African Renaissance Party Chairman Yahaya Ezemoo Ndu on Nigeria, Africa - Integral Interview Text
I herewith publish the integral text of the interview with the chairman of the African Renaissance Party (ARP), Mr. Yahaya Ezemoo Ndu, which was earlier published in five successive parts. Candidate for Nigeria´s forthcoming presidential elections next April, Mr. Yahaya Ndu is member of the National Committee of the African Unification Front (AUF), and has spearheaded many initiatives aiming at eliminating colonially-imposed tyranny, military dictatorship, cultural alienation, socio-behavioural disintegration, historical denigration, and identity confusion from Africa.
Struggling in the first line of the front against fallacious, colonialist historiography, neo-colonialist involvement, policies and practices, Mr. Yahaya Ndu defends the cause of reparations for Africa.
1, Would you acquaint our readers with your family and educational background?
My father, Chief Pius Chidobi Ndu, was an Igbo; my mother is also Igbo and both are from Oghe, in Ezeagu local government area, at the state of Enugu.
My father was a traditional ruler, a prominent businessman, and a political figure. Part of his political career involved his tenure as a senator in Nigeria´s first republic.
I was born in Jos, the capital of the Plateau state of Nigeria, a rather cosmopolitan place where my father had settled at the time, and lived a long part of his life.
I started schooling at St. Theresa´s Primary School, Jos. At the outbreak of hostilities in Nigeria in 1966/1967, my family moved to Igboland and I continued my primary education in Enugu, the capital of eastern Nigeria. After the end of the war, I commenced my secondary education at the College of the Immaculate Conception, and thence to Christ High School in Abor, which is located in Enugu state as well.
Thereafter I obtained admission into the Faculty of Law at the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), where I read Law.
It was during the course of my academic studies that it became increasingly evident to me that schooling was literally disturbing my education, and that in the process, instead of acquiring real access into real Knowledge, I was merely feeding myself with a manner of Western education, which was especially designed to ensure that I would remain in a state of mental, intellectual and spiritual dependency.
2. Would you highlight your political career´s milestones?
I must have been about seven years old, when one day as I returned from the school (St. Theresa´s primary school, Jos) and greeted my father who happened to be discussing with another man. I was then asked to shake hands with that person, and on that very moment my father introduced that man to me:
Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe!
That man became later the first president of Nigeria, and his name was always synonymous with politics. From that very moment, I started taking more than a passing interest in politics.
My father being an active politician and a prominent traditional ruler, our house was naturally a beehive of political activities; as a matter of fact, I was a boisterous child was always in the midst of the masses of people that were ever present in our house.
My political career advanced progressively, and I do not recall any particular milestones as such to speak about. Conclusive part of my political thoughts and considerations turned out to be the conviction that Nigeria in its integrity and Africa in its entirety needed a complete redirection. I subsequently decided to devote my life to this task, especially after I came to know in minute details the evildoings perpetrated by the colonials against the highly educated, profoundly humane, and genuinely pacific King Jaja of Opobo (1821-1891); the colonial treachery, the shocking story of King Jaja´s kidnapping by the English government, and his tragic and most undeserved end in captivity overwhelmed my political thought, determined my political stance, and contextualized my African identity.
Organization for Democracy in Africa (ODA)
´´Today Africa´s democratic deficit is more significant than its financial deficit´´-Julius Nyerere.
Haven shamefully and painfully watched as Africa, our motherland, was apparently terminally engaged in violent confrontations of various proportions with its poor self over the past four decades.
The thoroughness, the ruthlessness and the ferocity of these confrontations, which spanned the whole length and breadth of the continent, from Cape Town to Cairo and from Monrovia to Mogadishu, have often terrified and even dumbfounded the international community.
In May 1994, I gathered several colleagues, companions and activists in a meeting at Enugu in Eastern Nigeria, whereby we all decided to set up the Organization for Democracy in Africa (ODA) with the following aims and objectives:
I. Ensuring and monitoring probity and accountability in the administration of African states
II. Complementing the activities of other progressive regional and sub-regional African organizations committed to the unification, democratization and development of the African states
III. Identifying the colonially-instigated disputes in Africa, and exposing them to the international community
IV. Preventing ethnic, religious, racial, political or cultural disputes from escalating into wars or violent confrontations throughout Africa
African Revolutionary Movement (ARM)
On the 1st of October 2000, at the Abuja Cultural Center, I launched the African Revolutionary Movement (ARM) and at a later date, I - along with my colleagues - applied to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in order to register ARM as a political party. However, INEC refused to register us, claiming that the term ´revolutionary´ in the party name was unacceptable to the commission, and that in addition, the abbreviation ARM was equally unacceptable. We therefore had to change the name to African Renaissance Party (ARP), which was finally registered in 2002.
African Renaissance Party (ARP)
In 2003, I contested for the Presidency of Republic, in Nigeria´s presidential elections, under the African Renaissance Party.
3, How did you feel personally your Igbo identity, and at what age were you conscious that you belong to your ethnic religious group?
