Saturday, April 19, 2008

Africa, the usual beggar

“Europeans have a tendency of proclaiming ideas to the world that they do not believe themselves and would not dare live by if they are going to hold power over most of the people of the world.” – Professor John Henrik Clarke.

Sometime in February 2008, George Bush, the brain-challenged war-criminal that occupies the White House made a trip to Africa where he visited five countries. As usual the racist press in the West trumpeted the usual baloney that he was there to give aid and succor to hapless Africans who are, as usual, waiting with childlike helplessness for a White Father Christmas.

The usual lie has been told for about five hundred years that the White man in Africa is moved by altruistic motives to help his unfortunate cousin, too lazy or too primitive to help himself. And upon this patent falsehood has Europe build its scholarship. And it is this same falsehood that is being peddled by all the ideological institutions at the hand of Europe.

Sadly, many Africans have bought into this same mendacity.

Europe as an aid-giver? Give me a break. Europe’s greatest crime, as I’ve written elsewhere, is Europeans intellectual dishonesty. Having destroyed much of the non-white world, Europeans consciously set about to systematically recreate the world in their image. So we have today a people who should bury their collective head in shame going around the world swaggering with pride.

The historical truth, for those for whom doing simple research is not a burden, is that Europe was the last place on earth to see the light of civilization. More than half of human historical drama has passed before anyone noticed Europe. The Europe that invaded and destroyed much of the world’s civilization was a Europe that couldn’t feed or cloth itself. It was a Europe where a third of the population had perished from the plagues that perennially swept across Europe.

The yarn that Europeans set sail from their caves to go on global civilizing mission is simply that, yarn. To those dishonest ‘scholars’ who go around the world telling of a Europe bringing civilization to the rest of the world, I say go and read up on your shoddy and bloody past. Actually, they need not go further than reading Father Batholomew de Las Casas book, “ The Devastation of the Indies: A Brief Account,’ from where we read: “Yet into this sheepfold, into this land of weak outcasts there came some Spaniards who immediately behaved like ravening wild beasts, wolves, tigers or lions that have been starved for days. And Spaniards have behaved in no other way during the past forty years, down to the present time, for they are still acting like ravening beasts, killing, terrorizing, afflicting, torturing and destroying the native peoples, doing all this with the strangest and most varied new methods of cruelty, never seen or heard before, and to such a degree that this Island of Hispaniola, once so populous (Having a population that I estimated to be more than three million) has now a population of barely two hundred persons.”

Let’s move on to the theme of this piece. Soon after he was elected to the French Presidency, Nicolas Sarkozy, that diminutive racist lout took off for Africa. He went on to insult Africa at a university in Dakar (wonder why the Africans in the audience stayed and listened to his rubbish!). Sarkozy claimed that Africa had no history. I wish just one of those Africa present had the presence of mind to tell him that while his ancestors were perishing from famine, one African Emperor, Mansa Musa, was on a pilgrimage to Mecca, where he dazzled the Arabs with his wealth.

As usual the Western press were falling over themselves that Sarkozy was there to help Africa. At the end of his trip, no one bothered to tell us what he actually brought to Africa as gift. What I remember was that he succeeded in garnering multi-billion dollars contracts for French business concerns in Libya and Algeria.
Yet, we were told that Sarkozy was in Africa to help Africans! If Mr. Sarkozy’s treasury is bursting with extra cash, why doesn’t he inject some in rebuilding the numerous slums around Paris? Or use it to help the unemployed youth rampaging in his country?

Sometime in the month of February 2008, the BBC World service aired a documentary about the poverty that’s ravaging Britain. They showed us images that would rival the worst of slums in any of the so-called Third world. Yet, the leaders of Britain will tell you that their main goal in life is how to try to help Africa. Their scholars and media will bandy astronomical figures as the amount of aid they have poured into Africa. We are never told where to find the projects they have purportedly been funding all these years.

The US at the moment is undergoing enormous economic crises. The national debt will soon reach double-digit trillion dollars. Unemployment is at all time high. Chicaneries at highest levels of corporate America have resulted in crisis of confidence in the financial sector. Billions of dollars have been wiped off the stock market with several banks posting huge losses. Many Americans are bound to lose their houses, bought at the nebulously-named sub-prime rates.

Charity, they say, begins at home. If George Bush has money fighting in his pockets, why doesn’t he help his fellow Americans? Was this not the same president who refused to help Black Americans when hurricane devastated their homes in New Orleans in 2005?
I direct readers to Michael Moore’s open letter to Bush from which I quote: “No, Mr. Bush, you just stay the course. It's not your fault that 30 percent of New Orleans lives in poverty or that tens of thousands had no transportation to get out of town. C'mon, they're black! I mean, it's not like this happened to Kennebunkport. Can you imagine leaving white people on their roofs for five days? Don't make me laugh! Race has nothing -- NOTHING -- to do with this!

