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August 31, 2005

Potomac Mansions: Kalu and Atiku are Neighbours

by Jonathan Elendu and Sowore Omoyele --- Nigerians love real estate. The acquisition penchant of Nigerians is unmatched. Even in this era of so-called 'economic hardships,' Nigerians continue to buy prime real estate. In the 1980's-1990's, South of France and other parts of Western Europe were veritable play grounds for unscrupulous Nigerian businessmen and politicians.

Kalu and Atiku
Today, it is the United States of America. And the areas of choice are the Maryland cities that are shouting distances from Washington D.C. The other prime area is New York City and the surrounding suburbs of New Jersey.

1999 Picture of Atiku's Potomac Mansion

Two weeks ago, broke the story of Vice President Atiku's multimillion dollar mansion in Potomac, Maryland. The Vice President made a feeble attempt at whitewashing the story by describing it as 'no big deal' since he has maintained a residence in the United States for over a decade. While there have been claims that Atiku was a very rich man before becoming the Vice President of Nigeria in 1999, he did not acquire the multimillion dollar Maryland mansion until one and a half years after he became Nigeria's number two citizen. But for the immunity he enjoys as the Vice President of Nigeria, he could have been prosecuted for committing a crime.

Although he enjoys the same immunity as Abubakar Atiku, Orji Uzor Kalu, the governor of Abia State was dragged before the code of conduct bureau for maintaining foreign bank accounts. The governor is fighting the charges in a different court. However, investigations show that Orji Kalu also acquired a multimillion dollar property on June 26, 2003, barely one month after being sworn-in for his second term as governor of Abia State. Kalu is known as a rich young man who became a millionaire in his twenties. The two storey house was built in 1996 on 5.00 acres. Kalu paid one million and seven hundred thousand dollars for this property.

It is speculated that Kalu was a front for some powerful individuals who were in positions of influence and authority in the 80's and 90's. Sen. Jubril Aminu, who was Kalu's vice chancellor at the University Maidugiri where Kalu had his undergraduate studies in the 80's is part of this group. The list also includes Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, Nigeria's military president for eight years. Kalu, who is running for president told in an exclusive interview a few months ago, that Pres. Obasanjo would not hesitate to disgrace him if there were any evidence of corruption against him.

Potomac, Maryland is a small city. It has a population of about forty-five thousand. Seventy-five per cent of Potomac residents are white while blacks make up only four per cent of the population. The city's unemployment rate is about two per cent, three points lower than the US average. The median yearly income in Potomac is about one hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars. The city is the twelfth most expensive zip code in the United States.

Disgraced former Senate President, Adolphus Wabara is not left out in the US property mania. Through wife, Felicia, Wabara acquired a piece of Queens, New York for the handsome price of nine hundred and ninety-five thousand dollars. The house was purchased on March 11, 2005, while the documents were filed with the city on April 1, 2005. Felicia Wabara was sighted at the hotel around this time. is yet to confirm if the white man she was seen with one evening in March is the real estate agent. Ms. Wabara spent hours with this gentleman and at some point she kicked off her shoes and stretched out her legs. Her husband, Adolpus and some other Nigerian senators were busy somewhere else at Four Seasons hotel in Manhattan on the night Felicia was sighted. Alliance for Democracy senator, Tokunbo Afikuyomi was part of the group of senators that were guests at the Four Seasons hotel on that day.

Olu Obasanjo G. is another famous Nigerian name that acquired a piece of New York real estate. On March 1, 2005, Olu Obasanjo bought a Brooklyn, New York property for five hundred and thirty-seven thousand, one hundred and twenty-six dollars. At about 1:00 PM on April 1, 2005, his agents filed papers with the city. has been trying for two weeks to confirm the identity of Olu Obasanjo G. A source told that Olu Obasanjo G is one of Pres. Obasanjo's sons. The source further stated that the President's son is a former law student who lived with Andrew Young, the former United States Ambassador to the United Nations and the Chairman of Goodworks Int. LLC., a firm which lobbies the United States government on behalf of Nigeria. made several attempts to get in touch with Gov. Orji Uzor Kalu for this story. Gloria, a staffer at the Government House, Umuahia, told that Kalu had travelled to Abuja. Calls to the governor's cell phone were not answered. Attempts by this magazine to get to Wabara were not successful before press time.


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Addressing Cleavages in Alaigbo

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji (Seatle, Washington) --- If you do not seek the truth, the truth will seek you, for only the truth will make you free. Therefore, there is no use denying the truth. We must state the truth at all times. The truth that we want to state here is the truth that there are divisions in Alaigbo. Other Nigerians may see a homogenous group called Igbos, but within that group there are cleavages. We ought to address those divisions without denying them.

I prefer to write in essay form. This enables me to inject my personal experiences hence make my writing relevant to people like me. If I write in a detached, abstract manner, I tend to write what seems not germane to real people. I will, therefore, personalize this essay. I am from Owerri area. I will write as an Owerri Igbo, an Owerri man looking at Igbo problems.

When I was growing up in the 1960s/70s, my father, a very observant Igbo man, told me a lot about our people. Among the things he told me was that the people from Owerri, Mbaise, Orlu, Okigwe, Ngwa (Aba), Umuahia, Bende and Egwuocha (Ikwerre, Port Harcourt) are the core Igbos. To him, those are the real Igbos. People from Onitsha, Asaba, Abo, Enugu, Nsukka etc, he believed, are peripheral Igbos. To father, these other people bordered non-Igbos hence their cultures tended to be adulterated by the peoples they are close to. The Onitsha, Asaba and Abo, he said, are influenced by Edo and Urhobo cultures and tend to behave like those people rather than behave like the core Igbo people. Enugu people (Wawa, as they then were called) are close to Otukpo and Tivi people and are influenced by those non-Igbo people.

Simply stated, to father and his generation, the Owerri Igbos (roughly those in the old Owerri province) are the real Igbos; the others are aliens in their midst.

My father, Johnson, and his fellow Owerri people, used to call Onitsha Igbos (encompassing the old Onitsha province and inclusive of Asaba and Abo people) Ndinjekebe. (Honestly, I do not know what that term means).

Onitsha people called the core Igbo people Onyeigbo (Igbo people). Apparently, Onitsha people called the core Igbos what they did as a way of putting them down. To them, apparently, the real Igbo people are uncivilized and primitive. They imagined themselves more advanced than the core Igbo people.

Why this apparent sense of superiority found in Onitcha Igbo? First, it is because they believe that they came from Benin and that the Edo are a more advanced people than Igbos. Second, it is because white men and Christian missionaries first came to their land and built Christian schools before they came to the core Igbo area.

History books tell us that by the1850s the Church Missionary Society (Anglican) had established missionary outposts at Onitsha and environ and built schools there. Christian missionaries did not penetrate the core Igbo area until around 1906 (in the heels of Lord Frederick Lugard’s pacification of the Long Juju of Arochukwu in 1902)). In effect, Onitsha people had fifty years leg up in acquiring Western type education to core Igbos. In fact, when my father was at elementary school, in the 1930s, his teachers were mostly Onitcha and Ijaw people (The Christians had also established schools in Ijaw land before doing so in the core Igbo area, hence the earliest Christians and teachers in the former Eastern Nigeria used to be Ijaw and or Onitsha people.)

For our present purpose, Onitsha people had a preponderance of educated Igbos and, therefore, dominated the former Eastern Nigerian politics. Apparently, it got into their heads that they are superior to core Igbo people. To the present, Onitsha people tend to feel superciliously superior to core Igbo people.

Onitsha people have stereotypical views of Owerri people. For example, they see Owerri people as lazy (Onye ntala ugba, nguru mme…all I want out of life is to eat ugba and drink wine; I do not care for other things in life; I am a carefree and good for nothing, jolly fellow) and see Owerri women as prone to prostitution.

Upon completing my doctoral dissertation at the University of California, and offered a lecturer-ship position at the University of Jos, I toyed with whether to stay in Nigeria. I had learned research methodology and while at Owerri town, suddenly decided to do an impromptu empirical research on where the prostitutes in the city came from. I walked into the various brothels at Owerri…they called themselves hotels but were, in fact, filled with rooms where whores plied their trade. “Money for hand, back na for ground”, they said. I interviewed all the prostitutes in the three hotels that I visited. Not one of the harlots in these representative whorehouses of Nigeria is from Owerri. Guess where they came from? They came mostly from the Onitsha area! I am not making this up; this is a fact.

I did the same research at Lagos. There is a part of Olodi and Isaleko where prostitutes live. I visited them. Here, the women were mostly from the Middle Belt region of Nigeria. The few Igbos among them were mostly from the Onitsha area.

I stayed with a friend at Victoria Island. In the evenings, to while away time, I used to go to the Federal Palace Hotel. I listened to the mostly American music played by the Hotel’s band. As I walked to the Hotel, I noticed that prostitutes lined up the short distance leading from Awolowo Road to the Hotel grounds. I donned my blue jeans and T shirt and looked as if I was a black American tourist and went to hobnob with the women. I took this particular veneer because the sisters were there to turn tricks with Westerners, persons with serious money, not with poor fellow Nigerians, so I had to look and talk like an American for them to talk to me. I did this for a few nights. The women came from all over Nigeria. They were mostly between the ages of eighteen and twenty-eight (my cohort; so, I interacted well with them). I did not see a single Owerri woman among them. This is a fact, not fiction.

In terms of doing rigorous empirical research, I believe that my sampling is statistically representative of the women involved in the prostitution trade in Nigeria. At any rate, I satisfied myself that the notion that Owerri women are “Ashawo” are fictions in the minds of Njikebe people.

If truth be told, I have not seen one single Owerri prostitute in my life. If they existed, and all things being equal, they must exist, I have not seen them. To the best of my knowledge, no woman from my town, Umuohiagu, is a prostitute. I am not saying that there are no Owerri whores, in the nature of things, there must be a few Owerri street workers. I am saying that the stereotype that Owerri women are loose is just a fiction in the minds of Onitsha people.

And it cuts both ways. My father’s generation believed that Onitsha people are prone to criminal behaviors. My father used to tell me that at Lagos, where we lived, if an Igbo is ever caught as a thief that the chances were that he was an Onitsha person. As if to bear him out, most of the Igbos engaged in 419 criminal activities tend to come from Onitsha area. I dare say that no Owerri person is involved in this dastardly behavior.

Obviously, not all Onitsha people are engaged in criminal behavior. The point is that Owerri people tend to stereotype Onitsha people as mostly interested in money and that they believe that Onitcha folks would stoop low to get it.

Owerri people tend to be less inclined to trading and tend to be law abiding persons. Since they are not obsessed about making money, they tend to accept decent jobs and do them to the best of their abilities and not seek ways to steal from their employers. Owerri people say that if you give an Ontisha person a job, that he would seek ways to rob you down. This is obviously a negative stereotype. But, as they say, in every stereotype there is an element of truth, albeit exaggerated.

Alaigbo has divisions and we had better address them and not sweep them under the rug. An issue must be brought out into the open, studied and, as much as is possible, understood and solved.

Are there differences between the various Igbo clans? Igbo culture is surprisingly uniform in all Alaigbo. We all have similar names, though pronounced differently in different parts of Igboland. For example, Nwachukwu in Owerri and Wachukwu in Ngwa; Nwamu in Owerri and Wami in Ikwerri. The Igbos have the same names for their four market days of the week: Ore, Afo, Eke and Nkwo. In short, most cultural practices across Igboland are the same.

In so far that there seem some differences among the Igbos, they are superficial. For example, the people along the Niger River were accustomed to trading on the river. They traded with non-Igbos and brought non-Igbo produced goods into Igboland and sold them to the interior Igbos. This is not unique to these people. All over the world, riverside people tend to be trading people. (On the negative side, these trading Igbos engaged in slave trade. They bought and sold Igbo slaves. They were responsible for selling Igbos to the non-Igbos who then sold them to the Europeans at the Atlantic seaboards. In effect, these people honed their so-called trading skills by selling their own very Igbo people. This is a shame.)

Those Igbos in the harshest part of Igbo land, where agricultural productivity is the least possible, also tended to survive by trading. Thus, people from Orlu, by necessity, tend to be good traders.

Conversely, those Igbos who live in the most fertile part of Igboland, places where land is more abundant, such as the Abakaliki and Owerri people, tend to be less inclined to trading. Until recently, they tended to be farmers and very good ones, too.

In the first phase of the Igbo modern era, it happened that luck favored those Igbos who traditionally were good at trading. They, more or less, became fairly wealthy relative to the more sedentary Igbos. Apparently, their meager wealth got into their heads and swelled their pride to the point where folks from Onitsha area felt superior to persons from Owerri area, the very people who produced the food that kept them alive.

As already noted, Christian missionaries first pitched their tent in the Onitcha area. Therefore, Onitcha folks tended to be more educated in Western ways than Owerri folks. The first phase of Igbo governance was, therefore, dominated by the ‘educated Onitcha folks”. Apparently, this consequence of historical accidence got into their heads and some of them fancied themselves better than Owerri folks.

My father’s generation sorely resented Onitcha folks feeling superior to them. Father used to say: How dare these fake Igbos (Onitsha Igbo) feel better than real Igbos (Owerri Igbos). As a realistic man, however, he appreciated the reasons why the Onitsha felt as they did: they were ahead of the Owerri in matters Western. Thus, father and his fellow Owerrians resolved to have all their children attend universities and they did.

The Igbo from Umuahia, Bende, Abriba, Abam and Ngwa tend to be more marshal in spirit than other Igbos. This marshal spirit is probably rooted in the traditional role of these people during the slave trade. For five hundred years, these people acted as soldiers for the notorious slave traders, the Aro. The Aro spanned Igboland, buying slaves and selling them to the Efik and Ijaw, who, in turn, sold them to the Europeans stationed at the Atlantic coasts.

My grand father, Osuji, told us how Aro people terrorized his people during slave times. These people, he said, pretended to be priest-judges and stationed agents in the various Igbo towns and bid folks to bring their cases to them. Those they found guilty, they claimed to have sent to jail. In this case, jail meant taking them to Arochukwu, and selling them into slavery. The Aro also fomented wars between Igbo villages and captives were sold into slavery.

The Aro had the Abriba and Abam as their soldiers, escorting them as they traveled all over Igboland, capturing and selling Igbos into slavery.

(The Aro must apologize to all Igbo. Until they do so, Igbo will not forgive them their crime. The Aro may pretend that all is well in the land, but all is not well in the land. You see, the sins of fathers are visited unto their children, unto the tenth generation. Aro crimes against Igbo still rancors in the minds of Owerri Igbo, to the present. People from my area, in fact, hate the Aro more than they hate the so-called detractors of the Igbos, the Hausas.)

In one of his writings, Chinua Achebe, without proof, claimed that the Equiano (see Equiano’s interesting autobiography) was an Igbo boy. In his autobiography, Equiano narrated how he went out to play and was captured by slave traders and sold into slavery. If, indeed, he was an “Eboe”, it is Aro and Abam folks that captured and sold the ten year old boy into slavery. These slave traders were hard hearted, evil persons. They made life hellish for their fellow Igbos. Just imagine what life must have been like in slave time Igboland: a kid goes out to play and he was captured and sold into slavery. Igbo villages were constantly at war with each other, so as to capture slaves to be sold. Life must have been nasty, brutish, and short. It was a Hobbesian world. It must have been a paranoid world where no one could afford to trust other people. As I speculated elsewhere, this probably accounts for the high level of paranoia found in Igbos. I am yet to see an Igbo man whose level of paranoia is not above average. All human beings have traits of paranoia, but some more so than others.

And why is it necessary for the Aro, Abam and Onitcha to own their past crimes? Shouldn’t we let the past be the past? If the past did not repeat itself in the present we would not have to study history. The fact is that people, in the present, are influenced by their past. Aro, Abam and Onitcha people are still as hard hearted as their forefathers. They, in different forms, are still selling Igbos into modern forms of slavery. It is truly amazing these Africans. They have such a short memory. They went about enslaving our people and somehow think that we have forgotten what they did. No, every person in my town still remembers, with horror, the activities of the Aro. We are as angry as hell at the Aro for kidding and enslaving our people.

These evil souls must, therefore, do some serious soul searching, accept their past mistakes, and resolve to change. Until they do so, those of us who were their victims must be skeptical of their motives. We must watch out lest these evil souls sell us into slavery, as they sold our brothers in the past, and show no remorse for their sins. All that these evil folks do is blame the white man for slavery and hope, in their infantile thinking, that that would divert attention from their own heinous role in the sin of slavery. Blaming whites cannot absolve Africans of their role in selling their fellow Africans. Both Africans and Europeans were equally responsible for the crime against humanity called transatlantic slavery and both must make amends for their crimes by paying reparations to African Americans. (All the African countries involved in slavery must give One percent of their annual GDP to Africans in the Americas; additionally, they must offer these people automatic dual citizenship should they choose to live in Africa. A sinner must make amends for his sins; Africans sinned by selling their brethren; they must ask for forgiveness and make some reparations to those they sold; until they do so, nothing is going to work out well for Africa.)