As I said, I was born in Jos, northern Nigeria. I was ten years old, when the Nigerian / Biafran civil broke out in 1967; as a matter of fact, my parents had to run to the eastern part of Nigeria. It was indeed at that time that the idea dawned upon me that I was an Igbo and an eastern Nigerian.
At the time, there was a general pogrom in northern Nigeria against the Igbos and the Igbos were being massacred in hundreds of thousands throughout northern Nigeria in one of the most thorough but less publicized genocides in the History of the Mankind.
Now, Igbos are predominately Christian and followers of traditional religions, and very few of them are Muslims. In fact, I never came across an Igbo Muslim until my adolescent years.
You don´t need to have a Ph.D. in Astrophysics to know that the Igbos are the most marginalized people of Nigeria. This fact is quite paradoxical because among all the peoples of Nigeria none believes in unified Nigeria as much as the Igbos do.
First of all, you can find Igbos residing all over Nigeria, even in the most remote areas. Secondly, you can easily notice that wherever an Igbo resides, he really invests his property. No other people or ethno-religious group in Nigeria shares this typical trait. Thirdly, throughout Nigeria, the Igbos constitute the 2nd largest group, being second only to the indigenous population as per region.
Yet, the Igbos are still so grossly marginalized that their region (Nigeria´s southeast part) is the zone of poverty and underdevelopment par excellence.
Endowment Fund for the Center for Igbo Studies
The Igbo nation features a home-grown democratic sociopolitical system, which goes back to Igbo Pre-history and at the same time testifies to the most advanced concepts of humane and civilized social order that must have been unique in the Antiquity.
The reason why an Igbo can never grovel and roll on the ground before a fellow human being, no matter how highly placed that human being may or might be, is that every Igbo man knows without any shred of doubt that he is a king. This belief and practice is not common to all Africans, you must note.
The actual center of the habitable world is a location marked in all the ancient maps of the world as ´´Median´´; this is a cartographical term meaning ´a location situated in the middle´. That place is ´Median Biafra´, the only place to be marked under this name in the world map. Biafra is located in the South Eastern Region of Nigeria; Biafra had once included the Delta region, the Cameroon Border States, and the fringes of the Niger-Benue confluence.
4, How did you feel personally your identity of Nigerian citizen, and what is Nigeria´s role in Africa according to your political vision?
I see Nigeria as the firstborn of Africa in every sense of the word, and like all firstborns in African cultural and traditional understandings, it behooves Nigeria to take good care of the rest of Africa. This means that Nigeria must lead by example; it implies that Nigeria must be a model state and must get her acts together so to say. In that wise, and going by all available indices, Nigeria is a failure.
I also believe that it is Nigeria´s responsibility to become a super-state strong enough to take adequate care of the rest of Africa and the Black World. When one looks at the crisis bedeviling the Black World and takes into consideration the fact that Black people are not able to take care of themselves and their brothers, one draws the conclusion that Nigeria has abdicated from her position and declined her responsibilities. This is my own reckoning. For instance, the predicament confronting the Black People of Haiti today demonstrates – amongst others – the failure of Nigeria.
Nigeria should become a super-state capable enough to protect the interests of the Black World. Nigeria should be strong enough to be entrusted veto power in the UN Security Council. Nigeria should be an industrialized nation manufacturing her own cars, airplanes, etc. Nigeria should be a net exporter of all types of high technological products. Nigeria should be the very strongest nation on Earth to ensure that no people are persecuted in today´s world and no race discrimination takes place.
It is the direct responsibility of Nigeria to bring about the unification of the Black World, just as it is the responsibility of a family´s firstborn to ensure the togetherness.
One learns from Prof. Catherine Acholonu-Olumba that ´´the wicked and inhuman fate to which the Black race has been confined through the ages was consciously and deliberately plotted"; and that "seeds of enmity were meticulously sowed among Black Africans who had been used as instruments of division, racism, tribalism, injustice and enthronement of falsehood over truth and wisdom". This wound has remained with Africans, especially Nigerians, who are some of the most gifted men and women in the world but remained prostrate due to tribalism and nepotism; these negative elements have been so deeply ingrained that only a surgical incision of a powerful dose of hard truth could effect the desired changes.
I also select the following excerpts:
´´It is no accident that the Niger/ Benue confluence is located in the land of Nigeria, the most populous Black African nation; a country and a people marked out from the twilight of time to be the cradle of African Renaissance´´.
´´That distinguishing cultural phenomenon known all over the world as Black African culture is Nigerian in origin´´.
5. How did you feel personally your identity of African, intellectual and statesman, and what is Africa´s role in today´s global world, according to your ´´Weltanschauung´´?
Yahaya Ezemoo Ndu - The United States of America prides herself as the policeman of the world, but everything in its origin, nature and character shows it to be the very opposite of what she claims. Instead of being the policeman of the world, the US has consistently proved to be the most criminal nation of the world.
The United Nations has been shown to be nothing but an outer cloak of the US, and is totally incapable of acting against the dictates of the US.
Africa is the continent that is morally positioned to take over the role that the US has erroneously ascribed to itself over the past centuries.
