- Post 26 October 2008
- Last Updated on 25 October 2008
- By Ozodi Thomas Osuji
WHY WE DO NOT NEED ANOTHER CRISIS IN NIGERIA
Ozodi Thomas Osuji
In politics there are essentially two schools of thought: Political Realism and Political Idealism.
Political realism (see Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Pareto, Otto Von Bismarck, Prince Metternich, Joseph Schumpeter, Edward Carr, Morgenthau, Kissinger etc) has a dim, negative and pessimistic view of human nature. It takes a look at history, reality, and what it sees are men always killing men. As it sees it, men are territorial animals and are always fighting for the control of specific territories. The stronger dominate the weak and that is all there is to it. If the weak is shrewd it finds a non-military way to get back at the strong. Extrapolating from objective history, political realists believe that human beings would always be ruled by the more powerful or the more astute.
In International politics political realists point out that throughout human history powerful groups (the nation state is a relative new phenomenon in politics, it came into being after the 100 years religious wars between Catholics and Protestants in Europe at the treaty of Westphalia in 1648) rule the weaker ones. A strong Europe ruled a weak Africa. It says that this is just the way it is. Therefore, if you do not want your country to be dominated by other countries you must at all times struggle to be powerful.
As political realism sees it, only when a country’s power balances the power of other countries would they not dominate it politically, economically and militarily. Thus, the big powers of the world struggle to balance each others power. If one comes up with a new military weapon the others feel threatened and work to get it or steal it. It is assumed that war is prevented only when power is balanced between nation-states.
In you are in doubt about the wisdom of political realism, see what happened when the alcoholic, Boris Yeltsin, allowed the Soviet Union to implode. The United States became the sole superpower. Now drunk with power the United States engaged in unilateral foreign policy; it did not have to consult other powers and have multilateral treaties. Thus, the mentally retarded boy called George Bush felt justified to go on preemptive wars of choice, wars to bring about regime changes in other peoples countries. And what are you going to do about it? You are going to do nothing about it for you do not have the power to stop that mentally challenged boy. (During the cold, as opposed to hot war, the US and the USSR had what was called capacity for mutual destruction, MAD, so, none dared attack each other. With the demise of the Soviet Union, the US returned to Teddy Roosevelt’s gunboat diplomacy: no longer carrot and stick but do as we say or else we invade you. This recklessness, real politics scholars tell us, brings the world to the precipice of war.)
Political idealism (see Rousseau, Karl Marx etc), on the other hand, has the belief that human nature is good, and to the extent that it seems bad environmental factors brought it about. In Social Contract, Jean Jacque Rousseau dreamed of how man is born free but is everywhere in chains; he wanted to remove those chains and return human beings to freedom, which he believed existed in nature. He fancied that American Indians, whom he condescendingly called noble savages, lived in peace (actually, they were chopping off each others heads in inter-tribal wars, never mind imagination run wild on the part of the Frenchman).
Karl Marx wrote quaint rubbish about how society ought to be organized economically: from each according to his ability and to each according to his needs. As he sees it, the question that Cain posed: am I my brother’s keeper, should be answered in the affirmative; we are our brothers keepers and ought to work for the good of our society. Karl Marx, as my dear friend, Nietzsche, would say, was a utopian Christian; he lived in fantasy world, engaged in magical thinking and wishful thinking. In the real world folk are competing with each other and the more competitive gets more public goods than others. Bill Gates comes up with a more efficient way to do computing and makes billions of dollars, whereas Africans cannot even come up with a good way to catch a mouse hence live in poverty.
Political realism is the operating axiom in international and domestic politics. If this is so, and it is so, one, therefore, must extrapolate from it in looking at the Nigerian political scene and make politically realistic judgments. At present, we see political idealists running around taking their wishes as reality. The Niger Delta militants, The Biafra militants and other atavistic forces are running around appealing to our feelings. If we allow them to succeed we can only live to regret permitting our feelings to rule our heads. Our heads must be parked in political realism, not the old wives tales of political idealism.
As political realism sees it, individuals’ are selfish animals (see Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations, also see David Ricardo and other economists who based their economics on the assumption that people are motivated by self interest and tend to work hardest when they are motivated by self interests and not work hard when they are told to work for public good).
In international politics it is said that nations are motivated by national interests. That is to say that nation-states foreign policies are actuated by the question: what is in it for them? They do not engage in international politics out of altruistic desire to help other folks.
The United States of America studies each region of the world and sees what is in it for it, and to the extent that it has interests there tries to influence that region’s politics (this is called geopolitics or real politics).