There is a tendency for the Onitcha Igbo to take the Owerri Igbo for granted. Thus, we have a situation where Onitcha Igbo form organizations that purportedly champion Igbo interests and expect the Owerri Igbo to fall in line and support them. What we know of human nature is that each individual is out to maximize his self interests and that it is the rare human being who transcends his ego self interests and works on behalf of social interests. Thus, all things being equal, the organizations that folks from Onitcha area form serve their interests and not all Igbo interests.

If one surveys organizations in Alaigbo that purport to speak for all Igbos, what one sees is that they were mainly formed by folks from the Onitcha area and that they speak for Onitcha interests. This was the case in the past. Nnamdi Azikiwe and his NCNC were irrelevant to Owerri people. One cannot point to a single project that the NCNC did for Owerri people.

The government of the then Eastern Nigeria, for all practical purposes, exploited Owerri people and did nothing for them. Azikiwe built a university, the so-called University of Nigeria Nsukka. Now, if he was a sensible person, he would have built that school in the center of Igboland, which would have been Owerri. (Owerri is the natural capital of Alaigbo and must be so.)

The decision to declare Biafra an independent state was largely an Nnewi-Onitcha people’s decision. Owerri people were not consulted. Interestingly, when the war of words turned into a shooting war, it was Owerri people that formed the majority of the foot soldiers of the Biafran army. Onitcha people hid out the war in rear battalions. In effect, Owerri people were exploited during that war.

As would be expected, Owerri people resent being taken for granted by people who do not even consider themselves real Igbos. In his autobiography, My Odyssey, Nnamdi Azikiwe, struggled mightily to convince the reader that his ancestors came from the royal family of Benin. His unspoken assumption was that the Bini were superior to the Igbos.

If Azikiwe had any kind of intelligence in his brains, he would have struggled to show that his folks came from Igboland, even if they did not. In this case, they came from Igboland and did not come from Benin. He was just a confused man. Azikiwe was an extrovert and, as such, not expected to be very bright. But, nevertheless, he ought to have reflected on what he had to say before he said it. If he was thoughtful, he would not have rooted his heritage in Benin.

Consider the English. They came from Germany. But they do not go about telling the world that they came from Germany; they tell us that they are proud Britons, even though the term Briton applies to the original Celts that the Romans found in the Island that they named Britannia. Consider the French. They are mostly Frankish Germans, but they do not go about telling the world that they are Germans; they simply say that they are French men. Consider the ruling classes of America, they are mostly English/German but they do not tell the world that they are so, but take pride in telling the world that they are Americans.

Here we had an Igbo man who, instead of instilling pride in Igbos by affirming his Igbo heritage, claimed to be an Edo man. And for this crime, Azikiwe is not my hero. My hero must be a proud Igboman.

Currently, some misguided Ikwerri Igbos claim not to be Igbos. These people who are close to Owerri and whose Igbo dialect many Owerri people speak have allowed themselves to be deceived by the Hausa-Fulani-Yoruba rulers of Nigeria. The black colonialists who misgovern Nigeria would like to divide and conquer Igboland, and if they can persuade the Rivers Igbos that they are not Igbos, they would have sowed the seed of disharmony in Alaigbo and, in the process, control the Igbos. The Ikwerri Igbo is as Igbo as the Owerri Igbo. In fact, when, in the future, we do a more thorough historical study of the Igbos, we may find out that the Ikwerri came from the Igbo heartland. I certainly feel more kinship with the Ikwerri than I feel with the Onitcha Igbo.

And while on this subject, it is doubtful if the Ijaw and Efik people are not related to Igbos. During the five hundred years of slave times, Igbo slaves were sold to the Europeans at Efik and Ijaw Seaports. In the process, a massive number of Igbos was brought to these, apparently, non-Igbo areas. The result was heavy mixing between Igbos and these people.

One doubts that there is an Efik or Ijaw person who is not a mix of his people and Igbos. At any rate, when one talks to any of them, one feels kindred spirit, as if one is talking to a fellow Igbo. I have never felt that an Ijaw or Efik person is different from persons from Owerri. I see them as my own very people.

Please note that in parts of Owerri, we call God Obasi, as the Efiks do. This shows how intermingled our two peoples and cultures are.

In terms of evolution, one does not believe that the Ijaw separated from the Igbo, or the Igbo from the Ijaw, whichever is the case, long ago. The two people are so similar in both their biological make-ups and cultural ways that, perhaps, they were the same people, say one thousand years ago? The other Nigerians, such as the Yorubas, seem to have separated from the Igbos long ago, say two thousand years. The Igbo and Yoruba languages, both of which I speak, do not seem related; but the Igbo and Ijaw languages seem much related and sound alike to me. When I hear Ijaw people speaking, it is like I hear Igbos speaking a different dialect. Simply stated, Igbos feel one with the Ijaws. No Igbo person can discriminate against Ijaws, despite the lies put out by the Machiavellian rulers of contemporary Nigeria; those who aim to divide a united Igbo-Ijaw people.

There appears to be lack of understanding of practices unique to certain parts of Igboland. For example, my last name is Osuji. Some Igbos from Wawaland actually assume that to be called Osuji means that one is an Osu. A chap in one of the Internet Chat rooms that I visit, who, apparent was angry at me proceeded to tell his chat room buddies about the subordinate nature of the Osus in Igbo society. His intention, obviously, was to put me down, to get folks to see me as an outcaste hence not pay attention to what I was saying.

I recall that I have had this problem before. At a different occasion, an Onitcha Igbo person had implied that Osuji is an Osu name.

In Owerri, the name Osuji or Njoku symbolizes a child dedicated to God. He is, in fact, like the biblical Samuel. He is generally selected to be the high priest of the people. In my own case, my people have always been the high priest of Amadioha. Osuji’s are diala, free born. In my village, Umuorisha-Umuohiagu, we are the first, Opara, of the village. We are the first among equals. When the Oha, Amala, gather to deal with an issue, no one can talk before the Osujis talk.

Unfortunately, we do have Osus in our town and they are relegated to a specific village, Amuuga. Some of us are working to end the second class treatment meted out to the Osus.

The critical point here is that some Igbos assume that just because ones name has the prefix Osu in it that one is an Osu; these folks ought to educate themselves on Igbo culture before they alienate more people than is necessary. The Igbos are known for their thoughtless talking and tendency to alienate other Nigerians with their careless speech. They tend to encore the wrath of other Nigerians because of their intemperate speech. Folks ought to think before they talk, better still, they ought to research a subject before they talk about it. As for the wa-wa boy who sought to denigrate this Diala by calling him an Osu, one would think that if he had any brains in his idiot head that he would be ashamed that the Igbos have Osus and work to end it, rather than seek to put some one down by associating him with the Osu phenomenon. That ape ought to go back to school, and this time, make sure that he learns something useful, rather than merely see certificates as something that confers prestige on his inferior feeling ego-body.

The salient point, however, is how much the Igbos from what I call the Onitcha area do not understand the practices of the Owerri Igbo. There seems a disconnection between these two Igbo clans. These two sets of Igbos must, therefore, make a vigorous effort to understand each other, rather than alienate each other. If they insist on insulting each other, the other groups in Nigeria can, in fact, exploit their differences. The clever and diplomatic Yoruba can manipulate the weaknesses he sees in the Igbos.


And that brings us to a character structure in the Igbos that they must address, right away. The Igbos, at the individual and group levels, tend to feel superciliously better than other persons.

The individual Igbo often imagines that he is better than other Igbos. Igbos from certain clans tend to imagine themselves superior to those from other clans. As already noted, the Onitcha Igbo often fancies himself superior to the Owerri Igbo, whereas the Owerri Igbo considers the Onitcha Igbo a criminal.

Collectively, the Igbos tend to feel superior to non-Igbos.

I was born and grew up at Lagos. During my growing up days, the Igbos around me impressed on my mind that we were better than the Yorubas and Hausas. In fact, they taught us that we should always look down on other Nigerians.

I went to school and found both Yoruba and Hausa kids beat us Igbo kids. We were told that we were better than others, but, in actual fact, those others seemed better than us. We developed cognitive dissonance. So, how do you resolve the dissonance?

There is nothing to reconcile. All people are the same and equal. No group is superior to others. Whites and blacks, Igbos, Yorubas and Hausas are all the same. There is no such thing as a superior human being. Inferiority and superiority are deluded mental states.

I have given why Igbos find it necessary to look down on other Nigerians serious thinking. If objectivity were the criteria for judging the groups in Nigeria, some are, in fact, more advanced than the Igbos.

The Hausas, Yorubas and Edos had fairly sophisticated societies with centralized political structures. The Igbos were stuck at a more primitive social organization. Each Igbo town was, more or less, independent of others. There was no Igbo superstructure for governing all Igbo land.

To political science, the Igbos are considered at the base of social organization, a primitive people, whereas the Hausas and Yorubas are considered at the feudal level of political organization.

In material culture, the Hausa and Yoruba have accomplished more than the Igbos. Look at the mosques in Northern Nigeria and the cities that existed in Yourubaland before the white men came to their necks of the wood. The Igbos lived in thatched huts, essentially primitive housing. So why are these essentially primitive (mercifully called preliterate by condescending anthropologists) people arrogant and feeling better than their neighbors?

I speak as an Igbo. I am not in denial. I suffer from all the shortcomings of the Igbos. I am not seeing something in me, denying and projecting it to others. There is no transference relationship going on here. I have had years of psychoanalysis done on me.

As an Igbo, I feel superior to other people. Consider. I came from what one might call a working class background. But when I came to America, I immediately assessed my white school mates and, somehow, felt that they were inferior to me. That is correct; I have never seen a white person that I felt is the equal of the Igbos. I tended to look down on whites.

There then is a paradox. The mere fact that I am in America, going to their schools, implies that they are superior to me, at least in material culture. But there I was feeling superior to them. I used to condescend towards whites and, at best, tolerate them, as one tolerates children, with amusement.

I remember taking a philosophy course and the professor walked in, a woman. I said to myself, what does this Otu Ocha know about philosophy? How can a woman understand my beloved philosophy? I love philosophy and have done so since I was fourteen and my father gave me Will Durant’s History of Philosophy, as my birthday gift. If you get me going on any of the philosophers, from Plato to Aristotle, Hobbes, Descartes, Spinoza, Kant, Locke, David Hume (my alter ego), George Berkeley, Hegel, Schopenhauer (my fellow pessimist), Jean Jacque Rousseau, Nietzsche, William James, Henry Bergson, you cannot stop me from talking. Well, here was a woman to teach my beloved philosophy and I simply concluded that a woman cannot do so and immediately left the classroom and dropped the course. I took it when a man taught it. What is the point? I had all the Igbo prejudices, including feeling superior to other people and to women in particular.

So why do Igbos feel superior to other people? Elsewhere, I employed Alfred Adler’s individual psychology in explaining the Igbo character problem. However, I am fully aware of the limitations of Adler’s rationalistic psychology; life cannot be reduced to pure reason. I am trained in both Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell’s views on mythology and understand that there are dark forces in our unconscious minds that our rational science is not able to understand.

Be that as it may, I believe that Igbos tend to feel inordinately inferior to other people and compensate with imaginary sense of superiority to them. I do not exactly know why Igbos feel inferior to other groups and have a need to restitute with infantile sense of superiority. I have, elsewhere, speculated on some putative reasons why the Igbos feel inadequate, as they are, such as their lacking developed complex political organizations.

Lord Lugard, it should be recalled, had absolute contempt for the Igbos, for he thought that, of all the Nigerian tribes, they were the least civilized. He admired the Hausas most, for they had attained feudal social political organization.

If pride did not blind Igbos to political reality, they would see that of all the groups in Nigeria, that the Hausa have had the most experience in governing large polities. As such, the Igbos ought to learn a thing or two from the Hausas on how to govern polities. Clearly, the Igbos are late comers to the art and science of governing large political structures, and can be said to be the least experienced group in Nigeria in doing so. Misguided pride aside, one sees Hausas as the better rulers of Nigeria. One believes that Igbos have a lot to learn about government before they can do a good job of it. At present, Igbos tend to see government and political positions as from which they gratify their childish narcissism and seem socially important. In fact, very few Igbos understands the negative nature of government. Government is an instrument for suppressing people and for making essentially selfish human beings behaves in a social serving manner. Government is a means of controlling the people and in the process reducing their natural freedom to do as they pleased. Government is exercise of the power of coercion and necessarily must jail and or kill some persons, if it serves social interests to do so. (If you are interested on this subject, see the writings of political theorists, such as Nicollo Machiavelli, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Charles Montesquieu, Jean Jacque Rousseau, Jefferson, Hamilton, Madison, Jay, Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill, Edmund Burke, Pareto, Joseph Schumpeter, Seneca, Cicero, Marcus Aureoles and other political realists.)

All that we need to know is that the Igbos are not superior to other tribes in Nigeria. No one human being is superior to other human beings. Whereas some persons seem more talented in certain areas of human endeavor, the fact is that all human beings are the same and equal. To desire that one be superior to other persons is to be neurotic, a mild mental disorder; to believe that one is already superior to other people is to be psychotic (delusion disorder, if accompanied with hallucinations is schizophrenia, paranoid type).

We do not need to flog a nonsensical belief. No one is better than other people. Therefore, the Igbos must make a vigorous effort to see all other Nigerians as the same and coequal with them. The Igbos must learn to respect other Nigerians.

In particular, the Igbos must stop their annoying tendency to look down on the Hausas. I can tell you from direct experience that some of the brightest Nigerians I know are Hausas. The best Nigerian mathematician I know of is a Hausa person.

Obviously the Igbos have strengths. They tend to work hard and are very industrious. In the few years that they have become acquainted with Western civilization, they have made a lot of progress acquiring its indices, albeit at the superficial level. As already indicated, many Igbos now have university education. This is a phenomenal achievement, even by American standards.

However, having university education does not mean that one has understood the spirit of the West. For one to understand the spirit of the West, one must study Western philosophy, psychology and religion. Very few Igbos have done so and generally exhibit superficial understanding of what the West is all about. Even when they call themselves medical doctors, engineers etc they are no more than primitive folks in western clothing. Unless you have personally gone through the tortured intellectual journey that the West went through, had your own dark ages, renaissance, reformation, enlightenment, romanticism and finally got to your own age of scientism, you are not operating in the Western paradigm of reality. You are a tribal man in Western uniform.

Whereas no one should excuse man’s inhumanity to man, I sense that Igbo arrogance contributes to other Nigerians tendency to persecute them. Consider that the Igbos used to call Hausas Nnama, cattle, and generally disrespected Hausas. How would you like to be so disrespected? Be honest? You would feel so angry that you would want to beat up the person putting you down.

Obviously, many factors contributed to the various pogroms and genocides that were perpetrated against the Igbos, but one factor contributing to it is Igbos childish pride. The Igbos, therefore, must give up their neurotic and or psychotic feeling of superiority to other people and see all human beings, men and women, as the same. If they do, I believe that they would generate less hatred, anger and persecution towards them. Of course, other Nigerians ought to refrain from killing Igbos. No one has a right to kill other human beings, no matter their character flaws. The Igbos are a hard working but intemperate people. Other Nigerian ought to make allowances for Igbo lack of diplomacy and take advantage of their industry.


What have I said in this rambling and disjointed essay? I have said that there are divisions in Igboland, serious ones, and that it serves all Igbos well for them to bring them out into the open and explore ways to fix them. Placing serious issues on the back burner and pretending that all Igbo see things with uniform lenses is being like the proverbial ostrich, and hide ones head in the sand. We have serious issues in Alaigbo and must address them.

To begin with, we ought to address our infantile tendency to look down on other Nigerians and, indeed, on each other and learn to see all God’s children as the same and equal. We ought to give up the neurosis of wanting to seem superior to other human beings.

We ought to appreciate the strength that lies in our diversity. The traders of Igboland are obviously useful. The less trading oriented Igbo are equally useful. Each compliments the other. There is no use looking down on each other.

The Onitcha Igbo must give up the delusion that he has the right to speak for all Igbos. Some of us Owerri folks do not take seriously any thing said by Onticha people. That is the sad fact. Igbos must consult each other before they speak for each other. If you want to form an organization on behalf of all Igbos, please find out what Ndigbo from all parts of Alaigbo feel about it; do not pretend that just because you are Igbo that other Igbos would accept your leadership. There is diversity in Igboland, as there is every where else in this world.

