Black colonialists: the root of the trouble with Nigeria
Black colonialists: the root of the trouble with Nigeria
Chinweizu answering questions from Paul Odili, Lagos, 3SEP06
An Achebe Foundation Interview [edited transcript]
Copyright © 2007 by Chinweizu
You have expressed the view that the process of liberation of Nigeria from colonial rule was not far reaching enough. May we know why you think this is so?
I do so, simply to emphasise that the rhetoric claimed far much more than was actually achieved. In 1960, Nigerian leaders claimed they had achieved independence --the independence of Nigeria from Britain. But that was not true! They hadn’t. Nigeria had merely become a Bantustan—a black “homeland” ruled by black colonialists, and still exploited for imperialism. Far from becoming independent, Nigeria was, and is still, till today, held captive within the economic and cultural structures of the British Empire, which the British politely and craftily renamed “The Commonwealth”. If they had understood what independence is, those leaders would have realized that what they won in 1960, by a negotiated transfer of administration, was, at most, only the first important political battle on the hard road to independence. Far from the struggle being over, the political stage had only just been set for it to seriously begin.
But unfortunately, their conception of their project was terribly limited. As the Nigerian independence movement did not put a premium on political education, they failed to study the imperialist enemy well and produced no analysis or theory of anti-colonial struggle to illuminate their way. Consequently, they had not seen the need to struggle for the total liquidation of colonialism. The leaders were aiming only to replace the white colonialists—i.e. to become black colonialists. Of course, the Sardauna had a slightly bigger agenda. He was concerned also with recovering his imperial inheritance, the Sokoto Empire. For him and his feudal Fulani cohorts, it was also a struggle to recover their pre-colonial Sokoto Empire and then resume its expansion until, as they said, they “dipped the Koran in the sea”. And by 1970, at the end of the civil war, they had achieved that. And they promptly settled down to cream off and feed fat on the oil bonanza of their much-enlarged Sokoto Empire which wore the disguise of Nigeria.
The others simply wanted to replace the white colonialists so as to enjoy “life more abundant”, i.e. the European conquerors’ way of life. If Zik and Awo had any deeper notion of what their independence struggle should achieve, I am yet to discover where they expressed it. Lacking an ideology, and not having any intellectual organ to do detailed forward thinking for them, they had no conception of the stages the struggle needed to go through. And at what they called “independence”, a liberation movement did not step into office to continue with what remained of the struggle. If they had conceived of liberation in a correct and thoroughgoing manner—as requiring the total liquidation of colonialism--they might have produced a clear road map to liberation and known what to do immediately after getting into office. Unlike them, Amilcar Cabral, in Guinea Bissau, insisted: “that the national liberation struggle is a revolution, and that it is not over at the moment when the flag is hoisted and the national anthem is played.” . . .and that “so long as imperialism is in existence, an independent African state must be a liberation movement in power, or it will not be independent” [Unity & Struggle: 134,116]
Liberation or, to use the Nigerian terminology, Independence, is not simply a matter of getting autonomy for determining your policies within the existing local and international structures. Their error illustrates what Cabral called “the ideological deficiency of the national liberation movements” in Black Africa. [Unity & Struggle: 122]
Lacking a detailed knowledge of their own reality, and blind to what Cabral called the “presuppositions and objectives of national liberation in relation to social structure”, [Unity & Struggle: 122,123] the Nigerian independence movement not only failed, but also failed to see that they had failed, thus proving Cabral correct, not only about revolution but also about liberation/independence, when he said that “If it is true that a revolution can fail, even though it be nurtured on perfectly conceived theories, nobody has yet successfully practised Revolution without a revolutionary theory.”[Unity & Struggle: 123]
If you set out from Lagos to Kaduna, but have no idea where Kaduna is or what it looks like or how far it is, you can leave Iddo and get to Ikeja and think you have finished your journey. The freedom movement in Nigeria had a superficial conception of the colonialism they were struggling against, and even less knowledge of the global imperialism of which the colonialism they attacked was just the local agency. They therefore had no realistic notion of what liberation would require. I think that their failure to study and understand the scope of their project—a failure caused by the intellectual poverty, indeed intellectual barrenness, of the movement--was the fundamental reason why their struggle did not go far enough.
And, by the way, this happened, not in Nigeria alone. In most Black African countries, the leaderships of the so-called liberation/independence movements had made no detailed study of what they ought to be struggling for and how. As in Nigeria, their thinking was simply that the White man was enjoying “life more abundant”, and excluded them by the colour bar, and they wanted to join in by taking over the structures in which the white man was enjoying. They simply wanted the colour bar removed. They wanted to enjoy the white man’s jobs and pay; they wanted to go to the white man’s clubs, and to live where and how the white man lived. For those in South Africa, where they faced a white settler community, part of their resented target was the social apartheid structure—they could not move about without carrying passes; they could not vote; they could not live wherever they liked; they could not legally socialise with, mate or marry whites. By the time of the ANC’s Freedom Charter in 1955, they had effectively narrowed down their aims to gaining the same rights/freedoms that whites enjoyed in the Apartheid state, i.e. down to integrating the Apartheid state and society, and had abandoned the earlier ANC aims of recovering their expropriated lands, restoring sovereignty to the eclipsed black African kingdoms, and regenerating the shattered cultures of the African race.
Such an under-conceptualisation of their struggle has proved a disaster for their peoples after their struggles “succeeded” and they came into office. They did not go into office to dig out colonialism root and branch; or to build their people’s power; or to protect their people from imperialism; or to recover the sovereignty their people lost under colonialism. In Nigeria, as elsewhere, having taken over the political administration created by the white colonialists, their aims were limited to taking over the white residential areas—Ikoyi, Victoria Island and the GRAs-- and the senior service jobs, complete with “home leave” and homes in Britain! Such was their conception of independence. Not having studied the nature of colonialism deeply enough, they had only a superficial understanding of what had happened to their people and did not see that they should be struggling for anything deeper and greater. Accordingly, whenever they managed, often at great cost, to politically or militarily defeat their white enslavers/colonisers, these Black African movements did not know what they should do next with their victory. And this was true of all the struggles, from Haiti in 1804 to South Africa in 1994. And because of their failure to continue the struggle to its correct conclusion, what black Africans have been calling “independence” for the last 50 years, has actually been black comprador colonialism. On each country’s “independence day”, it simply moved from being ruled and exploited for imperialism by white expatriate colonialists to being ruled and exploited for imperialism by black comprador colonialists. There had simply been a changing of the colour of the staff, from white to black, in the same imperialist prison. Consequently, white supremacy remains entrenched everywhere, obscured by black buffer, front office governments. For independence to be attained, the struggle needs to be resumed to overthrow the black colonialists—the black comprador managers of what Nkrumah called neo-colonialism.
The people you have in mind are highly educated, they were exposed?
But educated in what and for what? Were they educated in what C. L. R. James called “the political intricacies that the modern world demanded”? Certainly not. Despite their university degrees and general exposure, they lacked the appropriate political education. There is an incident reported in Nelson Mandela’s autobiography that shows that being “highly educated” and “exposed” might even be a handicap in the liberation struggle. Mandela had gone underground to start the military wing of the ANC. At one point he was hiding in Tongaat, a rural community of black plantation workers:
Shortly before I was planning to leave, I thanked one elderly fellow for having looked after me. He said, 'You are of course welcome, but, Kwedeni [young man], please tell us, what does Chief Luthuli want?' I was taken aback but quickly responded, 'Well, it would be better to ask him yourself and I cannot speak for him, but as I understand it, he wants our land returned, he wants our kings to have their power back, and he wants us to be able to determine our own future and run our own lives as we see fit.'
'And how is he going to do that if he does not have an army?' the old man said.
--[Long Walk to Freedom: 330]
That incident took place in 1961. By then the ANC was some 50years old, and it had just come to realize, and reluctantly accept, the necessity for armed struggle to attain its objectives. Now, what had taken the “highly educated” leadership of the ANC half a century to realize was quite obvious to an “uneducated” rural farm labourer!
So, everything depends on the education they received, what it moulded them into. If you are educated as a lawyer, your mental framework tends to get limited to what you can do in a law court, or within the existing legal and constitutional arrangements. And if your education is such that you think from the point of view of your conquerors, if it moulds you into a black European, that is mis-education, not education. If you take a rat and train it to see the world in the way the cat sees the world, you have not educated the rat, you have mis-educated it for life in a world with rat-killing cats. You have actually made it an easier prey for the cats, because the natural instincts of a rat would have told it how to deal with cats, or how to avoid cats. But after you have given the rat the education of a cat, it would lose those instincts. It might even think of itself as a cat! And that is what this colonialist education has done to Africans for the last two centuries. We have been fundamentally mis-educated, and we cannot even see the world from our own point of view, let alone in our own interest.
You talked about the next stage of the struggle. In the case of Nigeria the white colonialists were clever not to resist demand for independence, and so, since there was no resistance the next stage could not have been initiated by our founding fathers, to recover political sovereignty?
First of all, point of correction: What founding fathers? Zik, Awo, and Sardauna, according to the unthinking Nigerian cliché, are “our founding fathers”. But what exactly were they the founding fathers of? Certainly, not Nigeria. The founding fathers of Nigeria were the British. Specifically, Goldie, Lugard and their gang. Your so-called founding fathers were simply the heads of the local black comprador gangs that inherited Nigeria from the British. If they founded anything at all, it was the black comprador colonialism that is still the root trouble with Nigeria. And they did that, not on their own, but as junior partners of the British Government. This was quite unlike the American Founding Fathers who broke away completely from British rule, created a wholly new and independent republic based on new ideas and institutions, and with no participation in the process by the already expelled representatives of the British Government. After 50 years of being exploited for imperialism by these black colonialists, Nija niggas have yet to catch on to the fact that their “independence” was a hoax, and that their nationalist leaders—these so-called founding fathers—actually ended up as black colonialists! By failing to push ahead to the next stages of the struggle, they fell into the trap the imperialists had set for them and became black colonialists.
Now, the lack of resistance by the British is neither here nor there. The point is, if you know that what you are doing is a jailbreak, your taking over the prison, even if with minimum resistance, does not mean you declare the jailbreak over. That takeover only sets the stage for you to organize to march your people out of the structure that has imprisoned them. The minute you drive out the commander and guards you must pull down the prison and go build something else to house your people in safety. You don’t stay in the prison, take over the jobs and houses of the expelled prison commander and guards, and then carry on doing what they did to your people. And this is where all these movements failed. This failure took place in Ghana in 1957, in Nigeria in1960, in South Africa in 1994 and everywhere else in between.
The same failure had been blatant in Haiti in 1800, when Toussaint, having defeated the French, Spanish and English, took over the entire island of Hispaniola and set up his black-ruled colony within the French Empire! He reconstituted the old slaving system but with black generals and the French planters running it together. That was because the black leaders “considered the European way as the good life and wanted only to be included in it”. [The Irritated Genie: 35] Toussaint’s black ruled French colony was a precursor of these Bantustans of Black Africa today. Reflecting on Toussaint’s travesty, Dessalines, the ultimate liberator of Haiti, told his people, in his proclamation of Haitian independence in 1804: “ . . . your struggles against tyranny [are] not yet done . . .. Our laws, our customs, our cities, everything bears the characteristics of the French, . . . and you believe yourselves free and independent of that republic.” [The Irritated Genie: 125] Dessalines, in effect, was urging his people to embark with him on the next stage of consolidation: the struggle for cultural liberation. Dessalines made it quite clear that if their notion of ‘the good life’ was that of their French enslavers, then they were still slaves, despite their military victory over the French. “And what a dishonourable absurdity—conquering in order to be slaves” he added. [The Irritated Genie: 90] Whereas Dessalines identified the cultural stage of the struggle back in 1804, Nkrumah, in the early 1960s, pointed out the economic stage by his denunciation of neo-colonialism--the economic structure that imperialism used to constrain Ghana’s sovereignty. But, of course, Nkrumah didn’t address the question of cultural liberation. In each black African country, having taken over the political structure that the conquerors instituted, these movements should have gone on, and at once, to the next stages of the struggle—the cultural, the economic, etc. The task was to use the opportunities of self-rule to fight those further stages of the liberation struggle. Dessalines and Nkrumah, to their credit, saw the next stages, but the majority of each leader’s comprador followers opposed his insights and, impatient, as Cabral puts it, “to have a little enjoyment of the crumbs of colonialism” [Unity & Struggle: 65], finally got rid of him as the obstacle to their Europhile and materialist ambitions.
What I am submitting is that these Black African movements failed in defining, and in embarking on, the stages beyond what they were naively celebrating as independence. So when I said they were not far reaching enough, it is because, if they had realised that they were trapped in a global structure that was designed to enslave and thoroughly exploit their people, they would have known that until they dismantled all their links—including the psychological-- to that structure and got beyond its reach, and their society had taken total control of its economic, cultural and social life, their struggle was not completed.
