Tue. Jul 23rd, 2024

Nigeria Should Land Its Eagle, Expel The “Vampires”, By Andrew A. Erakhrumen

With no exception, people in every clime, from one generation to the other, had had, and are still having, one challenge or the other to contend with. Once what is considered a challenge has been so identified by a people, contending with it, in order to surmount it with solution(s), is a burden human beings must bear. Accordingly, from an epoch to another, humans have tried diverse strategies for surmounting the different challenges they encounter, obtaining wide range of outcomes in the form of successes or failures. Whatever the result(s) is/are, from exertion(s) at surmounting challenges, humans may be content or consoled with the fact that they tried, at all. It follows, logically, that with successes (or failures) in human ventures come more attempts at bettering the previously bettered or failed attempts. Of course, the inclination towards insatiability is inherent in humans; for good or bad! These different levels of insatiability (and inquisitiveness) have led to different levels of “development” and historical calamities! It can then be taken for granted, within reasonable limits, that people who have successfully made their realm(s) envy of others must have put a lot of efforts into making it so; much work must have been done.

We do not want to talk extensively about the different locations, in the world, that are currently attractive to greener-pasture-seeking migrants particularly from under-developing (developing?) countries like Nigeria. Why will they not “japa” considering the negative realities in their countries? To be sincere, many dreams – that might have remained in mere dreamland in Nigeria – have been brought to reality in those places. Nigeria is currently a place where many good dreams are killed even before the dreamer wakes up from his/her sleep! Irrespective of this grimness, we must confront ourselves, eyeball to eyeball, to assert that those places where ‘dreams’ are being realised were made so by Homo sapiens sapiens, not spirits from any spiritual realm. Although, some positives may be given to the country where Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (1918–2013) hailed from; generally, sub-Saharan Africans must always remind themselves that, collectively as a people, they have not done well for themselves! They are erecting weak foundations for the next generation to inherit, making the future bleak! This opinion may be discomfiting!

There is no need for any apology for rightly criticising negativity in the society, as long as this will assist in bringing the best out for the good of the majority. The frustration in today’s Nigeria, is that the more these vices are pointed at and criticised, the more they replicate by leaps and bounds! While new vices spring up, the old ones fester! The country is more of a place where ‘anything goes’. Those being called political ‘leaders’ in this country are the main culprits in acts of indiscipline! The ‘leaders’ that are supposed to show followers the right way are ignorant, inept and directionless! We have said this, times without number, that these charlatans/con-artists are not leaders but misleaders! They have contributed to the normalisation and entrenchment of abnormalities! There is a school of thought that believes that politicians of the past prepared the ground for today’s shenanigans. This may not be far from certainty but does it justify the insane proclivity for criminality by today’s politicians? With these people’s nefarious activities in government at all levels, today, one is tempted to believe that the Nigerian political elites of the era before and shortly after 1960 were complete neophytes concerning indiscipline and “corruption”. 

The disorderliness in this potentially great country is clearly progressively worsening on a daily basis! There is a multiple of politico-economic lunacy and chaos, everywhere. In fact, it may not be out of place for one to be tempted to start doubting one’s own sanity! Insecurity, in all parts of the country, is still the order of the day! He who wears the shoe knows where it pinches! This is one of the salient issues those in government (surrounding themselves with fortified security facilities at public expense) do not like being discussed. Unfortunately, there appears to be a laissez-faire attitude to this societal anomaly! While Nigeria and other similar countries including many of their citizens (if they are really citizens!) are busy with annoying inanities, some others are already thinking of how to “synthesise” humans! Perhaps, critics of the currently warped socio-political and moral order in Nigeria are abnormal! Maybe they are not in tune with ‘modern’ realities! Possibly, they may be living in an esoteric world, engaging in esotericism!

Alright, let us, briefly, talk about examples of certain achievements that some countries, with visionary leaders, have now taken for granted. This is when some political ‘leaders’ in countries like Nigeria are still at the level, and with the mindset, of primordial accumulation of wealth from public till! For a serious people, there is no more esotericism in space science, technology, travel, exploration and exploitation! This is an established fact! For instance, the defunct Soviet Union led by Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev (1894–1971) launched the first artificial (Earth) satellite (Sputnik 1) into an elliptical low Earth orbit on 4th October, 1957. This was followed up on 3rd November, 1957, with the launching of Sputnik 2, containing Laika – a stray mongrel from the streets of Moscow. Unfortunately, Laika did not survive the mission but it paved the way for human spaceflight! This feat was concretised in 1961 (12th April) with Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin (1934–1968), a Soviet pilot and cosmonaut, that travelled in Vostok 1 capsule. Gagarin, thus, became both the first human in space and first to complete one orbit of the Earth.

Yuri Gagarin’s compatriot from the same Soviet Union, Alexei Arkhipovich Leonov (1934–2019), on 18th March, 1965, went further by exiting the capsule during the Voskhod 2 mission, for 12minutes and 9seconds, becoming the first person to conduct a spacewalk. In the same vein, when at 4:18pm on 20th July, 1969, the voice of Neil Armstrong (1930–2012) – a US astronaut – crackled from the speakers at National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Mission Control in Houston saying: “the Eagle has landed”, it was to inform the control centre (and by extension, the world) that the America’s Eagle lunar lander successfully landed on the Moon! These achievements somewhat heralded those countries’ initial dominance in space during the early epoch of “Space Age”. The rest, concerning that stage, is history but what is known as the “Space Age” is not gone. Not at all! The countries mentioned above and others are not resting on their oars even as others like Nigeria remain focusless! Maybe we are dwelling on past events. Maybe we are dwelling on technological achievements of just two “superpowers”. Maybe…..!

Well now, check out the followings: on 23rd August, 2023 Indian lunar lander Chandrayaan-3 successfully touched down on the lunar surface. This made India the fourth country to successfully land on the Moon. China, the third country to do so, first did it with Chang’e 3 (including a lander and rover) launched on 1st December, 2013 and successfully soft-landed on the Moon on 14th December 2013. Anyway, a quick question here: who funded the researches and activities that led to those countries’ breakthrough in space? Answer: their governments! The case is different in many African countries! Nigeria’s case is particularly pathetic! This is a place where inferior people in government are perpetually at loggerheads with, and always aiming at demeaning and rubbishing, university scholars and lecturers! Instead of landing Nigeria’s Eagle – representing strength in the country’s coat of arms – ‘vampires’ were allowed to land therein! These vermins, one way or the other, have been in firm control of the country’s affairs! We are still wondering about what good output is being expected from blood-sucking vampires?

Erakhrumen, PhD, teaches at the Department of Forest Resources and Wildlife Management, University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria.

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