Thunder…The loud crack, the deafening roar…the mystical noise locked in an eternal race with lightning it is forever doomed to lose. Many a child has run seeking solace in the company of adults who themselves though not afraid are no less jarred by the intrusion of raw sonic power…Ok! So enough English speaking….Why do we often say to people- ‘Thunder fire you’? (I know its very uncouth but don’t lie….you’ve said it before!) Thunder for all its power cannot cause fire, that rests squarely in the domain of lightning. Anyway, my point is we all acknowledge it and associate some sort of special power with it.
This follows all the way to traditional religion or perhaps flows from it. Where I’m from, the deity associated with thunder (called ‘Ara’) is Sango…he is sometimes called ‘Arabambi’ literally translated as ‘Thunder ask/judge on my behalf’ referring to the Sango dispatching his powerful messenger to carry out his judicial duties. I dare say that in Yoruba mythology, Sango is the most feared of the gods…Here is what I find interesting- right across the Niger River, a very similar deity is revered- he just goes by a different name….Amadioha. I have heard him referred to as a welder (This is because those who petition him usually ask him to ‘Solder’ various body parts of their enemies- no offence intended). I jokingly refer to him as the welder in the sky.
All the way to ancient Greece, they call him Zeus while the ancient Romans refer to him as Jupiter…..Wherever Thor is from (Ancient Scandinavia I’m told) they call him Odin. Point is thunder remains thunder form Armenia to Zimbabwe. Whether we choose to associate deity with it and whatever we choose to call those deities is a subjective issue. Hence, I ask if- it is all a matter of perception why let it become a line of division? We have hundreds of ethnicities in Nigeria…If they all worshipped thunder, they’d all have names for it but would that in any way change what thunder is and how it comes about? Would it alter its role in nature?
Where am I going with all of this? Nigeria is a splintered nation. We are culturally fragmented, religiously dichotomized and intellectually redundant; a land with all heart and no head. Each man building his own private little shrine complete with altar and micro deities. Please do not be mistaken in any way by thinking that this is about religion, it is about everything from the lofty and noble to the mundane and even base that we manage to contrive to shut the next man out. Arewa, Oodua, Ohaneze, MEND, Boko Haram- its all a farce. Contraptions designed to keep us myopic whilst we pay lip service at the altar of national unity. It’s the age old- ‘divide and conquer’ philosophy that is been used on us and we have all drank the wine….oh how we drank to the point of crazed stupor and we are now mindless pawns in a game played by a few who feed fat off our very expensive ignorance (Trillions of Naira worth of Ignorance)!
We should be tired by now. Can’t they just let us be? Is it a crime to simply be a Nigerian? We may all speak English but we have no unified language. Nigeria cannot prosper because they are too few Nigerians in reality! Practice your religion, respect your culture and for heaven’s sake defend and develop your nation. This short-sightedness has gotten us nowhere and its high time we pursue a change. Till we learn that its ok to be different and that the other person’s point of view, is just a ‘point’ of view, we cannot get out of this rut. Its time we began to think differently….that is where the revolution of this land truly begins…..Inside our heads. As I earlier said, thunder is thunder. Whether you make a god out of it or see it as a matter of pure science is entirely up to you. But should you kill people for it? Should you hate someone because of the name they choose to call it? Is the next man any less of a person because he doesn’t believe in it?
It is our chance to find our ‘thunder’, our common ground. We may not be able to change it all in one fell swoop but we are duty bound to try. 2015 is a few years away but it will present us with another grand stage to put this to the test. To stand up and let our voices be heard….It is time for the rebirth of this nation. The clarion calls…it is up to you, it is up to me.