Art by David Osagie in collabo with Jide Odukoya Photography

Pic credit: http://www.jideodukoya.com

He had decided to go to the African country and was determined that this time around, he didn’t want to go without her. Going without her seemed like torture, he summoned up the courage to ask her and she had been delighted. She had replied,  “Yes dear!, I will go with you”

Flora Shaw had always longed to see the country that her suitor, Sir Frederick Lugard had spoken so fondly about. Sir Frederick Lugard was a British Colonial Administrator in the West of Africa in the 19th century. Flora also thought that the experience would help seal her relationship with him and also enable her to gather more information as an expert on colonial affairs. The first task was to however give this country a name. They both arrived at the great African country in the west of Africa. After studying the geographic layout of the country, Flora Shaw decided to name it Nigeria; she also eventually became the wife of  Sir Frederick Lugard.

Flora Shaw named Nigeria based on her observation of the River Niger, a long river that stretched about 2,597 miles with a peculiar boomerang shape; with its source from the Great Atlantic Ocean, running directly away from the sea and into the Sahara desert.

Nigeria gained its Independence from United Kingdom on the 1st of October 1960, fact. Nigeria is a Country rich in natural resources, namely, Cocoa, Palm Kernel, groundnuts and palm oil; fact. Nigeria is rich in natural resources, which includes Oil, crude oil. Nigeria is also battling several economical, political and religious issues; fact.

On the 1st of October 2012, Nigeria celebrated its independence behind closed doors. This was due to the incident that happened exactly a year ago, when some militants decided that there was no reason to celebrate and decided to be heard. Their method of communication was/ is violence, extreme violence, lives were lost and chaos ensued. To prevent another recurrence, the Government decided against the regular celebration which would have been a matching parade and a presidential speech on open grounds, (stadium). This year, the president gave a speech in a church and there was no national parade.

Nigeria is the 12th largest producer of oil and the 8th largest exporter; due to control issues in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria, (which is the major oil-producing area), Nigeria is prevented from exporting oil at 100% capacity. Nigeria has also been plagued by a term some would call “Resource Curse”, this is a term that is used to describe countries that are rich in one or more natural resource(s) but due to bad governance and corruption, the proceeds from the exploitation of its natural resources are not evident in the growth of the country. The measured growth of countries with no natural resource is usually higher than that of those with natural resources. Based on this theory, Nigeria is an excellent case study.

Ever since the discovery of oil, little effort has been made to develop the exploration of other resources like cocoa and palm kernel among others. A lot of energy is concentrated on oil and its exploration / exploitation. I will save the details and will decide on how to tell a story of Nigeria, as it was, as it is and as many would like to have it.

This is on a sober note as there have been series of events that have been quite bothersome. I leave you with a poem by late David Diop about Africa.

 

 

Africa by David Diop

Africa, my Africa
Africa of proud warriors in ancestral savannahs
Africa of whom my grandmother sings
On the banks of the distant river
I have never known you
But your blood flows in my veins
Your beautiful black blood that irrigates the fields
The blood of your sweat
The sweat of your work
The work of your slavery
Africa, tell me Africa
Is this you, this back that is bent
This back that breaks
Under the weight of humiliation
This back trembling with red scars
And saying yes to the whip under the midday sun
But a grave voice answers me
Impetuous child that tree, young and strong
That tree over there
Splendidly alone amidst white and faded flowers
That is your Africa springing up anew
Springing up patiently, obstinately
Whose fruit bit by bit acquires
The bitter taste of liberty.

Courtesy: http://www.atlanticrock.com

Man on a Canoe by Jide Alakija

Pic Credit:  www.jidealakija.com

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