Africa is first of all the father and mother of Humanity in the sense that it has been proven beyond any reasonable doubts by scientific and historical facts and finds that the entire Mankind started in black Africa. Secondly, civilization started in Africa, and in other words Black Africa taught Humanity all it knows.
Thirdly, no people have suffered as much as Black African did in the hands of other races on earth, and in this sense, Black Africa is the conscience of the world. All these elements make of Black Africa the natural candidate to assume the role of the policeman of the world.
I look forward to the emergence of a self-sufficient, self-reliant Africa that will be in a position to grant aids to other parts of the world. I want to see the rise of an Africa that is industrialized enough to manufacture all her needs; I believe in an Africa normally and naturally looked upon by the rest of mankind as able to settle all global issues.
´´The European Renaissance was a result of a resurgence of new ideas from European students of primo, the African old school of Egypt, such as Pythagoras, Plato and Socrates, and secondo, the Zoroastrian Magi of the Middle East.
6. What is your evaluation of the existing borderlines in Africa, and to what extent do they represent an imperative reality or a righteous situation for you?
Yahaya Ezemoo Ndu - The realities of the Berlin Conferences of 1883 - 1885 and the grave distortions these conferences brought about in the lives of the peoples of Africa are no secrets to anyone. The present borderlines of the African nations are due to the partitioning of Africa in the Berlin Conferences, and were occasioned by the economic and political interests of the colonial powers. These borderlines were arbitrarily drawn, without any recourse to the cultural and historical affinities of the diverse peoples of Africa. The borderlines are indeed the main responsible for the incessant crises that have bedeviled the African continent.
So, to answer your question directly, my evaluation of the existing borderlines in Africa is that they are criminally, wickedly, selfishly and atrociously instituted, and that they must be redressed.
7. Would you briefly describe to our readers the political ideology and the principal political targets of your party?
Yahaya Ezemoo Ndu - According to Nelson Mandela, Africa has gone beyond bemoaning the past for its problems. The task of undoing that past is ours, with the support of those willing to join us in a continental renewal. We, the Africans, must take responsibility for our own destiny, if we really want to uplift ourselves by our own efforts in partnership with those non Africans who wish us well.
However, the truth is that Africa cannot possibly renew herself within an ugly context in which all the upper echelons are mere parasites on the rest of society in every African country, enjoying a self-endowed mandate to use their political power in a way to ensure that our poverty-stricken and underdeveloped continent reproduces itself as the periphery of the world economy, being always incapable of development.
The African Renaissance demands that we purge ourselves of these parasites and maintain a permanent vigilance against the danger of this rapacious stratum being entrenched in the African society; its debased social morality brings about an unacceptable situation according to which everything in the society must be organized materially to benefit the few.
The African Renewal demands that African intelligentsia carried out the gigantic task to end the poverty, the ignorance, the disease and the backwardness; the African intelligentsia must be inspired by the fact that the Africans of Egypt were in some instances two thousand years ahead of the Europeans in the mastery of such subjects as geometry, trigonometry, algebra, chemistry, astronomy, medicine and natural sciences.
The beginning of the African Rebirth throughout the continent must be our own rediscovery; we must find again our soul, which was immortalized since the Dawn of the Mankind in the great monuments that encapsulated knowledge and wisdom altogether, nanely the pyramids and sphinxes of Egypt and Ethiopia, i.e. Ancient Sudan, the steles (hawalti) of Axum, the ruins of Carthage and Zimbabwe, the rock inscriptions of Somalia, the drawings of Tassili in the Atlas region, the paintings of the San, the Benin bronzes and the African masks, the carvings of the Makonde, and the stone sculptures of the Shona.
The Rebirth of Africa will not occur overnight. It will naturally take some time. The African intelligentsia, wherever they may reside and originate from, must undertake the systematic re-establishment of the History of Africa as an unbiased discipline of Humanities, purified from all the Western fallacies, schemes and preconceived racist concepts. They must reinterpret the African Past, implement their conclusions at the levels of the African Primary and Secondary Education, publications, and average culture, and ultimately enable all the Africans to better understand how and why we fell and we came to be where we are right now. Their task is therefore not a merely academic responsibility but a social mission of awareness raising and resource mobilization so that a greater number of African, if possible all, participate in and contribute to the African regeneration process.
The African Renaissance entails Heritage reclamation for the people of the African continent, whether at home or in the Diaspora. The African Renaissance is the only possible means to trigger socio-economic and political renewal of Africa. This is our vision, the program of the African Renaissance Party (ARP).
We, at the African Renaissance Party, believe that all the systems of governmental practice currently undertaken in Africa are fundamentally defective and constitute basic reasons for holding the existing potentials in bondage. Our party aspires to institute a mass participatory system of government that will bring about efficient, responsive and responsible governments that will subsequently unleash the creative and productive potentials of the people, thus catapulting Africa to where our continent belonged already at the Dawn of the Mankind.
