Nigeria: Beware of Greek gifts!

Nigeria: Beware of Greek gifts!

Sunday, April 12, 2020 4:16 pm

Bolanle Bolawole

By Bolanle Bolawole

“Beware of the Greeks bearing gifts” is an allusion to the story of the wooden horse used by the Greeks to trick their way into the city of Troy. Troy was well fortified and also well defended. Roman poet, Virgil, recorded it thus in his Aenid (Book 2) written in 19 BC: “Do not trust the horse, Trojans. Whatever it is, I fear the Greeks even when they bring gifts” John Dryden put it a bit differently: “Trust not their presents, nor admit the horse” Sophocles (496 – 406 B.C) in Ajax put it this way: “Nought from the Greeks towards me hath sped well. So now I find that ancient proverb true: ‘Foes’ gifts are no gifts: profit bring they none’”
Some have argued that the Greek/Trojan war was a myth (Greek mythology) while others say it was actually fought. In Greek mythology, the war broke out after Paris of Troy took Helen from her husband Menelaus, king of Sparta. To this day, that war remained one of the most important events in Greek mythology and has been narrated in many works, notably in Homer’s famous Iliad. For many years the war raged but Troy was impregnable. The Greeks then pretended to abandon the war and left the Trojan Horse behind, allegedly as an offering or gift to the gods.

A Trojan priest saw the horse and understood its significance; so he cried out: “Do not trust the Greeks, even if they left us a gift” Unfortunately, the Trojans, failing to take heed, decided to accept the Greek gift as a sign of armistice (peace offering, signifying an end to the war) and took the Greek Horse inside their city. Unknown to the Trojans, the Greeks had well-armed soldiers hidden inside the horse! In the night, the Greek soldiers came out of the horse, unlocked the gates of the city and admitted other Greek soldiers in! Thus fell the city of Troy!

What the force of arm could not achieve, deceit and guile achieved for the Greeks. Failing to heed advice, Troy fell! Someone has aptly described coronavirus as “Ogun A-ja-ma-fi-t’ibon se”! The virus carries no weapon; yet, it rages. Call it vintage “A pa’ni mayo’da” It carries no sword; yet, it kills like no man’s business. May the good Lord deliver us from Greeks bearing gifts and from Ogun A-ja-ma-fi-t’ibon-se-cum Ogun A pa’ni ma yo’da! A totalitarian state, China is secretive, vicious and cunning. Any gift from it must be taken with a pinch of salt. China is not only a closed State that heavily vets information about its internal operations, it is also a superpower-nation fixated on world domination.

Nigeria relying upon itself has done admirably well against “Ogun A-ja-ma-fi-t’ibon-se” and “Ogun A pa’ni ma yo’da” Many are of the opinion that this is one occasion when the country should demonstrate its independence and self-reliance. Necessity, they say, is the mother of inventions. Already, coronavirus has brought out the best in Nigerians. Inviting the Chinese at this point may throw spanners in the works or even hand us over!

Again, there are conspiracy theories swirling around the Chinese and coronavirus. The Chinese are yet to come out clean. The internet is awash with stories of medicals imported from China by some European countries testing defective, infested or contaminated by the same coronavirus they were meant to prevent or fight. How, then, can we vouch for the integrity of the medicals the Chinese are bringing here?
Nigeria must err on the side of caution. There is no alternative to self-reliance. Experience, as they say, is the best teacher. Our penchant to rely on so-called foreign expertise is the reason we do not produce anything but import everything. It is the reason we cannot make our refineries work but waste trillions of Naira on importation of refined petroleum products. It is the same reason we are perpetually neck-deep in debts; we escape one debt trap only to fall head-long into another with our eyes wide open.

The Chinese are also entangled in the controversy, indeed, raging storm, of 5G. Government’s denial of the presence of 5G here and the “evidence” thrown up by anti-5G forces has been at cross-purposes. Is there a nefarious campaign to apply (Thomas) Malthus’ theory of population control through “preventive checks and positive checks”? Are “Ogun A-ja-ma-fi-t’ibon-se”, 5G and “Ogun A pa’ni ma yo’da” some of those “checks”? And is Africa, indeed, Nigeria, the focal point of the campaign? Care must be taken not to alienate our own medical workers – or hand them over to the Chinese on a platter. Hoping we are not already enslaved to the Chinese because of past loans and future ones desperately needed! Beware of the Chinese bearing gifts!

Since the battle cry against the spread of coronavirus is “Stay at home; stay safe”; let the Chinese themselves also stay at home and stay safe!

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