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Posts tagged ‘British Empire’

Nigeria’s foreign policy in 100 years.


Diplomatic and bilateral ties which Nigeria had as a colony were mostly dominated by Britain.

Before the amalgamation of Northern and Southern protectorates in 1914, agricultural commodities were exported to Europe and totally controlled by the British Empire. This showed the level of foreign bilateral trade between the colony and the outside world, where cocoa, groundnuts, palm oil and palm kernels were exported and chemicals, machines, transportation equipment and other manufactured products were imported. This level of bilateral trade extended until the 1950s.

The dual mandate adopted by the Europeans, whereby African countries will receive Europe’s civilization in exchange for unrestricted access to the continent resources prevailed during that era.

British stood as Nigeria’s major trading partner, even as 70 percent of her exports, as late as 1955 went to Britain and another 47 percent of import came from that country to Nigeria.

However, this bilateral trade changed from 1976, when British dominance of Nigeria’s economy began to wane. The United States then took over as Nigeria leading trade partner. By this time, exports to Britain dropped to 38 percent while import from the country to Nigeria dropped to 32 percent.

At post independence and for decades, Nigeria’s foreign policy thrust remained consistent with catering for the interests of African countries. However, the change in policy focus was brought about as government sort to arrest the declining economic setbacks. The end of apartheid in South Africa brought to a climax the Afrocentric position Nigeria’s foreign policy. Hence, in the country’s 1999 Constitution the policy shift revolved around economic diplomacy. This became a useful tool for promoting and protecting the country’s national interest in its bilateral ties with other countries.

Each regime during and after the country’s independence in 1960, took to formulating its own course of action to manipulate and propel national interest within the international community; with the purpose of forging a unique identity for their governments. There was a welter of dynamic and conservative foreign policies that went a long way towards how governments of the country actively or passively influenced the country’s interests on the international scene.

While the governments of Tafawa Balewa, Yakubu Gowon and Shehu Shagari were seen as conservative by foreign policy analysts, those of late Muritala Mohammed, Olusegun Obasanjo (during the military era of 1976-79) operated dynamic foreign policies. However, observers of Nigeria’s foreign policy especially in her interaction with the international community may have confused radicalism for dynamism, hence, faulting this conceptualisation as a virile tool for measuring an effective policy. The erstwhileAction Group shadow Foreign Minister, late Anthony Enahoro was attributed as being a proponent of dynamic foreign policy.

He is reported to having moved a motion and prompted the country’s first post independence legislative house, arguing that the August 20, 1960 foreign policy adopted by the House of Representatives lacked dynamism and regretted that the Tafawa Balewa government’s interpretation and conduct of foreign policy lacked all ingredients of activism.

The August 20, 1960 official statement of Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa at the Federal House of Representatives, stated that Nigeria is “adopting clear and practical policies with regard to Africa; it will be our aim to assist any country to find solution to its problem”. Nevertheless, observers and analysts are of the view that the country’s foreign policy then lacked any definite direction.

Nigeria’s Afrocentric policy

By adopting an Afrocentric policy, in the wake of the country’s independence Nigeria aimed to engage the international community through Africa’s interests and issues that tended to be of benefits to the continent. Nigerian’s first Foreign Minister, Jaja Wachukwu threw more perspectives to this Afrocentricism posture, when he said; “Charity begins at home and therefore any Nigerian foreign policy that does not take into consideration the peculiar position of Africa is unrealistic”. Nigeria under this policy framework contributed immensely in the struggles that led to the independence of Angola, Mozambique, and Namibia and participated in the anti-apartheid struggles in South Africa. Nigeria also played a crucial role in the establishment of continental and regional organisations. For example, Nigeria was pivotal to the establishment of the Organisation of Africa Unity (OAU) on May 25, 1963. Nigeria was also instrumental in ensuring that it attained the two major objectives that included the quick decolonization of colonies in Africa and the rapid socio-economic growth and development of African countries.

Similarly, the creation of the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) on May 28, 1975 saw Nigeria taking a fundamental role in spearheading the integration of neighbouring countries’ resources to enhance regional prosperity. Under the leadership of ex-General Yakubu Gowon, Nigeria led the formation of the 16-member regional body that signed the treaty establishing ECOWAS.

Nigeria further played a significant role in military peacekeeping operations on the continent. It contributed both financial and human resources in the ECOWAS Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) peacekeeping operations in Liberia, Sierra LeChad and several others.

New policy thrust in citizen diplomacy

The interventions to restore peace in Liberia, Sierra Leone and the fight against apartheid in South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Angola among other missions of mediating in conflict prone countries like Gambia, Mali, Burkina Faso especially after coup d’états, signified the apogee in foreign interventions in the past decades. Of recent, the country’s foreign relations has become tamed, mainly due to internal problems and politics associated with getting a proper footing for our nascent democracy amid pressing economic problems.

The military regime of ex- Gen. Ibrahim Babaginda conceptualised a new face to Nigeria’s foreign policy, where economic diplomacy would enhance the promotion of export trade, investment and financial assistance from friendly countries. The then Foreign Affairs Minister, ex-Gen Ike Nwachukwu in June 1988, said that “it is the responsibility of our foreign policy apparatus to advance the course of our national economic recovery.”