Your submission indicates that what happened in Nigeria and elsewhere was inevitable, because these structures were not demolished by our founding fathers, and by extension the crisis that trailed Nigeria resulting in civil war shortly after independence was also inevitable?
I do not know about “inevitable”. If you are standing on an escalator that is taking you into a furnace, that you will roast in the furnace is inevitable only if you are too foolish to jump off the escalator, and in good time. All I am saying is that their concept of liberation/independence was superficial and flawed, and has yet to be corrected. Theirs was an intellectual failure. It flowed from their failure to study the enemy thoroughly. They failed to understand that you do not get independence by sewing a flag and singing a national anthem and having your leaders move into the colonial masters’ jobs and houses. And that was what happened almost everywhere: Zik moved into State House, Marina; Nkrumah moved into Osu Castle, where the British governor used to live. Mandela’s case was even more revealing. I don’t know if Mandela moved into the official residence of the President of the Apartheid State on becoming president of the “New South Africa” in 1994. But even if he didn’t, he privately did something symbolically even more stunning. In his autobiography he states:
After being released from prison, I set about plans to build a country house for myself in Qunu. By autumn 1993, the house was complete. It was based on the floor plan of the house I had lived in at Victor Vester. People often commented on this, but the answer was simple: the Victor Vester house was the first spacious and comfortable home I ever stayed in, and I liked it very much. I was familiar with its dimensions, so at Qunu I would not have to wander at night looking for the kitchen.
–[Long Walk to Freedom: 728]
Why did people comment? We need to know that the house he copied was the deputy chief warder’s comfortable house within Victor Vester Prison, where Mandela was kept for 14 months before his release in 1990. In a world where symbolism matters, his choice to build for himself a replica of the prison warder’s residence must have reassured the Broederbond leaders—the intellectual inventors of Apartheid who were then orchestrating a transfer of office to some appropriate blacks who would preserve white supremacy behind a mask of black majority rule -- that Mandela was their man for the job. A man who would voluntarily build for himself a replica of his prison accomodation could be trusted not to pull down the system he would soon be managing for his jailers! But it was also symbolic of that mentality of voluntary cultural servitude in Toussaint that had drawn from Dessalines the scornful comment: “And what a dishonourable absurdity—conquering in order to be slaves!”
The choice of these residences by the leaders of Black African independence movements – Nyerere was probably the only one who didn’t move into the residence of the colonial governor-- was symbolic of the fact that taking over the management of the colonial prison was what they were really after, and that our so-called independent countries are just the old colonial prisons being run by black overseers for the absentee white colonialists—i.e. by black colonialists who believe that the European way of life is “the good life” into which to assimilate.
Would it have been different if independence were delayed and the leaders of these countries would have been better prepared?
Not at all! Independence is not something that the colonial situation prepares you for. The key to the colonizer’s project is to destroy your sovereignty; and the longer you stay under him the more your society’s habits of sovereignty would erode. Just like after the flag independence, you think the imperialist would help you develop your abilities? Of course not. Because it is against his fundamental interest. I do not think that staying longer under European colonial rulers would have improved your ability to struggle for or exercise sovereignty. Some people may think that the idea has some merit. So, let’s look at the case of India.
India was under the British for two centuries, but for the last hundred years, following the Indian mutiny of 1857, the British government ruled the country directly instead of through the East India Company. And in that century, they built a tradition of governance where, by 1910, the civil service, 99% staffed by Indians, was a coherent and effective instrument of administration. The Indian army recruited Indians--it was 65% Indian by 1910-- and the tradition of political neutrality was entrenched. So you could say that if the British ruled for one hundred years more, and did here like they did in India, they would have created a tradition of seasoned administration of the British type, and a seasoned military tradition of the British type. But the most that could do for you is give you a solid administrative structure which, at independence, you still had to adapt to new purposes. That was the most you could have gained from a delay. The question you would have to ask yourself is: can a civil service, even if trained for a hundred years to serve the British by adhering to British norms, survive the incursion of armed comprador bandits like Murtala Mohammed and Olusegun Obasanjo who, overnight in 1975, destroyed the ethos and efficiency of the civil service? Because they wanted to loot and enjoy “life more abundant”, these black colonialists, under the guise of fighting corruption, destroyed the structural constraints that could prevent them from looting. They made the civil service insecure and destroyed its ability to function with confidence. Now, even if you had a hundred years to train your administration, whatever you gained would then be lost in a week. The issue is not how much time you had to build the administration, the point is that it may not survive when armed comprador bandits attack and scatter the administrative structures.
On the other hand, had the struggle met stiff resistance and become protracted, the ensuing difficulties might have obliged the movement to do the hard ideological thinking required for success. But you can’t count on that happening with any movement that puts no premium on ideology, political education, analysis and forward planning. People who think through what they are doing, like Cabral, tend to do so from the start. And even before they start. Cabral actually diagnosed and articulated the required orientation even before the Guinea-Bissau armed struggle began in 1963. This can be seen from the programme for “total independence” adopted by his party, PAIGC, in 1956, the year it was formed; a programme which included among its aims “Elimination of all relationships of a colonialist and imperialist nature” and “Economic, political, diplomatic, military and cultural independence.” [Revolution in Guinea: 136]
With the advantage of that ideological clarity, Cabral was able, in 1961, to diagnose what crippled the black African independence movements as “a crisis of knowledge” [Revolution in Guinea: 14]—i.e. what C.L.R. James alternatively described as not being trained “in the political intricacies that the modern world demanded”[At the Rendezvous of Victory: 243]. That crisis of knowledge or lack of training needed to be cured by political education of the sort that the colonial situation, by itself, did not supply. Back in the 1930s,George Padmore and C. L. R. James got some of that education from the Stalinists and Trotskyites and imparted as much as they could to Nkrumah before he returned to the Gold Coast in 1947 to play his role in the anti-colonial movement there. Of course, the imperialists did all they could to shield their colonial subjects from Communist influence and tutelage. So, just delaying independence would not, by itself, have helped prepare these leaders.
Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe once said that Nigeria got her independence on a platter of gold, but do you think if there had been an armed struggle the orientation would have been different?
First of all, nobody hands independence to another, let alone on a platter of gold. In the history of the world, every genuine case of independence/liberation was won through hard-fought struggle. [For an example, from China, of hard-fought struggle for liberation see Recalling the Long March.] Zik’s remark is, therefore, ample evidence that whatever Nigeria got in 1960 was not independence!
Now, to your question about armed struggle. Not at all! Haiti went through armed struggle; Mozambique, Angola and Zimbabwe went through armed struggle; still they all became comprador colonial Bantustans misruled by black colonialists. The failure I am talking about is true of those who went through armed struggle and those that did not. The defect did not derive from unarmed struggle, it came from the intellectual unclarity about what liberation is and requires, and the unwillingness to follow things through. If that clarity is lacking, whether you engaged in armed struggle or not, you would still end up in the same mess of comprador colonialism. Cabral sums it up very well when he said: “ the national liberation of a people is the regaining of the historical personality of that people. . . . National liberation exists when, and only when, the national productive forces have been completely freed from all and any kind of foreign domination.”[Unity & Struggle: 130] What counts is what you do when you get into office, not how you get there. Do you, or don’t you, get promptly to work removing the foreign domination of your productive forces and your culture? Armed struggle has its own role and virtues in a liberation struggle but does not, by itself, produce that orientation. A thorough study of your history and society, and of imperialism, is what produces the correct orientation. And that study is what these movements failed to make.
And, by the way, getting the correct orientation is not even a matter of being “educated “ or “exposed”. Dessalines, you must remember, was “uneducated”— he grew up as a field slave in Haiti, didn’t go to “school” or university or travel the world outside Haiti. On the other hand, the crucial insights into imperialism were already publicly available before WWII: Garvey, Marx, Lenin etc had already published their works. If Nkrumah, Zik, Awo, etc. read them, they somehow failed to absorb the important insights that could have helped them figure out what to do the morning after the Independence Day celebrations. Nor have these insights been absorbed by Black Africans even today, half a century later. So, the failure was entirely intellectual—due to “a crisis of knowledge” which arose because they did not have the mental independence, and ideological clarity to seek the political knowledge required to win a liberation struggle against imperialism. This may be seen by comparing the writings of Cabral and Biko, on the one hand, with those of Nkrumah, Zik, Awo, Senghor, Kaunda, etc. on the other hand. The failure of the latter was not due to insufficient time for preparation or to lack of armed struggle but from the Philistinism, crass materialist aspirations and even anti-intellectual mentality of the class that they led. What C.L.R. James noted, in 1961, about the West Indian Middle Classes was largely true also of their counterparts in Africa:
They are professional men, clerical assistants, here and there a small business man, . . . administrators, civil servants and professional politicians . . . they as a class have no knowledge or experience of the productive forces of the country. . . . Knowledge of production, of political struggles, of democratic tradition, they have none. Their ignorance and disregard of economic development is profound . . . Most of the political types who come from this class live by politics. . . .and carry into politics all the weaknesses of the class from which they come. . . What kind of society they hope to build they do not say because they do not know. . . . What happens after independence? For all you hear from them, independence is a dead end. . . .I do not know any social class which lives so completely without ideas of any kind. They live entirely on the material plane.
---C.L.R. James, “The West Indian Middle Classes”, 1961 in Spheres of Existence
It might be useful to look at how other peoples accomplished their liberation from imperialism. The Chinese are liberated, the Japanese are liberated. In the 19th century, the European powers tried to conquer and partition China into colonies just like they did to Africa. But look at China and Africa today! What made the big difference? Faced with the same White Peril as the Africans, the Chinese, from 1840 onwards, went into a political and social convulsion and into an intellectual ferment. The Chinese people staged reform and revolutionary movements which aimed to extricate China from the foreigners’ grip. Peasant uprisings and other rebellions flared up repeatedly against the Chinese Government for being ineffective in defending China from foreign invaders. Then, in 1911, the Qing dynasty was overthrown, and a republic was proclaimed by Dr Sun Yat-sen. Nevertheless, forty more years of bloody struggle were required before, in 1949, the Maoists finally threw out the imperialists and their Chinese comprador lackeys, ending a century of anti-foreigner uprisings, civil wars and revolutions. The Maoists founded a completely new state—the People’s Republic of China—and then made sure that no foreign power could control any aspect of production or culture in China. They reconstructed China completely, changed its internal and external economic relations, industrialized it and built up its power. Along the way, they fought America and its imperialist allies to a draw in Korea, then built China’s atom bomb etc. Thus, despite the advantage of starting from semi-colonial conditions in 1911 rather than colonial conditions; and despite the even greater advantage of 2000 years of China’s political and cultural unity, it still required another 70 years of relentless, clear minded and well-led struggle to achieve and consolidate China’s liberation. The proof was that when China eventually joined the UN and the WTO, it was not on terms dictated by the imperialists. China did not diminish its sovereignty to get some transient economic advantage.
Similarly with Japan in the 19th century. Commodore Perry and his American gunboats made an armed intrusion on an isolationist Japan in 1853. Thereafter, unequal treaties were imposed on Japan by the USA, UK & other White powers. The samurai spirit of the Japanese ruling class found all this humiliating and reacted by overthrowing the Tokugawa Shogunate which had been unable to prevent such humiliation. The new Japanese rulers launched their Meiji revolution in 1868, and were determined to make Japan an equal power with the foremost western powers. In this project, they sought to modernize but not Westernise Japan. They sent emissaries abroad to study their white enemies thoroughly. And they were interested in finding and adopting only those aspects of European civilization that would help in building Japan’s national power. They united the energies of the entire population to achieve absolute national independence from foreign capital and foreign rule; accordingly, they regarded foreign help as proof of national weakness. They were focussed on building enough Japanese power to prevent their being conquered, and to wipe out their national humiliation by foreign encroachments and tutelage. The Meiji nationalist ideology, whose basic aim was to preserve Japan’s independence, was summarized through such slogans as:
sonno-joi:“Revere the Emperor; expel the barbarians”;
fukoku kyohei: “enrich the country; strengthen the military”;
wakon yosai: “Japanese spirit; Western technique/talent”;
shokusan kogyo: “Economic development; industrialization”;
goshinhotan: “Perseverance and determination”.
Within 50 years, Japan had industrialised itself, defeated Russia in a war, and was recognised by all as a major world power. [The book to read on the Meiji spirit is Writings from Japan by Lafcadio Hearn.]
Such cannot be said for any of our Black African countries—with their unselective aping of all things European, their lack of a sense of humiliation at having been colonised, their pathetic addiction to foreign aid, their abject craving for foreign investment, and their absolute disinterest in industrialising themselves into economic and military powers. What African countries achieved between 1957 and 1994 was politically roughly equivalent to what China achieved in 1911. It fell certainly far short of what China achieved in 1949 and then still took another 30 years to consolidate. As yet no Black African country has pushed ahead to attempt what China did after 1911 or Japan after 1868. National liberation is manifested when you run your economy and society and culture entirely in your national interest. And if you join any of these imperialist “international institutions”, you do so on your own terms, not on the terms its imperialist organisers impose. Tiny Cuba under Fidel Castro did much the same thing, with a little help from the Soviet Union. Cuba’s economy is run in the Cuban interest: there is no foreign power determining Cuba’s policies, which is not true of any black country in the world.
