Monday, May 8, 2017

Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Obi of Onitsha, Ooni Ogunwusi and HRH Sanusi as Growing National Brands

Part of the many contradictions of the modern Nigerian nation is this inability, even of its bureaucratic elite to know the differences between a democratic state negotiated and founded as a modern, secular republic and a "noyau state" with that terrifying Janus-faced condition that keeps it continuously at the crossroads as an "Ogbanje nation" that neither wants to grow, nor does it want to die peacefully. I am shocked that a public servant and intellectual of Tunji Olaopa's weight and experience would celebrate the Obi, Ooni, and Emir as "growing national brands." First, is the contradictory nature of that description, "national" - these are provincial pseudo-monarchies hibernating in a republic! Achebe, Ogunwunsi, and Sanusi - not as individuals - but in the institutions they represent are relics that have no place in a modern republic founded on a secular constitution. They are drawbacks to the settlement of the spirit of nation. They in fact constitute the single most dangerous contradiction limiting the full formation of a modern Nigerian state founded on the liberty of the individual, the equality of the citizen, and the freedom guaranteed by those individual rights protected under the charter of rights of Nigeria's constitution. Conservative defenders of these institutions say the are "repositories of our culture." False. Nigerian culture is in its music , its food, its couture, its modes of worship, its threatre, its poetry, its narratives, its people, its street culture - and it is modern, hybrid, global and increasingly interlinked with the realities of the many contacts made outside of the "ethnos." These "monarchies" must be abolished in the same ways that the Indian republic abolished its many, even more ancient and bigger monarchies, in order to solidify the idea of  an "Indian nation" and citizenship. Olaopa celebrates an aberration, and I feel utterly scandalized for a brilliant scholar of nation, and practitioner of modern statecraft, who fails to understand the profound contradictions and fatality represented by these institutions and the implications of maintaining them within a modern republic.

Obi Nwakanma

From: <> on behalf of Tunji Olaopa <>
Sent: Monday, May 8, 2017 7:41 PM
To: Usa dialogue
Subject: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Obi of Onitsha, Ooni Ogunwusi and HRH Sanusi as Growing National Brands
Modern Traditional Change Agents: Achebe, Ogunwusi and Sanusi, By Tunji Olaopa – Premium Times Opinion

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