It was during the democratically elected government of President Olusegun Obasanjo that the country’s foreign policy was refocused to de-emphasise an explicitly African bias. While appointing ambassadors in 1999, his administration admonished that “Nigeria’s foreign policy today extends, however, far beyond our concern for the well being of our continent, Africa”. In addition, Obasanjo, pointed out that “The debt burden, for instance, is not an exclusively African predicament. Many countries in Asia, the Caribbean and South America were facing similar problems.

It is imperative; therefore, that these regions harmonise their efforts in the search for a fairer deal from the industrialised nations of the west; and this requires of us a more global approach to world affairs than was previously the case.

Last year, the President Jonathan administration paved a new path for the country’s foreign policy thrust, by embracing an agenda that promotes growth and national development. In this new policy, both private partnership and foreign missions will be utilised as new vanguards in economic diplomacy. Hence, the collapsing of both economic and citizen diplomacy by the current administration, that is geared towards attaining national economic development and growth where the citizens at home and abroad are used as agents towards achieving policy goals.

Bilateral relations with members of the developing eight countries for economic cooperation (D8) have been a centre piece for the country’s economic diplomacy. In this regard, the foreign ministry has engaged in various economic activities of the D8, especially since it assumed leadership of the group in 2010.

Using the economic diplomacy policy to source and promote trade between Nigeria and D8 members, the foreign ministry has rectified three of its important legal documents: The D-8 preferential Trade Agreement, Multilateral Agreement on administrative assistance in Customs Matters and the Simplification of VISA procedures for businessmen of D8 member countries.

Former Foreign Minister, Olugbenga Ashiru, while expatiating on the new paradigm shift, said that: “We will redress existing imbalances and forge a strong partnership with OPS to assist economic growth. Consequently, members of OPS will frequently constitute part of any bilateral discussions between our governments and other foreign delegations, so that Nigeria can benefit from visits to and from other countries.”

“Our envoys will be directed to drive this new focus of our foreign policy by spending more time and effort on attracting foreign investments to Nigeria. Simply put, our ambassadors will be the foot-soldiers in this new approach for the purpose of achieving our Vision 20:2020 while bringing economic benefits to Nigeria.”

When contacted, Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, told National Mirror, that any country’s foreign policy should be for the benefits of the people.

“I will say Nigeria’s foreign policy is not really doing badly and not getting worse. Though, sometimes we may not be getting it right and in other times we do get it right. The people must come first, so Nigerians at home and those in Diaspora should be the centre of our policy thrust.

Nigeria was faced with huge challenge during the military era where her public image was relegated. The country’s foreign policy could not stand as imperative tool for image building, especially, where dictatorial rule and clampdowns on human rights were strongly opposed by the western world.”

Nigeria played a prominent role in the Congo crisis of 1960-1965. It sent military peacekeeping troops.

In addition, during the Cold War era, Nigeria adopted a non-aligned stance; where it refused to align with any of the power blocs.

Another significant development in Nigeria foreign relations after the country’s independence was the protest of Nigerian students against the signing of agreement by the then new Tafawa Balewa’s government with the British government. The Anglo-Nigerian Defence Pact entered by the government then meant that British military could maintain bases and presence in Kano. The Nigerian student’s protest made Tafawa Balewa’s government to back down from the intended deal. The message of the student then was that Britain was to be kept at arm’s length.

The foreign relations between Nigeria and Britain experienced some challenging moment, especially during the military regime of Olusegun Obasanjo where the Nigerian government nationalized the British Petroleum’s (BP( interest in the country, as a measure to arm-twist the UK government into withdrawing its sanctions and to restore British authority in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). This was after the white supremacist in that country hijacked power. This created a scene at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Lusaka in 1978. When the British Prime Minister challenged the Nigerian Foreign Minister, General Adefowope, he told Margret Thatcher, “Madam Prime Minister that is Act 1, Scene 1, many more will follow if you don’t play ball on Zimbabwe”. Thatcher had no choice than to relent and began process that enabled Zimbabwe have a free and fair elections.

Source: Radio Biafra.

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Another look at the Lord Lugard and her wife Flora Shaw the jezebel, the god almighty maker of Nigerian the zoological republic.


 

Lord Frederick John Dealtry Lugard, have you seen what you have done? It is probable that you are burning somewhere in the hottest part of hell, but Hell should be glad with you that you left a part of hell on earth for some unfortunate people. Adam listened to Eve and see what became of mankind. You, damned fool, listened to your wife, Flora Shaw, and named awhole country after a river.
Whoever has ever named a country after a river in the long interminable annals of world history? Rivers were made for mankind, mankind was not made for the river. That is why we cannot live it like fishes.

We just go there, take our bath, drink, do a couple of other things and leave. Why did the British folks who accepted this idiocy of a name not name their country after River Thames. I mean what would have been wrong with “Thamesia” as a name for Britain. Yet your nomad wife contrived to name our dear country Nigeria after the Niger River.