Cuban system makes it difficult for private interest to thrive, and multilateral organisation to come in?
Whose private interests? Whose multilateral organisations? The anti-Cuban private interests and multilateral organisations of Cuba’s imperialist enemies? Why should Cuba’s enemies be allowed to enter and thrive in Cuba? The cardinal point about independence is that Cuba’s economy is controlled by Cubans, not by anybody else, whether through the IMF or World Bank, or through Wall Street, Bank of America, General Motors or United Fruit. It is organised by Cubans and for the Cubans. Which is why, for example, Cuba’s health service is rated one of the best in the world today, better even than America’s. Despite Cuba’s small size and resources, public health care in Cuba is of high quality and is entirely free of charge whereas, in the USA, health care is a very costly privilege beyond the reach of tens of millions.
The same independence is true of Japan. No foreign companies dominate the Japanese economy--that is the crucial point! So too with China. If you go into China, it is on China’s terms: they tell you what you can and cannot do, and they monitor you very closely. When Microsoft went into China, it went on China’s terms. Some Americans complained that Microsoft caved in to Chinese intimidation, but the point is that China controls its territory, controls its economy, and if you want to play in the market in China, it is under China-made rules and under Chinese supervision. That is the key point about economic independence. As Cabral maintained, until we have mental independence—“absolute independence in our way of thinking and acting” [Unity & Struggle: 79]-- and apply it to control our territory and economy and culture, we are not independent. So, the independence that Black African countries claim is fake, because they do not control any of these vital aspects of their existence.
The crucial point is that the movements that liberated China, Japan and Cuba were led by people who did hard thinking about their reality, and who applied some ideological perspective to illuminate the problems of their society. They did not allow that ‘crisis of knowledge’ that afflicted the Black African movements to ever arise.
However, unlike most of the other liberation/independence movements in Black Africa, and to its credit, the African National Congress (ANC), during Oliver Tambo’s 30 years leadership, worked closely with Communists, was keen about the political education of its cadres, provided itself with theories of society and liberation, and had taken every opportunity to acquire training in “the political intricacies that the modern world demanded”. The mystery, then, is that the Mandela ANC, on getting elected into office in 1994, did not quickly become a “liberation movement in power”, and has shown little inclination to proceed with the next stages—cultural, economic etc.-- of liberation in South Africa. With no effective and sustained move made thus far to abrogate the 1936 Native Trust and Land Act that legalised the white settler expropriation from black South Africans of the best 87% of the land in South Africa, it is as if, for the Freedom Charter ANC, black majority rule—black faces in the offices of the unreconstructed Apartheid state-- was an end in itself, was the final destination of their liberation struggle. But does the Freedom Charter, which Tambo himself described as a “drastic concession”, imply forfeiture of their stolen lands by the black Africans? I think not! That "South Africa belongs to all that live in it, black and white" does not imply that the white settlers should keep what they stole. They can live in South Africa, but need to be dispossessed of the stolen lands if liberation is to be completed. In addition, the white settlers, and all South Africans for that matter, also have to be culturally Africanised, for as Biko correctly stated:
one cannot escape the fact that the culture shared by the majority group in any given society must ultimately determine the broad direction taken by the joint culture of that society. . . . a country in Africa, in which the majority of the people are African must inevitably exhibit African values and be truly African in style . . . . Our kindness has been misused and our hospitality turned against us. Whereas whites were mere guests to us on their arrival in this country they have now pushed us out to a 13% corner of the land and are acting as bad hosts in the rest of the country. This we must put right. . . . we (want) to remove (the white man) from our table, strip the table of all trappings put on it by him, decorate it in true African style, settle down and then ask him to join us on our own terms if he liked.
--[I Write What I Like: 24, 86, 69]
Unfortunately, like all the other liberation movements in Africa, the ANC, despite the ideological illumination it welcomed under Tambo, seems to have now fallen into its own brand of the “crisis of knowledge” and to have settled into the imperialist trap of economic and cultural neo-colonialism. With this delay in pushing ahead to the next stages of the struggle for total liberation from imperialism, with this loss of liberationist momentum, the black South African elite, like their counterparts in the rest of Black Africa, have probably already coasted, and probably unconsciously, into the role of black colonialists that was devised for them by imperialism and the Broederbond—the organised intelligentsia of the Afrikaners and custodian of their white supremacist ideology. So, in the “New South Africa” white supremacy and imperialism live on, wearing a mask of black majority government. Just as in the rest of Black Africa, it is “White power behind a black mask”.
But that’s nothing new, I must stress: Black liberation movements are the global champions in the strange game of winner-lose-all. After all, Black Africans are consistently stupid about power; always too quick to concede too much to the white enemy! In two centuries of liberation struggles, from Haiti to South Africa, blacks grabbed the empty hole in the doughnut and celebrated "victory" while the "defeated" whites held on to the dough! No wonder whites make saints and celebrities of black leaders after easily duping them. Those few they can't dupe, like Dessalines and Cabral, they get other blacks to assassinate.
We need to study the black liberation struggles, from Haiti to South Africa, to see why, in two centuries of victories, military and political, none both achieved and consolidated its liberation. It seems that, in Mandela’s words, “as new conditions create the temptations of self-interest and personal enrichment”, short sighted black leaders, in their desperate hurry, as Cabral said, “to have a little enjoyment of the crumbs of colonialism” invariably became casualties to what Mao called “the sugar-coated bullets of the bourgeoisie”. [Journey into Revolutionary China: 96]
In your book The West and the Rest of Us, you appealed to the African elite to strive to build an African power. It does not seem like that call has been responded to, especially in Nigeria which, by size and population, should be a big African power. Are you disappointed that no attempt has been made at all?
Why are Nija niggas so hung up on their size and population? What’s the size and population of Singapore or Switzerland or Cuba? A big population with an abysmally low political, scientific, cultural, ethical and productivity level is certainly not an asset. Indeed it is a fatal liability. Nothing to be proud of.
Let me turn to the issue of disappointment. You can only be disappointed if you have hopes or expectations. But the character of the African elite, as I described it in that book in the early 1970s, gave no basis for thinking that they would attempt anything like that. The analysis in the book simply pointed out what needed to be done by whoever got around to the task of liberating black Africa. And since nobody outside the elite could be expected to work through a 500-page historical analysis, the book was, inevitably, addressed to the elite. But did I expect these niggertrash elites to do the job? Not really; it would not be in their class character. Don’t forget what Fanon had already said of them by 1961:
"the bourgeois phase in the history of under-developed countries is a completely useless phase. When this caste has vanished, . . . it will be seen that nothing new has happened since independence was proclaimed, . . . [that] that caste has done nothing more than take over unchanged the legacy of the economy, the thought and the institutions left by the colonialists. . . . and that everything must be started again from scratch. . ."
--[ The Wretched of the Earth: 142]
Of course, if some crisis were to force some of the elite to ask “what needs to be done?” they might look for clues in a work like The West and the Rest of Us. That was the best that could be expected. In any case, I was merely echoing Marcus Garvey. He was the one who enunciated this idea, back in the 1920s, that we need a Black African power, and in Africa, that would gain respect for the black race throughout the world. But these black compradors are not interested in that. To understand the nature of the comprador class and why they cannot do anything like that, you have to study Franz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth. You have to study Cabral’s works too. But I am sure they are not part of political education in Nigeria—if there is any political education in Nigeria. Nija niggas do not read, let alone read Garvey, Cabral or Fanon. Unsurprisingly, building an African power is not on their agenda.
As for Nigeria spearheading the struggle to build an African power, such a role is beyond its mentality. Nigeria is not even competent to manage itself let alone build anything. Unlike Saudi Arabia, Qatar or Dubai, Nigeria can’t even organize the orderly distribution and consumption of its oil bonanza! It does not have the mentality, it does not have the knowledge, it does not have the skill, it does not have the will or interest to tackle anything major. A junk state that, in fifty years and despite its oil bonanza, can’t even complete the Ajaokuta steel mill, that can’t maintain basic law and order, that can’t maintain the postal and railway services it inherited from the British, that can’t conduct a credible population census, that can’t maintain its refineries or clear garbage from its pot-holed streets—can such a failed and incompetent state build African Power? Anybody pinning his hopes on Nigeria is wasting his time. If Nigeria is the hope of the black world then the black world has no hope.
Just look around Lagos, our black colonialists’ self-proclaimed “centre of excellence”. So much visible unemployment; so much work crying to be done to make it clean and liveable; but the state government can’t gather the teeming idle hands roaming the streets and organise them to do the work that’s crying to be done! The black colonialists, at every level of government, are too busy looting to spare a thought or moment to organise the work needed in the society. Furthermore, at the local government level, after some 25 years non-enforcement of public nuisance laws, the level of noise pollution from the ubiquitous churches of the born-again lunatics is intolerable. They mount the most powerful loudspeakers and from there blast their prayer meetings, with hand-clapping, singing, drumming, and shouting of “Praise the Lord, Hallelujah!”, “In Jesus name” etc. And they do so, usually from midnight to dawn, not just on Sundays, but whenever the anti-social devil spirit moves them, thereby subjecting all within earshot to the nightly torture of sleep deprivation. They must believe that their god Jehovah is so deaf that he can hear their desperate prayers only if made in the stillness of deepest night, and loud enough to wake the dead.
As they say, Nigerians are an incompetent people. We are allergic to detail, logic, analysis, precision, principles, foresight, discipline, vigilance. We are not mentally thorough or tough. We are not like the Germans or Japanese. We are not even like our now despised and demonised ancestors who created the exquisite works in the acclaimed exhibition “2000 years of Nigerian Art” that toured the world in 1980. After 100 years of colonialism—the white expatriate phase followed by the present black comprador phase-- we have totally degenerated, in character and competence, from our so-called primitive, pre-colonial ancestors. Similarly, whatever fighting spirit their ancestors had has been squeezed out of Nija niggas. And whatever codes of “death rather than dishonour” and “victory or death” their ancestors may have had, have been long discarded by Nija niggas. The Nija nigga is now possessed by the “never-say-die” spirit, and this, in his case mans: the spirit that, like Saddam Hussein, desperately avoids dying, and clings to another day of life even if he has to dishonourably crawl into a rat hole or shit pit to hide and see the next sunrise.
These days phrases like “ imperialism” and “ neo-colonialism” have disappeared from popular usage and public consciousness, even when we know it is real. Why do you think this is so?
I guess there are several contributing factors: (1) the collapse of the Soviet Union; (2) the invasion by the globalisation rhetoric; (3) the upsurge of the infantile/primitive prayers-and-miracles religious worldview that is uncongenial to socio-historical thinking, and that has deeply depressed the scientific, cultural and ethical level of the population—depressed it from a level that had been quite low even in 1960; (4) the ideological vacuum, Philistinism and even anti-intellectualism bequeathed by the independence movement—it left no tradition of pamphleteering, of debating and applying the illumination of analysis and ideology to socio-political problems; (5) the impact of SAP on the rickety infrastructure of intellectual life in Nigeria—the universities have been in a state of collapse for a long time; publishing is moribund, with vanity publishing now the norm; the press is pathetic—daily doping the public with a diet of scandals and sports and mindless entertainment. There are no weeklies or monthlies of ideas and social criticism—no equivalents of Britain’s Punch, New Statesman, TLS, or America’s Atlantic Monthly, New Yorker, New York Review of Books etc. There are no venues for proffering insights into, and debating alternative solutions to, societal problems. In short, Nigeria is an intellectual desert. As a result, Nigerians have grown incapable of, and even impatient with social and political thinking. And concepts and categories of social analysis—including imperialism and colonialism-- have disappeared from what little thinking there is.
Your question, as you can see, would need a long interview of its own to explore these complex factors that have created the intellectual vacuum into which the globalisation rhetoric has rushed in and imposed its aversion to terms like imperialism.
In this degenerate intellectual climate, the money-and-miracles mentality reigns unchallenged: money--and ever more money-- and the miraculous intervention of God, are seen as the solution to all problems in the here and now, just as Jesus is the solution in the hereafter. Hence the Nija nigga’s extreme passivism in the face of chronic misgovernment.
All in all, Nija niggas have no sense that the population should take responsibility, thought and action to shape their society. That is the main reason why, here in Nigeria, you do not find people who think and understand what their basic problems are.
So there is no understanding of the problems even amongst the intellectual class?
If there is, there is no evidence of it in the political culture and the media of the last 50 years. They do not show that the intellectual strata understand the problems, or even try to understand them. Just take the example of the Nija nigga’s notion of the democracy that is nowadays on everybody’s lips. According to a survey reported by Oluwole Adejare:
nation-wide responses to the question, ‘what is democracy?’. . . produced sickening banalities among which are the following examples:
(a) when Obasanjo rules again,
(b) when soldiers hand over to civilians,
(c) when they give government to the Yoruba people,
(d) when everybody can do what (s)he likes,
(e) the government after Abiola and Abacha died, and
(f) when we vote for politicians.
