COLONIALISM AND CONTRAPTION: AFRICA’S BLEEDING CATALYSTS. (2):
(CONTRAPTIONS AND INCOMPATIBILITIES VERSUS QUESTIONABLE EDUCATION)
By: Gideon I. Onyedi
On December 26, 2020, (with a later editorial input) on this medium, I began a journey. Another sphere of the same journey with folks of like–mind in the analytical and readership tradition, as I embarked on unfolding the veiled vanity, and vague ‘value’ of the black race’s common foe and bond-master, disguised as friend and benefactor: the colonialism maestro, ‘evidently’ guilty in the regrettable feast and fiesta of blood in Africa. And, objectively, I do intend to examine and uncover the darkness resident within the soul of colonialism in its supremacist creations and distortions within Africa.
Colonialism, juxtaposed with the loudmouthed ideals and civilization of the West, is in the estimation of globally and critically-minded humanity, nothing but the debased imperial ‘foliage’, the detested inhibitive ‘fruition’, and the denounced insensitive ‘festivities’ of eternal deceit, endless death and economic doom rested upon helpless Africa by the opportunistic, manipulative, ‘complex-driven’ and ‘situationally’ privileged Whiteman who balkanized and ‘recreated’ the regions of a people that were comparatively more peaceful and more liberated among themselves before colonialism.
The imperially primordial ‘predatorial’ ‘scramble’. The ‘butcherous’ balkanization: an unfortunate and ‘mutually un-negotiated’
perpetration of the supremacist imperialism of the white over Africa and the Third World. The institutionalization of certain administrative and leadership policies, protocols and practices. The colonial-interest-driven formation and aligning of nations, and the political wedlock of fundamentally divergent and ever-disagreeable groups, have all been seen or interpreted from one end of Africa to another, as the horrendous root of unimaginable bloodletting in Africa and elsewhere. The extreme incompatibility evident among these faulty and unnaturally evolved nations has made Africa a rendezvous of indeterminate but active ‘vampires’ who insatiably make it seem as if there is an abysmal Gehena destined never to be filled and quenched by the steaming, and ever streaming, flowing, and ‘wailing’ blood of the African whose right to nationality, citizenship, and liberty was eternally robbed by the all-knowing colonial master.
It is very disappointing, regrettable, and unpardonably insulting to the senses and dignity of mankind, for anyone, such as Mr. Pieter Wiliem Botha, the former leader of South Africa, and an incurable and unrepentant apologist and promoter of stinking racism or despicable apartheid, (or any other colonial gladiator), to imagine, believe implicitly, or utter God-dishonouring and history-ignoring supremacist comments about the black race to justify the colonialist’s inhumanity. This was the situation and picture created when he said: ‘‘Black People cannot rule themselves because they don’t have the brain and mental capacity to govern a Society… ‘’ He went further: ‘‘Give them guns, they will kill themselves; give them power, they will steal all the Government money; give them independence and democracy, they will use it to promote tribalism, ethnicity, bigotry, hatred, killings, and wars.’’ – W. P. Botha, 1988. Although it is argued that it is yet to be proved that the statement was actually made by Botha, it is also substantial enough to argue that it is equally yet to be proved that he did not make the comment. Give or take, the statement represents the mind-set of the colonial master towards black Africa. Events and experiences abound to that attestation.
With measured objectivity and fidelity to history, for those enlightened therein, it can be argued, for academic purposes, and otherwise, that ancient Africa, the cradle of civilization, such as Ethiopia, in particular did not show that the black race didn’t have the brain, mental capacity, or whatever it takes to govern themselves. The ancient Bini Kingdom and others didn’t, as well. These were people that showed sophistication, aesthetics, and style in leadership and culture.
On the other hand, one is compelled to pose the query: ‘‘why should the colonial master produce and give guns to Africa or black people? The only logical response to this question, in my informed opinion, is that the white man is versed in conflict, wars and bloodshed, and had already created a more volatile situation in Africa that made the use of guns necessary, and for his own interest, too? And if conflict is a general human characteristic and social phenomenon, why attribute it to a race, seemingly in a suggestive exclusive-defining supposition or presupposition?
Again, why should the colonial master ‘shamelessly,’ godlessly, ignorantly, arrogantly, and without respect to history and humanity, talk about or even entertain, within the hub of his indeterminate and ‘vain’ imagination, the thought or history-defined ‘delusion’ of ever giving Africa independence when Africa already had her independence before the colonialist came? The white man did not give the black race any independence; he played God and took away Africa’s God-given independence and liberty, and replaced it with an interest-driven and imperialist-manipulated bondage and modern slavery in the guise of ‘political independence’.