The grand old river itself, you folks named “Niger” meaning “black” from the same root word from which “Nigger” is derived. But when one looks at the colour of the river it looks just like River Thames and every other river. So what makes this one black? If we wanted to name our country after the river, we had a surfeit of names by the ethnic groups, which constitute Nigeria. The Igbo’s call it “Orimiri or Orimili” (great water), the Hausas call it “Kwara” (big river) and the Yorubas call it “Oya.” I figure proponents of “Wazobia” are already fascinated with the fact that these three names could have been combined to form some kind of name for our nation. That is their business, not ours, right?

Truth of the matter is that I have an axe to grind with this soldier of fortune, this mercenary called Lugard, who got married to a journalist of fortune, Flora Shaw. Both restless spirits caused more harm than good. His troublesome wife, history records, encouraged events which led to the South African War (1899-1902). The Second Boer War fought between the British Empire and the Afrikaans-speaking settlers of the two independent Boer Republics of South African Republic and Orange Free State. Britain won and formed the Union of South Africa and then came apartheid. When this mercenary was in Hong Kong as the Governor General, his wife helped him to establish the University of Hong Kong in 1911.  When he came to Nigeria, they did not establish anything. They were infamously against the education of Africans.

Lugard, you did not leave any institution or anything of note in Nigeria except a name which means nothing and which binds our fate to a river; a river which origin is in the Guinea highlands in south eastern Guinea. What you left behind of note, apart from this nomenclature, was a piece of insult which has cast your name in infamy. You dared to write and caused to be published these derogatory statements:

In character and temperament, the typical African of this race-type is a happy, thriftless, excitable person. Lacking in self-control, discipline, and foresight. Naturally courageous, and naturally courteous and polite, full of personal vanity, with little sense of veracity, fond of music and loving weapons as an oriental loves jewellery. His thoughts are concentrated on the events and feelings of the moment, and he suffers little from the apprehension for the future, or grief for the past. His mind is far nearer to the animal world than that of the European or Asiatic, and exhibits something of the animals’ placidity and want of desire to rise beyond the State he has reached. Through the ages the African appears to have evolved no organized religious creed, and though some tribes appear to believe in a deity, the religious sense seldom rises above pantheistic animalism and seems more often to take the form of a vague dread of the supernatural. He lacks the power of organization, and is conspicuously deficient in the management and control alike of men or business. He loves the display of power, but fails to realize its responsibility, he will work hard with a less incentive than most races. He has the courage of the fighting animal, an instinct rather than a moral virtue. In brief, the virtues and defects of this race-type are those of attractive children, whose confidence when it is won is given ungrudgingly as to an older and wiser superior and without envy. Perhaps the two traits which have impressed me as those most characteristic of the African native are his lack of apprehension and his lack of ability to visualize the future.

You had the worst possible disrespect for Nigerians. When there was Mahdi Rebellion in Satiru Village near Sokoto in 1906, you completely obliterated the town wiping out men, women and babies. Little wonder that as Nigerians marked the centenary of your amalgamation of Nigeria without the consent of our fathers and mothers, and pronto your posters, your spirit resurfaced in the shape of Boko Haram and let loose a carnage comparable to what you did.

Yet they put your ugly face in the centenary celebration brochure. You are the cause of all our problems. You were sent here to raise a native force to protect British interest and you pit brother against brother and tribe against tribe in doing that. Up till now the trouble lingers and the drums of ethnicity beats louder. President Goodluck Jonathan should have done without putting your racist face on anything pertaining to this celebration. But when “good luck” turns to “bad luck”, commonsense becomes no sense.

So now the National Confab beckons. An opportunity to fix things up and prove that Lord Lugard was an idiot and that we have the power of organization, that we have apprehension and can visualize the future. After all we won the Nobel Prize (a positive); and have shown the world that we think faster than most other people – even if we think in the wrong direction (a negative). Lugard, RIP (Rest in Pains).

Source: Radio Biafra.

Zoological republic of Nigeria at 100, Break-up won’t guarantee freedom –Atiku.


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Former vice- president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has admonished Nigerians to guard the unity of the amalgam,