You hang in there, Mr. Bush. Just try to find a few of our Army helicopters and send them there. Pretend the people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast are near Tikrit.”
Those Africans who haven’t been outside African can be excused for still believing the lies about a Europe engage in some humanitarian enterprise to help the world. But to any African, except for the seriously purblind, who have spent any time in Europe, the idea is just laughable. It would take more than a miracle for a white man to give you something for nothing.

What is lost in all the western cacophonies of ‘aid’ ‘help’ is the absence of hooplas about how much western companies are making in raping African resources from the Cape to Cairo!

Actually, our quarrel is not with the West but with Africans, especially, African leaders and elite who continue to delude themselves that they have some friends in the West who are trying to help us.

The sad truth is that Africa never had a friend and we are not likely to ever have one. So, I say that it’s time that we remove the blinkers from our eyes, cure ourselves of our delusions, roll up our sleeves and start the struggle for self survival\redemption\development. Nothing new here if we take the simple fact that no society has ever been developed through charity into account.

It was the inimitable Malcolm X who once said that: “It might be necessary to bite the hand that feeds you if it stops you from feeding yourself.” Now is the time to take our destiny firmly in our hands. Let’s say a big thank you to all the Western do-gooders trampling around our land. Let’s tell them to go and rest their tired bones – they must be tired after all these years. They cannot continue to guide us indefinitely. If a child has to grow and develop, it must wean itself from its parents at a point in life. Our time is now. The Asians have successfully weaned themselves away and we are witnesses to the good job they are making at rebuilding the lives.

So long as we refuse to build the institutions that will enable us set the prices of our minerals and produce, so long shall the rest of the world continue to take us for granted. So long shall Europeans who cannot feed or clothe themselves without us continue to swagger on our streets, spewing their usual nonsense about being on some humanitarian mission.

My advice to Western leaders\scholars is: Try and learn something from the Chinese. Come to us; engage in honest commerce and go back home. Spare us your useless proclamation of love and aid. We do not need your love and we, certainly, do not need your charity.

They Came Before Columbus

History, as taught in the Western and Western-dominated world, gives the impression that the first Africans to reach the Americas were brought as slaves, in shackles on slaves-ships. So total is the Euro-Americans onslaught on black people that all military, missionary, scholarship, academic forces are mobilized to paint the picture of the African as an eternal slave of the white man.

In order to justify their crimes of slavery and colonialism, Europeans have constructed a web of lies and prevarication and passed them as historical truth. How else do we explain the Western historians deliberate distortion of the truth to paint the picture of a Caucasian master and an African slave - even in the Americas, where evidence abounded that black people were respected, even venerated, by the old Americans (Occidental Indians)?

So complete was the Europeans falsification of history that several people, both black and white, will be shocked to know that there were historical, archaeological, even botanical evidence of Africans contact with the New World in Pre-Colombian times. As usual, Western scholarship popularized the myth that the history of the Indians started with their 'discovery,' by the pirate, ego-tripster and genius of mass-murder, Christopher Columbus.

Happily, one by one, these edifices of distortions, constructed by white- supremacists posing as scholars, historians, anthropologists, even scientists, are being knocked down.

In his 'They Came Before Columbus,' Professor Ivan Van Sertima of Rutgers University assembled an impressive array of evidence to challenge one of the most persistent of these historical distortions. His argument are so compelling that very many high-calibre scholars, who have maintained the prejudiced line of history, are bound to fall flat from their pedestal. The style of the book is very engaging, almost novel-like - this makes a very good reading.

The first evidence of a black presence in the America was given to Columbus by the Indians themselves: they gave concrete proof to the Spanish that they were trading with black people. "The Indians of this Espanola said there had come to Espanola a black people who have the tops of their spears made of a metal which they called gua-nin, of which he [Columbus] had sent samples to the Sovereigns to have them assayed, when it was found that of 32 parts, 18 were of gold, 6 of silver and 8 of copper. The origin of the word guanin may be tracked down in the Mande languages of West Africa, through Mandigo, Kabunga, Toronka, Kankanka, Bambara, Mande and Vei. In Vei, we have the form of the word ka-ni which, transliterated into native phonetics, would give us gua-nin." p.11. This was just one of the numerous instances, cited by Professor Sertima, where the names, cultures and rituals of the Mandigos confluenced with those of the ancient Americans.

Thus we have the Bambara werewolf cult whose head is known as amantigi (heads of faith) appeared in Mexican rituals as amanteca. The ceremonies accompanying these rituals are too identical to have been independently evolved among peoples who have had no previous encounter. Talking devil is called Hore in Mandigo, and Haure in Carib. In the American language of Nahuatl a waistcloth is called maxtli, in Malinke it's masiti. The female loincloth is nagua in Mexico, it is nagba in Mande.