He adds that:
The cliché, ‘government of the people, by the people, for the people’ was recited with no depth of understanding . . . by respondents such as civil servants, students, teachers, politicians, journalists etc. who constitute about 60% of the sample population.
Pathetic! But not surprising in a country that, in its century of existence, has not had organs for political education or for discussion of ideas.
Is the leftist school of thought in Nigeria entirely dead or simply in retreat? The black condition persists- mental slavery and idolising of the white accomplishments; poverty, neo-colonialism, HIV/AIDS; it seems hopeless for the black man?
What leftist school of thought? You mean the leftist school of thoughtlessness, with its sterile version of ‘class analysis’? They used to mouth the language of imperialism, here as in the rest of Africa; but that finally disappeared when the Soviet Union disappeared. The best of them were Marxologists; they were parroting the Marxist rhetoric they heard from their European masters. As far back as the early 1980s, even before the collapse of the Soviet Union, some of these Marxologist parrots had converted from Marx back to Jesus. Like Trotsky said to C.L.R. James in 1939 about their counterparts in Europe in the 1930s, when the world socialist movement was suffering setbacks: “Many of them are returning to all sorts of vague things—humanism, etc. [even] to God as well as to democracy.” If you can go, in one week, from Marx to “Praise the Lord, Hallelujah!” something was unsound about your Marxism. Either you did not understand it, or it was just another fad. Let me read you what Mao said of their type in China in the 1930s:
He is unable to apply the method of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin to the concrete study of China’s present conditions and her history or to the concrete analysis and solution of the problems of the Chinese revolution. . . . He goes to Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin not to seek the stand, viewpoint and method with which to solve the theoretical and tactical problems of the Chinese revolution but to study theory purely for theory’s sake. He does not shoot the arrow at the target but shoots at random. . .
--Mao Tse-Tung, “Reform our Study” (1941) in Selected Works Vol. III, pp. 19, 21
The best of our Nigerian leftists could keep you spell bound talking about the minutiae of the French revolution or the Russian revolution, but they showed little aptitude for investigating and understanding our local situation. Unlike Cabral, our Marxologists did not apply their class analysis to the concrete problems of Africa or African liberation.
The trouble with the intellectuals in Nigeria is that they do not like to think, are too lazy to think, and most do not even know how to think. Nigerian intellectuals are highly allergic to ideas of any kind. They, and the rest of their black colonialist class, are a prime example of what C.L.R. James called “an elite that lives completely without ideas, that lives entirely on the material plane.” You cannot be talking about a leftist school of thought among such unthinking parrots.
As for the conditions you enumerated—mental slavery, poverty, idolising of whites, neo-colonialism, HIV/AIDS, etc-- well, they are cause for alarm about the future of black Africans. In particular, with the deliberate genocidal AIDSbombing of Black Africa, by the US Government and the World Health Organisation (WHO), now wiping out millions of people and communities, and with a patented cure for AIDS being mysteriously withheld from the public, [State Origin: The Evidence of the Laboratory Birth of AIDS, by Boyd Graves] the black race seems to be on its last legs, on its way to extinction. Unless they summon the will and intelligence and energy to achieve in the next fifty years what they should have organised in the last 50 years, there will be no black Africans left alive on earth by the end of this 21st century. If they have lost the will to organise themselves to survive, despite Garvey’s warning eighty years ago, their extinction will be purely a case of enemy-assisted race suicide.
Considering the origin of Nigeria, a colonial creation, and what the leaders have made of it, do you think it is a waste of time reforming the country, the way various governments have attempted?
Yes of course. Trying to reform Nigeria from the top is a total waste of time. Can cats reform themselves to stop killing mice? Black comprador colonialism cannot be ended by any reforms, least of all by reforms carried out by the black compradors themselves. It would be irrational to expect these black compradors to reform themselves out of existence. Only the total abolition of neo-colonialism, with liquidation of the black colonialists, can bring about any changes fundamental to the survival, dignity and prosperity of the Nigerian population.
But what specific reforms do you have in mind? Reforms with what objectives? Just take the case of the current OBJ reforms. Like IBB’s SAP and Abacha’s Vision 2010 TINA reforms before it, OBJ’s reforms are teleguided by the IMF and the G8. They are designed to make the Nigerian state even more subservient to imperialism, and more predatory on the Nigerian population. OBJ, in his personal vendetta against Nigerians, has even added his own vampire extras to the reforms mandated by his imperialist masters. By deliberately destroying the refineries, allowing uncontrolled price increases, and resorting to importation of petroleum products through a cartel of his agents, OBJ has craftily reduced Nigeria to a vast economic torture camp. The population have been locked into an economic structure where they must have petrol and kerosene to keep alive. All it takes is an artificial scarcity orchestrated by OBJ’s cartel of profiteers to bring Nigerians to their knees, clawing at one another and begging for a drop at any price. In this situation, whatever little fighting spirit the Nija niggas have—and they never had much--is used up fighting one another: Unlike black South Africans, Nija niggas do not have a tradition of political militancy with high courage and self-sacrifice. They can’t spare any fighting spirit for resisting the government that is torturing them. Under the cover of market-friendly reforms, OBJ has set up things so that, at the slightest hint of opposition to any government action or policy, he and his gang can bring the entire Nigerian population to heel by orchestrating an artificial petrol scarcity! These OBJ reforms amount to a war on the Nigerian population—OBJ’s private war on Nigerians, to avenge his stay in jail for coup plotting against Abacha!
Incidentally, the sad thing is that Nigerians had a good chance to prevent these OBJ vampire reforms from being implemented in the first place. But they refused to heed Adams Oshiomole’s NLC when it repeatedly called them out on strikes in 2003-2005. Complaining that even a two-weeks long strike would be too much hardship for them to bear, their half-hearted strikes failed, and the government confidently went ahead with its hefty price hikes and anti-people reforms of the petroleum sector.
All those other reforms of the last 40 or 50 years—simplistic, piecemeal, ill-conceived, and arbitrarily implemented reforms like the Buhari-Idiagbon War Against Indiscipline (WAI) in the 1980s [with its biased enforcement and sacred cows, as in the 53 suitcases scandal] and the earlier Murtala-Obasanjo bull-in-the-china-shop attack on corruption in the 1970s—have each contributed to the decay of Nigerian society into anarchy and the degeneration of the quality of the population. They were no better than attempts to rearrange the curtains and chairs and to repaint the interior of the Nija Titanic slave ship; but you can’t save the Titanic from sinking by doing that; the ship cannot stay afloat and the peoples trapped in Nigeria had better build life boats and get out fast. But the comprador crew are self interestedly fostering the illusion that it is going to stay afloat and even steam ahead to some fine harbour. It is all so tragic.
Nigerians need to grasp one simple fact: Nigeria? Can’t reform it, can’t repair it, can’t develop it! The house of Nigeria is far too rotten for renovation! Just pull it down! Besides, as they say: Reform always comes from below. Nobody with four aces asks for a new deal.
If you think the elite has sold out and are incapable of creating a genuine country, how should the people go about recovering their country?
You talk about selling out. Selling out is a conscious action by somebody who, instead of doing what he knows he should do, does something else because he has been bought off. But these black comprador colonialists are so brainwashed that nobody has to buy them off. These characters do what they do because they are a lunatic elite; you cannot buy off a lunatic. His irrational behaviour is not open to purchase.
Now, about “the people” recovering “their country”. First of all, does Nigeria belong to its population? Who actually owns Nigeria? Legally and in practice, Nigeria actually belongs, not to its population, its nominal citizens, but to what are nowadays called the “stakeholders”: i.e. the imperialist corporations and the black colonialists who manage the Nigerian state apparatus for them. By the Land Use Decree of 1978—a.k.a Land Thief Decree-- the entire land of Nigeria now belongs to the Nigerian state; and furthermore, by extending to all of Nigeria what Lugard, the conqueror, had decreed in 1903 only for Northern Nigeria, the 1999 Constitution has given all the resources under the land to the Nigerian state. Oluwole Adejare argues that in law, “land includes the physical earth with the mines and minerals beneath the surface and buildings erected on the surface.” And that “section 44(30) [of the 1999 Constitution] gives the Federal Government the contents of the same land” [Democracy: 259-267] Thus, by the Land Thief Decree and the 1999 Constitution, Nigeria does not belong to its population. The Nigerian state has stolen all the land and landed property in the country from the population, and given them worthless Certificates of Occupancy (C-of-Os) that can be revoked by the state at its pleasure. If Adejare is correct, that means the black colonialists, through the Nigerian state, have quietly stolen 100% of the land from the black Nigerians. And the dumb Nija niggas don’t even know it yet. As a result, the Nigerian population is in a worse plight than even the black South Africans who were openly robbed of only 87% of their ancestral lands by the white settler colonialists! So, legally, if the population insists that Nigeria is theirs and want, as you say, “to recover their country”, they have to struggle and take it back from the ‘stakeholders’, just like the black South Africans, Zimbabweans and Namibians have to struggle to take back their lands from the white settlers among them.
Secondly, who exactly are ‘the people’? As Cabral points out: “The definition of people depends on the historical moment which the land is experiencing . . . the people are defined in terms of the main stream of the history of that society, in terms of the highest interests of the majority of that society” [Unity & Struggle: 89, 90] Since the founding of Nigeria a century ago, our historical moment has been that of foreign domination. So, the definition of the people has to be, as Cabral said: “all those born in the land . . . who want what corresponds to the fundamental necessity of the history of our land”, namely, those who want liberation from foreign domination. Accordingly, nobody who accepts the comprador idea of the ‘good life’ belongs among ‘the people’. Needless to say, the black colonialists, being agents of imperialist domination, are not part of “the people”. Furthermore, after 50 years of social and cultural degeneration under the black colonialists, are there any “the people” left? What you have to realise is that the rot, which was still confined to the top at “independence”, has now seeped down to those usually considered “the people”. All that is wrong with the comprador elite is now also wrong with almost everybody, down to the villagers and infants. In fact, in a talk, subtitled “The Lunatic Elite”, which I gave in Abuja in 1995 at the National Health Summit, I said that we have to focus our attention on those under 20, if we want to get out of our mess. And somebody remarked that that age would be too late, that we should focus on those under five! The lunatic comprador mentality now permeates the entire culture, and is promptly imbibed even by newborn babies. There are hardly any Nigerians today who see foreign domination as against their interest; and escape from foreign domination as their cardinal interest. So who are “the people” who are going to recover “their country”?
But the job has to be done somehow.
Does it? Like Cabral points out, there is a time you have to give up. And his reason is quite instructive. He says:
our objective is to ensure progress and happiness for our people, but we cannot achieve this against our people. If some persons in our land do not want this, we face an alternative. Either they are not the people and then we can do anything against them, even imprison them. Or they are numerous and represent the people, and at that point we give up. We can do nothing more because one cannot ensure happiness and progress for anyone against his will.
--[ Unity & Struggle: 90]
We have gotten to a point where those who accept the comprador idea of the ‘good life’ are most probably in the overwhelming majority in Nigeria. Probably more than 99.99% of the population! That means that most Nija niggas are culturally committed, even if unconsciously, to the side of foreign domination, i.e. committed to imperialism, and not against it. And unless a coherent and critical mass of the population actively rejects the comprador idea of the ‘good life’, and sets out to organise national liberation from black comprador colonialism, Nigeria will continue to decay. Until a movement emerges to defeat the black colonialists and finish the aborted struggle for independence; until such a movement expels the black compradors from Nigeria just like Castro expelled Batista and his comprador gang from Cuba, or the Maoists expelled Chiang Kai-shek and his comprador cohorts from China; until that is done, there is little chance of the Nigerian people recovering “their country”. But if all the people have been brainwashed or otherwise reduced to accepting this rubbish as the way to live, what, as Cabral points out, can anybody do about it? Just give up!
But you know Nigerians do not like living like this?
Don’t they? It is not enough for them to say and in private: “I do not like this, and I don’t like that”. If somebody is sitting in his living room and says he does not like the stench and the flies, and you tell him to remove the bucket of shit that’s there, and he makes no move to do so, then you know his complaining is just make-believe. Most Nigerians grumble about the Nigerian situation, but none of them dislike it enough to realise that they have to do away with the Nigerian state apparatus that’s giving them these things to complain about. All the grumbling has not even stimulated serious thinking about and analysis of the social decay, let alone a proffering of remedies. Until they give to their grumbling an organized political expression, their grumbling is just make-believe. You have the unfortunate situation where they have enough oil money floating around and they do not have to work or think hard for anything, and all their ambition is to grab the oil money and squander it. So long as that prospect is there, they are not going to exert themselves to repair or change Nigeria.
