Monday, January 30, 2017

Nigeria: Awaiting The Second Colonization

By Abraham Ogbodo
Why are we what we are in Nigeria? Nothing is ever promptly handled to create maximum benefits. If it is road construction or rehabilitation, government waits until a tiny pothole becomes a dangerous crater and lives lost through accidents caused by the failed part of the road and after a deafening public outcry too, before a contract is awarded for the fixing.

This national lethargy is even more manifest in government – labour relations. No proposed strike action by workers union is ever nipped in the bud. Government usually lives through the build-up and in a fire-fighting approach sets up committees to negotiate a cease-fire with the warring union after everywhere had been put on fire. It is all a measure of our inability to sift through the issues of today and articulate a proper future. More or less, we live by the day or in everyday language, from hand to mouth. No nation attains greatness operating on pay-as-you-go basis.
Is the fault in our star or style? I mean is there anything about our geo-ethnic locations that makes perception difficult? We are incapable of perceiving danger even if it is just an inch away. An online trending statement allegedly by South African Apartheid President P.W Botha, but which has been reworked or adapted to suit the personalities of Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu and American President Donald Trump, is very hard on the Black race.
The summary of it all is that the Negro lacks completely in the essentials to cultivate a high culture. He is neither innovative nor resilient and hides under the circumstances of his social evolution to always remain under his challenges instead of rising above them. It is a damning verdict, nevertheless, supported by ample evidence in the observable political leadership of the Black world. Also, a video of an American Black preacher, Dr. David Manning of Atlam World Missionary Church in Harlem, New York on the same subject matter of the copious and inexplicable inadequacies of the Black race went viral.
The narratives in both instances came close to creating a separate taxonomy outside the homo-sapiens specie for the Black race. The commentators only stopped short of branding black people sub-human. The temptation is to lash out at these bigots and proclaim (not prove) that Blacks and Whites are denominated in a common humanity and the so-called difference between them is not any more substantial than illusive perception of pigmentation. And that is largely true because even President Trump, in a moment of absolute sanity, said in his inauguration speech that the same red blood runs in the veins of everybody.

If Trump is on point here, it is therefore much easier to correct the erroneous impression through deeds rather than through debates. If a man calls you a fool and you ignore him to act wisely, nothing more is required on your part to prove your wisdom. Unfortunately, instead of bracing up to discharge this toga of inferiority, the Black race is ever searching for some soft grounds on which to anchor its inability to keep pace. So often, we allude to the decimation of Black Civilization by 300 years of the obnoxious trans-Atlantic trade which was followed by, in the case of Nigeria, another century of colonization. We say these things with a certitude that keeps us eternally exonerated and as if all the nations plundered by the Roman Empire and later the British Empire and other European powers have also refused to develop by reason of these historical events.
Maybe I should add that in real terms, the United States is part of the (British) Common Wealth, which puts in a global umbrella, former colonies of Britain. The British Empire went as far as China and Japan. These nations and others have since moved on except Nigeria and its African neighbours, which are perhaps waiting for reparations from their colonizers to break the jinx of underdevelopment. President Trump has actually suggested a re-colonization of Nigeria, altogether so that the lessons about good governance that did not sink in the first attempt can be imbibed the second time around.  
I tend to agree. Let us patiently wait for the British to return to reiterate the fundamentals. To teach us, for instance, that the subsisting political structure in Nigeria defies definition as it neither yields to federalism nor centralism. And add also that the sustained denial of this reality and unwillingness to reshape for something definitive, more than anything else, has kept Nigeria where it is today. The British will tell us that we have spent the last 56 years, since October 1, 1960, trying to perfect a balancing act that will make Northern and Southern Nigeria develop at the same pace. The British will point at policies such as ‘Federal Character’, ‘Petroleum Equalisation Fund’, ‘Nomadic Education’, ‘Almajiri Education’ and a handful more as evidences of this balancing game.
It will be revealed to us that corruption and insurgency, which we are spending so much resources and time to contain, are only fall-outs of the endless search for answers from a structure that poses only questions. The British will tell us that we do not create the basis for legitimate expectations and we often hope to reap yam after sowing cocoyam. It is the reason some people are afield searching for peace in Southern Kaduna after decades of persistently sowing injustice in the region.
It is in our character to wait until a spark ignites into a smouldering bonfire before applying water. Grave as they are, the issues in Southern Kaduna are not fresh. It is just that quarters that are today sanctimoniously looking for peace had by their actions and inactions encouraged war in that part of the country. For instance, if the Sultan of Sokoto and the entire Islamic establishment had been this active with advocacy and intervention plans for peace in Southern Kaduna before now, perhaps the story would have been significantly different. The chickens are only coming home to roost.
Christian groups are also talking and sounding rather urgent as if they have just discovered another Book of Revelation. I can say right away that more than any other factor, it is the naivety of Christians in Nigeria to read from the Book of Lamentation amid danger of being conquered and taken to Babylon that has encouraged the carnage against them by the other side. I had previously argued on this page that justice ensures peace. What I didn’t add is that those that benefit from injustice hardly willingly give justice. It has a price, which is war.
When the scales are balanced or there is what is called Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD), all mad men, including herdsmen and farmers, will remain within their jurisdictions. The rule will then become live and let others live. It is not an act of honour to dread the darkness outside and defecate in the house. The peace that comes with conquest or perpetual withdrawal is slavery. If the claim is right that Christians have the numbers in some states in the North to change the pace and better their circumstances, then, their continued subjugation by a so-called powerful minority is self-affliction and nothing else. Others can only sympathize with them in principle, not in practice.
That is by the way. As I was saying, to the Christians and indeed all the oppressed masses of Nigeria, the second coming of the British should be almost as important as the second coming of Jesus Christ. They will come and establish true democracy and rule Nigeria in righteousness. Under the British Kingdom, Joseph will live and Yusuf too will live. Mary will not be killed for Mariam and vice versa. Herdsmen of whatever description will graze and farmers will farm. Also, if a minister fails to fix roads and electricity and goes about speaking big English, he will be promptly called to order because the British cannot be confused with English language, which belongs to them.
Over all, there will be planning ahead, instead of the current balancing act, to grow the economy and the people. But far more importantly, the political recruitment process will be fine-tuned to stem the accident of recruiting charlatans as change agents.
*Ogbodo is  the Editor of The Guardian 

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