Subject: LIGHT EMERGENT‹AGBO ENTERS THE DISCUSSION‹MORE TO COME‹>> Re: INVITATION: The Audrey Richards Lecture in African Studies
I have read with interest items received over the past few months;
And with astonishing rapidity over past weeks.
Its power and force is impressive.
Below is my note of appreciation.
You will note I have also brought your Great Ancestor Agbo into the exchanges.
It is back to my first comments drawn from my personal knowledge of Quanah Parker
And of those hard lands of the Comanche. A hard land ruled over by a hard people. Agbo and Quanah have much in common. The qualities are rare; and go deep, very deep.
You also will see I have enclosed below an excerpt from WINGS which I feel is of some relevance.
All best, Baba m
- As for this curious form of display below of what I have written here; it is the format relating to the Cambridge lecture you’re to give/ and in the form it was sent to me. I hope all comes through. And it’s readable. Mv
You are like the Great Netsman.
With content growth of acumen,
You have been casting your net over smaller shoals,
Then, as you progress and indeed learn more about these various species of fish,
You have been extending further and further the reach of your net.
And the end of this initial templated procedure, complete with
growing elaborations and complexities,
All brought into the harmonies and integration and thythms
Of the Great Netsman Himself;
All Are now happening fast,
As we speak.
Needless to say, while I sensed movement and pressures building I did not recognise what it was you had in various forms put before my nose.
No longer. As usual, Brilliant and Commanding.
Yes, your Great Ancestor Agbo Is laughing heartily
—with now a hint of concern—
As he is no longer the Sole Leading figure.
You have the initial phase completed;
A supreme achievement.
“But, tis of course only the start,” Agbo reminds me.
“How,” he chuckles, “is he going to get on from here?
“He may think—and indeed you my Oyinbo friend may think—
He’s home and dry. …Ahhh. Yes, a wondrous, indeed brilliant extension
Of his net. …But can he hold that position/ hold the shoals of fish? And indeed move closer to the performance of the Great Netsman himself?
“I am pleased and impressed with the field progress, of my Luminary
Descendant in your Modern Times. I wasn’t sure he could match my field tactics of an earlier era, about which you know.
“But he has given us both the answer. He has performed well.
He has cleared the first and greatest hurdle, that of extending the challenge
Of the Future to Not Just Nigeria and Africa Folk, but to ALL Folk of this Cybernetically Connected world—And with Cyber-Extension Beyond the Boundaries, Who knows to who else?”
Agbo paused, then observed, “You see, my Oyinbo friend. I know, and you know, that a break-out from this Era of Savage Infancy, has been apparent to many for several centuries. …
“What my Descendant Oloruntoyin, in fastening hard on paths that bring Increasing Light to our lives—while forcing progressively more of our Darkness within to the margins—has done, is to Read the Realities, and Forge that Needed Path.
” But as I say, this is but the first—And a Monumental Hurdle it is. But it’s now done. I shall be watching future developments. …I might add, I am tired and bored of repeat recitations of Battles and Challenges of my times, now long past.
“Oloruntoyin, has taken a very great leap forward, to the stage that our world folk of this small planet of ours, need now to confront and fully engage. It is good news, my Oyinbo friend. Good news. …”
Oloruntoyin, so much for my comments on your forthcoming Cambridge Lecture. And my observations also on your focal engagement with Identities….I would only add that Imperative Attention must be given to Women, who though half the world’s population—perhaps more?—remain a Minority Power/ Presence/ Participant. Like all Africa folk, Women work from the power of a dual base—Cognitive and Spiritual. Only when we men—regardless of Race/ Religion/ Class —get on with the changes needed/ changes that we know very well; only then can things things advance in the Inclusive/ humane world we know is available.
As for your June Cambridge Presentation, you will be speaking from the font of arguably the world’s leading dais, and with a powerful megaphone. Zoom will be playing its important part. Other Cyber-Communication features will be playing their equal/ sometimes more important roles.
ais, with a megaphone.
Agbo is impressed.
And so am I.
I wish you all good things.
And re the titbit from Wings, mentioned above—Emeka is here waxing eloquent (pp.82-4):
Ideals, Flexibility and Change. 82
Emeka laughed again. “You are far too rigid in your interpretation. In Aristotle”s time, just as in ours, constitutions were fluid, and designed to be so. New conquests brought incorporation of new peoples, and the constitution must be broad enough and flexible enough to accommodate
THREE · EVOLVING AFRICAN GOVERNMENTS THAT WORK 83
them—which constantly those city states did. Over time, the host state, while dominant, not only incorporated these others, but itself accommodated to the changes engendered. The ‘spirit’ of the state flexed; from single, homogeneous; to multiple and heterogeneous. Same thing today. Look at your Britain of today, with its incorporate multiple cultures?