You see, the political, scientific and ethical level of Nija niggas has plummeted outrageously since 1960, and it wasn’t very high in 1960 to begin with. Nigerians are now political Neanderthals and have a stupid mindset. They are addicted to seeking individual escape routes from social problems. And each has the delusion that if only he grabs enough money he can individually buy his way out of all his problems and discomforts. Unfortunately for them, no amount of money can buy your individual way out of anarchy! Only a fundamental and comprehensive social reorganization can abolish the bureaucratic anarchy whose consequences are the things these Nija niggas complain about. But that little fact is too big for their lazy minds to grasp. Nigerians need to learn that social problems require social solutions collectively devised and collectively implemented. But they are too pathologically individualistic and money obsessed to get that into their skulls. Each Nigerian is hoping that, some day, he or his descendants will get into some public office and loot “his share” of oil money. So, they don’t want to dismantle the system. But they don’t ask: Will Nigeria still have oil a thousand years from now? And if so, what is the probability that any of his descendants will by then get into one of the looting stations and loot “his share”? Nigerians are too mentally lazy or deluded to ask such basic questions. If they did, they might see that the odds are heavily against their hopes. In any case, your oil reserves will be exhausted within a century. If these Nija niggas could curb their naïve optimism for a moment and realise this, they might wake up to the need to destroy the system now, even at the risk of their own lives, so as to save their descendants—assuming they are interested in the welfare of their progeny, which I seriously doubt.
Are you of the school of thought that oil is curse?
Of course it is a curse. All these immature countries that have been hit by the oil boom, go and see what it has done to them. The Shah’s Iran was a major example. Oil has been a blessing to a country like Britain or Norway, which was already industrialised and well organised, and oil was just another source of revenue which they could fit into an established system. Those countries that were not solidly organised before they found oil, and that did not have the wise leadership to manage the bonanza, became a mess. For them the oil boom has been oil doom! Certainly, Nigeria’s oil boom has been a curse. It instigated all kinds of delusions and illusions; it diverted people from what should be the central concern of politics—organising the public welfare [i.e. territorial defence; internal law and order; dispensing justice; building and maintaining roads; delivering the mail; seeing to the efficient and nationalistic management of political and economic institutions so as to provide opportunities for productive employment for all, produce most of the food you need, manufacture the things you need daily, provide enough electricity, water and adequate health care etc.]
Oil money has distorted everything. The Govt, getting fabulous revenues from the oil companies, doesn’t feel any need to gather taxes from the population, and so feels no pressure to consult or heed their wishes. Furthermore, thanks to oil money, politics is now organised from the top down rather than from the bottom up! The parties are funded from oil money by the govt. The 50 or so registered parties are, in effect, government agencies, not organs of the population. So they cannot challenge a president who can cut off their state subventions. Even more distorting is the fact that the Constitution gives a president legal immunity for whatever he does, gives him control over huge oil revenues, and over the bureaucracy, the army and police forces. Yet people expect a man loaded with such enormous and unchecked powers to remain normal and not become a dictator, get power drunk and go berserk. Even Jesus would go berserk if given such powers! Furthermore, in a system where you need to spend so much to run for any office, only a looter, or one sponsored by looters can ever hold office. And yet Nija niggas righteously denounce godfatherism, not recognizing that it is inevitable in a political system where it costs millions to seek office but very few have any millions. Of course, the black colonialists installed such a system to ensure that they will hold a monopoly of power, either by themselves or through lackeys they sponsor.
Oil boom diverted people from attending to the nuts and bolts of how to run a country. As Nigerian politics became simply the means to grab easy money, it ceased to be about the public welfare and degenerated into sheer racketeering and gangsterism, like it has blatantly been since 1999. We need to recognize that when the objective or activity of a formal organized association is a crime, the association is a crime syndicate or mafia; its activity is racketeering or organised crime; its members are mobsters/gangsters. Since the crime of looting the treasury is now the primary objective in Nigerian politics, by these standard definitions, the 50 odd registered political parties in Nigeria are mafias or crime syndicates racketeering to loot public funds; their members are nothing but mobsters. Incidentally, if the RICO Act of the USA were to be enforced in Nigeria, every member of every registered political party, from OBJ down, and every member of the bureaucracy, would be serving long jail terms for racketeering: engaging in criminal activity as a structured group. In fact, Nigerian politics is just organised crime, with the assassinations—gangland slayings—that go with that. As a result the Nigerian political lexicon is full of misnomers:
Corruption = euphemism for looting/plundering the public treasury;
Politics = misnomer for organized crime/ racketeering to loot the treasury;
Political party = misnomer for a crime syndicate/mafia organized to loot the treasury;
Politician = misnomer for mobster, a member of a crime syndicate.
And the funny thing is that what, in the USA would be prosecuted as racketeering or organised crime, in Nigeria is hailed as “our nascent democracy”. And our Al Capone in Aso Rock--whose PDP [People’s Destruction Party] is the premier syndicate-- is the don of dons, the head of the National Crime Syndicate as it were. Can you imagine Al Capone in the White House, even as a visitor, let alone as the occupant busy installing his henchmen in every looting station in the land? But then, Nigeria has become, under the black colonialists, a lunatic asylum where the craziest inmates are now in charge!
When you have all this easy money floating around, people do not face up to the hard realities they should face up to. Take the case of the Niger Delta. What has kept the Ijaws from solving their problem by exercising their people’s right to self-determination, and getting it enforced through a UN plebiscite, like the East Timorese did? It’s the easy money from oil. Ijaw leaders—the black colonialists of Ijaw extraction—all except for Asari Dokubo, are too wedded to Nigeria’s easy money to undertake the project of founding their own independent country. Look, they keep grumbling about being cheated in the Nigerian game even though it is being played with their ball. If they take their ball and go away, the Nija game will abruptly end and the cheating will stop. So why don’t they do just that? Instead of taking their ball and walking out of a game in which they are clearly being cheated, they are crying for “three more states of their own”, claiming they don’t want to destroy Nigeria! This very same Nigeria that is destroying their land and people. You see, the Ijaw elite—the Ijaw black colonialists—desperately want to be Nigerians. The only people more amazing than them in this desperation to remain Nigerians are the Ibo stratum of black colonialists who also desperately want to be Nigerians, at whatever cost to the rest of the Ibos. Of course, if the Ijaws took their oilfields and left Nigeria, they would have to protect themselves. They would have to organise Ijawland and Ijaw power in an Ijaw sovereign state. Organising power, organising a society is hard mental and physical work. And compradors don’t like to work at all if they can help it. They will settle any day, anywhere, for easy money—even into slavery! The Ijaw black colonialists are intimidated by the prospect of organising Ijaw power and an Ijaw sovereign state. So they sit back and allow the caliphate colonialists to take the money from their oil and give them crumbs, which they use these bandit kidnappers to extort from the government. They pocket the occasional million naira ransom money and they are individually happy, when they could collectively get Nigeria’s $10 billion or more per year in oil revenue, and fix up Ijawland to be like Kuwait, Dubai or Brunei. But that is beyond their imagination. It seems that a 500-years-long habit of being compradors for the European slave procurers and the British has become so ingrained in Ijaw mentality that they cannot think outside the framework of this comprador colonial Nigeria. That, I think, is why they are allergic to the idea of self-determination for Ijawland.
From what you are saying if oil dries up today we might be getting somewhere?
If oil dries up today you would have an economic earthquake that would force the Nigerian population to start rethinking everything; at least they would start thinking of the fundamentals of how to build and run a viable country and society. The crisis would be so earth shaking that only the dead would not start doing some hard thinking. The best thing that could happen today to all Nigerians is for Ijawland to exercise its right to self-determination. Then, everybody would get a big jolt and sit up and get to work to solve all these problems they ignore or just grumble about.
From your perspective, give us your thoughts of the place of Nigeria in Africa and the international system?
Simply put, Nigeria, like all the black countries in the world, is just another comprador-colonial Bantustan in the UN imperialist system of White European supremacy. All their economies are directed from Washington, New York, London and Paris just like the economies of those classic Bantustans of Apartheid South Africa were directed from Pretoria. Under UN imperialism, each year, in drawing up the budgets of these black African countries, the fundamentals are first agreed with the IMF and World Bank. In those Apartheid Bantustans, the political rulers were Pretoria’s stooges; those in Black African countries are stooges of the G8. They, like the South African Bantustan leaders, in Biko’s words, “are subconsciously aiding and abetting in the total subjugation of the black people” of each country. [I Write What I Like: 85] That is why, from Haiti to South Africa, these are all Bantustans of the imperialist G8 system. Nigeria is exceptional only in being misruled by what is probably the most anarchistic, greedy and decadent of these black colonialists.
Nigeria’s place in Africa specifically? Nigeria’s true role is that of an obstacle to the emancipation of black Africans.
That is contrary to the popular view.
The popular view is not necessarily correct.
Why do you say that Nigeria is an obstacle?
Lets take a current issue. Nigeria is sitting here doing nothing at all as black Africans are being ethnic cleansed by Arabs in Sudan’s Darfur province. Nigeria is not just doing nothing; it is, along with its AU co-criminals, even aiding and abetting the Arab minority regime in Khartoum in its crime against black humanity. America threatens to come with NATO forces to stop the ethnic cleansing, and the AU comes up with this stalling scheme to go in with an AU force. And the AU force is, predictably, incapable of doing the job while, by its very presence, it is giving cover to the agents and allies of the Khartoum regime to continue their deliberate mass murder of black Africans. Ending this crime is not of interest to their Arab-arse-licking AU minds. As far I am concerned they are not helping the black world at all. Black Africans have been ethnic cleansed in Mauritania for the last 20-30 years, and the OAU/AU, did not even acknowledge the issue. So what good is Nigeria to the black Africans? Nigeria is just a big clay elephant. It just sits there like a statue blocking the escape route for desperate black Africans under attack by Arab settlers.
But Nigeria has played leading roles in liberating South Africa, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and now Cote d’Ivoire-- many African countries, has it not?
Nonsense! Is any of these countries liberated? Liberated from what and when? And what did Nigeria’s intervention accomplish? Talking about South Africa, did big Nigeria do as much as little Cuba, which is not even an African country, in liberating South Africa? Please go through the records. Cuba was the one that stopped Apartheid South Africa from marching to Luanda. Troops flew from Cuba to fight the South African army. Where did Nigerian troops go to fight? Did they fight in Zimbabwe? Did they fight in Mozambique? Did they fight in Angola? If Nigeria’s intervention is so great, lets compare it with little Cuba’s?
Nigeria committed a lot of resources and had strong international voice?
That’s nonsense! That’s just Nigerian state propaganda! Even little Guinea-Bissau, under Cabral, by militarily defeating the Portuguese army and triggering the 1974 collapse of the Portuguese regime and of Portuguese rule in Angola and Mozambique, did far more for the liberation of South Africa than big Nigeria with its abundant resources and “strong voice.”
But, let’s examine just one example of that international voice. Why has there been the problem of white settlers and land in Zimbabwe since about 1999? As Cabral said: “compromises with imperialism are counter-productive” [Unity & Struggle: 134] Was Nigeria not one of the states on the OAU Liberation Committee, in 1979, when Robert Mugabe was forced by the “frontline states” to accept the Lancaster House Agreement, a compromise that was robbing Zimbabweans of military victory and its fruits? [We need to recall that starting from April 1978 when a meeting in Lagos was chaired by the Nigerian Foreign Minister, Brigadier Garba, between representatives of the Front Line States and British and US officials, Nigeria became practically an adjunct or co-opted member of the Frontline states.]
Here you are, the black Zimbabweans have almost defeated the white Rhodesian army, and Britain, to save the white race from the humiliation of an outright military defeat by blacks, convenes the Lancaster House Conference in late 1979. But rather than strengthen Mugabe to achieve the unconditional surrender of the Rhodesians, the black “frontline” states basically gave him an ultimatum: ‘you accept the Lancaster Agreement if you want our continued support’. Instead of giving Mugabe what he needed to obtain the unconditional surrender of Smith and his white supremacist regime, the man is forced to forfeit the main fruits of his hard struggle. What role did Nigeria play in all that? Where was Nigeria’s “strong voice” when Zimbabwe, and the long humiliated black race, sorely needed it? Did it back Mugabe? If not, why not? What difference might an arrival of Nigerian troops to help the Zimbabweans have made to the terms of the Lancaster House Agreement? Might it have secured the unconditional surrender of the Rhodesians and thereby ended the issue of the stolen land once and for all? Why were they not sent? We have to be critical of the self-lauding rhetoric of the Nigerian state. What they say and what they accomplish may be quite different. Our political scientists and historians should go and look into these claims, case by case. Nigerians should insist on being told the detailed story of what Nigeria actually did, or failed to do, for the black African liberation struggles from 1963-1994. Let us judge these interventions by what they produced, not by the government’s posturing. Yes, Nigeria gave money through OAU, but how much exactly? On this point, it would be useful for our scholars to obtain from the OAU Liberation Committee, and make public, their records of oil-rich Nigeria’s annual per capita financial contribution and compare it with desperately poor Tanzania’s for the years 1963-1994. Nigeria gave diplomatic support, but all that should be compared to what was needed, and to what white people did for those black liberation struggles. What did the Soviet Union and others do? Compare it to what Nigeria did. We must learn to put things in proper comparative context. You are in trouble and your big “black African brother” who was in a position to give you a thousand dollars gives you just one dollar, and some white stranger gives you the rest of the money to get you out of the predicament, and your ‘black brother’ is boasting that he saved you! Nija niggas are so gullible! They swallow any rotten ball of lies provided it is from “Government”! Whatever “Government” says the Nija nigga will trust and obey. He does not have the good sense to doubt even one word.
