By Prince Justice Faloye
Nigerian politicians vision is to do better than the colonial master or the previous government. They built 5 schools, we will build 10, they built 3 hospitals we would build 9, they built 100km of roads we will build double. Our politicians and followers want incremental benefits of a colonial socioeconomic and political structure, not a change and organic elevation of the people to higher levels of socioeconomic progress based on our civilizational ideals. Our politicians, knowingly or unknowingly are Neocolonial Guards to preserve the colonial economic system, and therefore become co-conspirators in the fleecing of the collective.
This is why the global economic caste system persists with White nations being the high income advanced industrialized nations, the yellow Arabic/Asiaitic races remain the middle income and developing nations, while Black nations remain the lowest, poorest and underdeveloped. China and some other Asiaitcs have challenged and broken the ceiling, but not Black nations. We have to go back in economic history to know why there is not a single Black nation that is an advanced industrialized nation. Despite Black nations going through decolonization, unfortunately coloniality – our primary source of knowledge and power – has continued to reinforce global Black Economic slavery. The coloniality prevents the true analysis of the neocolonial structure and, how and what to change it to, in order to maximize the peoples benefits.
European Slavs and American Indians were the first ethnicities enslaved to farm sugarcane in the first few decades, before compelled to switch to Africans due to our genetic comparative advantage, based on our sickle trait, of being able to survive the insect infested sugarcane swamps. This made Europeans go all lengths to cause wars, dumping 400,000 guns annually on Yoruba coast, all for war captives for slavery to plant original African crops of Sugarcane, tobacco and cotton in other lands. We were enslaved on American slave plantations from 1500s until the 1791-1804 Haiti Ogun Revolution, the beginning of the end of the slavery phase that made it clear that they couldn’t continue to enslave Africans in large numbers in the Americas without attracting bloody revolutions. So, it was decided to keep Africans on African soil in colonies. Colonization was to make us slaves on our own land, supplying cash crops and natural resources while being a dumping ground for foreign manufactures.
To build the colonial economy the colonists immediately built two North-South railway lines to drain our lands of cash crops and natural resources, and distribute imported goods from our seaport to our innermost hinterlands. To maintain the colonial economy, they denigrated, derailed and killed our civilizational knowledge and power sources, replacing it with their own civilizational knowledge to make us see and interpret only from their own perspectives and agenda.
We were mentally enslaved to prevent us focusing on how to advance and industrialize our economy and liberate ourselves from economic slavery. Just like the political divide between the East and West regions prevents a politically unified strong political powerbase, economically we are economically isolated by the lack of three West to East railway lines across the South, Middlebelt and North. Especially, the Lagos-Calabar railway line that would spur a railroad boom by the building of branches to open up the resource rich Ogun, Ondo, Edo, Delta, Anambra, Imo, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and other Southern states.
This is why Sixty years since independence, the structure of our economies basically remains the same as we still trade our human and natural resources for imported manufactured goods. A case of ignorant leadership and followership? Neocolonial administrators and foremen rather than transformative leaders keep the colonial economy intact in its stunted/retarded form.
Our Eurocentric scholars wrongly accepted the lie that it was agriculture that advanced and industrialized USA and UK, and not the massive railroad boom of 1827 to 1850. Therefore at independence, we concentrated on agriculture to uplift us, unknowingly fulfilling the colonial economic plan of condemning us to being primary producers.
Eventually, the Western puppet masters acquiesced to 1970s African indigenization decrees and demands to takeover retailing, distribution and low level processing industries, especially food, beverages and tobacco that still accounts for nearly 80% of our gross domestic production. The processing industries were restricted to foods, beverages and tobacco while processing crude oil and other natural resources remained out of reach. Most important and glaring was the lack of a steel complex spurred by railway development, whose high employment and income multiplier effects would bring about industrialization through increase in heavy manufacturing of durables.
We have gone through decades of failed dreams of economic advancement and industrialization through increased agriculture and mining of natural resources, whose prices fell due to overproduction while it’s employment opportunities were not near enough to provide full employment for our fast growing population growth. By the late Nineties, another false narrative emerged that the digital market would advance us economically and we don’t need a steel complex and industrialization. In actual fact, we will remain traders of our natural resources and mainly imported goods, since we couldn’t produce more than Gala, Guilder and Opa faaji.
In the last decade, telecom’s contribution to our productivity has been in the areas of online retailing and transport in imported cars. Bola Tinubu made a laughable comment that his planned increase in power supply will bring about industrialization, not knowing that an increase in power supply will only be felt in the existing sectors like retailing and food, beverages, telecom and tobacco manufacturing which don’t have employment and income multiplier effects like steel, chemical, plastics and rubber related industries that make industrialization.
One wonders why our politicians and opinion leaders can’t see the obvious that if you plant oranges, the multiplier effects would be in fruit juice and concentrates companies, just as wheat production will basically only spur bakeries for cakes, biscuits, bread etc. Therefore the only thing that can spur growth of iron related industries and industrialization is by building a complete railway system that lays the most neighborhoods with iron through rails and rail cars. To borrow a line from a popular campaign slogan: it’s about volume stupid!
The effect of our epistemicide, killing of our traditional knowledge, becomes obvious when we don’t know that this issue of societal advancement is also in our Ifa-Afa-Iha-Fa-Efa knowledge bank. In Yoruba epistemology, it is an accepted fact that Ogun loun Lana meaning Ogun (iron) is the Pathfinder for the collective. Unfortunately, we have been mentally enslaved to believe our traditional knowledge bank is demonic, or backward not knowing that it covers every philosophical and science based essence known to Man. Ogun which is iron is our personal lifeforce since our blood is made up of iron that carries nutrients to all body parts. Collectively Ogun/Iron is what elevates every collective, first through hoes and cutlasses, then through mechanization of other work processes, especially transportation when laid like veins throughout our society to carry human and natural resources to and from every corner.
This ignorance is why our politicians have failed or not understood the essence of the need to provide a railway complex, and even when they commission railways, they see it only as a people carrier, and not the launchpad for industrialization, so during negotations with the builders, we don’t make adequate provisions and demands to produce everything requred to run it within 10yrs of completion. Amaechi sabotaged the Lagos-Calabar railway that would have stimulated economic growth by one thousand percent across Southern Nigeria. Tinubu in control of Lagos, the financial and industrial center, could have stimulated our industrial development with at least the 160km Metroline complex Lagos needs, but has taken 23yrs to build a mere 16km of the 30Km Marina to Okokomaiko Blue metroline. The same 23yr length of time that the USA used to build 14,000km of rail that launched it into an industrialized advanced economy.
Our mental slavery can only be resolved through Decoloniality of our knowledge and power sources before Nigerians and the Black Race as a whole can be economically and sociopolitically uplifted. Therefore, the Decoloniality intelligentsia must educate both politicians and followers of what is specifically needed to uplift us. The single most important economic liberating infrastructure at the federal level is the Lagos-Calabar railway, while in Lagos it is the building of at least 160km of metroline to solve its traffic problems and spur growth in other iron and chemical industries.