In this light, the Western powers would always ask: what is in it for them if there is war in Nigeria? Why should they intervene to spill their young people’s blood? Is it because of sentimental notions of doing so for human good?
Let us see. In our own life times we saw Arabs murdering Africans in South Sudan; we saw Arabs murdering Africans in Darfur; we saw one African tribe killing others in Rwanda and Burundi; we saw Africans go at each other in Sierra Leon and Liberia, chopping off children’s hands; we saw Somalis reduce their country to Hobbes war of each against all hence chaos; we saw Africans killing each other in Uganda; we saw Africans killing each other in Angola; and in the 1960s we saw some Nigerians go at other Nigerians.
Here is my question for you, big boy. What is common in all these situations? The International Community did not intervene to stop Africans mutual mayhem. On the other hand, what did the International community do when Yugoslavia imploded? Mr. Bill Clinton went to war with the Serbs to stop their ethnic cleansing of non-Serbian Europeans.
If you have been around when Africans start murdering each other you probably observed how some liberal white folk would come to the United Nations’ General Assembly and make sentimental speeches on how the United Nations ought to intervene to prevent Africans from killing each other.
Are you aware of the structure of the UN? The General Assembly is where third world countries come to make noise and then are ignored.
(I once saw a write up by Biafrans detailing their grievances against the Nigerian state, a document that they said that they submitted to the United Nations. They probably felt that folk would feel sympathy and compassion for their course and get the Nigerian state to make reparations for its supposed injustice to Igbos. Poor chaps; that paper was probably dumped into the waste paper basket, for it does not merit being filed. So, African egoistic politicians murder their people in quest of misguided glory and you think that the rest of the world should care? Why don’t you do what adults do: shrink your swollen egoism so that you do not kill your people out of vanity? Who does not know that the African politician is the vainest, is the most egotistical politician motivated by desire for very important personhood, VIP, and not because he wants to work for his people. Look, go work for our people’s betterment and stop deluding yourself with the silliness that other folks care when you kill our people or sell them in pursuit of your prideful, uncivilized ego, rather than the humbled, loving civilized ego.)
Real politicking takes place in the Security Council, composed of the real powers of the world: USA, Russia, China, Britain and France. Those lobby each other behind the scenes and when they decide that their interests are involved in a conflict make the United Nations to intervene. If the interests of the big boys are not affected they merely make public statements condemning Africans killing each other but not intervening. Collin Power, the US Secretary of foreign affairs, decried Arabs killing Africans in Darfur but that is not going to make the United States to intervene to get white kids killed on behalf of Africans. If you expect whites to die on behalf of Africans, that isn’t going to happen, my friend (the current secretary of state, a wannabe white, a Republican Niggeress, does not even go as far as to condemn Arabs killing Africans).
You do not die for those you consider inferior human beings, folks who have contributed zilch to science and technology. For Jews and Asians that is another matter. Jews are responsible for much of our science and the world is invested in their survival. Asians…the white man suspects that the Asian is smarter than him; right from the time they came into contact with each other, European intellectuals pointed out the superiority of Asian culture…India discovered Algebra etc; the discoveries of China is innumerable to be counted. Think about Indian philosophy, have you read the majestic Upanishads? There is nothing in Western philosophy that comes close to it and you must trust me for I understand western philosophy from A top Z, from Plato to Aristotle, to Bacon, Descartes, Spinoza, Berkeley, Hume, Pascal, Leibniz, Rousseau, Voltaire, Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, ah!, my beloved Schopenhauer who read Hinduism and concluded that the white man is inferior to the Indian in thinking…Indian metaphysics speculated on the nature of matter, for example, and said that matter, called Guna, has three strands: Tamas, Sattva and Raja and went on to show how they interact to produce matter…cross check Max Plank, Rutherford, Bohr, Heisenberg, Schrodinger, Pauli’s quantum physics notion of atoms being made up of electrons, proton, neutrons; Indians speculated on the origin of the universe and talked about how each Yuga began in a Big Bang, in short, the West borrows from India in its physics… Nietzsche, Bergson, William James etc. It should also be noted that in IQ tests that Asians, on the average, score more than whites by fifteen points, the same amount of points that whites score more than blacks. In Standardized tests, such as SAT, Asians score higher than other groups. (In so far that Western scientists are attracted to religion, it is to either Hinduism or Buddhism, for those seem compatible with science. Christianity is quaint poetry.)
