OPEN LETTER TO NIGERIANS IN DIASPORA IV
It is my pleasure once again to gravitate into your safe and secure planetary Internet space. Since this writer has ventured to open his heart to fellow Nigerians it is becoming more and more difficult to keep my thoughts to myself. Fortunately, he is now better informed that his thinking seems to tally greatly with the thinking of most Nigerians in Diaspora. He has also realised that unless we open up and share the mysteries and miseries of our life we shall not be able to understand and to appreciate that each of our problems is not necessarily unique neither are the problems greatly exceptional. The mystery of life confirms that we feel and suffer alike. Although the degree and dimension of our sufferings may differ yet the feeling of pain that our various sorrows and woes bestow on each of us is same.
Before we go too far, we need to remind ourselves again on the purpose of these discourses and letter-writing project. In January when we wrote the first letter, we declared quietly that our mission is to cause a social revolution to be made in Nigeria through the efforts of Nigerians in Diaspora (NIDs). This kind of declaration has no doubt sent palpitation of fears into the hearts of NIDs. Most NIDs, having secured a very promising life in the land of their sojourn are no longer interested in any philosophy or idea or principle that will destabilise this well-crafted image of an epitome of success.
As a result of hard work, these successful Nigerians have been accepted as important pillars in their adopted communities and they have since become a verifiable testimony of the immense possibilities for achievement as well as social and economic progression that are available in the western dream or more specifically, American Dream. There is therefore no doubt that the entire concept of the mission of a social revolution in Nigeria to be led by NIDs is not going to go down well with these groups of Nigerians. To them, this writer must likely be a fun spoiler, an ego buster, and definitely a messenger of bad news who should be avoided at all cost.
However, since the declaration of this intention, we have tried to hedge our ideas around some important doctrines, principles, and ideas. In the last two subsequent letters, we have written on the need for each of us to endeavour to be a seeker of the most essential things in life. We have mentioned the need to discover the truth of existence, as we believe it is a prerequisite qualification for the attainment of true freedom. It should be mentioned once again that the social revolution of Nigeria to which this writer is committed is principally about freedom.
It is about how to secure a space in which the freedom of the majority of Nigerians can be allowed to come alive and blossom. This writer understands that a revolution that is based on emotion without firm knowledge on the explicit meaning of life will fail before it started. The need to secure this mission on sound knowledge has informed the subsequent step-by-step discourse of some fundamental values that can eventually make the mission a resounding success.
Having discussed the common sense understanding of truth and knowledge, let us move on to look at the role of fear as either a possible damper or a motivating force to any dream or aspiration in life. You must have noticed that this writer, as a common Nigerian, is not cerebral and has no claim whatsoever to any intellectualism. His premises of analysis and synthesis of values are rooted in a common sense approach. He strongly believes this approach will make more sense to fellow Common Nigerians who are the principal focus of the dialogue.
The social revolution of Nigeria we are proposing shall be initiated and led from below and by the host of Common Nigerians. It is our desire to expose Common Nigerians to the truth of their exploitation, to teach and to urge them to learn how to by-pass the group of Very Important Nigerians who have used and are still using their heads to play kokoma music and to dance foxtrot as they drink champagne with their foreign partners for so long.
Now, let us move on to the topic of the moment, how can fear be a stumbling block or a firing rod to the achievement of this important social revolution?
Fear as a Motivator
The American Heritage Dictionary defines fear as ‘a feeling of agitation and anxiety caused by the presence or imminence of danger’. There are generally speaking two types of fear – rational fear and irrational fear. What makes the difference between them is knowledge. In another word, ignorance can be described as the mother of most irrational fears while knowledge can also be described as the mother of most rational fears. A fear can be irrational when it is based on religious or cultural superstitions, fables, myths, old wives’ tales etc. that have been psychologically imbibed as true and are logged in the psyche or the subconscious mind.
On the other hand, a rational fear is often based on informed observations and valid verifiable experiences. The fear of fire to a toddler who has been scorched once is a rational fear. The fear of a military despot who has massacred one’s colleagues and contemporaries with a timed-bomb or specially adapted bullets or poisons is a rational fear. The fear of armed robbers, ‘kill and go‘ police officers, government and government secret agents, and the horde of professional assassins that are rife in the fatherland is a rational fear. The fear of political domination and economic enslavement of one ethnic group by another ethnic group in Nigeria is a rational fear.
