NIGERIA: From Colonial Subjugation To Complete COLLAPSE
"......From COLONIAL SUBJUGATION TO COMPLETE COLLAPSE without an intervening period of SUCCESSFUL SELF-RULE.
So much promise ! So much waste ! Such a disappointment ! Such a shame !
Makes you SICK and DISLIKE being a black African ! "
-- (Linus U.J. Thomas-Ogboji).
THE CONTINENT OF AFRICA HAS COME FULL CIRCLE:
- On the PROBLEMS OF AFRICANS.
- Their prospects.
- And their limitations.
MAY GOD HELP AFRICA !
REMINISCENCE OF THE COLONIAL PERIOD
When a Nigerian governor commented that Africans were simply incapable of solving their problems, an old man in the audience stood up and said:
"Since you and other black leaders have tried your best but have not been able to improve the lives of us ordinary people, why don't we ask the whites to come back. When the white man ruled us things were not this bad.
Minimally, There was a 'RULE of LAW'
'PLEASE, PLEASE ASK THEM TO COME AND SAVE US !'"
The statement, spoken with sincerity, met momentary silence in the audience followed by some laughter and then a resounding applause.
(---CREDIT: George Ayittey, The Free Africa Foundation Foundation).
NIGERIA: Abacha's Loot Re-looted
Loot Re-looted in Nigeria
"What baffles me is that even the money recovered from Abacha has been stolen.
If you recover money from a thief and you go back and steal the money, it means you are worse than the thief"
-- Uti Akpan, a textiles trader in Lagos in The New York Times (Aug 30, 2000; p. 10).
"National wealth and resources have been scandalously pillaged by a band of armed booty-seekers and their retinue of civilian collaborators:
-Not content with the destruction of the economy;
-Not content with inflicting enormous social dislocations on the polity;
-Not content with raping democracy; people and fundamental rights;
-Not content with instituionalizing corruption as a national art form;
-And not content with causing the decay of the nation's agricultural, industrial, and social infrastructure, including the environment, the health and educational system through their planlessness and visionless leadership, these single-minded despots have moved into
the area of violating the nation's honor, sense of worth and dignity, and through that caused the massive debasement of the humanity of Nigerians in the eyes of the rest of
---(Post Express Wired,. 17 June 1998).
Indeed, within two weeks the death of General Sani Abacha, local newspapers reported that, his wife, Maryam was seeking "seeking political asylum in a Middle East country thought to be Lebanon," according to the Nigerian Democratic Movement.
-She is reputed to have inherited "the vast fortunes of her husband estimated at 5 billion dollars including an oil refinery in Brazil and had contracted a private security outfit to guard the family, while she assesses the situation."
Following Abacha's timely and mysterious death in June 1998, elections were held by his successor, General Abdulsalam Abubakar. After assuming office in May 1999, President Obasanjo found the country ungovernable. A near government paralysis resulted from wrangling over distribution of power between the executive and the legislative.
For 18 months (Feb 1999 to August 2000), Nigeria's 109 senators and 360 representatives passed just five pieces of
legislation, including a budget that was held up for five
Immediately upon taking office, the legislators voted for themselves hefty allowances, including a 5 billion naira ($50 million) furniture allowances for their official
residences and offices. The impeached ex-chairman of the Senate from President Obasanjo's own People's Democrtic Party (PDP), Chuba Okadigbo, was the most predatory:
"As Senate President, he controlled 24 official vehicles but ordered 8 more at a cost of $290,000.
He was also found to have:
- Spent $225,000 on garden furniture for his government house, $340,000 on furniture for the house itself ($120,000 over the authorized budget);
- Bought without authority a massive electricity generator whose price he had inflated to $135,000;
-And accepted a secret payment of $208,000 from public funds, whose purpose included the purchase of `Christmas gifts'".
--- (New African, Sept 2000; p.9).
AND IT GETS BETTER: Abacha's Loot Re-looted !
While President Obasanjo earned high marks by going after the loot the Abachas stashed abroad, his own Senate was riddled with graft and corruption. Much public fanfare was made of the sum of about $709 million and another 144 million pounds sterling recovered from the Abachas and his henchmen.