Finally, there is serious cleavage between Owerri and Onitsha Igbo. This division must be worked out; no one should pretend that the two respect each other. They don’t.

Some Owerri folks look at the political comedy and tragedy going on in Anambra state, Ngige and Obi’s song and dance, shake their heads and say: what else do you expect from criminals? This is sad, indeed.

It is about time that all Igbos sat down in their own Igbo national political reform conference and looked at the issues that divide them and sought solutions that unify them.

All Igbo must work for one Igbo nation, a nation that stretches from Port Harcourt (in present Rivers State) to Abo (in present Deltas State). One Alaigbo nation, indivisible and united.

Ozodi Thomas Osuji,PhD

Seattle, Washington

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The Nigerian Media as Scapegoats?

by Uche Nworah (London, UK) --- Why do I think that this is the season of profession bashing, or better still media bashing? Even from members and non-members of the media constituency. Have things really degenerated to such alarming proportions to warrant the sweeping comments of concerned observers, most especially Seyi Oduyela in his media bashing article The Media in Nigeria 11?

Mr. Oduyela’s essays reminded me of Reuben Abati’s once sweeping condemnation of the teaching profession in his ‘now, now’ syndrome article, a profession that Mr Abati left for journalism which has this time come under Seyi Oduyela’s heavy hammer. In my rejoinder to Mr. Abati’s article, I had argued that teachers are no angels and so should not be expected to carry the heavy burden of salvaging the rot and decay which now characterises the Nigerian nation, especially when the Nigerian society has refused to enable and empower the teachers to do their work and fulfil these societal expectations.

Mr Oduyela seemed pained by his experiences at, and has therefore not minced words in his tirade. But I think that he may have wielded the big stick too heavily, especially when we learnt from our elders that we should ‘never bite the finger that fed/feeds us’. I am sure that in the course of his x number of years relationship with the owners of, there must have been merry and good times, such memories should have tampered his anger and rage. I would wish to recall here Martha Stewart’s plea to the jury during her trial in America, she had told the jury to also remember the good that she had done for America in the past and not just the crime that she was being tried for.

I submit that media and journalism practice in Nigeria is actually alive and well. I was bowled over during my recent visit to Nigeria by the number of titles at the newsstands, the increasing number of FM and TV stations jostling for licences at Ernest Ndukwe’s NCC offices. Considering the prevailing economic environment in Nigeria which is still harsh and hostile, one can only encourage those media houses that are still managing to keep their heads above the waters. To be able to this, they must be doing something nice to keep the interests of the readers who flock the newsstands daily to purchase the titles, the ability to maintain the interests of the readers, viewers or listeners are of course the only reason why advertisers will patronise the media houses.

Things can not be as bad as Mr Oduyela claims, media owners always know that the moment they lose the interests of their audience, they also lose the interest of advertisers and the next natural occurrence will be the natural demise of such titles, the graveyard of Nigerian media is still littered with lots of newspapers and magazines who couldn’t stay the course, most notable is Lawrence Akapa’s Top News, a classic example of how not to take the audience for granted.

The history of the media in Nigeria has always been characterised by two major forms of ownership, those owned by the government (e.g. NTA, OGTV, ABS, Statesman newspaper etc) and those owned by private individuals (The News, Silverbird Television, AIT, The Sun, This Day, BiafraNigeriaWorld etc). These two forms of media ownership are all driven by separate agendas. The government media houses are used mainly as instruments of propaganda for the government while the private media owners are driven by different motives, which could be profit making, agenda setting, to win influence which can later be translated into political and business gains etc. Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu in setting up Champion newspapers must have been motivated by the later, just like the late Bashorun M.K.O Abiola and his Concord group of newspapers. Therefore contrary to Seyi Oduyela’s arguments, there is nothing wrong with James Ibori and Orji Kalu setting up newspaper houses, as long as such enterprises are funded from government treasury. Not only do their newspapers contribute to the enlivening of the socio-political debate and providing alternative view points, they also provide jobs to journalists and all other service providers such as vendors, printers and other sundry staff such as cleaners and security staff etc. As a matter of fact, Orji kalu’s The Sun newspaper is being run by media veterans such as Mike Awoyinfa, Dimgba Igwe of Weekend Concord fame. The duo and their team which include Amanze Obi, Femi Adesina, Louis Odion etc have successfully and in so short a time positioned the paper to be the best selling soft-sell/tabloid newspaper in Nigeria, modelled after The Sun newspaper in the UK, the paper which operates in a niche market has a specialised readership who normally will prefer soft news and human interest stories, to the hard news including government critiscms, which can be found in The Daily Independent, The Guardian, This day and other such broadsheet papers.

Having said this, it becomes a tall order to expect the editors of such privately owned newspapers to turn around and criticise their owners. The late Dele Giwa tried to pull off such a stunt in his days at Concord newspapers when he published a poll of best dressed Nigerians, in the poll his name appeared before that of his boss (Late Bashorun M.K.O Abiola), Abiola did not find this funny and obviously this must have been one of the reasons for Dele Giwa’s eventual ‘disengagement’ from Concord newspapers.

If anything, the Nigerian media is getting more vibrant by the day, Dele Olojede recently proved that Nigerian trained journalists are not rubbish after all; else the Pulitzer Prize committee wouldn’t have so deservedly rewarded him. Baring the lack of adequate resources as expressed by some journalists in the article How the internet is affecting journalism practice in Nigeria, I am proud to say that Nigerian journalists can hold their ground and compete with the best anywhere in the world.

Unfortunately, poor remuneration has led to a situation where journalists look elsewhere for supplementary incomes, some have resorted to demanding for the famous ‘brown envelope’ or according to Seyi Oduyela ‘jostling for appointments, contracts and advertisements’. In the Nigerian environment, there is really nothing wrong with these, except when a conflict of interest arises. As Mr Oduyela rightly points out, some Nigerian journalists earn on the average about N20, 000 – N30, 000 monthly. One would normally expect the media owners to do better than that but sometimes, there is really not a lot the media owners can do, this is as a result of many factors, according to Dan Akpovwa, the publisher of Abuja Inquirer ‘cover prices alone are not enough to cover costs, the advertisers owe media houses and the advertising agencies drag their foot in settling invoices, we can not chase our staff away, the system somehow has to be kept alive, it is better to carry an advertisement and be owed than not to carry at all, it is indeed a tough call on publishers to match the salaries paid in the banking or telecommunication sectors ’.

During a recent visit to the Abuja offices of the Abuja Inquirer to interview the publisher and also to get a feel of the problems regional newspapers face, I got to see first hand the challenges that both newspaper publishers and their staff confront everyday, I came away with the impression that both the publishers and their hard working staff are nothing but miracle workers, for their ability to roll out fresh copies of newspapers daily despite the difficulties they face ranging from scarce or expensive newsprints, power outages, mounting advertisement debts, rising distribution costs etc.

At the Abuja Inquirer offices in August 2005. L-R Uche Nworah, Dan Akpovwa (publisher), Joseph Inokotong (Editor) in orange shirt.

I also think that it is wrong to condemn Nigerian journalists for their aspirations or job offers in government as government spokes persons. Mr Oduyela mentioned a few journalists most notably Nduka Irabor, who at some point was Chief Press Secretary to Admiral Augustus Aikhomu. One would think that such journalists were committing a mortal sin by such acts or career moves, rather than simply seeking to fulfil a basic human need, one of which is self actualisation according to Abraham Maslow.

In the Nigerian media landscape, the natural career progression route for journalists apart from setting up their own media houses is to wander into corporate affairs departments of private corporations such as banks, telecom companies etc, the other option which Mr Oduyela doesn’t like so much is that of accepting positions in government as press secretaries or media spokespersons of government officials, there is still nothing wrong with journalists accepting job offers, especially ones that may improve their living standards, life is too short, also life is not all about criticising and attacking the government of the day. If one gets offered the opportunity to come and contribute to the process of nation building by working for the government, it should not be regarded as a sign of selling out.

However, some of these journalists who have the opportunity to do brief stints as press secretaries almost always come back to the profession that gave them fame, even if not fortune. There are the likes of Greg Obong- Oshotse, former press secretary to Mrs Miriam Babangida who is now the Europe and North America editor of the independent Newspaper, Tony Momoh former editor of the Daily Times and Babangida’s Minister of Information is now a private media consultant. Ruth Benemaisa – Opia went from NTA 9 O’clock news to serve as a Commissioner in Bayelsa, her home state. She is now back at NTA doing what she knows how to do best. Chris Anyanwu also left NTA 9 O’clock news to serve as Commissioner for Information in Imo state, when she left the job she set up The Sunday magazine (TSM); it was her exploits at the TSM that landed her in jail during the Abacha junta.
There is also Sola Omole, another popular NTA 9 O’clock news caster in the 80s; Mr. Omole now heads the corporate affairs division at Chevron Nigeria. Another member of the pack, John Momoh now runs his own television company, Channels. Dan Akpovwa, erstwhile Quality magazine and This Day reporter and later Press secretary to the Minister of Aviation also did stints as the corporate affairs manager of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) before returning to what he describes as his first choice profession as the publisher of the Abuja Inquirer.

On the lighter mood, there are also others, especially women whose media careers have earned them second careers as wives of the rich, famous and the mighty, most notably Jennifer Iwenjuora, Yes, the Jennifer Abubakar, one of Vice President Atiku Abubakar’s many wives. There is also Ronke Ayuba, the wife of General Tanko Ayuba (Rtd.), former military governor of Kaduna state and minister of communications during the Babangida regime and also Folake Doherty, who is now famously married to Wole Soyinka as wife number 3. Chief Segun Osoba, former governor of Ogun state and also former managing director of the Daily Times group rode on the back of his journalism career all the way to the Ogun state government house, and so did Honourable Abike Dabiri, the ex – NTA presenter who is now an honourable member of the federal House of Representatives.

There are others whom space won’t permit me to mention, who have done the migration from a career in journalism to careers in government or in the private sector, people should be allowed to make their individual career choices without having to feel guilty or be made to think that they sold out.

It is a natural expectation and occurrence in every profession to trade favours, of course these journalists build up friendships over the years such that sometimes they are expected to suppress or ‘kill’ certain stories especially if such stories will affect the publisher’s advertisers or their friends in government who indirectly pay the bills, such demands though unfortunate are nothing but a basic reality in life, it is the kind of challenge that face working professionals daily, there is usually no textbook answer or solution to it, it is every man to his own conscience, there have been cases of journalists who will not bulge and have chosen the honourable way out by resigning from their jobs. This phenomena is universal, In the UK, newspapers are known to be either pro labour or pro conservatives, also in America, newspapers and media houses are known to either be sympathetic to the democrats or to the republicans, hence their liberal or conservative classifications. They will therefore tend to publish news stories that will only reinforce their political ideologies or those of their owners and their friends/stakeholders. Again, this is a basic expectation in life, for one to know where one’s bread is buttered.

At journalism school at the University of Uyo, I remember Professor Desmond Wilson recounting all the known media theories to us, and how starry eyed we were hoping to come out and change the world, armed with our knowledge of the theories such as the social responsibility theory, development theory, the agenda setting theory etc. However no one ever bothered teaching us the most realistic and practical media theory ever, the one you learn in the field, which is the ‘He who pays the piper, dictates the tune theory’. This unfortunately seems to be theory that the media houses abide by, likewise it is the theory that govern most professions. You can not be eating a man’s dinner and at the same time be insulting him, like they say; those that can not take the heat are best advised to leave the kitchen

Back to Mr Oduyela’s beef with, who ever they may be, the owners of the website definitely have their own agenda, and if they don’t want to publish the people he mentioned in his article including himself anymore, that is their business and choice. I have always believed that a mutual relationship exists between the owners of some of these websites and their many freelance writers, anytime the relationship begins to tilt more in the favour of one party, then it is the time for the party less favoured to move on. I see it as a no-strings-attached affair, since there was no contract signed, either of the parties could take a walk anytime. Mr Oduyela mentioned in his article that the mentioned writers helped build the website, but he failed to mention the ‘gratifications’ the writers were receiving, gratification doesn’t only have to be financial, it could just be the opportunity or platform for one to showcase his or her writings, I have always likened writers to artists and exhibitionists, what is the point of a work of art if there is no platform to exhibit it? This is a two way street for me, the website owner gains, the writers gains, if the website owner gets advertising support in the process, fine. That should compensate him for his time, and investment in technology and other resources. If further down the line something trickles in for the writers financially, better still.

Personally my articles used to appear on and but at some point, the website owners called in time and stopped publishing my articles, I quietly moved on. I don’t think that anybody suffers by no longer publishing his and the articles of the mentioned writers, these Nigerian oriented websites are not really many, its is easy to carry your ardent readers with you, if they want to read you, google is only a click away, where ever you may have berthed next they will find you. I agree with Mr Oduyela that freelance writers commit time and resources in putting together their stories and articles but then, no one has put a gun to our heads to do that, some of us do it for the love of it, as a hobby or just because we may have been journalists in our past careers but still don’t want to completely lose touch with the profession. Some of us enjoy the freedom and independence to write what we like and publish when we like, there is no newsroom pressure or deadlines to meet, as would have been the case if we were contracted writers.

Alternatively, if one feels so aggrieved, there is always the option of setting up one’s own website or media house, just like many journalists have done in the past, but then with that option comes its own problems. But no matter what happens and the options Mr Oduyela decides to consider, the reality is that the show must go on.

Not surprisingly, Taslim Anibaba was the first to rubber stamp Seyi Oduyela’s essay; this is to be expected because Mr Anibaba himself had in the past called the Nigerian press a disaster in an article. I remember commenting on his article that as a chartered accountant, and fellow of the accounting profession for that matter, he should first take off the log in his profession’s eyes before attempting to take off the speck in the eyes of journalists. He may have his issues with the Nigerian press but I still believe in the saying that ‘monkey no fine but him mama still like am’

Uche Nworah is a freelance writer and lives in London.

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August 28, 2005

Atiku Abubakar and the Mansion at Sorrel

by Renee Bridgeford, Esq. (Centreville, Virginia) --- Atiku's Mansion at Sorrel that was raided by the FBI is located at 9731 Sorrel Avenue, Potomac Maryland, and is listed under the name of Jennifer Douglas. Jennifer Douglas is also known as Jennifer Douglas-Abubakar, and also known as Jemila Abubakar. She is one of the wives of Nigeria’s Vice President Atiku Abubakar.

Click here to continue reading "Atiku Abubakar and the Mansion at Sorrel."

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August 26, 2005

Nigerian Democracy Must be Made to be Admired

by D. Akinsanya Juliuson (United Kingdom) --- With years of experience in British politics, public diplomacy and heritage, I still do not see myself as a politician rather a Political Philosopher, but If I didn’t believe in the power of democratic politics to change things for the better, I would have said working against democratic movement in Nigeria is the best. I do understand that many people feel voting in any election in Nigeria nowadays is not important and that politics is not relevant to their lives. Even though I do not believe that low voter turnout in any election means that Nigerian people are apathetic.

I meet so many people who hold strong and well-informed views on national and international issues almost all the time and I know that I’m right that Nigerians are not indifferent in politics. I am a man who is very much in tune with the thinking of modern day political philosophy and public diplomacy. A Nigerian who wants diplomacy handled in the traditional channels or not at all. I have an insatiable curiosity and I’m fearless in defending what I consider to be right irrespective of the position of the person I’m dealing with. Democracy to me cannot thrive or even survive without participation by you and I the electorate. Many people, including those who should be honoured by the federal government and the people of Nigeria have made huge sacrifices and laid down their lives to preserve democracy in Nigeria. When we exercise our right to choose our worthy government, we must know that, it is then that we affirm that their struggle was worthwhile

How do we Achieve the Impossible?

Naturally, we are all political animals in Nigeria. Politics may be fine for the politicians, but it’s got a pretty poor reputation amongst real business people. Politikers are perceived as power hungry dissimulators who act only to further their personal career. Politicians are the complete antithesis of business people. For those who get involved in government policy-making in the name of business, there are plenty of personal rewards. There’s surely no escaping it. But, how do we achieve the impossible? Life one way or another sometimes asks us to attempt some tasks we don’t feel we have the resources to complete or to come up with idea which might be eluding us. It all seems rather unfair. Yet we are or might just be one inspired idea away from a breakthrough that could get us off to a wonderful start. To get that idea, all we need to do is to stop worrying so intently while life is progressing, we should be less dramatic and less reactive. What I’m doing is not educating, it’s called mindshift-grassroot technique, mind over matter.

