For years I debated with myself why the expensive suites I purchased from fashion stores fail to look as good on me in comparison to others wearing the same design and material. I blamed my shape, I blamed the fashion stores, and I even apportioned blame to the designers. Lately, I have come to realise there is nothing wrong with my shape, and nothing wrong with the fashion stores and designers. The clothing I purchased, and continue to purchase, were made to measure for the shape and taste of a different race. If I really want my clothing to fit and honour my figure the way the creator visualised it, I would have to order one made to measure for me”.
Israel Nonyerem Davidson
Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year to all our readers, fans, government and people of Nigeria. 2011 marked the launch of Openmind Foundation and its ambitious goal of educating Nigerians through challenging and thought provoking articles. We are grateful to many who share the vision and mission of this organisation and its founders. Our last article explored why the Black race lags behind in a number of social, economic and political performance indicators. As expected, it triggered discussions both in Nigeria, USA, and Europe. It is our hope that those discussions and debates, for or against the article, have gone some length drawing attention to the challenges facing the Black race.
The New Year, 2011, should be a year of open mind to the Black race. An open mind is receptive to all manner of ideas/information. It has the capacity to digest, critique, and tolerate diverse view points. It has an insatiable appetite for knowledge, truth, justice, equity, and human progress. It does not rush into judgement and would not allow race, tribe, faith or gender to colour intellectual and other forms of contributions that come its way. As a matter of fact, open minded communities tend to understand themselves better, tend to forge unity more easily, stand to understand their world better, and consequently respond to challenges with unified and coherent strategies. For example, with an open mind, you will pay less attention to my tribe, state of origin, and social class, and focus more on what I stand for, what I am capable of, and my contributions toward peace and progress in Nigeria. To every Nigerian/African, 2012 should be the year to take mind reprogramming more seriously. Every man, woman and child should include in his/her New Year resolutions, mind transformation through insatiable appetite for information.
The economic, political, military and technological landscapes of our world are experiencing the kinds of transformation once unthinkable in certain geographic zones. We must therefore develop the habit of seeking political, social and technological information, for a better understanding of our world and the opportunities and threats they trigger. That you possess a degree does not make you a master of all knowledge. Let me share this confession with you. For years I debated with myself why the expensive suites I purchased from fashion stores fail to look as good on me in comparison to others wearing the same design and material. I blamed my shape, I blamed the fashion stores, and I even apportioned blame to the designers. Lately, I have come to realise there is nothing wrong with my shape, and nothing wrong with the fashion stores and designers. The clothing I purchased, and continue to purchase, were made to measure for the shape and taste of a different race. If I really want my clothing to fit and honour my figure the way the creator visualised it, I would have to order one made to measure for me. This lesson equally explains the root cause of most problems facing the Black race – socially, politically, technologically and economically. If we are to join the league of progressive people and nations, we must develop an enriched open mind. A further delay in reprogramming our mind set will confine the Black race to perpetual poverty, hunger, wars, economic and political stagnation, slavery and near extinction in an emerging world order, threatened by military dominance, angry weather patterns, and dwindling earth resources.
About fifteen years ago I shared a revelation with those close to me. Economic and political power revolves. Many years ago it left Africa, the cradle of modern civilisation, for Europe and America and is currently making its way back to Africa through Asia and Latin America and no one can stop it. How is our continent, countries, governments and peoples gearing up to welcoming this projected colossal power shift? That’s the million dollar question and a reason for setting up Openmind Foundation. There is equally a warning for African leaders and aristocrats, who for years mortgaged the future of generations of Africans by looting treasuries dry. Nations hosting the looted resources will rise up against them, their assets and descendants in no distant future. Few days ago, I saw a black man’s hand constructing a map of slavery, piece by piece, as in a jigsaw puzzle. This revelation baffled me for I had never heard of a map of slavery. I was so disturbed by what I saw that the following day I began researching the origin of slavery. My first keyword search on Google rewarded me instantly with a treasure – 10 fascinating facts about African slavery in the United States. At the top is the following fact:
“Slavery was officially established in Virginia in 1654, when Anthony Johnson, a black man, convinced a court that his servant (also black) John Casor was his for life. Johnson himself had been brought to Virginia some years earlier as an indentured servant (a person who must work to repay a debt, or on contract for so many years in exchange for food and shelter) but he saved enough money to buy out the remainder of his contract and that of his wife. The court ruled in Johnson’s favor, and the very first officially state-recognized slave existed in Virginia. Johnson eventually became very wealthy and began importing his own black slaves from Africa, for which he was granted 250 acres (at the time, any person importing a slave would be paid 50 acres per person). Eventually the unfortunate repercussions of this decision would come back to haunt Johnson when his land was confiscated and given to a white man because Johnson “was a Negroe and by consequence an alien.” (http://listverse.com/2009/01/14/10-fascinating-facts-about-slavery/)
Reading this, I had no doubt in my mind what had been communicated to me in the slave map revelation. Note the last three lines in the above quote – “Eventually the unfortunate repercussions of this decision would come back to haunt Johnson when his land was confiscated and given to a white man because Johnson “was a Negroe and by consequence an alien.” The faith of Anthony Johnson, an African who grew wealthy at the expense of the blood, tears and sweat of his kind, awaits African leaders and aristocrats who for years looted the treasury of mother Africa to the point of humiliation and starvation.
2012 is going to be a fascinating year for Openmind Foundation and its readers. Our first article of the year will be a follow up to the previous two articles on the problems of the black race. It will advance suggested solutions to reclaiming our deserving status and recognition in the world community of nations and peoples. The second article will examine whether President Goodluck’s decision to purchase and hand to his ministers a copy of “From Third World to First”, a book written by the highly successful Singapore’s former leader, Lee Kuan Yew, has paid off. The article will examine the implications of that book for Nigeria and whether Mr President actually read and understood the book prior to recommending it as blue print for his governance. A taste of that book and the calibre of the man who wrote it can be seen from the following observation by Uzodinma Nwaogbe:
I later bought the book at a religious bookshop near my estate in 2005, and began reading it immediately. I finished it and like after reading Why We Struck, written by our own Major Adewale Ademoyega, one of the five majors of the January 1966 coup, and How Europe Underdeveloped Africa by Walter Rodney, I wept for Nigeria, my beloved country. I asked God in my tears why He has decided to give us the kind of leaders that has governed Nigeria since 1960 till date.
This book chronicled how a sincere, visionary and determined leader can change his country positively. A leader with clear focus and determination to lead his people out of squalor, poverty and underdevelopment, agreed that corruption especially among public servants must be fought frontally, moved his country and people to a developed world. Does it mean that President Jonathan is going to make the story in this book his guiding principle at governing Nigeria? Oh God I pray.
Have a great Christmas and a wonderful New Year. Make 2012 an open mind year. The more we open our minds the bolder and more confident we become. Consider this; at Nigerian independence and after years of brain washing by traditional Christian churches, who ever thought that one day Nigerians will be bold and proud enough to christen their sons and daughters with traditional names? As a matter of fact we are becoming more aware of the changing times. We need to take the next step – liberating our economy and politics and shutting the door to economic and other forms of slavery. That’s a food for thought for you. Let’s hear from you and your views by making use of the comment box at the bottom of this page. Thank you.