The memory for the scramble for Africa would forever remain a fresh wound for Africans to battle with because it comes always with lots of sad, painful and mind killing memories; memories of the humiliation and sufferings of our forefathers, the unholy invasion of our land by foreigners, the desecration of our religion, molestation of our beautiful and hardworking mothers, dehumanisation of our ancestral personalities as a people, the elimination of our unsung heroes and other detestable events too heart damping to refresh.
The betrayal of our own black brothers and sisters for peanuts and other unspeakable and unimaginable evils perpetrated right on our soil remains very fresh in our memories. It was a battle for the soul of Africa by the greedy ‘white monsters’ and a fight for its liberation by the owners of the land (our ancestors).
It was a horrible experience that either made life worthless to lots of Africans or let out the monsters in them; how would anyone forget in a rush the act of bravery displayed by our ancestors of the Igbo extraction at Dunbar Creek on St. Simons Island, Glynn County, Georgia in 1803, when they committed mass suicides along with the white monsters that captured them at the time. They bravely wrecked their captors’ ship, the Wanderer, murdered them and committed suicide; life was that miserable to them. May their gallant souls continue to rest in perfect peace, amen!
In the forefront of the battle to see Africa being liberated stood our fearless and brave Nigerian leaders like King Jaja of Opobo, Ovonoranwen of Benin and Chief Nana of Itsekiri, among others. They defiled the damage the white man’s gun; the magic stick as called by the locals back then could cause them to speak against the dubious and barbaric ways of being ruled by foreigners.
The modern appellation of Nigeria as “the giant of Africa” started long ago and took its root in the bravery displayed by our ancestors to see Africans live under no man as slaves. Nigeria in her modern-day glory as “the giant of Africa” was established by the efforts of our nationalists, who fought for our independence and that of Africa at large, most especially South Africa. Nigeria provided all possible political supports needed by South Africans during the apartheid period.
In the 1970s, Nigeria single-handedly provided $5m (a whole lot of cash then and now) annual subvention for the African National Congress (ANC; an anti-apartheid movement in South Africa) and Pan Africanist Congress (PAC). The Southern African Relief Fund (SAFR), meant to bring relief to the victims of the apartheid regime in South Africa was set up in 1976. SAFR was also meant to provide educational opportunities for the victims and promote their general welfare.
The military administration of General Olusegun Obasanjo did not fail to keep up with the supports provided to our South African brothers and sisters by the leadership of the previous regime in Nigeria. His regime contributed $3.7m to the SAFR fund. He made a personal donation of $3000 with a contribution of $1,500 from each of his cabinet members. The civil servants and public officers were not left out of these sacrifices towards the liberation of our caged brothers and sisters in the hands of the white supremacists.
Each was made to donate 2% from their monthly salary to the SAFR. All these efforts had seen the donations, called “the Mandela Tax”, amounted to $10.5m by June 1977. In 1975, the Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) was favoured by the mobilization of the diplomatic influence of Nigeria in Africa.
The Zimbabwean Movement against the apartheid government of Rhodesia was magnanimously supported with $20m by the General Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime in 1977. Military equipment was moved to Mozambique in the bid to help the newly independent country, as at the time, to suppress the South African backed Mozambican National Resistance guerrillas. All thanks to the central role played by Nigeria in the ECOWAS efforts to end the civil war in Liberia.
In her big brother role, she immensely contributed to the ECOWAS peacekeeping mission in Liberia, where lots of Nigerian soldiers were lost. Sierra Leone got her own share from the magnanimity of Nigeria (the African giant and most populated black nation in the second most populated continent on earth) with the provision of bulk troops for ECOWAS forces. Would it at this juncture not be wrong to claim that Nigeria was reckoned with as ‘the giant of Africa’ based on just her resources and population?!
Unfortunately, the story of ‘the big brother Nigeria’ has gone sour. The once indefatigable giant is now a baby with wet pampers, shamelessly crawling on her fours; thanks to the Rodents regarded as our political leaders.
Now, it is either Nigerians are rejected from one African country or insulted by the government of another (imagine Ghana bringing down our embassy in the country and South Africans-same South Africans we fought tirelessly for-chasing our sons and daughters away like beggars!).
