It is now time to modernize Africa


Ozodi Osuji


Contemporary African countries, except Ethiopia, were put together by Europeans. In the Late nineteenth century, Europeans finally scrambled to lay claims to African territories; prior to the discovery of quinine, they par ked their slave ships at the Atlantic coast and arranged with coastal Africans to go inland and get African slaves for them and then they took those slaves to the new world. But now that they have quinine and would no longer die upon entering interior Africa, they sent their explorers, such as Mungo Park, the Clapperton Brothers, David Livingston, and others into interior Africa. Having discovered what interior Africa is like, they scrambled to take the land.
The French, the English and the Portuguese and the newly unified Germany, Germany was unified by Otto Bismarck in 1870, laid claims to territories in Africa. To avoid going to war with each other, they met at the Berlin Conference of 1884/5 and divided Africa into colonies. Thus, there came into being 54 African countries.
Each of these countries is an artificial country. European powers arbitrarily logged different tribes into their colonies. Most African countries today have many tribes in them.
Africans have recognized that the conglomeration of disparate tribes into one country is part of their issues. Consider Nigeria; in Nigeria there are three major tribes, Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo and many smaller ones, including Fulani, Edo, Urubo, Ijaw, Efik, Tivi, Idoma, Nukpe, and so on.
These tribes are often as different as day and night. Additionally, are the religious differences. In the upper north is Islam; in the south are those European missionaries converted to Christianity and in the Middle Belt are pagans.


How do you get Muslims, Christians, and Pagans to get along? The situation is complicated by Muslim Fulanis desire to Islamize the entire country. The Fulani had used the pretext of Islam to conquer Hausa states beginning around 1804 and now want to conquer the entire country and convert the people to Islam and rule the country through their Fulani emirs as they rule Hausas.
Obviously, those they feel like ruling do not want to be ruled by them. The situation is rather comical. Fulani’s are probably one of the least westernized ethnic groups in Africa and they want to rule mostly Christians who are probably the most Educated group of Africans. It is hilarious, to say the least. Nigeria is a comedy or errors, an absurdity, really!
Be that absurd situation as it is, if a Nigerian, even a Fulani is sufficiently enlightened and decided that Nigeria ought to catch up with the world and embarked on doing so many southerners would probably support him.
If a Muslim used draconian means to modernize Nigeria, as Joseph Stalin did in the USSR, I believe that most Nigerians would support him, myself included.
But, instead, what Nigerians see is Muslim Fulanis wanting to Islamize Nigeria and impose sharia law on all the people. They are not ashamed that Islam is an Arab religion that Africans ought to do away with, as they ought to do away with the other imported religion, Christianity. Instead, they want to impose a more primitive version of Islam on all Nigerians. These people are laughable, they are not serious leaders of a modern polity.


Some of the tribes that Fulani’s want to rule are unruly and stubborn. Igbos, for example, lived in their villages before the white man came to their world in the 1850s and imposed Western rule and Christianity on them. Prior to their encounter with the West, Igbos did not develop political organizations beyond the town level. They did not have legislatures, executives, and judicial bodies; every political function was performed by the Oha, the meeting of the entire villagers. Each person ruled his self and did not subject his self to organized large political entities. To the present, Igbos operate best as individualists.
Each Igbo is self-centered and fends for his self. He is exposed to the West and wants to live as large as he sees the rich in the West live. He sees the Rockefellers, Fords, Carnegies, Vanderbilt’s, Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, the rich of America living in lavish mansions and he works and or steals the money to live as such. He must get the money to build his own mansions.
If he enters politics and becomes the governor of his state, he literally steals all the money meant for his state and uses it to live large and would not care for his people. He is like his ancestors that used to capture his people and sold them into slavery and used the money to masquerade around as a big man; ancient Igbos did not care for the suffering of their people and so are contemporary Igbos; they just want to feel that they are big men in other people’s eyes.
The Igbo would build a house as lavish as you find at Beverly Hills, Bell Air and Montecito in California but in front of his house the road is not paved and when it rains it becomes a river that cars cannot drive on. He refuses to pay taxes with which public infrastructure is built so that he can drive his luxury cars on paved roads.
He does not want to pay for water (he digs his own bore hole well for private water), electricity (he buys private generators from Asians) or even schools (he sends his children to private schools rather than fund public schools).
The elementary and secondary schools built by white missionaries in his town are collapsed. The Igbo is so self-centered that he sees it not in his self interest to do what helps other people. He stupidly tells you that he is republican and believes that to be republican is to look after his self-interest and not care for other people.
Clearly, the Igbo is self-centered and needs a draconian leader, such as Joseph Stalin, to physically whip him into serving social interests; you cannot get the selfish person to realize the need to pay, at least, a third of his annual income in taxes, to be used to build and maintain roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, and other infrastructure that serve the entirety of the people, unless you force him to do so.