I really don’t mind using a cliché as long as the cliché works. We Nigerians are not quite sure what we are doing now. That’s actually a very reassuring indication that we might be doing exactly the right thing. But do we really want to know what the future holds? What if we are not ready for a particular piece of information? What if knowing it now would only upset us unnecessarily because we’d sound negative, even though it was positive? What if there was nothing we could do to change this? Or what if there was, but on a balance we were later going to feel that things were much better left as they were? I could say more about why what’s happening in our country now is so very right, but there’s no point. Really, though we need not worry. We do not know where we were before we came here. We don’t know where we will be going, who’s going to be around once we leave where we are right now. Some people say that if we contemplate these facts, we will grow wise perhaps, if we do, we’ll go bananas I mean crazy. Both to me are justifiable, but only one is right. In Nigeria of today, other people’s mistakes are always easy to spot. We can stand back and look at their lives and with the lofty luxury of detachment, pronounce judgement whilst dispensing good advice. But trust me, It’d all seem very different, if we were standing in their shoes or if they were in ours. What’s needed in our country now, quote me, is a dialogue not monologue.

We all Love our Leaders, Don't we? - Until we get Bored of them.

Our beloved Nigeria is full of people who know how to say exactly the right things. Sadly, many of them say it whilst actually doing the opposite. They get away with it too. That’s because we give our ears more credence than our eyes. Instead of looking at what’s really happening, we listen to the explanation.. As long as it matches what we want to believe, we accept it even if we know deep down, that it cannot be true. The law of the universe states that, people standing trial should be treated as innocent until proven guilty. It’s a shame we don’t have similar legislation to cover suggestions and propositions. We ought to treat these as easy until proven difficult. Far too often, smart solutions are dismissed without a proper hearing simply because they look as though they are going to cause too much trouble. The greatest asset we can have in life is an open mind, but how many of us in the most sort after nation on earth called Nigeria see this as I do? Life to me seems, often requires us to do a lot of what we really don’t want to be doing. We get so used to feeling frustrated that we imagine we will never get the balance to indulge in our favourite activity. Then, when an opportunity comes along, we are so wrapped up in the mechanics of survival that we fail to respond to the offer that is being made to us. But let’s ask ourselves a very simple question, why do we never run out of things to worry about in Nigeria? I have asked myself this same question more than enough times. For precisely the same reason that we never run out of things to be grateful for. We live in an abundant universe. One way or another, it always has more in store for us.

How then can we make sure that we get more of what we want, and less of what we do not in the name of God want? The truth of the matter is we just cannot. In this world of ours, it’s easy to make a grand announcement or an extravagant gesture. It is not though easy to make a constant, steady, subtle, effort to do the right thing. If we really want the result that we claim to be so desirous of in our country, we will avoid impressive, but ultimately empty, demonstrations. In life success requires wisdom and dedication. Neither of these two essential ingredients can be forged or falsified. Sometimes in life, it’s wise to make a move than make a promise. In Nigeria, our most beloved country some people are often described as wise and sensible. These words are invariably used in tandem, as if they were somehow, synonymous. To me it is often wise to be sensible and usually sensible to be wise, it can sometimes be very wise to be wild. In Nigeria our motherland, it is infinitely more important for us to be wise than sensible. There’s a risk that needs to be taken. But if we really think about what we know sometimes, we can see that it isn’t a risk at all. The future of our country right now as I’d said many times before needs taking charge of. We all love our leaders, don’t we? Of course we do. Until we get bored of them.. Leaders, who pass the test of time must have true integrity. Power as we might all know, is like fame in this respect. Plenty of Nigerians rise briefly to positions of authority.

But if we will be honest, the only ones who remain successful are those who care more about getting it right than they do about flaunting their status. All I’m saying right now is that we should all consider the long term today. The future of our country belongs to us all but what about laying the foundation today? The right things will happen in the right way as long as we accept that the right timing is not necessarily the timing of our choosing. One problem that we have is that, it’s always hard to negotiate when we badly want something. I’m not seriously trying to suggest that we should try to be dispassionate about the situation we sometimes are caught up in. That to me is unrealistic. It’s also not sensible to be far too deeply and emotionally involved in some things. But we can at least stand back a little further from it. We are better citizens than the doomsters think, but people are increasingly cynical about political dingoes and the way democracy works in our motherland. Grass-root level people feel excluded from decision-making processes because of some unscrupulous leaders. They feel they are rarely consulted or listened to, even in connection with issues that directly affect them. Empty promises that are not followed through can remove the motivational benefits of open communication. I have seen many examples of unhappy, distracted Nigerians who know something is going on and fear bad news. If there’s a regular forum for information sharing, citizens know they will be able to hear news and give feed back. But the government must be honest.

Appreciating our Leaders and Letting go of their Past Mistakes:

We don’t want to do it like this, we want to do it like that. There’s always someone ready to make such a comment. We must learn to stop listening to such remarks, especially if they involve criticism of past events. We can all drive ourselves crazy if we start asking questions such as ‘Why did you go and do that when you could have done this? One of my reasons for this comment is that, there’s a limit to the number of places a President can be in at once. In Nigeria, we know how to make our leaders feel torn. Lots of people want different things from the President. Lots of demands and lots of inviting options are arising. But which to choose? What should the president prioritise? My advice to our president and any future President is simple; don’t go for the obvious. Look at what’s likely to be of greatest value and importance in the long term. And then make your selection. Of course it may briefly cause a few eyebrows to be raised, but as a President with a dream of a better Nigeria, you have to follow your heart.

Tolerance though they say is a wonderful thing. So, too is compassion. Other great virtues include the ability to forgive others and the ability to shed a little hope and happiness in situations where much seems wrong. Our President can’t of course become magically perfect in every way. He can and should though, do a pretty good temporary impression of a person who is blessed with copious quantities of patience and goodwill. I believe, not only will this have an amazing impact on other Nigerians, he surely will enjoy it too. As the President of the most sort after nation in the world, he’s got promises to honour, projects to complete, decisions to make and urgent challenges to rise to. President Obasanjo should throw himself wholeheartedly into these as always. But dwell not on how fed up he feels with slanderers, blackmailers and evil mobs that attacks in their pride. I believe the struggle he’s been engaged in is nearly over. A part of him might not want to go ahead with some key commitments. He need’s to quell that doubt, seize his moment and make history as a President of Grand Eminence..

Now, Let's Travel Down the Track of Transformation.

We need to understand that prosperity should not be for a few but for all and Nigeria should be more ideologically united. Our government must learn not to be electoral device and should seek more personal prosperity. We need a stronger and better education, public service and socially compassionate party. Nigerians need a party that can enhance prosperity and a party of economic stability. There’s need for a commission for the Prevention of Child prostitution and women trafficking. A commission that must not be headed by a trafficker or rogue from hell, whose major business or source of income is through human rights abuse. We must also help this and future presidents in achieving the impossible. We have a country that has produced the most conniving political scum of the last order. Those who believe Nigeria is not worth dying for yet the same country has produced some citizens of incredible intellect. It’s not the law abiding citizens of this country that should be afraid but some evil lowlife parasites who do not believe in seeking dignity, truth and national/human unity. It’s the political prostitutes and blackmailers. This President has proved beyond reasonable doubt that Nigeria is the country of the present and of the future. We therefore need a new vision for Nigeria and a new covenant for our beloved country’s image.. There’s need for us to work towards restoring our country’s economic leadership. We need to change our strategy by putting Nigeria first and expanding the dream of a better, reliable, united and stable nation. We must be prepared to deal with the causes of crime in our country and not just the crime. Our government must set out some specific goals that are reachable. Government of the day… not just the President must make sure that grassroots people get help. Let’s forget about President Obasanjo’s few failures which, the mobs have picked up on, and appreciate that his success rate is excellent and that to me compares with the best.

Political Strategist, Professional Investigator, Honorary Representative
Hon V/Chairman, Congress of Diplomats and Parliamentarians
Fellow of the Atlantic Council of the United Kingdom

Don't measure yourself by what you have accomplished so far but by what you should have accomplished with your ability.

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August 25, 2005

Ndigbo and the Kubwa Land Crises

by Uche Nworah (London, UK)--- The Nigerian Senate’s ad hoc committee on the demolition of structures in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) led by Senator Idris Kuta may have submitted its report to the senate, but the last word has not yet been heard from what is now known in the FCT area as the Kubwa land crises.

The Justice Idris Kuta senate ad-hoc committee

The final outcome of the Kubwa crises is very important, because it will affect what happens in the other surrounding satellite towns such as Nyanya, Apo, Lugbe etc with similar ‘illegal’ structures.

With the demolition of what the FCT and Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) referred to as ‘illegal structures and structures not in line with the Abuja Master Plan’, pain, anger, dislocation, homelessness, material and financial loses were also visited upon Nigerians who had called Kubwa home and had therefore invested and built in the once dry lands, they must have believed in the claims of the founding architects of Abuja that the town was going to be a land of unity for all Nigerians.

Today, what stands in place of their homes and hopes are ruins, rubbles and shattered dreams, their sources of livelihood and lifelong savings crushed by what they also refer to as ‘El-Rufai’s bulldozers’. This story is more pathetic because in the Nigerian system, there is no social safety net to protect those going through a rough patch, even temporarily. Although the senate panel has recommended that ‘those with 25 years and limitless tenure with genuine particulars should be compensated as they are helping government by investing their money since the government had shirked its responsibilities’. It is still doubtful how the Obasanjo government will respond to the panels’ subtle indictment and recommendations. Part of the panel’s recommendations was that ‘Government should compensate the victims of demolition who had genuine allocation papers and still had their properties demolished’.

As I sat and listened to the tales of woe by the Kubwa residents during a session of the Senate ad hoc committee hearing in July 2005, images of Maroko in Lagos came flooding in, with our kind of system and government, it was difficult to know who to believe anymore. In as much as it is a good thing to have a Master Plan and stick to it, but then what happened in Maroko pointed more to government’s overbearing mentality of demolishing people’s houses, and reclaiming it for the rich who can only afford the multi-million naira asking prices for the reclaimed lands. Maroko in Lagos State has since become Victoria Island Extension, an island of the super- rich and their billion naira corporations, who will ever remain grateful to Nigeria’s one time Military President, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida working in collaboration with Rtd. Colonel Raji Rasaki, the then military governor of Lagos state.

Nze Sunny Ogbu (Right) & other Kubwa landlords at the Senate hearing

Kubwa residents feel betrayed; they believe that the lands thus repossessed will be re-distributed to government officials and their cronies. ‘The whole story coming out of the FCT and FCDA is quite absurd’ says Nze Sunny Ogbu, the Chairman of the Kubwa Landlords Association. ‘We got our land allocations from FCDA and FCT officials, who signed the documents on behalf of the FCDA and FCT, how can they now turn around to say that the allocations were illegal?’

The point made by Kubwa landlords at the Senate hearing was that in the course of the land transactions, they had dealt with only FCT and FCDA officials, and that the positions of authority of such officials erased any doubts of illegitimacy and foul play from their minds and so they should not now be made to pay for the excesses and recklessness of corrupt government officials, some of whom the Senate panel indicted in their report in these words, ‘All FCDA and FCT officials involved in illegal land deals should be sanctioned. Such sanctions should include dismissal and prosecution’.

There is still not yet a wholesale agreement or solution to the Kubwa land crises, because both the FCT, FCDA, the Senate, Kubwa landlords and the other concerned stakeholders are still not singing from the same tune. Ikenna Ogbudibe, an Abuja based Architect and business owner and one of the early settlers in Abuja however thinks that there is some kind of conspiracy going on in Abuja, according to him ‘it is suspicious the way states of origin now form part of the Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) registration numbers being issued by the FCT in their current re-certification exercise’, why do they need to know the state of origin of a land owner? This is not done in other states’.

Uche Nworah (Right) and others at the Hearing

Ikenna’s argument and conspiracy theory is currently gaining grounds among mostly the sojourning Igbos who were among the early settlers in Abuja, at a time when Abuja was still a no-man’s land, but now having persevered and made good and invested in lands in properties, they now think that there is a wider plot to break their foothold in the Abuja property market.

For the displaced Kubwa residents, whose houses have not yet fallen under El-Rufai’s bulldozers, they may find some consolation in the recommendations of the senate panel, that ‘some of the structures not in line with the Land Use Per Master Plan should be integrated into the Abuja master plan, provided that the structures have not bastardized the Abuja master plan’ but for those whose houses have already fallen, any such consolatory promises may have come a little too late.

Uche Nworah is a freelance writer and lives in London.

Posted by Administrator at 08:38 PM | Comments (1)

Igbo Diaspora, Leadership, and the Igbo Tragedy (2): WIC's Conventions of the Deaf and Dumb

by Ambrose Ehirim (Los Angeles, CA) --- I have been reading the articles, interviews, and varieties of symposiums that have poured into Igbo Excalibur at IgboNet concerning the World Igbo Congress (WIC) house of cards. This year, the debates are dominated by the election of a new WIC chairman at the forth-coming Los Angeles convention and what should be done in correcting the ills of an organization that never lived up to its creed. It’s been quite fascinating considering the “political heavyweights” involved in these debates and so-called dialogue to find a solution.

Jimmy Asiegbu, who now runs errands on behalf of the WIC and his obvious endorsement of Chuka Obiesie to succeed a lame duck and politically suicidal Kalu Diogu whose administration was marred by his constant job search from the very Abuja politicians that WIC was supposed to protect Nd’Igbo from. Jimmy Asiegbu has been doing running the errands with much energy and excitement; and there’s no doubt he has been up to something with that new PR job of his, which also provided him the opportunity to sell phone cards, conference tickets. And what have you, all lumped together as promotion of the upcoming picnic at the Los Angeles Airport Hilton.

Asiegbu has certainly shown a great deal of interest. He would want to see a reformed WIC during the in-house, much talked about and “much-debated” Igbo bash. He has created more Yahoo group forums to discuss WIC issues. He moderates another chapter of WIC known as House Of Delegates (HOD), a member’s only club. He is the man WIC is glad to associate itself with. WIC cannot be wrong as far as Asiegbu is concerned. Kalu Diogu has applauded him. Asiegbu is Obiesie’s right hand man, for now.

With mixed opinions as one reads on from Excalibur, it would seem that the elections will reflect popular judgment on the current situation based on the sorry state of the WIC since its birth. WIC, according to Obiesie, whose vision as chairman he says would transform the organization. In my discussion with him, Obiesie said WIC was formed about eleven years ago, and that nevertheless, it has come close to overcoming all the battle wounds and would surely improve a great deal when he becomes chairman of an organization that the majority of Nd’Igbo are still having problems trying to figure out. Nd’Igbo know neither what WIC really stands for nor whose interests WIC represents.

According to Excalibur accounts submitted by Okenwa Nwosu, Ifeanyi Udibe, Chris Aniedobe, Sylvanus N. Okoye, Ken Okorie, Emenike Nwankwo and many others, the leadership of WIC including its rank and file needs serious structuring in order to put its acts together. There had been misrepresentation and misappropriation of funds; records could not determine faults which have resulted to court appearances and civil litigations. There had been legal tussles in New York City and Los Angeles. There had been WIC’s inability to run a democratic fabric platform, which has resulted in questioning of WIC’s conduct for several years now. “If WIC is not democratic, then why should we have dictators in Nigeria as well as in Diaspora?” Okenwa asked. “Nobody expects WIC to have the means of a government. What we need in WIC is one person one voice, transparency, accountability, and all that is not being practiced in Nigeria. WIC should expose every problem, asking Nd’Igbo in Diaspora to suggest solution.”

Also, there had been cases of constitutional flaws which derided WIC as a mere social club and having nothing to do with Igbo matters. There had been WIC’s failure of dialogues with the politicos at Abuja and the Igbo-related states. There had been political rivalry rather than political teamwork in appropriately addressing the plight of the Igbo Nation. There had been all kinds of crazy stuff, for instance, reminiscing Abubakar Rimi’s special invitation at the 2000 Dallas Convention and the threat to Asiegbu’s life.

In fact, save for the Dallas Convention, I have not seen a debate address our current dilemmas with erudition, political engagement, and commitment to Igbo worthy causes. WIC has been pussy-footing when one thinks about the individuals engaged in the debates and dialogue. Nevertheless, I am not sure any of these individuals would merit Igbo, pre and post independence era retrospective as we’ve always wanted it to be. The long debate has been exhaustive for those of us who visit Igbo related forums, and those of us who’ve been transmitting the stories by word of mouth. As one Excalibur reader at Igbonet once wrote from his myopic observation, Igbo Diaspora get their news from the internet, and most, too, conduct their businesses online which suggests potential candidates for the upcoming WIC chairmanship election should get their projected agenda widely distributed by way of publicity and granting interviews, citing portals to conduct such interviews. I have no idea where this reader conducted his survey and how he came up with such a bogus statistics.

