The Infection Called Dike Chukwumerije At 26,000 Feet

All you need to be infected and your mind formatted, is to spend an hour listening to Dike. He has adjectives and punchline that wakes that which is in you.

He is my law school classmate but I have not listened to him full until last week that in company of my family, we attended his Made In Nigeria Show.
For 4 days after that show, no talk is completed in my house without them asking me about Dike, his show, whether I am sure he is my friend, why is he passionate about Nigeria-Children can ask questions oh!

Against this backdrop, you can only imagine my joy when at 26,000 feet above sea level onboard Airpeace to Owerri, the in-flight magazine, Alice April 22, featured at pages 76-82 Dike Chukwumerije! The 40 minutes flight lasted 2 minutes as I was deeply buried in the pages, drinking more of Dike’s words only to hear, “cabin crew, prepare for final landing.”

Below are excerpts from the interview by Sylvester Asoya. For full interview, click or But this hard copy, has found a place in my children’s library.

Why Did You Decide To Dump Law For This Gruelling Task Of Trying To Convince Nigerians To Love Themselves?

I have had the passion from a young age – it came before the law. So, it is not something that I will say I woke up one day and decided that ‘okay, I am going to do this.’ It is one of those things that I have always been doing-all my life. Like I always tell people, I am an Igbo boy, but I was born in Lagos, I grew up in Lagos.
Lagos is a cosmopolitan type of city, though everywhere in Nigeria, you must always have tribalism, but Lagos is one of the cities that have long tradition of people coming from everywhere to live together.
So, I grew up in that context. I think I will just say that unlike other people who also grew up like that, but as you grow older, you grow wiser’ and you start seeing that this is not really how Nigeria is and you align.
But in my case, I don’t want to align with this thing; | don’t think it is right.
So, I just continue with the values that I grew up with in my family, though it appears to be strange in modern Nigerian, but I still believe that there are a lot of people like me out there and if we can encourage each other to speak out and speak up, things will get better.

You Don’t Agree With The Talk Of Nigeria Being Mistake Of 1914.

I don’t have that mindset even when the Sardauna made that comment, he made it in anger. It was just after he was heckled out of Lagos in 1953, so he made the statement in anger.
But very shortly after that, he calmed down and he said look, there is no need pulling out of Nigeria. Nigeria is still the way to go.
But some people use that statement out of context. The same way they keep quoting Awo, that he said ‘Nigeria is a mere geographical expression.
But if you read the book where Awo made that statement, you will see that he made it not against Nigeria’s union, but he was saying that Nigeria should be a federation, that we are different people.
So, he was actually arguing for a Nigeria that is together. And those guys were truly statesmen because Awo and Ahmadu Bello were two different people.
But it was their belief in Nigeria that made them work together.  If Awo and Ahmadu Bello had the privilege of what we have today – 62 years of going to school together, living together, they would have done better.
So, the problem is that the real statesmen that we had in those 60s didn’t have the social history, we that have the social history don’t have their ideology.
But you know Nigerians; we don’t really study history, so we just take these things out of context.

Those people believed in Nigeria and that is why in spite of their misgivings that, look don’t really know this person’ but for the same vision, they worked together. And they have given us this valuable largest black nation on the face of the earth. And we are in a better position – we know each other better, we are able to discuss and negotiate better.

Moreover, I am a believer in God, I don’t think God makes mistakes. If Nigeria exists, it is in the will of God and there is a purpose for it.

Has Anybody Confronted You With That-‘That Why Are You Defending The Government?’

Yes. I have had those confrontations-‘I’m defending the Fulani people; l am  defending the government. But those accusations don’t stick because if you look at my body of work, I am very critical of bad governance. The only difference is that I am very critical of bad governance from one Nigerian perspective. But other people are using all the things that are happening to say let’s break up the country.!
But I am saying no, there is nothing wrong with the country itself, the concept of Nigeria. It is a very good concept. It is like your father leaving you a land in a prime location, you now say because there are snakes, scorpions there, you will sell it off. Nobody does that. You enter the land and clear those things out because it is not easy to have land in a good location.

Your First Book, The Revolution Has No Tribe; Is It Also About Nigeria’s Unity I think | have written eight books. The Revolution Has No Tribe is the first, a collection of poers. It also focused on Nigeria. Like I said, I came from a pan African home.
So, The 
Revolution Has No Tribe was actually looking at African history and culture from the same desire that look, as Africans, we are tired of always being the face of poverty, the face of starvation, the face of famine, the face of corruption. We need to elevate our continent. But charity begins at home. I can’t be talking of African stage when my own country has not even got it together.
So, starting out from 
a Pan-African perspective, I tried to come back home to my country because Nigeria is a significant country in the African continent. If countries like Nigeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, Congo get it together, Africa will be fine. Nigeria is particularly important to the development and prosperity of the African continent and that’s why we must get our acts together.
I have a collection of poems 
titled Ahamefula, looking at Igbo names and the philosophy behind them. It is something that I am also very interested in – when our parents name us in certain cultures – in the Igbo culture and I think in Yoruba culture too they give you names maybe to remember something that happens around your birth.
I have a book called One Nigeria, The Birth And Revolution Of An Idea. That’s the book that is the foundation for the theater production, Made in Nigeria.
That book looks at the history of Nigeria, the nationalist movement, it looks at Zik, it looks at Awo, Ahmadu Bello – who they were, where they were coming from, examine their policies and the impacts they had on the formation of the nation. I also have a book called The African-American – a fictionalized account of historical event that happened in the Empire of Mali in the 14th Century.
There was a very famous Malian emperor, Mansa Musa-the 
book looks at how Mansa Musa came to the throne and the king before Musa.
Like I said, I am very interested in African and West Africa history. And I have collection of poems for children. At that time, I was having my children. So, wanted to write books for them so that I can also introduce them into it.

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