“And always remember, constitution-makers may focus more on an ideal, what it is they greatly desire the people of a new state to internalise and value, rather than seeking to replicate or reflect the life of the folk residing there. A constitution can be a kind of “wish list” with ideals set as goals to be aimed for. Indeed, the American Declaration of Independence asserted in the 1776 document, the ‘truth’ that ‘all men are created equal’.8 Yet it wasn’t until 1965—nearly 200 years later—that the Voters’ Rights Act converted this Declaration truth, into law.9
“And there are many who contend that ‘equality of folk’ in the life and thought and value of many Americans is still far distant from attainment.”
I wasn’t too happy with this scholarly elaboration by Emeka. To me it seemed to be eluding the practical point; and that was the need for a constitution to “fit” the folk for whom, ostensibly, it was designed. “Emeka, it seems, as you view it, that “constitution” can be subject to wide definition; that its “spirit” can be equally widely defined; and that the “incorporate whole” can reflect the spirits of many nations ringed within the state? Am correct in my understanding?”
He nodded and chuckled, “Michael, you’re doing well.”
“So with a multi-national state like Nigeria,” I inquired, ” you feel it is possible and
consistent for the constitution to reflect the lives of them all?”
Emeka got up and went over to the window. “There’s something else you don’t seem to understand. Any country’s constitution—just like the country itself—is a ‘working experiment.’ It is not fixed for all time. It is subject to change—just as is the British constitution under the current Independence challenge of the Scots; or indeed the American constitution, which addresses the needs of folk in 50 incorporate states—several of which have in times past forcefully expressed their dissent. Nigeria, no less than Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and nearly all other new African states; they all are ‘working experiments.’
“Nigeria, with the obvious centrifugal pressures exerted on its national frame of governance by multi-national internal elements may appear on the brink of fragmentation. In fact it may fragment. On the other hand, it has retained its existing national configuration and posture for more than 50 post-Independence years. It defeated the Biafran secessionist challenge with force; and for the rest has eased internal pressures through
84 III · PERCEPTIONS & PERSPECTIVES
state-creation—now 36 in all—and a variety of structural innovations which have effected substantial accommodation of other sectors and elements. Viewed in this way, in terms of flexibility and accommodation, it can be said that the constitutions of Nigeria and most other African countries are doing well.”
“So,” I sought to sum up on this vital issue, “you feel the Nigerian and most other constitutions of new Africa states, are successful and effective; and that they in fact do express the spirits of these countries?”10
“Yes, I do. I also would stress that these constitutions are indeed experimental, and that it is early days yet. You Europeans are always in such a frantic rush. You seem to forget your own history; that such things happen slowly, over time. It’s no different for us.” He coughed, reached out, and extracted a book from my office shelves.
It was Seymour Martin Lipset’s First New Nation—about the founding and development of America; the first major colony in modern times to achieve Independence from its Imperial Authority.
He laughed. “I remember when I first read this book. I was looking for pointers for us. It was an intriguing exposition But of course it had nothing whatever to do with our base realities and experiences—though he seemed to think it did.
“The Americans in creating their ‘new nation’ were able to draw on the values of what was basically an immigrant European folk of uniform value—albeit with large variations in religion and cultural background. They didn’t have to grapple with the very demanding realities of “many nations in one state.” …
“Of course,” he uttered a wry chuckle as he replaced the book in its slot on the shelf, “if they hadn’t killed off most of the indigenous folk, the Native Americans, the situation for them would have been very different; very much more like ours. … And Lipset would have had to write a very different book.
“Anyway, my point is that things can—and just as with the British constitution and the Scots challenge—do change. Constitutions must be flexible. And the Nigerian and most other Africa state constitutions have shown much flexibility and capacity to adapt.”
And so it was that Agbo entered the conversation and made his important points.
Quite enough, my friend.
Anyway the basic point once again is made. In the Depths of Darkness, ALWAYS there is a Bright Beam of Light. One has but to follow that Light and the next phase—perhaps a surprise outcome—will follow. I might add that Olukotun has been close through all these days/ these torments/ these hard-throbbing beats of rhythm. As always in days past over many years, he rises with and holds to the Light. He remains an important guide and support.
Love and best wishes,
Darkness,. Always ther