An often levelled criticism against the leaders of our political parties (and the organisations that they lead) is that they lack a defined ideology. The validity of this point bears some examination because it can also be said that nigerian politics has been dominated by a well-defined ideology from the moment it was manufactured by British imperialism up until this day.
More importantly, not only has the guiding principle behind all of nigeria's various constitutions been to uphold of this ideology, its true alternative has been so successfully demonised that it hardly requires much effort to portray it as an idea whose implementation cannot be contemplated by responsible people.
In nigeria, the real ideological divide is not one between capitalism (classic or variants) and its alternatives, it is between those who would maintain the status of nigeria as an avatar of resource-extraction imperialism and those who desire genuine independence for the African nations entrapped within the borders of nigeria.
The existence is this divide is proven by how various 'leaders' (from what passes for a spectrum in nigerian politics) take turns to express maxims about the 'indivisibility' of nigeria or, to present development plans and 'solutions' whose implementations assume (and depend on) the continued existence of the nigeria entity.
Now, unless it had been previously showed that the enforced unification of the nations currently refered to as nigeria is the only viable mode of existence that there is, then declarations about how the union's disintegration is not up for discussion makes no sense.
This consensus within ruling circles with regards to the boundaries of what can be presented to so-called nigerians as a way forward proves that what we have in nigerian politics is not a genuine plurality of distinct alternatives manifested as political groupings but, offshoots of a singlular ideological entity tussling over who sits in drivers-seat of a vehicle that has been permanently scheduled to have one unchangeable destination.
This is neither accidental or incidental, it is by design and it has a singular purpose.
To embed segmented populations within false constructs (that are antagonistic to each other) is the first step in directing people's attention towards sterile goals.
So in nigeria, efforts are made to get so-called nigerians to identify as 'southern nigerian' or 'northern nigerian', as christian or muslim. All the while, fake statistics (like the ones describing one half of nigeria as christian and the other half as muslim) are meant to be self-fulfilling prophecies. All of this meant to feed in to the larger schema in which so-called nigerians will come to accept that their 'democracy' is a contest between two supposedely different political camps.
An ideology is successful if it effectively addresses aspirations or, if it is able to so all-encompassing that it completely obscures the fact that it is only one of many possible ways in which society can be ordered. In other words, it must be seen as the only order that could possibly be - thus compelling people to believe that all options (i.e. alternate orderings of reality) can exist only within this one historical flow.
In nigeria, the dominance of this dysfunctional version of reality was achieved mainly by a relentlessly overwhelming distortion of syntax. From the beginning, when the word on many people's lips was "independence", the meaning of that aspiration was twisted until it no longer meant actual liberation from an oppressive/exploitative entity that was manufactured by foreigners but, a change in management.
While actual independence would have been the recovery of sovereignity by nationalities whose rights to govern themselves had been abrogated by britain, what was celebrated on October 1 1960 turned out to be a continuation of oppression and exploitation - only this time by foreigners who had the same skin-tone and shared the same faux-nationality.
In other words, from October 1 1960 up until today, the reality resulting from this distortion of syntax has always been one where a majority of the African peoples currently described as 'nigerians' are politically disenfranchised and dominated by foreigners.
The extract below is from a record of proceedings in the British parliament following the composition of what some nigerians regard as the best of their several constitutions.
NIGERIA (CONSTITUTIONAL CONFERENCE)
HC Deb 10 February 1954 vol 523 cc1181-4 1181
The following Questions stood upon the Order Paper:
90. MR. FENNER BROCKWAY
To ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a statement regarding the conclusions reached on the future constitutions of Northern Rhodesia and Nigeria during his visits to those territories.
99. MR. P. WILLIAMS
To ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will make a statement on the recent conference held in Nigeria.
At the end of Questions—
The Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Oliver Lyttelton)
With permission I will now reply to Questions Nos. 90 and 99.
The Lagos Conference continued and completed the work of the conference held in London last summer. I am glad to be able to inform the House that it was an unqualified success. All the conclusions which we reached at Lagos were arrived at by general agreement. The fears, which had been expressed in some quarters, that my decision at the London Conference to make Lagos Federal territory would make this impossible, have proved unfounded. I welcome this opportunity of paying tribute to the spirit of good will in which all the delegations approached the task. All the delegations showed a remarkable insight into the 1182 niceties of constitutional checks and balances and displayed a willingness to sink sectional interests for the common good.
The report of the Lagos conference is being published today as a White Paper. Revised constitutional instruments will now be prepared, in accordance with the conclusions reached at both conferences, for submission to Her Majesty. The work involved is massive but I hope they will be ready in about six months'time. The revised constitution will be reviewed again at a further conference of similar composition to be held not later than August, 1956, when any question relating to the constitution will be open for discussion.
It is my view that the constitutional arrangements agreed upon at the London and Lagos conferences are based upon the realities of the political situation in Nigeria at the present time and offer the form of governmental structure most likely to prove generally acceptable and workable for the time being.
