Thursday, January 28, 2016

Nigeria: Suffering From Chronic Elite Conspiracy

  

 Professor Ali Mazurui wrote it all in his seminal work titled: “The African Bigman”. And by this, I think he meant to refer to those Africans who inherited the elite dynamics and dialectics of the departing Colonial Masters, and who always want to act similarly in their colonial-mentalities and ways of doing things. Also, methinks he was also referring to those emerging and emerged African elites in their countries after independence, who lack humility in all they do, especially because of their belief that they have attained high societal positions that gives them the leverage to flaunt their kind of attitudes (and therein knowingly and unknowingly trample on the less privileged).
*Perpetual Victims 
Yes! There is what could be regarded as “African Bigman Syndrome”; which emanates truly from “Colonial Mentality”; whose roots is surely, as we earlier said, from “Colonial Mental Attitude”. Indeed, Africans who became elites after the departure of the white Colonial Masters, and indeed those who replaced the departing Colonial Bourgeoisies in commercial and administrative positions of authority (inheriting and living in their then big houses, segregated Government Reserved Areas, using their types of big cars, joining their segregated clubs, wearing their kind of clothing, eating their kinds of food and drinking their kind of wine, etc) developed a syndrome of bigmanism that “sickens” them all the time; making them to want to separate and discriminate other down-trodden Africans (their less privileged brothers and sisters). And this sickness has lingered from the days of our political flag independence (we are yet to be economically independent), and have now, dove-tailed-into what could be called/posited and asserted affirmatively today as “Chronic Elite Conspiracy” against the masses of Nigeria.
What is this endemic elite-disease? What are its operative methodologies? How has it affected the socio-political and economic aspects of our society (country, nation, nation-state or call it whatever name you like!)? Let’s attempt an answer! But before we do this, please permit us to first of all define the three key words that are entrenched-in and encapsulates this topic: Chronic; Elite and Conspiracy.
According to The Concise Oxford Dictionary, Chronic means: Lingering; lasting; bad; intense; severe; acute; constant. Elite means: Best (of a group); Select group or class. Conspiracy means: Act of conspiracy; combination for unlawful purpose; plot; agreement to say nothing concerning a matter.
Therefore, having all these definitions in mind, and having observed the obvious display of the kind of mannerism (attitude) and actions of Nigerian elites since her independence in 1960, can it not be rightly said then, that a lingering/long lasting plot (which is definitely unlawful in purposes) has been unleashed by a select group or class of Nigerians (who through their high intellectual, administrative and commercial-enterprise positions); have denied a vast majority/generality of Nigerians (through discreet and open operating methods) their rights to their basic needs of life (like food, shelter, clothing, education, medical care, employment, water, electricity, transportation facilities, security and other social amenities/utilities and services) and freedom; and also used the people’s resources and wealth (commonwealth actually) to better themselves (which they consciously and unconsciously concretized through their high-conspiratorial high-life)?
Another question: How many Nigerians have been lifted-out from poverty and inequality since her political independence—considering the enormous wealth that has entered the nation’s purse since then (which was managed and mostly mismanaged by the same unceasingly-selfish, profligate and conspiratorial socio-economic and political elites)?
Moving further! Let’s briefly assess the operative-methodologies employed by this said chronic conspiratorial elitism in Nigeria. We would like to highlight only ten methods (even though they have multifarious, multi-faceted and multi-dimensional methodologies) which they have employed and still employ to conspire to keep a great many of Nigerians (the generality, masses or hoi polloi—call it whatever you like), out from benefitting from what is due to them (in social facilities, freedoms and better life for themselves and their children). Some of their operative-methodologies are:
1.      Primitive Accumulation of Wealth: Indeed, they are greedy—pure and simple! They want to have it all by themselves!! They want to exclude a great many other Nigerians!!! In their minds, attitudes and actions, “inclusiveness is not it but exclusiveness”. But this is a display of “poverty-mentality/inferiority complex”. For instance, and a true example is when cocoa-farmer’s children became the “big-bosses” of modern cocoa industries, they forgot where they are coming-from. They excluded and still exclude other children of cocoa farmers (presently) from becoming “big-bosses” too, except their own children and other educated and well-connected relations and friends. Too bad!
