I came across the phrase “colonial enterprise” in the yore days back in the university when we were studying the origin of the press in Africa which talked about the “saros” or the African elites who became the progenitors of what culminated into the modern press in Africa.
I can still recall vividly when the course lecturer, Dr. P.B. Ozano of the Department of History and International Studies used the word partners of colonial enterprise to describe anything that worked against the interest of Africa. Little did it occur to me back then that I will ever use it in a treatise like this.
As I journeyed on in life after studying the way African governments have tied themselves to the apron strings of countries in Europe, America and lately Asia, suddenly I recalled the phrase my lecturer used for the African elites who are today the heads of the African governments.
When I compared it to what is prevailing across Africa, the topic, “How African Governments Became Partners of Colonial Enterprise was born”.
In the above analogy P. B Ozano’s main argument as premised on the fact that, the elites wanted a role in the colonial government which they did not get. This denial of European to assign roles to the African elites propelled them to stage war against the colonial powers and eventually African countries got independence. That fit is an achievement for which the credit must be given to our elites.
However, decades after the independence, it is rather unfortunate to observe that, most of the African governments rather turned out to be working against the interest of Africa with policies and programs carefully crafted by the Western power bloc to protect their colonial interest in Africa.
The elites who took over the governments in Africa became imitators of Europeans, by ensuring that the heavily discriminating policies which the “Oyinbo” practiced are now targeted against fellow Africans who are not in the corridors of power.
Contrary to the expectations of the masses, instead of breaking loose and establishing an African government laid on an indigenous foundation, most of the African governments and their leaders became comfortable with taking of handouts on the way forward for the African nations. This practice is the same reason I am today ascertained that African leaders are truly partners of colonial enterprise – an evil agenda.
As encapsulated in the history of colonial administration in Africa, when Vasco-da Gamma reported of the superfluous and enormous wealth in Africa, the Europeans came in droves and feasted on Africa. One thing which was not lost on them was the need to ensure the supremacy of the white man over the black man by any means possible through hook line and sinker.
It is indeed sad, to observe that our elites who took over the reign of power could not handle it to the advantage of the nation states of Africa.
Without mincing words, almost all the African states are tied to their colonial masters with one form of subtle fetter or the other which they regulate at will.
African heads of state, have the blueprint of their regime endorsed by foreign powers. Not to go too far, the President Muhammadu Buhari regime presented his agenda and secured western powers endorsement at the chatham house lecture which he delivered before his election in 2015. The UN General Assembly and other international organizations are all instruments used by Western powers to manipulate African governments to their advantage.
Through the subservient role of the African leaders who refused to forget the black box mentality and put on the brain box mentality, the so called independent African countries have helped foreign countries to execute what they could not accomplished during their colonial conquest.
Unlike Asian governments like India, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and countries like Brazil and Argentina in America, African governments have not demonstrated enough willingness and determination to build a PAN African continent with nations that are truly egalitarian.
What we see at a closer view is an African with leaders who are more interested in personal aggrandizement even if it means the promotion of established colonial agenda.
Today in Nigeria, anybody in government, sees himself or herself as a metaphor of the colonial masters, who pride themselves as above and superior to the people who voted them into power. Meanwhile, the government officials ought to know that they are sent there by the people to serve, but erroneously, they see themselves as masters while the people they serve have become servants. This practice that we experience today in Nigeria is the true colonial structure which we refused to change from.
This conscious effort of government officials to play overlord role like the colonial Lords have created a wide gap in leadership which we are still grappling to correct with no solution at sight. The porous performance of successive governments in Africa has raised some voices, which argued that, even though Europe indeed underdeveloped Africa, according to the works of “Walter Rodney and Frantz Fanon in Black Skin”, the injuries the independent African states and their despots have inflicted on the African economy and her political system is worst than what the Europeans actually did.
Most African leaders like Museveni of Sudan, Paul Biya of Cameroon, Paul Kaigama of Rwanda, Nkurunziza of Burundi; and many others are threats to the emergence of an established political order and a stable African economy.
An in depth look across nations in Africa simply shows that we are playing a second fiddle role to governments in the east and western blocs.
This same reason partly summed up why I wrote to object in strong terms that president Muhammadu Buhari, should not sign the European Economic Partnership Agreement (EEPA) which is packaged to serve the colonial interest our governments are tailored to serve. From what I have been able to gather, the EEPA agreement which at best may throw some carrots to the signatories of the deal, after some time it will dig another big economic valley for the African continent and we may not be able to pull out if we don’t wise up now by refusing to be part of this ploy.
Clearly, African leaders through their actions or inactions by doing what they should not do or their inactions of failing to do what they should do have failed us.
Collectively, they made themselves bad instruments of a progressive Africa even when they had the same opportunity the Asian Tigers used to rewrite their history.
