Subversion of the democratic ethos appears to be the categorical imperative of all civilian administrations in Nigeria since 1999 and may now be heading towards its apogee via the creeping passage of the “Social Media and Hate Speech Bills”, both of which are aimed at striking a dagger at the heart of our existentialism. This is so because “speech” is a fundamental expression of human existence which can manifest in various ways and through various means, social media inclusive, in today’s environment.
To classify any form of “speech” as hate therefore denies African existentialism, where the various wars and conflicts confronting the continent today are not the result of “hate” but arise out of the denial of the various Peoples of the continent as Nations (Peoples) in themselves and for themselves. This was, and still is, the primary objective of the colonial project where our existence is denied, re-framed as being of what the colonizer wanted us to be and warehoused within a State Apparatus in violent conflict with our being.
To inject the concept of “hate speech” into our lives is therefore an attempt at justifying the colonial project of homogenization through this State Apparatus and in Nigeria’s specific case, an attempt at subjugating all of the other Peoples under Fulani or, in worst case scenario, Northern Hegemony.
This had been the course of Nigeria’s political trajectory since the anti-colonial struggles and consolidated with Independence, where the primary purpose of the so-called 1963 Republican Constitution was simply the denial of Obafemi Awolowo’s victory at the Privy Council via substituting the Privy Council with the Supreme Court which was later used to justify the repression of the Action Group and subsequently upholding the conviction.
The eventual passage of these Bills will require the support and acquiescence of the Yoruba members who are from a geo-political Region, which, since the earliest days of the anti-colonial agitation had been known for its steadfast demands for a Truly Federal Nigeria, based on a Lingual-Ethno-National characteristics, and in the process lost quite a few of her noblest sons and daughters.
This demand for True Federalism, anchored on Self-determination of the various Peoples of Nigeria, is the highest form of democratic engagement, the denial of which created and continue to create all the crises of the Nigerian post-colonial State since Independence.
The formation of the APC was assumed to address these crises, but as is very well known, the opposite had been the case. The Buhari Administration embarked on various attempts at further alienating the Peoples of Nigeria through processes of Unitarization and Centralization, which had always been the strategic imperative of the Fulani or Northern Hegemonic praxis in Nigeria.
These had manifested in both the political and economic arena; the major ones, in today’s atmosphere, being the Waterways Bill, RUGA Settlements; border closures negating cross-border Ethno-National Existence, which, ordinarily ought to have engendered a new form of economic thought but which is now ensconced within closures of the artificial borders thus compounding the artificiality, for it denies the existentialism of the Peoples of the border areas, even while propagating the ECOWAS Protocol on Herdsmen migration; the change in the narrative from Herdsmen terrorism to that of banditry or so-called insecurity; the nepotism and irredentism of the person of Muhammadu Buhari and now these Bills created under a “democratic” cover.
If the Yoruba leaders of the APC are content with the attempt at Nigeria’s homogenization, it must explain to the Yoruba people how this will address the fundamental question of the “development of underdevelopment” going on in Yorubaland, in particular and in Nigeria, in general; that is, whether Nigeria’s post-colonial architecture as a homogenized post-colonial State as conceived by the colonial powers and sustained by successive rulers, can lay the foundation for an enduring political and economic philosophy for development of not only Africans in Nigeria but also of the global African Peoples, more so when African countries spend their energy on sustaining the Balkanization of the various Peoples of Africa into these post-colonial countries, and now caught up continually in existential crises.
That this question is relevant today flows from the fact that all of the problems associated with the Buhari Administration had been a recurring decimal of the Nigerian post-colonial State since Independence as evidenced by not only the various speeches announcing the various military coups but also the perennial attestations of all civilian administrations reinforcing the underdevelopment paradigm that has festered in Nigeria since at least 1966, with each administration making up what is regarded as programs for development; and this, despite the fact that such programs are never in short supply in Nigeria’s electoral cycles with absolutely no discernible impact on the country’s political economy.
