Ehiedu E.G. Iweriebor, Ph.d
The purpose of this column is to articulate, advocate and provide fresh and radical perspectives, ideas, views and even paradigms for Africa and Africans assumption of primary responsibility for national and continental advancement and self-transformation. These perspectives will be articulated with knowledge and consciousness of Africa’s present complex state of development. Its historical heritage from ancient times of the autonomous conception and creation of advanced societies like Egypt, Kush, Axum, Ancient Ghana, Mali, Songhai, Kanem- Borno, Benin Empire, Asante, Oyo, Zulu Kingdom, Mwenematapa Kingdom and others; and the decisive and disruptive impact of the colonial intervention, its psychological attack on and diminution of African agency and its disempowering reconstitution of Africa, will all be creatively incorporated into the liberatory perspectives advanced in the column. The other component of the colonial interlude, that is African struggles against colonial authoritarianism and more positively the development of anti-colonial nationalism for independence and freedom and above all their organizational and campaign activities that activated anti-colonial sentiments, ideas and outlooks. These African nationalist efforts in turn fostered the growth of a common territorial consciousness for the nationalism of the period. These various aspects will be applied as necessary. But the colonial period was also the seed-bed of the emergence and growth of colonial tribalism, manipulative ethnicity and the mainstreaming of these elements as the primary instruments of political competition among the emergent political elite. The corollary was the implantation of fissiparous tendencies in the emergent political structure and in the behaviour of African politicians.
Africa’s Complex Present
The complex history or story of post-independence social and economic development comprising significant social strides and infrastructural developments; the retention of the colonial economy of the production and export of raw materials; the non-creation of an autonomous development capacitation system; the failure to develop; the continuing subordination to external agencies anti-development dogmas like privatization, deregulation and worshipful dependence on Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) and Investors as the primary motor-force of national development; poverty alleviation; non-industrialization and the militant promotion of the dogma of African states’ withdrawal from critical investment in economic development, all of these obstacles will inform the views in the column.
The current dialectical situation of advances in the communication sectors due to the wide-spread availability of the global system for mobile (GSM) and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) gadgets in general have contributed to strides in the expansion of services in those areas. And the increasing digitization of various African societies with imported equipment but increasingly the development and wide application of locally made soft wares and apps for various activities including digital banking, education, health, pay roll, and others. On the other hand, within this exciting framework there is the persistence of the conditions of mass impoverishment of majority of Africans and the loss of hope among vast numbers of youth and others about the commitment of African leaders to address and resolve the sources of despair and frustration. This outlook partly accounts for the choice and willingness of our youth and others to pick the extremely dangerous option of embarking on the perilous journeys cross the deserts and vast bodies of water to reach Europe for the fantasy of non-existent Eldorado. The conditions of impoverishment and the dangerous migration journeys underscore the continuing indignity of African life. In short, this dialectical condition of African digital advancements as well as the state of impoverishment discloses an extraordinarily complex situation that precludes easy and tempting conclusions about Africa’s ‘failure’. These conditions also give hope that all is not lost. In short, psycho-ideological recovery is possible and the assumption of responsibility for self-actuated development is imperative.
The Basis and Pathways to Successful Development
The ultimate objective of this column is to invite psychologically and ideologically free Africans to accept primary responsibility for Africa’s upliftment and to understand the basic and indubitable facts of the nature of successful societal development historically and globally. The permanent and recurrent features of the development pathways are as follows: a self-conscious and optimally patriotic leadership elite unflinchingly committed to its society’s transformation and elevation; a liberated state system militantly sovereign and non-dependent; a public service operated by a patriotic and well incentivized bureaucracy as the vanguards and custodians of the nation-state; the conception and design of autonomous visions of societal transformation and advancement; the acceptance of primary responsibility for self- development; the radical exclusion of determinative foreign presence; the emplacement of endogenous societal agency as the primary psychological/psycho-cultural motive-force of developmental self-propulsion; the society’s deliberate creation and self-equipment with its own development capacitation system – that is the technological and trained human resources; society’s broad mobilization of its people as co-builders; the use of mobilized national financial resources and the enthronement of national and continental conditions of mass production, prosperity, power and pride as the new normal state of Africans existence.
These are the non-negotiable requirements and objectives of the national and continental self-transformation Agenda and Project. These pathways to societal development, transformation and elevation are unvarying in content, situationally variable and universally applicable.
Recovery from the Cancer of Surrender and Disempowerment
In the case of long dominated Africa, it also requires healing from the deep and cancerous condition of abandonment of self-responsibility and self-actuation, surrender and servile dependence on external agencies for thought, policy and programme formulation and dependence on foreign sources for the purchase of “development projects”. This is despite the fact that development by dependency on exogenous forces is a practical impossibility. Africa has been in this condition of powerlessness and exocentric direction since independence. It has therefore unavoidably failed to develop, transform and prosper Africa.
This cancerous mental, psychological, psychic and ideological condition of African surrender and incapacitation can only be dealt with in the way cancers are dealt with: that is through radical surgery and the concentrated targeting, as well as the systematic and comprehensive bombardment of all the cancerous cells and the expurgation and scraping out of all potential remnant cells that can reignite.
In practical terms this means developing and instilling, infusing, and inculcating into Africa’s political and bureaucratic leadership, intelligentsia and business leadership the liberatory doctrine of the imperative and ultimate profitability of autonomous self-advancement. This has been demonstrated in the contemporary world by for example China, Taiwan, Indonesia, Pakistan, Malaysia, Singapore, Brazil, and others who chose the development pathway of self-equipment for self-propulsion to mass production, self-generated prosperity, societal upliftment, protective power and national pride.
The Assumption of Responsibility for Liberation and Self-Transformation
This column is therefore partly a clarion call to all liberated, freedom questing and concerned Africans to organize for the renewal of the stalled liberation movement. This is by self-consciously assuming leadership for Africa’s autonomous development; to reject all exocentric disempowering purported development formulas, diktats and programmes and all other seductive ideological offerings from external agencies that have kept the continent in conditions of arrested development expressed in mass poverty, surrender, powerlessness and indignity since independence.
The identity of the organized forces that are committed against Africa’s take off and self-realization are not hidden and are well-known. They include first and foremost African leaders and elite who are programmed to subscribe to and implement disempowering belief in Africa’s development incapacity; external multilateral agencies like the World Bank, IMF and similar foreign agencies at the bilateral level; all countries that express by policy and action consistent commitment against Africa’s freedom and self-actuated development and dignity; foreign investors that entrap African societies into unviable and dependence-inducing and unviable projects and many others that can be identified with forensic consciousness.
Therefore, advance this renewed liberation movement, the column is a call for all groups of freedom loving Africans to accept and assume responsibility of becoming the primary organized political, psychological, intellectual, ideological and technical forces for conceiving and creating a new liberated African future. This Africa shall be created through conscious and planned self-effort into a land of mass production, self-created prosperity, equitable distribution and justice; freedom from surrender to all shades and groups of colonialist do-gooders and transit into a new state of pride, equality, confidence and restored racial dignity.