and loyalty to Nigeria to align with God’s purpose of a united and righteous nation. Experience has shown that they are incapable of even pursuing the interest of their people for equitable and even distribution of the resources of the nation.

We need therefore, a new leadership cadre driven by the genuine progressive forces in the modernising faction of the leadership elite. In the pursuit of this goal, we may have to try new combinations of the leadership elite. A leader in this transitional period that can combine the moderate political experience of the North with the competence and sense of justice of the East and the diplomatic skills of the West may just be able to pull us together towards our common destiny and vision. A leader from the middle belt zone, given their historical experience may just be the answer but it must be one who has not been corrupted by the self-centred pursuit of mammon (and the politics of self-aggrandisement) that has been our badge of ignominy.

To summarise:

  • We missed it all when we abandoned the spiritual foundation of the nation;
  • We missed it when the post colonial emergent leaders compromised themselves through occultism;
  • We missed it when we imitated the framework given by the colonial overlord for the putative nation without adequate consideration to the demands of the local environment;
  • We missed it when we consigned leadership to the conservative and unprepared fraction of the elite;
  • We missed it when we failed to develop a leadership cadre that had shared values, a common vision and purpose; and
  • We missed it when we turned our back to God and His purpose for His people in the Niger Area.

May the Good Lord grant us the grace to realign us with His purpose for the new nation He is bequeathing to us in these latter times. Amen.

Lagos, 15 September 2018


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