The white man will intervene on behalf of those it considers intelligent humanity, Europeans, Asians but not Africans. This is a fact of life that the sooner Africans got it into their thick heads the better for them, for the next time they generate crises in their countries and start killing each other no one is going to come to stop them. At long last, say, two years, the slow working machinery of the United Nations may eventually work to have the Security Council resolve to intervene in an African conflict. They would then call for African countries to supply the troops, for they do not want black men killing their white boys. So, finally, they would intervene but not before millions of Africans have been killed.
Talking about intervention, if there is a crisis in Nigeria and after several years the UN passes a resolution and agrees to send troops to come to Nigeria to come stop the killing, who exactly would come to do so? African soldiers (remember the 1960s Congo crisis; African soldiers came to supervise Tshombe, Kasavubu and Mobutu murder Lumumba, so much for the trustworthiness of African soldiers).
Most Africans in West Africa are Muslims. So, we can reasonably say that the majority of the soldiers that would come to stop the killing of Christian Igbos and Ijaws are Muslims? If our assumption is correct, where do you think that their sympathy would lie, with Igbos and Ijaws, or with Muslim Hausas? For once in their dull existence, Igbos should use their brains to anticipate the political outcomes of their proposed actions. The idiot boy, Emeka Ojukwu, took Igbos to war without thinking through the consequences of his action. They ought to become less intemperate, irascible and thoughtless. God, or whatever we call our maker, gave us brains; so, let us use them for once in our sorry history of thoughtlessness.
(I am told that former Biafran soldiers, wounded ones, beg for food. One would think that if Ojukwu cared for them he would have formed a non-profit foundation and helped the boys he misled into serving his ego power needs. But it would be asking too much for an Igbo to care for other persons, eh? Drive by in limousine and not notice the poor and suffering, right?)
The point is this: if so-called Biafrans and Ijaws stimulate another round of ethic cleansing in Nigeria many of them would be killed by the more powerful Hausas and Yorubas (those who control the Nigerian state apparatus). By the time the slow machinery of the UN intervenes millions of Igbos and Ijaws would have been killed. When the West African peace keepers eventually come they would probably be rapping Igbo and Ijaw women (as they are now doing in the Congo).
As for Africa Union whoever heard of their relevance? African countries do not have the right transportation and logistics to get the AU’s troops to where they are need and must rely on their white masters to help them out, masters who in the process control them. Do I need to say more or is it the case that a word is enough for the wise?
I understand that Igbos have this little delusion disorder going whereby they do not correctly assess themselves but, instead, fancy themselves special. In their delusion of superiority they imagine that other people see them as they want to be seen, as superior. The fact is that Igbos did not contribute anything to science and technology; they did not even invent writing and the wheel, and their level of sociopolitical organization, in Marxian categories, is primitive communalism.
The rest of the world are not deluded, they are rational and look at you, as you are, in fact, not as you tell them that you are. If a student makes C grades and believes that he is an outstanding student, he is living in fantasy land, is he not?
The salient point is that the world does not share Igbos delusion of specialness and will not even bother their heads as other Nigerians massacre Igbos. This means that Igbos ought to think twice before they generate another civil war in Nigeria, for as weak folk they will pay a heavy price.
I have watched the empty headed boy, Uwazurike, make noise about his so-called movement for the actualization of Biafra. That boy ought to understand who is going to lose if he stimulates a war in Nigeria, Igbos.
In case he is foolish enough to think that his Igbo leaders would not abandon him let him appreciate what the big coward, Emeka Ojukwu, did. He told Igbos that Nigerians are out to kill them and led secondary school boys to join his army and die for his narcissistic ego’s quest for infantile glory. When the war was lost, instead of behaving as defeated generals are supposed to do: wear his general’s uniform, sword in hand, head up and chin out, march to his conqueror, General Obasanjo, and surrender with dignity, and take his fate, possible court marshal and death by a firing squad, the lily livered garbage ran away to go protect his god damned, freaking life. Apparently, in his narcissistic, grandiose mind he fancied that his life is more important than the life of other Biafran soldiers! Poor man, he would go down in history as a coward. If he had fought to the end and allowed himself to be killed (or went into the Bush and fought a gorilla war for years) he would have become a hero, perhaps, a mythical one, in the ranks of Achilles, Hector and Agamemnon etc.
(Igbos do not have written history hence do not have heroes to worship; actually, their foolish effort to make Ojukwu into a hero is to use him to fill their need for mythical heroes. Every people need their heroes!)
The relevant point is that when push comes to shove Igbo leaders, who, are mainly in it for themselves, probably would abandon other Igbos, sell them down the river and run away.
