Prince Justice J Faloye

When I heard the Minister of Power Adebayo Adelabu announce that electricity subsidies must be removed due to unaffordability, I shook my head ruefully and muttered, ‘for the lack of knowledge a people shall perish’. The Nigerian Political elite are miseducated to believe subsidies were charity paid by rich governments out of surplus and kindness of heart, instead of an insurance policy to demobilize potential revolutions against the ruling classes.

Little do they know that from the 1940s the Western capitalist nations had to spend money they didn’t have on consumer subsidies to avoid a Russian type revolution. Today UK spends 23% of its public expenditure on subsidies while US recently allocate over $300b on fuel subsidies. If only Tinubu and his followers knew the evolution of subsidies is at the foundation of the Western economy and its sustainability, and even that of Russia and Chinese socialism/communism, they won’t have left Afenifere’s social welfarism to go down the path of destruction with neo-liberal economic ideologies that advocate the removal of subsidies. I have always said corruption is a lesser problem than the ignorant colomentality of African leadership.

Fela Anikulapo Kuti should be regarded as the first philosopher and prophet of Decoloniality,  the current budding global movement for Sociocultural justice, which follows the Black Power Movement and decolonization stage that led to our independence. Fela left indelible footprints on the evolution of our political consciousness, waking us up from the post independence mirage of true freedom. His songs like Follow Follow and Teacher Don’t Teach me nonsense, highlighting our dogmatic approach to Western knowledge; Gentleman, Lady and Colomentality highlighting coloniality of Self as we blindly adopted Western modernism and way of life. My favorite was Perambulator, in which he sang about the absurdity of claiming Mungo Park discovered River Niger, and how our officials go to London and other Western capitals to learn irrelevant inapplicable knowledge.

The colonially jaundiced knowledge across Africa is not only limited to the academic history that fails to realize that Nigeria is the origin of humanity, but also Economics as we continue to partake in the arrest of our economic development. President Babaginda and HRM Oba Olu Falae would have thought twice and won’t have accepted IMF conditionalities pushed by US President Reagan and UK Margaret Thatcher, based on Chicago School of Economics under the leadership of Professor Friedman, if they had understood the political and economic history.

The ruling political regime chooses the economic policy direction and ideology, which is culturally biased since politics is to achieve civilizational aspirations. This affirms Dr Amos statement in his book, Blueprint of Black Power, that ‘culture is the way we do things, politics is how we organize to do things, while economics is the means to achieve things’. Personally, I took this route as a 17 year old at the start of my studies to find a path to uplift the Black Race first by studying Economics, then moved to politics before taking up culture. I was studying Economics when Reagan and Thatcher, who were Conservatives, came to put an end to the Liberal Era that had given the Black Race economic and political leeway since 1945, and replaced it with ‘liberal economics with a Conservative heart’ deceptively labelled neo-liberal economics. It attacked utilities and other public organizations that were the main source of Black employment as inefficient and had to be ‘rationalized’ and ‘commercialized’ to White folks that wouldn’t employ Blacks. It attacked welfare payments to Blacks labelling our women as welfare queens and African immigrants as scroungers.

Being an anti-Black development ideology, it was extended only to Black nations through the IMF structural adjustment program that pushed for removal of subsidies used to augment the Blacks that had suffered 400yrs of economic exploitation, forgetting that Whites were subsidized out of the impending mass poverty after the second world War destruction of European production capabilities. Either out of colomentality, the coloniality of knowledge or power sources, or that of economics, African leaders adopted the poisonous neo-liberal economic policies which led to great economic and political destabilization, with even great African liberators like Kenneth Kaunda losing power in Zambia.

Surprisingly, subsidies became a dirty word in economics and finance, regardless of the obvious failure of the neo-liberal economic policies in every one of the sixty plus Black nations of Africa and the Caribbean. Eurocentric African scholars were blind to the fact that Subsidies, both production and consumer subsidies – were the foundation and sustainability of the Western dominated global economy. Without European government production subsidies of providing African slaves with the sickle gene to cope with the insect life of sugarcane and cotton plantations, Whites normally killed within five months of insect bites would never have been able to build what became the Western global economy based on Americas prosperity.

It started with the Roman Catholic Church that allocated Africa and South America to Spain and Portugal in the Treaty of Tordesillas on June 7th 1494, and the Papal Doctrine of Just Wars that justified only the enslavement of captured Africans. The European political leadership did not only subsidize American slave plantations with Africans but with the American land to plant, dumping 400,000 guns on our African coast to provoke war for slave captives and ships to not only carry the African slaves to the Americas but also their produce to the factories in Europe. Eventually, the Americas were overload with Africans to a ratio of ten Blacks to one White, especially in Haiti, France’s most profitable slave colony, which led to the Haiti Revolution and the change in the economic ideology of bringing Africans to the American plantations to keeping Africans on African soil to continue the production to subsidize the White economy.