Since, the West and East blocs have come to know that African leaders are more interested in the acquisition of private dollars accounts outside their continental shelf, the very great grand children of our colonial masters are today ready in their trenches to trip on ready Africans leaders to rip off their economy and leave the masses as paupers.
The major problem of Africa is nothing but the elites who are by extension the arrow heads in governments.
How do we reconcile the fact that Africa had the same colonial experience with the Asian countries of Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, India on the one hand and Brazil, Argentina of America continent who suffered the same predicaments but have since moved on with their lives as nations with zeal for self-determination who today have forgotten the pains of the fetters of colonial rule.
The retrogressive performance of African leaders again has raised another question that the atmospheric temperature in the political turf of Africa under colonial rule was friendlier than the harsh reality of what we see today across African countries. Frankly speaking the authoritarian posture of the despotic African leaders is something that beats my imagination.
I hold the view that, successive Nigerian governments since independence, no matter how they would try to extricate themselves from this continental blame, they are culpable. Even if the government of President Muhammadu Buhari that is acclaimed to be fighting corruption says that their skin is Essau, it is clear to Nigerians who can see between the lines that they also have the voice of Jacob.
The African leaders are so shortsighted that, they are ready to sign the death warrant of their country for their private interest for anything that is packaged from the western or eastern bloc. Whatever their economy and human capital will suffer later is none of their business. The tight rope experience and the porous African economy have a nexus that is directly proportional to bad leadership models with wrong values which do not give room to understanding or wisdom for a solid foundation which the holy writhe called the principal thing.
The action of those who have succeeded in planting themselves as leaders in Africa is an indication that they have not done much with their thinking caps. Even though we have what we call political independence, we are economically an appendage of Western powers.
Professor E.A. Ayandele who studied what can be termed the metamorphosis of the Nigerian government or elites in a seminar on the performance of successive Nigerian government described our government as a hybrid, traitors and collaborators who only think of their stomach.
The African leaders who refused to take handouts did pretty well but the enemy will not allow them to blossom for example we were told that Cornell Muamar Gaddafi who refused to be a surrogate and ensured that the American dollar was shoulder to should with the Libya dinar was labelled bad and shown the way out through an American backed NATO forces operation.
General Murtala Mohammed of blessed memory after delivery the popular lecture titled “Africa has come of age” which challenged all the practices that makes Africans to promote European interest died 34 days after delivering the popular lecture. When Africans go to Europe or America they call us immigrants but when they come to Africa we call them expatriates.
The prices of commodities produced in Africa is fixed in London both the price of what we produce and what they produce is determine by them. Even African currencies is controlled by the London and the Paris Club. Gen. Thomas Sankara of Burkina Faso stood against this evil agenda of western powers but they did not allow him to open their can of worms as he died unexpectedly in a coup that is traceable to the western powers. As it is today, in Africa if manifestoes of political parties is given a prime place in the political process it will go a long way in arresting the hypocritic attitudes of gullible Africans.
The colonial masters had an agenda which was nothing but to ensure that the white man controls the black man in every arrangement. The various instruments used were deliberately orchestrated to meet that objective. However, the one big question we keep asking is the inability of the African governments to seize the opportunity of divine providence to turn round the economy of Africa.
Many African countries truly need liberation like the current case of Zimbabwe where the three musketeers played a fast one on the people of the country. Even President Emmerson Mnanagwa who is receiving series of congratulatory messages now may turn out to be the other side of the same coin having served for so long in the Robert Mugabe government.
In the spirit and letter of developmental journalism, we must be bold enough to tell the African leaders that they have failed to do the right thing and also to suggest the way forward which is free, fair and credible elections in the African continent. Due to the way democracy have been bastardized in Nigeria our independence beyond the flag, the anthem and the pledge are facing real test of time.
A guy argued recently in a Delta broadcasting radio program monitored in Warrithat after Independence only Chief Obafemi Awolowo and few leaders planned for Nigeria while others went to sleep. He asserted in that program that the Awolowo free education in the West placed that region ahead of others in the country. He went further to say that immediately after independence pensioners who are senior citizens of the country who were not owed a dime by the colonial government started suffering hellish experience for money the independent African government promised to keep for them as pension. As we speak the breeze of change is going to blow hotter than it has been. Gratefully, Former President Olusegun Obansajo and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo have called on youths to join political parties to make their impact in the building efforts of the nation by seeking political office in the three tiers of government. This call must be obeyed, the youths, the women should invade all the offices if possible because the old generation have failed us. Men of God should embrace politics so that the crop of leaders will be a paradigm shift from the crude patterns we have had in the past.
Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Prime minister noted recently that sixty years ago, Israel with the population of 650 people with no other place to go turned a desert into an agricultural haven and today they are already a world power. According to him, long ago they have forgotten the smoking rubbles of Europe but in Africa only the God of heaven will speak for us. The vision may tarry but according to Habakkuk the prophet, Africa is sure of the victory at the end.