The African Renaissance brings forth a genuine effort to address the need of people for identity, integrity, and self-knowledge; making of our lost literatures and scriptures from all over the continent the focal point of tomorrow´s African average education and culture means that we guarantee for our children a bright future and that we make sure that they will not be another wasted generation. Everything we have so far studied tells us that we, Africans, are meant to be teachers of the rest of the world and leader of the Mankind in the path toward true Knowledge and Wisdom.
Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe tells us in his books the Renascent Africa will ´´educate the Renascent African to be a Man. Tell him that he has made definite contributions to history. Educate him to appreciate the fact that iron was discovered by Africans; that the conception of one God was initiated by Africans; that Africans ruled the world from 763 to 713 B.C.; that while Europe slumbered during the dark ages, a great civilization flourished on the banks of the Niger, extending from the salt mines of Taghaza in Morocco, to Lake Chad right to the Atlantic; Narrate to him the lore of Ethiopia, Ghana, Melle, Mellestine and Songhay.
Let him realize with the rest of the world that while Oxford and Cambridge were in their inchoate stages, the university of Sankore in Timbuktu welcomed scholars and learned men from all over the Moslem world´´.
Mass Participatory Government
´´Only through the direct and continuous participation of all citizens in political life can the state be bound to the common good or general will´´.
8. In a paper presented at the occasion of the Badagry Folk Festival, last August, you stipulated a Cultural Renaissance is a ´priority challenge´ for Africa in the 21st century. Why so?
Yahaya Ezemoo Ndu – According to an old saying, "there is nothing new under the sun". That being so, I may bold to say that the true solutions to all the problems confronting the peoples of Black Africa today can be found in the cultures and traditions of ancient Africa.
The African Cultural Renaissance today will signal the reintroduction of African solutions to African problems; and this is of the utmost importance. .
The African Union in its wisdom has seen it fit to dedicate this year and next year to African Cultural Renaissance because that august body has come to recognize in our ancient and surviving cultural treasures the wisdom that our African forebears left for their descendants.
´´Needless to say, there is an urgent need to redefine the parameters of scholarship. Everything we have learned will have to be unlearned. By the time the timeless knowledge encoded in the Arts and Culture (symbolism, dance, masquerades, masks, body paintings, textile designs , wall paintings, architecture, folklore, sacred ceremonies, and especially the monoliths) of Africa and other aboriginal peoples of the world are decoded and deciphered, History itself would have to be rewritten, and science would turn its attention to the study of culture and cultural phenomenon, which would then appropriately become the subject matter of Quantum physics.
To Africans, Blacks and all deprived peoples all over the world, we say, culture is everything! Those who took your cultures from you took everything from you. Your culture is your life, your past, your present, your science, your religion, your closest link to the One True God. You are your culture, and your culture is all you have. It is your link to all knowledge available in the Universal Mind of the Creator. Your culture is you. It is your Archetypal image as conceived in the mind of the creator who made you in his image. Thus, your culture is your expression of the image of God, the universal Archetype". Prof. Catherine Achaolonu-Olumba.
We must divorce our minds from understanding the word ´development´ as related to high elevation buildings and automobiles. True development is the maintenance of a divine state of order, equity, justice and contentment in a given environment or among the members of a social group. It is a society characterized by harmony and order between Heaven and Earth, and among the various sections of that society. Judging by these standards our modern societies, we safely conclude that they do not qualify to be called developed.
9. Tyranny, unrepresentative regimes imposed on subjugated nations, starvation, widespread lethal diseases, lack of medical infrastructure, minimal access to 12-year education, intellectual drainage, dependence on the west European colonial power, technological divide, a great number of impoverished populations, and tribal wars; although the aforementioned scourges are almost omnipresent in Africa, why do you focus so much on the cultural Renaissance of Africa.?
Yahaya Ezemoo Ndu – Like I said previously, most of the problems confronting Africans are traceable to inappropriate governance systems. The Western World led by the United States has been forcing electocracy down the throat of Africans, claiming that it is ´´democracy´´, while in fact the United State does not experience and has never experienced true democracy.
If there is one thing that Africa has an abundance of; that thing is natural resources. The problems of Africa are manmade, and when we reintroduce genuinely African cultural concepts and methods like the mass participatory system of governance that assures the greatest assemblage and synergizing of intellectual capital, we come to notice that 90% of Africa´s problems disappear, and the continent lives in peace and prosperity.
Serious troubles for Africa, like starvation, do not have any natural place in Africa as proper governance alone is able to fully demonstrate that Africa is poised to be the world´s food basket.
10. What role does religion play today in the Nigerian Society and politics?
Yahaya Ezemoo Ndu – Religion to be honest in today´s Nigeria has failed to live up to its promise in every facet of society. Religiosity has in no way translated to Godliness, sense of Justice, Equity or Fairness. Take for instance the National Assembly of the country where an average member who is either a Christian or a Muslim earns 15 million Naira per month, when the government admits publicly that it has difficulty to pay minimum wages of 18,000 Naira to the workers.
The main function of religion in modern Nigeria, as far as I can see, is political mobilization.