Without a doubt, there is no way one can be effective in the business of political campaigns and propaganda if there is lack in sound publication which is exactly where the Igbos face the problem of competing with their fellow rivals in the media—the Hausa-Fulanis and the outrageous ngbati-ngbati press. But Igbos independent media void belies on the Igbo political and cultural elite to face the challenges of absolutely sound independent Igbo media based on Igbo ideals. Just like my encounter with Obiesie who acknowledged the problem of WIC is that of publication and a robust media, and that he would be making the issue his top priority in the event he’s elected chairman on Labor Day weekend in Los Angeles.

Of course, those of us who read the political commentaries have seen what’s been going on for the past few months regarding WIC’s annual bash at the Hilton. Some observers are now predicting that the WIC will be radically different with elimination of those found to be detrimental to WIC’s well-being when it convenes from September 1-4, 2005. WIC will elect a new chairman, and according to these observers, “history is about to be made” as WIC rethinks its strategy for a viable and intact Igbo nation. I’m not really sure, and I’m not buying any of these propagandas and hearsays.

It is now a tradition after almost twelve years of gathering, to put it concretely, a tragedy, when WIC convenes every year in Diaspora or homeland to display a haul of speeches delivered by “who’s who” in Igbo land, coupled with speeches in several occasions by its Hausa-Fulani friends on terms I haven’t been able to figure out. For I have never seen a reputable Igbo leader address a meeting of Arewa Forum or Afenifere.

In Los Angeles, for instance, many that I spoke with had little or no clue about WIC’s Los Angeles picnic which has gone through series of debates and arguments on the internet and behind closed doors. “I go on line to check my mails and see what’s going on around the world. I have no interest in Igbo politics and no amount of what they say will pay my bills,” said a cyber surfer speaking on the condition of anonymity. They have no interest in WIC and have no idea what it stands for. So, how has WIC created the awareness to be called Igbo umbrella while the folks out there in the City of Angels have not heard of a name so gigantic Asiegbu volunteered to serve honorably? Who are these people Asiegbu has been posting all over Igbo-related sneak joints on the web as organizers of the Los Angeles show? What are their credentials as worthy leaders? And why should anyone, I repeat again, anyone be paying attention to WIC’s picnic in Los Angeles?

For the record, I conducted very brief interviews over the phone, via email and personal encounters with Igbos from all walks of life in Los Angeles pertaining to WIC’s history and what they know of an organization that has a record of questionable dealings and lack fully in its capacity a structure. The ages of these folks as we all know ranges from twenty-six and sixty-something years. The result was not welcoming, at all.

I think it’s a good idea that WIC is bringing its convention to Los Angeles, this time around. I would like to attend if I have the information. I hope it turns out good, but I never knew of WIC convention in Los Angeles until now, which is news to me,” said Los Angeles-based attorney, Chidi Metu. Metu exclaims with little excitement, noting that Los Angeles does not have much of a future with the present cast of “leaders” who weren’t willing to listen to a newer generation who have the energy and enthusiasm. Metu, who had headed Nnewi associations and conventions, had no clue that the Labor Day weekend had been declared “Igbo Weekend” and been reserved for WIC’s “all Igbo picnic.

In that regard, a host of conferences meant to bring together Igbo Diaspora have been cropping up. According to Chuka Obiesie, who presently is part of a “team” organizing WIC’s convention, and whose engaging dialogue with me has been in Limbo, “there was the Igbo Youth Camp” at Carson, California. I had the opportunity to take some of his time during the youth summer camp held on the playgrounds of California State University, Dominguez Hills.

Though very brief and always in a hurry, “I am at the Igbo Summer Camp and we plan to have a collaborative session on Sunday,” Obiesie told me on the phone.

“By the way, what organization do you represent? He curiously asked.

“I represent BNW (BiafraNigeriaWorld),” was my response.

“Oh, I think I know who you are,” mentioning a cousin and other relatives of mine who live in the Los Angeles area. Not really sure if I Know him or have met him in person, he scheduled a convenient future date for us to discuss at length so he could have his thoughts put together, especially the question of the youths he said would be having “their own session and how they can collaborate with us” regarding growth.

On July 26, 2005, I called Obiesie to see if he’d made up his mind putting his thoughts together so we probably could have a dialogue where he could share views and his vision for Nd'Igbo. and what he may think should be done assuming his era of leadership were to to be ushered in following the Los Angeles picnic. I asked if he was in touch with the ongoing political economic, and cultural mess in Igbo land and what steps WIC has taken to alleviate them. Further, I suggesting to Obiesie that I had not seen a prepared WIC ready to deal with the socio-cultural realities that contribute to an alarming Igbo Diaspora woes. Obiesie began by insisting a changed WIC “will be seen,” this time around, that is, provided he comes out of the elections as chairman elect.

Obiesie’s “busy schedule” never gave him a minute to put his thoughts together for a scheduled one-on-one interview I had laid out to verify if he had a valid diagnosis of WIC’s problems. Again, I called Obiesie a couple of times until he finally had the minute to throw some of his finest punches to convince me he was battle ready for my alleged “missiles.” Once more, he noted WIC’s “biggest problem has been that of publicity,” suggesting sound media coverage would boost the confidence that supposedly could help remedy the circumstances surrounding WIC. For sure, Obiesie and I agreed on a basic premise: that Igbo lack a sound and buoyant media to compete in a free press enterprise. We also agreed, I think, from his memorandum that an “establishment of a Veterans Affairs Unit” to alleviate the Oji River menace that has kept concerned citizens and motorists wondering if at all caregivers (government agencies) exists to take care of our veterans who sacrificed their lives in time of necessity to sustain our nationhood.

I have criticized WIC and have always maintained that the WIC is a waste considering its widespread scandals of ineptitude, corruption and dishonesty. Obiesie disagreed with me on that when he suggested I should pen whatever questionnaire for him and send it to his electronic mailbox. Obiesie refused to answer questions unless they were submitted to his e-mail in advance. The discussion ended right there when both of us agreed he should take his time to answer the question-interview-related to be dropped in his email. Few hours after that lively discussion (at least for me), I sent the following interview-format questionnaire to Obiesie’s mailbox:


). You declined to criticize Kalu Diogu for his ineptitude toward Igbo problems grand and small in Diaspora and back home. According to you, Diogu has been around for four years as chairman of WIC and two years as its vice chairman. That’s quite some numbers to serve for the interest of the Igbo nation, especially of a new democratic fabric in Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime and vow of “no sacared cows” which leaves the Igbo man today still marginalized and persecuted from place to place. Recently, there were stories of the “Apo 6 killings,” where an organized and corrupt police network targeted and framed hard working Igbo traders as criminals which left six Nd’Igbo brutally murdered by a criminal police enterprise. How has WIC addressed this very disturbing and bizarre case under Kalu Diogu’s leadership?

2). What would you have done as chairman?

3). As WIC vice chairman, and previously Director of Finance, member planning committee, and currently Director of Planning “2005 WIC Convention in Los Angeles,” how are you going to effect change if elected chairman that you couldn’t have done presently as vice chairman?

4). One of the main controversies surrounding the WIC is the notion that it is based on the idea to fraternize which has absolutely nothing in common with the Igbo nation and its affairs of state. As chairman how do you reconcile yourself to that?

5). You talked about publicity being a major problem to the WIC on which you acknowledged to be determined in changing that when elected chairman. In what sense are you talking about publicity? Do you mean establishing an Igbo newspaper based on WIC’s curriculum and Igbo ideals? If so, what was the delay, and why now?

6). According to your memo, you “have received endorsements from Akokwa American Development Association, Orlu Regional Assembly (ORAUSA), and Igbo Cultural Association of California.” Of what significance are these ‘endorsements’ since many critics have derided these organizations as a “confused, efulefu bunch”?

7). What do you think of the Igbo state governors and lawmakers, for instance, in Achike Udenwa’s administration where months will go by with teachers and nurses not paid their salaries?

8). How would your WIC influence that to change the ongoing mess in Igbo related states?

9). According to your statement, you served as the moderator of Biafra Forum held in New Jersey last year. What does that really mean?

After a couple of days or so, I called Obiesie to make sure my email reached him. “I never received it,” Obiesie said. Apparently, I had a wrong email address. With a correct email address and thorough verification, I sent the said questionnaire right away and called later on to find out if it went through. “I received it and I will be responding to it shortly,” Obiesie confirmed.

I gave Obiesie two solid weeks to put his thoughts together in order to answer the questionnaire coherently. Two weeks gone by, I called Obiesie to see how he’s doing with the questionnaire. “I have been busy attending conferences and meetings, and I will be responding to your questionnaire very soon,” Obiesie would tell me. I was not sure if he deliberately avoided me just to frustrate my efforts in an attempt for a scheduled interview—responding to the questionnaire I sent him, or that he was bent on running a shadow administration, that is, if he’s elected chairman of WIC.

However, I still believed my patience has not been tasked to the limit in an anticipated interview with Obiesie who had talked about publicity for reaching out to Igbo people and the press in general. I called Obiesie again to see what he was up to regarding our previous discussions and what he intends to do about it. “I will respond to you,” he said, as usual. Meanwhile, as at that moment, I began to wonder if this man was for real and if he realizes what’s at stake for him. It somewhat makes sense as I recall when Okenwa Nwosu submitted to Igbo Excalibur his views entitled “WIC campaign Issues” calling upon WIC chairmanship aspirants to develop a thoughtful and considered approach by using and taking advantage of Igbo-related forums and publications on what is it they would do for Nd’Igbo.

None of these were surprising knowing the internet reading public is a tiny fraction of which the aspirants are aware of on the ground a cyber ad would not create any impact in their election campaigns. “There are three ways to explain this development. One possibility is that some of the candidates see no utility in using the mass media to press their ambitions since the outcome of WIC elections shall not depend on public perception of contestants and their platforms but on the wise judgment of a select few, Okenwa Nwosu said.

The next possibility is that some candidates may have something to hide and could be stricken by stage fight and thus very much ill at ease under the searchlight. The third possibility could be lack of full appreciation of power of the media. ``` Okenwa Nwosu

I shall rely on Nwosu’s second possibility of WIC chairmanship aspirants having “something to hide,” since Obiesie and I have already discussed the third possibility on which he recognized the power of a media by getting things done, especially in the case of his ambitious campaign to be WIC’s next chairman. For the record, I have not heard from Obiesie by all means of communication since his last “I will respond to you,” late last month, unless his detailed “interview answer” was sent a wrong email address.

As my survey continued to examine people’s perceptive about WIC and its annual picnic, Houston-based attorney Greg Enwere remarked he had no desire for WIC’s fanfare except on the condition he would attend such conventions to see people and socialize for the sake of it. “Other than that, WIC is no show and should be dissolved. The whole situation is hopeless,” Enwere said. Los Angeles-based accountant and businessman, Akubuo Okorie, admires ambitious Igbo men but is no fan of WIC and its ballroom dance, and has never been excited about it on the basis they have destroyed Igbo ideals. “The thing is that I don’t know what they want to achieve from WIC with their credentials from San Diego International University. Since I heard of WIC nothing has been accomplished,” a disappointed Okorie said.

Some WIC critics and many who spoke ill of an organization that is going to hell said Asiegbu’s public relations job for WIC should read (my emphasis):

Los Angeles welcomes Igbo from all walks of life for World Igbo Congress annual picnic at the Los Angeles Airport Hilton on Labor Day weekend. There will be lots of fun. There will be WIC trivia. There will be WIC efulefu dance. There will be raffle draws, dominoes tournaments, draft competition, and chess games. There will be lots of booze, food and rotund women. Please do not leave home without your ‘Ghana must go’ bags.

As it also happened one Sunday afternoon while I waited at a nearby mall to pick up my teenage daughter and her friends from a movie theater in Hollywood, I bumped into Princewill Odunze. Several years ago, I met Odunze at one Nkwerre-Isu community meeting in Los Angeles. Nothing much has changed from the last time I saw him, only that he has added more credentials to his resume. He is now a teacher, evangelist, small business owner and Director of Communications, Opuruiche Social Club of Southern California, and old Orlu Province fraternity.

“Long time no see. How are ya,” I asked Odunze, immediately hoping he would recognize me from several years ago when we met at the Nkwerre-Isu community meeting.

“I am doing fine, only the bills are killing me,” he said.

He did not know who I was until I introduced myself with the kind of tale that traces back to my roots in AlaIgbo. When he got a clue of who I might be, he told me the Nkwerre-Isu meeting has been dissolved, long time ago, as a result of its member’s pigheadedness and the inability to find a common ground.

“So, what brought you here?” he asked.

“I live not too far from here,” I replied and popped up the question of Opuruiche and World Igbo Congress. On Opuruiche, he told me it was formed to be the sole and only organization to cater for the needs of Orlu people with the insight of rapidly moving technology and area developments back home. According to him, that dream was shattered when Jude Paulinus Nwandu killed his wife and tied her to the back of his van, then dragged her body through the streets of Inglewood, California. He told me potential investors who had interest in Orlu area developments could no longer afford to deal with Opuruiche on that course when Nwandu strangled his wife following an argument over a messy kitchen.

“What’s Opuruiche up to now,” I asked.

“Well, we are trying as much as we can to make sure a lot is accomplished within a reasonable timeframe,” Odunze said. “I think we have a better leadership in Mathew Ikpa, Solomon Egbuho and the rest to move us forward.”

“Have you purchased your ticket yet for the convention?” I asked.

“No, I haven’t, how much is it?” he asked.

“One hundred and fifty bucks,” I told him.

“This is a rip-off. These people are thieves,” he exclaimed.

When I told him “Egbuho is not a leader but a socialite,” his views on Egbuho changed suddenly, realizing there was absolutely nothing one could say all the conventions have done for we in Diaspora to complete ourselves.

Precisely, on Friday, August 19, 2005, I took my survey pitch to Saaris Restaurant in Inglewood, California. I had thought it was another perfect spot to pick on my Igbo folks who retire there on Friday evenings for bowls of isi-ewu, ngwo-ngwo and local politics. There, I encountered a whole lot and got a shot of what I came in there for—World Igbo Congress and the Los Angeles convention.

Before my arrival, I had anticipated the folks out there would produce a positive response regarding WIC, that way; my counter-response would kick off a debate. WIC was damned by most that I met. However, I was not surprised to have run into the staunch members of Nd’House, a Los Angeles area social club. Among them: Nkem Iheanagu, Emmanuel Nwaneri Ibe, Basil Nwonwu, Tony Onyeagoru, Churchill Ugwuzor, Hope Ikobi, and Kingsley Ekejiuba. There were other patrons, too, including Silas Awujo. When the issue of WIC popped up, it didn’t look good for WIC’s Los Angeles convention organizers. One of the patrons at Saaris, a Los Angeles area real estate broker was so pumped up about WIC he had already prepared his speech for the convention.

He had told me if his experience with WIC was all that crap, then WIC sucks. To purchase his ticket for the event, he made several calls to find out where to send his money. Of all the call he made, no WIC organizer returned his call until, finally, he was able to speak with someone. From his story of anger and frustration, he drove to African Suya Spot on the corner of Crenshaw Boulevard and Martin Luther King Boulevard in Mid City Los Angeles. There he met Chuka Obiesie, Kennedy Obi and two others allegedly the organizing committee. He explained his mission, to purchase WIC Convention ticket and his quest to deliver a speech on the Labor Day weekend. He gave the organizers $150 for his ticket and was immediately dismissed without a receipt to show for his purchase.

“This is crazy. Why would you do something like that? That’s dumb,” one of the patrons asked. But like many others who may have faced the same situation, he learned the hard way that WIC only favors those in its fraternity and not the Igbo umbrella he had thought it to be.

“Why would you spend $150 to purchase WIC’s ticket when you refused to donate $30 for my community’s non-profit annual day celebration?” Ugwuzor asked. “Imagine that!” said Awujo.

The sad reality is that, this fellow will never get to deliver a speech of any kind at the convention, and he should bid his $150 goodbye.

I can do a whole stand up from all the drama in this literature improvising our intellectual and political community in Diaspora. It’s not funny, though, in the real sense. It’s an Igbo tragedy.

The upshot: If the enigmatic Michael Okpara, Francis Akanu Ibiam and Mbonu Ojike had lived to see the routine sorry state of the Igbo nation whereby stupidity, greed, anger, weakness and being naive is now the order of the day putting intellectuals, “traditional rulers,” politicians, educators, businessmen, clergymen, and hustlers in the same bag, they would have been pissed. With all that Igbos went through back in the days and still in place at this moment, one cannot conclude, but admit something is wrong.

Ambrose Ehirim,
Los Angeles, CA

Posted by Administrator at 02:59 PM | Comments (0)

August 23, 2005

Can Africans Govern Themselves Well?

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. (Seatle, Washington) --- African countries began gaining their independence from their European colonial masters in the 1950s. In effect, Africans have been trying to govern themselves for fifty years. This seems sufficient amount of time to assess how well Africans are doing. Are Africans doing a good job governing themselves?