In 1979, Nigeria either helped sell out, or didn’t prevent the selling out, of the Zimbabweans to the British. Then in 2001/2002, Nigeria’s OBJ sided with the white members of the Commonwealth when they organised Zimbabwe’s suspension for taking back some of its land from white settler thieves. And to compound the injury to Black Africa, OBJ has taken land from some Nigerian villages and given it to racist white farmers expelled from Zimbabwe. All in devoted service to his white masters. And worst of all, there has been no public outcry from Nija niggas!
To get back to the point about Nigeria being an obstacle to black emancipation, has Nigeria ever sent troops anywhere to fight European or Arab settler governments which oppress Black Africans? Did it send troops to help the South Sudanese? Or the Afro-Darfurians? The black Mauritanians? To fight alongside the blacks in Rhodesia? Angola? Mozambique? South West Africa? It seems able to send troops only to help other black colonialist regimes when they are challenged by their black victim populations—Liberia, Sierra Leone, Cote d’Ivoire—just like it sent troops locally to Odi, Zaki Biam and Anambra to massacre and overawe restive Nigerians.
During the John McPherson Constitutional debate in 1948, the nationalists kicked against stronger regions and weak centre, today people are asking for stronger regions and weak center, can we get it right?
Such are the dumb alternatives that preoccupy Nija niggas! Strong vs. weak center; Westminster vs. Washington models of democracy! Does a fish choose between a bicycle and a tricycle? Was any of those options designed to solve our peculiar problems?
Getting it right depends on what your objectives are. If you are not clear about your objectives, you cannot get anything right. As they say “If a man does not know where he is going, any road can take him there”. So what is Nigeria for? This question has to be asked before you can talk about getting anything right. What does Nigeria exist for? What is its national purpose? Until you ask those questions and answer them thoroughly, you have no yardstick for measuring what is right and what is not. What is your criterion for being right? If your objective is to share the ‘national cake’, thenstrong centre or weak centre becomes an issue. Those who control the centre would naturally want a strong centre so they can chop most of the ‘cake’; and if you control only a region, then you would want regions to be stronger so that you can chop more of the ‘cake’. So if your objective is “lets chop the national cake”, the life-more-abundant notion of government and independence, then you can get it right or wrong on that criterion. But if your objective is to build a Nigeria strong enough to do certain vital things--defend its territory, defend its population, industrialize its economy, achieve social peace and prosperity for its population etc.-- then strong or weak centre is not a relevant criterion for getting it right or wrong. You can have either and still not achieve a strong Nigeria.
What do you think should be Nigeria’s national purpose?
Let’s put it bluntly: If Nigeria is to serve its population rather than imperialism, its national purpose must be to help build, in the next 50 years, by say 2060, a black African power that would do what Garvey stipulated, or do at least an African equivalent of what China did after 1949. Your history, if you know it, dictates what your objectives should be. Since our problems in the last one thousand years are because of our inability to defend our territory, our population, our civilisation and our culture, the only reason for us to tolerate and live under any political structure is that it provides us security from all enemies-- Arab or European invaders who come to loot our resources and brainwash our population with their self-serving imperialist religions and ideologies. The minimum purpose must be to create structures and policies that defend our land, people and culture from foreign invaders and enslavers. Now, all the things Black Africans have suffered from --slavery, conquest, colonisation, neo-colonialism, underdevelopment, poverty, the AIDS plague-- are as a result of the fact that we could not defend our borders. Those who can defend their borders do not go through such disasters. Therefore, that should be the cardinal purpose of Nigeria, South Africa, Congo, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), or whatever political structure Africans organise.
You have to start from the premise that that is the fundamental problem you must solve; without that you cannot industrialise, you cannot be prosperous because other people can take away your resources, which you should be using for yourself, and you will remain poor. All the things on your wish list stem from your inability to defend your land or population against anybody who comes to take them-- whether it was the Arabs and Europeans yesterday, or the Americans and Arabs today, or the Chinese and Indians tomorrow. If you cannot do that, whatever else you do is as nothing. So I would say that that is the yardstick people should use to measure what anybody is trying to do in Nigeria or any of these glorified Bantustans. And if these entities are not doing that, then they are not the countries we should be perpetuating.
And let’s apply this to a current matter, this PRONACO rubbish. Chief Anthony Enahoro and his PRONACO group are just jokers. Just a disaffected wing of the black colonialists! Enahoro himself should be held accountable for his “self-government-in-1956 motion” of 1953: we have seen what disasters his so-called independence motion has brought to the population. He is now talking about reinventing Nigeria, but he has not reviewed the mistakes of his generation in the independence struggle and he is coming with new solutions. And, what’s worse, these new solutions are nothing but to go back to the parliamentary system. Would a return to the parliamentary system overthrow the black colonialists, or produce a Nigeria that is strong enough to defend its land and population from all attacks? But even if it could, why didn’t it do so the first time? Has he told us? Has he analysed it, and told us why and how it can be made to work this time? Just telling us that it is less costly and cumbersome than presidential system is no answer. Somebody gives you one medicine for malaria, you take it and the malaria does not get cured, it gets worse; then another doctor gives you another medicine and the malaria keeps getting worse; and then the first doctor reappears and says you must get back to that drug you tried before. That is what Enahoro is doing with his PRONACO -- offering us the old medicine that did not work the last time, and for that he is hailed as a hero! Nija niggas are so gullible.
Why did it not work, you should tell us since you have thought about it?
That is not my job. Don’t ask me to give you fish when you can well go and fish for yourself. If your generation is serious about surviving the disaster that is Nigeria, I am sure you can figure it out for yourselves-- if you put your minds to it. You have to grapple with the facts and collectively discuss and work out the answer. But if you are too lazy to do that, the alternative is for you to insist that the advocates of that option give you their answer to evaluate. Those who want you to buy that idea should be made to tell you: Why did it not work before? And why will it work now? These are elementary questions and must be answered. Getting them to answer is your job. My interest is to ask your generation to start asking the right questions. And the first step is to recognise that it did not work before and that somebody who is telling us to go back to a medicine that did not work the first time is fooling us again. Maybe things have changed now to make it work, but Enahoro has to be asked to make a case for it. This failure to ask him is an example of the poverty and laziness of political thinking in Nigeria.
When the same Enahoro gang called itself NADECO, during the Abacha regime, somebody asked Fela about NADECO, and he said ‘what do you say their name is again?’ and when he was told NADECO, he exclaimed: ‘Na decoration!’ You can imagine what Fela would have made of their new name PRONACO. It is the same black colonialist gang, still pretending to be nationalists, playing to the gallery and confusing the public with silly half-baked ideas. They were Zikists and could not get their thinking correct; they became Awoists and could not get their thinking correct; they have landed us in the mess of their comprador “Independence”. And they are still coming at us with recipes that don’t work. As far I am concerned we cannot get things right unless we ask the right questions, and you young people should start thinking out what the right questions should be.
Constructing an African power used to be the rallying cry in those days of the 60's and 70's. OAU leaders’ rhetoric was for liberation of the continent, end to apartheid, mobilisation of third would nations to challenge the West and create a new world order. But all that seems to have petered out, African leaders and people seem to have given up. Why is that, in your view?
First of all, point of correction: constructing an African power was never a rallying cry in the 60's and 70's. African unity was the rallying cry, not African power. The OAU was not founded to construct an African power. OAU was invented to foster a union government for the African continent-- that was Nkrumah’s delusional project. But an African union government is not necessarily an African power. You can have African unity inside the dungeon of imperialism, which is what the AU is. It is not an African power. You can have unity in your weakness, as Cabral warned: “we must realize that union does not always make for strength, there are certain kinds of union which make for weakness.” [Unity & Struggle: 30] You can all be chained together in a slave dungeon: that is unity-- OAU/AU style. OAU was never about creating African power.
It is important to remind people of Cabral’s levelheaded and gradualist approach to African Unity. In 1961, even as a confused, impatient and wild-eyed Nkrumah was exhorting and deliriously stampeding people into an immediate and continental unification of the African neo-colonial Bantustans, Cabral quite sensibly told them in Cairo at the 3rd Conference of African Peoples: “We are for African unity, on a regional or continental scale, inasfar as it is necessary for the progress of the African peoples, and in order to guarantee their security and the continuity of this progress”. [Revolution in Guinea: 15] A few years later, in 1965, even after the OAU had been formed, Cabral insisted: “In Africa we are for African unity, but we are for African unity in favour of the African peoples. We consider unity to be a means, not an end. Unity can reinforce and accelerate the reaching of ends, but we must not betray the end. That is why we are not in such great hurry to achieve African unity. We know that it will come, step by step, as a result of the fruitful efforts of the African peoples.” [Revolution in Guinea: 65] Cabral’s was the sober approach of a meticulous builder, the step by step and stage by stage approach of an agronomist, a grower of crops, but Nkrumah’s hasty “instant coffee” approach had prevailed. It is significant that, before he died, Nkrumah told Cabral: “Cabral, I tell you one thing, our problem of African unity is very important, really, but now if I had to begin again, my approach would be different.” [Return to the Source: 91] But alas, Nkrumah’s belatedly regretted approach had been institutionalised and has now landed us in the AU dungeon!
As for mobilising the Third World to challenge the West and create a New International Economic Order (NIEO), African leaders were just camp followers. The movers and shakers in that movement were not African countries; it began with the Arabs, when they tried to use their oil power against Israel and the West. But that movement failed for reasons that need not detain us.
Why have Africans given up? First, the case of the Black African elites—the black colonialists. They are like a python which is digesting a sheep it has swallowed. Since inheriting the colonial prisons from the white colonialists, they have been interested only in digesting their catch—exploiting the prisoners-- and using the proceeds in catching up with the West in consumerism, not in anything else. So, the first answer to your question is that they never tried at anything but consumerism--and you have to try before you can be said to give up-- and the reason they never even tried anything important is that, as a comprador class, they are not concerned with building anything. They are a historically useless class, as Fanon said.
Secondly, for the black colonialists, a pseudo-bourgeoisie, government is simply a bureau of internal plunder. And though they are locally recruited, their mentality is that of feudal invaders whose only interest is to plunder the land and squander the loot on their luxurious estates back home, in this case in Europe or Arabia---their cultural homelands. This is perhaps most readily visible in the extreme case of Nigeria where the feudalists of the Sokoto Empire have exercised hegemony since 1970 and infused their mentality into the entire black colonialist caste. As such, they are not interested in anything beyond plunder-and squander.
Thirdly, black colonialists can never attempt anything that is against their imperialist masters’ interests. Just take the matter of the industrialization of Africa. Imperialism long ago decreed for Africa the role of a raw materials supplier, and doesn’t want Africa as an industrialized rival. Even though most black colonialists are too lazy to be interested in attempting industrialization—as one Nigerian comprador moneybag said in the early 1970s: “why make when we can buy?”— Nkrumah, the only one of their leaders who tried, got promptly removed by their masters. Others who might have been tempted to follow Nkrumah’s example have quietly carried on doing nothing about industrializing their Bantustans.
If the African people also seem to have given up, it is probably because the black colonialists have demoralized them. They are too crushed by the burden of carrying these black colonialist white elephant elites to attempt anything. In being handed over from white colonialist rulers to black colonialist misrulers, they had gone from the frying pan of disciplined, sadistic Gestapo jailers into the fire of anarchist Idi Amin mad dogs! Which is why some Africans have been wishing for a return to the ‘good old days’ of the white expatriate colonialists. Which is understandable, as rule by madmen is far worse than any tyranny.
But the cure for the failures of “independence” is not a return to white expatriate colonialism, with the genocide, forced labour and racial humiliation that characterised it between 1884 and 1945, but rather a resumption and proper completion of the liberation struggle, with liquidation of the black colonialists. For as Cabral said, “the neo-colonial situation, . . . demands the elimination of the native pseudo-bourgeoisie so that national liberation can be attained.”[ Revolution in Guinea: 88]
Just as the Chinese got rid of the comprador Republic of China in 1949 and founded the People’s Republic of China to consolidate their liberation, Africans need to get rid of these comprador Bantustan Republics and found African People’s Republics to save and serve black people.
To take an example of the population “giving up”, in Nigeria, which is by far the worst of these Black African Bantustans, in just fifty years, the population have become completely confused, disorganized, and demoralized by the black colonialists. In fact, all our black colonialist presidents, governors, legislators, LGA councillors, politicians, policemen, soldiers, clergy, UN bureaucrats, miracle-mongering missionaries etc. are the enemy within: the black agents, within our ranks, of our imperialist enemy. But with their lack of political education, and in their consequent false consciousness, most Nigerians still see these black colonialists as their leaders, as being still on their side rather than as the enemy. So they can’t take any initiative, because they are still naively hoping for leadership from those who have long ago transformed into their black colonialist enemies. In this, Nigerians are like sheep waiting for leadership from wolves in sheep’s clothing!