Clearly, the Fulanis want to rule Nigeria in perpetuity. They know that to accomplish their goal they must coopt one of the major tribes of Nigeria and use them to accomplish their goal. In the early 1960s they worked with Nnamdi Azikiwe and used him to get his Igbos to form a coalition government with the North and that way they dominated the other tribes.
In January 1966, some Igbo “know nothing about politics” organized a military coupe and killed mostly Fulani and Hausa military officers and the political leaders of the North and spared the lives of Igbo political leaders and military officers (what exactly were they drinking that made them not realize that what they did would infuriate Hausa-Fulanis and get them to kill Igbos).
In July of 1966, the Fulani organized a counter coupe and not only killed Igbo military leaders but Igbo civilians living in the North and the rest of the Igbos fled to Alaigbo and their leader, Emeka Ojukwu declared secession from Nigeria and a three-year civil war ensued. Nigerians won that civil war.
Fulanis have been ruling Nigeria since 1966. The Yoruba saw an opportunity to displace their southern rival, Igbos, and now form a coalition government with Fulani’s to rule Nigeria in perpetuity.
The Yorubas are in cahoots with Fulanis, those that are not their equal educationally speaking, but they believe that they got a good deal going even if they are the junior partner in ruling Nigeria.
Are Yorubas really benefiting from this Fulani-Yoruba accord? Nigeria is now in a state of anarchy and chaos; even Yoruba life is now insecure; kidnapers and Fulani herdsmen run amok kidnapping and killing Nigerians, at will, and the well-educated men in cahoots with the Fulani do not seem to care provided that they participate in looting the Nigerians treasury? This is sad, incredibly sad.


Other ethnic groups in Nigeria are variants of Igbos unchecked individuality, Yoruba cowardice, and Fulani’s delusional desire to rule Nigeria in perpetuity.
The result of this macabre situation is the impasse that Nigeria is in, a country that is so corrupt that it is not funny.


The ragged looking policeman, carrying an ancient rifle, stops motorists and extorts money from them before he allows them to move on.
Nigerian civil servants literally exist to steal money from the people but not to do any useful service for them. You must pay money to even pick up a form that is supposed to be free from a government ministry. Whatever you want done by Nigerian government bureaucracies has a price for it.
The politicians are literal thieves. These rulers of a banana republic pay themselves millions of dollars annually, while the average Nigerian makes about two dollars a day. Amazing, is it not? Leaders of a poor country ought to live poorly. No Nigerian legislator, executive or judge deserves more than two thousand dollars a month. But we are talking about anti-social and sociopathic thieves not healthy human beings.


What are contemporary Nigerians? They are mostly self-centered folks who work only for the individual but not for the collectivity. You see them clad in agbada, discarded robes that Arabs used to wear, what their ancestors saw Arabs wear a thousand years ago when they went to the hajj in Mecca. Now they call those hideous robes their national attire. It is not their national attire; it belongs to their Arab slave masters.
Those robes are not designed for modern industrial workplaces; can you imagine a person working in a factory or laboratory wearing those hideous robes? They would drag the test tubes to the floor and get into the moving assembly lines.
Apparently, Nigerians want to demonstrate to the white man that they have their own national attire different from the white man’s attire hence they wear those hideous agbada.
Hausas and Fulanis have been wearing those robes for probably a thousand years. Igbos used to be naked, except for a piece of clothes wrapped around their groin, and, therefore, cannot claim the agbada as their national uniform.
Nobody is impressed with Nigerians wearing their hideous robes; what people are impressed by is productivity. If Nigerians are not seen as a productive people, but instead are seen as a thieving people, no one is going to respect them.
They must, therefore, discard their agbada and wear modern business suits and get to work modernizing their country.
The few African leaders, such as Paul Kagame of Rwanda, that seem to be modernizing their countries wear business suits.
The Chinese, Japanese and Koreans had elaborated national attires but to become productive and modernized now wear suits.
Nigerians must immediately start wearing suits and working hard to develop their country; the same applies to other African countries.