Because of the imposition of Christianity, Islam and other foreign religions on indigenous Africans, they have mostly abandoned their ancestral ways, their folk-lore, their philosophies, their healing traditions and so on and so forth.
11. What are Nigeria´s most grave economic problems today?
Yahaya Ezemoo Ndu – Let me start by saying that in my view, all the grave economic problems in Nigeria are self-imposed. It is as if Nigeria is a nation perpetually at war with the truth - in all ramifications. Nigeria is a nation that the almighty God blessed with all imaginable resources, yet the leaders (nay, rulers) insist on running the country poorly and inanely.
To start with, in the first republic, when the country was run as a federation, there was prosperity in the land, and there was full employment. There was security of life and property. But today, everything has turned upside down, and the average Nigerian university graduate is faced with serious unemployment.
In today´s Nigeria, the major economic problems are the unemployment, the neo-colonial exchange rate, the lack of industrialization, the lack of national planning, the lack of power and infrastructure, and the widespread corruption. Among them, the unemployment is the most urgent and the most crucial one; in today´s Nigeria, it is so high that graduates of universities if females take to prostitution and the males take to all sorts of odd jobs to survive.
12. How functional and representative is the existing political system in Nigeria?
Yahaya Ezemoo Ndu – The existing political system in Nigeria is most unrepresentative. Elections have generally been bad and below standards due mainly to government´s refusal to allow the electorate to have a say in the decision making system. From all indications, the prime motive of the overwhelming majority of people in authority in Nigeria is to amass wealth. The executive is in competition with the legislators as to who would loot more. A report currently making waves in the nation, issued by the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, states that 25% of the nation´s revenue is consumed by the National Assembly.
There is no structure or legislation to enforce the legislative arm of government to enter into consultation with the electorate. In fact, all the members of the National Assembly reside in Abuja, the nation´s capital, and they make no attempts whatsoever to consult with people in their constituencies during their tenure, and in accordance with their functions.
As regards their functionality, it is nil. Citizens have to make their own arrangements for almost everything in Nigeria. A man who wants to build a house for instance must plan to dig his own well or sink a borehole or make other private arrangement for water; neighborhoods make their own arrangements for security, and people have to provide their generators for power.
13. What are Nigeria´s major political forces, and what solutions are they able to administer to the country´s most crucial issues?
Yahaya Ezemoo Ndu – In Nigeria, political processes hinge upon one or more among the following, exclusive factors: the military and the People´s Democratic Party, the ethnic groups, the other political parties, the traditional rulers, and the
14. What new are your program´s basic axes of economic policy?
Yahaya Ezemoo Ndu – A Black African super-state! What is happening today in Haiti has demonstrated that the Black People are too weak in our world, and even incapable of coming to the help of their kid and kin. It is therefore imperative that a Black African super-state be established to offer an exit from the present situation.
Furthermore, it is necessary to bear in mind that the Renascent African state and continent cannot create a new social order without an economic foundation. No longer must wealth be concentrated in the hands of the few. No longer must the profit motive guide and control the aims in life of the African. No longer must the wage earners be told a dignity that does not seem to exist in labor.
15. In your party´s manifesto, you declare your intention to offer Nigeria´s legal system a Human face. What are the existing problems and the measures you will adopt if elected?
Yahaya Ezemoo Ndu – Thank you very much for this question. Indeed, the legal system as presently operated in Nigeria is not only inhuman, but is also decidedly wicked, partial, criminal, and utterly reprehensible.
The Law in Nigeria today is used by the government and its functionaries to oppress the poor and the political opposition, and to protect the rich and their cohorts.
Take the case of Major Hamza Mustapha, the Chief Security Officer of the late General Sani Abacha, former Head of State. Major Hamza Mustapha has been in detention now for 12 years under the pretext of trial for attempted murder. Now, if this does not fly in the face of Justice anywhere in the world, I do not know what would. This is certainly inhuman, barbaric and callous.
A banker has been found guilty of misappropriating 191 billion Naira in a Law Court in Nigeria, and was subsequently jailed for six months, whereas many petty thefts of a few thousands of Naira attract as punishment seven years imprisonment in some cases.
A police officer in Abia State invited a woman to the police station where he drugged and raped her to death, and there is no evidence to suggest that he has even been prosecuted for that.
In August 2009, I, Chief Winston, and Messrs. Agbo and Danjuma Mohammed instituted a case in the Abuja High Court to get the National Assembly of Nigeria to make public how much money the legislators were collecting from the public coffers, but more than one year after instituting this matter, there is yet no head way in it. This is the Nigerian legal system for you.
16. You make Tourism a great concern and a key dimension of your economic policy. Tourism is identified worldwide as a key tool for westernization and propaganda of North America and Western European culture. How will you maintain a balance between Tourism and cultural Renaissance?
Yahaya Ezemoo Ndu - Yes indeed, we at the African Renaissance Party make Tourism a key dimension of our economic policy and good reasons. We are confident that, though modern tourism has been used by Western powers for westernization and propaganda of North America, we are capable of using tourism to promote our economic interests and to reeducate the world as regards the otherwise ignored African contributions to Human Civilization.
