Nsibidi: Education in Nigeria Before Colonisation

The Unknown Nigeria Blog: Nsibidi

It is the simplest thing in the world to assume Sub-Saharan Africans were illiterate and uncivilised before the coming of the White man. Such is well-embraced by the African – if you are well educated. Empire Day celebrated throughout the Commonwealth colonies reminded Nigerians that the King or Queen of England liberated them from bondage. The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, one of the best-loved works of Western literature describes the African as a savage and languageless, communicating with grunts like apes. The Father of Modern Social Anthropology, Alfred Radcliffe-Brown, swore that Africans had no institutions until the White man arrived – Africans had no marriages, kingdoms, trade, hierarchies, architecture, alphabet, medicines etc. of their own. All these facts are false but very rarely challenged by African scholars. Literacy and education did exist in South-Eastern Nigeria, for a millennium before colonisation. Let us talk about Nsibidi.

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Ignorance and Illiteracy Did Not Win Buhari His Election Victories

60m Nigerians are illiterate, says Perm Sec - Daily Nigerian
Why should ignorance and illiteracy always take the blame for the failings of the weak democracy in Nigeria? It takes some extremism or disturbing denial to ignore or even use derisory evidence and poor logics to affirm President Muhammadu Buhari’s government since 2015 is either competent or successful. Obstinacy and benefit-seeking are culprits. Under Buhari’s watch, Nigeria finds itself taking a steep dive in the economic, political and social arenas of the country. The economy is in tatters with no recovery in sight. Security and safety are hopeless enough to be the responsibility of God. The tribal rivalries are making the country more unstable than before the civil war and the future of Nigeria uncertain than ever. Buhari’s ascendancy to power was not the outcome of an ignorant or illiterate population. It took the scheming of the best educated and most enlightened Nigerians to achieve that feat.

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Yankius on Arsenal F.C. and the Fainting Big Thief

Riverine Remedy: Yankius, you self, you cannot even ask after me if I don’t call you. Na so your friendship be?
Yankius: O mi Riverine Remedy, have you not heard of 5G and its cover-up story? If not for that, to call you from time to is not hard now.
Riverine Remedy: (Laughing loud and cynically) So, you still believe in that 5G – COVID-19 junk? You are more than that and you know it.
Yankius: If you do not agree with my beliefs it does not give you the privilege to insult me.
Riverine Remedy: Yankius, have you heard the Acting Managing Director of NIger Delta Development Commission fainted while being interrogated for grand corruption by Representatives in the National Assembly? Nigeria’s Big Thieves are growing in numbers geometrically. Continue reading

Morak Oguntade and the Art of Everyday Expression

After reading Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt by Chris Hedges and Joe Sacco a few years back, the unusual happened. I developed a keen yearning to rediscover a dormant space in my mind for the appreciation of illustrated stories and cartoons. I remembered the political cartoons of Josey Ajiboye and Omoba (Dotun Gboyega) and the entertainment illustrations of Morak Oguntade and some others. The illustrations of these men were as political and useful as the illustrations of Joe Sacco, hence the yearnings. Josey Ajiboye was a pioneer and grandmaster in the print media industry. The depth and influence of the work of these illustrators are incalculable as was elaborated in The Role of Editorial Cartoons in the Democratisation Process in Nigeria by Ganiyu Jimoh.

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Jazz Music & the Influence of Yoruba Culture

There was a time in the ’60s and ’70s when several jazz musicians of repute had to visit Brazil for a new spark of inspiration. It was almost a “rite of passage” for many jazz musicians. Classics like ‘Song for My Father’ by Horace Silver; ‘Brazilian Love Affair’ by George Duke; ‘Jive Samba’ by Cannonball Adderley Sextet; ‘Sidewinder’ by Lee Morgan; ‘Big Band Bossa Nova’ by Quincy Jones were born of rips and sounds of trips to and sounds of Brazil. These are a few of the Jazz Giants that had made their most successful albums through the Brazilian inspiration. Grover Washington Jr, George Benson, Earl Klugh, Bob James, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Stan Getz, Kenny Dorham and many others also had big lifts in their music by way of the Brazilian inspiration. The most Yoruba-influenced jazz group is apparently the Art Ensemble of Chicago (see picture above).

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The Cycle of Good Education and Strong Institutions

Formal education is one of the most overrated things in human development people on the African continent can gain, maybe elsewhere too. Education in the formal sense is an “institutional thing,” i.e. the stuff of institutions. It is not just the stuff of classrooms and ivory towers. Institutions rely on education and education has to be meet institutional and societal requirements through governance for it to serve any useful purpose in society. The symbiosis of institutions and education is both valuable and undeniable. In a nation where institutions are unenforceable, we must expect the education curriculum to be inadequate in many senses. Education is not just the acquisition skills but also the awareness of the requirements of civil participation in a just or improving society.

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The Leadership of Rotten Parts

The magic of Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has come from his citizens, but nothing of significance he has done as leader of the nation. Blamocracy (blaming past administrations for the impossibility of addressing present troubles) and claimocracy (claiming credit for the achievements of former governments) now have the regard of significant achievements in themselves. Many citizens claim that while the federal government is clean, competent and thriving, the states and local governments make up the rotten parts of Nigerian for governance. Leadership has become excused of responsibility by so-called voters. We take on the challenge to examine this sticky fallacy.

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Sapele’s Female Druggies and their Babies

 

 

Imagine a baby just a few days or old. He or she has been crying for food endlessly, but nothing is on offer. There is no money for baby food, so the mother has to feed the child with her breast’s milk. How ever, the delay that kept the baby hungry was because she is taking time to inject, swallow or smoke drugs. The baby’s nourishment from the mother’s breast may be laced with varying concentrations of drugs. That is the baby’s meal and survival. We are not even talking about how well-fed the mother is, the child’s immunity, health and treatment if it falls ill, the environment the mother and child lives, hopes of a better life and so forth. One may further ask if the child is the only one, or the second or third or if another one is on the way? Look at the photo above, and you can see a mother simultaneously smoking marijuana and feeding her baby. It is happening in Sapele, Delta State like in many other towns and cities in Nigeria, particularly the slum areas, but the usual denial by many Nigeria is that the photo was taken in South Africa, Gabon or Chad. Drugs are not just destroying a generation of youths; it is already destroying their babies. Continue reading

Yankius on If Julian Assange Where Arrested in Nigeria

Dead Speechless: Yankpuzi! How you is? I thought the British were the most civilised people in the world but see how nefariously they treated Julian Assange. Denial of medical treatment, drag-along arrest in the street and a vindictive jail sentence. It was more than barbarous.

Yankius: Lets not talk about Julian Assange. I do not feel like hiding in an embassy at the moment.

Dead Speechless: You are not Julain Assange and you do not run Wikileaks.

Yankius: All the better not to talk about him. Goon! Continue reading

Africa’s Leader-Manias and the Take-Over by the Chinese

What has happened, Africa? This is the question a bright youth leader on a private forum asked when he learnt the Chinese have set up the 13th Chinese Police Station in South Africa. The answer is Nothing. Whether we base the question on fact, fiction or exaggeration is immaterial. Chinamen are coming and coming big to Africa. Continental tragedy was visible in African people who should have known better in advance, notably the intellectual/educated class, who were unwitting. “Bright lights” keenly supported the decadent misgovernance many of the post-colonial leaders foisted upon their citizens on the continent up to this day. Africans are now living with the harsher realities of such thoughtlessness and misfortune. The Chinese are now exploiting Africa’s naivete. Who will not?

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