America celebrated Juneteenth on Sunday, June 19 and Monday, June 20 as public holidays, Nigeria, as other parts of Africa, should be reminded of the poisonous ideologies of inferiority and inter-conflict that came into the various surroundings of the place named Nigeria by a British journalist, Flora Shaw, who later married Baron Frederick Lugard.
Juneteenth is a portion of emancipation and freedom celebrations by people of African descent throughout the Americas, especially now that it is a federal holiday. A combination of the words “June” and “Nineteenth” led to the word Juneteenth.
President Abraham Lincoln officially signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, which stated that all enslaved people in America were free, but the news that slavery had come to an end reached Texas on June 19, 1865, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued.
Nigerians needed to see why Juneteenth, deserved their attention since the transatlantic slave trade by the Portuguese and other Europeans, beginning in the 16th century, bought many Africans as slaves from West Africa, especially the kingdoms of the Yoruba and Benin, and the lands of the Igbos and Hausa. While the Yorubas started wars that led to snatching and capturing individuals for the slave trade, amongst the Igbos, the slave trading markets were established by individuals who had become very prosperous.
It should be known that contact with Arabian Muslims and Europeans heightened the popularity of racialized and commercialized slavery across Africa, including Nigeria, as West Africa was highly associated with agricultural produce, gold, liquor, and the ivory trade. It is important to know that Africans had practiced slavery for hundreds of years before white people came but only worked as servants, not as bondage or for oppression, as they were free to choose their own families and other engagements.
For over 300 years, more than 11 million enslaved people were transported across the Atlantic from Africa, especially to America and the West Indies, and Britain.
When the Europeans, which included Portuguese, French, Dutch, and British merchants, turned to Africa to capture slaves there, they used the same methods used by Africans on their own people—raids, war, deception, and trade.
Most of the Africans, including Nigerians, made up of adults and children, were enslaved after being kidnapped, snatched, stolen, and captured in clashes; other methods used included being sold into slavery for debt or as punishment by their people.
The stealing and selling of adults and children by African heads, in exchange for getting guns, liquor, and other European or Oyibo products, served as motivation. Europeans also used foreign drinks to softly alter the minds of chiefs and tribal heads who, under some alcohol influence or intoxication, enjoyed the fun of selling their own people.
The enslaved blacks from various parts of Nigeria who did not commit suicide while under way from their respective locale continuously received beatings, whippings, and brandings until they reached Europe and the Americas.
Enslaved Africans, including Nigerians, were continuously abused once they arrived in America, because slaves were frequently viewed not as humans but as property, and as such, they were routinely raped or forced to have children with other slaves and their controllers, and sold on slave markets in the southern United States in particular.
Because of jealousy and hatred, kings and chiefs in Nigeria enslaved men, women, and children from rival tribes—choking and jamming them into boats bound for the United States and the Caribbeans.
It could be the same moral failing that allowed white people to enslave Africans that affected Africans as they used forceful, commercial, and tricky ways to communicate with each other, which triggered feelings of indifference, distrust, marginalization, internal conflict, and falsehoods. This has resulted in an extraordinary love for greed, tyranny, conspiracy, and corruption.
The systematic forms of dehumanization, as in the experiences of fragmentation, divisiveness, brutality, predatory neighboring politics, wickedness, pretension, exploitation, and intolerance, continue.
Nigeria is a land full of people of different backgrounds with untreated intergenerational disturbances that have resulted in on-going nonbeneficial symptoms of ethnic or communal conflict, kidnapping business, terrorist insurgency, political instability, human trafficking, religious conflict, crime and insecurity, drug abuse, and environmental ruin.
Like Ghana and Liberia, where Juneteenth is acknowledged, Nigeria, as the United States of America, should think of its own Juneteenth remembrance in the form of a Memorial or Reminiscence Day, not necessarily as another additional holiday.
Slavery was officially abolished in all British colonies, including Nigeria, in 1893, except in Igboland, where slavery continued up to 1945 or so for reasons best known to them.
Nigeria could decide to commemorate its own Juneteenth commemoration on the Fourth of July, a free day when most enslaved Africans in America, performed their own personal work. Or Nigeria could use October 1st, also known as Independence Day in Nigeria, as a Memorial Day across Nigeria that will allow for collective reflection on the grievous and ongoing legacy of slavery. Reflect on its indicated patterns, effects, and consequences as in systemic tribalism, violence, dishonesty, and denial that continue to plague the Nigerian environment.
A commemorative and Memorial Day to observe how Nigerians were treated with cruelty and injustice from the 16th to the 19th centuries; how they treated each other; and how they are striving to remove general bitterness from their hearts, replace the pain, and deliver meaningful stability within Nigeria for Nigerians.
Prof. Oshodi wrote in via firstname.lastname@example.org