Thursday, November 03, 2005

Mr Obokun Close

I thank you: you are my most loyal commentator!
I thank you: in the past few weeks, I have grown increasingly annoyed with myself that my knowledge and understanding of the Yoruba language and spiritual pantheon and above all the Ifa chronicle has hardly increased, after two years living in your country. On my return in a week, I am going to do something about it: a) find a Yoruba language teacher in Abuja b) seek out a Father of the Secrets for mentorship. I am drawn to Eshu and need to begin to talk to him/she/it. Thank you for fanning the flames of my frustration and hopefully fueling a remedy.

However, I am not sure if I understand how you disagree with me, or whether it is that you must establish a platform of your own (set up a blog with in 5 mins!). I am very realistic about the problems of the UK, and have no intention of glorifying how things are here compared to Ng. The problems here however are mostly psychological and spiritual, whereas in Ng there is little time for either of these in the sheer struggle to survive. The lost born again guff that those shiny suited big mouths in Lagos spout is simply a meaningless mind-drug to quell the pain of near unbearable living circumstances: singing and dancing for two hours on a Sunday is a free way for serotonins to circulate in the brain: a spiritual happiness of sorts.

I too completely agree that Nigerians problems need to be solved through internal means. People like the World Bank are part of the problem, dolling out fresh loans just when debt-relief has been secured. However, the work I do with the EU at the moment is almost entirely about finding internal solutions to internal problems. You may or may not know that the EU are providing major ongoing support to the EFCC and together with OBJ, are a large part of the day by day growing strength of that institution (you've noticed in the past few months its harder and harder to justify a cynical stance towards Ribadu). What we are witnessing is the empowerment of key Nigerian institutions after decades of decay in the civil service: NAFDAC, Due Process, EFCC, The Extractive Initiative etc. An enormously important missing piece of the jigsaw for me is a featherbedding strategy to win distinguished or younger scholars educated abroad to empower the universities (ie give them decent accommodation, guaranteed salaries, a car etc). I hope some of the oil reserve money is spent on this.

And your points about Damilola Taylor/Stephen Lawrence etc are well taken. However, you know that ceaseless acts of violence and extra-judicial murder are on far vaster scale in Nigeria than in somewhere like the UK. We are all looking for to Sunday Ehindero to slowly but surely build the police force up to tackle this. A State-based solution must be the way to go surely..

Above all, my contempt for the perversion of christianity that is the current pentacostal hogwash is that it is erasing local tradition and culture. Without a reconnection back to Ifa stories and to Sango et al (and their equivalents in other Nigerian cultures) I don't think Nigeria can give India or China a run for their money. Thinking of Eshu as the 'devil' shows just how perverse and destructive the pseudo-christian hermeneutic overlay has become. Without understanding his role as the master of interpretation between our world and the next, Nigeria will always prefer to import foreign forms of meaning, rather than stand internally proud with its own.

I'm rambling. Thank you Mr Close. I have much to learn from you. Please start your own blog!


the flying monkeys 7:16 pm  

Glad I was able to add to your frustration, perhaps this will be the way forward for you!

However, I must remind you of the dangers of empty rhetoric, personal spiritual satisfaction is the greatest so you see it is never possible to generalise about anyones religious/spiritual beliefs.

If you are drawn to my religion, then you can begin with an empty mind, a blank slate or you may well realise that you are ignorant of too many things.

When you have learnt more it will be interesting to hear what you say.

Chxta 9:42 pm  

Agree totally with Jeremy about the pentecostals... they indeed are a waste of precious time...

I will put a stop here because bitter experience has shown me that my views are usually best kept to myself.

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