Why would the Indians claimed to have traded with black people if they haven't? Why would their faith and language have so much infusion of West African influence if these people haven't had any contact? These might not be sufficient, in themselves, to justify the claims that Africans have been visiting the Americas in pre-Colombian times. But there are witnesses. In 1513 Vasco Nunez de Balboa, another Spanish usurper came upon a group of African war captives in an Indian settlement. He was told that the blacks lived nearby and were constantly waging wars. A priest, Fray Gregoria Garcia wrote an account of another encounter in a book that was silenced by the inquisition: "Here we found slaves of the lord - Negroes- who were the first our people saw in the Indies." p.22. (It should be noted that in pre-European slavery, slaves are what we called 'Prisoners of wars' today. Thus, the Yorubas have the same name, 'ERU,' for both slaves and POWs.)

Aside from these confirmed sightings, there are also an abundance archeological evidence of an Africa presence in pre-Colombian times. These were in the form of realistic portraitures of Negro-Africans in clay, gold, and stone unearthed in pre-Colombian strata in Central and South America.- pp.23- 24. Moved by these overwhelming evidence, the Society of American Archeology at a conference in 1968, Professor Sertima reported, concluded: "Surely there cannot now be any question but that there were visitors to the New World from the Old in historic or even prehistoric time before 1492."

Then there is the oral history of the two peoples. The Griots - traditional historians and masters of orature - 'Oral Literature' in Mali, have stories about their King, Abubakari the second, grandson of Sundiata, the founder of the Mali Empire (larger than the Holy Roman Empire), who set out on a great expedition of large boats in 1311. None of the boats returned to Mali, but curiously around this time evidence of contact between West Africans and Mexicans appear in strata in America in an overwhelming combination of artifacts and cultural parallels. A black-haired, black-bearded figure in white robes, one of the representations of Quetzalcoatl, modeled on a dark-skinned outsider, appears in paintings in the valley of Mexico... while the Aztecs begin to worship a Negroid figure mistaken for their god Tezcatlipoca because he had the right ceremonial color. Negroid skeletons are found in this time stratum in the Caribbean... 'A notable tale is recorded in the Peruvian traditions ... of how black men coming from the east had been able to penetrate the Andes Mountains.'" p.26

The voyage of Abubakari, Professor Sertima pointed out, may not be as daunting as it seems for anyone who understand the Ocean currents. These currents, which traverse the World's oceans, serves as natural marine conveyor belts. "Once you enter them you are transported (even against your will, even with no navigational skill) from one bank of the ocean to the other."pp.22-23. Several successful attempts have been made to demonstrate that it was possible to cross the Atlantic from the Equator to South America, even in small boat.

To the scholars, blinded by racial prejudice, who maintained that the blacks were brought into the Americas as slaves by Phoenicians, Professor Sertima posed the question: "Why would a people as sophisticated as the Indians built temples, shrines and statues to honor slaves, and none to the supposed masters? Indeed why would a people considered so lowly be venerated at all? " The people who were host to these Negro-African figures are known as the Olmecs ... In all, eleven colossal Negroid heads appear in the Olmec heartland." pp.30- 31. The artifacts have been carbon-dated and it is beyond question that they predates the Columbus era.

Banana, yam, beans and gourd are Old World plants that predates Columbus in the Americas. How did they got there? While the last [gourd] could have been transported by the ocean currents, the first three cannot survive such prolonged exposure. "The African word for banana runs right through these American languages."p199.

Pipe smoking was another African pastime that found its way into the Americas. "The Malinke words meaning to smoke are dyamba and dyemba. These can account for South American smoke words such as the Guipinavi, dema; Traiana, iema; Maypures, jema; Guahiba, sema; Caberi, scema; Baniva, djeema; and so on. The Mandigo word duli (to smoke) which also occurs in the same form in Toma and Bambara, and in its variant forms nduli and luli in Mende, can be found among the American languages Carb, Arawak, Chavantes, Baniva, Acroamirin, and Goajira." p.217. On page 252 through 253, there were several citations of ethnic American names duplicated only among the Berbers, and nowhere else in the world.

Professor Sertima cited several authorities to buttress his forceful arguments that there were African presence in the Americas before Columbus came. He showed evidence to support his views that these blacks were not slaves but traders and priests who were honored and venerated by the Indians - who built statues in their honors. In the closing of the book, he declaimed the notion of 'discovery.' In his own words: "It would be an irony, indeed, to find that Americans 'discovered' Europe many centuries before Europeans 'discovered' America. But the whole notion of any race (European, African or American) discovering a full-blown civilization is absurd. They presume some innate superiority in the 'discoverer' and something inferior and barbaric in the people 'discovered.'... What I have sought to prove is not that Africans 'discovered' America, but that they made contact on at least half a dozen occasions, two of which were culturally significant for Americans."

'THEY CAME BEFORE COLUMBUS' is a must read for anyone seeking knowledge about Africa of old, before slavery and colonialism reduced the black man to the object of ridicule and humiliation. It is also imperative for those Europeans who would like to know the true relation of Europe to World civilization, untainted by the lies and vain-glories of their popular history books, to read it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Obasanjo Agonistes

“Ti iya nla ba gbeni sanle, awon kekeke a ma gori eni.” – Yoruba proverb. English translation would be something like: “When a great calamity befalls a man, tiny indignities will start to pile atop.”

