In troubled times it comes to the fore. They ask where is the boundary? But it has always been there. Found in the head, land and sea even in the outer space.
When, where and why do they miss it? Is this a query or a kind of philosophical tours? Well, it looks like an attempt at getting to the root of issues which sometimes waylay the mind. Indeed, questions in abeyance are like a long scratch, stretch of arid stripes within our living spaces forcing our eyes glued on them. When you repeat such observation, sure, there are grains of value – the gains.
Do you know that history of man is history of boundaries?
From The Garden Eden to the Cosmic Sea postulates, there are boundaries. From Hammurabi to the Laws of a wandering nation in the wilderness, boundaries evidently featured.
The Peace of Westphalia of 1648 bridled men of war to a new means, thought on nation building and control that speak boundaries. At the root of jurisprudence and legal principles across the world are found on boundaries.
Can all these be explained.
But, as we always say, a reader has a responsibility to find out by himself. It is not a story of the tortoise and the lion. If so, take a walk and see the thickets and forest, swift waters rocking antediluvian rocks, finding their ways without a surveyors leveling instrument through unimaginable crannies to the seas. A reader is a worker!
What informs the setting of boundaries? Control and ownership straddles each other in the boundary map. When there is ownership, limit, demarcation, territory and control, then extra-territoriality and influences nestle the subject.
To ensure certainty of boundaries, markers are used locally and internationally.
Locally, traditional markers are known with Egbo tree, Ewe Akoko, Ewe Iyeye – Ugege, Obobo-Nkiti, Obobo Muo, Baoba and variety of totemic trees. What are the characteristics of such traditional boundary markers? Such trees and items survive all seasons and weathers. The trees grow reasonably well. Some of them are known to live for millenniums.
There are adversarial boundary markers too. If you search your community, you can identify such trees hugely of thorns and projectiles. But if those close to you do not know them, enter the thickets once again. It will certainly adjust your thinking to appreciate that today’s scientific or digital boundary markers on land or sea are something but only an addendum.
What are used to covenant such abiding act. It was not always written. Neither does its none scribal nature diminish the validity. Breaking kola mutual understanding, burials of animals, bones, irons, ritual meals, blood bonds by leaders, relocating the site of a respectable and dangerous god among other things are used.
What of so-called natural boundary markers? Prominent are rivers, water ways ,lakes, hills, mountains, ranges, and valleys. Others include land, desert, spectacular geologic foot prints like rocks and volcanic residues. Power, migration time and patterns, language concentrations, ancient footpaths and seniority are other indices. Examples abound that illustrate the foregoing. Again, fill the holes.
Curiously, some have wondered and asked: Who actually drew the boundary lines in the waters to qualify them as natural boundary. Where is the broken earth crust that emerges to the surface that declares by itself “here is the boundary of A and B”? Is it not fluttering disposition of a bowed man behind the intrigues?
We are aware that the nature of soil changes because of its geographical location. The colour – black, white, red or yellow soil sometimes form the basis of boundaries for nations. These celebrated differentiations seem more of adjustments of the unseen -mind, a creation of convenience rather than the soil intrinsic and extrinsic naturalness and nuances. For at a nearby location, the same soil attributes used to form a boundary may be ignored as a basis of demarcation within ones territory. So where is the solid soil for the boundary?
Reflection brings mental pictures of boundaries emerging or inflicted at different epochs of our history.
Uncle Sunny’s story may as well give some hint.
The story of uncle Sunny as a trained pilot from Gold Coast is well known. In those days what can be greater than flying an aircraft? Since locals hardly know the details of his educational attainment, it was exotic to always say uncle Sunny is training or he is a pilot from the Gold Coast. Both sides of the story coin was usable in the community. But who ever saw him in a flying school or in an aircraft? This is like asking a local priest: Who actually hands over the collections of Anniversary day cash donations to God?
The feeling of proximity to Gold Coast in those years was real. Whenever, uncle Sunny is in the village many stories are told during rival football matches between Nigeria and Gold Coast. That gold is mined there. That traditional rulers are always bedecked with massive raw gold. That the Gold Coast is uniquely gold on land and sea even on the sky triggers a kind of excitement beyond inebriating feelings of a tremor.
Besides, Gold Coast highlife music from within and without are hit in the country’s few radio stations. High life music do not give any inkling of multiple boundaries between us. Most of the time, young ones think The Gold Coast is just just out there. The independence struggles powered by nationalist leaders – Nnamdi Azikiwe and Kwame Nkrumah put Gold Coast as the “next place”. The francophone countries living next door were made to look distant despite the uniformity of languages with their kith and kin in Nigeria.
Where does uncle Sunny story and boundary dovetail?
1885 and its aftermath.
To be continued
Picture credit: Facebook. Imaife simply used the picture to illustrate example of boundary. Imaife.com does not align in anyway in the triple point or quadri point legal connotations of the picture.