The considerable differences which still exist between the Regions are recognised by giving increased functions to the Regional Governments and making those Governments more independent of the Central Government in carrying them out. At the same time the Central Government not only retains the functions essential to preserving the unity of Nigeria but also, through the introduction of separate elections to the Federal Legislature, gains strength and independence within its sphere.
The insulation from politics of the judiciary, the police and the public service has been secured with general approval. Arrangements have been agreed for the public service which, whilst being in my view fair to those who wish to retire, should encourage the majority to stay on; furthermore the leaders of the Nigerian delegations have made a 1183 most helpful statement about their attitude towards the future employment of overseas staff.
The decisions taken in London and confirmed at Lagos to regionalise the public service and the judiciary have been criticised on grounds of expense and administrative inconvenience. I would, however, remind the House that even the smallest of the three Regions in Nigeria, with a population of 6,360,000, is—with the exception of Tanganyika—bigger than any other British Colonial territory anywhere else in the world.
I cannot repeat too often that Her Majesty's Government firmly believe that it is in the interests of the peoples of Nigeria that the unity of the country should be preserved. It is my hope, indeed my constant hope, that the work we did in London and Lagos will serve to maintain and foster that unity and to promote the progress and happiness of all the people of Nigeria.
In this transcript is evidence of the fact that British imperialists were the first to utter those sequence of words that are used up until today to express the desire that nigeria remain 'united'.
The collective principle (i.e. unity) is at its most effective (i.e. progressive) when it is built upon the foundation of affinity. Therefore, where conglomerates are formed by entities whose sense of self (in the corporeal and moral universe) are divergent, the results are often chaotic, non-productive, and ultimately destructive.
The war to keep nigeria one
Then there was the wider question of whether it was legitimate for a region to secede and whether Biafra should have been allowed to establish its independence. Again, a lot of complex issues are involved. British officials feared that if Biafra were to secede many other regions in Africa would too, threatening ‘stability’ across the whole of the continent. Most of the great powers, including the US and Soviet Union, shared this view largely for the same reason.
Yet there appears to be no reason why Biafra, with its 15 million people, could not have established a viable, independent state. Biafrans argued that they were a people with a distinctive language and culture, that they were Christian as opposed to the Muslim communities lumped into the Nigeria federal state, which had, after all, been a colonial creation. In fact, Biafra was also one of the most developed regions in Africa with a high density of roads, schools, hospitals and factories. The struggle for an independent state certainly appeared to have the support of the majority of Biafrans, whose sense of nationhood deepened throughout the war as enormous sacrifices were made to contribute to the war effort.
What is crystal clear is that the wishes of the Biafrans were never a major concern of British planners; what they wanted, or what Nigerians elsewhere in the federation wanted, was simply not an issue for Whitehall. There is simply no reference in the government files, that I have seen, to this being a consideration. The priorities for London were maintaining the unity of Nigeria for geo-political interests and protecting British oil interests. This meant that Gowon’s FMG was backed right from the start. But the files also reveal astonishing levels of connivance with the FMG’s aggression.
Nigerian aggression, British support
British interests are very clearly revealed in the declassified files. ‘Our direct interests are trade and investment, including an important stake by Shell/BP in the eastern Region. There are nearly 20,000 British nationals in Nigeria, for whose welfare we are of course specially [sic] concerned’, the Foreign Office noted a few days before the outbreak of the war. Shell/BP’s investments amounted to around £200 million, with other British investment in Nigeria accounting for a further £90 million. It was then partly owned by the British government, and the largest producer of oil which provided most of Nigeria’s export earnings. Most of this oil was in the eastern region.
Commonwealth Minister George Thomas wrote in August 1967 that: ‘The sole immediate British interest in Nigeria is that the Nigerian economy should be brought back to a condition in which our substantial trade and investment in the country can be further developed, and particularly so we can regain access to important oil installations’.
Thomas further outlined the primary reason why Britain was so keen to preserve Nigerian unity, noting that ‘our only direct interest in the maintenance of the federation is that Nigeria has been developed as an economic unit and any disruption of this would have adverse effects on trade and development’. If Nigeria were to break up, he added: ‘We cannot expect that economic cooperation between the component parts of what was Nigeria, particularly between the East and the West, will necessarily enable development and trade to proceed at the same level as they would have done in a unified Nigeria; nor can we now count on the Shell/BP oil concession being regained on the same terms as in the past if the East and the mid-West assume full control of their own economies’.
In the last paragraph of the extract above, there is as good an answer as any other to those who think that oil was (and still is) all that interested Britain (as well as other foreign 'powers' who have an interest in the fate of nigeria).
If oil had been all that interested Britain and since at no time did Biafrans indicate that they did not want British involvement in the commercial exploitation of oil, then they might have as well given Ojukwu's regime support .
That Britain (and others) did not do this was because oil was, and still is, incidental to the geo-political considerations that make nigerian 'unity' a non-negotiable matter for foreign 'powers' with an interest in nigeria.
The main priority was (and still is) the preservation of the borders set down by European imperialists, borders that make it easier to exploit the geographical space as a whole. Something that would have been made more difficult if Biafra had been allowed to break out of the nigerian prison and, if they had actually made a success of it.
nigeria is not
an incurable disease
nigeria has been
for African nations
May it not become
A popular saying goes : "If you do not know where you are coming from, you will not know where you are going." To this I add : "And if you do not know what you are, you will never know what you need to do to survive."