Tourism is the fastest growing industry in the world and the greatest generator of employments. Now, Nigeria has a very serious sociopolitical problem, that of unemployment, and that´s why I believe that we can use tourism to provide our people with millions of jobs, be they short or long term.
Furthermore, cultural and historical tourism attracts more and more people all over the world, and in this field, Africa has a clear comparative advantage as the world is yet to discover the real Africa, as well as the African contribution to World Civilization. Going into this will benefit Nigeria and Africa is various ways.
The problem of maintaining balance between tourism and cultural renaissance will simply not arise because cultural renaissance will be the focus of our tourism development.
17. According to FAO statistics, between 1963 and 1990, Nigeria´s self sufficiency was reduced dramatically practically in oils (207% to 102%) and milk (80% to 69%).What measures do you plan to take in order to boost Nigeria´s agricultural production and ensure the country´s self sufficiency?
Yahaya Ezemoo Ndu - The first thing we need to do is to understand what has historically led to the scenario that you have rightly depicted. When we attempt to do this, we find that, in the 1960s, Nigeria was not only operating a federal system of government but also agriculture was given priority attention in all the zones of the country. Today, the governmental attention has shifted to crude oil exports and the sharing of the revenues ensuing from trade. Secondly, in the 1960s, the people were at the center of all government policies, but now the Nigerian military have engaged in a war in the Niger Delta, mowing down citizens to clear the way for Nigerian Oil exploration by foreign companies. They even go up to declaring boldly that no amount of civilian casualties will deter the said operations.
So honestly, and to my mind, one does need to look far to see the cause of the discrepancy that your question has highlighted.
As to the measures that we plan to take to boost Nigeria´s agricultural production and thus ensure the country´s self sufficiency, we will seek to return the nation to a federal system of government with a strengthened dimension of fiscal federalism, and I believe that the federal administrations will thus be inspired to take agricultural production and socioeconomic development seriously.
Furthermore, we will orient our engineers and technology experts toward large scale mechanized farm production, as we do not believe in importation. By manufacturing agricultural tractors and other mechanized implements locally, we shall become fully self sufficient in agriculture.
In addition, we will provide adequate funding and land for businessmen willing genuinely to invest in agriculture at all levels and go back to the era of farm settlements of the yesteryears.
Finally, let me say that our target is not merely to make Nigeria agriculturally sufficient but Africa´s food basket; agriculture is a major concern for us, and this is the reason we plan on entering into a highly contextualized partnership with diverse African and Black governments worldwide. Our ultimate target is to maximize comparative advantages in all cases.
18. What would be the basic axes of your Health policies?
Yahaya Ezemoo Ndu - The African Renaissance Party is committed to provide Nigerians with self-sufficiency in healthcare, and we do not see why the best medical doctors in the world cannot be African.
We have a very particular interest in preserving, reassessing and reorganizing the sector of traditional medicine; we intend to compel our traditional medical practitioners to put heads together with pharmaceutical firms and experts to ensure more than adequate production of medicine. We are bound to providing hospitals and external centers with the necessary infrastructure and totally modernize the existing facilities. Furthermore, we will do our best to improve security and work conditions in a way to offer incentives to Nigerian Diaspora doctors to either come back or alternatively complement us through telemedicine. However, our focus shall be more on preventive than curative medicine, and we will carry out extensive work for sanitization infrastructure, demonstrating at the same time a particular interest in making healthy nutrition accessible to and valued by all.
19. What would be the basic axes of your Education policies?
Yahaya Ezemoo Ndu – We intend to promote functional and practical education; we will emphasize on technical education infrastructure. We will benefit from our Biafra experience. We support free but ultra productive education at all levels, drawing from our millennia long African educational tradition. We intend to carry out a proper mental emancipation of the schoolchildren, the pupils and the students because we want the African youth to have faith in their abilities. We will implement an educational system that will instill in all the students´ minds and hearts the concept that all people are born equal irrespective of race, ethnic origin, and ancestry. In other words, we will rid the African peoples of the complex of inferiority. Education throughout the Renascent Africa will make people real and integral Human Beings.
20. Where does African Renaissance party stand with respect to the former colonial powers and the demanded reparations for Africa? What do you expect in this regard?
Yahaya Ezemoo Ndu – First of all, in 2003, the African Renaissance Party tried all within its powers to convene a World Summit on Reparations for Africa which was scheduled to take place at Kinston, Jamaica. The event could not take place as planned and the party had to settle with sponsoring an African Reparations Bill at the National Assembly of Nigeria.
The Bill was used to direct Nigeria and Africa to refocus on the unfinished business of forcing the Western colonial nations to pay reparations for social dislocations, forcible enslavement, looting of treasures and artifacts, destruction and desecration of cities, empires, and civilizations – or to put it in two words for centuries of rapacious economic exploitation of Black African people.