jealously. In his message on the centenary celebration of the amalgamation of Northern and Southern Protectorates which formed Nigeria, the former vice-president cautioned that agitation for balkanisation of a united federation would not automatically transform to freedom and economic prosperity, citing the experience of Southern Sudan.
“My message to fellow countrymen and women as we mark this landmark occasion is that we should not take our unity for granted or push our luck too far. We should learn from the recent experiences of other African countries. The current situation in South Sudan is a reminder to all African champions of division and pursuit of ethnic superiority that the secession of a group of people from a nation based on ethnic, racial or religious identities does not guarantee freedom from the struggle for life and only deepens the trivial divides which distract us from our common humanity. The gains of independence in South Sudan are now going up in smoke because of inter-ethnic rivalries and hostilities at the expense of unity. Nigeria and its people can no longer afford to weave a tangled web of fractious identities wrongfully defined by their opposition to one another.
Atiku further noted that Nigeria’s diversity was her strength and urged Nigerians to guard it jealously.
” As we mark the centenary celebration of the amalgamation of the Lagos colony with the Northern and Southern Protectorates by the British Colonial occupier forming one country, Nigerians need to pat each other on the back for we have truly come a long way. However, we must redouble our efforts towards building a stronger and more united Nigeria rather than concentrating energies on division or breakup.
The recent clamour by some of Nigeria’s leaders for a renegotiation of the continued being of Nigeria are dishonest and an unnecessary distraction from the future that we can build. Such leaders need to be concentrating their efforts on tackling the challenges ranging from lack of security to addressing poverty and unemployment through infrastructural investments. The victims of structural ineptitude are not distinguished on the basis of their ethnicity, tribe, religion or region. It is also a truism that both the perpetrators and their victims are Nigerians and secession will not fix these woes. Rather, if our leaders devoted more energy on dealing with these basic challenges facing ordinary Nigerians, ethnic and religious differences would have sunk to the background as people will be able to focus on the economic and social opportunities available to them. Once the citizens are contented through the availability of opportunities granted by good governance, these dividing lines will gradually become symbols of Nigeria’s unique composition, driving progress through a collaboration of perspectives and ideas.To me, it is regretful that more than 40 years after the unfortunate and devastating civil war the country went through, leaders could still be busy playing the ethnic and religious cards to gain power while poverty, unemployment, hunger and disease continue to ravage our people, leading many to venture into illicit and sometimes violent activities in order to provide for their families. True leaders must at all times shun the temptation of taking Nigerian’s perceived resilience for granted. Rather than being a source of weakness, diversity remains a major challenge to which all Nigerians must be sincerely committed.”

FROM TAIWO AMODU, ABUJA

Source: Radio Biafra.

Lord Lugard’s Dream, Nigeria 100 Years On: A Sober Celebration? By Samuel Orovwuje.


By Samuel Orovwuje

January 1st 2014, the country marks 100 years anniversary of its artificial creation in response to the administrative and economic reality of the British colonial administration at the time. This creation in 1914 is called Nigeria, and its philosopher-king was named Lord Lugard. His country of dream today is among the very few country in the commonwealth that is still in search true federalism and nationhood after 10 decades of its existence. Many years later, this wonderful and beautiful country would become the subject of endless ridicule at national and international media on corruption, terrorism, kidnapping, inept leadership, religious and political intolerance, bad governance, and most recently open letters on the state of affairs! Indeed some of these issues would have been unimaginable in Lugard’s day!

Today’s Nigeria would be unrecognizable to Lord Lugard if he was alive today for many obvious reasons. One is the negative manifestation of the divide and rule politics he bequeathed to us and the manifest drawback to attaining nationhood and above all, the increased agitation for the restructuring of the Nigerian state would most likely leave him bewildered. Does this means that the fundamental principles of nation-building are not achievable in Nigeria?

The centenary celebrations provide Nigerians an opportunity to celebrate some important accomplishments particularly flag independence in 1960, the anniversary is bittersweet as it comes at the same time as the country selfish and self centered political elite and power mongers are jostling for political superiority and relevance for 2015 general elections, that are likely to descend into chaos, if not well managed. Our leaders must tread on the path of caution and restraint in the interest of the nation.

The political cross fire of the ruling elite and the unwholesome alliances and mergers for personal gains also paints a gloomy prognosis of a glorious future and the overt politicisation of governance has hindered real development in the midst of plenty. Furthermore, poverty and insecurity escalating at alarming proportion, which is a sad reality of our country and this, could fall still further as most Nigerians lack access to shelter and livelihoods and above all food security.

This article explores some of the salient and compelling building blocks for the reconstruction of a genuine national identity framework that would be a unifying factor for equitable and people centered national development.

National values and ethos should be our watch words going forward and a clear mandate for the years ahead are the transformative shifts that must underpin a new agenda that drive common goals and related national targets to cover themes of inclusive and sustainable political re-engineering that would focus on the strengthening of good governance which is collapsing rapidly and operating below average performance using international governance index and benchmarks. Nigeria at 100 years is still plagued with high level of financial mismanagement and this is not good for sustainable development and national prosperity. Governance and indeed the national and state leadership require careful monitoring, evaluation and vigilance by all. In short, performance indicators for our leaders would do the country as we prepare for other elections in 2015.

Social institutions like the church and voluntary organisations should be drawn directly into the tasks of nation building. A policy which places a greater reliance on the people while drawing upon government resources as catalyst. Because most social organisations are already in involved social engineering and actions of various sorts. It has become very clear that government alone cannot bring us to prosperity and development. Thus, public policy initiatives must increasingly embody high moral standard that involve the press, the trade unions, transparent private corporations and small businesses.

The ideals of Nigeria democratic capitalism must work in harmony with the three independent and interdependent systems, the political, economic and the moral- cultural systems. Therefore, Nigeria needs to capitalize on its democratic dividend and initiate policies for creating jobs and inclusive and sustainable growth must be a part of the economic transformation agenda. If Nigeria can properly mobilize its young workforce, it can also enjoy the benefits of a great nation like the Asian Tigers. It is evident from international agencies findings and reports that Nigeria is one those fast-growing and large-population economies in the world, but the challenge, however, remains the ability of the Nigeria government and the economy managers to generate real growth and development path that will sufficiently create jobs. Put differently, Nigeria over the next 15 years should rely on its ability to generate a sufficient quantum of job opportunities for its restive youths.

