CEDDERT and The Misrepresentation of Facts
By Nigerian Publius
One of the most fundamental causes of the sorry state of Nigeria and Africans in general, is the almost total neglect of the teaching of our history, by us, to our children. We let the colonizers define us, eradicate our heritage and teach our young ones that we have never amounted to anything. It was therefore very heart thumping refreshing to stumble unto a paper (The Misrepresentation of Nigeria: The Facts and the Figures) whose Preface stated the desirable objective of remedying this sad situation. I consider it therefore criminal to discover upon reading the paper that what was being taught, was worse than the situation they purported to remedy.
It is far more preferable for those behind this deception to state their threats to the people of the Niger Delta, in a very blunt manner as they did recently while purporting to pay tribute to Alhaji Aminu Kano. In their subsequent paper (Ignorance, Knowledge and Democratic Politics in Nigeria), the Niger Deltans (represented by the Urhobos) were told that if they want to be like America, non-indigenes would march to the Niger Delta and kill off the original inhabitants and take their oil. Just like in America of today. Such direct threats are preferable to the teaching of our children that there is an oil well in every Nto, Shalanga, Sarunga, Tiafi, etc.
We will answer the threat thus. The Native Americans did not know what was coming at them (as we did not for the last 40 years). In this case we do. We are prepared to die for what is ours. Are you prepared to die for our oil, because you will? We know you are coming. We are ready. The principality in the spiritual world that was sustaining evil rule in Nigeria was deposed a few years ago and Abacha succumbed. The prayers of the millions of downtrodden Nigerians went all the way to Heaven. God answered it. If you want to preview the Lord’s feast for the birds of the air in the latter days when these same forces try to wipe out the State of Israel, prepare your army and come to continue stealing the Niger Delta's oil. We have prayed the Lord to demonstrate to your unbelieving eyes that He alone gives and He alone can take away.
It was not until now that I understood why the “Old Rich” sometimes have disdain for the “Novae Rich”. A people who had nothing but disdain for western education and denied their people access to same are suddenly building Heritage Universities, Think Tanks and dispensing research – and doing a very bad job of it.
The easiest way to sell a blatant lie is to bundle it with truths and half- truths. Quite like when a tablet of bitter medicine is inserted in a ball of garri and swallowed with the meal, except the medicine is good for one and the lie not. Bala Usman has proven to be adept at this subterfuge. However, we are not fooled. We know the reasons behind his “scholarly defense” of a united “democratic” Nigeria.
Bala Usman asserts that there is no difference between the Northern and Southern parts of Nigeria in terms of its peoples, climate, geography and geology. Let me quote another Northerner's recent assertion on this subject. Mr. M. Danlami wrote (The Miscalculation of the Ohaneze on NYSC: Lets Abolish it Altogether):
“We also did not like the idea of having people who understood little to nothing about our values, religions, cultures, and languages being sent here as teachers, doctors, architects, planners, and key decision makers across the length and breath of our polity. We considered people that were culturally and linguistically distinct from us as isolates. It was not hard to see that those of us from northern north differed from the southerners in forms and habits. We ate grains they ate tubers. We lived in the Savannah, they lived in the forest. Our men wore babban riga, their men wore rappers or shirts. We thought unification, they thought succession. We were tall and thin, they were short and stout. We spoke softly, they spoke harshly. We even seemed to worship separate but same God, as our individual and collective pathways to the Almighty were conceivably quite different.”From Sharia to democracy, these people speak with a forked tongue. Whom should we believe, Mr. Danlami who spoke from his heart or Bala Usman? I personally think that Mr. Danlami captured the differences quite articulately (although I don't know about the bit about harshly speaking southerners).
Bala Usman asserts that the facts surrounding elections in Nigeria have been misrepresented. I am glad that I did not respond to the CEDDERT article last year when it first appeared. This is because the necessary ammunitions to refute his assertions have since come to light. Given that we now know that a Northern Nigerian Clique imposed Obasanjo on Nigerians (Twice), would Usman still lambaste the opponents of the transition program who saw the shadow behind the man? Babangida has publicly stated that he bankrolled Obasanjo. Others have stated that he agreed to stay for one term and protect the interests of the north. Is this how a democracy works? That a handful of people would pick a candidate, fix his term of office in a deal, then sell this candidate to an unsuspecting public and the world? Is this the type of democracy that CEDDERT is foisting on Nigeria? Did Fela not characterize this type of democracy as “Demonstration of Crazy”?