Furthermore, they want to have it all—thereby trying their utmost best to shake-off the deodorant of their-before-now poverty lineage. Therefore, they want to have the most beautiful women (even though poverty made them ugly in outlook in their youth); they want to accumulate the best and many houses and mansions in all the cities in Nigeria; they want to have the best cars and other modern-day accessories that the “white-man” has manufactured—which their empty-brained and un-innovative mentality cannot produce or encouraged-to-be produced in Nigeria. And they do all these and use many other systems of elite conspiracy to embezzle or pen-rob the commonwealth for their own good only. But to say the least: their showcasing of “first-generation-out-of-poverty” is sickening, comedic and indeed laughable. Too, they do not mind trampling on others to have their way while mindlessly accumulating wealth—even though through filthy means. Let’s stop here on this point—as we said we will be brief on each point raised.

2.    Nepotism, Tribalism/Ethnicity, Cronyism, Pre-bendalism, Patronage Systems (and their Like!). They pose as leaders in politics, religious bodies, the military, and as captains of industries in the economic sector; and also as the point-men of all other social-dynamics; but in all these , they conspire to remain at the top (rotationally albeit), employing all negative trajectories and mechanisms like nepotism, tribalism/ethnicity, cronyism, pre-bendalism, patronage system, divide and rule methodologies, intellectual superiority and high academic attainments to sustain themselves at the pinnacles of the civil service and public service, military, religious and other politico-socio-economic sectors of Nigeria.
Doing all these at all cost because they, with their relations and friends want to remain the drivers of the “National-Contraptional-Mechanisms” of Nigeria; therein also employing exclusive and not all- inclusive tendencies. “Whom do you know” becomes their operative language-code in their circles of control. However, while using their (devious) developmental strategies which are deficient in all ramifications, the Blackman suffers, Africa suffers invariably, and Nigeria suffers immensely also. Too bad!
3.    Corruption and Embezzlement. Many have indeed tagged the way money is pilfered and stolen from Government coffers by Nigerian elites as: “Pen-Robbery” (as against Armed-Robbery by criminals from amongst the down-trodden). The late Afro-beat king: Fela Anukulapo-Kuti (changed from European worded: Ransome-Kuti) sang ceaselessly on this societal menace. But the question now is: How come a leader, who is supposed to be leading and shepherding his flock (the masses) to greener pastures (development/achievements), who is also expected to therein and thereby be showing good examples to his/her followers to emulate, be devouring the only green-pastures (through corrupt/embezzlement methods) that is meant for the survival of the whole flock? This scenario is baffling and indeed mind-boggling. But that is one of the elite’s conspiratorial methodologies against the generality of Nigerians. Call it whatever name you like, it is Pen-robbery”. QED! They do not operate with guns (sometimes though, they do), but with clear-face manipulative-systematic, in order to misappropriate the financial patrimony of all Nigerians: all in a bid to sustain their suspect and conspiratorial status in our society. Too bad!
4.    Pull-Him-Down-Syndrome (PHDS). In their bid also to sustain their elevated but mostly vaunted status in society, they conspire singularly and in concert with others, to Pull-down others who are on their way-up the ladder. Therefore, they suffer from a Psychological but deadly disease that could be aptly regarded as “Pull-Him-Down-Syndrome (PHDS)”. While others attend great academic institutions (universities), to earn their own highest academic laurels and conferment tagged: PHD (Doctor of Philosophy), Nigerian elites conspire to have their own through a negative attitudinal sickness: pulling others down in order to climb or sustain their positions. Too bad!
5.     Religious-Hate Fomenters/Silent Ethno-Religious Proponents. They divide and conquer the rest of our society, by fomenting religious bigotry and hatred amongst the general populace. They see religious-divide as a tool to sustain their vaunted-elevated positions in our society—especially the political aspects. Who buys and supplies the guns and other sundry arms and ammunitions used by brainwashed bigots and religious minions/mendicant friars to maim and kill their fellow human beings (whom they did not born, feed or care-for their up-bringing)? It is the elites who have the wherewithal to undertake such dastardly sponsorship! Indeed, they use their ill-gotten wealth to be the surreptitious merchants-of-death in our country. A question: Can a hungry person buy a costly bomb/gun (considering the huge amount which they cost), which he/she should have used to feed himself/herself and family? Some of our deranged elites indeed have mechanisms to brainwash and orientate the less-privileged/down-trodden masses of our people, to kill themselves and others through religious bigotry, riots and suicide bombings. How many times have you seen or heard of the children of the elites in the frontlines of suicide-bombings and terrorism? It is a shame that the supposed shepherds (leaders) of the flock (people/followers) have decided to kill-off their flock. Then, the question is: which flock will they then be shepherding (leading) at long last? Too bad!