The future is not ordained; it depends very much on what we decide today as a country and a people. In any case, it is certain that we need a Nigerian dream and vision to create a clear and coherent system of policies, programmes, institutions for both the public and private sectors. In my view, the common ground between the government and the people, regardless of political, religious and ethnic sentiments should be a genuine commitment to move the country forward with a purposeful agenda. This requires transparency and clarity of mind on the fundamental issues of federalism and a national rebirth. We must also recognise that strength can be found in diversity and the need to develop strong relationship with the people is paramount at all times. Striking the right balance of diversity, developing national leadership compass and striving for the highest moral and ethical values will help to secure the future of this great country.

While Nigeria’s landmark anniversary of 100 years provides an opportune moment to reflect on the challenges and the various changes that have taken place in the political and governance landscape over the years and the necessity to adapt to new realities in our nation building efforts and it is also important to bear in mind that change is constant and as a people we must rise to the occasion to retooling our nation for a better future. The desire and ambition to uphold the constitution of Nigeria and human dignity should be uppermost as we forge ahead from fragmented and chaotic state to nation where pride and patriotism is the common factor for its unity in diversity.

Lastly, we must make a conscious effort to re-launch the Good people, Great Nation initiative of the former Minister of Information and communication – Dora Akunliyi. Beyond the Millennium city project and the highly politicized centenary country report on women in celebration of the 100 years anniversary, I would like to propose that January 1st every year should be instituted as an act of parliament as Harmony Day in celebration of our common heritage and national aspiration agenda. The day should be used as a national reconciliation mechanism to heal the wounds of the evil seeds of mistrust and the divide and rule politics that was bequeathed to us by the British high command which was carefully executed by lord Lugard and his mistress. Nigeria can be great again and I think that the time is now!

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

Bishop Udogu National Confab Nothing should be off-limit.


 

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Rt. Reverend Paul Udogu is the Bishop of Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) Afikpo Diocese, Ebonyi State. In this interview the cleric bares his mind on key national issues in the country especially the proposed national dialogue, saying that ethnic nationalities must answer the question as to whether they still want to continue as a nation. EXCERPTS:

What is your reaction to the initiative by President Jonathan for a National conference?

It is a welcome development that is long overdue. We salute the initiatives of Mr. President at inaugurating the advisory committee under the chairmanship of Dr. Femi Okurounmu that will work out the modalities for the national dialogues or conference.

We are aware that the advisory committee is busy visiting the six geopolitical zones and collecting memoranda from the general public on what should be the modalities of the national dialogue.

What should be the structure of the conference?

 

The space called Nigeria was negotiated by the colonialists with the various ethnic nationalities that inhabit the space. Each of these ethnic nationalities has a position with respect to their interest and expectations from the entity called Nigeria. They must therefore form the key groups in any discussion about Nigeria. Participation on basis such as local government, state, geopolitical zones should be de-emphasized.

However, to accommodate contemporary realities, the structure of any discourse should transcend an assembly of nationalities to cater for other interest groups from government MDA’s (Ministries, departments and agencies) to professional and trade associations, religious bodies, to activists on human rights, self-determination, gender sensitivity and pro democracy.

In addition, credible international organizations such as the UN (United Nations) should be invited to sit as observers.

We are of the opinion that each identified ethnic nationality should have five representatives while other interest groups have two representatives each.

Does the national dialogue require any legal frame for it to be operational?
Yes, the process must be conducted in tandem with the operating manual of the entity called Nigeria. For now that document is the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Credible information

In this regard, an act of parliament is required to give the conference (the necessity for it) and its modality (representation, scope, duration, implementation) the force of law. It should also be subject to the United Nations Charter of Equity.

What about the duration of the conference?

With elections due in early 2015, discussions should not last beyond June 2014 (six months). To this end, a recourse to credible information must form the basis for discussion. A collation of reports of all previous National conference reports (the first was in 1966 under Gen. Gowon) must be made available to all participants prior to commencement of actual discussions.

The rationale is that most of the strongly held view points of the different interest groups are already well enunciated in previous confab reports.

What do you think should be the key issues to be discussed at the national conference?

In 1920, barely six years after the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern protectorates of the entity called Nigeria, Sir Hugh Clifford who was then Governor General of Nigeria under the British colonial administration described Nigeria as a collection of “independent native states, separated from one another by great distances, by differences of history and traditions and by ethnological, racial, tribal, political, social, and religious barriers”.

This supports the argument that the space called Nigeria is a negotiated arrangement between the colonialist and separate groups of widely different peoples and tribes with clear disparities, divisions and sometimes hatreds.

Economic interest

These diverse entities were lumped together to advance British economic interest and subsequently amalgamated for administrative convenience.

This suggests a faulty foundation for the entity called Nigeria and so makes it imperative that to capture the true position of every ethnic nationality and other interest groups, nothing should be considered off limits.

