Africa as the Quintessence of Base

The result of these choices is the condescension with which Nigerians are treated both at home and abroad by non-Nigerians. Indeed, non-Nigerians sometimes imbibe the worst of Nigerians’ traits and use it against Nigeria.

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Now that the FIFA World Cup is over for Africa, or rather; now that the FIFA World Cup has Africa where she belongs as an inconsequential onlooker in the scheme of things, it seems a fine juncture to vent some dissatisfaction. For it is about time that Africa made a choice between accepting her destiny as the perpetual base of mankind and shut up, or rises beyond self-inflicted ridicule. If slavery was some sort of bane to Africans and the colonial successor was no better, what excuse do Africans have today with the acute pro-colonial disposition of practically every African?

“British media personality Piers Morgan…went ghetto on a Nigerian tweeting “Emmanuel, you dey craze”.” The foregoing is an excerpt from one of Nigeria’s most popular blogs, Linda Ikeji’s. One must ask: Is this supposed to constitute news at all however the modus of the blog? The gratitude with which Africans (Nigerians in particular) treat the acknowledgement of their existence is sickening. It is worse than slavery and colonialism combined. During the recent royal wedding, for example, you could hear this excessive gratitude in the sense in which blacks (particularly women) viewed the ‘acceptance’ of “one of their own” into the royal family. There were reports of how it was heartwarming to see Serena Williams and Idris Elba as equal guests at Buckingham palace. Even CNN’s Don Lemon, one of the biggest disservices to African consciousness and pan-Africanism ever to walk the earth in my view, said he felt a sense of belonging/inclusiveness and that the world is moving in the right direction!

And so I ask: Do the foregoing not suppose that the black man is very quick to construe himself to be beneath other races? If NTA’s Cyril Stober, for example, were to speak in cockney or pidgin French, would it make news on UK or French blogs? I disagree with any claim purporting to suggest that the tweet made the news because it was by a famous name. Indeed, there are audiences of Ikeji’s blog who had not heard of Piers Morgan before the ‘report’ and who would embark on a self-education on the man, just because their favorite blogger dropped irrelevancies on them. The role of the media in shaping thought is crucial here for the same report space could have been used as a teachable moment in exposing the inherent falsehood of Mr. Morgan’s attempted familiarity of identification. To confirm that the tendency isn’t about famous names but simply about gratitude to a ‘superior race’, there is a video (I’m sure there are videos) circulating of about a dozen white (or non-black) men singing the Nigerian national anthem, each spotting the national team’s jersey. The men are unknown quantities, yet, Nigerians are exceedingly grateful as evidenced from the video and its viral circulation.

The result of these choices is the condescension with which Nigerians are treated both at home and abroad by non-Nigerians. Indeed, non-Nigerians sometimes imbibe the worst of Nigerians’ traits and use it against Nigeria. To cite a vivid example: Nigeria had a foreign coach for the World Cup in a sexagenarian who imbibed tips from Adegboye Onigbinde on how to extend his job: Onigbinde announced to the world that he was going to the Korea/Japan World Cup in 2002 to build a team! Consequently, today, Nigeria’s heavily paid foreign coach adapts and senses he can keep earning all the way to Qatar 2022 and announces, even just before the final and very consequential group game, that his team is young and would be ready at the next World Cup! Nigeria is so wealthy; we now use World Cups to prepare our teams. And please don’t ask me if our team made the final match of the Germany 2006 World Cup for which the Korea/Japan 2002 World Cup was a preparatory ground. Nigeria didn’t even qualify to be in Germany. What a country. What a people. What a cacophony of jokes.

Similarly, a major reason the Nigerian team lost in Russia is because of the grateful state of mind for being on the same pitch with Diego Maradona’s descendants. Having met some five times previously at the World Cup and lost all five, one expected grins of granite in a team determined to upturn a jinx that has outlived a generation. Instead, what did we see? The players were so overwhelmed by the stage: explaining them-selves all over the place and being unduly friendly to folks who regard them beneath ****. Don’t quote me: we all saw Maradona’s double middle finger at the end of the match. That is the lot reserved for Africans, and it is squarely the fault of Africans. Many Africans come across as more useful in human fossil form, manure for the earth and energy since their existence is a burdensome disservice to their race. That Africa wants more slots at subsequent World Cups – 32 or 48 – is now clearly a ridiculous desire.

For closure, reference is made to the song ‘State of the Nation’ by KWAM I and Olamide wherein the former advises “Naija, e ro nu o”.

Responses

  1. StayWoke
    Kudos to the writer! You raised some valid points. You are right when you say that many Nigerians feel something close to gratefulness whenever a non-Nigerian – especially a white – does something perculiar to the Nigerian culture or society, such as singing a song peculiar to a tribe in Nigeria. Or perhaps when a non-Nigerian speaks about Nigerians or Nigerian issues.