Our economy has nothing to write home about. It keeps falling into recession like an epileptic patient that could not but fall at every little provocation of both internal and external interference. Our currency, the naira, that was a pride of Africa in the early 60s to early 80s is now a bit better than ordinary paper. It is absurd that with all the resources we have in Nigeria, we could not manufacture just a “common toothpick”.
Our dear country has become a dumping ground, even, for smaller countries in Africa. Nigeria has suddenly become the last bus stop for all trash in the name of goods and services. A country known for her ability to keep peace in other nations has now been totally deprived of the same peace; we now house criminals as icons in society. Our name is now an extension of terrorism, banditry, thuggery and every other shameful act anyone could imagine.
The irony of it all is that Nigeria, being one of the few countries where budgets run into trillions yearly, has extreme poverty lurking around all nooks and crannies. More than 50% of her over 200m population live in sluts and feed on junks and detestable meals not even befitting for animals while the few in power live in extreme luxury.
The new trend is that of our country now being a borrowing machine; a glutton of cash. We are indebted to almost all the continents in the world. Borrowing in itself is not even the problem after all America has the largest debt profile in the world but they have a whole lots of things to show for it.
On our path, we have nothing to show than the mortgage of the future of our kids yet unborn. With the kind of resources we have in this country, we are supposed to be among the world powers. China, through the commitment and meticulousness of her leaders, has become a threat to other world powers. This is where we are supposed to belong. But instead, we have opened doors to the second phase of modern slavery in the hands of second world countries.
As at March 31, 2020, our total borrowing from China stood at $3.121bln; N1.126.68bln, which formed 3.94% of our total public debt of $79.303b ( N28,628.49b). For the external debt alone, the loans from China stood at 11.28% of the total loan.
On paper, the loans were used for the railway modernization project of Idi-Kaduna section, Abuja light rail project, the Abuja, Kano, Lagos and Port Harcourt airport terminals expansion, the railway modernization of Lagos-Ibadan section and the rehabilitation and upgrading of Abuja-Keffi-Makurdi road project and others as the locusts in power disclosed.
However, my little knowledge of Economics is at a fix on how a country with such capital projects fell into recession twice within five years with a high rate of inflation and unemployment. A fool will always think others are as foolish. The realities on the ground do not match the borrowing; meaning the borrowed funds have grown wings as usual.
Experts in international relationship, law and security have warned that Nigeria is running into a deep mess with her indiscriminate habit of taking loans, most especially from China.
On May 12, 2020, the House of Representatives mandated some of its committees to investigate the loans taken by Nigeria from China; a response to the rising concerns of the citizens and international communities on the mechanism China is employing to enslave the third world countries, most especially Africa.
Honourable Ben Igbakpa of Ethiope Federal constituency warned on the floor of the house about the globally alleged fraudulent, irregular and underhand features of the Chinese loan contract in some African countries, which he saw as “colonialism foisted by China”.
The Nigerian loans from China have run into nothing less than 17 tranches with around 3% servicing till the maturity date in 2038. With this increasing habit of taking loans, most especially under the regime of President Mohammad Buhari, Nigeria farther falls into the entanglement of modern slavery as we extend our mental slavery in the hands of the Western world to the Chinese debt trap.
In 1953, at the age of 30, Pa Anthony Eromosele Enahoro moved the motion for independence. These were the calibres of leaders that we used to have; leaders that could move mountains with their words and in their thoughts. But at the moment, our crop of leaders are street hunches that sign agreements that they either do not read through or understand.
With these crops of leaders, the pressure and agitations mounting from regions and almost every Nigerian tribe at the moment, the Fulani herdsmen palaver across the nation, banditry and political hooliganism, the survival of Nigeria as an entity is under serious threat.
The once roaring land of lions, in persons of our dedicated and selfless nationalists, has become a place of mental and economic dwarfs under the watch of the charlatans we call leaders. We will continue to harass them until they turn a new leaf.
“NIGERIA IS IN COMATOSE; ON OXYGEN IN A SERIOUS MEDICAL STATE. IF NOT RESCUED NOW, SHE DIES AS A BORN GIANT GIVING UP THE GHOST AS A DWARF”!
GOD BLESS THE FEDERAL REP OF NIGERIA!!
Odusanya is the convener of AFRICA COVENANT RESCUE INITIATIVE ACRI.