June 15, 2019

THE ESAN CODE



Esanland Cultural Identity & Survival strategy in Perspective - & Prediction for the future 

Benin Kingdom has one of the most diverse, flexible cultures in Nigeria of 200 million people.

Esan folks, being a minority in a nation of a great majority has carved out a survival strategy of peaceful co-existence among different ethnic groups in Nigeria by being flexible. Although some Esan folks bear names that don't sound like Esan, it doesn't mean the bearer of such names has forgotten his or her Esan identity or root. For a minority, like Esans folks taking on of names that are not Esan is about personal survival. We have to be coded to survive. Some take cultural names that are different from Esan names just to find their bearings amongst the majority – This is the Esan Code. By WPP Jr

"Culture is simultaneously the fruits of a people, history and determinant of history" - Amilcar Cabral

The kola nut name is a reflection of what kola nut is. Even if we wrapped it in a nylon bag, calabash or present it in gold silverware, kola nut will never misrepresent itself. It will still serve its purpose. Although our mould of dressing is a reflection of our collective thoughts style and taste we are first of all mortal and our innate being is a reflection of who we really are. Cultural identity is a reflection of our original place of ancestry.

You're not just an Esan, or perhaps Hausa, Efik, Igbo, Zulu, Ashanti because you‘re born in Esanland or perhaps your pap or mom is from the Benin Kingdom or Africa but because Esan is in you. You carry it in your heart and breathe; it lives in you, and it'll never go away from you because you can never run away from you.

We shouldn't take our historical or cultural heritage for granted anymore, but we should embrace its entirety and preserved it. We must preserve the best of our past and do away with the worst of our past. Tomb stones are not just stone its eternal glory.

Cultural identity or heritage isn't just about the clothes we wear or the food we eat, wedding or burial ceremonies; it's the combination of the above, an entirety of our collective well being.  We cannot embrace one part of it and ignore the rest. It is like music to the ear, we cannot dance to just one tone while neglecting another arrangement of the music. Cultural identity is the beauty of our collective being, both spiritually and physically.
Although you live in Europe or the Americans or Asian, Kano, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Johannesburg, Sokoto, etc speak and eat the food of your host, although born in a foreign land you are first an African, Esan from the Benin Kingdom, a Nigerian before anything else.

Carrying American passport doesn't necessarily make you an American in totality. We're from somewhere except our host-Indians – the indigenous people.

Passports are just identity document. America/UK can withdraw your citizenship anytime any day, but nobody – under the sun can withdraw or cancel your Esan, Benin Kingdom or Nigeria citizenship or the African in you. It cannot be taken away from you. They may jail you, but they can never imprison or chain your mind or thoughts. Our thoughts are spirits; it has the power to transport us to greater heights or to pull us down. Proverbs 4:23. There is really no limitation place for you except the one you help create for yourself.

To some of you, who constantly make a mockery of Nigeria/Africa on social media, remember when you do that, you are actually mocking and shaming yourself. We, all, are the head, eyes ears, nose hand and legs of Nigeria/Africa. If nothing goes well in Esanland, Edo State, Nigeria or Africa we should all help make things work for the better of us all. When you see a problem Osanobua – God wants you to do something about it. Nigeria is not the problem of Nigerians. Nigerians are the problem of Nigeria. Africa is not the problem of Africans. Africans are the problem of Africa. Esanland is not the problem of Esan folks. Esan folks are the problem of Esanland.

Some of us are abandoning our core Esan/African values for Western values that we do not understand its complexity. The core value of our culture we should preserve is the one we are abandoning and preserving the ones that should be discarded.  When I speak of cultural identity, I do not mean one's accents, but the totality of who we are as an ethnic unit.

Bearing Western, Yoruba, Ijaws, Hausa names doesn't alienate Esan folks from his cultural identity. The taking on of names by Esan folks from different ethnic or cultural groups or nations, that's different from ours, is merely to feel welcome amongst our host and for personal survival. Esan folks live and speak in code. Because we're a minority, our forefathers in their wisdom have transferred from one generation to another ‘CULTURAL TOLERANCE' - the embrace and peaceful coexistence with mortal beings and celebration of diversity as an Osanobua gift to humanity.

The Benin Kingdom has the most diverse, flexible culture in Nigeria of 200 million people.

Esan, being in the minority in a nation of a great majority has carved out a survival strategy of assimilation among different ethnic groups by being flexible. Although some Esan folks bear names that don't sound like Esan doesn't mean the bearer of such names has forgotten his or her Esan identity or root. A minority must learn to be coded among the majority. You can bear Esan names yet your behaviour or an activity doesn't reflect Esan values. You can also bear Igbo or English name, although you are Esan and still maintain the core values of Esan folks in your attitudes and character.

For a minority, like Esans folks taking on of names that are not Esan is about personal survival. Some take cultural names that are different from Esan name just to find their bearings amongst the majority, others to erase the bad memory of their place of origin.

