DARKNESS IN THE HEARTLAND

DARKNESS IN THE HEARTLAND

Thousands of years ago, Isaiah the son of Amoz saw vision concerning
Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah,
kings of Judah. In one of his pronouncements he declared, “Behold,
darkness shall cover the earth, and dense darkness all people”. Isaiah
in this quote may have declared it over Judah and Jerusalem but this
seems to have transcended that generation. It looked like he had the
‘Heartland’ in mind when he was making that pronouncement back in the
days.

The ‘Heartland’ – a creation of the military in 1976 along with
others, was previously part of the East Central State. The area which
is predominantly Christians covers an area of around 5,100sqkm. It is
very rich in natural resources including crude oil, natural gas, lead,
zinc, with economically exploitable flora like the iroko, mahogany,
obeche, bamboo, rubber tree and oil palm. However, with a high
population density and over farming the soil has been degraded and
much of the native vegetation has disappeared.

It is not in doubt that this area produces the largest number of
candidates for any examination in this part of the world. If not in
the spirit of federal character or quota system it can afford to fill
the whole spaces in the number of candidates to enter for both
secondary and tertiary admission in schools. It can therefore boast of
producing sound and educated minds in different fields of endeavour,
or the best around. It can also boast of producing the most highly
travelled sets of people in this part of the world; they are found in
every corner of the earth.

Based on the above mentioned, it is expected that the ‘Heartland’
would be far and above others in terms of exposure and development.
But the contrary is true based on the available indices. If human and
natural resources are anything to go by, it should be spearheading
moves towards the betterment of the wellbeing of the people in this
clime. Instead, it is trailing behind sluggishly and backward in
everything good or meaningful development. What then is the benefit of
education and exposure if the ‘Heartland’ is trailing others behind
while it should be leading the way in positivism?

You must agree with me that the ‘Heartland’ is a ‘dynamic place’, for
‘dynamic people’, and made up of ‘dynamic people’. All who had come to
administer the affairs of the place left it for dead. But for ‘Dede
Onunaka’, all (military and civilian) administrators made sure they
left it worse than they met it. All that could be felt were either
sold or liquidated. The Amaraku power station, The Statesman, Progress
Bank, Ada Palm, Concorde Hotel and many more were either sold or
brought to their knees. And the thick darkness persisted all these
years with not even a torchlight or candlelight anywhere near the
corner.

In the not too distant past, the one popularly known as ‘Onwa’ looked
at the sorry state of things and the myriad of problems that did not
seem to have solutions and arrived at a conclusion. He concluded that
there is a very big ditch in the ‘Heartland’. And this ditch cannot be
filled no matter how much you try with the ‘meager’ resources
available to throw into it. So for eight years the aforementioned
ditch could not be closed up and he did throw up his hands in
surrender. It was then the turn of others to continue the bid to close
this ditch of darkness.

Many are quick to submit that the darkness persisted because the
‘Heartland” became a haven of fraudsters and con-men. It meant that
the ones who administered the affairs of the place were con-men, their
stooges, associates or friends, whether in khaki or ‘akwa ishi agu’.
Some others blamed it on the corrupt civil service who are the ones
always left behind whenever those at the helm of affairs are booted
out. I may be tempted to believe the above mentioned as the likely
agents of this gross darkness but still have to hold my peace.

There is another ‘unique’ side of the ‘Heartland’. Credit must be
given to them that they are very ‘unique’ specie. The highest number
of autonomous communities in the whole of Africa is domiciled in the
‘Heartland’. As the autonomous communities multiply so do traditional
rulers and tussle for traditional stools. What are the qualifications?
You just need to be an ‘enterprising’ young man, have the capacity to
go to China or Dubai to import fake and substandard goods, or
containers of adulterated drugs, acquire one or two cars (fairly used
quite often) build a small house in the village, be bold enough to
cause confusion and division in your town meeting, confront your
traditional ruler ceaselessly (without cause or on infinitesimal
issues), then bolt and apply to have your own autonomous community and
one is guaranteed. It’s that simple only there!

