BURNING POT BY DR. PRINCE CHARLES DICKSON

 

Nigeria and Lagos; No man’s land

 

pcdbooks@yahoo.com

 

A sage presented a prince with a set of three small dolls. The prince was not amused.

 

“Am I a girl that you give me dolls?” he asked.

 

“This is a gift for a future king,” said the man. “If you look carefully, you’ll see a hole in the ear of each doll.”

 

“Ok?”

 

The sage handed him a piece of string.

 

“Pass it through each doll,” he said.

 

Intrigued, the prince picked up the first doll; put the string into the ear. It came out from the other ear.

 

“This is one type of person,” said the man. “Whatever you tell him, comes out from the other ear. He doesn’t retain anything.”

 

The prince put the string into the 2nd doll. It came out from the mouth.

 

“This is the 2nd type of person,” said the man. “Whatever you tell him, he tells everybody else.”

 

The prince picked up the 3rd doll and repeated the process. The string did not reappear from anywhere else.

 

“This is the 3rd type of person,” said the man. “Whatever you tell him is locked up within him. It never comes out.”

 

“What is the best type of person?” asked the prince.

 

The man handed him a 4th doll, in answer.

 

When the prince put the string into the doll, it came out from the other ear.

 

“Do it again,” said the sage. The prince repeated the process. This time the string came out from the mouth. When he put the string in a 3rd time, it did not come out at all.

 

“This is the best type of person,” said the sage. “A man must know when not to listen, when to remain silent and; when to speak out. And when he's developed these skills, he will be trustworthy and wise "

 

 

The term "no man's land" typically refers to a disputed territory that lies between two opposing forces, often in the context of war or conflict. It is a contested area where neither side has complete control or authority. Nigeria is a no man’s land, everything is in contention and in contestation, at one point or the other!

 

The debate surrounding Nigeria as a no man's land has been ongoing for many years, with different viewpoints and opinions being put forward. Some argue that it is an essential part of the politician’s strategy at dividing the populace, providing a buffer zone between opposing forces that allows for tactical movement and protection whether by faith, language or any other foolish nepotic reasoning, after all we have very few shared values.

 

Others argue that no man's land is a symbol of the futility and tragedy of war, we are a perfect example. In this view, the existence of no man's land reflects the failure of diplomacy and the inability of opposing sides to find peaceful solutions to their differences. Our recent elections again have exposed us badly, from Muslim—Muslim ticket conversations, to the Lagos Yoruba/Ibo warfare and wordfare!

 

Overall, the debate surrounding no man's land reflects the complexity and nuance of the issues surrounding us as a people. While there are differing viewpoints and opinions, it is clear that the human cost of natives, non-natives, indigenes and non-indigenes, south and north and that efforts towards peaceful resolution are essential to reducing this cost is imperative.

 

While Nigeria has experienced conflicts and disputes over land ownership, the term "no man's land" is not commonly used to describe any specific territory in the country.

 

However, there are ongoing conflicts and disputes over land ownership and control in different parts of Nigeria, particularly in the Middle Belt region, where clashes between farmers and herders have resulted in significant violence and displacement. These conflicts are often fuelled by factors such as competition for resources, ethnic and religious differences, and political tensions.

 

In recent years, the Nigerian government has taken steps towards addressing these conflicts, including setting up committees to investigate and mediate disputes, deploying security forces to affected areas, and implementing policies to encourage peaceful coexistence between different communities.

 

Overall, while the term "no man's land" may not be commonly used in the context of Nigeria, the country has experienced significant conflicts and disputes over land ownership, which have had significant impacts on local communities and the wider region.

 

In the case of Lagos, Nigeria, the term "no man's land" is sometimes used to refer to areas of land that are not clearly defined as belonging to any specific individual or group.

 

This is often due to the complex history of land ownership and development in Lagos, which has seen a mixture of customary land tenure systems and modern property rights regimes. As a result, there are areas of land in Lagos that are not formally registered or documented, leading to disputes and conflicts over ownership and control.

 

But none of it is as deep as the political undertones, Jaja Wachukwu was the first person to refer to Lagos as no man’s land in 1947, provoking national controversy. In recent years, the Lagos state government has taken steps towards addressing these issues, including setting up committees to investigate and mediate disputes, and implementing policies to regulate land ownership and development. Yet, only recently one of the traditional rulers spoke about throwing the Ibos into the lagoon. However, challenges still remain, particularly in informal settlements and areas where the land tenure system is unclear or disputed.

 

Overall, while the term "no man's land" may be used in the context of land ownership and disputes in Lagos, it is important to note that the situation is complex and multifaceted, with a range of social, political, and economic factors at play.

 

The Ibos and Yorubas are two of the largest ethnic groups in Nigeria, and they have had a long history of cultural and economic interactions. However, there have also been periods of tension and conflict between the two groups, dating back to colonial times and continuing through the present day. Notably, fights and myths stemming from the days of Awolowo vs Zik and the Biafran war years.

 

One major point of conflict between the Ibos and Yorubas is political power and representation. Historically, the Yoruba people have been more dominant in Nigeria's political arena, and this has led to resentment and feelings of marginalization among some Ibos. The Ibos have also sought greater representation in government and have pushed for the creation of a separate state in the south-eastern region of Nigeria, which has led to conflict with the Yorubas and other ethnic groups.

 

Another point of tension between the Ibos and Yorubas is economic competition. Both groups are highly entrepreneurial and have a strong presence in Nigeria's business sector, which has sometimes led to competition and conflict over resources and market share. This has also contributed to feelings of resentment and mistrust between the two groups.

 

The current situation provides yet another opportunity to address;

 

No Man’s Land

Dis place wey we dey,

No be here, no be there,

No man land e be,

E no get owner e clear.

 

No tribe, no culture,

No language, no tradition,

E dey always dey sure,

No get dispute or competition.

 

But for inside dis place,

We fit create our own,

We fit give am face, And make am our home.

 

No man land, no wahala,

E no get wahala for true,

We fit live for here forever,

And make am sweet for me and you.

 

This is again fate providing us an opening to create a shared value, a new experience and shape our future, we must know when not to listen, when to remain silent and; when to speak out. And in developing these skills, we will be trustworthy and wise, if we so desire, but only time will tell!