Inside Africa /Nigeria
Let’s examine the state of the black race since independence and use Nigeria to illustrate some of the findings. Africa having lived through the humiliation and brutality of slavery was soon confronted by the evils of colonisation – deception, brainwashing, exploitation, denigration, marginalisation, and divide and rule. The horrendous mind altering experience of the evils of slavery and colonisation left many Africans losing intrinsic assets such as self-esteem, beliefs, courage, bravery, fortitude, and of course freedom. Consequently, Important progressive attributes like desires, goals and pride were traded for fear, intimidation, inferiority, misery and sorrow. In the words of Prof. Robinson “there has been so much deceit, distrust, and divide in the history of Blacks that it is difficult to trace what the true black identity is and even more difficult to repair it to its original state”. Even in a TV interview prior to his death on February 21 1965, Malcolm X recognised the impact of slavery and colonisation on the mindset of the black race and the need for mindset reprogramming (see Video 3).
The reason why some Black Men Won’t Date Or Marry Black Women
As at independence, most of our African leaders and their subjects had undergone serious mind-altering experiences from slavery and colonisation. For example, “slavery shattered the trust that once existed between African communities of West Africa. Today, we still see this trust broken. Blacks tend to see more value in doing business or working for companies of a race other than black”. Blacks tend to value foreign currencies, foreign made products, homes in the land of colonial and slave masters, and the culture and ways of life of their colonial and slave masters. Consequently, the values and cultures of Africa, handed down many generations and which formed the corner stone of morality and love for each other, and the glue that held us together, were shattered. Since independence and even after turning out many highly educated citizens, Africa has remained ravaged by misguided leadership, systematic corruption, capital flight, economic mismanagement, senseless civil wars, political tyranny, flagrant violations of human rights, military vandalism, diseases, starvation, assault, multinational exploitation, anguish, mental pain, threats, embarrassment, humiliation, economic slavery, brain drain, hard labour, poverty, tribal and religious tensions. A powerful extract from an article written by Robert I. Rotberg and published by the Council on Foreign Relations captures the state of Africa vividly.
Africa has long been saddled with poor, even malevolent, leadership: predatory kleptocrats, military-installed autocrats, economic illiterates, and puffed-up postures. By far the most egregious examples come from Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Zimbabwe — countries that have been run into the ground despite their abundant natural resources…Such leaders use power as an end in itself, rather than for the public good; they are indifferent to the progress of their citizens (although anxious to receive their adulation); they are unswayed by reason and employ poisonous social or racial ideologies; and they are hypocrites, always shifting blame for their countries’ distress.
Under the stewardship of these leaders, infrastructure in many African countries has fallen into disrepair, currencies have depreciated, and real prices have inflated dramatically, while job availability, health care, education standards, and life expectancy have declined. Ordinary life has become beleaguered: general security has deteriorated, crime and corruption have increased, much-needed public funds have flowed into hidden bank accounts, and officially sanctioned ethnic discrimination — sometimes resulting in civil war — has become prevalent”
Nigeria exemplifies Mr Rotberg’s view on Africa. It is the second largest economy in Sub Saharan Africa and accounts for 41% of the region’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In Nigeria, from dusk to dawn, Monday to Sunday and January to December, citizens are inundated with heartbreaking and traumatic experiences, incidents and news. Below are a cross-sample of news and events that often shape the mindset of the average Nigerian. They have been reproduced word for word as published by their original sources:
- “However, despite the country’s oil wealth a large population means Nigeria’s GDP per capita is low. Few Nigerians, including those in oil-producing areas, have benefited from the oil wealth. GDP per capita is only about US$1,161 (2007), Gross National Income (GNI) is US$930 (2007), and poverty is widespread. About 54% of the population lives on less than US$1 per day. (Source: World Bank Country Brief – September 2008). Nigeria has some of the worst social indicators: 1 in 5 children die before the age of 5; 12 million children are not in school; approximately 6% of the population are now HIV positive. The trade in stolen oil, alongside poor governance, has fuelled violence and corruption in the Niger Delta. (Source: FCO Country Profiles – February 2008). In a 174-country world ranking, Nigeria is placed 151 (out of 177) in Human Development Index (HDI), 62 in the Human Poverty Index (HPI) among 85 countries, and 124 in Gender-related Development Index (GDI) among 143 countries. These indicators are indeed poor and overall, the country is rated among the low human development countries (UNDP, 2000). (Source: UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC) Nigeria Country Profile – 2007)”.
- Many state and local officials in Rivers have squandered or stolen public money that could have gone toward providing vital health and education services. State and local budgets have expanded dramatically in recent years, but mismanagement and theft has left basic health and education services in a terrible state of decay (Peter Takirambudde, Africa director at Human Rights Watch).
- “A Nigerian official (chairman of the Niger Delta Development Commission) obsessed with witchcraft burned £1.2 million of stolen public money and smeared the ashes over his naked body in a cemetery in the middle of the night in a “fortification” ritual, police said. He stole a total of £3.4 million in public money to pay a witchdoctor to cast “juju” spells to secure business contracts and to kill a powerful rival at work” (Telegraph, 28 August 2008).
