As we honour Sir Fredrick Lugard, who effected the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern Protectorates of the British Crown to form a new colonial territory and his consort, Dame Flora Louise Shaw, who named the territory ‘Nigeria’. Millions, if not billions already budgeted will be spent on this ceremony. Speeches to eulogize him, extol his qualities as a leader, some will go as far as calling him the Father of Nigeria.
While we are at it, let us be reminded that we are far from changing, his thoughts of us as Africans of this race-type (Nigerians) stated below still bear resounding semblance to what and who we are today, we have not made progress!
Read for yourself:
In character and temperament, the typical African of this race-type is a happy, thriftless, excitable person
Naturally courageous, and naturally courteous and polite, full of personal vanity, with little sense of veracity, fond of music and loving weapons as an oriental loves jewelry
He suffers little from the apprehension for the future, or grief for the past. His mind is far nearer to the animal world than that of the European or Asiatic, and exhibits something of the animals’ placidity and want of desire to rise beyond the State he has reached
Through the ages, though some tribes appear to believe in a deity, the religious sense seldom rises above pantheistic animalism and seems more often to take the form of a vague dread of the supernatural
Conspicuously deficient in the management and control alike of men or business
Loves the display of power, but fails to realize its responsibility
Willingness to work hard with a less incentive than most races
Has the courage of the fighting animal, an instinct rather than a moral virtue
Lacks apprehension and ability to visualize the future
In brief, the virtues and defects of this race-type are those of attractive children, whose confidence when it is won is given un-grudgingly as to an older and wiser superior and without envy.
Tunde Fagbenle wrote an article in the Village Square in November 23, 2009, titled, “What Lord Lugard Thought About Nigerians”.
Phewww! “What a country, Lugard, methinks you’re right after all”, another quote from the article which appropriately captures our ignoramus display of gratitude to one who spoke so lowly of us.
Lord Frederick John Dealtry Lugard (22 January 1858 – 11 April 1945) was High Commissioner of the Protectorate of Northern Nigeria till 1906 and Governor-General of Nigeria from 1914-1919,
So I ask, what are we posthumously honouring him for?
For telling us what we already know about ourselves, tantamount to Mungo Park’s purported discovery of river Niger. I am guessing his thought was that the natives didn’t know of its existence and weren’t making use of it before him.
Or for the divide and rule he created to keep us perpetually at each others throat, a situation that continually threatens peace and stability of the “geographical contraption” called Nigeria.
If for these two reasons alone, then he was right and still right when he wrote; character wise we are a happy, thriftless, excitable race. I am placing more emphasis on the extravagance display of ignorance.
As always, Nigeria we hail thee!
Afolabi Williams is service personified. His passion for service delivery is evident in the way his contribution to the competition organized to name the old Platinum Bank magazine emerged tops and earned him the maiden slot as the first staff to be profiled in “Passion”. He has a Bachelor of Technology degree in Computer Science from the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, a Master of Science degree in Multimedia and Interactive Systems from Napier University, Edinburgh Scotland, a graduate of the Senior Management Program (Class 36) of the Lagos Business School (LBS) and a member of Lagos Country Club, Ikeja. He presently manages the Channels and Automation group in the Information Technology division of Keystone Bank Limited. Afolabi is one of the founding members of The Trent’s Elite Voices and he blogs at Folabi Williams.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.