As one looks at the African continent, what one sees is unmitigated disaster. With the possible exception of South Africa (which, in as much as its economy is managed by Caucasians, is not an African economy), all of black Africa is badly governed. No black African country is likely to win praises for excellence in governance.

If we go beyond Africa to other black governed countries, such as the Caribbean, we see the same pattern of misgovernance repeated. None of the black Caribbean countries can be said to be well governed. They, like African countries, are economic basket cases. Haiti, for example, is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. If Haiti managed its tourism industry well, that alone could make its citizens well off, materially.

This unpalatable situation raises a necessary question: can Africans and descendants of Africans elsewhere in the world govern themselves well? This is a question that must be asked. Indeed, many non-Africans are already asking this question and we, Africans, might as well ask it, and attempt to answer it, as objectively as is possible.

There is no use denying facts. The fact is that Africans, so far, have proven themselves incapable of governing modern polities and economies and that begs the question as to whether they can ever govern themselves well? Human beings tend to judge how well people will do in the future based on how they did in the past. If, in the past, Africans were unable to govern themselves well, people are right in wondering whether they could do a better job in the future.

This question is by no means racist. It does not invite White persons to come govern Africa, as racists who doubt Africans ability to govern themselves would like to be the case. Africa has had a history of been governed by whites and they did not do a better job of it than Africans are currently doing. The question is not bringing back whites to govern Africans but how to help Africans govern themselves well.

There is no use citing the bugaboo of neo-colonialism. That excuse is old and tired. Perhaps, it was tenable in the 1960s and 1970s, immediately after Africans obtained their independence from their former colonial masters, but fifty years later, it would be begging the issue to cite that excuse.

Asians were colonized by Europeans. They, too, were, apparently, subjected to neocolonialism. If the argument of neocolonialism holds water, how come Asians have extricated themselves from its shackles?

The neocolonial argument holds that the Metropolis, the West, would like to keep the Periphery, non-Western parts of the world, underdeveloped; that it is in the interest of the Metropolis to keep the Periphery a plantation economy, providing the factories of the Metropolis with raw materials; and that the West forms a compact with the leaders of the non-West, a Comprador class, and pay them to hold their people down and essentially transform them into peasants, if not slaves, supplying the West with raw materials with which it runs its industries. The West then turns around and sells the finished goods it had manufactured from the raw materials bought cheaply from non-Western countries to the non-West, at exorbitant prices, hence keeping them poor.

Assuming that the neocolonial, dependency, argument has some merit in it (why would the non-West want to be kept poor, one asks) the fact is that Asian countries have extricated themselves from that arrangement and today are the world’s fastest growing economies.

If Asians can liberate themselves from the Western economic strangle hold, one assumes that Africans can do the same? Or is it the case that Africans are less intelligent than Asians hence cannot understand that they are being exploited by the West, and, if they did understand their dependent relationship with the West, cannot figure out a way to emancipate themselves from those bent on oppressing them?

The neocolonialist argument seem irrelevant to the understanding of Africans seeming inability to govern themselves well. Moreover, we know that it is immature to blame other people for one’s problems. Psychologists tell us that there are essentially two types of persons: those with internal locus of authority and those with external locus of authority. Those with internal locus of control see themselves as in charge of what happens to them in their lives and take responsibility for their successes and failures, whereas those with external locus of control see the external environment as in control of their lives and blame it when something goes wrong in their lives. Empirical evidence shows that those who believe that they are responsible for their fate tend to feel empowered and tend to be successful persons, whereas those who see themselves as feathers in the wind, blown about by forces outside their control, tend to feel powerless and tend to be failures in life. For too long, Africans saw themselves as at the mercy of external forces and were failures. Their equally depowered friends like Walter Rodney (How Europe Underdeveloped Africa ) tell them that they are little children whose fate is in the hands of adult white people, external persons who did to them whatever they wanted, and that they had no efficacy to do anything about it other than complain about it. It is about time we saw ourselves as totally responsible for our fate. I believe that when we do so, develop internal locus of control we shall become successful in managing our affairs. Children complain about the hands fate dealt them; adults quietly make the most of their fate. As they say, if life gives you lemon, make lemonade.

I have carefully observed Africans, in Africa and in the Americas, and believe, sadly, that given their current individual psychologies they seem incapable of governing themselves. Unless they make drastic and sustained efforts to change their personalities; they seem unsuited to ruling themselves.

This is a sad thing to say about one’s own people, but one must be truthful to one’s perception. Perhaps, one is projecting ones negative self assessment, ones self doubt and lack of self confidence, ones belief that one cannot govern, to ones fellow Africans? Perhaps, one is so discouraged that one believes that one is not fit for leadership positions and attribute what one sees in one to one’s fellow Africans? Perception is projection. What the individual sees as out there is usually colored by what is in him. There is no such thing as a totally objective perception of other people. We always see with our past, our history and learning. In that light, one is probably externalizing aspects of what one sees in one to others? Be that as it may, one is convinced that contemporary Africans, until they are modified, are not fit to govern themselves. If their personalities remain as they are, we continue to witness badly governed African states. We shall continue to witness failed African states. If the best that Africa can do is produce egotistical and vain leaders like Abacha, Mobutu and Mugabe, one sees no light at the end of the tunnel.

Only the truth can make human beings free. Denial of the truth does not help any one; denial masks the problem, it does not solve it. We must state the truth of Africans as we see them, rather than pretend that what we see is not there. And if what we see is not there, we stand to be corrected. Correction requires that Africans govern themselves as other people do, decently and without corruption.

As I see it, until Africans change their apparent warped personalities, the world can throw all the money it wants at them, they are not going to govern Africa well. It would pay the world better dividends if it insisted that Africans become true adults and not the current emotionally retarded children they seem to be.

Psychology posits developmental stages that all children go through before they attain adulthood, emotionally, that is. One can be chronologically an adult but emotionally a child. See Erick Erickson’s schema in his seminal book, Childhood and Society. Also see Sigmund Freud’s views on children’s emotional development.

All children, at some point, between birth and age twelve, are totally narcissistic. Freud called this phenomenon primary narcissism. Here, children see themselves as the center of the universe. They believe that other people, particularly those that Harry Stack Sullivan called the children’s “Significant others” (parents, siblings, peers, teachers etc) exist to serve them.

Let me repeat: at some point, before age twelve, all children, black, white and Asian, believe that they are the center of the world and expect to get attention without earning it. This stage of psychological development has been called by many names. For our present purpose, we shall call it the narcissistic stage of child development. Every child goes through the narcissistic stage in his development and believes that he is very special and that he ought to be admired by all the people around him; that he should be admired for just being who he is, not because of what he does for the people.

Most human beings out grow this narcissistic stage of development. The normal adult human being gets to a point where he recognizes that he must do something for other people, for them to pay him attention. It is children who expect to obtain attention without earning it. In the adult world, one must do something, and do it well, for other people to pay attention to one. For example, in sports, one must be an outstanding player for society to pay attention to one.

Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods are good at their games; most people see them as special in their fields and admire them. They obtain attention based on their actual performances in the field of play, not because of merely being human beings. In the world of work, the outstanding worker is rewarded with promotions and financial reinforcements. Simply stated, in the adult world, social recognition is predicated on performance of certain tasks for the people, doing for the people what they need done gets one their attention.

In the real world, adults do not strive to obtain attention from other adults without first doing something useful for them. It is emotionally regressed adults that seek to obtain other people’s attention without first doing something for them.

Psychologists tell us that whereas most people outgrow their childhood narcissistic stages, that some persons get stuck there. These people develop what is called narcissistic personality disorder.

The narcissistic personality disordered person believes that, as he is, that he is special. He does not believe that he has to do anything to earn other people’s admiration. He simply believes that other people ought to admire him, even if he is not doing anything useful for them. Indeed, he so believes himself special and superior to other people, that he justifies exploiting other people for his own good. He tends to use people to get what he wants out of life and then discard them, like pieces of scrap iron. On the job, he apple polishes and pretends to like coworkers and bosses, but the moment he gets what he wants through them, gets promoted, he behaves towards them as if he does not even know them. He often marries women who seem beautiful, not because he loves them, but to get other men to admire him for having such beautiful women around him, parlor trophies. The narcissist feels that he is justified in using other people because he is superior to them. The narcissist is self centered and could care less for other human beings welfare; he merely uses other people to procure his own survival. Narcissism is a primitive ego state, a pre civilized ego state, and hence it is found in all children before they are civilized.

Often, narcissism coexists with anti social personality disorder. The anti social personality disordered person feels that the world owes him a living. He has a sense of entitlement. He feels entitled to take from other people what he needs to survive with. He does not believe that he ought to work for his living. He wants other people to work for him and support him or else he takes from them. He finds it easy to steal from other people, even to kill them, so as to get what he needs to survive with. He does not feel guilty or remorseful from hurting other people, in fact, he enjoys doing so. The antisocial personality is a self centered person. In fact, he is so self centered that he is willing to harm and or kill other people, if in doing so he serves his interests. Think of the highway rubber who kills people, takes their money and goes to enjoy his animalistic existence with the money he had stolen.

(If you are familiar with the Nigerian political scene, you probably will agree that I have described the typical Nigerian politician. He is narcissistic and or antisocial in personality structure: he is self centered and does not give a hoot for public interest; he steals from the public treasury, takes bribes and is corrupt; he feels special, seeks admiration from the people and wants to be seen as a very important person, an Oga, but does not want to do anything for the people to gain their admiration. In many instances, Nigerian politicians do not hesitate killing their opponents and do not feel guilty or remorseful from doing so. The typical Nigerian politician is a criminal personality. What we have in Nigeria are criminals in governments.)

Despite his outward seeming smoothness, the narcissistic personality has deep rooted sense of inferiority. (See the writings of Kohut, Kernberg, Masterson and Alice Miller.) He feels inadequate and inferior. Nevertheless, he tended to have had childhood success at school, play and work. His early childhood success gives him the impression that, somehow, he is special.

The inferior feeling school boy who, nevertheless, makes good grades in his school examinations is likely to see the other students who are making poor grades as inferior to him. Thus, over time, such a child compensates with a fictional sense of superiority to other children.

The narcissistic personality generally has a history of social success (at play, school and work) and that enables him to compensate with imaginary sense of superiority to other people. In most cases, he was pampered by his parents and seen as special and that reinforces his sense of omnipotence.

The narcissist generally goes far in life. He is found in the professions, governments, military and the business world. When he meets with a serious setback, for example, a professional failure he tends to become devastated. However, failure and depression is therapeutic for him, for they enable him to recognize that he is not special and that he is not superior to any one. It is at this point that the narcissist begins to grow up, to accept the fact that he is like all human beings, imperfect. When he accepts his equality and sameness with all people and resolves to work for attention, he is finally an adult, emotionally speaking.

Unfortunately, many narcissists never attain adult emotional status. In fact, some of them regress to antisocial personality level of development, the most infantile level of development there is.

The antisocial personality is more like an animal than a human being. Consider: the thief does not expect other people to steal from him. If you take from him, take what he had stolen from other people, he feels angry at you. That is, he does not want other people to do unto him as he does to them. The cardinal characteristic of an emotional adult is acceptance of the Jesus Christ articulated philosophy that other people should do to one as one does to them, and since one wants them to love one, one loves them.

What is good for the goose is good for the gander. If you steal from others, you should expect to be stolen from. In which case, you would have chaos all around you, instead of a well organized society to live in. As Thomas Hobbes noted, life would become nasty, brutish and short for all persons.

The thief expects other people to be law abiding and then gives himself the permission to sneak behind their backs and steal from them. In as much as they are not also thieves and stealing from him, he expects to live in a fairly well ordered society.

Nigerians come to America. They appreciate the American honor system, the well ordered nature of American society. They want Americans to keep it so. In keeping it so, they sneak behind the backs of Americans and steal from them, such as their credit cards rackets. But if Americans were to be suspicious and protect their properties, Nigerian thieves would not be able to steal from them. The thief counts on the good nature of the person he steals from. That is what makes the thief a coward and a detritus of mankind. A bold person ought to confront people frontally, amano amano.

(Initially, the criminals in Nigerian governments stole their people’s monies and banked them in the Western world. They then turned their country into a lawless jungle. Finding their country unlivable, they are now running to the West. They want to take advantage of the well ordered system that obtains in the West. Alas, they have brought their amoral, thieving ways to America. They are engaging in every criminal activity known to man, the least of which is 419. One just wishes that the law enforcement authorities in America would be draconian with them, quickly apprehend these uncivilized animals; try and send them to long term jails, and when they have served their sentences, repatriate them to their chaotic country. America must not permit these people to turn its well organized society into the lawless bedlam that is Nigeria.).

If one engages in adult thinking, one would recognize that social order is maintained when all of us respect each others’ properties. The antisocial personality is about five years old, emotionally and does not think in adult terms. He thinks that he is tough and smart by cheating and stealing from people, not recognizing that if other people choose to do as he did, that the social fabric would break down and we revert to a state of anarchy, as is apparently the case in Nigeria. Nigeria is lawless, without government performing its function of enforcing law and order and punishing corrupt people.

Most Nigerian leaders, African leaders and indeed black leaders tend to be narcissistic personality disordered persons. Some of them are outright antisocial personalities. They seek public office for the attention such offices give to them, not because of what they intend to do for their people. The Nigerian politician wants to be the president of Nigeria because that office gratifies his need for infantile narcissism, his desire to be in the lime light and be seen by most people as a very important person; not because he has a burning agenda that he sees political position enabling him to realize.

African politicians, like human beings everywhere, suffer from the other personality and mental disorders: paranoid, schizoid, schizotypal, borderline, histrionic, avoidant, obsessive-compulsive, dependent, passive aggressive, schizophrenia, mania, delusion, depression etc, but the two elaborated in this essay, narcissistic and antisocial personality disorders, seem the most pronounced ones in them.

Consider Nigeria’s President, Olusegun Obasanjo. He runs around the world, fancying himself a great leader. But his country has over fifty percent unemployment rate. If he truly cared for his people, he would stay home and seek ways to provide them with jobs. He would hang his head low with shame, for a man who cannot provide jobs for his people is not a leader.

If Nigeria’s president wanted the office of the presidency to do something for Nigeria, the least he could have done is give all Nigerians electricity and pipe borne water. The total annual electrical output of Nigeria’s Electric Power Authority, NEPA, is less than is necessary to power the Seattle Metropolitan area (Washington, USA) in a year. Nigeria cannot produce as much electricity for a country of 130 million people as is produced for an area containing less than 2 million persons, in the USA. Yet Nigerian politicians are sitting on billions of oil revenue.

(Nigerians steal most of this oil money and squander it. They even borrow money from world monetary institutions like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, presumably to fund developmental projects for their people. However, they squander such money. They then beg those institutions to forgive them their debt. These criminals run around pretending to be leaders. But we all know that if Nigeria’s oil revenue dries up tomorrow Nigeria will become another failed African state. Indeed, Nigeria’s failure will be very spectacular and would drag many West African countries down with it. We know all this and keep quiet. Well, I will keep quiet no more.)

Apparently, the leaders of Nigeria could not estimate how much power their entire country needs and set about providing it. Obasanjo probably does not have a clue as to how much electricity Nigeria needs. His goal, apparently, is to be the most important person in Nigeria. His job description is to run around the world spending Nigeria’s meager resources in his ceaseless traveling. The head of state of a banana republic possessing his own jet, while the Prime Minister of England flies commercial is a caricature of a human being.

I have observed many African politicians and sadly have not seen a single one that seemed to me to be an adult, emotionally. What I saw were children who are invested in getting attention from other people. This phenomenon does not end with politicians. The typical Nigerian middle class person is primarily interested in your calling him: professor (which, to his infantile mind means a prestigious person, rather than what it means, French for teacher), Doctor (which, to his infantile mind means that he is important, rather than what it means, some one who dedicated his life to the search for knowledge to improve the human condition) , Chief, (which, to his infantile mind means that he is important, rather than what it means, a leader of a primitive German war band), Alhaji (which, to his infantile mind means that he is a very important person, rather than what it means, in fact, a person who has fulfilled the Islamic religious obligation of going to Mecca, Hajj); being called engineer (substitute with whatever profession he imagines that he is…this practice is not done in the West, in the West, people are simply called Mr., without identifying their occupation, but in the context of Nigeria, the individual’s profession has to be stated to make him seem important).

One should not equivocate on this matter. Nigerians, Africans, black Americans are driven by vanity. They seek public office for ego reasons, not because of what they want to do for their people. In as much as their motivation is to gratify their arrested emotional needs, they cannot make good leaders.

