Our brother African Americans tend to place Africa on a pedestal and see it as heaven. In their presence, I am usually afraid to say anything negative about Africa because I understand why they need to see Africa as good.
White men had told African Americans that Africa is the home of savages and they are trying to rehabilitate their battered self-esteem by telling themselves that the place they came from is better than the place they are, the West. One generally leaves them to live in that sweet illusion, fantasy really; why pop their balloon and tell them that Africa is shit house?
I am assuming that you read Oyebola’s book since you marked almost every page of it. And if you read it and agree with it, it follows that you and I are on the same page! What the man wrote is like some of the things I write.
I am going to try to get in touch with him and compare notes with him. I remember reading what the fifteenth century Dutch sailors/traders had written about the splendor of Benin City and wondering whether I am insane for the Benin City we used to drive through on our way from Owerri to Lagos was anything but what those Dutchmen wrote.
I read that garbage when I was in graduate school; a black American doctoral candidate in history, Daryl had given me the material to read; he was giddy from the information that his ancestors in Africa had illustrious civilization praised by the Dutch. In my cynical mind I wondered why it was not Africans that sailed to Europe and discovered European cities and wrote about them! (Daryl did his undergraduate at Brown University and came to my university, University of California for his PhD work. Daryl, where are you; if you are still kicking please give Ozodi a shout out. I would also like to hear from our co-graduate student, Coby Harris. I suspect, given his academic brilliance that Dr. Harris made a brilliant professor somewhere?)
Benin City was an ugly primitive town of mud houses and I did not know where the Dutch got the impression that it rivaled the cities of Amsterdam, Harlem and The Hague. When the Oba of Benin died hundreds of slaves were slaughtered; that was primitive behavior; Edo people were savages and I did not know where the Dutch sailors got the idea that the Oba of Benin was civilized!
Regarding Benin’s so called greatness, when the British heard that the Bini were practicing cannibalism and decided to put a stop to it, it took only a couple white men and a company of African soldiers to sack the Oba and his city and got the savages to take to their heels in 1897. Where then was Benin’s so-called power if a handful of folks destroyed it?
Mr. Oyebola speculated that those who wrote such lies about Africa’s so-called past glory were probably motivated by need to play to Africans ego and vanity by telling them that they are as civilized as Europeans; and thus make them feel proud and thereafter manipulate them, buy slaves from them!
Africans were so civilized that they roamed around their jungles capturing their fellow Africans and selling them to Arabs and white men and burying their fellow Africans alive with the burial of their so-called important people like the Oba of Benin.
In our own Igbo land the devilish Aro and their mercenaries, Abam, roamed around capturing Igbos and selling them to white men at the coast. Yet our Igbos claim that we were civilized. We did not even develop the wheel or writing.
In 1912, Frederick Lugard and or his agents, NwaDC, came to Umuohiagu, our town and made the mistake of appointing an osu man to become our Warrant chief (osus were the first to go to the Anglican Church’s missionary schools that opened in our town in 1904; this particular man apparently could write his name) and our people went to war for they believed that he committed sacrilege by having a man from Amauga to be their leader. Lugard had to remove that man and appointed a diala, a freeborn from Eziala to be our chief and much latter a man from our village of Umuorisha to be the chief; if they were civilized they would make no distinction between osu and diala, slave and freeborn in choosing their leaders; what would matter is demonstrated leadership and management skills.
Lugard ignored appointing as warrant chief the leaders of the town, Okoronkwo and my great grandfather Njoku. The white man is always afraid of strong black men and appoints black fools like Barack Obama to positions of leadership so as to manipulate them from behind.
Like Mr. Oyebola, I have practically been to every major city in Western Europe (Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway), you name it and I have been there and explored every nooks and crannies of the major cities. I have walked inside the magnificent palaces where the rich of Europe lived and certainly did not see anything like that in Nigeria.
Mr. Oyebola agreed with me and thought that whoever said that Africans had civilizations of worth was humoring Africans.
Let us state the unvarnished truth: Africans are a primitive people. Believe me; I do not say such a put down of my people lightly. I am an African and therefore am motivated to like my people. Nevertheless, I am not in the business of telling lies.
I have dealt with Africans in positions of authority. Even those who call themselves university professors in North America are at least two thousand years behind Europeans in their cultural development (I often wonder how I managed to escape the African’s fate and operate at scientific cultural level).
If truth is said, it will probably take Africans, at least, five hundred years, if they work very hard to reach where Europeans are today (and since those would be moving on and are not going to be static that means that they would be leaving us behind!).
Oyebola made fun of the Africans who claim that Egypt is an African civilization (such as President Seder Senghor, Chiak Anta Diop, and Chancellor Williams etc.). Egyptians do not look black to me; they look Semitic and they are Semitic; that is like Arabs, Jews and Berbers.
Egyptian civilization was a Semitic-white civilization. However, Egypt did expand to what is now called Sudan (Nubia) and hence got in touch with black folks; initially, they probably used African folks as slaves. At some point some Africans did rise up in the Egyptian scheme of things but that does not mean that Egyptians were Africans.
Black Americans like to say that the Moors who conquered Spain and Portugal in 711 AD were Africans. They are of course living in fantasy land. Mohammed heard his voices telling him to establish Islam in 610 AD. He established his religion and by 622/628 AD his followers used force to conquer Mecca. Thereafter, they used force to conquer what we now call Iraq, Syria, Transjordan, and the Roman Province of Palestine and in 642 AD conquered Egypt from the Greeks. The Greeks had been in Egypt since Alexander the great conquered it in 310 BC (Greeks ruled Egypt for 900 years; their major city was named after Alexander, Alexandria where they built the largest library in the world).