But this recovered loot itself was quickly looted.
The Senate Public Accounts Committee found only $6.8 million and 2.8 million pounds sterling of the recovered booty in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) (The Post Express (July 10, 2000).
"Nigeria, the comatose giant of Africa, may go down in history as the biggest country ever to go directly from colonial subjugation to complete collapse, without an intervening period of successful self-rule.
SO MUCH PROMISE !
SO MUCH WASTE !
SUCH A DISAPPOINTMENT !
SUCH A SHAME !
Makes you SICK and DISLIKE being a black African! "
-- Linus U.J. Thomas-Ogboji (The African News Weekly (May 26, 1995; p.6).
Arthur Nwanko, A Nigerian pro-democracy activist.
George B.N. Ayittey, The Free Africa Foundation Foundation.
NIGERIA: AN IRATE reader wrote this to the BBC's Focus on Africa:
You need to know that:
- 6 Nigerians are billionaires; 6,000 are multimillionaires; 55,000 are millionaires.
- 22 million Nigerians earn less than 10 naira a day.
- And about a million Nigerians earn less than 5 naira a day.
You also need to know that Nigeria is a country that has petroleum but has a scarcity of petrol.
You also need to know that over 70 percent of Nigerian land is arable, but less than 5 percent is cultivated.
You also need to know that we Nigerians have the potential for REVOLUTION.
---(Dec 1989; p. 66).
One of the most urgent matters for Nigerians to address when they settle down to debate the National Question is the issue of collaboration by professionals and technocrats with corrupt and repressive regimes.
We must devise effective sanctions against our lawyers and judges and doctors and university professors who debase their professions in their zealotry to serve as tyranny's errand-boys, thus contributing in large measure to the general decay of honesty and integrity in our national life.
---Chinua Achebe in African News Weekly (1 October 1993, 32).
NIGERIA: AFRICAN KLEPTOCRACIES
"In Nigeria, public office is seen as huge opportunity to enrich self and kindred . . . a means to acquire wealth and
By all standards, this concept of public office is primitive."
---Anthony Ebeh (In African News Weekly, May 27, 1994; p.7).
"All Nigerian military regimes have clearly demonstrated a complete lack of the strong leadership necessary to forge and instill a sense of national unity in Nigerians. By exploiting the lack of national unity, the military leaders have used repressive decrees to foster military kleptocracy.
Their overall objective is to use the state apparatus to amass considerable personal wealth and use protective decrees to shield themselves and intimidate the people. And these people are supposed to be Nigerian leaders interested in providing ethical leadership, especially in finding solutions to our national political and economic problems!
-- Stephen Okoye (African News Weekly, July 15-21, 1996; p.22).
"One of the most urgent matters for Nigerians to address when they settle down to debate the National Question is the issue of collaboration by professionals and technocrats with corrupt and repressive regimes.
We must devise effective sanctions against our lawyers and judges and doctors and university professors who debase their professions in their zealotry to serve as tyranny's errand-boys, thus contributing in large measure to the general decay of honesty and integrity in our national life."
---Chinua Achebe in African News Weekly (1 October 1993, 32).
"The trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership. There is nothing basically wrong with the Nigerian character. There is nothing wrong with the Nigerian land or climate or water or air or anything else.
The Nigerian problem is the unwillingness or inability of its leaders to rise to the responsibility, to the challenge of personal example which are the hallmarks of true leadership . . . We have lost the twentieth century; are we bent on seeing that our children also lose the twenty-first? God forbid!"
-- Chinua Achebe (in The Trouble With Nigeria. Enugu: Fourth Dimension Press, 1985; p.3).
"I think the West should not be blamed anymore for Africa's predicament...
I may ask, what is our goal as Africans? It sounds funny that a country like Nigeria cannot boast of any significant supply of good drinking water even after 30 years of independence.
One is tempted to think that the goal for Africans is to drive a flashy car, and own a house in Britain, US or France.
