WHEN the guns fell silent on the Biafran War, West African markets were flooded by a range of household utensils generally referred to as “Igbo-made.” That was long before “made-in-Taiwan” took over briefly…and then finally came “made-in-China.”
Igbo made were products of the genius that marked the war. Forced against the wall, the Igbo responded with a stunning self-help effort that spiraled into many great inventions. You could see in that remarkable effort, the pride of a people who were bent but not broken.
50 years after, we are left gasping at the shocking descent to savagery by our youths. Almost every day, we watch video clips of desperate youths in embarrassing ritual observances for quick money. And you ask yourself, are these youths the heirs of those great inventors who created those wonder technologies of the war?
Are they the sons and daughters of the manufactures of Igbo-made? Sadly, this affliction is a pan-Nigerian problem. Youths from every ethnic block are involved in this desperate quest for hot money or “ego mbute” as the Igbo call it.
It is painful to contemplate that while youths from other forward-looking countries are carving their ways to global economic domination through technology, Nigerian youths are obeying their primitive fantasies and going to a village stream for a ritual bath for financial success…success without work; without story!
It is even sadder to realise that at a time when youths across the world are investing their time in incubation centers to find solutions to the problems of the modern world, Nigerian youths want a shortcut to success.
A few years ago, the trend was the daily spectacle of young girls thrown out of fast-moving Mercedes Benz at dawn by dark-hearted young men who may allegedly have used them for a ritual in the dead of the night.
Before that, the craze was for female panties. It was such a tragicomedy. It was alleged that female panties were worth a brand new Mercedes Benz when delivered to voodoo merchants who used them for ritual money. Once again, our women were the victims of this unrestrained greed. There were stories of commercial buses diverted to dark alleys in Lagos where female passengers were ordered to surrender their panties by hoodlums. Such absurdity! Damn!
Now, the farce has turned around. The descent to savagery is complete now. Some dirty looking prophets who can barely feed themselves are the new money trees.
It is not clear whether they cast a spell on their victims but they corral their followers to a dirty village stream for a ritual bath that would turn them to billionaires overnight. As I watched their naked bodies, men and women, gleaming in the video clip the other day, I chuckled at the willful blindness of our people.
I have also seen some pathetic young men eating a live chicken raw, feathers and entrails and all. I have watched video clips of half-crazed men drinking the raw blood of a ram slain in a ritual offering. All these are expected to make them billionaires.
But the story Elon Musk, the richest man on earth is clear. There’s no ritual to it. The story of Bill Gates is familiar. So is the story of Mark Zukerberg. Why do Nigerian youths not look at these stories and redirect their energies to solving a major problem in the world and getting rich out of it?
As I write this story, I am overwhelmed by the dark immensity of our people’s slide into astonishing savagery. The only bright spots I can think of are the record-setting Anambra girls who defeated America, China, Uzbekistan, Spain and Turkey at the World Technovation Fair in the Silicon Valley two years ago. Their story reminds me that the fault is not in our stars!
It may be necessary to mention that the slow disintegration of our society and the collapse of our moral fiber as reflected by the desperate money chase among our youths may have been enabled by Nigerian music and Nollywood. Our musicians sing songs that glorify crime and criminals while Nollywood appears fixated in rituals, magic and superstition. I doubt that this will end well!