From which it must be obvious that the Nigerian underdevelopment problematic is not about any economic policy, no matter how highfalutin it may be, as none of the previous policies had made any difference, otherwise the Buhari Administration will not present itself as addressing the same fundamental issues today anchored on similar mechanisms.
Yet, the issue with Nigeria’s economy has less to do with its fidelity to economic principles propounded by any of the economic institutions in the world or corruption, but more with the lack of an economic philosophy without which no economy can sustain itself in the global marketplace.
It must be recalled that one of the reasons for the January 15,1966 military coup was to “fight corruption”; and Nigeria had either been enabling or fighting it since then. Obviously, something must be wrong with the chosen methodology and to discover this means to address the State Structure housing the “fight”.
Nigeria’s economy is not responsible for its own reproduction as the state reproduces itself as a Prebend, where rulers appropriate available resources for consumption either by themselves or in conjunction with their areas of origin, in a parasitic relationship vis-à-vis the economy; hence the “do or die” approach to elective offices. The consumption becomes its own end; hence, all administrations aim to ingratiate themselves into this Prebendal structure resulting in continuous underdevelopment of Nigeria’s economy.
Prebendalism, in turn, feeds off the absence of an economic philosophy and creates a narrative based on a pedestrian appreciation of what obtains in other places; thus, China is cited as an example without an examination of how China came to be what it is, today; that, despite her being a one-party State, her Ethnic Minorities have their Regional Autonomy, including the full development of their spoken and written Languages, while also simultaneously resolving the philosophical question of the relationship between Capital and Labor based on its own existential realities thus enabling it to engage the world.
Her educational paradigm provided not only mass labor but also technical and managerial competencies which would drive the process. The underdevelopment of Nigeria’s education system is no longer news. It had been in a downward spiral since the introduction of the IMF-induced Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) which saw no need for the development of the middle class for the purposes of driving the internal economy.
Having destroyed the middle class with a massive brain drain, the only recourse is in the continued exploitation of its mineral and now agricultural resources (cash crops, as under the colonial regimes) for export, mainly to centers of colonial power, and now classified as diversification; these economic activities making no impact on the daily lives of her citizens but with a massive contribution to the well-being of the former colonial powers.
Yet, SAP was the economic tool utilized by the “world market” to maintain its dominance over “local markets” through the instrumentality of the Prebendal State and it will therefore be quite a tragedy of massive historical proportions if the decapitation of the Peoples of Nigeria succeeds with the acquiescence of the current, dominant Yoruba political leaders.
The pursuit of the formation of the APC as an amalgam (as different from an alliance) of diverse tendencies and forces was a strategic error on the part of the leaders. A party like the APC could not have pursued True Federalism despite its setting up a Committee for that purpose as well as having it as an item in its 2015 electoral Manifesto. This is so, for the simple reason that its formation, and therefore existence, is contrary to these pursuits.
A homogenized political party structure, completely dependent on the Unitarist State architecture, cannot be the platform for a decentralized or Federalist pursuit, as is now being experienced in Spain and the UK, where their Centralized parties of whatever ideological coloration (Labor/Tory in the UK, PPP/Socialist in Spain) are in opposition to Catalan and Scottish Independence and only being forced into adjusting to the reality of Self-Determination by the general mobilization of Catalans and the Scots.
Does this then imply our pursuit of a Self-Determination oriented Party? NO.
The SW APC as well as all of the Yoruba members of the National Assembly, either as a specific grouping within the Assembly or in conjunction with others who may think along with them, must line up behind their various Peoples in advancing the quest for a REFERENDUM within the various Nationalities in Nigeria as to their expectations on Sovereignty.
This is the ALTERNATIVE; which also simultaneously cures the false declaration in the Preamble to the 1999 Constitution as being a product of “We, the People”. These members of the National Assembly owe us nothing less.