Republished by TSM
In September 1977 the United States Space Agency (NASA) launched the Voyager 1 spacecraft on a mission to study the outer solar system and after that, interplanetary space. On Valentine’s day, February 14 1990 on the verge of leaving the solar system, having traveled for about six billion kilometers at an average speed of about 64 thousand kilometers per hour, the Voyager 1 spacecraft received command from mission control at the Jet Propulsion laboratory in Pasadena California to turn it’s cameras for a last look at our planet. The picture taken showed the earth as a “pale blue dot” in the vastness of space. The picture taken by the Voyager 1 spacecraft has gone down in history as one of the most iconic images.
In his 1994 book, Pale Blue Dot, Carl Sagan comments on what he sees as the greater significance of the photograph, writing:
“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there–on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.
Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.
It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant ima ge of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known”
In his interview with the Arise Television, President Buhari described Igboland as a mere “dot in a circle” with no where to go. The President may be right in his categorization of Igboland as a dot but let someone remind him that like the “pale blue dot” this dot in a circle is our home. It is the land handed over to us by our ancestors long before Nigeria was conceived. This dot in a circle has produced the best brains in Africa. This dot in a circle gave birth to Nnamdi Azikiwe, Odumegwu Ojukwu, Alex Ekwueme, Michael Okpara, Dennis Osadebe, Akanu Ibiam , Prof Chukwuma Soludo and a host of other statesmen. This dot in a circle also gave the world Olaudah Equiano, Chinua Achebe, Chris Okigbo, Flora Nwapa, Chimamanda Adichie and countless numbers of literary giants. This dot in a circle gave the world Kenneth Dike, Elizabeth Isichei, Alvan Ikoku , Frank Ndili, and a galaxy of other academic giants. This dot in a circle gave Nigeria sportsmen like Ifeajuna, Dick Tiger, Christian Chukwu, Nwankwo Kanu, Jay Jay Okocha, Chioma Ajunwa, Innocent Egbunike and other world beaters in sports. This dot in a circle, has the highest literacy rate in Nigeria, the highest per capita income, the highest percentage of graduates in all fields of learning and the highest concentration of entrepreneurs in the whole of Africa.
Igboland may be a dot in a circle but it has endured and thrived from antiquity and despite the present challenges will endure till the end of time. We value this dot for it represents our past,present and future.
Igboland remains our home.