At another level, the fear of poverty, of social exclusion, of economic and business failure, of loss of social status, of loss of face among one’s peers, etc. can be both rational and irrational. These latter types of fear fall into the grey areas because they have unstable properties. They have tendencies to change colours like chameleon. They are in most cases based on the figment of our imaginations or emotions or on our fantasy or on handed down fairy tales passed on like a family heirloom or on excessive consumption of Hollywood fictions or on our own internally generated illusions. Still this type of fears can be very powerful in the life of those who have fallen under their control. It is more intense in the life of those who have allowed themselves to become victims of or slaves to the western mode of values particularly on the notion of a successful life.
It is to the irrational fears we shall advise the NIDs to focus their attention. We shall encourage them to seek understanding as they ask at what stage does fear become irrational? How can anyone evaluate the nature of fear that dominates his/her life? What can any one do to eliminate or limit the damaging and paralysing effect of fear in one’s life? In other words, how do you become free from the bondage of fear? It is very important for us to recognise that our life is dominated and wholly under the control of fear.
Fear, whether it is rational or irrational, has a motivational propensity. It leads to some actions or non-actions. For example, irrational fears call for irrational rituals, sacrifices, magic, totems, charms, etc. as means to ward off the cause and overcome the danger of the fear. While on the other hand rational fears would call for rational thinking, creative planning and logical actions to stem the tide and the cause of the fear.
Fear of Poverty Syndrome
Most of the actions we take in life are rooted in, influenced and propelled by the invisible power of fear. Take for instance the fear of poverty; it has driven most people to do unthinkable, unimaginable and unbecoming things in order to escape from the evil fangs of poverty. The 419ers, the Abachas, the Babangidas, the Abiolas, the Yar’Aduas and all other moneybags of our nations were and are still driven by the power of this fear. In their own intellectual reasoning and philosophical wisdom, they have discovered the power of money as the protector angel against poverty.
They believed, and very strongly too, that the larger the volume of cash in the banks, in the pillow cases, in the mattresses, in the beer and milk cartons, in the lofts, hidden under the grounds and in every corner of the houses they owned, they would have silenced the fear of poverty forever. In the process they are led into soul-killing engagements and life-losing battles that will eventually cause them the loss of both their mortal and immortal lives. A man that sins or commits evil against other people, even if it is the thought of it within his soul, automatically dies an eternal death. This is the natural law. And the Christian Bible confirms this, ‘a soul that sins shall die’.
The problem with this group of Nigerians is that they have failed to analyse more deeply the true meaning of poverty. There is a material poverty as well as a spiritual poverty. A person can have a house full of material wealth and still feel very poor and empty whereas a person can be lacking in material possessions and yet has a fulfilled life because he/she has a spiritual wealth. The problem facing modern man is the inability to separate illusion from reality.
Reality with most Nigerians end with what they can see, touch or smell physically. They lack understanding of another perspective of the immense invisible world. They cannot understand the limit of their physical senses as designed by The Creator. They are unaware that there is a spiritual sense that is far larger and more encompassing than the physical senses. Because of their ignorance, they discuss reality in terms of what is physically perceptible to the sense organs. Therefore, any other level of reality to this type of people is an illusion.
Unfortunately, the entire physical reality of humankind has been crudely packaged and symbolised under a generic value called money. Humanity has over rated the value of money and by so doing money is now the most prominent idol in the life of every modern man. It is obvious that humankind has given more than the necessary attention and a larger than life top value to the power of money. The whole wide world has come to acknowledge and to accept as a divine truth the power of money as the answer to all fears.
In the context of the NIDs, our fears our numerous: for some it is the fear of immigration laws, or the fear of racist thugs and racist law enforcement officers, or the fear of insecurity of job and the inability to maintain present level of lifestyles, or the fear of the debt collector. For others, it is the fear that the lies and frauds perpetrated in the struggling years may catch up with them to mar the fabulous success story of the poor immigrant that made it big in the land of unlimited opportunity, or the fear of revenge from abused and jilted lovers. And to others it is the fear that the stigma of Nigeria as a country notorious for corruption and populated by fraudsters may attract discrimination against them as they compete for a top position or business, or the loss of cultural identity as they watch their children imbibed foreign habits and foreign values they know to be profoundly repulsive to human spirit and existence.
All these fears are real and rational and a proper analysis of their roots, stems and branches would throw a more enlightening light on the causes of the problem. But to consign them, as most Nigerians do, under a hazy lazy summary that says, if only I can get hold of one million dollar or pound then my problems would be over, is an illusion.
You better believe it, with such money in your life, your troubles have just begun afresh. Money carries in its baggage more troubles than the material fortunes it bestows. And unless you understand this simple fact and deal with it intellectually and spiritually before you stretch out your hands to welcome money into your chamber or bed as your new found lover or life partner, you might end up worse than when you first started to court the affection of money.