It is very difficult for me not to feel sorry for former Nigerian President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. Less than a year ago, Uncle Sege, as he’s fondly called, was a master of all that he surveyed. Today, his image lay in ruins. It is as though every Nigerian needs to take a swipe at the Ota chief in order to feel better.

Sometime in 2007, I wrote a rejoinder to one Godwin Offoaro who was among the advocates of Chief Obasanjo’s elongation of his presidential term. I wrote, inter alia: “I believe that Chief Obasanjo will be doing a great disservice to himself, his family, the Yoruba race and the Nigerian nation if he should listen to the Offoaros of this world. As a born-again Christian, Chief Obasanjo is undoubtedly unaware of the fact that it is those who cry “Hossanah,” today who are going to be crying “Crucify him,” tomorrow.

I don’t know if he reads articles on the internet, but those close to Chief Obasanjo and those who truly love him should advice him to quit when his term ends. He has no business listening to people like Chief Offoaro. “

How prophetic!

Less than a year after he quit being President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo is being daily lampooned by critics left and right. Those corrupt, self-serving and envelope-chasing, shameless lot that call themselves journalists in Nigeria are using Obasanjo’s name to sell the scandal-mongering junks they call newspapers! And on the net, we have the arm-chair critics, many of them brandishing PhDs, telling bare-faced lies in order to bash Uncle Sege!

I hold no brief for Chief Obasanjo. Except for a brief encounter at the Amsterdam airport long time ago, I have never met the man. And in all honesty, he's simply too crude for my liking. But I am outraged whenever my intelligence is assaulted. How on earth can any thinking human being claim that the Obasanjo’s regime was the worst ever in the history of Nigeria?

This is clearly an affront.

I was too young to remember regimes up to the Ironsi brief tenure. But I have being a witness to Nigeria’s governance since Gowon and I hereby challenge anyone, I repeat, anyone to come out and tell us which other government has performed better that the Obasanjo’s regime. It might be true that in the land of the blind, the one-eyed is the king. But so far as achievements are concern, no other Nigerian leader even come close to chief Obasanjo impressive records.

Chief Obasanjo is certainly no saint; no human being is. But let’s learn to give credit where it is due. For crying out loud, the man spent eight years ruling Nigeria and brought a modicum of respectability to the country. Of course, the roads are still in terrible shape. The electricity generation and distribution systems are still in shambles and a host of other things. But Chief Obasanjo successfully tackled the telecommunication sector. He effectively reformed the banking sector. He paid off Nigeria’s debt. He left the Nigerian treasury in better shape than he met it. If every Nigerian leader has registered the same modest achievement, the country will not be in the sorry state it is today.

Below are some of the things Chief Obasanjo did and for which he deserves credit. And I ask those criticizing him to tell us which other Nigerian leader can boast of the same achievements.

Nigeria’s external debt and reserve: Chief Obasanjo inherited a looted treasury brimming only with crippling external debt. At the end of his tenure, these debts have not only been paid back, but he left a respectable (US$30+billion) reserves in the country’s external accounts. And some people are arguing that the man’s eight years tenure was wasted!

Nigeria’s international image: I do not know where these critics were living before the second coming of Chief Obasanjo. What is not in question, as any honest and honourable person will attest, is that Nigeria’s external image then was at the lowest ebb possible. Nigeria was then equated only with dictatorship and 419ers. The country lost its voices at international forum. Nigeria was a pariah state and its attempt to galvanized support for a UN seat was seen as a bad joke.

Employing Nigerian human talents: At least all his critic admits that Chief Obasanjo is a totally-detribalised Nigerian. His Yoruba critics apparently are miffed because he refused to use his presidential terms to promote a Yoruba agenda. His Hausa critics are angry because they believe that he clipped the wings of the Northern oligarchists. What is difficult to understand his where his Igbo critics are coming from?

No other Nigerian leader has given the Igbo the same high-profile appointments accorded them by Chief Obasanjo. And yet, even those Igbos who choose to praise him had to qualify their credit. Of course, Doctors Okonjo-Iweala,Oby Ezekwesili and Soludo are brainy, world class technocrats. But Nigeria would have been deprived of their huge talents had Chief Obasanjo not brought them aboard.

I noticed the tendency among the Igbo critics in not seeing anything positive about non-Igbos and I find this particularly sad. They can borrow a leaf from their Yoruba cousins who remain their own worst critics.

A Yoruba proverb says: “Eni ti a se lore ti ko dupe; bi olosa gbeni leru lo ni.” The English language is ill-equipped to deal with African proverbs, but a rendition would be: “Those to whom we render help but remain ungrateful are akin to thieves stealing one’s wares.”

I am not saying that the Igbos should start vibrating with gratitude. But they should learn to see something positive also in non-Igbos.

Telecommunication: Pre-Obasanjo’s Nigeria was in the stone sage, tele-communication-wise. Under the regime of General Abdulsalami, yours truly was arrested in Nigeria by a police constable who believed that only armed robbers and drug pushers needed mobile phone. My plea that mobile phones are common things in Ghana where I live fell on deaf ears. Today, Nigeria is numero uno in Africa in mobile telephony usage.

