Lord Frederick John Dealtry Lugard, have you seen what you have done? It is probable that you are burning somewhere in the hottest part of hell, but Hell should be glad with you that you left a part of hell on earth for some unfortunate people. Adam listened to Eve and see what became of mankind. You, damned fool, listened to your wife, Flora Shaw, and named a
whole country after a river.
Whoever has ever named a country after a river in the long interminable annals of world history? Rivers were made for mankind, mankind was not made for the river. That is why we cannot live it like fishes.
We just go there, take our bath, drink, do a couple of other things and leave. Why did the British folks who accepted this idiocy of a name not name their country after River Thames. I mean what would have been wrong with “Thamesia” as a name for Britain. Yet your nomad wife contrived to name our dear country Nigeria after the Niger River.
The grand old river itself, you folks named “Niger” meaning “black” from the same root word from which “Nigger” is derived. But when one looks at the colour of the river it looks just like River Thames and every other river. So what makes this one black? If we wanted to name our country after the river, we had a surfeit of names by the ethnic groups, which constitute Nigeria. The Igbo’s call it “Orimiri or Orimili” (great water), the Hausas call it “Kwara” (big river) and the Yorubas call it “Oya.” I figure proponents of “Wazobia” are already fascinated with the fact that these three names could have been combined to form some kind of name for our nation. That is their business, not ours, right?
Truth of the matter is that I have an axe to grind with this soldier of fortune, this mercenary called Lugard, who got married to a journalist of fortune, Flora Shaw. Both restless spirits caused more harm than good. His troublesome wife, history records, encouraged events which led to the South African War (1899-1902). The Second Boer War fought between the British Empire and the Afrikaans-speaking settlers of the two independent Boer Republics of South African Republic and Orange Free State. Britain won and formed the Union of South Africa and then came apartheid. When this mercenary was in Hong Kong as the Governor General, his wife helped him to establish the University of Hong Kong in 1911. When he came to Nigeria, they did not establish anything. They were infamously against the education of Africans.
Lugard, you did not leave any institution or anything of note in Nigeria except a name which means nothing and which binds our fate to a river; a river which origin is in the Guinea highlands in south eastern Guinea. What you left behind of note, apart from this nomenclature, was a piece of insult which has cast your name in infamy. You dared to write and caused to be published these derogatory statements:
In character and temperament, the typical African of this race-type is a happy, thriftless, excitable person. Lacking in self-control, discipline, and foresight. 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 jewellery. His thoughts are concentrated on the events and feelings of the moment, and 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 the African appears to have evolved no organized religious creed, and 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. He lacks the power of organization, and is conspicuously deficient in the management and control alike of men or business. He loves the display of power, but fails to realize its responsibility, he will work hard with a less incentive than most races. He has the courage of the fighting animal, an instinct rather than a moral virtue. In brief, the virtues and defects of this race-type are those of attractive children, whose confidence when it is won is given ungrudgingly as to an older and wiser superior and without envy. Perhaps the two traits which have impressed me as those most characteristic of the African native are his lack of apprehension and his lack of ability to visualize the future.
You had the worst possible disrespect for Nigerians. When there was Mahdi Rebellion in Satiru Village near Sokoto in 1906, you completely obliterated the town wiping out men, women and babies. Little wonder that as Nigerians marked the centenary of your amalgamation of Nigeria without the consent of our fathers and mothers, and pronto your posters, your spirit resurfaced in the shape of Boko Haram and let loose a carnage comparable to what you did.
Yet they put your ugly face in the centenary celebration brochure. You are the cause of all our problems. You were sent here to raise a native force to protect British interest and you pit brother against brother and tribe against tribe in doing that. Up till now the trouble lingers and the drums of ethnicity beats louder. President Goodluck Jonathan should have done without putting your racist face on anything pertaining to this celebration. But when “good luck” turns to “bad luck”, commonsense becomes no sense.
So now the National Confab beckons. An opportunity to fix things up and prove that Lord Lugard was an idiot and that we have the power of organization, that we have apprehension and can visualize the future. After all we won the Nobel Prize (a positive); and have shown the world that we think faster than most other people – even if we think in the wrong direction (a negative). Lugard, RIP (Rest in Pains).