Few days ago,I went to a village in Nimo for the burial of my friend’s Mum.As I drove across the villages to my final destination, I took notice of two issues: Almost every house along the village roads has provision for shops where confectioneries and other household items are sold.The second is the imposing church structures almost in all the villages.What is the effect of using all the available building space for trading in the villages? To start with,our forefathers,our great grand fathers before the coming of whitemen were not foolish when they designated certain area as market.That was why they have the four market days viz Nkwo,Eke, Orie and Afor.Our forefathers have residential places,play grounds ,Village Squares and Market where goods from farmlands were exchanged.Everything was well arranged by our uneducated grandfathers.
Today,i expected a well developed market with underground structures to go with modern facilities.Alas,that peaceful and serene environment that used to characterize our various communities are about to be destroyed and replaced with buying and selling activities everywhere! I am convinced that somebody somewhere has reduced our people to the level of ordinary traders! Who is responsible to what they are selling? What is wrong with having industrial parks in our various communities and then modern markets to sell produced goods?
As i was looking around the community in Nimo,i tried to find out what drives the economy of the villages. I noticed that there was no factory any where,no major farmland-nothing! When i got to the Church for burial mass,i noticed that elderly men and women constituted 90% of those in attendance.Where are the young ones? In the Cities and Libya Slave Market! Up to 8% of the young ones i saw at the burial came down from cities .It occurred to me that we would be in serious generational crisis if these set of people in the villages should die!
Coming back to what sustains the village economy,i simply concluded that burial activities had kept the village economy going.Every week,there must be an inflow of funds into various communities in preparation for one burial or the other.Then,comes to Church activities.Very soon every village in our various communities will have gigantic church building for worshiping .I have no issue with the Church but i want to say that trying to build Church branches in all the villages may not be the best option.A town like Nimo should have just about three Parishes of Catholic Church while other locations should be converted to modern schools and mechanized farmlands with moderate church building for prayers ! Can we travel to Israel to learn how to make good money through farming? A man without money in his pocket will always grow sick! The Church can stand in place of Government by using her platform to give our people sense of direction.Give us spiritual direction and economic directions.Instead of asking people to donate money in building big structures in our various villages,the Church can ask people to fund small factories that would be producing toothpicks from bamboo trees that could be seen everywhere.A tomato plantation in various villages can bring young people back to the villages and restore robust economic activities instead of this buying and selling trend.
We can still transfer hard- work to the next generation instead of consumption driven economy.
I left the burial feeling disillusioned that most people were indifferent to the plight of our dear people and the future of our children.We are about losing our indigenous identities.
Ndubuisi writes for BVI Channel 1