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Covid-19 Exposes Our Failure to Learn From History

By Vincent Ezechukwu

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As we hobble in our homes, making little or no income while waiting for coronavirus pandemic to ease off, so life can return to normal for most of us, the activities and decisions taken by our leaders here in Nigeria, may force the masses to react the way our ancestors reacted when visited with the same inhumane treatment being melted on us today.

The decision and inhuman economic policies of a thousand years old Bornu empire ruled by Sayfawa dynasty was actually what brought to its end in 1846 when Umah AL Kanami, the son of Shehu Muhammed AL kanami who completed a coup started by his father since he was invited by Sayfawa family to assist in driving away the marauding Fulani Jihadist from overrunning the empire.

The inhuman economic policies of the rulers of Bornu Empire when famine which was as a result of prolonged droughts that ravaged the empire and left the commoners suffering and starving. Unfortunately, instead of the rulers of this empire to enact policies to ameliorate the suffering of their people, they rather came up with harsher policies that took from the poor the little they have to finance their luxurious lifestyle while their people impoverished the more.

The resultant effect of these policies was a population weary of their leaders and joined in their numbers a little opportunity provided by the Jihadist to attack the rulers of the empire, sacking the Mai of Bornu from his capital Gazagawa.

What is happening today in Nigeria is no different from what happened in Bornu and Hausa states in late 18th century offering opportunity for the Jihadist who provided organization, ideology and direction to trigger the jihad that swept the region from 1804 to 1808 and continued elsewhere towards the end of the century before the British imperialist disrupted their southward movement.

History they say is past politics while politics is the present history, provides us opportunity to learn in other to avoid repeating mistakes of the past.

This message might not sit well for those diverting materials meant to alleviate the suffering of poor masses during this total lockdown of Nigeria. Incidentally, it doesn’t matter how anyone views this post, what is obvious is that, history is staring them in the face and anything is possible as hunger continues its ravaging effects across Nigeria.

Vincent O Ezechukwu
Department of History and International Studies, Unizik Awka.

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