The Arabs from Egypt swept to what we now call Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and then crossed the strait of Gibraltar and entered Spain and Portugal (they ruled Spain for 700 years, they were driven out of Spain in 1492, the year that Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand sent the Italian sailor Christopher Columbus to America).
The point is that the Moors were Arabs in the Maghreb and not Africans. To see them as Africans is delusion of the first order.
Those Arabs probably had African slaves and obviously went to Spain with their black slaves. They reached Southern France where Charles Martel, the hammer of God (the Franks, Germans) stopped their further drive into Europe in 732 AD.
For our present purposes, just because Shakespeare wrote a fictional play called Othello and made the hero (a negative one at that for he made him driven by insane jealousy) look brown, black folks seized on that literary character, not even a real human being and now claim that Moors were Africans.
Please note that the Spanish called Arabs Moors and called Africans Negro. Argument therefore settled? Dream on; delusion of grandeur is sweet escape for the weak seeking imaginary power and vicarious greatness!
Black folks can delude themselves mightily. Chancellor Williams claimed that Egypt was an African civilization (see my review of his book, the Destruction of Black Civilization).
Let me be brutally honest: Africa has not produced any worthwhile civilization; to say otherwise is to live in a castle built in the air and psychiatrists would charge one rent for it.
I am up to date in physics, chemistry and biology and as far as I know no black man has made contribution to those subjects. If you disagree with me then tell me any black man who said something in mechanics, light, electricity, heat, sound, quantum mechanics, special and general relativity; in chemistry any black man who discovered any of the known 114 elements or contributed to our understanding of how atoms work, none, zilch. In biology please tell me of an African that has even written any useful paper on any part of the human body.
In psychology I am probably the only African that has made some contribution to that field. In political science all Africans do is jabber on Western political science but do not say anything new in the field.
Simply stated, I do not see what Africans have contributed to civilization. Oyebola agrees with me and showed irritation at white liberals who in an attempt to raise black folk’s self-esteem tell them that they have done something significant in human history.
Liberals deceive us. See, what they did with Barack Obama, a boy who does not even know how to tie his shoes; they selected the clown and made him the President of the USA and he is in above his head and does not know what to do. Worse, he is a coward and is afraid to go to war and kill folks hence he is vacillating and wish-washy about going to war in Syria.
Just about all Americans see Obama as a piece of shit and when he talks they see him as a parrot talking and do not listen to him.
Oyebola dismissed white liberals’ condescension and patronizing praise of Africans and sought real solution to the African dilemma. He wants us to accept our fate as it is and work to develop Africa. I agree with him. My writing shows how to develop Africa; his views agree with mine, so I do not have to delineate the specifics of his excellent recommendations on how to rebuild the fallen Africa house, for I have written about those.
I have always believed that Yorubas are smart people; see, Oyebola, a man with only a bachelor’s degree in economics wrote like a seasoned professor.
On the other hand, when you read what Igbos wrote it is like you are reading what mentally retarded persons wrote.
Igbos swallowed the rubbish that white liberals say about Africa’s so-called great civilizations when none of them is even a civilization worthy of Europe’s Dark Ages.
The so-called great Zimbabwe was probably built by Arabs, as a sort of slave cage, as the Portuguese built El Mina castle to quarantine slaves on the coast of Ghana.
Africa has not produced anything like the Chinese civilization that had writing for over 2000 years and built the Great wall, discovered gun powder and built ships that explored East African Coasts and probably visited America before the white man did.
Chinua Achebe wrote like a secondary school boy in his mental development and could never see through the lies of liberals and talked as if his Africa had great things in it.
Ghana, Mali, Songhai, Hausa states, Bornu, Oyo, Benin, Buganda, Kongo, even the Zulu Dawn were merely slave states, states that existed to supply white men or Arabs with slaves. They contributed nothing to knowledge.
The so-called university at Timbuktu was built and run by Arabs; at any rate, the writing there was in Arabic not African language!
Let me close by saying that I completely agree with Mr. Oyebola; he is my kind of thinker. If he is still alive I will connect with him and share notes with him. Obviously, he is not of my generation; he was born in the mid-1930s whereas I was born in the 1950s and our experiences differ but if he is still of the mind that wrote this book we have a meeting of minds. If he is alive and in Nigeria the next time I visit Nigeria I would like to go talk to him.
Clearly, Oyebola has positive self-esteem; he had to have the courage to be himself to write the honest truth he wrote in his book. He is like me. Folks reading my books and writing often think that I have self-hatred or low self-esteem. Low self-esteem indeed! I have run government agencies comprising of mostly white professionals and none of the staff dared mess with me!
Annoy me and get yourself treated with such shock therapy that you would never for as long as you live forget it. Many misguided Igbos took my scholarly demeanor as sign of weakness and picked a fight with me. I let them have it; I opened their dark closet and exposed the skeletons in it. I popped their mask of superiority and showed them to be a primitive people.
Self-esteem and high self-confidence is manifested in stating ugly truths about one’s self and one’s people; telling lies that make one and one’s people seem big when they are small is sign of low self-esteem.
September 17, 2013