Aside the fact that they have a penchant for investing outside their
home (okamma na ama syndrome), they resist change with all they’ve
got. They are a people not easy to please. Sometimes I wonder whether
they enjoy backwardness and lack of development. They are heavy noise
makers with their ‘big’ names but not impact. If you hear the ‘big’
names, and dare follow them down to their village you will be shocked.
In most cases, you have to transverse valleys, gullies, dusty roads
and inaccessible paths to get to their ‘country homes’. Most prefer
buying SUVs to putting the roads leading to their place in good shape.
They pride in intimidating their people with their coins just to show
off. What a people!

When a people are so used to darkness, it becomes difficult to
appreciate light. It is said that darkness disappears at the emergence
of light but it is almost looking like it is not true in the
‘Heartland’. May be because the darkness is very thick. But they truly
need emancipation from this sorry state. And it would require a
personality who is not homogeneous specie to bring light and liberty.
Many souls have been bestirred to push for emancipation and change but
they have many negative forces to contend with. And it would not come
cheap because of the fact that change would denude several forces
(internal and external forces) of their influence and vested interest.

As much as the roused souls yearn for light, the proponents of
darkness would not want anything to change the status quo. The agents
of darkness are obeying the law of attraction and have found a common
cover under the ‘Big Umbrella’. Under their cover they concoct and
conjure all manner of things to make sure they do not lose their big
enclave. They snipe at any move and anybody that looks like the
harbinger of illumination. But like in every contest, there must be
winners and losers. And the winners must be the ones who want it so
bad, more committed, and resolute in their bid.

About eighteen months ago, the voices and souls craving for change and
the light got divine attention. It was declared, “Arise o Heartland
and shine for your light has come and divine glory is risen upon you”.
Many who heard this divine declaration did not take it with any pinch
of salt because of the densely massed darkness and the ossification of
the machinations of the proponents of darkness. As the saying,
“impossible is nothing” so was the declaration to some optimists. They
hung to it and started navigating in the direction of the said
harbinger of illumination. The enormity of the hurdles on the way to
light never deterred these souls who earnestly desired departure from
the past. So they rolled up their sleeves to confront the nefarious
monster.

This team of determined people’s army nicknamed their operation – The
Rescue Mission. Rescue Mission indeed! They really needed to reclaim
the ‘Heartland’ from the forces of evil, darkness and backwardness.
But they must dislodge the forces that aggregated under the ‘Big’
collapsible shade, the incumbent emperor that can hardly lose grip of
anything in his domain, the ghost workers that milk the system dry,
pot bellied contractors who do nothing but get paid, godfathers,
pseudo ‘elder statesmen’, political traditional rulers, prayer
contractors, and a host of other proponents of darkness. Like in a
very tough football encounter, the team was declared victorious not in
the regulation time, but after extra time and penalties by the heavily
guarded umpire or referee.

The team has gone to work in their bid to salvage all the sectors. But
like the proverbial tortoise that was left in the pit latrine for a
long while until help came, they are now complaining about the stench;
they want emergency exit. Some are complaining again that so much is
going on at the same time and fear they might be abandoned. Others
fault how the change is taking place; expecting business as usual in
the name of due process. They forget too quickly that it is sheer
insanity to keep doing the same thing the same way while expecting
different result. The illumination is gradually but surely spreading
in the Heartland that used to be obscure but the dark forces are not
happy with the latest development. It is expected any way because
denuding them is ‘costly’ as their bankers are not smiling at this
time. But the truth is that darkness must be expunged so that the
‘Heartland’ can distance completely from retrogression and retarded
development. The time to move forward and lead the way is now o
Heartland!

Alinnor Arinze A.
Arinze198@gmail.com
http://www.arinze198.wordpress.com
08098001782

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