For a starter, money has no permanent devotion to any one. It is a lousy incorrigible flirt. Its very flirtatious habits and manners dictate the exhibitionist behaviours of its friends and lovers. Money is loud and very loud indeed. It cannot keep quiet for a moment for it thrives best under confusion and pandemonium. Money craves gaudy expositions and vulgar displays. Superficially, it is both a confidence booster and an ego amplifier. And it has the capacity to turn its friends and lovers into arrogant peacocks overnight. So, Dear NID if you are not into such lifestyles then you need to be very careful on the terms you are offering to god mammon, the messiah of our age, as you try to lure it to become your most affectionate lover.
The American Dream
Unfortunately, to those of us living in the western world particularly America, it is very difficult to remain immune to the cultural value that sings the praise and glorifies the messianic power of money. This writer has no quarrel with America and their dreams but he has a lot of angst for those reaping where they have not planted. We are definitely against the abuse and the use of the weak and vulnerable people of the world as fuel and fodder to cook the gravy of this so-called American Dream.
Personally, this writer cringes with shame whenever any of the international aid agencies advertises their wares on the television with imageries and captions of the suffering people from Africa. In my quiet moments, this writer wonders why my compatriots are indifferent to the sad and humiliating situations. He wonders how any latter-day African can easily fit in and imbibe, in a generation, all the conspicuous excesses and wastefulness of essential commodities necessary for physical existence while his/her brothers and sisters in Africa are languishing for lack of basic wants and are gradually dying off in larger numbers than normal as a result of inhuman deprivations. This writer wonders!
Let us repeat it again we have nothing against the American Dream because we know that the Americans have a right to their fun and excesses since they earned it with their sweat and blood. And again we understand that this is the wake of the Western civilisation before it is finally buried for good. The demise of a civilisation that derives great gains and pleasures from African-abusing, African-baiting, African-bashing, African-enslaving, African-exploiting, African-hating and African-ridiculing cultures shall not be mourned.
Notwithstanding, why should we grudge the Americans as they carouse and carry-on with their hedonistic life? It is the end of a hell of a time. Americans must be allowed to enjoy their fun to their hearts’ full desire. But what do we say about the Johnny Just Come Nigerian who refused to appreciate where the Americans are coming from and where they are going before deciding to throw body and soul headlong into the whirlpool of this fun and excessive conspicuous enjoyment? Well, we shall not call anybody names but we shall leave that judgement to you.
We should be reminded that America and Europe were built by the grit, sweat and blood of the Americans and Europeans. How any JJC African sojourner can feel so comfortable to the extent of building a permanent tent on this ready-made world of others is what we are challenging and putting forward as an agenda item for debate. We need not be reminded that Nigeria is in ruin; we all seem to know that. But so was Europe and America before the Industrial Revolution and the French Revolution of the eighteenth century. We now understand that it was the effort of a pocket of visionaries in the Age of Reason that transformed the fortunes of Europe and consequently that of America. The people that colonised America went to America with nothing but their beliefs, determination, brain and brawn and, of course, their heartlessness.
Now for any Nigerian to decide to run away from Nigeria because some few bad eggs have messed up the environment and to now cultivate the attitude that says, I don’t want to know about that country anymore is a total renege of natural responsibility and this is definitely against moral and ethical obligations to ones fatherland under natural law of existence. And to continue to throw stone of derision at those feeble and dumb characters in charge of the affairs of the country without a serious desire to work physically and practically in order to make a difference is pure hypocrisy. It is the duty of a sensible Landlord to clean the filth around his house that is about to turn his house into a wasteland. It will be foolish of him to run away from his house because some hoodlums have occupied it unjustifiably, with or without the pretence of a fudged constitutional right.
Dear NIDs these are serious issues and if any one is still not taking the idea of a social revolution to be led by the NIDs seriously, it definitely shows a lack of knowledge and understanding about the spirit of the moment. The Germans call this spirit, Zeitgeist (zeit means time + geist means spirit). This is defined as ‘the spirit of the times or the trend of thought and feeling in a period’.
This is a principle that believes in the overriding power of the spiritual world to move mankind in one particular direction or another. When this spirit is in flow, an entire community or society seems to be magnetically tuned to one frequency of perception that senses and understands the world in the same way. When the flood of this spirit is in full flow, no one in the community or society is able to stand against it. The history of our world has demonstrated this extraordinary spiritual and psychological phenomenon at many instances and epochs.
With this background, this writer will urge the NIDs to begin to see the discourses we have so far engaged in since January with new eyes that have been sharpened with the knowledge of the past history of mankind. The self-analysis of individual predicaments is an important task that cannot be left to others to do for you. If you are hoping that this writer shall be going into prolong ontological debates on the issues under focus, then you are not yet in tune with the spirit of the time.