Those who have paid attention to the personality structure of African Americans came to the same conclusions, though they tended to attribute these people’s apparent stunted lifestyles to the effect of slavery and racism on them. See Oversay and Kardiner, The Mark of Oppression; Thomas Pittigrew, A Profile of the African American; Karon, The Negro Personality; Franklin Frazier, The Negro Middle Class; Franz Fanon, Black Skin White Masks; Omanini, Prospero and Caliban, The Psychology of Colonized People and Albert Memmi, The Colonizer and the Colonized. Each of these observers concluded that the Negro is infantile in his emotional organization, seeks attention from other people, tends to be fearful and pleases other people rather than stick to the truth, as he perceives it to be. Stanley Elkins called such perpetually laughing and jiving Negroes Sambo. These folks spend their meager money trying to look important in three piece suits, expensive cars etc rather than go do work that produces something for the economy. The Negro professor, for example, makes sure that he looks very important, though he has written nothing to make him a real professor: a person who propagates knowledge.

I am not motivated to seek excuses for any one. What I see is what I see. I see Africans, African Americans and black people, all over the world, who place their egos above social interest, who seek public offices to seem prestigious persons and who do not seem to understand what political offices are for: to serve people. I see people who do not understand that maturity and emotional health, in fact, requires one to be humble. A truly mature person does not feel special and superior to other people. He knows himself as the same and equal with all people. He seeks ways to serve other people and not seek credit for it. He gives praise and glory to God for every thing he does. He knows that by his own power that he can do nothing; that the child of God is powerless to do anything by himself and does whatever he does with the power of his father in him.

Humility, not vanity, is the sign of emotional maturity. Can you say that Nigerian, African and black leaders are humble? They are arrogant do nothing so-called leaders.

I was once in the British House of Commons, during the questions and answers period, for the British Prime Minister. This man, on the spot, could tell how many children are in British elementary schools, secondary schools, technical schools, universities; he could tell how many students passed the GCE OL in the past year, what schools produced the best results; he could cite the number of hospital admissions in the entire country during the past year, what diseases they were treated for and talked about the problems with the national health system; in short, this man had the data and statistics of every aspect of his country’s activities in his finger tips. He is clearly a policy wonk and enjoys the process of making and implementing public policies. Above all, he takes responsibility for how his country’s economy is doing and if unemployment rises he takes blame for it. There is a leader for you. He is leading his people, working for them. He was not in office to be seen as mister important chief thief of his country.

By contrast, ask the Nigerian head of state how many pupils are in elementary schools in his country and the idiot would not know. You see, he is in office, not to help the people but to gratify his narcissistic desire to be important, to be admired as the chief idiot of an idiot country.

I would like to see each African leader tell us what he has done for his people in any given year.

Let me recapitulate what I have said. I have said that Africans, at home and in the Diaspora, have personality disorders that prevent them from becoming good leaders and that until they change their distorted personalities that they are not going to be able to govern their countries well. This is a serious assertion for one to make.

The critical thing to do is get Africans to become adults, emotionally. Adults are persons who care for their fellow human beings and who consciously set out to serve the public, rather than their self interests only. An adult sees a problem that needs to be solved and goes about solving it, irrespective of what is in it for him.

The best lived life is one dedicated to serving the common good. Pursuit of social interest is the best indicator of mental health, Alfred Adler tells us and my experience testifies as correct.

Some say that this infantile vanity in Africans is due to colonialism and racism. On the other hand, since the problem exists in Africans, at home and abroad, could it be said to be genetic? (Narcissism is found in all human populations. That is why we have religion and other philosophies to help ameliorate swollen human egos. In so far that pursuit of vanity and childish pride is genetic; it is in all human beings.)

What is salient is that irrespective of its cause, vanity can be eradicated. Africans can be taught to care for their fellow Africans and stop being brutes that see their brothers suffering and do not give a hoot about it. Africans can be taught to learn to negate their vanity and dedicate their lives to serving the public good. Some of us have transformed ourselves from self seeking persons to social serving persons hence most Africans can be made to serve the common good.


The surprising thing is that the problems of Africa are not as complicated as some people think that they are. In fact, Africa’s problems are very simple. Simple problems require simple solutions, not the complex ones Africans often seek.

Each African country was put together by European powers. The Europeans, understandably, did not come to Africa to serve Africans’ interests, but theirs. Once we understand that Europeans have no business serving African interests, we would not waste our time and energy blaming them for our African problems. We should seek solutions to our African problems.

Each African country was hastily put together by foreign powers. The various tribes/nations put into specific countries were not asked for their consent before they were associated with other tribes. In some of these artificial countries, some tribes dominate other tribes. Consider Nigeria. Here, the Hausa-Fulani-Yoruba political alliance dominates the other tribes. Obviously, this situation cannot last forever, and if the current black colonialists expect it to last forever, they are lacking in understanding of human nature.

Human beings are characterized by their desire for freedom. For a while, you can restrict their freedom, but, sooner or later, the caged bird will fly away. So what do you do in a multiethnic country? You make each tribe a state and have them join a federation. Thus, in Nigeria, there must be a Hausa state, a Yoruba state, an Igbo state, an Ijaw state, an Efik state, an Edo state, an Urobo/Ishikiri state, a Tivi state etc. The smaller tribes can be bundled into groups of states. Altogether, we would have about twenty economically viable states in a federation of Nigeria. Each state would govern itself, manage its economic resources, and pay taxes to the central government and delegate foreign and military policy making powers to the Central government. See the Constitution of the United States of America.

Now, what is so difficult about accomplishing this very simple and inevitable goal? It must be done, sooner or later, so why haven’t the so-called rulers of Nigeria done it? They want to slough from crisis to crisis. When they grow up and become realistic adults, they must do what they have to do, have each tribe rule itself.

What goes for Nigeria goes for all multi tribal African countries. Each of them must become a true federation, with each tribe becoming a state in it.

African countries are very backward. What to do? Provide universal free and compulsory education to all African children: six years of elementary schooling, six years of secondary schooling, and four years of university for 33% of the best secondary school graduates, four years of technical education for 50% of the next best secondary school graduates etc.

Africans are afflicted by untreated diseases. Provide all Africans with free, that is, publicly paid, health insurance. Each state should be responsible for providing its people with free education and medical treatment. (Beyond those two areas, the private sector can pretty much be left to take care of the other aspects of the economy, with the government regulating it, as it is done in the United States of America.)

Africa is the least industrialized economy in the world. Embark on a serious industrialization program, so that in fifty years, Africa will be as industrialized as Western countries.

Embark on a policy of developing the infrastructures necessary for a modern economy. (I have developed these ideas elsewhere.)

Where will Africans obtain the resources to accomplish these seeming grandiose goals? We shall get them from Africa. We sit on enormous resources and do not know how to exploit and develop them. With good leadership and management training, we can transform Africa into a well governed place in ten years.

I advocate that All African governments build leadership and management schools, equivalent to USA Master in Business Administration schools, in every major city and require all persons who want to go into politics to first attend these schools. For example, if one is already a lawyer, one still attends the leadership and management school, for two years, to learn the basics of leadership, finance, public and business; accounting; marketing; human resources, etc. Politicians must learn what leadership is all about. To lead means positing goals that are deemed good for the public and seeking resources to accomplish them. Before a person goes into politics, he or she must write a 250 pages book describing what he plans to accomplish while in office, and how he intends to do so, where he would obtain the human and capital resources to do so etc.

With iron fisted resolution and commitment, African problems are not so difficult to solve. Instead of addressing their problems, what we see are Africans who behave like five year olds, feeling special and seeking admiration from every person around them, while doing nothing for them. We must put an end to this disease of the black race, this infantile narcissism.


When Africans give up their current over investment in narcissism, pride and vanity and learn that the most rewarding life is one dedicated to serving the public good, they will make excellent leaders and governors of their continent. They will go from being under socialized persons in three piece suites to socialized persons in Khaki pants and rolled up sleeves working for the development of their countries.

When a human being devotes him self to serving the common good of humanity, he obtains the gifts of God: peace, happiness and material abundance. But when a human being is self centered and vain, as most African leaders currently are, he does not receive the gifts that God has already given his children, waiting for them to receive it, when they love and serve one another.

In this essay, I deliberately avoided engaging in excessive causal analysis and explanation for why things are the way they are in Africa. I did so because Africa has, for too long, had many people concentrating on pointing out why it is not doing well what it ought to be doing. I did not want to provide yet another excuse for Africa’s misgovernance. Yet there are explanations for Africa’s problems.

My perception of Africans is that until recently they lived in what Thomas Hobbes (Leviathan) called the state of nature, a less organized society. In the state of nature, man is an egotist and took from other men what he needed to survive, without caring for their welfare. Contemporary African leaders take from their countries what they need to gratify their egos, but do not care for the people’s welfare.

It is such variables as religion and philosophy that civilize man’s ego. By civilize, I mean made to live in a city, made to share the same living space with other people and to care for other people. Africa was unfortunate in that it did not have cities and thus was not civilized; the people were not made to cooperate with one another and to serve one another.

Of all the factors that civilize human beings, religion is probably the most effective in doing so. Christianity came to Africa only recently, no more than two hundred years ago. (I am aware of the few exceptions, such as in Ethiopia and the Congo.) It usually takes up to five hundred years before a world religion like Christianity shrinks the ego of primitive persons. It certainly took that long before Christianity began to civilize Europeans. Even then, Europeans are by no means totally civilized, they are somewhere between civilized and barbarian. Nevertheless, Christianity prepared European rulers to serve their people. With the demise of religion in the West, Westerners are reverting to primitive egoism and the result would be the end of Western civilization.

Africans are self seeking and self serving and not social serving. Even when they claim to be Christians, Africans really do not know what Christianity means. They tend to see Christianity as magical wand that enhances their egos. They really do not know that the real mission of Christianity is to teach people to (1) serve their fellow human beings, (2) love their fellow human beings, (3) forgive all people the wrongs they do to one another (4) and, ultimately, enable human beings to altogether eliminate their egos.

Human beings must give up that which they proudly identify with, their separated ego, selves, for them to see the face of Christ and return to being with their father. No person who lives in the ego is aware of heaven, that is, formless unified state. The ego is what we came to earth to experience and is what keeps us in this world of separation, space, time and matter. To return to our permanent home, formless unified spirit, we must give up our attachment to the ego and the bodies that house it.

The ultimate goal of all true religions, such as Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Taoism is to enable human beings to overcome the world, which means to overcome their identification with separated ego, selves and return to unified spirit self. These religions help human beings to be “selfless”. At present, each human being believes that he has a separated self and defends it; true religion enables him to realize that his real self is part of a unified self, one self, God, that is, simultaneously itself and infinite selves, human beings.

We shall not try to explain the nature of unified self; it is ineffable. For our present purpose, let us just say that Africans have un-socialized egos hence their seeming devotion to seeking attention from other people, rather than serving other people. Hopefully, by the end of this century, Africans would have had sufficient exposure to the civilizing effects of Christianity (and other philosophies that show human beings how to live a service oriented life style) and begin to shrink their primitive and untamed egos.

In time, Africans will learn to devote their lives to the service of other people hence form good governments. As I pointed out in a different essay, Africa’s current nation states are artificial constructs put together by the West to serve Western interests. In time, these artificial countries will be deconstructed and reconstructed to serve African interests. I visualize a Pan African Federation with four hundred states (there are four hundred tribes in Africa, I counted and named them in a different paper), each state composed of one tribe; all of them in one federated country along the line of the United States of America. We shall, before the end of this century, attain Kwame Nkrumah’s goal of having one United Africa Federation (UAF).

In the meantime, my function is to keep reminding them to serve people and see governmental positions as from which they serve rather than stroke their narcissistic egos. The narcissistic ego is an un-socialized ego, a primitive ego that adapted to life in the jungle, but not in the city. City living, that is, civilized living, entails shrinking ones ego and putting it to social service, rather than only self service.

PS: My brother, Ejike Kingsley Osuji, never ceases pointing out that I tend to make global generalizations about Nigerians. He says that there are upright and outstanding Nigerians in every field of human endeavor. I must confess that there was a time when I categorically dismissed most Nigerian as crooks and wanted nothing to do with them. I would not hire them for the organizations that I was fortunate to run. But, I have since learned that there are Nigerians who are as selfless and dedicated to public service as mother Teresa. In this essay, I made generalizations about Africans’ proclivity to vanity. Obviously, there are selfless and social serving Africans. To these selfless Africans, I ask for forgiveness. I thank those Africans that recognize the truth of Spinoza’s teaching that: virtue is its own reward.

Ozodi Thomas Osuji, PhD

Africa Institute, Seattle

600-1 Avenue, Suite 325

Seattle, Washington 98104

(206) 464-9004

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August 22, 2005

Africans (Nigerians) and Addiction to mood-Altering Drugs

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. (Seatle, Washington)--- Human beings are prone to addictions to mood altering agents like food, alcohol, drugs and sex. Africans are human beings. Therefore, Africans are prone to the addictions that human beings are prone to.

Whereas the issue of addictions is squarely addressed in the Western world, it is seldom mentioned in Africa. It is as if Africans are not prone to addictions. This is very unfortunate, for Africans are as addicted to drugs as other races of mankind.

Take a casual walk along the streets of Lagos, Nigeria. You see men with very fat bellies. Some of these people look like they are pregnant and like they are about to give birth to twins.

In a misguided way, many of these people actually believe that their fat tummies are symbols of their living the good life. They, in fact, think that having grossed fat all over their bodies mean that they are wealthy persons. Indeed, they expect people to see them as very important persons from the fact of their fatness. To be an “oga”, big man, in Nigeria, one must be fat.

This is sad, very sad. Fat means that they are sick. In fact, they are reducing their life span by being fat. The estimated life span of Nigerians is 46 years (and 78 years for white Americans).

These people eat like there is no tomorrow, become fat and clog their arteries with fat. They usually die from cardiovascular diseases (heart attacks and strokes). And when they die from these preventable diseases, their people believe that they died from magic spell cast on them by their enemies.

The average Nigerian is about five feet, eight inches tall. This means that he should not weigh more than one hundred and sixty pounds. In order not to weigh more than his normal weight, the individual must eat the right food and engage in physical exercises. There are four food groups: protein, carbohydrate, fats and minerals. The individual is supposed to balance food from the four groups in his daily diet, so as to stay fit.

The individual needs to exercise regularly. There are three types of exercises: cardiovascular, strength and flexibility. To meet these exercise requirements, the individual needs to run five miles, at least, three times a week, or for an hour each time; play tennis, swim, ride bicycles, work out in gyms with weights and generally engage in other forms of exercises.

It is an unusual sight to see Nigerians jogging. It is even more unusual to see Nigerians eating balanced meals. Generally, they eat as if they have never heard that overeating leads to fat, which leads to diseases. When you go to their houses or to their parties, they just eat, eat and eat, as if they live to eat and not eat to live.

Alcohol is a serious problem with many Nigerians. They drink palm wine, beer, Western wine, whisky, gin and other hard liquor, as if no one has told them that those are, in fact, drugs that are not good for their bodies. It makes one sick seeing them downing liquor as if they are unaware of what they are doing to their livers and brains. They develop liver cirrhosis (hence their fat tummies) and deplete their brains of vitamin B hence their sluggish thinking.

The average Nigerian seems addicted to food and alcohol and may not know it. Upon the slightest stress in their lives, they run to food and alcohol to cope with it. It is a well known fact that people use overeating and alcohol to attempt to reduce stress in their lives. Life is very stressful and the individual must seek ways to reduce it, but the best way to do so is through exercises and other healthy lifestyles.

Drugs like marijuana, cocaine, heroine, amphetamines and LSD are not readily available to Nigerians. If they were, one’s guess is that many Nigerians would resort to them, in their efforts to cope with the stressful exigencies of modern urban living. Given their tendency to not want to understand their issues psychologically, it is probable that many Nigerians will be addicted to these more serious drugs. I have never seen a group of people who have refused to gain insight into why they do what they do as Nigerians. Nigerians simply behave like extroverts and do not pause to ask why they do, what they do. Extroverts tend eschew introspection; they tend to engage in drug abuse when tension mounts in their unexamined lives.

I predict that, soon, we shall have more drug abuse in Nigeria than we have in the United States. (It should be noted that in the United States itself that drug abuse is a phenomenon found chiefly among African Americans and white trash, folks less subject to reflecting on their behaviors.)

Nigerians generally find it easy to rationalize their odious behaviors. Those who call themselves big men justify having many wives and many girl friends or visiting prostitutes. I personally know many Nigerian big men who have concubines and mistresses all over Nigeria. If you ask them why they do so, they glibly tell you that African cultures approved polygamy and that they are living according to their African cultures, not the Christian mandated one man-one wife practice. (Polygamy was not as common in traditional African societies, as nostalgic Africans tend to think that it was. I have reviewed my male ancestors, during the past two hundred years, and none of them had more than one wife.) Fela Anikulapo Kuti told himself that lie. In one fell swoop, Fela married tons of wives and HIV and died from it. Apparently, unexamined African cultures kill.