Reforms in the banking sector: The London-based New African magazine in its April 2008 edition has a supplementary on Nigeria. In it we read about the tremendous strides Nigerian banks are making with some of them now listed on the London Exchange. Any traveler in the West African sub-region cannot but notice the presence of Nigerian banks.

What Chief Obasanjo and his team did with the Nigerian banking sector is nothing short of revolutionary. The question is: whom do the chief’s critics credited with this achievement?

The EFCC: On fighting corruption, there is no single Nigerian or even African leader (with the possible exception of Ghana’s Jerry Rawlings) who has fought tenaciously against corruption like Chief Obasanjo. Again, the record is clear.

Who but a child born today hasn’t heard of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission? And may we ask these critics whom they credited with setting up the EFCC?

I am not at all arguing that corruption has been entirely removed from Nigeria. What is clear is that corrupt leaders today no longer enjoy the same type of impunity they enjoyed in pre-EFCC days! And the notorious 419ers have had their operations heavily curtailed.

The EFCC recently celebrated its fifth anniversary. Among its achievements, the commission claimed to have recovered cash and assets worth US$500 billion from corrupt leaders. This is very solid achievements in anyone’s book. We are entitled to ask the Obasanjo bashers why they keep hammering upon corruption under his regime and not mentioning the staggering sum recovered by his government.

I do not argue that Obasanjo is not corrupt. No, the argument here is: which Nigerian leader has fought corruption and recovered any money for the nation apart from Chief Obasanjo? This includes even the muscular despotism of General Buhari.

Even if he’s corrupt, Chief Obasanjo couldn’t have stolen upward of 500 billion dollars which still puts him on the credit side. Uncle Sege might be corrupt, or he might not. I simply have no evidence. The onus is upon those accusing him to provide evidence of his corruption. It is part of our civic responsibilities to report cases of corruption to institutions like the EFCC.

Why on earth is difficult to believe that the man could have borrowed the money for his businesses from the banks as he claimed? Which collateral is more solid than the Presidency of the nation? It might be unethical to abuse the privileges of his office, but it’d be a lesser offence than looting the commonwealth!

I thought the most successful entrepreneurs are those most able to use their connections. Case in point: a Nigerian, Dangote, is reputed to be Africa’s richest man. As far as I know, no one is accusing Alhaji Dangote of corruption.

The post-Abacha Nigeria was a disaster waiting to happen. It was a morally and financially bankrupt nation wallowing in financial debt and international opprobrium. It was a pariah state in every sense of the world. It was a nation tottering on breakup. Few Nigerians dare call it a home.

Although we have not reached the Promised Land yet, but most Nigerians I talk to today believe in the viability of the Nigerian Project. Today, many of us proudly call ourselves Nigerians. And may I please ask to whom these Obasanjo-bashers would give the credit of rescuing us from the rot to?

Even if only because he made it possible for us to call and talk to our loved ones at home with ease, we ought to salute that singular achievement!

Dear reader, please try and understand my rage when I read these jeun-jeun (chopchop) analysts having their verbal diarrheas. Of course, we are all entitled to our opinions, however ludicrous. But those of us who make it our business (most especially the analysts among us) to inform should be circumspect in getting our facts and figures right. The onus is upon us to be disciplined enough not to allow our emotions and personal grudges to becloud our sense of judgment and objectivity. We owe it to posterity to strive to set the records straights as others might be tempted to use our pieces as sources for their research. That’s my plea!

Given the vituperation directed against the person of Chief Obasanjo, I think mayhap Nigerians deserve the type of otiose leadership they have been getting over the years. Most of the so-called Nigerian analysts I read are too myopic. Most of them apparently cannot see or reason beyond their nose. This makes me wonder why they choose to become disseminators of information rather than fiction writers!

Chief Obasanjo fought in his youth to keep Nigeria one. In his old age he went to jail to help install democracy. A man with his accomplishments certainly doesn’t deserve to be kicked around!

The question Nigerians have to ask themselves is whether or not a society can prosper where members see nothing good in one another. What good can come out of a country where citizens fanatically believe in rubbishing each other?

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Patriotic Journalism

“I wish African journalists were like their western counterparts.”

“How do you mean?”

“Western media are virtually adjunct of their governments.”

“That is a rather sweeping generalization.”

“Once you understand how they function, you can easily predict their take on any given issue.”


“Take the case of Senator Obama. Remember him as the half-black, half-white (call him a Semite if you like), who’s running for the Presidency of the United States. The American media pilloried the poor man until he was forced to disown his own pastor and rendered the speech of his life.”

“What’s wrong with that? His Pastor was caught on tape calling on the Almighty to damn America. That’s high un-patriotism by anyone’s definition.”

“See, that’s exactly what I mean: the double-standard. It’s always one standard for white people, and another one for the rest of us.”

