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Yo kontri na yo kontri?

bai Edwin Eriata Oribhabor, Naija Langwej Promoter, Abuja-Naijiria

Despite glaring political and economic challenges in Africa, people like Nana Yaa Asantewaa, an African American in the US Virgin Islands, Caribbean, is tirelessly working in concert with many others, to ensure that African-Americans worldwide, embrace her Back-to-Africa campaigns. Her adopted name has its roots in Ghana where most of her activities have largely taken place. She is spending so much of her personal resources in taking up spaces in international online newspapers and magazines showcasing and promoting the sights and sounds of Africa including Nigeria. Every day, she tells our Brothas and Sisthas in the Diaspora that the continent of Africa is not all about evil and backwardness as commonly painted in the Western media.

Early this year, in company of fellow African-Americans, she spent quality time in Ghana holidaying. As a result of her campaigns, many African-Americans have been repatriating back home to Africa. In furtherance this noble venture, and to forge a solid bond of identity, African-Americans working with her, decided on the name FIHANKRA as what their tribe will be called. According to her, ’’a citizen of the FIHANKRA tribe is any person who is a descendant of an African born in the Diaspora as a direct result of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.’’ Literally translated, fihankra means; "when leaving home good-byes could not be said" .

Touched by this statement, I was inspired to write the following because, it has to do with promoting what belongs to us in the perspective of going back to the basics e.g. Naija Langwej. As a form of legal backing to the activities of this movement, the Ghana National House of Chiefs ordained the Fihankra tribe in the early 90s. Secondly, the tribe consists of African Americans, all the children of Africa who have gotten lost... those in the UK, the Caribbean, South-America etc. All the places Africans were taken to and enslaved against their wishes.

A common saying in Naija says, "wetin yu de lu-uk fo Sokoto de fo yo shokoto" which simply means, whatever you might be out there looking for may just be within or around you. It takes a lot to identify one’s potentials and positively work towards putting them into proper uses. The general good of a people depends on its politics. Without a patriotic leadership with a vision and purpose for the citizenry, no country moves ahead developmentally. Although there may be other African-Americans that may have chosen African countries in Africa like Nigeria to return back to, I would have loved if Nana Yaa Asantewaa choosed Nigeria. Her efforts at promoting tourism in Ghana are incredible. If a comparison of the population of Ghana and Nigeria in the days of slavery is made, Nigeria with the largest black population in the world may have contributed more Africans to slavery than any African country. A sound proof to demonstrate that, majority of African Americans may be Nigerians.

Nana’s regular campaigns and postings on different online fora, brought back memories of one of Nigeria’s great minds in this regard. I am talking of the late M.K.O. Abiola who single-handedly traversed various countries overseas to call for the payment of reparations to African countries believed to have suffered so much as a result of slavery. On the other hand, I am reminded of millions of Nigerians in the Diaspora, in the Americas, Asia, etc who are yet to see reason why they should have joined other African-Americans in the Diaspora in calling on the governments of Africa (past and present) to display transparency and accountability for good governance. The hope of African countries seem to lie in the hands of Africans in the Diaspora but negative reports from the continent has been a major challenge. This is more the reason why champions of back-to-Africa campaigns all over the world should be encouraged. I used to wonder why some African-Americans find it difficult associating with fellow African-Americans. If African-Americans could mount well-structured and sustained campaigns geared towards repatriation to Africa, why shouldn’t Nigerians wasting overseas not begin to think about returning home? Why are so many Nigerians abroad not thinking that, their little quota could make a difference in their country. In this regard, the former president Chief Olusegun Obasanjo who contributed in no small measure in encouraging a lot of Nigerians to come back home should be commended.

I know that, our Brothas and Sisthas may not be aware of the fact that there are millions of Nigerians who have "gotten lost in the Americas, UK, South America, Carebean etc." The truth need to be said that, unless the efforts of people like Nana Yaa Asantewaa are brought to their attention, they may never see why they should come back home to their country. A numerous number of them cannot find their way back and therefore need assistance via fund-raising/NGO-support . Against this background, whenever I hear some of our brothers abroad ask fellow Nigerians about their country by sarcastically asking, ‘‘HOW IS YOUR COUNTRY?’’ I laugh because, they should have known that, Nigeria is the only country they can truly call their own. Therefore, they should never be tired of lending their support in putting her on track for genuine transformation for progress and development. They should take some lessons from Nana.

Wai yu go ask mi se hau yo kontri? No bi yo kontri? (Why ask me about my country? Is it not your country?)

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