    But don’t we all get awed when someone that is not from our culture or tribe does something peculiar to our culture/tribe? Like when a Hausa man speaks fluent Igbo.

    I think the case of the British Media Personality, Piers Morgan, has more to do with prioritisation. By this I mean that Nigerian journalism is not very good at prioritising news. But I think too that the industry know that triviality sells. I think too that triviality has a space in the Media World (that’s what blog like Linda Ikeji’s are for), and I don’t feel trivialities being peddled in the trivial corner of cyberspace is whatwhat raising an eyebrow over. Maybe it can become an issus if the Pier Morgan incident were to be reported on Channels Television.

    I also think trying to relate your argument with the football business was a bit off. You talked about non-Nigerians imitating the traits of Nigerians and using it against them (Nigerians), and then you cited Gernot Rohr has one who has replicated Adegboye Onigbinde’s behaviour. Is it not possible that Rohr doesn’t even have any idea of who Onigbinde is?

    I also don’t think the Super Eagles lost the game because they were too “friendly” with the Argentines. I think they lost due to inexperience & poor technicality. I do not agree with your claim that the Argentines think us as beneath them. Using Madonna’s middle finger is not sufficient evidence. Maradonna is one Argentine, not the entire Argentine population.

    The only reason the “middle finger” thing is even an issue – even costing Maradonna his FIFA ambassadorship – is because he, Maradonna, is a big personality, and while I think he should have shown better composure, I don’t think you are being fair to him, as the tone of your writing seems to suggest that Maradonna thinks little of Africans. IMO, the “middle finger gesture” was more of an outpour of emotion, something done out of impulse, & in his defense, it wasn’t unprovoked (reports had it that Nigerian fans in the stands trolled D. Maradonna while the scoreline was 1-1).

    Good write-up, but I think you should have left the football angle out of it.

    1. Garhe Osiebe Post author
      Thank you for your observations.

      I would like to point you to the joint press conference held by Muhammadu Buhari and Emmanuel Macron during the latter’s visit to Nigeria. Question time; and the supposedly seasoned Gloria Ume-Ezeoke of the almighty Channels Television asked the French leader: “…what plans do you have to curb terrorism in Africa? And more specifically: curb herdsmen and farmers’ crisis in Nigeria?”

      Note how the latter part of her question was infused with a sense of agency wherein the journalist names names and calls a spade by its name. (by the way, the manner in which PMB looked away at that point was simply priceless). However, back to the point: that a Channels Television reporter is asking such a question at all of the French leader in 2018 should tell you that the danger of the location of African thought today is real indeed. Posts like Ikeji’s nourish these kinds of expectations in Africans. Can you imagine the implications of that question? This isn’t a trivial news blogger. Its Gloria Ume-Ezeoke of Channels TV!

      On your point about leaving football out, I struggle to see how that would have been possible while the entire piece was triggered by football. Indeed, Mr Morgan’s tweet transpired over the penalty awarded to Nigeria against Argentina. As to your question of Rohr’s ignorance of Onigbinde, of course that’s a possibility. In which case, there’s all the more reason why he isn’t fit for purpose having failed to conduct due diligence on such a sensitive job.

      Further, I vividly recall Nigeria’s debut world cup showing at USA ’94. In spite of a very functional team, the Eagles were eliminated by dying minutes’ goals from Italy’s Roberto Baggio. Nigerians were pained, but took it in their strides having had a very respectable debut at the global showpiece. And precisely “inexperience & poor technicality” were blamed for the loss to Italy in the round of 16. 26 years on, permit me to insist that the same excuses don’t and should not cut it!

      Lastly, your contextualization of Maradona’s gesture is taken on board. However, if there was a way to prove that if Argentina were meeting England or Italy, with English or Italian fans trolling Maradona at a similar stage, his outpour of emotion would lead to a double middle finger gesture after his country scores a winning goal, I’d accept.

      In the meantime, the gesture transpired against Nigeria and that is a statement of fact. To attempt to de-contextualize his target audience while excusing the gesture at any rate, and no matter the provocation does no good to anyone…

      1. Stay Woke
        Could you post a link that directs one to the press conference. I searched online & couldn’t find it anywhere.

        If the Channels TV employee actually asked Emmanuel Macron that question, I don’t see what negative “implications” it could have had, nor can I see how it’s similar to the Piers Morgan business.

        Emmanuel Macron recently came to Nigeria to commission the new complex of the French Cultural Organisation, Alliance Francaise, in Lagos.