“I still don’t get you. What exactly is getting your goat? What’s your gripe with the Western media?”

“Ok, how many people are currently running for the presidency?”

“The field has been whittled down to three.”

“See what I mean: three people. Two whites and one black. Or half-black. They just call him black anyway, as though his white mother doesn’t count. The two white people have never been called to account for the crimes or the speeches of their supporters. It’s only Senator Obama who has been so badly treated. The American media just pretend as though they never heard of Pastor John Hagee whom Senator McCain declared a friend. “I'm proud to have Pastor Hagee's support," that’s what the Republican Candidate has to say on the vitriolic Pastor whose chilly utterances are so hate-filled that they couldn’t be repeated here. Yet, American media never condemned McCain for associating with such a certified racist.”

“But that just one incident is not enough to sweep all the media off the carpet.”

“Where have you been, my friend? I can give you an encyclopedia of examples.”

”Please do.”

“The problem is not what to tell you but where to begin. Take the case of the man the Western world considers the greatest being since Jesus. I am talking of the Mandiba. Nelson Mandela. That was a guy who was prepared to forgive and forget all the indignities the apartheid regime piled upon him, but he wasn’t prepared to forgive his own wife and the mother of his children. Ah! It was Winnie that kept his name alive during the 27 years of incarceration. But what did our Saint do? As soon as the media dug the dirt up on the real ‘Mother of the Liberation,’ Mandela disowned and divorced her with speed a that’s simply outstanding.”

“My friend, do you mean that the great man should have stayed with a woman who allowed others to eat from his sugar pan?”

“That’s what I mean by double standards. How many Western politicians have been caught in sexual peccadilloes and yet have their spouses standing loyally by them? Didn’t you see Governor Elliot’s wife gazing up adoringly at him as he confessed to blowing fortunes on prostitutes? Senator Hillary Clinton didn’t disown Bill when the man was fucking one of the white house interns, among others.”

“But it is a different culture.”

“Different culture indeed. Why do you think that they are picking up on Thabo Mbeki?”

“Why do I have the feeling that you’re going to tell me?”

“Ok, I will tell you. Thabo Mbeki’s tribulations have to do with his not being ready to play another Mandela to the whites. He’s a solid Pan-Africanist. I take it that you have not been reading his presidential speeches on the ANC website.”

“I am afraid I have been giving them a miss.”

“You really don’t know what you’re missing. Mbeki is prepared to tell the whites some home truth and, of course, they hate his guts with passion.”

“But what has all these got to do with the western media?”

“My friend, you have not being listening. It has everything to do with it. If you have been following my logic, you will see that those albinos whom we call whites always act as a unit against non white-people. I do not have anything against that, per se – I really wish we blacks will develop the same sense of racial solidarity. You see, the whites, irrespective of politics, ideology or religion, operate as a united force against non-whites. And the overriding ideology is to ensure that they come out on top everywhere in the world. That’s why you find the western media usually singing from the same script as their governments. Remember Saddam Hussein?”

“It isn’t easy to forget that monster.”

“He is a monster because the western media morphed him into one. Remember that he was a darling of the west in his insane war against the Iranians. As soon as he threatened western interests in the oildoms of Arabia, Western government simply morphed him into an anti-Christ. Of course, the western media lapped it up and dug up all the dirt they could find on him. Saddam was promoted to an ogre seeking weapons to destroy humanity as we know it. Of course, the western media didn’t tell you that it was western governments that sold the damn things to him in the first place. They also failed to tell you that there’s no weapon in Saddam’s puny armoury that would not be found in any western nation’s armoury. See the double standard that I was talking about.”

“But Saddam massacred his own people.”

“My friend, what has the white man been doing in all his wretched history? From Africa to Australia to the Caribbean, South and North America, the albinos have done nothing but massacred non-white human beings wherever they met them. We are damn lucky in Africa. Or mayhap our ancestors are not sleeping. Look, according to their own estimates, about three thousand people were killed during the 9/11 affair. The whole world knows that figure the way they know their palms. Can you tell me how many Afghans or Iraqi lives have been wasted by the white man’s pursuit of what he calls justice?”

“But there is a big difference. 9/11 was an unprovoked terrorist attack, whilst the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are declared military operations.”

“Don’t talk like a fool, my friend. Unprovoked, ah! What do you call what the CIA, the British, French, Dutch and German secret services have been doing all over the world changing governments, organizing coups and launching proxy wars? How would you react if Yankee armies are occupying your country, protecting your corrupt rulers who allow American corporations to siphon off your country’s oil wealth and have their marines profaning your holy sites with their amoral behavior? You tell me that you are going to ‘siddon and look.’ To tell you the truth, the only surprise is that the rest of the world has refused to pay the white man back in his own bad coin.

“Again, look at all those mortgage scandals currently engulfing the western nations? Were that to happen in Africa, we all know how the western media would have flame us. They would have used it to blame every living African as a corrupt fool incapable of managing simple finances. But we see how sympathetically the media in the west is reporting it. No one is demonizing the whole white race for the crimes of their ruling plutocrats.”

