Shut Up Uncle Sam
I have been waiting for this day, 1 st January 2015, to tell the American CIA to shut up. A couple of years back, they were emphatic in their prediction that Nigeria would break-up in 2014 – exactly 100 years after a descendant of their cousin, Lord Fredrick Lugard, deceptively amalgamated the Northern and Southern Protectorates to form what is today known as Nigeria.
The Northern and Southern Protectorates had themselves been brutally and forcefully joined together by a most devious British plot, hatched as part of the continuation of the larger design on Africa by European powers who sat down in a dark room called the Berlin Conference in 1884-1885. Whole autonomous kingdoms, whose leaders were hitherto at par with European emperors and doing legitimate business as equal partners, were deceptively led into what the European powers called a “pact” to protect them from invasion.
Unknown to these indigenous Kingdoms, it was one of the Europeans powers, Britain, who had contrived the inter-tribal wars in their scheme to procure human labour for their plantations in the New World now known as America. But before issues got to this point, the European Powers had embarked on Voyages of Discovery into Africa and other parts of the world. This was how we came to know about the likes of Mungo Park, the Lander Brothers etc.
Next on the unholy scheme of the British was the Missionary Journeys in which they came, deceived us into exchanging our land, our resources and way of life, with a book called Bible. The scheme was as seductive as it was devious. By the time we woke up from our reverie, they had introduced another bet in the guise of a so-called elimination of Slave Trade, a practice which was unknown in the autonomous kingdoms before their arrival, and which they themselves had contrived as way of getting regular supply of abled bodied manpower for their sugar cane plantations in the New World.
Slave trade was (still is) the most heinous crime against humanity known to mankind. When its practice became anathema in the emerging world, the British used Mary Slessor to sound its death knell, but not before they had devised another devious scheme in the form of legitimate trade. This was the beginning of what was to become multinational imperialism. Under this sub-plot companies like the Royal Niger Company came and established a foot-hold in indigenous Nigeria. Then came full-blown Colonialism and the gradual loss of identity and authority of indigenous kingdoms. These European powers were genius but only in so far as it was to exploit Africa.
It was under this sub-plot, which lasted for about 500 years that the first and second foot-hold of British power in pre-colonial Nigeria, the Lagos Colony and the Southern Protectorate (Calabar), were fused to form the Southern Protectorate. Rail lines were opened from Lagos to the hinterland of the North purposely to expedite movement of produce to Apapa Wharf, from where they were shipped to the Metropolitan home government in Britain. Developing Britain, not Nigeria, was their main concern.
The story of the details of what transpired under colonial rule is better left for another day, but suffice it to say that soon the British scheme was to start paying them back when young educated Nigerians who sought education in foreign land returned home to champion the struggle for freedom and independence of Nigeria from foreign control. The Herbert Macauleys, the Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwes, the Chief Obafemi Awolowos and others easily come to mind here. The rest is now history.
It is however worth mentioning that to all intents and purposes, Lord Lugard acting on orders from his home government programmed Nigeria never to succeed. But he was gravely mistaken in the judgment of the spirit of the people of the most populous black nation on earth. We are resilient, persistent, perseverant, brute, brash and impossible. We have the uncanny ability to reinvent and re-assert ourselves just when you think it is all over for us.
So when the CIA forwarded their ominous but ill-informed document containing to their doom-day prediction to then President Bill Clinton of the USA, our own President whose native intelligence is yet unrivalled told them to mind their business because they knew nothing about Nigeria and Nigerians.
That is why I am today, 1 st January 2015, saying “shut up Uncle Sam, you know nothing about us”. We may have our challenges as a nation but we shall overcome them.
24 Fatai Atere Way
Matori – Lagos
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