On the Nigerian Lack of Language


Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti

When (in Unknown Soldier), Fela sings, “That my mama wey you kill, she fought for universal adult suffrage”, you are struck by the incomprehensibility of the most important fictions that guide our lives, thirty years later. The soldiers who invaded Kalakuta, did they understand what what voting rights meant? Sometimes, it’s about the absence of basic intellectual tools, what follows this lack cannot stand on nothing–a castle cannot built on nothing. If you do not understand what a vote means, how can there begin the explanation that killing citizens is wrong?
They did not understand, as their children walking the streets of this dystopia today, still do not understand. So those soldiers threw Mrs. Ransome-Kuti down a storey building. If their children do not understand the tenets and neccessity of the fiction of governance–the Rule of Law–does it not figure why harried up to the top storey of the Nigerian building, we are now setting fire to the lower floors? We are the heirs to those soldiers–“elite” and “masses” are heirs alike. We are not the heirs of Mrs. Kuti.
It is unacceptable when bloggers are being arrested and muzzled. It is unacceptable when people are declared wanted without having been summoned. It is unacceptable when the price of rice is set by CBN Russian roulette. It is fire we are setting. And when the lower floors are burned, will it not reach those at the top?
We must develop a language. We must develop it fast. We need to say, these are the fictions we believe because we wish to. And then collaborate within these.

One thought on “On the Nigerian Lack of Language”

  1. This is Nigeria’s tragedy.Nothing can be more lucidly verbalized than the tales of injustice and elite’s lack of sincerity.The pity is we Nigerians find it easier to ‘fight’ injustice as ordinary citizens than when circumstance affords us such opportunity as ‘leaders’/rulers.The President rode on the back of popular agitations for social justice to get to the helms;now that he is ensconsced in power,amidst the Elysium of presidential priveleges,in his expensive chateau[Aso Rock],I hope he still recalls that he rules over a vast country with teeming unemployed youths who are disaffected with ‘gospel of change’ in midst of escalating penury.
    At any rate,what is the wisdom in using billions to rehabilitate ruins of decay left behind by mutinous youths when social problems could have very been fixed with fraction of that sum?

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