During the 1791-1804 Haitian Revolution, Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin (engine) in USA that could process 50 times the amount of cotton processed by hand, which led to an exponential increase in demand for field slaves. Unable to protect his copyright, the US subsidized Eli by giving him a contract to make and supply arms. Cotton became king, the economic mainstay, and to make it easier to transport the cotton from the hinterland to the ports, the government subsidized the construction of railroads leading to the Railroad Boom that laid the foundation of industrialization from 1828 to the 1870s Economic Crash.

The Railroad Boom led to an oversupply of iron which was initially used for building skyscrapers, before the likes of Carnegie and Vickers, the major steel producers turned to making arms to usher in the industrial military complex, which was subsidized by the government through war economics. The 1934 Senator Gerald Nye Senate Committee hearings on World War 1 showed the Navy/Army were the main salesmen of the industrial military complex that dragged the USA into war to sell their munitions. Even before Carnegie and Vickers, the Western governments had subsidized the invention of the machine gun – Armstrong in UK, Krupps in Germany, which was used to colonize Africa.

Ultimately, the USA used the war to raise taxpayers money to subsidize the cost of building mass production facilities for the automobile industry, which first produced armoured vehicles for the Navy before being able to produce consumer cars at affordable prices in what is known as the Peace Dividends, the conversion of war products to consumer products, as also seen with radar that became radio, fighter jets that became passenger jets, military spy information processing technology which became the present computer, IT and digital economy. None of the industries  would have ever been developed without government subsidies.

Even though the history of production subsidies uplifted the White Race above all other races, it only benefitted the upper classes and immediately after the War for Colonies, renamed the First World War, the Russian masses rose in the 1917 Bolsheviks revolution that turned Russia from a capitalist to a communist nation that also gave subsidies to the masses, in terms of employment, housing, health etc. The discontent of the White masses was not only restricted to Russia, but was witnessed across the Western world which made the political leadership of US President FD Roosevelt, UK Prime Minister Attlee and others to rush in consumer subsidies to the masses to prevent revolutions in their nations.

Although the racist capitalists were able to exclude African Americans from the housing subsidies that built a sprawling suburbia for Whites, the appointment of Liberal Judges in the US Supreme Court gave way to Civil Rights demands using the same Liberal arguments. As stated above, culture dictates politics which dictates economic policy, so the Liberal politics and economics which contravene the culture of racism caused a problem. With the passing of Civil Rights laws by US President Lyndon Johnson of the Democratic Party that brought subsidies, the racist Conservatives decamped en-masse to the Republican Party, where they began plotting the reversal of Black Peoples progress, politically through drug laws and criminalization to lose voting rights and economically with neo-liberal economic policies removing subsidies from major sources of Black employment globally, which started during Thatcher/Reagan regimes.

It is these neo-liberal economic policies that African leadership from IBB/Falae in the Eighties to now Tinubu have accepted as the economic Gospel without knowing its racist foundations. Afenifere that was created during the Liberal era and adopted social welfarism can’t now be misguided to follow its antitheses of neo-liberal economics.

To save his presidency, Tinubu must return to Afenifere’s ideological path and stop listening to those Fela called Government Chicken Boys that are leading him to the highway to revolution, by not analyzing the production and consumption elements of fuel and electricity subsidies and their multiplier effects, fooling him that vocal opposition were haters, not knowing a revolution only occurs when the masses are this hungry and deprived. It’s not only about Nigeria, at every step of the evolution of the Western economy, without subsidies, there would have been economic crashes and revolutions.

No country ever has excess money but even if they have to go further into debt, they payout production subsidies to spur growth and consumption subsidies to stabilize the system, then find a way to set up a new income stream to pay for it. Tinubu has no choice but to payout even more subsidies, then focus on creating a new income stream, the most important being an accelerated railway development. Using Army corps and local builders in a national movement or the Chinese to complete three East-West lines (Lagos-Calabar, Ilorin-Yola and Sokoto-Maiduguri) in 4 years to reinstate our civilizational economics relegated by colonial economics. Political restructuring will lead to a railroad boom as States build feeder routes, resulting in industrialization and prosperity for at least 70 years like with USA Railroad Boom, until we reach the next economic plateau and another round of production and consumer subsidies are required. Failure to do this, there is nothing that can save his government at this stage from a revolution.

By Prince Justice

Author Publisher Social Commentator

Facebook Iconfacebook like buttonTwitter Icontwitter follow buttonConnect