I know imported religion says Africans should throw away their cultural-historical heritage, that it is evil. But yet Benin Kingdom Artistic genius was looted in 1897, proudly display in top global museums generating millions of dollars every year. A missionary came to our land in grooves to be eyes and ears of Europeans interest, while they mock our artistic genius and called it an idol so our people can part with their valuable works of art, behind their backs, these arts, carvings which is a reflection of our civilization, intelligence, inventions were hastily carted away to display at the Western World. We throw away our originality to embrace artificial ways that are alien to us.

Europeans have heritage, but they have no culture, but Africans have Rich Culture and Heritage, that's a double blessing. But having been in church all my life, as a clergy for the past 27 years, with lots of experience in Cross-Cultural Global Mission I've come to terms with the truth that:

1.      Political religion is imported religion and it is confusion. It is the suppression of the genuine and the true meaning of mortality for the acceptance of an ideology that oppressed and suppressed various views that is opposite their view.

2.     Religion is not Christianity and Christianity is not a religion. Religion is a set of rules made by men. It is the rules and the tradition of men that impede the work of Christ. May Osanobua-God revive our spirits to embrace the truth and free our self from self-imprisonment of political religion and encountered the true Christ our Saviour. Not the one's money-hungry Pharisee has made him be.

3.     That, the depiction of Jesu-Jesus with a European face is not a true reflection of the colour of Jesus. The colour of Jesus is love and true love is colourless. All symbols that take the place of Osanobua –God in men's hearts are an idol because God is spirit and spirit cannot be reflected through visible objects or symbols. The terrestrial and the non-terrestrial are two different worlds, air is invisible that's God. As an Esan man, its Esan folks right or any rights of mortality to depict Jesu in resemblance of an Esan man or African on the cross.

Yeah, "Men are naturally mad on the subject of religion, and "the revival, restore them rather than make them mad." Charles Finney.

Knowing your history is as important as eating your favourite Jollof rice or Egusi with pounded yam. You can't eat the food and throw away the other part of your culture that's not quite favourable.

You're not an Esan because you were born in Esanland. You are an Esan because Esan is in you. Kola nut doesn't cease to be kola nut in the Americas just because it's in America or Europe. I'm an Esan man and I am proud of it.

Some of us need to retrace our roots to redefine our purpose on earth and find fulfilment in our destiny.

Oh African, Esan folks, the spirit is calling, come back home so you can find rest for thy being.

Esan folks and Africans parent in the Diaspora need to stop sowing negative thoughts about their homeland - Motherland. Why are you threatening your children you will send them to Africa when they misbehave? As if Africa- your homeland is a place of death. This attitude has a negative reaction to African children in the Diaspora. As such, many do not belong anywhere. They are lost in the Diaspora chasing shadows in foreign nations; although they were born there the colour of their skin is still being used to define them, instead of their intelligence and skills.

That's wrong. The richest black man in the world (Mr. Dangote) was neither educated in the West neither did he makes his wealth in the Western world.  He schooled in Africa and made his fortune in Africa.

As Esan folks, Africans let us never forget that we are from a lineage of kings and Queens. So let not trade our Africa values for inferior foreign values that do not suit our cultural heritage that we continue to struggle to fit in for the rest of our life.

It's easier to be one truer self than pretending to be someone one else. You can take an Esan man out of Esanland but you cannot take Esan out of an Esan man. Pounded yam is pounded yam even in Rome. Egusi soup doesn't announce how it's prepared, but the eater of pounded yam agreed Egusi is the twine of pounded yam although they were not born the same day.

I'm not saying you should hate who you've become but all I am truly saying embrace who you are and become who you are originally created to be. Proudly Esan, Proudly Nigeria an African, proudly humble by the blessings of Osanobua – God. Rather walk in the shoe that fits you well than on borrowed shoes.

Let endeavours to preserve our rich cultural heritage, build and develop our community, country and our continent.

Those in the Diaspora should endeavours to make it a duty to have their children visit home often while they are still young until they are old enough to begin visiting home themselves. Many African children are lost in foreign countries. Although born and raised in a foreign land, they can't fit in. They are still being defined and will continue to be judged by the colour of their skin. Make no mistake about it economy racism will never go away until Christ comes.

When I used to model, I and other fellow black model were constantly told black Model don't sell products. We know that's a big lie. Black spends more money on merchandise – luxury goods than white folks. While the White model gets all juicy contracts black models are disfranchised. The black model has to work extra hard to get Lead roles. I called it economy racism. It will never go away.  I speak from experience.

AFRICA IS THE FUTURE, some Esan/Africans in the Diaspora have already lost out but need to catch up now, begin taking your kids to visit home, it's an investment you will never regret in the near future. Let us not sit in our apartments in New York or Europe build with cardboard thinking that's the end of living. By what we are paying high rent for in those small cubicles in America, Europe, in Africa, our mates are living in mansions, duplexes, gated houses to guard and housemaids. While we work so hard helping to build foreign countries with our hard earn skills yet we do not often get the recognition that we deserve.

How long shall my people continue to live in modern day slavery in foreign nations while we can live as kings and queens in our homeland?

