Posted by Augustine Togonu-Bickersteth | 24 July 2013 | 4,929 times
Pandit Nehru was born on November 14, 1889 and Sir Adesoji Aderemi, November 15, 1889. Nehru was first Prime Minister of India with political capital in New Delhi whereas Sir Aderemi was Ooni of Ife and first African Governor. He was Governor of the defunct Western Region of Nigeria.
Nehru’s daughter, Indira Gandhi, was first Woman Prime Minister of India and Sir Aderemi’s daughter, Tejumade Alakija, was first female Head of Service in Africa. Nehru and Sir Aderemi both fought for the independence of their respective countries.
There are other coincidences between India and Nigeria especially as it concerns Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948), Hindu nationalist, and Bola Ige (1930-2001), Yoruba nationalist.
Gandhi and Ige both studied Law at the University College London. Gandhi and Ige were both imprisoned for their struggles on the democratic front. Gandhi and Ige have both been described as having caustic tongues. Gandhi was a mystic and Ige a Rosicrucian.
Gandhi and Ige were both assassinated in their 70s – Gandhi in New Delhi, the political capital of India, and Ige in Ibadan, the political capital of the Yoruba nation.
Gandhi had as his right hand man, Pandit Nehru. Twenty years younger than Gandhi, Nehru studied Geology, Physics, Chemistry and Botany and eventually Law.
Comparably Ige had as his special assistant, Olu Agunloye; 18 years younger than Ige, he studied Geo Physics.
Nehru was Prime Minister and Agunloye Power Minister.
Nerhru set up the Indian Institute of Technology. Agunloye studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Bola Ige is particularly interesting for the passion he showed for India, Gandhi and Nehru. In his autobiography, Kaduna Boy, he revealed that the first country he visited outside Nigeria was India. He also disclosed that he had read virtually everything Gandhi and Nehru ever wrote.
Ige equally informed that when Nehru became Prime Minister in 1947, he was as happy as if he were an Indian and when Gandhi was assassinated in 1948 he had “three days of excruciating mental agony and moodiness.”
India is the world’s largest democracy and Nigeria the largest democracy in Africa. India and Nigeria both have histories of slavery, colonial rule by the British, ethno-religious conflicts, nepotism in politics and crippling corruption.
•COINCIDENCES appears fortnightly on Wednesdays. The columnist, Augustine Togonu-Bickersteth, is based in England, Britain, but can be reached via e-mail through email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
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