- “Abuja, being our capital city, is supposed to be an embodiment of Nigeria, and Nigeria, in all ramifications – culture, politics, sociopolitical development, a testimony to a country rousing itself out of the ashes of civil war, religious riots and ethnic rivalries, on its way to being a modern and developed country. What we see is a vagrant display of stolen wealth, outright oppression, arrogance of power, unchecked political, governmental and moral corruption, neglect of fellow Nigerians and all the vices that have virtually destroyed our nation, and turned the majority of Nigerians into paupers and/or crooks” (Adejumo).
- “About 100,000 barrels of crude are stolen from the Niger Delta each day, about five percent of the country’s production and equivalent to around $6 million daily or $2.2 billion a year at current prices (Shell BP). This practice known as bunkering is backed by strong military and political connections” (Ejiofor).
- “In the past eight years about N500bn had been expended on the rehabilitation of about 3,500kms of the 34,120kms federal road network, yet “the state of the roads did not only constitute a danger to commuters, but had also become a death trap to people’s lives and goods. The issue is that some of the money that is yearly budgeted for roads is being diverted to private pockets” (Alhaji Lawal Isa, Association of Road Transport Owners, Punch, May 6, 2009).
- “President Umaru Yar’Adua bared his mind on the country’s perennial power shortage, revealing that the Obasanjo administration pumped a whopping $10 billion into the power sector between 2000 and 2007 without much result” (Daily Sun, 2008). “While we are targeting 6,000 megawatts by 2009, the $10 billion invested in the sector between 2000 and 2007 has not translated into power generation, transmission and distribution” (President Yar’Adua, 2008).
- “Indications emerged last night that the world’s second-largest oilfield-services provider and the US energy services group, Halliburton Inc., has agreed to pay $559 million to settle federal charges for its employee’s bribing of officials in Nigeria” (This Day, 2009).
- “Outgoing House of Representatives speaker Dimeji Bankole was held over allegations he misappropriated tens of millions of dollars of government funds – charges he has denied…It is alleged that Mr Bankole secured a 10bn naira ($65m; £40m) loan, which was then shared out among senior figures in parliament…Thanks to oil money and a complete lack of restraint, being a politician in Nigeria is lucrative work, our correspondent says. Many take home pay packets in excess of $1m (£600,000) a year” (BBC.co.uk/news).
- “The House of Representatives faced a critical decision a few days ago, though instead of taking a decision,they decided to postpone the evil day. The issue was the sale of the official residence of the Speaker and his deputy. The House was informed how the building,which was renovated by Dimeji Bankole to the tune of 200 million Naira was sold to the same former Speaker at 45 million naira” (http://news2.onlinenigeria.com).
The hopeless and helpless situation and anxiety disorder facing most Nigerians are vividly captured in Prof. Femi Ajayi’s Outlook:
Ironically some godfathers sponsor thugs, ruffians, indolence, brain-dead individuals into public offices. What Nigerians get is very filthy environment, turning schools into animal kingdom. Some schools have no windows, doors, roofing, with zero learning tools, and the end result is very poor performance. Accountability is not available. Poor performances usually come with half-baked students with brain-dead graduates turned armed robbers. Teachers became nonentities; producing unemployable graduates; because of the policies of some coconut-head Governing Council members” (http://nigeriaworld.com/columnist/ajayi/052509.html).
The Multimillion Dollar Question
In the 1800s, with brutal force slavery robbed Africa of some of its healthiest and productive. It did cost the slave masters to purchase and ship their human cargoes. Today and nearing 100 years after African independence, there is a twist. Africans, including intellectuals, voluntarily ship themselves on economic slavery to Europe and America – all expenses paid by self. Today, there are many world class Nigerian bankers, business managers, computer scientists, pharmacists, engineers, journalists, lawyers, medical doctors, nurses, professors, and scientists powering the economies of Europe, America and the rest of the world. The Nigerian professionals in diaspora are ageing up in foreign lands and populating those lands with highly intelligent children – an emerging capable and resourceful working class with little reason or motivation to consider returning to Nigeria. Indirect taxation through exorbitant visa processing fees and complex, and at times humiliating visa application rules, has become a major source of income generation for foreign governments with embassies in Africa. Economic/voluntary slavery and indirect taxation / human selection through complex foreign visa requirements, have replaced the traditional and outlawed human slavery. This endless cycle of pains, exploitations, humiliations, sufferings and self-inflicting damages are more than good reasons for the questions (a) are Blacks born and bread for slavery and to live and die in perpetual human sufferings? If not, (b) Why are blacks leading in all negative areas of life?. A number of reasons have been advanced, including:
One of the destructive forces that have kept the Blackman chained to the bottom of the human progress is culture prostitution. It is alive and present, from our choice of food and clothing to governance systems and processes in Africa. In reference to the conditions of African Americans in the United States, Mr Leonard Dunston of the Institute for the Black World, explains:
Aside from Native Americans, we are the only group that has been totally disconnected from its culture and its history. Therefore we tend to mimic the patterns and the ways of life of those who would lead us astray by not setting the best examples. Once we have no appreciation as to who we are, we have the tendency to do things that would be just self-destructive. All we have done is to follow and mimic the patterns those who have oppressed us have made available to us”.