6.    Fetish/Witch/Native Doctors Consulters: True, babalawos, marabouts and Dibia anya nzus—witch doctors, are their best friends. In a bid to further extend, sustain and hide their devious conspiratorial devices, many of our elites heavily consult and maintain native witch doctors to either do harm or neutralize their competitors (their skewed-reasoned/supposed and perceived enemies.) They are night-crawlers while consulting their evil-power givers and protectors. Presently, they also consult the neo-religious (Christian/Moslem) leaders to pray for them, in order to protect or sustain their evil deeds. Is this not equivalent to good-example givers dancing nakedly in shrines of the negative forces that retard society—especially its developmental indices? Too bad!
7.     Area-Control/Domino-Dominance Tendencies. They create/carve-out territories and areas and do everything within/outside their powers to protect them. Anybody who dares to challenge them or simply ask questions why they should be under their illegal suzerainty/sovereignty is either maimed or killed. And this happens in all aspects where elitism exists in the socio-economic, political, religious, military and quasi-military superintends in the Nigerian society. Check-it-out, it happens openly and silently. Please do not doubt this assertion! If you doubt it and meddle with its devious long-arm/reach and dynamics, you will either be messed-up or wasted (like in mafia-settings). But can we continue like this? Should we as a nation be ruled by mafia-like systematic? Either we dismantle it or we are doomed!!!
8.    Discriminatory Practices. The so-called elites in Nigeria discriminate a lot. Their discriminatory practices emanate from their (and our societal) understanding of Rich-and-the-Poor, illiterate and literate, lineage/ascriptive societal bestowments (pedigree) and non bestowments, high accumulation and low property accumulations, etc. and other numerous but weird understanding of theirs, on how society and the people in it should be segregated and treated-upon. They like to live in choice-areas and outrageous eye-catching mansions (with prison-like high walls) in order to separate themselves from those they call: “ordinary people”. They send their children to the best schools abroad, while the children of the under-privileged attend the under-funded, rickety and factory-like ones here; and the worst aspect of it is that the schools here are supervised by them (and these kinds of schools produce semi-literate and half-baked educated citizens). They (elites) abandon the hospitals in Nigeria, which are under their supervision too, to attend those in foreign lands; when they are sick (of even minor and locally treatable/curable sicknesses). Too bad!
Their worst type of discrimination is the “I-too-Know/I know better than others/Warehouse and cult Mentality” which they use to suffocate talent and natural gifts in others, and also the creative and innovative-ability in others. They act as if it is only them that know the right things and have the best thoughts on all things at all times; and this situation has caused irreparable damage to bright ideas that could have emerged from others which could have also immensely bettered our society and nation. Too bad!
9.    Trickish and Crookish. Many (not all) of them have an established operating ideology and attitude which connotes: “Do as I say, but do not do as I do”. In their bid to attain, retain/sustain their comprador-elite mentality and mannerisms, they become trickish and crookish. And having become trickish and crookish, they design methods to misappropriate and embezzle money that belongs to the commonwealth or their corporate bodies in order to maintain their outrageous lifestyles. They thereafter conspire with their comrades-in-crime (seen and unseen) to keep them from been reached by the long arm of Justice. They swagger and behave as if their pen-robbery is not stealing but should be an emulatable norm in our society. Indeed, their corrupt and corruptive tendencies have eaten-deep into our societal-fabrics and therefore may be a little bit difficult to unscramble and solve (but nothing is too difficult to be solved if the determination and political-will is there to do so). Their shenanigans are odious and infectious; but it is left to the Nigerian people to know and decide on how to solve it (and actually when to deal with it firmly and decisively).