The truth is that the poverty inhibiting Black and African economies is traceable to the atrocities occurred to them during the processes of colonization and imperialism. In acknowledgement of the fact that if no extra and considerable funds are injected into these economies, such countries shall remain impoverished and beggarly for the foreseeable future, the reparations demanded offer a minimal expression of regret for the tremendous damages caused. It is therefore imperative that a practical and pragmatic initiative be put in place to address the historically bestowed legacy of structural impoverishment.
Second, to be honest with you, we expect diverse responses to the demand for reparations, oscillating from apologies to financial recompense, return of artifacts, subsidies for reconstruction works, and redress of colonial historiography, which means a complete and unbiased re-writing of African History.
21. What are Nigeria´s best partners worldwide, and how do you view China, India, and Brazil in the global scene?
Yahaya Ezemoo Ndu – Our best partners are the Blacks of Brazil, India, and China. The truth is that all sensible governments are primarily concerned with the promotion and protection of their interests and the welfare of their citizens. Consequently, their relationship with other nations is determined by the evaluation of equitable, beneficial interaction. This is true for China. This is true for India, and also for Brazil. None of them is altruistic, and therefore Nigeria and the rest of Africa must bear this in mind at all times.
I am personally skeptical about the term ´development partner´; actually, I have not seen it work anywhere at all. All the developed and industrialized nations deployed their own efforts to strengthen their economies. Consequently, all nations seeking development must first look inwards, toward their own institutions and citizens, and then outwards, e.g. to any other nations. This is not to say that governments or peoples of diverse nations cannot collaborate; I would like merely to warn that all participants in any such collaboration must be clear eyed at all times.
As far as India is concerned, I would like to add the following: India is gearing up to serve the powerful UN Security Council as a non-permanent member, after a gap of 19 years, with a fresh outlook on several international issues, especially Human Rights. India will return to the Security Council on January 1, 2011 for a 2-year period along with South Africa, Columbia, Germany, and Portugal.
With respect to Brazil, I want also to add a few words. I happened to read a statement recently made by Ambassador Antonio Patriota, the man chosen to succeed Foreign Affairs Minister of Brazil, Celso Amorim, in the administration of newly elected President Dilma Rousseff, in which he said that Brazil, India and South Africa have become ´´unavoidable partners´´ in the global decision making process, and I said to myself:
´´ Indeed the world makes way to the nations that know where they are going´´; I subsequently lamented the place of Nigeria in the whole scheme.
22. How do you view China´s increased presence in the African continent?
Yahaya Ezemoo Ndu - It is common knowledge that, as global demands for energy continue to rise, the major players, like the United States, the European Union (EU), and Japan, are facing a new competition in the race to secure long-term energy supplies: China. As its economy booms, China is intent on getting the resources needed to sustain its rapid growth. Beijing is taking its quest to lock down sources of Oil and other necessary raw materials across the globe. As part of this effort, China has turned to Africa, an Oil producing source whose risks and challenges have often caused it to be overlooked economically.
The Africans must control their own destinies, and their leaders must ensure that the poor and hungry will also enjoy the advantages that can flow from the exploitation of the natural resources that their countries have been endowed with.
Wikileaks leaked US cables demonstrating that several African governments like dealing with China. But they shouldn´t forget that China´s interest in Africa is driven by foreign policy and economic objectives.
China has been investing in Africa for decades, but the quantity and commitment of China´s investment has risen in proportion with its newfound economic strength.
23. What would be the main axes of your foreign and All-African policy?
Yahaya Ezemoo Ndu – My commitment will be manifested in three areas, notably
1. Creating an African Super State out of Nigeria
2. Establishing an African Electoral Commission, and
3. Integrating, harmonizing and synergizing African manpower
With respect to the first, I would initiate the process of turning a new Nigeria into an African Super State able to play the role of a big brother for the rest of the continent.
As regards the most needed African Electoral Commission, I want to state that it is greatly important to conduct pan African elections to the African Union and its organs such as the African parliament. As it is now, the African Union is built on defective foundations that prevent the organization from playing the role all Africans want it to play. The African Union is today a meeting place for people who rig or shoot themselves into power in their respective countries and then come up automatically in the international body to purportedly represent their nations whereas they are indeed totally deprived from the right to do so as they do not have any real mandate coming from free, democratic elections.
Furthermore, I believe that manpower in the continent of Africa needs to be harmonized and synergized for optimum benefit of all the peoples of the continent. This means that, although all peoples of Africa should be encouraged to become self-sufficient nations, efforts have to be deployed to encourage all nations to focus their national development efforts in areas of competitive advantage, which will be more beneficial to them and more profitable to the whole continent.
National planning must be complemented by continental planning; for instance, a country should be selected for the production of an African car, and in this case African professionals with skills and experience in the sector should be invited to join forces and operate in the selected country. This type of continental planning would enable the continent to produce its own motor vehicles, and this development would be far better than the current situation whereby all African nations have been engulfed, importing motor vehicles into the continent.
Similarly, another nation may have already a comparative advantage in the Chemicals – Pharmaceuticals sector; under the proposed arrangement, this country should be selected to become the continental focus in the said sector. Subsequently, African specialists in this field should be encouraged to move and work in the selected country to ensure continental, African self-sufficiency in the Chemicals – Pharmaceuticals sector.