Furthermore Nigerians have been brainwashed into passivism, a passivism produced by a psychological feeling of powerlessness which has been deliberately cultivated by the black colonialists. Like black South Africans in the mid-1960s, Nigerians have been cowed into what Biko called “dogged acceptance of all that comes from authority”[ I Write What I Like: 18]; into “a slave-like apathy that bordered on timidity”. [I Write What I Like: 34]. Incidentally, this passivism is probably not unconnected with the platter-of-gold mentality. The Nija nigga expects the remedy to his problems to be given him on a platter of gold, just like independence allegedly was. He wants a Sovereign National Conference, as well as petrol available at affordable prices, but he is not prepared to organise and demonstrate in the streets for it, let alone risk his precious limb and life to fight for it. Grumbling at home and moralising in the newspapers, he believes, is all he needs to do to get whatever remedy he wants! If that isn’t enough, then God, he believes, will himself come and do what is needed, or surely send a saviour-hero to do whatever dying is needed to bring about the relief he desires. Not for the Nija nigga Steve Biko’s accurate observation that “God is not in the habit of coming down from heaven to solve people’s problems on earth.” [I Write What I Like: 60] So the Nija nigga grumbles and hides under his bed waiting for godot! But Money and God—the two panaceas Nija niggas believe in—have not solved the Nija nigga’s problems all these 50 years; indeed, his problems have gotten worse and worse. Of course, these panaceas cannot solve Nigeria’s problems; only the population can, by taking thought, action and risks to get rid of the black colonialists and the imperialist system they serve. Nothing else will work.
Unfortunately, the Nija nigga is totally risk averse. As Nigerians constantly say, to presumably justify their passivism, “Nigeria is not worth dying for!” Quite rightly, but the proper question is rather “Is Nigeria worth dying from?” That is the question Nija Niggas, who are daily and slowly and inexorably being killed off by Nigeria, need to face. If they don’t kill off Nigeria, Nigeria will assuredly kill them off. It is either Nigeria or them. Both cannot survive! So, are Nija niggas prepared to save themselves from the Nigerian neo-colonial state and its black colonialists? Just like the black South Africans were prepared to save themselves from the white colonialist Apartheid state? Apparently not! So far there is no sign that they are. The Nija nigga is unwilling to risk anything, not for Nigeria understandably, but not even to save himself and his family from the disaster that is Nigeria. It is said that a cornered rat will fight. But, as a Nigerian joke says: “A Nigerian, pushed with his back against the wall, will break the wall and keep retreating!” So, there! By their own joking admission, in their passivism/pacifism, Nija niggas are not just subhuman; they are even lower than rats! By that joke, the long held Arab view of Blacks as subhuman, as monkeys and natural slaves, is valid for Nija niggas, even if not for any other blacks. Even Osama Bin Laden’s assertion that blacks are “like rats plaguing the earth”[Diary of a Lost Girl: 167] is also, by that joke, valid for Nija niggas. This passivism of the Nija niggas, like their political ignorance, is a standing invitation to would-be tyrants and misrulers, and the black comprador colonialists have consciously cultivated and taken full advantage of it these 50 years.
But why are Nigerians such dehumanised passivists? To adapt to Nigeria a diagnosis
by Biko on South African blacks in the mid 1960s under apartheid:
Possibly a little should be said about spiritual poverty. What makes the Nija nigga fail to tick? Is he convinced of his own accord of his inabilities? Does he lack in his genetic make-up that rare quality that makes a man willing to die for the realisation of his aspirations? Or is he simply a defeated person? . . . . The logic behind black colonialist domination is to prepare the Nija nigga for passivism. . . . To a large extent the black colonialists have succeeded in producing at the output end of their [anarchist] machine a Nija niggawho is man only in form. This is the extent to which the process of dehumanisation has advanced. . . . Nija people under the pre- 1960 white colonialist government were oppressed but they were still men. . . . But the type of Nija man we have today has lost his manhood. Reduced to an obliging shell, he looks with awe at the [. . . ] power structure and accepts what he regards as the "inevitable position". . . . His heart yearns for the flashy displays of the black colonialists and the comforts of the white world and makes him blame himself for not having been "educated" enough, or not having been born white, to warrant such luxury. Celebrated achievements by whites in the field of science - which he understands only hazily - serve to make him rather convinced of the futility of resistance and to throw away any hopes that change may ever come. All in all the Nija man has become a shell, a shadow of man, completely defeated, drowning in his own misery, a slave, an ox bearing the yoke of [anarchist] oppression with sheepish timidity. This is the first truth, bitter as it may seem, that we have to acknowledge before we can start on any programme designed to change the status quo. It becomes more necessary to see the truth as it is if you realise that the only vehicle for change are these people who have lost their personality. The first step therefore is to make the Nija nigga come to himself; to pump back life into his empty shell; to infuse him with pride and dignity, to remind him of his complicity in the crime of allowing himself to be misused and therefore letting evil reign supreme in the country of his birth.
--Adaptation of a passage by Biko on blacks under apartheid in South Africa. [I Write What I Like: 28-29] Nigeria-specific changes are in bold.
And what is the remedy for this spiritual poverty and subhuman passivism?
Biko’s Black Consciousness recipe worked psychological wonders in South Africa; it “diminished the element of fear in the minds of black people” [I Write What I Like: 145] and produced those brave schoolchildren, too proud to be scared, even at gunpoint, whose Soweto uprising in 1976 revived the fortunes of the South African liberation struggle.
In other words, the Nija niggas’ passivism and spiritual poverty, like that of black South Africans in the mid-1960s, is curable by the psychotherapy of political education of the Black Consciousness type. Those few young Nigerians who seriously want to bring about a liberated Nigeria would do well to study and learn from the 1970s Black Consciousness Movement of South Africa.
What in your view is the problem of education in Nigeria?
The so-called education in Nigeria is not really education; it is neo-colonial brainwashing. It is a type of Bantu education for the Nigerian Bantustan: It is a process for grooming and recruiting black colonialists to manage the Bantustan for imperialism. It is like black education in Apartheid South Africa, which taught, as Biko said, that “the white man was some kind of god whose word cannot be doubted” [I Write What I Like: 69]; it likewise disparages the African, his culture and civilization. It, therefore, produces black persons who aspire to whiteness and accept white behaviour as their norm. It produces persons that are loyal to Europe or Arabia, but not to Africa, or even to Nigeria.
Furthermore, the skills it teaches are not suited to the needs of Nigerian communities. It is simply a certificate-spraying mill. It does nothing for the physical, moral and intellectual improvement of the students and society. It does not train people for the rigorous and comprehensive thinking required to solve problems. It spews out mobs of certificated but incompetent barbarians; unemployables with slave-minds and with a self-righteous sense of their entitlement to the highest standard of consumerism in the world. And to grab the money to enjoy that entitlement, they are most selfishly and amorally determined to loot the treasury, extort from the public or rob their neighbours, as opportunity arises. After all, they do not learn or care about the Ten Commandments or any other ethical code: these not being emphasized in school or by the ubiquitous prayer & miracles hustlers plaguing the land. In short, it is a miseducation system that breeds a highly certificated and amoral lumpen-proletariat—with all the usual vices of a lumpen-proletariat. Not being raised in a milieu of production, they lack the skills, discipline and outlook of the productive classes—the peasantry and industrial workers. So, with their certificates, they know only how to breed, shout Hallelujah, and loot and consume. If each Nigerian was given a PhD certificate at birth and let loose on society at twenty-one, he would be no worse than he is after going through the Nigerian education system and getting all manner of paper degrees.
Nigerian education is wrong basically because it was fashioned to create mental slaves. The British colonial masters founded an education system to enslave us mentally, so that we look up to them, obey them and do whatever they tell us to do. And that is the slave-making system that Nigerians are still voluntarily continuing with, long after “independence”. If Nigerians want to change Nigeria, they must first define what Nigeria should do in the world, its national purpose, and do the hard work of figuring out the kinds of citizen it would take for Nigeria to do it. And then design an education system that would produce those kinds of citizen. All that mental work has not been attempted, not even recognised for 50 years. So it is no wonder that Nigerian education is in the peculiar mess in which it is: no political education, no historical consciousness, no nationalist consciousness, no moral code, no sense of the citizen’s social responsibility for society is being inculcated by the schools. The universities are a special disaster area. They are infested with armed criminal gangs that misleadingly call themselves “cults”; they are busy robbing, raping, shooting and killing fellow students. Is that what universities are for? The university authorities pamper these campus criminals, the state authorities tolerate them. This campus gangsterism cannot be stopped until the authorities, if and when put under intense public pressure, have the gumption to prosecute, convict and hang at least a few as a deterrent. Those who started and still secretly head the entire set of evil gangs go about parading themselves as the ‘wasted generation’. They are the generation that wasted Nigeria, but they trickily get your sympathy by calling themselves “the wasted generation”. But let’s leave aside its decay and perversions: even at its best, Nigerian education is a disaster because it is simply a ladder for potential black colonialists to climb into the system and exploit the population for their imperialist masters. There are many things wrong with the education system, and we could spend two full days talking about them.
What is your view of Ndi-Igbo in Nigeria’s political development.
I do not know who you mean by Ndi-Igbo, there is no such thing! You have Ibos, you do not have Ndi-Igbo. The difference is fundamental. Ndi-Igbo ceased to exist a century ago. Their physical descendants became Ibos. They abandoned their Igbo culture, they lost their Igbo language and religion, they became Christians, they became Anglophiles and then enthusiastically took on the name Ibos that their new British masters gave them. Today, Ibos share very little culturally with their Ndi-Igbo ancestors. Like the insane who are afflicted with fundamental self-alienation, Ibos--the born again Christians especially--even demonise their Ndi-Igbo ancestors. For a century now, each generation of Ibos has had less grounding in Igbo culture than the previous one. Ever since the British conquest, Igbo culture has steeply and steadily declined. Ibos started going back to their ancestors’ name only after the civil war, but it is only as a mere label with no implication for how they live. Now that we have looked into the terminological matter, lets talk about the Ibos.
The Ibos in Nigeria’s political system? During the civil war Hausas used to say, quite correctly, that Ibos do not have “number six”—i.e. political sense. In a world that demands sociality, Ibos are pathologically hyper-individualistic, are indeed political idiots! They are allergic to political organisation. That remains true and has been true for a century. A graphic example was in 2003, when the late Chuba Okadigbo and others were seeking the presidential nomination of the ANPP, and all these clowns thought that it was a beauty contest or job interview, and they went there as individuals hoping that the one who looked best would be picked to represent the party. Their behaviour was an aspect of the Zik “beautiful bride” syndrome. Well, politics is about group power, not about individual power; you have to organise for group power and take and hold it. It is not a beauty parade where some judges look at the best individual and say “you are a fine-looking chap: come and take the power”. The misconception goes back to Zik. Because he was a sportsman, Zik thought politics was a sport. There were rules and you obey the rules, and there are referees who judge the game and bestow the trophy. This is a fundamental mistake that has endured since the Ibos were manufactured a century ago. Zik’s role in this is important: because he was the first Ibo leader, he implanted the false notion that politics is a sport, with rules and referees. Of course, when the British administrators were here they were the umpires, they operated the system and they knew and picked the kind of people they wanted for any position. They had the uncontested power to enforce their choices. Then they left, and Nigerian politics became a raw scramble for power between rival ethno-religious groups, a brutal game where there are no rules and no referees. It requires a change of mentality for Ibos to realise that the game is now entirely different. Basically, Ibos have the wrong ideas about state power politics. As a people, Ibos lack authority structure, and that is the main reason they cannot organize for this game. And more importantly each Ibo politician comes out for a soccer match holding a racket and dressed for a singles tennis game. They still don’t know, and refuse to know, that the state power game is a group game; it is not a one-man affair.
Some say Igbos are republicans in nature?
It has nothing to do with republicanism; it is just political idiocy. Ndi-Igbo were probably village republicans, but Ibos are simply confused anarchists and hyper-individualists. Go and look at all the republics in the world, the power game is a group game. Group members organise and seek power for the group. Even within a political party, it is factions that compete for power, not individuals. The prominent individuals are faction leaders, not just individuals. Ibos do not understand that; do not blame their political incompetence on republicanism. You can’t, as one man, be so strong that you alone can defeat a rival soccer team. Only a disorganised and disoriented people like the Ibos can think that in Nigerian power politics you can show up as a one man army and they would say “great leader, the messiah, come and rule us!” The question Ibos should ask all these Ibo contractors who want to be president is: assuming, by some foolishness, you are elected president of Nigeria, who is going to watch your back? When you get into Aso Rock, who will guard you? Why should any state security operative protect you? What allegiance does he owe you? These business contractors who strayed into politics seeking bigger contracts--Orji Kalu, Chimaroke Nnamani, Peter Odili—they can have all the money, but none can survive in Aso Rock for one night! If you don’t have a loyal team attending to all the places that need to be covered to make sure that nobody is coming to shoot you or kidnap you; if you are not carried into Aso Rock on the shoulders of an organisation that can make sure that somebody loyal to you knows who is coming to get you, even before the man begins to make his move, you are a joker in state power politics.