“You are digressing, my friend.”

“Digressing? How digressing? I am painting the full picture of the white man’s duplicity to you. Can you really believe that the BBC has the temerity to inform the world that it smuggled its reporters into Zimbabwe to cover the recent elections?”

“But they were banned from entering?”

“What are you talking about, my friend? You are not supporting such utter disdain for things African by that odious mouthpiece of British imperialism, are you?”

“Many people believe the BBC to be impartial?”

“Impartial, my foot! Of course, they are impartial so long as the interests of their paymasters are not at stake. Would you watch all those jaundiced reporting the western media was dishing out and blame the Zimbabwean government for banning them? I won’t. I wish they would even shoot the lot of them on sight. They are a disgusting lot and they are a crying shame to what they call their profession.”

“Shooting the messengers, are we now!”

“Those fellas are certainly no messengers; they are part and parcel of the White Supremacy structures to maintain Western hegemony over the world. Can you not contrast their style in Kenya and Zimbabwe? Kenya is the perfect neo-colonial African state, where white people are still allowed to keep their ill-gotten privileges, so the so-called impartial media in the west are sympathetic in their reporting on Kenya. Whist Zimbabwe, which is courageously stripping the albinos of their ill-gotten possession, is being daily demonized.”

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

419 Elections

It’s pretty difficult to make a head or tail out of the just concluded elections in Nigeria. According to the twenty plus gentlemen who contested against the ruling party’s candidate, it was the worst election manipulations engineered anywhere in the world. National, Regional and International election observers were simply flabberwhelmed (contraption of flabbergasted and overwhelmed) by the whole thing that many were simply beyond speech.

The Nigerian government and, of course, the ruling party (People’s Democratic Party or DPD) begged to differ. According to the PDP which prides itself as Africa’s Biggest Party, the 2007 elections were simply the best thing that happened to the country since the invention of that potent brew, Ogogoro.

To get a better angle on things, I called upon the Nigeria High Commission at their new offices located at the Airport Area of Accra where the Director of Public Affairs, Alhaji Yisa Dangoro, warmly received me. Over a seafood lunch at the High Commission well-appointed canteen, I tried to pick the spin doctor’s brain.

“Should I congratulate or commiserate with you on your country’s recent elections?”
“Commiserate, what for, Femi?” The PR-man challenged.

“The International Community has denounced the elections as fraudulent and the opposition parties are hollering that it was the grandmother and grandfather of all election riggings.”

“Haba, Femi. What’s new in the opposition shouting rigging after losing lections in Africa? Where have you been all these years?” The PR man was obviously in a nasty funk and he was not entertaining any nonsense.

“Sir, it’s not only the opposition who are crying foul. The local, the regional, the continental as well as the international election observers gave the elections a huge thumb down. I am only trying to find out why your country, not noted for its many positive attributes, is courting more opprobrium.”

“That is not entirely true, and you know it, Femi.” The spin magician protested vigorously.

“No, sir! I didn’t know of a single person apart from the ruling party or the government who have had any positive thing to say or write about the elections. And many commentators have simply been merciless in their criticism which is rubbing badly not only on your country, but also on the whole continent.”

“That’s not true! The chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) described the elections as the best in the annals of elections in Nigeria.”

“That makes a load of difference.” I retorted, bristling with sarcasm.

The PR doctor took offense and remonstrated harshly: “That tone is totally uncalled for, Femi. The INEC’s Chairman is a highly regarded personality noted for his honesty, integrity and impartiality. He is a Professor, too.”

“Now, I’m getting the picture.” I replied, shaking my head.

But the PR guru wasn’t finished. “It should be noted that prior to the elections, the INEC invited all the parties and all accredited monitors to inspect its facilities. And all of them, without exception, gave the INEC a pat on the back. Now the elections are over and done with, the so-called opposition parties, in disarray at the best of times, are crying foul. Haven’t we been there before?”

I decided to change tact. “Sir, I believe that it’s not just the brazen effrontery that so bedazzled Nigerians and foreigners alike, but the almost impossible mathematical feat of the ruling party claiming to have won over seventy percent of the total votes in a country as diverse as Nigeria. It reminds one some former Soviet republics where leaders routinely garner ninety percentage of votes.”

The PR man fumed: “From where do you find your mathematical impossibility? Didn’t you know that the Nigeria’s ruling party is the largest party in the whole of Africa…”

“So it has been rumoured.” I interjected.

“Kai, it’s not a rumour! We are talking facts and figures here, Femi. And it’s the only party whose tentacles reach into every nook and cranny of the land. And then take a look at what you call opposition in Nigeria. Most of them are one-man show affairs. And they are as fragmented as they are incoherent. I will tell you one thing, Femi. Before this day is over, many of the so-called opposition leaders will be calling on the President-Elect to congratulate him.”

“Hmm” I said.