24. How would you help Somalia pacify and gain national unity and rehabilitation?
Yahaya Ezemoo Ndu - Comprised of a former British protectorate and an Italian colony, Somalia was created in 1960 when the two territories merged. Since then, its development has been slow. Relations with neighbors have been soured by territorial misunderstandings.
The University of Peace´s Peace and Conflict Monitor Report a few years back states that the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) was better placed to pacify Somalia.
The Report was based on the understanding that for the six-month period June to December 2006 in which the ICU was in control of Mogadishu and much of Central and Southern Somalia, that territory enjoyed peace, order and security; we know very well that this was good and unique, unprecedented ever since the Siad Barre administration had collapsed. In other words, the security situation was getting better in this swathe of land that had only known and lived with over 15 years of statelessness, insecurity, clan feuds, thriving warlordism and lawlessness.
So, the question is why the Ethiopian-backed offence – with tacit support from the United States and a number of Western powers – was undertaken and who finally decided to kick the Islamic Courts Union out of Somalia when the courts merited an opposite response from the international community, having already delivered stability and order to the most of Somalia´s territory?
25. Where do you stand as regards African conflicts, notably Eritrea vs. Ethiopia, Western Sahara and Uganda vs. Congo?
Yahaya Ezemoo Ndu – I believe that the African Diaspora should intervene and come up with constructive suggestions able to offer an exit to those conflicts. The acrimonious relationship between Eritrea and Ethiopia is both, old and new. Resentful ethnic stereotypes run deep, but more recent political events have added a toxic element of embitterment. Whipped into this unstable mix is the fact that the Horn of Africa is a region at the cross roads of Europe, Asia and Africa, where the ambitions of the world´s greatest powers have colluded with local populations, religions and political formations for the last centuries.
26. What is your position about national liberation fronts and autonomy movements, notably Ogaden, Oromo and Kabylia?
Yahaya Ezemoo Ndu - Let me start by saying that I myself and the African Renaissance Party are irrevocably committed to the convocation of a sovereign national conference of all ethnic nationalities of Nigeria for the direct purpose of the renegotiation of Nigeria in order to offer an amicable coexistence formula to all the peoples of Nigeria.
The lessons taken from the Nigerian Civil War of 1967-1970, the incessant interethnic unrests that have befallen on our the nation ever since, as well as the ongoing unrests pertaining to the Niger Delta region of our country, to the extent that active military operation is going on there right now, are more than an eloquent testimony to the fact that the component units of any nation should not be bound by force but by unmitigated free will.
I therefore support freedom for the peoples of my country, and I do support freedom for all the peoples of Africa, forall the ethno-religious groups wherever they may happen to be located.
One of greatest obstacles in the path the African Unification is that efforts to unify Africa have hitherto deployed to implement the unification project with the grossly defective ´blocks´ formed out of the colonially and arbitrary contrived boundaries. These states are subjects of serious and at times bloody contentions throughout the length and breadth of the continent.
Liberation fronts are fighting for the liberation of their various peoples and deserve the support of all right thinking human beings. When all African peoples are liberated, then the objective of African unification can be commenced in earnest.
All liberation movements in Africa should be supported by all and sundry, as it is diversionary, unnecessary, and wicked for governments to seek to control peoples against their own free will. In every instance, a system must be introduced to determine the true feelings of the people; wherever it is established that they wish to be independent, the proper modalities should be worked out to enable and implement the independence process.
However, I must make the point that there is a political solution to internal strife issues, and this unfortunately has not yet been thorough explored in most of the needy African nations. This solution is: True Federalism. This implies running real, functioning and fair, federal governments.
Faced with corruption and stalled development, Africa is seeking a fresh path to good governance; federalism is the Black Continent´s watch word in this search.
The Fifth International Conference on Federalism, the bi-yearly gathering of the forum of federations, and the Global Network on Federalism, which opened in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa on December 13th 2010, has offered African leaders the opportunity to review the benefits that would accrue to the nations that embrace federalism. The theme of this year´s conference was ´´Equity and Unity in Diversity for Development´´.
I want to underscore the fact that it is the first time the conference is being held in Africa since its initiation in 1999 in Mt. Tremblant, Canada.
27. What should Nigeria do to terminate strife in Darfur?
Yahaya Ezemoo Ndu - As we know, open confrontation or warfare erupted in Darfur in early 2003, when two loosely allied rebel groups, the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLA) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) attacked military installations. This was followed closely by peace agreement brokered by the US to end the twenty years old civil war in the South of Sudan which allocated government positions and Oil revenue to the rebels in the south.
In recent weeks, Sudanese armed forces and elements of the Janjaweed armed militias have renewed attacks on villages throughout Darfur and the truth is that the Southern Sudan referendum has overshadowed Darfur.
It appears that the African Union must wake up and make a determined and unrelenting move to end the genocide in Darfur in the short term while a permanent solution to ensure the peace and security of Darfuris is arranged in the long term.