So this whole talk about Igbo presidency is bunkum?
It is suicidal. The last Ibo person who occupied that position, what happened to him? Has that experience been studied and the proper lessons learnt by the Ibos? Aguiyi Ironsi even had the advantage of being a military man and the commander of an army in which he had a preponderance of Ibo officers whose ethnic loyalty was to him. Despite that enormous advantage, power was taken from him the way you snatch a piece of yam from the fist of a six months old baby! Why did he lose power just like that? And these “Ibo presidency” clowns have, evidently, not studied their history; have not learnt the necessary lessons from that disaster. They are going to repeat the disaster, because they do not understand the nature of the state power game. If Ibos are interested in Ibo presidency, they should concentrate, for the next generation, on building an Ibo power organisation. It is that power outfit that can take them to the presidency and maintain them there, assuming it is necessary for Ibos to have the presidency, which is quite a different thing from having an Ibo as President.
You do not think it is necessary?
The cost of wielding power has to be taken into account. Sometimes you are better off playing second fiddle than being the headman.
They have been playing second fiddle?
Wrong! They have been playing no fiddle at all! They do not know how to fiddle, so how can they even play second fiddle. A chap who shows up for a soccer match holding a tennis racket, and all by himself!
Why was it easy for Ndi-Igbo to lose their identity?
Figuring that out is one thing Ibos should seriously be doing, but I do not think they are. For those who want to pursue the matter, and I think it is an all-important matter, they cannot do any better than go back to re-read and think hard about Chinua Achebe’s works-- especially Things Fall Apart and Arrow of God. Some 50 years ago, Achebe gave Ibos a fictional portrait of their society in the aftermath of their shattering and detailed defeat by the British.
I think Ndi-Igbo lost their identity so easily because of the trauma inflicted by their detailed and comprehensive defeat by the British. It made them lose confidence in their culture, and it induced an extreme awe and enthusiasm for the culture of the victors. The simultaneous smashing of Igbo political and religious leadership—exemplified by Okonkwo and Ezeulu in Achebe’s fictions, accompanied by the self-devaluation by Ndi-Igbo of their Igbo language and education, and all within a single generation, was perhaps the key factor in precipitating identity loss by Ndi-Igbo. No other ethnic group in Nigeria, as far as I can tell, was conquered and traumatized so suddenly and simultaneously in all the key departments of culture. None had it so bad. Once Igbo religion was smashed and abandoned, and the Igbo mother-tongue was held in contempt by its native speakers, the foundation of Igbo culture and society collapsed, and no effort has been made to put things together ever since. The so-called “Ibo receptivity to change” was simply a manifestation of their rejection of their defeated and despised Igbo culture and their flight into the prestigious European culture of their British conquerors.
From Achebe’s fictional presentation of the disaster, you can glean the reasons why such a society could have been defeated as disastrously as it was. They had no cohesion, no institutional authority to define and give a group answer to the unprecedented questions that faced them. It was every man on his own, implementing some ill-informed personal solution. They had the bickering ‘spokesmen’ from the various village sections; there was no overall leadership. They were just like the Ohaneze of today. If you read Achebe’s works carefully you can see the parallels with Ohaneze: why they were ineffective then, and why they are ineffective now. Ibo persons from the black colonialist stratum, individuals without a following, individuals who are seeking to be noticed for government contracts and appointments, mount the platform they call Ohaneze, and they think they can decide what will happen to Ibos. Uwazurike’s Massob, which is an actual organisation, has more authority among Ibos than Ohaneze. Ohaneze could not solve the problem of Chris Uba and his gangsters and they think one of them can go and rule Nigeria. You think a Chris Uba could emerge in Kano and not be disciplined? They have an authority structure there that would put him in his place even before he took his first step. Despite being an agent of Aso Rock, a Chris Uba simply wouldn’t have dared in an organized place like Kano.
What should Ibos be doing now, which they are not doing?
To look into that we would have to do a weeklong interview. But basically, Ibos need to do first things first. They need to set about the task of cultural and social self-rehabilitation. And they have to reconstruct their society in a way that organises them for state power politics. And this is where Achebe’s parable How the Lion Got its Claws is important for Ibos to study. Furthermore, Ibos, like the Ijaws, need to give up their fixation on Nigeria. They must focus on surviving in the world, whether or not the Nija Titanic sinks.
The basic problem of Ibos is cultural—Ibos don’t know who they are. Having rejected and demonised their Ndi-Igbo ancestors, some are now gorging and doping themselves silly on the fantasy that they are Israelites. What a desperate superstition! Ibos are suffering from both the alien-self and anti-self disorders, possibly the most advanced case of that syndrome in the world today. And their affliction is probably terminal by now. They are so “detribalised” that they have almost ceased to be a people. When a people abandon their language and customs, and go so far as to demonise their ancestors, they kill their culture and disintegrate and perish as a people, and become just a population, and then are liable to disperse and dissolve into other peoples. Just as the cells of a body cannot long survive the disintegration of the organism of which they are constituent parts, so too will the individual members of a group not long survive the disintegration of the culture that binds them into a group. If Ibos desire to survive, even as individuals, they must attend to what it takes to survive as a group. They must carry out the fundamental work of cultural repair. To adapt from Cabral, they must “rebecome Ndi-Igbo.” They must, as a starting point, reconstitute, revitalize and readopt the culture of their Ndi-Igbo ancestors, and grow from their Ndi-Igbo roots.
But the very first thing Ibos need to do is create an organisation of Ibo intelligentsia to continuously think and plan ahead for their group interest; to study their situation comprehensively and in detail; and work out an ideology for their group existence in the world, an ideology to guide their political and other leaders. In this, they would do well to learn from the Broederbond of the Afrikaners.
The challenge of cultural repair and desatellisation and social reconstruction seems hard, if not elusive.
It is a hard and monumental task, but not impossible. China did it. Starting from a semi-colonial condition, it took them some 70years to reconstruct and consolidate the New China. But the thing, for Nigerians, is to start. And to start by asking the right questions, and then to proceed to get a basic political education—with Garvey, Cabral, Biko, Mao and Chomsky as initial teachers-- and then go on to do the hard and systematic thinking to answer the questions. Here are a few examples:
Some Questions for Young Nigerians to ponder
- What predictable dangers await Nigerians in the 21st century?
- Is the Nigerian state equipped to evade or defeat these dangers?
- What is a state? – Is Nigeria not a failed state, waiting to implode?
- What should the Nigerian state do or not do to/for its citizens?
- What are the key features of the global environment in which the Nigerian state
will operate in the 21st century and beyond?
- What are the vital interests of the Nigerian population?
- What are the global strategic conditions for defending and advancing those
- What is national security, as distinct from state security or the security of the state
apparatus and its officials?
- What is democracy? And how can it be institutionally entrenched?
- What kind of democracy—formal, participatory, or any other-- will help the Nigerian population to control the Nigerian state; help them to survive and permanently end their enslavement and impoverishment by imperialism, and their humiliation by Europeans and Arabs?
- What use to the people is a state or a democracy if its character is to disorganize,
and destroy society?
- What are the challenges of the 21st century and beyond?
- What kind of state, or political system, is most likely to help the Nigerian
population to survive the dangers and challenges of their near future?
- What are the nature, causes and remedies for the anarchy in Nigeria?
- Can the Lugardian state, which was constructed, from the very start, as an armed
bureau of internal plunder and repression, and was programmed to enslave and exploit the Nigerian population for the benefit of foreign interests; can it be trusted to change its own character out of sheer goodwill? [bearing in mind Frederick Douglass’ statement that “power concedes nothing without a demand”]
- Can the Lugardian state apparatus, no matter how reconfigured, solve the problems that need to be solved for the Nigerian population to survive the 21st century? Can a whale ever swim the desert? Or a camel walk the ocean? Or an elephant fly?
- If this Lugardian contraption that is programmed to suppress, exploit, massacre
and terrorize the Nigerian population—if this Lugardian contraption is not dismantled and dumped on Lugard’s grave, can the Nigerian population find the political space to invent and institute a state that will serve, defend and advance their own interests?
- By what measures can office holders in Nigeria be obliged to abide by their oaths of office? Here is a Persian example from the 6th century BC titled Otanes’ chair:
Otanes’ father Sisamnes had been put to death by Cambyses [King of Persia]: he was one of the royal judges, and as a punishment for taking a bribe and perverting justice Cambyses had him flayed; all his skin was torn off and cut into strips, and the strips stretched across the seat of the chair which he used to sit on in Court. Cambyses then appointed his son to be judge in his place, and told him not to forget what his chair was made of, when he gave his judgements.”
--Herodotus, The Histories, Bk 5; ch 25
Here is a list of major massacres of Nigerians by the army and police of the Nigerian Lugardian State, since 1920, i.e. after the initial bloody conquest and pacification ended ca. 1918, and British rule had become instituted, assured and presumably “non-violent.” It should be noted that more of these massacres have been perpetrated, since 1960, i.e. under the black comprador colonialists than under the white expatriate colonialists:
1929: Women’s anti-tax protest (a.k.a Aba women’s riot) in the Owerri and Calabar provinces of Southern Nigeria was suppressed with 55 women killed.
1949, Nov 18: Shooting of coal miners in Iva Valley, Enugu,
1977: Soldiers burn down Fela’s Kalakuta following his boycott of Festac 77.
1978: the military Govt of Lagos State demolish Fela’s Kalakuta, while he was away at the
Berlin Jazz Festival
1980: Farmers in Talata-Mafara, Sokoto State, massacred following their protests against
Impresit Bakalori, an Italian Company.
1980s: Students at ABU, Zaria, and OAU, Ife killed by police
1999, Nov.: soldiers, deployed to the Niger Delta to protect the oil companies from citizens
outraged by the devastation of their environment, sack Odi village, Bayelsa State, killing hundreds.
2001, Oct: Zaki-Biam, a town in Benue State sacked by army, with more than 200 killed
19: What is to be done about Nigeria by the population?
Do you want your country to be powerful, prosperous and respected in the world, like China is today? If so, please note that it took a century of struggle by hundreds of millions of Chinese to achieve that. Are you prepared to be one of the tens of millions of Nigerians who will liberate Nigeria from black comprador colonialism? If so, what exactly are you able and keen to do?
Works Cited & suggested reading
Adejare, Oluwole (2004) Democracy: Life Liberties, Property in Nigeria, Agbara: Difamo
Biko, Steve (1987) I Write What I Like Oxford: Heinemann African Writers Series
Boof, Kola (2006) Diary of a Lost Girl Diamond Bar, CA: door of Kush
Cabral, Amilcar (1980) Unity & Struggle London: Heinemann Educational Books
_____________ (1969) Revolution in Guinea London: stage 1
_____________(1973) Return to the Source New York: Monthly Review Press
Callinicos, Luli (2004) Oliver Tambo Claremont, SA: David Philip Publishers
Carruthers, Jacob (1985) The Irritated Genie Chicago: The Kemetic Institute
Chomsky, Noam (1987) On Power and Ideology: the Managua Lectures, Cambridge, MA:
South End Press
______________ (1987) Turning the Tide, Cambridge, MA: South End Press
______________ (1993) Year 501: The Conquest Continues, Boston: South End Press
______________ (1996) World Orders Old and New, New York: Columbia University
______________ (2002) Understanding Power, New York: The New Press
Fanon, Frantz (1967) The Wretched of the Earth, Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin
Graves, Boyd (2001) State Origin: The Evidence of the Laboratory Birth of
AIDS, available from amazon.com
Hearn, Lafcadio (1984) Writings from Japan, ed by Francis King,
Herodotus, The Histories
James, C.L.R. (1984) At the Rendezvous of Victory London: Allison and Busby
____________ (1980) Spheres of Existence London: Allison and Busby
Liu Po-chen and others (1978) Recalling the Long March, Peking: Foreign Languages Press
Mandela, Nelson (1995) Long Walk to Freedom London: Abacus
Mao Tse-Tung, (1967) Selected Works, Vols I-IV, Peking: Foreign Languages Press
Sparks, Alister (1994) Tomorrow is another country, Sandton, SA: Struik
Su Wenming, ed (1984) Journey into Revolutionary China, Beijing: Beijing Review
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Man..such uncompromising clarity of thought and historical analysis. The thing I like most is the ability to make correlations across the continent all the way to Haiti to make concise illustrations of the patterns in our liberation efforts. The good and the shortcomings as well. I am wondering where he would put Thomas Sankara in terms of not only achieving flag independence but addressing cultural, economic,political, and other liberating efforts.