The entire concept of these letters is to sensitise you and to wake you up as you reach out to your library, books and Internet to seek and search for facts that can make the analysis of your personal situation clearer and easier to manage. There is no one-fit wear in the prognosis for the cure of spiritual decadence in our individual lives. Each person must cultivate his/her own medicine based on informed perception of one’s identified problems.
Furthermore, this writer has disclosed in his last letter that he is intellectually dumb; therefore he is not in a position to teach any one anything that you have not already known. But his effort is geared towards serving you as a temporary lamp holder as he asks you to accept these letters as a flicker of light in the dark designed to help you see as you locate where you placed the lighter and candle of your life. As soon as you can locate the lighter and the candle of your life and can light the candle successfully, his job as a letter writer is over. The onus shall then fall on you to open your eyes to see and to use the information so collected by your senses as raw materials for fuller analysis of your life as you use the ensuing revelations as intellectual and spiritual tools for re-ordering your life.
This, in a nutshell, is the first battle that should be undertaking before the real battle of the social revolution of Nigeria, to which you have been cordially invited, can begin. Any other approach to this onerous programme will merely be pandering untruths to bloat up your already inflated ego for nothing and this will definitely be a lie against the truth of the moment.
It is not our intention to spoon-feed any one. It is therefore essential that you must get off your cosy chairs to research as you seek understanding about the truth of existence. Please stop being a ‘couch potato’ that seats and steers at the television all day long as you watch those dumb programmes fed to you by the morally depraved producers and directors who have unfortunately become the Grand Tutors of debased knowledge to our children.
On that note, we shall be taking a sabbatical break for three months from issuing unsolicited, unwanted, unwarranted and unacknowledged letters to Nigerians in Diaspora. We are not even sure if our addresses have the time to read them less of sharing them with their families and friends. Not that it bothers us one bit, but we shall continue to do that which we know is right for the people of Nigeria. We are convinced that this is not a wasted effort.
This engagement can be liken to the work of a farmer that throws his seeds about in the field of his prepared farmland. To the uninitiated in the art of farming, they would ask why is the farmer wasting the precious seeds? Until the seeds germinate and produce bountiful harvest, it is then the former cynics would realise what the devoted farmer was doing after all.
This is our goal, we sincerely believe the seeds of these letters shall find good hearts and shall germinate with long strong roots, sturdy stems and many branches with luscious leaves, beautiful fragrant flowers and eventually delicious fruits of divine love. We shall not look back until this dream and hope become a reality. So help us Almighty Creator.
However, the break in letter writing is necessary to enable you to digest properly the contents of the four letters. And we hope when we shall come back to face more rigorous suggestions on the practical issues that shall need to be planned and implemented you shall all be in a better frame of mind to accept and to act on the suggestions in good faith.
Dear NIDs, blessed shall be the day when Nigerians shall stand by the banks of Rivers Rhine, Thames, St. Lawrence, Mississippi and Potomac and shall dream lofty dreams about their country. When NIDs shall dream about how they will be part of the over-comers that shall overthrow forever the Dishonourable Nigerians who have been polluting and defecating openly on our sacred places. When NIDS shall dream about willingly participating in the creative processes that will launch the fatherland on its way into perfection as we build the Paradise that befits redeemed Nigerians in a New Nigeria.
And more blessed shall be the day when each NID shall decide voluntarily, and before the D-Day, to take the plunge of physically moving back to the fatherland with nothing but his/her firm belief in truth, faith in hard work, determination, skill, brain and brawn and of course a purified heart filled with divine love.
This is the hope and the dream we shall continue to share with you as soon as we found the right words of inspiration that can unlock the shackles around your souls, that shall loosen the wax in your ears, that shall unblock the cataract of your eyes, and that shall untie the knots on your tongues. This is our dream and may it come true, we pray.
May the Almighty Creator of Heaven and Earth give everyone true understanding as we learn to appreciate that there is no mystery-induced fear in life that knowledge cannot reveal and that there is no misery-induced fear in our personal lives that sound knowledge cannot cure as well.
Please Almighty Creator give us the wisdom to understand that the only effective weapon against fear, both rational and irrational, is the knowledge of the truth and of the purpose of existence.
Kindly give us a strong desire and the right spirits that shall willingly stretch us beyond endurance limit as we gladly seek the most essential truth of existence.
Thank you for we are trusting in the fellowship of the spirit of truth to show us the true way and to guide us to our divine destination as faithful pilgrims and true winners in the journey of life.
In The Spirit of Truth
SAM ABBD ISRAEL