OPINION: Amb. Armstrong Ovie-Afabo is a Youth and Human Right Activist/Speaker Niger-Delta Youth Assembly and he writes from Benin, South-south Nigeria.
The historiography , historicity and narratives of the Africa continent has not changed since the colonial era down to this day. If we are to critically bisect history, we will see that the pre-colonial era even with its attendant demerits possessed and provided better security and access to living a moderate life where all was sure of shelter and feeding. There is no gain saying that clothing though a necessity was so simple and it’s affordability was similar to that of shelter and feeding.
Such was the simplicity of life that according to prof. Walter Rodney in his book “how Europe underdeveloped Africa ” labour was not part of the factors of production, since it attracted no reward.
When a man grow up and he is of marriageable age, he would be given a land from the common patrimony (family land) to actualize his desire to have a descent attempt of raising a family. It does not end there, the entire family of the young man would mobilize themselves as the work force to aid him erect a hut that is befitting of a young man beginning an independent life.
Suffice to say that there were those who were known and regarded as wealthy. The nobles and class stratification also existed. However those in this group did not hide inside high walls, they did not seek protection by the use of fierce looking, blood tasty, human eating dogs. They didn’t move in company of heavily armed bodyguards. Infact they were the ones who protected the less fortunate against economic attack and in return those they protected respected them. The respect the more fortunate had was the protection they needed. The poor and rich had respect for humanity.
Then something happened and everything changed; people who claimed to be superior came in their high and mighty and taught us the good, the bad and the ugly.
They came and imposed on us the idea of servant and master in such a way that was hostile, forceful and in some cases deceitful.
Since we had high regards for the existing monarchical system in place before they came, they manipulated the monarchs they could, killed or exiled the ones they couldn’t in order to possess total control of our continent . In doing that they introduced to our clime the tyranny of strong and powerful minority over weak and powerless majority. They introduced the winners take all mentality that exist in Africa till date. They deliberately refused to introduce pure charity because where they gave a little, they took plenty in other forms.
Such was their wickedness to Africa that they did not allow blacks who had become citizens of their nation after centuries of terrible experiences as slaves to be of much help to their black brothers . The evidence of this is found in the statement of W.E. B. Du Bois who was a strong advocate of African culture and history, when he said that “colonialism lay at the heart of Africa’s economical, political and social problem.
When the likes of Marcus Garvey attempted to rescue Africa from the quagmire, they failed due to the vehement obstruction by both British and U.S authorities.
The brief argument above guide me to insist that our narratives of the colonial and post-colonial era remain one and same though with different protagonist and dramatis personnel.
We have been largely deceived to believe that colonialism is done and dusted with, whereas those “our brothers” who where left behind to run our affairs though they carry our skin colour; they possess the character demonstrated by the white colonial masters. So today we have black colonial masters that I shall henceforth refer to as neo-colonial masters.
Today, these neo-colonial masters like the teachers before them steal our common heritage and leave us hungry, broke, busted and dusted. They steal what they don’t need. Just like their teachers stole our artifacts and deities and sent them to their museums, these new sheriffs steal our monies and bank them outside Africa. Elementary economics is sufficient to teach the least sophisticated mind that what these neo-colonial masters do, help develop the countries they send our monies to , perhaps they do this to show appreciation to their teachers for a job well done.
If you agree with me then you know the part of history where Kwame Nkrumah, Kenneth Kaunda, Sekou Touré , Julius Nyerere, Nnamdi Azikiwe and other young Africans fought to reclaim Africa. They took Africa from the colonial masters but did not live long enough to actualize their true dreams for the continent. They were murdered by the neo-colonial masters who have since held Africa hostage. The few who lived a little longer where weakened by the fear of early death. All these a complete reminiscence of the above statement of Du Bois.
Today African youths are equipped but unemployed, educated but idle, faithful but often cheated, energetic but docile. Now you see that we are even worse of than how we where during the old colonial era. like then , the few who can challenge the status quo today are limited and can’t do much because they are few and in some cases caged by obnoxious laws and anti people’s policy .
This is why all youths of Africa continent who have been victim of this neo-colonialism must begin a process of mobilization to chase out these neo-colonial breeds who have refused to create space for young, vibrant, sagacious, intelligent, able and gallant youths.
We must say no to nonagenarians octogenarians and septuagenarians who have held on to the supreme echelon and apogee of political powers in their nation-state, those who have monopolized political powers and have created a new system of government I call “Sole-kinogarchy” – government by one man and his family.
We must prove to the world and our former oppressors that they failed in their attempt to make us redundant and docile. We must congregate and fraternize to create a platform where true liberty strive in Africa. We must not succumb to the patronage of peanuts that may be offered by the oppressors when they begin to realize that their days of reign are numbered.
We must as a matter of priority begin with the agitation for active and quality participation of youths in all issues of national, regional and continental discuss.
While I know that the struggle is not a baby milk affair, I do not need to be veteran to know that the trees of freedom and emancipation have grown by the benevolent and benign contributions of blood offered by great martyrs.
Finally, I do believe deep in my heart that, soon and very soon we shall overcome as Nigerians and Africans, we shall overcome our many challenges if we don’t grow weary as a people.