It is naïve to think that Igbos would come to ones aid, as Americans say, “when shit hits the fan”. Igbos are mainly pragmatists and unprincipled opportunists; most of them fight for their self interests and use other persons to attain their goals and seldom fight for other Igbos. If in doubt, look at Igbo governors pocketing the money the federal government gave them to develop Alaigbo, while, like Machiavellian rogues, tell Igbos to blame Nigerians for the lack of development in Alaigbo.
We must remember that Igbos, like other Africans, habituated their minds to selling their people, and if the white man had not stopped slavery would still be selling their people. Until the early 1900s when Igbo Ogaraanya (big men) died slaves were killed. I am told that when my great, great grand father, Njoku died in 1902, that over ten life slaves were killed in his burial ceremonies.
Let us not delude ourselves; in the Igbo (and African) unconscious is the savage that would not hesitate in selling other people. It would probably take several hundred years to purge from the ego unconscious of the African his tendency to sell his people (just see how they transform their political offices into positions from which they steal from their people rather than help them).
If my assessment is correct, those ignorant Igbo kids running around and trying to stimulate another round of war in Nigeria ought to be cautious. It is easy to start a war but difficult to end it. People die in wars; no one is invincible, as their deluded thinking may lead them to think; one bullet into any human being’s head, Igbos included, and he is turned into rotting piece of meat, an awfully smelly one.
(When Biafrans drove Nigerians out of Owerri, all the boys in our town, any boy from twelve to fifteen, the older ones were already in the army, were commandeered and used to shove dead and smelling bodies into unmarked graves. As a fourteen year old, 1969, I participated in this onerous chore, so I know what the hell that I am talking about; I do not write fiction; I do not want to see dead bodies littering my town’s streets, ever, again. They say that exposure to wars, to death and dying, turns one either into a philosopher or an alcoholic. See Tolstoy’s Majestic novel, War and Peace, and if after reading that tomb and you are still up to it, his Anna Karenina.)
One is not advocating subservience in politics. In other writings I have made clear my preferred political structure for Nigeria: a federation with each tribe a state; each state economically responsible for its affairs and giving the central government control over military and foreign affairs (and citizens paying a certain amount of tax to support the various governments). This political system can be attained through peaceful negotiations, not by stimulating war in Nigeria.
ought to exercise correct assessment of their current existential
status in the world. Existentially, all human beings are the same and
coequal. However, human beings tend to respect those who are perceived
to have contributed to history, science and technology. No one out
there even considers Africans relevant in world history, and in the
world of science and technology. In economics African countries are not
even invited where folk talk about the world economy. George Bush just
invited European and Asian countries to an International Summit to
deliberate on how to fix our current economic crisis (I will do a paper
on the current liquidity meltdown); he did not invite any African
country. Why this seeming slap on the face of Africans? Consider that the entire GDP, GNP of Africa is less than that of
We, Africans, are nothing and ought to accept that reality and then work our asses off to become relevant in world political economy. We ought to put our house in order.
We ought not to delude ourselves as to how the rest of the world sees us, for they see us as savages, primitives (in what language am I writing, African language or English, does that not say it all, I am a colonized person and must extricate me from that status.)
(I have read where some uninformed Africans say that given my somewhat pessimistic views that I have low self esteem or hate my African self. I have as positive a self concept and self image as is possible for a human being to have; I am just a realistic person and have no delusions of my supposed specialness; I accept that I m like any other human being, not better than any one else, and no one else better than I.)
An adult is realistic about his state in the scheme of things; a child thinks that his wish to be important means that other people see him as important.
If wishes where horses beggars would ride them. I say let us work to improve our country, Nigeria, rather than make all the noises I hear folk make about fragmenting it( if they succeeded each of them would be so small that they would be irrelevant in world politics; the world of the future is a world of giant countries, such as the USA, Russia, Brazil , China, India, European Union; as I pointed out elsewhere, we ought to work at unifying all Africa into an Africa federation, with each tribe a state, for no more than five hundred states).
This essay looks at the state of the black man in our contemporary world. It points out that the rest of the world does not take Africans seriously. Therefore, it says that Africans must take themselves seriously, respect each other (as Igbos say: “Onye ajuru aju oji aju onwe ya?” he who is rejected by other persons, does he rejected himself, too? Of course not, not if he wants to stay alive; one must have positive self acceptance to live fully) and work with each other to develop Africa. They must do this rather than stimulate internecine wars that liquidate African populations and retard the continent’s economic and political development. Finally, it says that when Africans start killing each other that the rest of the world seldom cares and therefore they ought to learn to get along with each other.
Ozodi Thomas Osuji
October 25, 2008