And, what moral justification or ‘locus standi’ has the white man to accuse, indict or even pronounce the black race guilty of promoting tribalism, ethnicity, bigotry and hatred when racism or apartheid, of which the white man, was, and is still the chief priest, remains the worst case of using government and ‘democracy’ to promote tribalism, ethnicity and hate among humanity?
The black race was more peaceful in their original historical and natural arrangements than the ‘civilized’ world before the colonialist came. I have discussed this in the yet-to-published part 6 of this treatise. The black race was more peaceful than the civilized world that once killed more than 10,000,000 people including 6000,000 innocent Jews, (the reader should not forget the history of the gas chambers, high volume crematoriums, hundreds or thousands of mass graves, awful and unimaginable medical experimentations, starvation, tortures, etc.), caused more than 10,000,000 deaths in the Congo free state, and that of countless number of slaves buried without graves, thrown into the ocean, and killed with inhuman treatment. The black race was more peaceful than the ‘civilized’ world that fought all the world wars that claimed all the millions of innocent lives.
When the white man and the colonial master grouped non-related, and historically disagreeable communities together, he became guilty of flowing African blood arising from wars and conflicts consequent upon such incompatible contraptions in post-colonial Africa.
Yes, grouping hitherto deeply incompatible ethno-religio-linguistic entities together with colonial political force and fiat, without a naturally enhanced social transition, fusion and evolution, amounted to a mindless experimentation of a daringly dangerous proportion, of tampering with nature within nature. And these ‘anti-natural’ mixtures and fusions have always exploded to the destruction of many lives. Natural incompatibility is a great, dangerous and offensive incompatibility. Extreme and fundamental religio-cultural incompatibility is the deadliest. Events in the Middle East, incessant ethno-religiously precipitated conflicts and bloodletting in Nigeria, and terrorist activities around the world speak more eloquently about this. Even the emerging unprecedented ideological conflict and political contention in America’s present political scheme of things, consequent upon the generous migrant policy of the United States is a case that anyone would want to ignore to their own peril. (Read my article: ‘‘The United States and the Future: Ideological Conflict, Social Contrast, and Political Contention,’’ published here on Aug. 1, 2019).
More than a century of questionably and ‘mono-structurally’ administered western education has proved abjectly incapable of curbing or mitigating the mortal excesses, and bloodsucking sensibilities and sentiments of ethno-religious incompatibility in Nigeria in particular and Africa in general.
Even seemingly highly educated (literate and numeric) individuals brandishing first class and doctorate degrees from Oxford, Cambridge, London, Harvard, Legon, Nsukka, Ibadan, Zaria, Alexandria, Cape Town, etc., and some as Professors, serving and former Vice Chancellors, United Nations and international consultants, etc., who are all members of some ethno-religious communities have zealously sustained a culture of gravely addictive loyalty to these historical ethno-religious sentiments and sensibilities, and unapologetically manifested both subtle and unpretentious rejection of the humaneness and global citizenship ideals which true and transformative education, through the instrumentality of transformative leadership in education and politics, is supposed to inculcate in people who ‘are exercised therein’. Else, how would you justify a context where celebrated academics and professionals would sit as leaders of certain ethno-religious and socio-cultural groups where they are nepotically and seemingly ‘prehistorically’ poised to unrepentantly act as Patrons and facilitators of provocation of the embers of emotions of inter-ethnic/religious violence and conflicts, unabated?
This makes it worthwhile to commend patriots who through, not just the power and skill of literacy and numeracy, but a totally regeneratively transformational education, socialization, civilization and possession of unmistakable global citizenship ideals, such as Sir Femi Michael Otedola, whose bowels and values bestride the multi-ethnic, cultural, and religious complexity of Nigeria, like a Pan-African colossus as he touches lives positively and embraces humanity from the East, South, West, North, Middle-Belt, the Christian, the Muslim, the traditionalist in order to create a truly strong and peacefully bonded nation.
Then comes Tony Elumelu. A whole volume needs to written on Mr Tony Elumelu, whose touch with transformative leadership ideals have made him a globally honoured Pan-Africanist as he eschews tribe and tongue in his effort to rebuild and empower Africa and make it the pride of mankind.
Mr Tony Elumelu, unmistakably incorporates the cardinal elements of transformative leadership in his celebrated entrepreneurship and empowerment programmes across Africa and beyond as he leads by policy and practice of unmistakable individualized consideration, for the purpose of inclusiveness and attention through leader-member exchange leadership theory and practice, not minding one’s race, or creed; intellectual stimulation, through result-driven and goal-oriented competitiveness and cooperation; challenging and inspirational motivation, through sacrifice, selfless and responsive and exemplary charisma and approach to issues of direct effect on individual and national needs; idealized influence through irresistible innovative and creative approaches in empowerment, leadership and relationship, and healthy competition for equity and overall development.