Back to the words of Prof. Robinson, “there has been so much deceit, distrust, and divide in the history of Blacks that it is difficult to trace what the true black identity is and even more difficult to repair it to its original state”. Consider for example, the destructive and alien culture of dependence on welfare system and glorification of single parenthood. Cast your mind too to various irresponsible dress codes that have been pioneered from America – including pants hanging down, wearing base-ball cap backwards, ladies going almost necked in public, piercing different parts of the body, etc. While these fashion accessories and dress codes make money for corporate America, they convey an image of gangsterism, hooliganism and irresponsibility on Black kids, attract them to bad crowds and leave many unemployable. Yet Black parents fail in their duty to correct their kids at the early stage and instead attend churches seeking divine intervention when hell let loose. Bill Cosby, the famous American icon once said to Black American parents:
Are you not paying attention, people with their hat on backwards, pants down around the crack. Isn’t that a sign of something, or are you waiting for Jesus to pull his pants up. Isn’t it a sign of something when she’s got her dress all the way up to the crack…and got all kinds of needles and things going through her body. What part of Africa did this come from?.. Five or six different children, same woman, eight, ten different husbands or whatever, pretty soon you’re going to have to have DNA cards so you can tell who you’re making love to.”
In governance, African countries incorporate alien principles and practices they hardly can uphold or defend, only for the simple reason that the colonial masters have them. Take for example the concept of diplomatic immunity for presidential, ministerial, and governorship positions. No consideration is given to the intended purpose of such important provision and whether it will operate successfully in African context. No consideration is given to the stage in Africa’s development or to the impact of African cultures and value systems on such principles or practices. Within a short space of time, a clause or provision intended to protect the interest of a nation and its peoples and usher in progress, equity and justice, end up shielding corrupt governors, ministers and presidents. Africa adopts governance systems e.g. Presidential or Westminster, without considering their suitability for country and the people, and without any tangible modifications whatsoever. The only driving force behind adoption of such systems is that they function in the land of the Whiteman. At times such decisions are driven by the selfish interest of politicians who wish to act like and enjoy the trappings and privileges of American presidents or British Prime Ministers, but without the competence, patriotism and commitment that go with such positions.
2. Slavery and Colonisation
There is a school of thought that presents overwhelming evidence pointing the fact that the Black race, both in the United States and Africa, never recovered from the post-traumatic stress suffered following slavery and colonisation. Africans lived through the humiliation and brutality of slavery. Soon after, they were confronted with the evils of colonisation – deception, brainwashing, exploitation, denigration, marginalisation, and divide and rule. Consequently, the horrendous mind altering experiences from slavery and colonisation left many Africans losing intrinsic assets such as self-esteem, beliefs, courage, bravery, fortitude, and of course freedom. Therefore, important progressive attributes like desires, goals and pride were traded for fear, intimidation, inferiority, misery and sorrow (Prof. Robinson). They continue to hunt our every day life in Africa, Europe or America.
Evidence from psychologists acknowledges that people who survive heinous acts like for example, rape, brutality and torture require mind reprogramming therapy or the effects may remain for life. There is equally overwhelming research evidence suggesting that people who passed through extended kidnap ordeal, never return to their original state (Prof. Robinson). Therefore the human mind can suffer permanent and invisible damage unless reprogrammed with medical and other forms of professional help. For example, soldiers who fought ghastly wars often require therapy to heal from tragic mental effects of the war; else they become a liability to themselves, their families and communities. The post-traumatic stress of slavery and colonisation, coupled with the effects of repressive African regimes, misguided leadership, systematic corruption, capital flight, economic mismanagement, senseless civil wars, and political tyranny have altered our mind-sets such that we tend to prioritise personal survival rather than collective progress and unity. Therefore the lives of Blacks, including professionals, are governed most times by fear, intimidation, and inferiority complex. The result is failure and inability to unite against a common threat.
Our women, who are also our partners in progress and role model to our kids, are at the forefront of culture prostitution. Take a close look, for example, at the sense of beauty of Black women in Africa, Europe and America today. They have been indoctrinate to believe their beauty is incomplete unless they add a feature of a “superior race”. It is on record that the black hair and beauty care industry fosters between $9 billion and $15 billion annually. Black women are responsible for a considerable chunk of this colossal turnover – how?
Results show that the black woman spends almost three times as much on hair care products than that of any other race. The black woman is the only woman that spends so much money keeping her hair from returning to its original state. She also spends a significant amount of money on skin lightening products.
Prof. Devin Robinson
Single parenthood, pregnancy outside wedlock and divorce, which African culture once frowned at, for good reason of course, have emerged revered symbols of women liberation, and the exercising of individual human right and freedom, to a growing number of African women. The cost is a gradual but steadily rolling back of the gains made by the Black race in the past 100 years.
The Part 2 of this article will follow shortly. It will provide further suggested reasons for the plight of Black people and advance solutions. Meanwhile it is your responsibility to ensure that this article reaches every Nigerian/African.