Nigerians, especially Southern and Central (Middlebelt) Nigerians, the core of the Niger-Congo ethnolinguistic family that spreads from Gambia to South Africa, still suffer the scars of the last 500 years of Western imperialism that started from slavery to colonization and now neocolonization. Even though as Fela Anikulapo sang Oyinbo don free you but you never free yourself. Colonial mentality. Stockholm syndrome is a condition which causes hostages to develop a psychological alliance with their captors during captivity.
Like most psychologically abused and disoriented, we can’t free ourselves without proper psychoanalysis and treatment. There is just a mental block, blissful ignorance and self hate. We need help, our collective needs a check up from the neck up, desperately! The symptoms include:
1) It is difficult to accept that we the most enslaved are actually the origin of humanity and civilization. No, it must be the White man called Adam, when it is obvious that only a Blackman can give birth to White and not otherwise. You show all DNA and cultural evidence, but no if the enslavers doesn’t say it, it ain’t true. They find it difficult to believe that their ancestors were first among equals that started human civilization with Ifa/Afa knowledge bank, and which still posses the information to propel them back to global ascendancy. They will ask if our Baba and Mama’s were so good, and Gods first creations and favorites, how come we ended up at the bottom of the pile?
2) The self hate extends to God. Who cares for the God of the African who couldn’t save him from slavery and industrialize him. Instead of a loser God, we want a Winners Chapel of prosperity preaching. Esu that intercedes between us and Eledunmare became Satan. The African God must have made us lesser beings, so we grovel all day to the successful God of USA and London, to be born again to achieve perfection that our ancestors didn’t have. We love neither our God nor environment, instead of being our brothers keeper we strive to be the masters foreman.
3) Just like the African slave in the Americas broken from his family and renamed, the Original African cultural sphere was broken and renamed into 2000 continuum of dialects, many renamed in culturally meaningless tags like Yoruba split into various colonies with meaningless names Nigeria. In the USA, a similar study was carried out to show that African Americans suffer post slavery traumatic stress, which sometimes affects their interrelationships. This is why Original African groups of Southern and Middlebelt despite being 70percent of the population can not built strong culturally inspired political platforms to counterbalance Northern and Western influences. Instead they take turns to serve their masters interests.
4) It affects our work ethics and social responsibility. The Slave labor supply theory postulated that a slave just produces enough to escape the whip, not to improve quality. He can’t be motivated to perfection. Oga ta, Oga o ta, owo alaru a pe, whether Master sells or not, the slave will eat. We don’t respect other slaves or our environment. Since we feel worthless, everyone that looks like us is worthless. This is why we jump queues, drive against traffic, set up our wares on public walkways. The slave quarters might be dirty and rowdy but let them be invited to the masters house, you will see them in their Sunday best and best behavior. This is exhibited on a Lagos to London flight whereby Nigerians are transformed from socially responsible citizens to hooligans between airports.
Basically, all we are concerned about is what we can get for ourselves serving masters interests. We are alienated from our environment, we don’t own the name, decide what to produce or define our own heroes or success. Sychophancy and nepotism rather than truth and hardwork will get you up the ladder. We prefer abusive to orderly self respecting relationships, which is why we saw Goodluck as weak and clueless and preferred a General to whip our bloody civilian asses into line.
The 1500 to 1880 arms race inspired by the transatlantic slave merchants wrecked havoc on the Original African collective identity and psyche. Power came from the barrel of the gun and no longer from our advanced social organization built over thousands of years. Bums became kings. Vassals challenged the center. Kingdoms like Oyo and Benin grew at the expense of others, in relation to Ife. The Igbos lost faith in their traditional institutions as Nri got devoured from all angles – Igala, Benin, Ijaw etc. All these cultural upheavals and disorientation were never treated nor reversed and still exist till today. Yorubas and Igbos, the two most populous Original African groups, became the greatest purveyors of foreign dogma across West Africa, as prosperity was tied to Western interests of selling raw materials and distributing foreign goods at the ports.
It is nearly impossible without proper social psychological reenginering to turn a slave into a leader of nations. Yorubas and Igbos the largest Original African groups of the Niger Congo ethnolinguistic family can not see themselves as global economic and political contenders, despite having a 700 million strong family. Slaves deal in pull him down tactics, crab mentality, not organizing and real politicking like successful European and Afroasiatic imperialists.
One enslaved group will view others with suspicion that they will leak the information and sellout to Master, so they preempt each other him by selling out and actualizing the colonists divide and rule strategy. To the slave all politics was limited to his immediate environment dictated by others, so it is impossible to visualize beyond your confinement. Average Yorubas believe North starts from Ilorin and East starts from Benin, so are unable to articulate and unite with their larger extended family.
Basically slave don’t build long term political structures and thinktanks for future generations. Instead they engage in consumerism and crass display of the White goods while teach their kids to be prayerful to win a visa lottery on another plantation or find favor with a local foreign agent. A slave has no worldview. Just as slaves offspring were sold off to other plantations, today young continental Africans head off to other plantations either in America or Europe after being trained by the slave collective in skills required by Master. Probably losing the same percentage to sharks in the oceans like during slave era. They have ‘freed’ us but we can’t free ourselves without removing the mental slavery chains.
Like the African American slave that has a missing cultural link, a Southern and Middlebelt group can only identify his tribal immediate environment and his nationality, but not his true cultural complex. To aggregate himself, he does it under Asiatic definitions of Christian or Muslim, and not his Akata leopard totem of Original African cultural sphere.
As we have learnt from our African American and Afro-Brazillian family, the best treatment for this collective psychosis is retracing our cultural steps. Sankofa. The journey back. We Southern Nigerians have come a long way and we must look back long before the advent of the European. We must learn more about ourselves than of our Masters and the globally successful. Especially Yoruba and Igbo, the two largest Original African groups, should shun their slave mentality and step up to the responsibility of leading the Black Race.
Instead of excelling in Eurocentric perspectives, we should see the obvious that we share the same cultural foundations and identity of Ifa/Afa across South and Central Nigeria. Igbos engaged in the kolanut trade for thousands of years in Yorubaland but now that the item of trade are imported goods we lose respect for our cultural sensitivities. In 2023, it is common knowledge that it is Igbos turn to rule, but some Yorubas that believe they have the masters anointing what to jump the queue, and turn up two fingers to fairness to the Original African collective. This is how slaves play. It is either master supports Me or I want my own portion to farm on the Masters plantation. It is not for the slaves larger in number to come together and takeover the plantation.
The cultural custodians have to lead this journey to reconnect our cultural linkages that would enable us achieve racial parity as a bona-fide cultural complex. We need to rewire our thinking in order to appreciate ourselves more and bring back our humanity. A social consciousness that will make us do right without being beaten to do so. Better work ethics and social manners can only come from a feeling of inclusion and ownership. Not just disturb and disrespect all others because of our slave complex that gives us a sense of entitlement over all others derived from being our masters voice.
Some believe we have gone too far, but I believe that social engineering through comprehensive public awareness campaigns that teach us about ourselves can do the trick in no time.