“That’s not all, Femi. Mark my word, before this very day is over, the ambassadors of the so-called International Community will be falling over themselves to have an audience with the new leader. We have had the best elections in our country and what any busy-body thinks of it is her palaver. And don’t forget that we have oil and gas in abundance”

“That surely makes a hell of a difference.” I mocked.

The Alhaji overlooked my mockery: “It surely does. Oil is what keeps the world going on its merry rounds. The elections were not only free and fair but the best candidate by all indications won. Don’t forget that he’s the first university graduate to be elected a leader in Nigeria.”

“Sir, but how could you be so right and the rest of the world are so wrong?”
“Look, Femi. We live in Nigeria and we understand the situation better than anyone. As the giant of Africa, we do not expect everyone to see eye to eye with us.”
“Giant of Africa,” I sneered, “you certainly no longer believes that, do you?”
“By all means,” he screamed, “certainly. Whichever you look at it, Nigeria remains the giant of Africa.”

“Sir, with due respects, your case reminds me of the man who is generally regarded with contempt but who continue to view himself with admiration. Joke’s aside, your inability to conduct an exercise as simple as census or elections negates all your empty boasts of being a giant of Africa. And according to all the indices of development, your country is not qualified to even be called a Dwarf of Africa.”
“Kai, Femi! That’s totally unacceptable! I can understand it if the imperialists West are damning every good thing that we are trying to achieve, but for a fellow African…”

“Look, Mr. PR, why drag any imperialist into the fiasco you call elections. You have to recognize that your badly organized elections reflect also very badly on your fellow Africans. It’s no longer tenable to hide behind African solidarity for your shortcomings. Ghana, Benin and recently Mali, to mention just three small African states, managed to hold free, fair and peaceful elections devoid of the violence and the mayhem we all saw in Nigeria! And your big-for-nothing country organized elections that would shame even a Soviet republic, and you dare call yourself the giant of Africa!”

The PR guru goes into a sulking mode: “We cannot help it if the imperialists and their lackeys do not like our faces. But the simple truth is that no election anywhere in the world is totally free and totally fair. We all witnessed the fiasco in Florida and recently in Scotland. Even a British Minister attested to the fact that there is rigging of elections in Great Britain as well. She said publicly that dead people voted in her own constituency, how about that?”

“Sir, I think that you’re still missing the whole point. We’re not talking perfection her. It is a common saying that those who fail to prepare have prepared to fail. How on earth does your country, which cannot, over the years, organize the logistics of distributing petroleum, hoped to distribute 65 million voting cards within 48 hours which is what you attempted doing?”

“You see,” the PR guru cried like an excited Pastor,” Damn if we do, damned if we don’t. We had to obey the ruling of the Supreme Court that one of the candidates should be allowed to contest. You know that we’d have been flayed had we not obey. And here you are now damning us for…”

“Sir, sir, you are, once again, totally missing the point. The election dates were not arbitrarily chosen. You have had four solid years to prepare. Why did you have to wait until the last moment…”

The PR man banged his fists on his table to interrupt me: “You’re not being fair. We could not have foreseen the circumstances of disqualification and all that. And when an aggrieved participant goes to court, we, as a democratic and law abiding state, have to await the outcome. And this we did in good faith and you are here today condemning us. It is not fair!”

“I must apologize again that you felt that way. What is not fair, in my books, is the election crime perpetrated against the Nigerian people. One your most notable citizens, Professor Wole Soyinka, described it as an electoral coup de tat…”

The PR magician laughed: “Professor Soyinka is not the most objective commentator on the current government in Nigeria. And you should know how those professors of English are given to hyperbole. Why do you think he won the Nobel Prize?”

“Do you count him among those who will parade to congratulate the new leader?”

“Professor Soyinka, you must be kidding. Those types of people are contented just to blow big big grammar. As long as you leave them alone to do their things, they are OK. I was talking about the professional politicians. Those ones are fair feather and they blow with any wind. You can be rest assured that many of them are presently burning copper trying to get through to the President-Elect. They would like to start jostling for Ministerial, ambassadorial and other positions like that. It’s the nature of things.

“But many of them are threatening to call general strikes and others are threatening to go to the tribunals.”

“That’s what the tribunals are for.” The Alhaji dead-panned.

“You do not appear disturbed by the prospect of violence and a general strike.”

The Alhaji permitted himself another laugh. “That’s what I meant when I said that you foreigners have absolutely no understanding of the dynamics of Nigerian politics. Of course, the opposition leaders will threaten fire and brimstone, but I can assure you, and you can assure your readers, that their threat will come to naught. Mark my words. Which Nigerian will come out and put his head on the firing line because of a politician whose children are safely tucked away overseas? It’s you foreigners that give currency to threats by opposition leaders. In Nigeria we safely dismiss their threats as ‘Shakara Oloje.”

“Finally, sir, do you think that the new president will still go after the notorious 419 people?”

“And why the hell not?” The PR man wanted to know.

“Because it is widely believe that his election was the worst fraud ever perpetrated against a people and a nation.”

Wise saying:

" Never use both feet to test the depth of the sea." - African proverb