10.             Manipulative and Exploitative. To say the least, a great many of the so-called elites in Nigeria are manipulative and exploitative, and it seems that they have concretized these tendencies through their conspiratorial mechanisms to sustain themselves at the heights of societal-positions; and which they use to detain a great majority at the lowest-totem of the climbing ladder. For instance, those in the corridors of power use government money to build mass-housing estates but sell these houses meant for the generality of Nigerians to themselves, relations, friends and cronies. Those in the financial sector use the savings of the hoi polloi (who are their-mass-customers) to enrich themselves and “their-known-customers” (partners in conspiracy); thereby giving credence to the adage that “it will be taken from those who do not have (much) and given to those who already have (much).
In their exploitative ways, they are clearly “Idea-Stealers”. Discuss any idea that is creative and innovative, they will appropriate (or do we say: misappropriate) it and make huge profit (in cash and kind) from it and deny the original-God-given-owner of the idea (and sometimes even going to dangerous extents to eliminate the original owners if they dare come-forward and claim their societal-beneficial and humanity uplifting ideas that have been misappropriated by the so-called elite: intellectual, corporate, administrative, political and social). Indeed, they are pirates of good ideas of other people.
Also, they pay their workers peanuts: monkey-salaries and wages—all in a bid to keep them down, while sustaining their outrageous lifestyles. They are indeed oppressive and oppressors in all ramifications. Their highly-bloated ego (pride) propels them to do many wrong-things to their fellow underprivileged citizens that surely make sane minds to shudder as to why they do such unimaginable and horrific things to fellow human beings. Too bad!
At this point, let’s highlight some of the effects of the elite conspiratorial tendencies in our society (Nigeria and the black race).
First, Nigerian elites like (or do we actually say: love) the usage of the “sophisticated toys of the Whiteman” (cars, electronics, computers, exotic and expensive furniture, clothing, planes, Western-style furnished apartments and mansions, culinary and wines, music and entertainment, and other technologies and techniques they cannot create/innovate or maintain). In their comprador-cultivated habits and choices in lifestyle, they are thereby killing local creativity and innovations that could have created/innovated these items they love to use that are imported (even though could be crudely-made at first here but will be perfected with time through “cosmetic-technology” and demand and supply indices).
Secondly, all the medium and large financial embezzlements/misappropriation of the commonwealth and that of corporate bodies are perpetrated by the elites (in their different societal-makings and operative positions) to attain and sustain their outrageous (indeed mind-boggling and spirit-tempting) lifestyles that exclusively fancies their imaginations and mentalities.  As role models of the society, there is therefore a trickle-down effect of their habits, attitudes (mannerisms) and actions; and consequently the hoi polloi (masses of the people) are polluted by their outlandishly way-ward and criminal choices.
Thirdly, outrageous lifestyles/obscene display (in the kind of houses (mansions actually) they live-in, cars they use, gluttony (culinary and winery), clothing, etc) are done by Nigerian elite; who also shamelessly flaunts ill gotten wealth and out-off reach ways of life before their down-trodden citizens—actually brothers and sisters and other relations (who are absolutely denied). Therefore, this is becoming a norm as many now copy-cat them in their ways, as they see and take our elites as our society’s role models.
Fourthly, they (Nigerian elites) send their children to the best schools abroad/overseas, while still overseeing (and supervising) the intellectually-rickety, under-funded, ill-equipped and wholesomely dilapidated schools back-home in Nigeria. They cure their minor and major sicknesses in foreign hospitals—thereby abandoning the un-provided-for hospitals here (which at best could be regarded as consulting clinics) for the less privileged.  But the wicked thing on all these, is that they many a time, use misappropriated funds (of the commonwealth) to fund all these luxuries. Indeed, the misappropriated funds that they heartlessly expend could have been used to better the schools and hospitals in Nigeria. Funny enough, these neglected schools and hospitals are also under their supervision and managements as Medical-elites and Administrators. While they attend the best utilities outside the shores of Nigeria, the ones they wickedly manage and supervise here crumbles and the whole society (including them) is put into jeopardy and shamed beyond redemption before the whole world. Too bad!
Fifthly, this is a question: which Government, from Nigeria’s Independence in 1960, has intervened on behalf of the masses of Nigeria by providing their core basic needs of modern life (food, shelter, clothing, education for all, employment for all, medical care, all-transportation modes, communication for all, water, electricity, seamless and reliable security of life and property, etc); making them available, affordable and in abundance?
