Levi; Breaking the false roots of what we term as Nigeria in order to recreate them in the right way/form - Changing the way we understand our union. Geographical coordinates as base not 1960. Tribes interaction modes constantly changing.

Dagbue Ifeoma
5 min readDec 30, 2022


Date created: October 6, 2022. By: Dagbue Daniel

Levi 1 audio transcription.

There is an uncommon fact from Nigeria’s colonial history; the colonialists never completely destroyed or broke down the Hausa kingdoms. So what we are dealing with is a part of the country that still runs with archaic ideas and systems of how to work with people. Kingdoms around the world existed upon these systems of governance in the past.
There are many ways to work with people; by force, trade by batter and mutually beneficial agreements. Kingdoms around the world fought and acquired what they wanted by dominance and force and some advanced to trade by batter. In vogue now, however, is a system of mutual benefits.

2nd, 3rd, 4th vn,
Most times when people want to start the history of Nigeria they start from 1960. That is why I’m saying it is flawed. There are so many questions that require answers. Who told you 1960 is when 250 tribes and languages automatically came into existence? Did we drop from the sky on the first of October? Or is there history? Have these tribes known each other and traded with, fought with or come in contact with each other before?
That entire context glued up above existed before 1st October 1960. I mean, we are just a couple hundred kilometers from each other, a few days journey by horse and a few weeks journey by foot. What kept all these tribes from meeting each other back then? Why is it that we always start from 1960 like we fell from the sky on to these geographical positions on the map some kilometers from each other? Can we explore to find out the systems previously in existence that these groups not too far from each other used to communicate, trade, fight and so on? what was the paradigm in existence then? How did we interact with one another? Was it fighting and dominance of one group over another? If so, that is still history, it was a mode of interaction and it happened before colonial times. What were the results of this interaction mode? Positives and negatives?

If you go through Asian or European history books and libraries you can see all their kingdoms and clans, 500 years ago and exactly how they fought with, interacted with and traded with each other in close proximity for hundreds of years. If these clans sharing about the same distances from each other as ours did at the same time had history worthy of recording, why do we push aside that part of history when asked of this geographical space and start from 1st October 1960?

Art by Bolu Ezra Ikuemonisan for AAAE 2022 (L to R, Peace and unity, Eta)

5th vn
When someone asks of Nigeria one can actually look at it in different ways; it can be looked at, not from the word Nigeria, but one can identify Nigeria from the context of these geographical coordinates. If you identify it from that context then you'll leave the confines of that box of 1960, because things were happening within these geographical coordinates before 1960. Nyerere 1966… ‘Boundaries must lose their significance to become merely demarcation of administrative areas within a large unit.’
If you take that and decide that all the things happening in these geographical coordinates before 1960 is cumulated and named Nigeria, it does not therefore invalidate all the things that happened in these geographical coordinates before 1960. Those things still happened. Even if we have a new name it doesn't mean that people who used to come to these areas, people who used to trade here didn't have a name they used to call these particular geographical coordinates. It just so happens that amongst these peoples who visited these coordinates, when the British came here they decided to call these geographical coordinates "Nigeria". Now whatever kind of contraption or arrangement or setup it is we are currently running in these Geographical coordinates, whatever kind of constitutional arrangement or agreement we are running, it is not necessarily permanent. It doesn't define Nigeria. What defines Nigeria is not the constitution, it is not 1960, it is not independence rather, it is the geographical coordinates and the land in between them. They are the core and the beginning of Nigeria.
Now if you understand it from that foundation, it will become clear that those geographical coordinates, that is where the different tribes and groups live. If Nigeria is ‘divided’, we will still be within the same geographical coordinates. When Nigeria has been divided, our different tribes and clans and groups will still be where they are. This is the basis upon which I made the statement ‘we didn't fall from the sky’. We have been here in this geographical spot interacting for hundreds of years in different ways with each other. If we break the country into pieces, we will still interact. It will just be a new mode of interaction between us (we cannot uproot our town/ethnic land and transport it to a different geographic location; all we can do is create walls to block each other off but our geographical coordinates remain the same)
This is still a phase within the histories of the peoples living within these geographical coordinates.

(Nigeria is a phase within the histories of the peoples living within these geographical coordinates. It is a concept and it is important that we see the focus is on the peoples within these geographical coordinates and how they have interacted and organized and negotiated themselves into groups and traded, fought and communicated over hundreds of years. It is through these alliances that kingdoms, clans existed within the same geographical coordinates (due to the natural limitations of technology previously it was infeasible to form kingdoms beyond a few days of horseback riding)

Artwork "Where do we go from here" by Ogar Leonard for AAAE 2022.

This is what should be used to define Nigeria. When we understand that then we can jump past October 1960, as it is a phase within the lives of the clans and the groups who live within these geographical coordinates.
One of the biggest problems I think we are facing is the lack of understanding of the fact that this is a union, and in a union you have to give as much as you get. Some sections of the country do not grasp this concept and that is why there is an attempt to lord over others. There is a lack of understanding that we voluntarily entered into an agreement to work together because we saw it was better than going at it alone and that no one owns anything from anyone or can make anyone do something because we all came into this union together. If that were to become clear then the system of interaction would be coming to terms and equal agreements not the use of force.

6th vn

Brain of the entire talk is in the last audio…

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