The original partners in this unintended marriage of sorts must first agree on the terms of their continued co-habitation. In fact, these ethnic nationalities, must answer the question whether they want to continue as a nation.

Frank discussions will engender trust and foster mutual agreements amongst the groups on what constitutes political justice, social justice, economic justice cultural justice and religious justice.

What do you suggest should be the legal procedure of the conference?
Agreed positions from the discussions by representatives of interest groups should be subjected to a referendum to ascertain general will. hereafter, it should be sent as a “People’s bill” to the National Assembly for passage and incorporation into the constitution.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Hard View: Letter To My 5 Year Old Self Since Independence By Hannatu Musawa.


Columnist:

Hannatu Musawa

My Dearest Nigeria,

I’m writing you this letter fully knowing that you’re going to think everything I’m about to tell you is complete rubbish, because at the stage you are now, you’re a nation with so much promise and hope; a nation that is out to conquer the world. OK, right off the bat, I will tell you that your plans to conquer the world are not going to happen.

Today, 1st October, I am 53 years since independence and you are 5 years and I’m writing you this as a warning of things to come. For you, it has been five years since your illustrious children such as Herbert Macaulay and Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe helped gain independence for you from the British colonial masters. And even though that journey was riddled with several road blocks, on the 1st October, 1960 when you were granted independence, you came out of it in the end with a hope for a very bright future. Oh what a time, what a time! I remember very fondly the pride on the faces of your young children, the hope in their hearts, the beauty that lay across your breadth, the envy of the world at the promise you held… Behold the giant of Africa; Behold Nigeria!

But as you read this letter, very shortly a chain of events will occur that will have such a disastrous and far reaching effect and give way to the circumstance that propels me to write you this warning letter today. This chain of events will start on the 15th January, 1966 in a military coup. I wish I could tell you everything to stop you making the same mistakes I did, but I can only say a few. The rest you have to figure out yourself. There is so much you need to know about the things you will be going through very shortly. Some of this won’t make sense for a long time. And some of it will go against everything you know about yourself. But it needs to be said by me…, by you.

In exactly forty eight years you are going to find yourself at the midst of a crisis; a crisis which, although created by your children and by you, could be quelled if you could give your children the will to fight for your survival. It is a crisis whose footprints are riddled in the scorching political landscape of your fourth republic; a republic that could come tumbling down based on the choices and route the elections of 2015 are going to take. It is a crisis that could spell doom for you; the most populous nation in Africa; a crisis that is being created by the selfish ambitions of individuals, leaders and former leaders to the detriment of 150 million of your brethren.

I know it may sound ludicrous to you now Nigeria but there is other hard truths to tell. You are going to be a nation that is reviled and mocked the world over and your children are going to harbor such a deep and innate hatred for each other, the likes of which created such catastrophe and pain during Hitler’s Holocaust and the sectarian massacres in Rwanda. Extremism will run so deep in the veins of some of your offspring that they would commit the most monstrous of acts against one another. Bigotry will eat at the heart of your very own that their spirit and soul will only exist in the dark corridors of loathing and hatred. Those of your decedents, whom you bequeath the mantle to lead your kingdom, will betray you in the worst of ways; they will bastardize their position and loot your treasures dry. Selfishness, greed, corruption, pain, poverty, suffering will come to define your children as a people and you as an entity.

You will be a 53 year old who will be immature and have no sense of direction. Your many years will be marked by nothing apart from nonsense, lawlessness, crumbling infrastructure and little power infrastructure. All you will be able to boast of at 53 will be dilapidated Schools and glorified Universities where strikes, violence and cult reign supreme. At 53, you will have no functional rail system, no credible election system and an elite force that cares little about the mass population in your space. As I write this to you, I can only boast of a few major achievements other than terrorism, kidnapping, armed robbery, stealing of public funds, rigging of elections, political instability and 419. Today, you are one of the poorest countries in the world despite the huge human and natural resources you have had at your disposal.

You will be seen as a tragic love story, looked upon as a pathetic entity and as a reprehensible excuse for a nation. As big and populated as you are, you will feel minute and unworthy whenever you face those that should not even square up to you and those who have not had the opportunities and resources that you have been endowed with. Africa and other nations in our continent will be suspicious of you. And if you look past what you may consider to be a cruel assessment by our continental siblings by myself, lives a hard truth that you must come to terms with before you can make right what is wrong within you.

When you look at your existence since 1914, you will see many of the mistakes you could have avoided and many of the bad choices that you made. As I stand here at the age of 53 since independence writing to you at the age of five, I don’t think either of us could have imagined we would be living a nightmare at the age of fifty-three after our independence.

When you get to where I am now, you will recall all the incidents that led you to where you are and you will regret that each incident wasn’t addressed and tackled there and then. In 1964, when we were doing well, we ignored the eruption of several crises such the fractionalization of the Action Group Party in the Western Region, the Census Crisis, the Electoral Crisis, Tiv Crisis and the agitation by minority people for greater autonomy and we swept those troubles under the carpet ignoring the fire they would ignite.
As I reflect, I remember the mess created by the toppling of the civilian government of Sir Abubukar Tafawa Balewa on the 15th January, 1966 in a military coup that was led by Major Chukwu Emeka Kaduna Nzeogwu.

