Few days ago,I went to a village in Ukpo for the burial of my friend’s Mum.As I drove across the villages to my final destination, I took notice of three issues: Almost every house along the village roads has provision for shops where confectioneries and other household items are sold.
The second is gigantic residential houses scattered everywhere. We have not learnt much from history . The big houses built by our parents are difficult to maintain and most of them are home and hide outs for rodents and other wild animals . Village homes are important but what the writer is proposing is moderate houses that will stand the test of time.
The third is the imposing church structures almost in all the Villages . Religion is our major problem in Africa. It is easier to operate a religious centre than operating a production centre . The white men who exported religion to Africa combine religion with humanity .They lay more emphasis on building human infrastructure than structures. The writer is not against building the household of God but making such building simple and moderate as well as targetting humanities
What is the effect of using all the available building space for trading in the villages? What is the economic implication? 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,playing 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 that 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 local products?
As i was looking around the community in Ukpo,i tried to find out what drives the economy of the villages. I noticed that there was no factory within sight ,no major farmland-nothing! When i got to the Church for burial mass,i noticed that elderly men and women form 90% of those in attendance.Where are the young ones? 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 conclude that burial activities keep the village economy going.Every week,there must be an inflow of funds into various communities in preparation for one burial or the other .
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 best option.Can we travel to Israel to learn how to make good money through farming.The Church can stand in place of Government by using her platform to give our people direction.Give us spiritual direction and economic direction.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 toothpick 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 hardworking to the next generation instead of consumption driven economy.
I left the burial feeling disillusioned that most people were indifference to the plight of our dear people and the future of our children.We are about losing our indigenous identities.
Ndubuisi Anaenugwu is GGM Ambassador