The purpose of the instant essay is to establish the meaning of dominion. Then it seeks to explain why dominion is essential and the reasons it has been elusive in Nigeria. Finally, the essay attempts to illustrate how Nigerians can get back on their feet to maintain meaningful dominion over their God-given estate. The word for this essay came from a Yoruba man this writer ran into barely 7 days ago in a small town called Laurel just 30 miles outside Washington DC.
Yoruba Man was a security guard at the International Market. As the writer was looking around and asking where he could find what he needed, Yoruba Man realized the writer was a fellow Nigerian so he pointed out the mountainous sections of meats, vegetables, beverages, and seafood he was hired to watch over. He asked: "Why can't Nigeria have all these?"
He asked the same question again as he dramatically pointed thick index finger at the picturesquely paved surrounding outside the Market. It is not a lie to say the parking lot very neat and immaculately adorned with customers' shinny vehicles. An Igbo man carrying his son walked by, stopped, and listened as Yoruba Man answered his own questions: "The reason why Nigeria doesn't have all these is Lack of Dominion."
All we three Nigerians (total strangers) stood there, looking at and loving each other, and taking in the wonder that is America. We were transfixed, spellbound, hypnotized. We marveled at the amount of food we were looking at in the International Market. But Yoruba Man's word "Dominion" resonated in our minds like the meaningful songs of Fela Ransome-Kuti. Why can't ......? Why can't ...? Why can't ....?
In Genesis 1:28, God said to mankind, including Nigerians, "Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth..."
One does not own a thing until one is able to establish a sort of dominion over the thing. By dominion, we mean power to improve things so as not to go to waste; power to make things last for a long time. With ownership comes the authority to decide how best to exploit such things as are under our dominion to ensure that we confer the greatest benefits to the largest number of people for the maximum enjoyment of future generations. With dominion comes a commanding say-so in seeing to it that the needs of all legitimate stakeholders and claimants are adequately met. It is safe to wager that dominion implies bundles of rights and responsibilities both pain and pleasure.
The truth is that God has authorized Nigerians to have dominion (rule over) the things we see and hear about in our sweet, beloved homeland, including the oil wells and democratic government that rules over us. In Psalm 8:6, King David reinforces this truth when he says: "You (God) have made mankind to have dominion over the works of Your (God's) hand; You have put all things under his (mankind's) feet."
The questions then become: Do Nigerians have dominion over their country? If they do, why is there so much turmoil in the land? Why are Nigerians bothering relatives overseas to send monthly remittances home for food and other necessities? If Nigerians do not have dominion, what keeps them from doing so? Why is Nigeria still poverty-stricken 55 years after independence? Why is the GNP (Gross National Product) just 1 dollar (N200) a day (24 hours) while the hourly minimum wage of the lowest-paid U S worker, janitor, or laborer (10 dollars or N2,000 per hour) is astoundingly higher than the monthly earning of many Nigerians? Something is clearly wrong either with this mathematics or the minds of my people.
I appears from all indications that we Nigerians do not want to, refuse to, and invariably are failing to maintain dominion over our land as the Englishmen, Americans, Germans and other nationalities are doing. Do we Nigerians have dominion over our population growth? The answer is resoundingly negative. At a population of over170 million people, Nigerian is bursting at the seams with overabundance of humanity and rapidly becoming a beggar nation that lives hand-to-mouth and begs for hand-outs from donor nations.
The population of Nigeria ought to be cut in half through reasonable family planning as India and China have managed to control their populations numbered in the billions. Nigerians pride themselves in having too many children per household. The time when Nigerians see children as insurance protection against penury (abject poverty) and disabling old age is gone. Nigerians ought to prepare for their future by going to school and establishing reputable careers while they are still young rather than hanging all hopes on relatives or children who might end up being irresponsible liabilities.
We Nigerians are outgrowing our food supply. That means in 25-50 years, there will not be enough staple food (yam, cassava, cocoyam, plantains, egusi, palm oil) to support a burgeoning number of hungry/starving mouths. Although Nigeria is blessed with expansive acreage of fertile land, yet agriculture is largely neglected or looked down upon. Seasonal scarcity of food can be averted when Nigerians take pride in tilling the ground and raising livestock. The ancient days of laughing at farming as occupation for the uneducated and lauding office work (that brings in the bribes), should be ended in Nigeria by now. Honest labor bears lovely faces.
Through the principle of delegation (designation or assignment) God has given Nigerians the authority to subdue, dominate, and exercise dominion, or rule over the land mass and affairs of what is known at present time as the Democratic Republic of Nigeria. Nigerians have a duty to exercise this dominion under the authority of God in justifiable ways. The words subdue or dominion does not imply violence or mistreatment of minorities. To subdue or have dominion can only mean bringing under cultivation. Examples will illustrate the point.
The American pioneers (forefathers) came from somewhere to subdue the wilderness which arguably was settled by the Native Indians. It does not matter who first discovered America, whether it was Viking Leif Eriksson or Spaniard Christopher Columbus. It does not matter which political party (Democrat of Republican) is in control. Americans' pride in America is unquenchable to the point of ethnocentrism (a belief that one's own culture is superior to all others). Nigerians ought to feel the same way about Nigeria.
These Americans or British love their country so much they hide or ignore their country's many faults. They would unite to fight and defeat a threat or common enemy, such as Libya's Gaddaffi. America has people scouting the globe to bring back goodies and attract the best brains to serve their nation's schools and industries. Why can't Nigeria imitate?
The thing that matters is that America was and is still under the control of a mindset that establishes dominion based upon equity. Equity is defined as evenhandedness, fairness, impartiality, justice, justness, or fair play. Dominion is maintained through creating jobs, and interstate commerce, and building cities and connecting them with beautiful and safe roads. Electricity is 24/7. Water runs regularly for bathing, cooking, drinking, and sprinkling the lawn. Dominion is seen in the ways communities are developing laws that eventuate schooling, housing, transportation, health services, safety, and crime control.
These services can be easily replicated in Nigeria. One wonders whether Nigerian leaders and commoners are failing to notice the services foreign governments provide their people. We are convinced that Nigeria is not a bad country. We just have not gotten around to establishing appropriate dominion over the affairs of our sweet and beloved homeland as our God has commanded.