        According to Punch:

        “Alliance Française is a non-profit making association devoted to promoting French language and culture. It has 10 active representations in Enugu, Ibadan, Ilorin, Jos, Kano, Kaduna, Lagos, Maiduguri, Owerri and Port Harcourt.”

        As you can see, “Jos” was in that list. France potentially has a lot to lose should terrorism be allowed to thrive in Nigeria, or Africa for that matter. Let’s not forget that just in May, France offered to provide about 70 million euros to help African entrepreneurs.

        If the Channels TV employee asked Emmanuel Macron how his government is working in tandem with the Nigerian government to help curb terrorism, I don’t think it’s out of place, seeing how much France has to lose in the eventuality of a terrorist clampdown.

        Your “Maradonna argument” is far-fetched. Your claim is that Argentines think of Nigerians as beneath them, and then you used Maradonna’s “middle finger” as justification. I fail to see how Maradonna – ex-drug addict & emotionally unstable persona – represents the worldview of the 40 million + Argentine population.

        Maradonna was also guilty of “verbally abusing” a coach in a football league in UAE. Does this mean Argentines think of those from UAE as beneath them, just because the Almighty Maradonna verbally abused a UAE native? https://mobile.nytimes.com/2011/12/30/sports/soccer/maradona-fined-for-verbal-abuse.html

        You may not agree that the Super Eagles lost due to “lack of experience & tecnicality,” but they definitely did not lose because they were “too friendly to the Argentines.”

        1. Caremore
          Amidst all your points the one that made me type this response is the question of – what is wrong if the French president is asked about his input to solving our security issues? (paraphrased).

          First, I’m not sure the channels TV crew have been able to confidently ask their government that question.
          Two, would you truly be glad if the French president had a concrete response to that, without fearing subtle colonialism? Imagine Mr. Macron’s enthusiasm in expanding the reach of the French language in our land (mind you, a strong pointer to French colonialisation policy is through its language). So we’re truly not out of the woods.
          Truth is, we would be lying to ourselves if we say we don’t celebrate ‘foreignness’ more than we do ‘indigenousness’ in whatever sphere of our lives.

          Imagine the Nigeria vs Argentina match, I sat to watch it with someone who blatantly was against Nigeria for the love of a foreigner.

          1. Stay Woke
            I don’t think that in this age that there could be a repeat of Western colonialism, at least not in the way it used to be.

            If I may ask, are there no Nigerian cultural organisations in France whose core objective is to project & promote the culture of the indigenous “Nigerian” tribes, of which includes the language of these tribes?

            Can we conclude that these Nigerian cultural organisations are guilty of “subtle colonialism?”

            And I’m guessing this “foreigner” is Lionel Andrés Messi.

            If I may ask, do you support any of the European clubs? And do you watch more European football than African football? And do you think an European, or South-American, is the best footballer currently?

            If you answer yes to any of the above questions, then would you agree that you are just as guilty as that Nigerian who supported a “foreigner” at the expense of his own country?

            Do you also agree that people have a right to personal choices, such as deciding to allow love for a particular footballer to override their sense of patriotism?

            Can we also neglect the emotional context of the issue? Perhaps this person watches this foreign player week in, week out & has developed some form of emotional attachment to this footballer – an attachment which surpasses nationalistic sentiments? If people can develop romantic love for inanimate objects (Google Erika Eiffel’s marriage to the Eiffel Tower), then how much more a living, breathing so over star?

            Can we as well condemn those Nigerians who choose to marry “foreigners?”

            In all, I think people’s choices should be respected, insofar as these choices are harmless. You forget “Nigeria” as we know it today is a by-product of British colonialism; even the name “Nigeria” was birthed from the lips of a foreigner, Flora Shaw.

            If you would criticise someone for choosing to support an individual over his country, then don’t you think it’s paradoxical, seeing as the entities making up this self-same country were marshalled together by another “foreigner.”

            In essence, aren’t you merely asking that this person support the product one foreigner (the lovely Brits) over another foreigner (Lionel Andrés Messi)? As if saying the support of the former is less outrageous than the support of the latter?

  2. Caremore
    My answer to all of these “If I may ask, do you support any of the European clubs? And do you watch more European football than African football? And do you think an European, or South-American, is the best footballer currently?”, is NO.

    While your insistence in indudualism and freedom of express and association is not up for contest, you’re not allowing the deeper argument of letting the good part of the foreign appreciation rub off on us.

    What I believe the author is bemoaning is the comfort we derive from being consumers, objects rather than manufacturers, producers, originators and the likes.

    It appears a great number prefer associating with their idea of success rather than being the success – and to a large extent popular ‘foreigners &’foreignness’ fit the bill to this large number.

    My submission isn’t really about criticism, it’s more of an introspection and you will do well to do same. Are we only fit for being the admirers/followers and never the admired/followed?

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