What a long journey to Africa's freedom

He finally made it to Nigeria, even though belatedly. That W. E.B. DuBois, the larger-than-life anti-colonialist crusader, now visiting the newly ‘liberated’ Nigeria was literally weeping, seemed incomprehensibly disquieting to Zik, especially given his fragile health as 92 year-old.

”Aren’t we now independent?” Embarrassed Zik anxiously demanded. ”Do you call this independence! You call neo-colonialism independence? At least, colonialism made the enemy undoubtedly visible. But now, transformed into neo-colonialism, the enemy has finally become as invisible and deadly as electric current. Africa, I’m afraid, is in for long trouble – political and socio- economic hurricane. My dear Zik, I wish you and I could live to see what they turned Nigeria 50-years from now.” Dubois sadly concluded.

Fifty years later, was DuBois not absolutely right? And since he’s, the question then is: But how come he foresaw this resource-stripped continent while our own founding fathers in their false nationalist enthusiasm failed to see the handwriting on the wall? Okay, but what about leaders after them, did they ever endeavor to stop the bleeding?

Yes, decades of somersaulting let some to blame our DNA. But how did we quickly forget because of temporary setbacks that it’s in same Africa that man leaped from homo-erectus to homo-sapiens-sapiens, as well as gave humanity all its early advantages over nonhuman beings? Rather than in our DNA, it all started in 1444 with some hungry-looking Portuguese landing in the Niger Delta in search of Eldorado. Cunningly and heartlessly, they nauseatingly exploited the kindness abundantly blooding in our ancestors’ veins.

It’s this ‘devil may care’ vile west that made DuBois angry with African leaders for singing songs of freedom when what was being given birth across Africa was the enemy’s deadliest way of life.

Yes, some African leaders like Patrice Lumumba and Kwame Nkrumah understood the enemy’s post-colonial game-plan as DuBois did. But, then, they also saw the danger confronting the enemy prematurely posed. If Lumumba paid that horrific price in January 1961 for refusing to hand them Congo’s vast natural wealth, wasn’t it natural that everyone else should be frightened to their bones?

And that Nkrumah did. Aware of the danger brainteaser seed of invisible empire posed, he too recognized there would be he could do to stop ravaging neo-colonialist holocausts from spreading. So, he’d to quickly downplay his counter Pan-Africanist game. Therefore, with reluctance he agreed with DuBois that our stolen confidence and pride be returned to us otherwise the chilling cold of inferiority it spread across African could be the deadliest weapon of mass destruction Africans might never recover from.

But the killer virus let loose by neo-colonialists became African protégés themselves. And the neo-colonialist chemist behind this virus that would trap most African leaders was Britain’s violent imperialist, Cecil Rhodes (who in 1889 cunningly turned King Lobengula’s kingdom into a personal colony he called Rhodesia – today’s Zimbabwe). While reassuring his army of apprentice neo-colonialists he said, ”We must put government power in the hands of Africans whose pasts and reputations are such that between them and the people lies an abyss; persons in disobedience to our instructions, must face criminal charges if not death.” He then went ahead to found the most venomous secret society, Britain’s ‘Round Table’ as best tool to achieve that.

Truly frightening how dreadful western secret societies such as Freemason, Round Table, Skull and Bones, Council on Foreign Relations, Bildergers, and Illuminati were used to fully clip the wings of Africa’s emergent nationalists. Administered oaths of allegiance with venomous and tongue-tied skeletons filling their cupboards they had accepted the role of protégé.

This lethal ‘Rhodesian’ virus forced DuBois to frustratingly query, “But how could these supposed guardians and builders of new Africa lead when the corridors of power were infested with western secret societies and spies”? But, then, that question about what should happen to leaders opposing instructions from the west or trying to exit, was finally answered by Lumumba on January 1961, as well as numerous African nationalists who either disappeared or died mysteriously.

It’s understandable why DuBois was in full tears visiting his beloved Nigeria and Zik his political son. His uncontrollable tears were because the vastly endowed Nigeria had been carefully orchestrated to fail. The toxic air of ethnic and religious rivalries was already suffocating the newborn nation.

Yes, DuBois saw the toxic seeds of neo-colonialism being planted; yes, he saw how hazardous these seeds could turn out to be when germinated; but there’s something missing in his infinite wisdom. He hardly recognized how miscalculated exploitation could lead to the west’s dangerous blowback.

The horrific pictures painted Africa even though patriarchal lacked historical context. It failed to appreciate the reality on the ground, which’s there’s no way the newborn nation states could overnight prematurely confront their former omnipotent colonizers. Or, didn’t he forget that even Britain did not leave America to the extent that almost a century later it sponsored a devastating civil war in the US between 1863 and 1865?

If Athens’s 10,000 soldiers could ruthlessly crush the tiny independent island state of Melos in 415 BC for fear that if they did not the Melians definitely would crush Athenians themselves should they find themselves in a position of superior power. So, it’s not just Africans on the receiving end; it’s well-established truism that nations at the top in their struggle to remain there do everything to keep others down. We too will not hesitate to lord it over others below as soon as we get to the top.

I wish he was alive today to see for himself, how the once potent bulldog is today so toothless that even its’ barking are now ignored! I also wish he could be alive to discover that even after the west downgraded its power now to what Harvard Professor Joseph Nye proposed as soft power, ”Not forcing them [us] to what you [they] want them [us] to do, but getting them [us] to want what you [they] want them [us] to want for themselves [we],” the toothless bulldog rather than catching preys is now becoming prey itself.

Could he be here he would be astonished by the same dummy democracy they sold to us has turned our savior; now empowered downtrodden citizens are fast deciding who elected and who doesn’t. In other words, the fates of politicians across Africa are no longer decided in London or Washington but by Africa’s once voiceless poor, who for decades suffered in the hands of protégé dictators.

I wish he was here to discover how Nigeria is still cruising notwithstanding its intractable ethnic and religious differences. Were he here today, he too would be a witness to how Nigerians have refused to be fragmented along ethnic and religious states that could make them look like the strip states of Togo, Swaziland, the Gambia, Equatorial Guinea, and Benin or landlocked states of Niger, Chad, Mali, Burkina Faso.

If they now realized their mistake giving birth to Giant Nigeria, should we be foolish enough to allow them redeem their mistake by dissolving this potentially powerful Nigeria? No way! We owe it to ourselves and generations unborn to rise in defense of this giant country handed to us by providence. Our army of nationalists should come together under ‘United Nigerian Movement’ to bring our ethnic and religious rivalries to an end in Nigeria. Rise if you don’t want history bypass you.

Written by
Odilim Enwegbara
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