This is very common among our leaders, some of who think it is a mistake not to have a Swiss bank account or a castle in France.
It is not a shame to admit our failures, set our priorities right and forget about blaming the West always for our woes. In fact it is a lazy society which puts all the blame for its troubles on its neighbors.
Let our leaders set clear-cut goals for our countries, and not Swiss bank accounts. I don't think George Bush would set himself a goal of owning a bank account in Ghana or Nigeria."
-- Osa Kingsley in New African, August, 1990; p.45).
"More than three decades of dictatorships, phoney and misunderstood political ideologies have left a legacy of fear, poverty, refugees, outright political thuggery and theft.
The systems which have been in place for the last three decades in Africa have produced the likes of Amin, Bokassa, Nguema and the remaining political sphinx which strangle the African continent and its people.
Since assuming political power in their countries, these leaders have held their citizens hostage, have run national
economies like private chicken-runs and created a national mentality of siege and a state of hopelessness"
-- George Sono (New African, Jan 1991; p. 41).
"The problem in Africa is precisely that there is no state to speak of. What exists are ramshackle gangs, presided over by political thugs and military adventurists, generals who have never been to war, and rickety old men who lack vision, who simply pretend to be governing, talk less of ruling, a society.
In no African social formation has this body, by whatever
name it goes, been able to operate as a state." From "Pan-Africanism: Agenda for African Unity in the 1990s".
----by Nigerian scholar, Julius O. Ihonvbere, now at Ford Foundation, in a Keynote address at The All-African Student's Conference, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada, May 27, 1994.
"Nigerians must realize that colonialism has nothing to do with the color of the colonizer and the colonized. Any group of people that uses the advantage of power -- military or material -- to oppress, exploit, and inferiorize another group of people can be justifiably described as a colonizing group."
-- Ropo Sekoni (The Isokan News, Spring, 1995; p.19).
"All symbols of military authority must be removed from our midst. Those arrogant photographs that desecrate public spaces, schools, hospitals, offices, even courts of justice.
Street names, also, change them all. Remove them. Remove them by stealth, remove them openly, by cunning, remove them by bribery, remove them forcibly, remove them tactfully, use whatever method is appropriate, but remove them.
I call on all who are resolved to play a role in our mutual liberation to participate in this exercise of psychological release, or mental cleansing and preparedness...
---Wole Soyinka (1996, 59).
"It is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish between the Nigerian armed forces and the Nigerian armed robber.
They both use the same operational tactics, resorting to fear, intimidation, and violence to achieve their objectives."
-- Stephen Okoye (African News Weekly, July 15-21, 1996; p.22).
"The military has perfected the use of intimidation and disinformation to keep a passive population calm. In the process, a timid population became quiet and in some cases conspiratorial and accomodating of dictators for too long.
The result is what you see today: a bunch of idiots terrorizing the nation, intimidating opponents and harassing dissidents. It is an equivalent of gangs taking over a whole town.
Well, welcome to the reign of thieves and vagabonds, welcome to our Nigeria today, a gangster's paradise."
-- Ikenna Anokwute in African News Weekly (Sept 16-22, 1996; p.6).
AFRICAN LEADER LOOT THEIR COUNTRIES
“Countries such as Nigeria – where almost every current and former senior military officer is a multi-millionaire, and where the government has been reckless and foolish in its expenditure priorities and has failed to set up more effective controls and accounting systems to stem the widespread looting of the national treasury – clearly have not demonstrated that they have merited forgiveness of their international debt.
Countries such as Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, and others, which waste their scarce resources by waging wars against their neighbors and citizens as millions of their people die of hunger, starvation and disease, have not merited their debt being forgiven.
The modality for the debt-forgiveness initiative that would have real, positive outcomes for debtor nations should be linked to initiatives by debtor nations to improve human rights, participate and accept international dispute resolution, and in cooperation with the IMF/World Bank to repatriate illegally acquired money in foreign banks, back to the debtor nation.”
--By Ignatius Anyanwu, Sacramento, California in a letter to the editor(The Washington Times, April 20, 2000; p.A18).