Sixthly, as an example of the continuation of the conspiratorial tendencies of our elites against the masses and generality of Nigerians, is the display of insensitivity of previous and in a way, the present government in power. It is recorded in two examples of the present government, for instance, that one: over 1.2 billion Naira is voted/budgeted in the 2016 National Budget (as presented to the National Assembly by president Buhari) to feed the Presidency for the year. And this is a government that claims to be a “Change Agent” for the good of Nigerians (who lined-up en masse to vote them into power). Indeed, how can this happen when the average Nigerian who actually queued-up to vote them into positions of high office in Nigeria, finds it hard to feed from day-to-day? Second example of the present insensitivity of our politicians against the electorate is: The National Assembly (Senate, House of Representative and their Administrative apparati) is authoritatively said to be geared towards spending billions of Naira to buy exotic cars for its members, while still collecting car allowances (and this is still happening in a “Change-Agent” government who have sworn to exist for the good of the generality of Nigerians). Indeed, many are overwhelmingly-shocked!!! The ripple-effect of this two given examples here (and other insensitive actions of governments in Nigeria) on the society is mind-boggling. Why are our elites—albeit: the political among them, so insensitive (and not remembering that insensitivity breeds insensitivity amongst the hoi polloi/masses/generality of the people/the Talakawas—may the great soul of Mallam Aminu Kano Rest in Perfect Peace for he was a great lover of the Talakawas (masses) even though he was a noted Nigerian elite).
To serve as our conclusion, is an assignment for all of us! Go through the country-side (the rural areas) of Nigeria, what confronts you? Is it not abject poverty and squalor that stares you in the face; while a few elites live in obscene splendor and abundance and in outrageous lifestyles (whose source are many a time questionable, and many a time also traceable to the criminal-looting of the people’s commonwealth by a conspiratorial elite that should otherwise not be doing so)? This writer has travelled to all the states  in Nigeria (to many of her towns and cities, to many of her nooks and crannies, through her numerous minor and major roads and highways, by air and by sea—travelling being a great hobby of his actually); what baffles him on each exploration-journey to further know his country better, is the easily-noticeable abject poverty in the midst of the few flaunting their (may be) ill-gotten wealth (most times), and he has asked himself all the time (severally): What is wrong with our leaders and elites, what is wrong with the Blackman? Can’t we better the lot of our people through intelligent planning and provision of the basic needs of the generality of our people (through “phase-by-phase” construction-achievements)? In her recent visit to Nigeria in January, 2016, The Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christene Lagarde, asserted firmly that high rate of poverty and inequality is the greatest problem confronting Nigeria and needs to be tackled (solved) urgently. Who is listening? Who will solve it? It behooves on the Nigerian elites and leaders (if they will ever care to stop making mockery of their leadership positions and consequently making also, the Blackman the laughing-stock of the world). To say the least, the flaunting of obscene wealth and showcasing of outrageous comprador-lifestyles is mind-upsetting. Indeed worrying! Truth is bitter!! But we all should always remember that every truth cast down will surely rise again. Nigerian elites please abandon your conspiratorial tendencies against the Nigerian masses, and surely, the Nation and Blackman will be respected world-over; and surely too: Development in all facets of life will be achieved by the generality of our people (which will indeed circulate positively all-around, in our socio-political and economic indices). This is a clarion call. This is the best way forward. This is the truth (which is always constant and cannot be trampled upon or cast away).
On our last line here: According to Dr Ologbenla (of the Political Science Department of the University of Lagos, in 1999), the main problems of Nigeria are: Leadership (as Chinua Achebe wrote in his seminal book: The Trouble with Nigeria), Elitism and Wickedness in High Places (of which he said is the silent but highly-operative, most-deadly and unseen-destroyer of our society); and passionately called for Nigeria to solve their long-reach and negative-impact in our country. Secondly, this write-up is not stereo-typing every Nigerian elite as conspiratorial but wants to use it to remind us all that its menace amongst our elites needs to be quickly and properly addressed; so that our society will breathe the fresh air that will surely energize good socio-economic and political health–which  will in-turn engender development in all ramifications.
*Ejike Kingsley Osuji could be reached with ekosuji@yahoo.com

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