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Updated on October 11, 2011


[At the nick of time]

Copyright – Ubani Alexander Chijioke

The time is 5:16 AM; my fingers are on the laptop dishing out the information for the computer to write. Minutes ago, I had enjoyed a good sleep only to be startled by a weird sound. I approached the parlour and found out that the television was on. Guess who was watching by that early Saturday morning?

I was startled by the sound which was too high for the moment. I approached and did the obvious, then left to continue my sleep. I lay on the bed and closed my eyes to fall asleep, but it refused to heed my yearning and instead remained opened and untouched by my predicament. Thoughts flashed across my mind in an instance and sent my senses to the past. Flashes of the days of molestation invaded my thinking. I found myself delving into the world of yesteryears. What did I do? Minutes ago, I shrugged off a most sleepy eye to take a decision concerning the television, now I find it difficult to continue in that sleep. I shuddered in disbelief and couldn’t but allow my subconscious to meditate on my past.

My mind flashed back to time when our time turned from right to left. I journeyed to the time when tears flooded my cheeks, to a time when the grasses refused to grow green vegetation. I went to the past and remembered the starving faces, malnourished and depleted. Goose pimples invaded my body and sent shock waves down my spine as I assimilated all that the past had in stock. I couldn’t but remain dormant in disbelief of the growing development. The new roads, houses, universities and faces of people made things different from what it used to be. Is this for real?

Back in the years when left was right; we were the children of anxiety. We had the thoughts of ignorance and basked under the euphoria of rust. We championed the cause of the early man. We had eyes of the ancients. But we were intelligent, morally gracious and independent. But we lacked civilization. When it came, it shattered our minds and showed us the way to life and death. It conquered our fears and brought tears to our eyes. It made us pay with our lips and shook the foundation of our moral life. It developed us, yes. But it brought us hard conditions and took away the thinking faculty of our sons and daughters.

Back in the days when we trekked many miles to the farms and women carry their babies on the back. Back in Those days when we had control of our children and our fathers and mothers had the right to a calm, serene and faithful lifestyle. Not now when their eyes have been opened to the goodies of the world when husbands leave the abode of their wives to pursue young ladies, and fornicating with other peoples’ wives and the women running around with ego after handsome dudes, committing adultery to satisfy their lust and desires. No! Things have really changed from what it used to be.

Now, young boys and girls run around in the most fashionable clothing some exposing their bosom all in the name of fashion. Ladies walk up and down the road in nude attires and men employ the most fascinating of ornaments. It can’t get any better!

Back in the days, I remember the serene and love neighbourhood my parents resided. I enjoyed the company of those poor and uncivilized people, their tradition and culture. I enjoyed trekking some miles to the stream early in the morning as chores. I enjoyed the early morning trek many miles to the farm and coming back late in the day all in search of food. There was harmony, peace and special bond of love in the air all the time. We talked, laughed and told fictitious and real stories. We had the best of times and all that the world could offer, only if we believed.

But civilization came and scattered our joy. It brought us joy and sorrow. The green landscape and beautiful flowers, some mast, cars and buildings all attest to the presence of civilization. But, I think civilization brought us some good. Yes, I can read and write today because of the gift of civilization. The laptop, cars, satellite dish and some other goodies are a living testimony of the goodness of civilization. Well, I leave all to be the judge of our own actions because I believe that we are the ones abusing the gift of civilization. It is just natural to say that anything that has advantage (s) must have disadvantage (s) that’s all.

As I sit here and centre my thoughts on this salient and controversial issue, I begin to imagine what would have happened without civilization? Would we have ever grown or would we have remained crude in our own ignorance. What would have happened to the world? Then I know that civilization was a means to an end. But its good surpass the many bad attributes it has. Imagine how life without good roads, advancement in technology, medicine, science, arts, and the many other developments would have been like for our ancient fathers. Imagine living in the comfort of a mansion, a luxury car, holidays and good money a beautiful wife and healthy kids. These are the brain work of civilization. Take a look at the revolutionary way of communication – mobile telecommunication and the internet. These are the glorious gifts of the 21st century made available by civilization.

Africa has remained the home of prestige. Nature flourishes in abundance – animal, plant and human life. The landscape, mountainous regions, islands and the interiors all play host to abundant and ostensible work of creation. It is an attribute, a good will and a precious endowment. Its culture and tradition, language, people and arts leave the mind at awe. It tells of the origin of its people, culture and life. It present Africa as the centre of learning and cities like – Tumbuktu –as centres of ancient learning and of mental accomplishment. No wonder Sixteenth-century traveller and historian Leo Africanus described the city during his day:

“In Timbuktu there are numerous judges, doctors and clerics, all receiving good salaries from the king. He pays great respect to men of learning. There is a big demand for books in manuscript, imported from Barbary (North Africa). More profit is made from the book trade than from any other line of business.”

All these facts cannot be looked at with closed eyes. But in the face of this, our hands have remained in the burning stove and the heat suffocates our eyes. What is the cause?


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