These two men in particular, from the private sector, have allowed and applied global vision, inspirational understanding, administrative and leadership clarity, motivational and responsive agility, selflessness and sacrifice to help them overcome the extremely consuming crises and volatility, the frighteningly blinding and discouraging political instability and uncertainty, the intractably herculean ethno-religious complexity, and the disorientingly confusing ideological ambiguity of the Nigerian world, which has been largely shaped, altered and perpetuated by ‘colonial insensitivity’ and leadership ineptitude.
Others whose regenerative civilization has impacted upon their lives and general dispositions at various degrees evidently include Professor Chimele. U. Abengowe, Patron, Diamond-Crest for Youth Education Foundation, a man who is well celebrated in the North as he is in his Southern home, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, former Governor of Kaduna State, and HRH, Alhaji Sanusi Lamido Sanu, the Emir of Kano, whose forays at Kings College and beyond truly impacted on him, enabling him to be an unbiased critic devoid of sentiments and ethnicity. Though some may argue otherwise.
His Royal Highness, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi is indeed a rational mind, a well-informed constructive critic, a transformational critical thinker, a credible and context-granted equilibrium between an understandable ethno-religious fidelity and national patriotism and global citizenship ideals. He arguably qualifies as a true transformational leader who can do well as the leader of this country any day if given the opportunity. But how far such a man and others in his character may go in considerably clipping the flighty wing of blood-sucking ethno-religious incompatibilities remains largely unknown. How far the overriding supra-system would allow them space, structure and success remains a wild guess.
Again, we had others of blessed memory such as the late Chief M.K.O. Abiola, the presumed winner of the historic June 12, 1993 Presidential election. A man, whose philanthropic and developmental gestures and programmes cut across ethno-religious divide. And we also had the under-celebrated legend and unmatched patriot, the late Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, who in particular is being accused of ‘abandoning’, ‘betraying’, and even ‘sacrificing’ his own ethnic Igbo for greater Nigeria. His ‘pitfall’ was his inability to create a contextually-defined ‘balance’ between the ‘private’ and the ‘public’ good. (See part 6 of this treatise).
These men and a few others not mentioned notwithstanding, education, generally, has not succeeded to overcome the torments of ethno-religious, cultural, traditional, and historical incompatibilities and differences in Nigeria and Africa. It is instructive here to note that while the late Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe was ‘idealistically’ calling on Nigerians to ‘forget our differences’, the late Sardauna of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello, KBE, ‘realistically’ made him to know that Nigerians, rather than forget, should mark or understand their differences. In the Sardauna’s wprds:
‘‘No, let us understand our differences. I am a Muslim and a Northerner. You are a Christian, an Easterner. By understanding our differences, we can build unity in our country.’’
What an unqualified grasping statement! What a masterstroke of ‘existential realism’. However, there has never been enough and true education to avail us the knowledge and civilization to ‘understand’ this ‘our’ differences in an enough accommodating manner and at a level where we can avoid our very unsettling ethno-religious and cultural incompatibilities.
On his own part, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, back in 1948, instructively and cautionarily had this to say:
‘‘Since 1914, the British Government has been trying to make Nigeria into one country, but the Nigerian people themselves are historically different in their backgrounds, in their religious beliefs and customs and do not show themselves any sign of willingness to unite. Nigeria’s unity is only a British intention for the country.’’
These differences can never be wished away.
It was an unequivocal admission of these differences that made the Muslim Rights Concern of Nigeria, MURIC, through its Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, on December 25, 2019, in a solidarity message to Christians celebrating Christmas, to call for forgiveness, love and unity across faiths and races as he speaks:.
“Christians, Muslims, African traditionalists, Hindus, Bhudists, Confucianists, Jainists, etc, are therefore under obligation to think humanity first. We must halt all forms of segregation, stereotyping and discrimination on the basis of religion, race, colour or tribe. We must bring peace back to the world. MURIC calls for a cessation of hostilities in all troubled parts of Nigeria and the rest of the world. We urge all homo sapiens compos mentis living in troubled areas to embrace dialogue as a means of returning normalcy to their regions. In particular, we charge religious leaders in Nigeria to step up genuine interfaith relationship and adopt the philosophy of live and let live in order to put a halt to the constant heating of the polity. We pray for the return of enduring peace and security in our dear country, Nigeria. We pray for the safe return of Leah Sharibu, the Chibok girls and all those in captivity in the country. We pray for Divine protection and guidance for the leadership of the country at both federal and state levels. We also pray for political stability and economic buoyance for Nigeria.”
It is noteworthy that the statement above embodies elements and tenets of global citizenship ideals for which the Director of MURIC should be commended, at least at that level. But both Professor Ishaq Akintola and MURIC as a body on the one hand, and the ever fragile and volatile ethno-religious Nigerian polity and Africa on the other hand know beyond measure, and experientially too, that the problem is ‘abysmally’ deeper than goodwill message, moral instruction, mere preaching and moving rhetoric, (Though it is a great step in the right direction). And, without sounding unduly pessimistic, the nearest future would be an impartial retrospective and introspective mirror on which the objectivity, feasibility, and substance of the statement above would be viewed and determined.
