By Prince Charles Dickson Ph.D.
Let us forget our differences—Dr. Azikwe
Let us understand our difference—Ahmadu Bello
Let us understand the misunderstandings of our differences—AbdulBalogun Chukwudi
“Misunderstanding the understanding” can refer to a situation where someone fails to comprehend or interpret a concept, idea, or situation correctly, despite believing that they have understood it. This can occur due to various reasons such as cognitive biases, lack of knowledge or experience, miscommunication, cultural differences, or preconceived notions.
For example, imagine a person from one culture trying to understand a complex concept or idea from another culture. Even if they have the best intentions and have studied the concept extensively, they may still misunderstand it due to differences in language, values, or beliefs. This can lead to misinterpretations and miscommunications that can create confusion and misunderstanding.
Another example could be in a professional setting where a manager provides instructions to an employee, but the employee may not fully understand the instructions due to different interpretations or assumptions. The employee may then carry out the task incorrectly, leading to errors and inefficiencies.
In order to avoid “misunderstanding the understanding,” it is important to maintain open communication, clarify concepts and ideas, and be aware of potential biases or assumptions that may affect the interpretation of information. Additionally, seeking feedback and asking questions can help ensure that everyone is on the same page and that there is a shared understanding of the information at hand.
We cannot do the last paragraph above because elsewhere the police say freeze when they want to arrest you, but in Nigeria we say ‘hold it’. The people that say hold it are the same people that by the time you are reading this would have settled whether Vivor of Lagos is Igbo or Yoruba. They are the same group of people that will remind you that Murtala Muhammed was from Edo or one time Vice President Sambo is from Agenebode.
If you understand the misunderstanding, one time an Eboni man was told that he could not be governor in Enugu, same way Biance Ojukwu was once told by the family of Ojukwu she could not be a senator in Anambra state.
We are a people that are no different from our politicians, who are dealers rather than leaders, so it is difficult to understand the difference because we are consciously misunderstanding, no Minister’s kid is looking for a job, no governor’s brother is jobless. No local government chairman has an issue with getting his sister a job.
The political class don’t know that there’s no electricity, because Rimi road, Adeoye crescent, and Mbakwe close all have houses powered by big generators.
While we battle our misunderstanding, the fact is that we don’t understand the pain of a family who’s substantially monthly income goes to purchasing cooking oil (kerosene) or gas.
We believe that the earth is chasing us, so, where did we put our feet while running? I was once told that the fowl on a journey inside the basket does not know where it will end.
You need to understand the misunderstanding that the Nigerian dream, is that you steal much and even more because if you are caught, you need money to settle all the steps of the staircase, police, lawyers, and more. At the court you seek a restraining order and restrain anybody from arresting or investigating you. You pay a handful to protest that you’re being persecuted because of your faith or creed…do you understand or you are being misunderstood.
Stealing government money is no big deal; it’s a dream, after all we have erroneously insisted it is everybody’s money. If you do not want to steal you people would mock you, infact as you aspire, the past records of looting by your predecessor is packaged in phrases such as ‘see the house he built for his mother’, ‘how he buried his father’, and ‘he managed to build us a small clinic too’, ‘it is our turn’, ‘you must put our people in position’ and these are misunderstandings that must be understood.
The Nigerian dream is to have your cough treated in Germany, your kids school in heaven knows where, get all sorts of awards and titles, from the Baba Adini of Adiniland to a honorary degree from a one-storey building college in Maputo, that is after being knighted by one of the numerous churches, countless lesser and higher hajj, and it is all ‘you either understand or you misunderstand’.
The United Kingdom has a Hindu prime minister of Indian descent and a Muslim mayor of London of Pakistani descent. Jeremy Hunt, who is currently Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he was foreign secretary, referred to his Chinese wife as Japanese during a visit to Beijing to discuss post-Brexit trade deals between the UK and China. We do not understand that true diversity is about disrupting the status quo, not enforcing it with zeal. In Nigeria it is a different story.
How do we understand the misunderstanding in Lagos, the Igbo and Yoruba drama, as in the real deal is our dichotomy is not a subject within the shores of this nation that one talks about without understanding, it evokes a lot of passions from the heated arguments which it generates, everyone holding dear to their values, and idiosyncrasies. A lot has been written, on old perspectives likewise new viewpoints; after the elections, we go back into the cocoon and the differences remain and are not tackled.
In our misunderstanding we think as easterners, westerners, northerners, middle belters, all depending on the turns of event. In our sensationalism, we have in every sense approached most problems sectionally thereby creating all kinds of unnecessary petty-cultural-ethnic-religious-parapoism and bourgeois mentality in dealing with our national issues.
There is an ideology of hatred, one that props up again and again, Lagos in West, Anambra in the East, North vs South, Muslims vs Christians. This is a factor that reactionary elements within the system use in battling the progressives. The misunderstanding in the understanding, which really borrows a lot from bourgeois theories, which essentially is directed at confusing our intellect, like we try to argue within the parameters of “anti-class theory”, “theory of undevelopement”, “take off theory”, “theory of cooperation”, “theory of external push”, “end of ideology theory”, “convergence theory”, “the theory of the periphery in the periphery”.
Wonderful sociological concepts that do very little in helping us shift in the way of progress because only few theories work for us…”theory of corruption”, “theory of bad governance”, “chop I chop theory”, and “killing for god theory”, “WIKE”, “Obi, and Elu Pee theory”, “Balablu theory” and now the “BVAS theory”. Do you understand or you are misunderstanding me.
Interestingly and instructively when we fulfill the Nigerian dream like stealing, we have no religion, no tribe, no fights, all is good so long it ends well, we only fight when one attempts to out steal the other. It is the misunderstanding that we do not understand, and we never will until the ordinary Nigerian becomes the focal point, it will almost never work. The dream for a better, strong and virile nation lies in our hands. Sadly we are refuse to understand it, and choose to misunderstand the difference, we continue in our wild goose chase, till when—only time will tell.