There is a disadvantage of raising kids in Diaspora without them visiting their home country while they are young and there is also a great advantage of sending kids home when living in the Diaspora

If you are Esans/African living outside of Nigeria or Esanland, it's time to look back home. Your post on social media doesn't have a positive effect until you begin to put your boot on the ground. I speak from experience; I've been on a Global Cross-Cultural Mission for the past 25 years.

If the kids are young, take them home often. It is a sacrifice you will never regret.

If you don't intend to build a home in the village, at least renovate your village home or build a family home somewhere in any state of your choice in Nigeria. There is a great advantage of having family home for yourself in your country, anytime you are home, you open your door to enter your house, it feels really good and there is more respect. At least begin from somewhere.

America or Europe, the Western world doesn't have its good anymore, they are in decline. Days of the industrial boom are over in the Western World. Automation is taking over jobs.

High paying jobs will continue to strike in the West, remember artificial intelligence is rapidly taking over jobs which leads to a less paying job, that means jobs will continue to be lost, we all know retails jobs in the Western world can't pay your rent. The bible says in the last days, there shall be an increase in knowledge. Daniel 12: 4. Revelation 22: 10

So many of our people are making the mistake thinking Nigeria, Africa is going backwards, they are seated on their couches with remotes in their hands, on Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram analysing Africa from Western ideological perspective, sidetracked by the falsehood that China is taking over Africa.

AFRICA IS THE FUTURE. 

Nigeria is going to be the number one major player of the stability, the driving force of the industrial revolution in Africa.

So once we become fairly comfortable, let us remember who we are and never forget where we are coming from to where we are going. We cannot transport our self to a better tomorrow if we do not know how we get to today. We should preserve the best of our past for the next generation.

My prediction is that Nigeria/Africa is going to be a great and stable nation and continent in this 21st century. As a matter of fact, in the next 10-15 years time from today, the development will be so visible that the sceptics - who were never prepared, will be silenced by their own failed predictions.

If you are living outside of Esanland, get involved in Esanland development. If you are living outside Nigeria, at least buy land and build yourself a personal house. If you can't build now at least buy farmland in the middle of the forest, fenced it and get the right documents, one day you are going to thank me for it.

REDISCOVER YOUR ESAN ROOT.

Is not enough to bear Esan name, yeah, that is important, but are you inform about Esanland? Although you were born in Lagos, Kaduna, Kano, Sokoto, Port Harcourt, London, New York, Italy, and you didn't grow up in Esanland but Esan is in you.

You're old enough now to come by yourself and discover your root. We need your skill, wealth to develop and fix the Esanland/Edo State, Nigeria and Africa.

Enough Of Seeing Everything Bad About Nigeria.

Nigeria is not the problems of Nigerians. Nigerians are the problems of Nigeria. Let us stop seeing everything about Nigeria from a negative perspective. It's not Nigeria that has failed Nigerians. It is Nigerians that has failed Nigeria. Until we collectively own up to this responsibility we shall continue to slow our developmental path. But Nigeria is on the rise.

It is not Esanland that failed Esans. It is Esan folks that have failed Esanland. 

We must take responsibility for our collective failure so we can rectify and correct our yesterday mistakes and rewrite history again.

When we are too focused on where things are wrong without accepting, take responsibility to fix our fault line, we will continue to repeat the mistakes of yesterday and yesteryears and get the same result today.

Make no mistake about it and do not be distracted by disgruntle bad losers –alarmist who raped Nigeria since 1999. Nigeria will be better organized in this 21st century. The earlier we all join in this race the better for us all.

Presently the wise ones -visionary are busy in Nigeria positioning them self for the future. They are buying property, lands, farmlands, they've put their foot somewhere belting on the future while the unwise are busy spreading hate on social media, feeding on vulture carcasses news, getting likes and making fools of their destiny.

The wise are in the field of destiny sweating quietly in silence in Nigeria/Africa, cutting deals with China, no one recognized them now, but wait, a few years than the line, they've taking over choice land and established choice businesses.

While Doubting Thomas’s - those who dream and never put their ideology into practice, think the future will always be blink would have lost out. The land they should have bought for 400k they despised now, in the very near future, it will be selling in millions.

For those of you in the Diaspora, don't judge Nigeria by what you see or read on YouTube, Tweeter, Facebook, WhatsApp group, gossips blogs. Social media is an illusion and 75% information there is fake and unverified. Please note: This message is not for everyone in the Diaspora, but for those with four sights.

Some people wait too late until it's too late. Don't be one of them.
Mark every word that I said. This is the black man century. Nigeria is going to play a significant role in the rise of Africa. When Nigeria has fully risen Africa will be completely settled. Africa will be fully settled and develop in this 21st century. Let he that has ear take heed, "the future shall be better tomorrow." Ise and Amen

Williams Patrick Praise Jr
(From Iwaegbe family)  
Chief Editor/Publisher of esanland.org  formally ewohimi.com  

A Clergy, Social Entrepreneur/Community organizer for the past 28th years in different countries, President/Founder of Comfort Place- Proudly from Esanland, Benin kingdom, Nigeria