Usman demonized Chief Bola Ige last year. Now that Ige has moved from NEPA to Attorney General, and has sued the littoral States for their oil, we wonder if CEDDERT will now promote Ige as a stalwart of democratic governance? We are watching for this flip- flop!
Usman talks about accountability in a democracy. He states that people should not vote for a candidate because the candidate is of their ethnic origin. Instead they should vote for the best -qualified candidate and demand accountability from him. Have we not seen Northern Legislators rise to the defense of Umar Ghalli Na Abba, stating something to this effect: “we are not going to be stupid like Eastern Nigerians who let their corrupt Senate President be driven from office. We are going to protect our own’. If Na Abba had nothing to hide, why did he need this protection from accountability? Democracy eh?
Usman asserts that the people of the Niger Delta do not own the oil on their land. He cites the fact that the British had taken the right of ownership away by conquest and vested it in the Nigerian State when they left. By Nigerian State, Usman means the few Northern military men and their Southern collaborators. Definitely he does not include the Northern Talakawas and Almajiris. In addition, he states that the rivers Niger and Benue carry feces and organic matter from the north to deposit in the Delta, hence the Northerners are entitled to 60% of the revenue from oil. This must be the real reason behind the dredging of the Niger – to get the feces out and turn it into oil. That and the fact that they get to award the contracts for the dredging. As we all know, it is not against Sharia to give bribes to get contracts, only to play music at weddings.
We must remind Usman that the British also had taken Hong Kong by conquest. When the time came, they had to give it back to the original owners. If they had found a way to win the war with China for Hong Kong, they would have kept Hong Kong. No Chinese would have helped them commit genocide on 1.5 billion of their own kind. Such will be the case for the Niger Delta. So why are people like those in CEDDERT doing their best to assist them in the genocide against their own kith and kin in the Niger Delta? Do you not know that they laugh at you and your behavior behind your back? Do you not know that they have oil in the North Sea but they neither share that revenue with you nor bank it in your country? They do not pollute the North Sea either, a place several orders of magnitude more hostile to exploitation than the Niger Delta. Now listen, tiwa ni tiwa – ours is ours!
It is quite clear that CEDDERT does not know what a campaign for the demise of corporate Nigeria looks like. I will take it upon myself to enlighten them.
How to Effectively Campaign Against the Nigerian State
I found their compilation of elections data (which I assume is correct data) to be very useful and a worthy contribution. Different conclusions are sometimes reached by analyzing the same data. So the fact that they missed an obvious contributory fact that helped explain the data would, under ordinary circumstances, not been a big deal. It should have been clear to anyone that Eastern Nigerians were the ones most spread over their entire country. The voting patterns he observed were partially a function of this migration.
Let me state my personal feelings as clearly as I can. Nigeria is too young and undeveloped for politics. Every second of the 21st century that we bury our heads in the sand and pretend that we do not know right from wrong will exact an exponential cost. Did we not borrow a billion in the eighties only to owe fifteen or so billion today, even though we have not missed a payment? In the information age, technology is changing by the hour. How can we afford another day of infighting, stupid decisions in the name of politics, injustice and false teachings etc.? After 40 years of missteps, after Abacha’s reign that clearly demonstrated to us how low we could sink, we ought to take the attitude of the American engineers in October of 1957. The industrialized world has launched their Sputnik – the Internet, globalization and the information age. We should respond with the determination that this spaceship is not going to leave us behind. We ought to step forward and boldly declare that before this decade is over, anemic power supply, dirty drinking water, bad roads, inferior academics, lack of medical care would be something like ancient history. We cannot attain this if we manufacture nonsense worse than the colonialists could manufacture and teach to our children. We would willingly and knowingly be fooling ONLY ourselves. The price will be TOO HIGH for such behavior.
A reminder for those with short memories. Abacha did not take one kobo to H.