When The Prime Minister, the Premiers of the Northern and Western Regions, Sir Ahmadu Bello and Chief Akintola were all killed, it was inevitable that the embers of ethnic nationalism and regionalism would be inflamed but we did nothing to mediate between our children then.  A lot of damage control could have been done then. Then there was the civil war. After the war when it was announced that there would be, ‘No victor and no vanquished’, we knew that the proclamation was complete rubbish. After all, how can groups of people go to war in which one group is decimated and they be expected to feel like a victor and not the vanquished? Again we did nothing to settle our children’s minds.

During the course of our development, when the military was playing Russian roulette with the leadership of the country by overthrowing each other, we never tried to heal the deep scars that the nation carried within the psyche of the individuals that participated in this macabre dance. Up until now, that dance is still being played with the same actors still actively participating and sabotaging each other in politics.

When the military promised to give way to civilian rule, yet annulled the freest and fairest elections we have ever seen, it was amazing that it never occurred to us how much the course of our route would be changed.
When we eventually had a constitution which was to guide our new democratic dispensation and within that constitution, no state was allowed to adopt any religion as the state law, many thought it was because we wanted to protect the country against the rise of religious extremism. Yet when some of our children went ahead to develop religion as a state law, we did nothing to remind them that civil aspects of religious law was already part of the state law because the Penal Code included civil parts of Shari’a law. Out of fear, we watched as some governors used religion to gain political favour and we kept silent when that seed grew to a point where people are justifying the mass murder and decapitation of fellow Nigerians in a misrepresented interpretation of faith.

When we drowned out the fighting and drama between our own children, in our own home, we gave way to the negativity of the few bad spawn within our midst. And this is what has shaped what I am and what will, in due course, shape who you will become.

I am giving you the chance that I never had. I am telling you that you have no choice Nigeria but to make yourself right, to battle your demons and heal yourself from within. To give your coming generations a fighting chance, you must desperately fight to escape what I represent today. I need you to realize the effect that my grown-up actions and the actions of our children will have on the next generation of Nigerians who watch and learn from the bad example I have set.

I know that you cannot get everything right and you cannot be perfection, but what is important is for you to try to be better than I am. You have got to get it together and fight for your future.

I understand that some of our children and even you sometimes think that the problem of Nigeria lies in the creation of Nigeria in itself. There is no doubt that the underling objective for the fusion of the Colonies and Protectorates that eventually made you a nation was purely economic from the point of view of the British colonialists. This has led to the view that Nigeria is a failure because she was cobbled in such a manner. But even as some describe us as ‘a mere geographical expression’, we should never subscribe to that view. After all, there are so many countries with great industrial, military, economic and political powers that were artificially created in the same manner. That has never been and will never be an excuse.
That is just the tip of the iceberg Nigeria. Like I earlier mentioned, I felt the need to write this to you because in 48 years’ time, you will find yourself in the middle to a crisis which may be the precipice of your existence. This should be your wake-up call. See the beauty and virtue of your differences and diversity and you will realize that your cup is half full.

My failures leave you with many valuable life lessons. Use this to your advantage in order to make sure that your greatest weakness actually turns out to be your greatest strength. I know it’s a tough one to swallow, but it will only be upon that realization that you will able to start turning things around. Even if the differences that represent us are not going to go away, once we learn to harness it, it will lead us from a rather self-destructive path to a highly productive one.

You must not let anything distract you and blind you to what’s really in front of you. And what really is in front of you Nigeria? You are. You don’t even know yourself yet. You think you know and you want to assert that you do, now that you’re a certain age, but you don’t. What’s in front of you is a whole world of mistakes and bad choices beyond your imagination. And my warning to you is to tread with caution.

Put yourself, and your growth and development first, grab the unity that you promised your children who were the forefathers. Unity… Yes unity! That is the key. If you dissect your innermost problems Nigeria, you will find that in the core of each and every one of your problems and mistakes lays the lack of unity and the religious, ethnic, tribal and regional dichotomy that drives our people and drives a wedge in our necessity of that unity.

You must teach your children that the unity of you as Nigeria must come before the unity of any tribe or region. It is only then that you and they will be able to objectively separate the good from the bad and ostracize the bad and uphold the good in the interest of the nation. It is only then that you can see facts clearly through clear vision not through bigoted and jaundiced eyes.

Everything you do, every thought you have, every choice you make creates a legacy that you will hold within your entity and that will come to define your history. It’s imprinted on you as a nation and on generations of your children and it affects you all in the most subtle ways; ways that you may never be aware of. With that in mind Nigeria, please be very conscious, be very careful and be very smart. Wish you the best for the next 48 years when we shall hopefully merge again as one. I will be watching with high hopes for you.

Forever with you always,
Nigeria
Written By Hannatu Musawa

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Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Why Having More Christians Won’t Necessarily Change Our Culture.


William Wilberforce
William Wilberforce was a British politician and philanthropist who lived in the late 1700s and was a leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade.