After the first glow of independence wore off and Africans were now supposed to get down and solve their political and economic problems by themselves, instead of jabbering about what Europeans did to them, such talk was appropriate during the struggle for independence but now that they are governing themselves, they had a different set of problems and needed to address them and address them quickly but to the present they have not done so. It is as if someone cast a magical spell on their eyes and prevents them from seeing clearly and doing what needs to be done.
The major problem of African countries is that each of them was put together by Europeans. Europeans agglomerated different tribes into one political entity.
Upon gaining their independence from Europe, each of these tribes struggle for who is going to lord it over others. One may temporarily lord it over others but that is no solution, for even if such arrangement lasts five hundred years it will eventually fail.
The English have lorded it over the Scotch, Irish and Welch for hundreds of years but in the 1990s had to devolve power to those ethnic groups and if care is not taken, they would all secede from Britain. Yugoslavia was balkanized to North Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia- Herzegovina. Czechoslovakia was divided into Czech and Slovakia republics. The USSR devolved into sixteen republics; Russia has not seen its last dissolution for it is still an unwieldy empire of people conquered by the Russian Tzars. The various small groups in Russia are agitating for separation and will keep doing so until they either separate from Russia or are given relatively more autonomy to rule themselves within the Russian federation.
What needs to be done in Africa is to rearrange each country along ethnic lines. Nigeria has about twelve major ethnic groups and numerous small ones. Clearly, some of the small ones cannot even be a county in a state talk more being independent.
What needs to be done, now, not tomorrow, is restructure Nigeria into twelve states, viz: Alaigbo, Yoruba, Edo, Efik, Ijaw, Benue, Plateau, Niger, Bornu, Kanuri, Hausa, Fulani and have each small group an autonomous county within one of the twelve states.
Have the states essentially govern themselves as if they are sovereign nations, pretty much along the USA lines. Each having total control over its resources but its citizens paying about 25% of their annual income in tax to the federal government, and that money is used to run the federal government, the federal government overseeing the military and foreign affairs, with each state having its police.
The structure at the central level is replicated at the state, county, and town/city level: a unicameral legislature, a president, an independent judiciary (the justices of the supreme court, numbering 13, each elected from the thirteen appellate court districts, and the supreme court being responsible for recruiting judges of appellate and district courts).
Each level of government elected for five years, with four terms of office limit (twenty years is more than enough time to be in government).
A law mandating death sentence for anyone who stole public funds. Steal and you are shot to death by a firing squad, as they do in China.
The country made a social democracy; that is, certain functions accepted as necessarily done by the state, and those include education paid at all levels by the public (while also allowing private schools), health insurance paid for all by the public (while also allowing private insurance). Some other functions could be identified for the state but otherwise leave the private sector to do things.
What is done in Nigeria is done in every African country that has more than one ethnic group. Zimbabwe has Shona and Ndebele, meaning two states in it and a central government; South Africa has about ten tribes in it meaning ten states and a central government, Kenya has Kikuyu, Lua and some other tribes meaning states, accordingly; Congo, like Nigeria, has many tribes so divide it up into tribe-based states. Namibia and Angola have tribes, each should be divided into appropriate number of states.
By the time you are done with these divisions, Africa would have about four hundred states. Hopefully, in the future all these states would unite into an Africa Federation of Nations (AFN), one country in all black Africa.
Do these simple things and then embark on rapid industrialization and Africa will be modernized in thirty years? Instead, Africa wastes its time trying to work with an unworkable recipe, such as in Nigeria with Fulani’s trying to rule other Nigerians thus creating chaos; Fulanis, sooner or later, will end up been massacred by those who are angry at them, as they were massacred in Central African Republic.
If you force people into a marriage and they want out, you simply must make a different arrangement or have them get what they want, divorce.


Whether we like to own it or not, the fact is that we live in a general system; in the system everything affects everything else. I affect you and you affect me; my life is in your hands and your life is in my hands; we can choose to preserve each other’s life or destroy each other’s life.
So far, nonblack people, Arabs and Europeans have generally chosen to enslave, exploit or kill black people; to make matters worse, in Africa black people also exploit or kill black people; black lives do not matter to white folks and to black folks in Africa. Those are the facts of our lives.
Every person knows that black lives do not matter to blacks and to non-blacks; East Indians and Chinese treat black people worse than white folks treat them!
Instead of regretting the past, the question is what we are going to do about it, right now. It would be nice if white and Asian folks decided that black lives matter to them; I am not going to count on them doing so.
Africans and black people must see their lives as having worth and behave as such. This means for black Americans to start treating each other with respect and stop killing their fellow black folks, and for Africans to work their black bottoms off in developing their fellow Africans instead of existing to steal from their people and pretending to be human beings when they are not.
Unless you love and care for people and work for their welfare, you are not a human being. What you are I do not know. To me, unless a person cares for other people he is not a human being, and he has absolutely no worth. Respect is earned when we serve our mutual social interests.

Ozodi Osuji
April 24, 2021
(907) 310-8176

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