But do Nigeria and Africa need to wait too long when a day after the appeal above by MURIC, the Islamic State West Africa Province, ISWAP, a splinter group of Boko Haram, released a video showing and claiming it had killed 11 Christians; 10 beheaded and 1 shot, as a gift to Christians in the celebration of Christmas. They claimed it was in revenge for the killing of their leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdad al-Qurayshi, by American forces.
This particular act immediately made President Muhammadu Buhari to sue for peace in Nigeria, calling Nigerians to resist any provocation and urge to embrace further bloody crisis and possible attack or ‘reprisal’ against Muslims, arguing that the perpetrators of such act could not be taken as true Muslims, as no true Muslim would shout or proclaim ‘Allahu Akbar’ while killing the innocent.
At this point we need to agree, in the face of evidence, that a colonial contraption which creates a never ending cycle of crises is a fertile breeding ground for extreme conflict/violence and globalised terrorism. Africa has been very adversely hit. Consider interconnected events in Nigeria, Cameroun, Niger, Chad, Mali, Kenya, Libya, etc.
Again. The admission by the leader of Arewa Youths, Yerima Shetima, during an interview with Punch Newspapers, published on December 28, 2019, that for now, ethnic consciousness/leaning holds sway in Nigerian politics is a ‘gospel truth’, as he posits:
‘’One day we shall overcome ethnicity but as it is today, it is the major issue before us. Someday, I pray and hope that we overcome the issue of regionalism, but the reality is that currently we cannot put the cart before the horse. The reality is that we are divided and a lot of things are not right in the country, so everybody thinks about where they come from.’’
Also, the statement credited to the immediate past Director General of the Department of State (Security) Services, DSS, Matthew Seiyefa, that politics of identity is what pervades in Nigeria, in addition to instances already exposited in the earlier part of this discourse underscores the differences deeply rooted in a colonially contrived pluralistic nation.
There are irreconcilable incompatibilities and fossilised differences that mere education – simply defined by mere literacy and numeracy – may not be able to handle. They will require generations of evolutionary retro-active inhibitive enlightenment, socialization, and civilization. They will require change-responsive and oriented educational and political leadership, with a staying power. They will require resilient, unrelenting, and implicitly-focused advocacy for and possession of unmistakable global citizenship ideals. To state that it is too daunting a task, though not impossible, to achieve this, perhaps, especially in the midst of unrelenting negative reinforcements, would only be an understatement. Mere ‘education’ has proved an unreliable weapon in the face of a more lethal and eternally formidable foe in deep-seated ethno-religious incompatibility.
Even the vendors of so-called education in Nigeria in particular, and Africa in general, at policy-making and implementation/delivery levels, are men and women of deep-rooted ethno-religious and cultural biases whose philosophical assumptions and ideological persuasions have been generationally and historically informed and shaped by these sensibilities and irreconcilabilities. It needs to be ascertained, how truly educated they themselves are, what type of education they had, and what constitute their philosophical assumptions, axiologically.
Mere education (literacy and numeracy), can never change the nature of man. This nature is defined as ‘debased’, sensual, ‘Adamic’, self-centred, corrupt, ‘weak’, proud, vain, domineering, political, insensitive, deceitful, and degeneratively carnal. Education may succeed in ‘transforming’ and refining the mental and outward situational behaviour of man. And even make him a better and more intelligent hypocrite. And a more calculative manipulator. A cheat and deceiver with intellectually superior argument. Historical ‘origins’, hereditary, consanguinity, religion, ‘self’ and culture are fundamental indices of the nature of man. Even the civilization and education of the colonial master could not help him overcome his own selfish, ‘debased’, and hypocritical nature in his judgment and political decisions, and make him do any better. Hence Africa is a sea of blood. Hence Africa remains a colonial narrative till date.
But this grim reality of the incompatibility of extreme ethno-religiously irreconcilable communities was dangerously and deliberately overlooked by the supremacist colonial master, who himself, till date, is evidently lacking or found wanting in the possession of these genuine global citizenship ideals and true transformative leadership beyond shores and boundaries, as stated above. He does not see the world as a global village in need of undisguised equality and equity. He sees the world, beyond his shores, as conquered territories that should remain conquered, subjugated and manipulated by him through the instrumentalities of the U.N., I.M.F., World Bank, etc., all made to look indispensable consequent upon colonially-induced helplessness, poverty and bloody conflicts and wars.
Gideon I. Onyedi,
Founder/President, Diamond-Crest for Youth Education Foundation,