For centuries, Christians thought culture would change if we just had a majority of Christians in the culture. That has proven to be a false assumption. Culture is defined by a relatively small number of change agents who operate at the top of cultural spheres or societal mountains. It takes less than 3-5 percent of those operating at the top of a cultural mountain to actually shift the values represented on that mountain.

For example, this is exactly what advocates in the gay rights movement has done through the “mountains” of media and arts and entertainment. They have strategically used these avenues to promote their cause and reframe the argument. They are gradually legitimizing their cause through these two cultural mountains through a small percentage of people in society operating at the top of the media and arts and entertainment mountain.

Mountains are controlled by a small percentage of leaders and networks. James Hunter, in a book entitled How to Change the World, highlights what sociologist Randall Collins says about civilizations in his book The Sociology of Philosophies. According to Collins, civilizations have been defined by a very small percentage of cultural philosophers who influence seven gates and supporting networks since our birth as a civilization.

Hunter summarizes, “Even if we add the minor figures in all of the networks, in all of the civilizations, the total is only 2,700. In sum, between 150 and 3,000 people (a tiny fraction of the roughly 23 billion people living between 600 B.C. and A.D. 1900) framed the major contours of all world civilizations. Clearly, the transformations here were top-down.”

What an amazing piece of information. Imagine that. Culture has been defined since the beginning of time by no more than 3,000 change agents, a tiny fraction of the population.

That is why we must realize that making more converts will not necessarily change culture. It is important to have conversions, but it is more important to have those who are converted operate at the tops of the cultural mountains from a biblical worldview.

Those at the tops of these mountains are expressing their liberal worldview through these cultural spheres. The more godly the change agent at the top, the more righteous the culture will be. The more ungodly, the more liberal we will become. It doesn’t matter if the majority of the culture is made up of Christians. It only matters who has the greatest influence over that cultural mountain.

Our Current Status in Culture

“When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when a wicked man rules, the people groan” (Prov. 29:2).

For the last several decades, culture has become increasingly secular and liberal in the United States. But God has always raised up His change agents to represent His interests and agenda on Planet Earth. God is raising up His change agents for such a time as this.

We know that Jesus will return for a bride, that “He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:27). So, despite the trends we may see, I believe we need to operate from a victorious eschatological viewpoint. God’s current activity in the marketplace is part of this.

He is calling us in His church to “love the Lord [our] God with all [our] heart, with all [our] soul, and with all [our] mind” (Matt. 22:37). This means applying God’s mind to the natural order expressed through the cultural mountains of society.

Changing culture rarely happens without the cooperation of other like-minded change agents pooling their resources and influence capital to make change.

William Wilberforce Solves the Slave-Trade Problem
William Wilberforce was a British politician and philanthropist who lived in the late 1700s and was a leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade. A native of Hull, Yorkshire, he began his political career in 1780 and became the independent member of Parliament for Yorkshire (1784-1812). He was a close friend of Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger.

In 1785, he underwent a conversion experience and became an evangelical Christian, resulting in changes to his lifestyle and his interest in reform. He was 28 years old at the time and wondered whether he could stay in politics and remain a follower of Jesus Christ. His good friend John Newton, who was a converted slave trader and author of the famous hymn “Amazing Grace,” convinced him to stay in politics to model his faith in the public sector. His life was dramatized in a 2007 movie production from Walden Media entitled Amazing Grace.

In 1787, Wilberforce came in contact with Thomas Clarkson and a group of anti-slave-trade activists, including Granville Sharp, Hannah More and Lord Middleton. They persuaded Wilberforce to take on the cause of abolition, and he soon became one of the leading English abolitionists, heading the parliamentary campaign against the British slave trade until the eventual passage of the Slave Trade Act in 1807.

The Clapham Group
Wilberforce was part of a small band of influential leaders in England called the Clapham Group. They were a small group of leaders operating in the governmental “mountain” of influence. Its members were chiefly prominent and wealthy evangelical Anglicans who shared common political views concerning the liberation of slaves, the abolition of the slave trade and the reform of the penal system.

The group’s name originated from Clapham, then a village south of London (today part of southwest London), where both Wilberforce and Thornton, the sect’s two most influential leaders, resided and where many of the group’s meetings were held. They were supported by Beilby Porteus, bishop of London, who sympathized with many of their aims.

After many decades of work both in British society and in Parliament, the group saw their efforts rewarded with the final passage of the Slave Trade Act in 1807, banning the trade throughout the British Empire and, after many further years of campaigning, the total emancipation of British slaves with the passing of the Slavery Abolition Act in 1833. They also campaigned vigorously for Britain to use its influence to eradicate slavery throughout the world.

It was not a large group. It consisted of less than 20 leaders. However, these leaders were passionate about their faith, their causes and their commitment to those causes.

If we are going to have a positive influence in culture, we must rethink our strategy from “getting more people saved” to “getting more kingdom marketplace leaders operating in the places of influence.” Both strategies are important, but cultural change will only happen when a small group of kingdom marketplace leaders operate at the top of these cultural mountains by solving societal problems and bringing a Christian worldview into their leadership.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

OS HILLMAN

Os Hillman is president of Marketplace Leaders and author of Change Agent and TGIF Today God Is First daily devotional.

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