As long-time subjects of exercises in social-engineering that sometimes seems to be taking place at the level of genetics, so-called nigerians collectively remain stationary at the bottom-rung of a ladder that must be climbed if the peoples within the geographical borders of nigeria are to progress.
We remain stuck because we are unable/unwilling to recognise/accept what we are. And the key word here is "we". Because just as I know what I am talking about when I use the words 'I', 'me', and 'mine', we have to know what we are talking about when we use the words 'us', 'we', 'ours' or any other label that is used to signify the collective identity.
Real us, we, ours, etc . : Yoruba, African.
Fake us, we, ours, etc. : nigerian, international community, christian, muslim.
For Yoruba, one quite detrimental effect of being yoked to a fake collective identity has been the derailment of that natural historic process whereby clan becomes tribe and tribe becomes nation...each evolution undertaken consciously (i.e. purposefully).
Interestingly, this effect is given some acknowledgement through the common practice of refering to Yoruba as a 'tribe'. Because Yoruba - like other similarly sized and dispersed culturally homogenous groups - did start out as a patchwork of tribes that were more or less spread out over the same geographical area that the modern group occupies presently. These tribes grew out of clans - which is the next stage development of closely interacting family groups. The point here is that there is a process of affinity-driven linkages that human groups go through as they increase in number. Through this process, defining characteristics will consist of cultural traits like a unique language, social organisations, and a common (and indigenous) creation mythology.
Had this process not been interupted by external forces that then sought to re-invent the Yoruba people as a part of something else that was manufactured for purposes that they had never agreed to, then it is likely that historical exigencies would have compelled them to continue along the natural path that leads from clan-groups through tribes into one unified nation-state.
The other (and the most) detrimental effect of being yoked to a fake collective identity manifests as a predeliction that compels Yoruba to look outwards from their piece of Earth as nigerians rather than as Africans. What this means is that rather than being focused on the most dangerous elements of a hostile world-order that is slowly closing in on our home continent, we are more concerned with petty matters that affect how we exist as nonentities (i.e. nigerians).
With senses dulled
by heroic inhalations
of a hallucinogen
labelled 'one nigeria'
to establish colonies
in their midst
nigeria has been
a prison for our nation
May it not become
our nation's graveyard.
What Is Cancer? What Causes Cancer?
Cancer is a class of diseases characterized by out-of-control cell growth. There are over 100 different types of cancer, and each is classified by the type of cell that is initially affected.
Cancer harms the body when damaged cells divide uncontrollably to form lumps or masses of tissue called tumors (except in the case of leukemia where cancer prohibits normal blood function by abnormal cell division in the blood stream). Tumors can grow and interfere with the digestive, nervous, and circulatory systems, and they can release hormones that alter body function. Tumors that stay in one spot and demonstrate limited growth are generally considered to be benign.
More dangerous, or malignant, tumors form when two things occur:
1 : a cancerous cell manages to move throughout the body using the blood or lymph systems, destroying healthy tissue in a process called invasion that cell manages to divide and grow, making new blood vessels to feed itself in a process called angiogenesis.
2: When a tumor successfully spreads to other parts of the body and grows, invading and destroying other healthy tissues, it is said to have metastasized. This process itself is called metastasis, and the result is a serious condition that is very difficult to treat.
We are rightly concerned about cancers that affect and can destroy the body but, cancers that affect the soul are more detrimental because their effects outlast the lifetime of individuals. Cancers of the soul destroy nations.
Without exception, great nations have awe-inspiring creation myths. On the other hand, the origins of food-animal factories are described by entries in balance sheets and/or by mere anecdotes. We know what nigeria is because the primary reason for its manufacture was barely stated by its manufacturers as an excercise in efficient book-keeping.
After they had established their 'superiority' over these denizens of the 'dark continent' through judicious use of the maxim gun and skilled exploitation of human base innstincts, fuctionaries of the growing british empire sought out the best way through which the conquered 'natives' could be administered and kept subservient.
Why would any self-aware / self-respecting person give fealty to an entity manufactured as a contemptous act of war by an alien foe? With no apologies, Yoruba must decide by themselves if the condition otherwise described as 'one nigeria' is a thing that should continue to be endured...keeping in mind the fact that nigeria is not an incurable disease.
There is an urgent need to set up mechanisms that will enable all Yoruba, regardless of previous conditioning by foreign cultures or, current disposition behind artificial borders, to recover the wholeness of our collective awareness as one people. An awareness that manifests not just as an intellectual object but, also one with practical aspects which will include amongst other things, a re-assertion of the rights of Yoruba to decide who is to be allowed or denied access to our territories and our resources. The current practice whereby non-Yoruba, on the basis of being nigerian immigration officials, have the power to deny some Yoruba persons entry into Yorubaland because those persons are not nigerians must come to an end. As must the carrying of arms in Yoruba territories by persons who are not Yoruba.