We are no longer living in traditional African societies and what was tenable there is no longer so in our modern urban setting. It is self evident that in our current world, the best marital form is one man-one wife. It is the most hygienic form of sexual activity. Other forms of sexual behavior lend themselves to contracting sexually transmitted diseases like Gonorrhea, Syphilis, Herpes, and HIV.

Alas, HIV is spreading like uncontrolled wild fire in all over Africa, largely because of Africans easy proclivity to casual sex. Let me state, in no equivocal terms: a rational adult must limit his sexual activity to one partner of the opposite sex. I am not interested in engaging in infantile rationalizations as to why folks should not do the right thing.

More to the point, Nigerians who engage in sex with multiple partners may not know it: they have sex addiction. Just as they are addicted to food and alcohol, they are also addicted to sex. They may not even know that there is such a thing as addiction to sex.

Sex, like drugs, is a mood-altering phenomenon. Upon ejaculation/organism, the individual feels his or her body relaxed. His consciousness is momentarily altered. In a word, he feels good. This feeling of pleasure from sex makes sex a potential addictive activity.

When under stress, people do secure momentary release from it by engaging in frequent sexual activity. There are people who have sex three or more times a day. Indeed, some of them do so with different sex partners. These people may not know it; they are using sexual intercourse to obtain reduction of their anxiety and stress. They are sex addicts.

There are many men who cruise city streets, picking up prostitutes and having sex with them. Some patronize pornography. They buy the cheap smut that litter the streets of Lagos and masturbate while looking at the naked women.

As long as they have the money to pay for it, Nigerian men find willing female merchants of sex. It is said: “money for hand, back na for ground”.

Nigerians are particularly amoral over sexual matters. If you have the money, many women, even students at universities, even married women, are willing to sell their genitals to you. Indeed, if one is in a position of authority, the Nigerian female often initiates sexual activity with one, just so that she gets something from one.

Nigeria is a culture that has gone to hell in a hand basket. No one has shame over sexual matters, any more. The Nigerian office is, more or less, a whorehouse. Female employees are often no more that their bosses sex toys. (This ought to be something for feminists to fight for; after all, men are exploiting those hapless office whores.)

What is sexual addiction? Every time one has sex with a sexual partner that one does not love, one is a sex addict. Sex is healthy if it is between two loving adults, a man and a woman. Sex is healthy when it is engaged in heterosexual marriage situations.

Sex addiction has nothing to do with the frequency of sexual activity. One can have sex once a year and still be a sex addict. The difference is why that sex? Did you have sex with a love-partner or did you have it with a person that you did not care for? If you do not care for your sex partner, you are a sex addict.

A sex addict uses sex to reduce his or her stress. If you have sex indiscriminately with several women, you are using sex to alter your mood, just as a drug addict uses drugs to alter his or her body chemistry, so as to feel momentarily fine, before that wears off and he engages in another crazed effort to find drugs. Sex addicts engage in compulsive efforts to find sexual partners, so as to obtain momentary release from their somatic tension, and then the craving is repeated, over and over again.

Experts on human sexual behavior have told us about what constitutes normal sexual frequency The Mckinsey Report claims that three times a week of sexual activity is the norm for married couples. From my own talking to couples, it seems that Mckinsey was wrong. Couples tell me that they have sex about once a week. Indeed, many say that they do not even do so once a month. Simply stated, there is no such thing as normal sexual frequency; individuals are different. Some seem to have more need for sex than others. Some do not even care for sex at all.

For our present purpose, the salient point is that there is such a thing as addiction to sex and that Nigerians are probably the most sex addicted persons in the world.


Alcoholics Anonymous, in its Big Book, claims that all addictions are caused by self-centeredness. As it sees it, addiction is an ego event. The addict lives for himself only. Moreover, the addict thinks that he is in charge of his life. As it were, the addict has removed God from his life and sees himself as God and, as such, is in control of his life.

AA proposes to teach the addict to embrace a higher power as in charge of his life and to find a way to dedicate his self to serving the community to which he is a part of. The AA Twelve Steps Treatment Program seeks ways to teach the addict that he is egoistic and that he needs to let that ego go and surrender to a higher power. (Please read the AA big book, I do not have the space to review it here.)

Are Nigerians self-centered? What is a Nigerian but a person who does not believe himself connected to other persons, a person who lives mostly for himself? What is a Nigerian but an egotist who thinks that the rest of the world exists to admire and worship his vanity, to see him as a very important person, VIP, even if he contributes nothing relevant to human evolution?

Why do Nigerians go into government? They do so to steal money for themselves but not to serve the public good.

A Nigerian, in fact, would see you as insane if you told him that the best-lived life is one dedicated to serving the common interest of the people.

Sadly, Nigerians claim to be religious persons. They do not know the first thing about religion. To be religious is to see all people as children of one father, God, and, therefore, dedicate one’s self to serving all people’s interests.

Brother Jesus, the most developed human being that has walked this earth asks: “what do you want other people to do to you? You want them to love you”. Therefore, the brother asks you to love other people, as you love yourself. “Do unto others, as you want them to do to you”, the man from Nazareth teaches us. Jesus teaches that love is the sum of all past prophecies, laws and certainly his own gift to mankind, his Gospel.

Would you ask a Nigerian to do unto others, as he wants them to do to him? Love them, serve them? If you need something done for you, would you expect a Nigerian to do it for you?

You must be the most naive human being on earth to expect a Nigerian to render you selfless service; he is not going to do so, unless, of course, you bribe him. And even then, he would do a shoddy work for you.

In as much as we can empirically demonstrate that many Nigerians are egoistic, they are prone to addictive behavior, if that behavior is correlated with self centered egoism.


There are many drug treatment programs. However, I find the AA Twelve Steps Program still the best addiction treatment program. If one is addicted to drugs, one probably has either or both psychological or physiological addiction.

In psychological addiction, the craving for drugs is, more or less, in the mind. But in physiological addiction, the craving for drugs is in the body, as well as in the mind. Ones body is habituated to the drug and compels one to have it, just for one to feel normal. Alcohol addicts must drink some alcohol just to prevent their bodies from shaking. They, in fact, experience all sorts of TD and visual hallucinations when they withdraw from alcohol. In deed, alcohol addicts nerves and muscles are so used to alcohol that if they suddenly quit, they could experience cardiac arrest. Therefore, it is usually advisable for drug addicts to check themselves into hospitals, so that medical doctors would monitor their withdrawal from their drugs of choice. Often times, alcohol addicts are given the minor tranquilizers (Librium, Valium etc) to help their bodies cope with withdrawal from alcohol. Serious addicts probably need to be in hospitals, so that physicians may treat whatever medical complications they have. A month of stay in a hospital is often long enough to get the addict’s body to become dry, get rid of his drug of choice from his body.

After stay in a supervised treatment facility, the addict then needs to attend group therapy, sometimes several times a week, for months and years, to enable him become freed from the demon of drugs.

In the context of Nigeria, the first order of business is to get Nigerians to overcome their denial of addiction. The average Nigerian is killing himself with overeating, over drinking, polymorphous perverse sexuality and does not know it. This gross addict will look you in the face and tell you that he does not have an addiction problem. He will tell you that addiction is a white man’s problem, not his.

The shantytowns of Nigeria are teeming with alcohol denizens, frustrated folks consoling themselves for the loss of their traditional cultures with alcohol; folks caught in a society going through what Karl Marx (Der Capital)called “primitive capital accumulation stage of capitalist development”, hence in pain and salving their angst with alcohol.

If one can get Nigerian addicts to acknowledge that they have addiction problems, one has performed ones duty.

In this essay, my goal is to draw attention to the fact that many Nigerians/Africans have addiction issues and that they need to face that fact and go seek treatment.

Ozodi Thomas Osuji

Africa Institute, Seattle

600-1 Avenue, Suite 325

Seattle, Washington 98104

Posted by Administrator at 04:20 PM | Comments (0)

August 20, 2005

A Realistic Educational Policy for African Countries

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. --- (Seatle, Washington) African countries, until recently, were ruled by European countries. By and large, the Europeans did not have the interests of Africans at heart. Europeans came to Africa to make profits. In pursuing their self interested businesses in Africa, the Europeans found it necessary to provide Africans with some sort of education so as to generate cheap source of labor. Thus, they encouraged their Christian missionaries to establish elementary and secondary schools in Africa.

Towards the tail end of colonialism, the Europeans found it necessary to establish a few universities in Africa. Perhaps, they intended to train those who would replace them and, in the process, make sure that they were the types of persons who would look after their self interests, while they were gone? Whatever were their motives, they established universities whose curricula had nothing to do with producing those capable of running modern industrial economies.

The universities the colonial masters bequeathed Africa produced persons trained in the classics (English, Latin, Greek and philosophy), history, political science, anthropology, sociology and other such prestige education that has no relevance to managing a modern industrial economy. It is clear that a modern industrial economy requires persons trained in the physical sciences: mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology and their applied forms in engineering and business studies (particularly finance, accounting, and marketing).

It would seem apparent that one of the first orders of business for African countries, upon independence, was to restructure the educational system they inherited from their colonial masters. This was not done and in those few instances where something seemed to have been done, Africans looked to America for guidance or copied the failed educational system of America.

Any one with eyes to see observes that K-12 education in the USA is a mess and needs revamping. In America, those not trained in particular subjects teach those subjects to students, persons without training in, say, physics teach physics at high schools. America’s teacher training programs are a shame. They have students go through four years of college, virtually learning only how to teach but not what to teach. These ill prepared students graduate and go pretend to teach students. Clearly, America needs to restructure her teacher training programs, so that prospective teachers first obtain a bachelors degree in one of the sciences, take one year of teaching methods and then go teach the subjects that they were trained in. You cannot have a person not trained in Chemistry teaching it, as is the case in American high schools, today.

On America’s college campuses, the worst students go to teacher education programs. The worst students become teachers. Teachers ought to be drawn from the best students.

Even America’s much vaunted university system: it is reputed to be the best in the world, is falling apart. It, too, needs to be changed and made realistic to modern technological times. Clearly, America’s universities need to emphasize the physical sciences and their applied forms and stop wasting young people’s time by providing them with education with which they are not going to be able to procure jobs. What exactly would a person do with a degree in sociology, anthropology, political science, history, philosophy, English and so on? Usually, graduates in these areas are hired and retrained by employers.

In trying to restructure her educational system, Africa should not look to America. What it should do is ask pertinent questions and answer them correctly.

We live in the age of science and technology. Therefore, educational systems must produce scientists and technologists.

What does this mean in the real world? It means designing an educational system that emphasizes science subjects.

I propose that we have six year elementary schools that are free and compulsory for all African pupils between the ages of six and twelve. These schools must teach science. All other subjects are to be adjunct.

(City Neighborhoods or villages are to provide nursery schools for those under age five. Each neighborhood pays for such nursery centers. Thus, working mothers drop off their children in the morning and pick them up in the evening, after work.)

I propose that we have free and compulsory six year secondary education for all graduates from elementary schools (ages 12-18), and that these schools emphasize the sciences. All students are to be required to take mathematics (arithmetic, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, statistics, and calculus), physics, chemistry, biology, earth science, English, French and history. Other subjects are to be adjunct and taken by interested students, but not required for graduation.

At the end of secondary schooling, students are tracked to areas of their aptitudes and interests. Whereas all students can manage elementary and secondary education, experience shows that not all of them want to go to universities and or have aptitudes for it. Thus, a realistic educational system plans for one third of secondary school graduates to proceed to universities and makes other arrangements for the other two thirds.

I propose that 33% of all secondary school graduates (roughly those who made As and Bs in their school leaving examination) to proceed to universities. The emphasis at universities must be on the sciences and applied sciences.

At least, 33% of all university graduates ought to be in the applied sciences, and equal number in the physical sciences.

We can afford some redundant education in the social sciences and humanities, provided not too many students are allowed to waste their time in those unemployable areas.

The top ten percent of graduates ought to proceed to graduate schools. These ought to sit for their master’s degree after two years of graduate education, and the top ten percent allowed proceeding to the doctoral program. After another two years, they take the doctoral comprehensive examination and told to leave their university campuses and go get jobs. They are then free to submit their dissertations when they are able to do so. But under no circumstances should a student be permitted to malinger on campus and be a professional student. Considering that all education is paid for by the taxpayers of the country, no one has a right to abuse their generosity. Thus, by age twenty-six, after taking the doctoral examination; the individual goes fend for himself.

The terminal degree should be called Doctor of Science, DSC, not PhD (Doctor of philosophy…we do not need too many unproductive philosophers in a technological society).

The degrees conferred by African universities are to be BSC, MSC and DSC, reflecting the scientific education that we advocate for Africa. (Such degrees as BA, MA etc are, of course, to exist for those wasting their times on non scientific education. As long as we reduce such frivolous education to a minimum, we are doing fine.)

The two thirds of secondary school graduates who did not go to universities are to go to technical schools. By technical schools, one means where students are provided with hands on training in building and repairing things. We need Mechanics, Machinists, Electricians, Masons, Plumbers, carpenters and so on. One is not talking about “academic technicians,” as currently exist in Nigeria’s so-called Poly technical colleges; one is talking about training those who can actually fix things with their hands.

In case you have not noticed, in Africa, we build things and they quickly fall apart for lack of repair. We need those who can fix things more than we need social scientists, humanists and other talkers and not doers.

There is no use reinventing the wheel; we should borrow from those whose technical education system is the best in the world. I suggest that we model our technical education after the German system. Here, all students are provided with two years classroom/work shop training in their area of interests. They are then apprenticed off to where they would obtain practical experience in their areas of training. A mechanic goes to work at a mechanic shop for two year; an electrician goes to work for an electrical company for two years and so on. After two years of hands on experience, students take a national examination in their area of training.

In Africa, this examination is to be hands on, not academic. If students pass it, they are awarded a degree to be called TS, Technical Specialist. Such degrees are to have starting salaries that are the same as those with bachelors in science from universities. This policy emphasizes the importance of technical education. It is technicians that make the economy work.

It would be nice if all young persons were to be provided with education beyond secondary schooling. But in the nature of things, there are those who neither have the interest nor aptitude for more education beyond secondary school. Thus, realistically, at least ten percent of all secondary school graduates will drop out. These will not go to universities or technical colleges. These will enter the job market right after secondary school.

We need persons to perform lower order jobs and it is as well that some persons do not proceed to acquire more complex trainings.

Thus, we are talking about making room for 33% of our secondary school graduates to go to universities, and, at least 50% of secondary school graduates to go to technical schools.

All education: elementary, secondary, technical and university must be paid for by society, by the adult tax payers, that is, by government. It is a human right for society to train its young persons.

When there are wars, society conscripts its young persons into the military and have them go defend the nation and, perhaps, die. The least that society can do for young persons is to provide them with free and compulsory education.

It is the function of modern polities to pay for the education of all its young persons, until the terminal degree (which we expect to be after taking the doctoral comprehensive examination at age twenty six).


All over the world, experience shows that education is best delivered in a certain manner. It is the wisdom of mankind that elementary and secondary schooling is best provided by the local government.

I suggest that Local Government Authorities, LGA (Counties/Districts, as they may be called elsewhere) be responsible for providing elementary and secondary education. They are to do so through independent school Boards, headed by a superintendent of education. The school Board, however, is to be appointed by the county council.

The county council is responsible for financing the school system. (Property taxes, sales taxes etc are some of the means of financing local education.)

Technical colleges and universities are best provided by state governments. Thus, each state, in Nigeria, for example, sets up Boards for technical education and University education and those hire superintendents to organize their technical and university education. The state legislature and executive are responsible for funding these education elements.

Each state establishes sufficient technical colleges and universities to accommodate all young persons in need of such education: that is, each state must have enough technical colleges to accommodate at least 50% of its annual secondary school graduates, and sufficient universities to accommodate at least 33% of its annual secondary school graduates and enough graduate schools to accommodate at least 10% of its graduates.

In a country with the population of Nigeria, it is self evident that to implement the type of educational program envisaged here, that the country needs at least 700 technical colleges and 300 universities.

The national government is not to be directly involved in running schools but to provide educational policies and set up examination Boards to examine graduating classes at the elementary and secondary schools.

I recommend that we also have a national Board to examine university students before they graduate for their bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees. This way, we ascertain that students learned something when they claim to have had university education.

Those who pass with all As are to be given first class honors, Bs second class honors, Cs third class honors, and finally, ordinary pass.


Those who call themselves realists are probably wondering where we shall obtain the resources to fund this seeming pipe dream.

It is useful to be realistic. But too much realism leads to lack of imagination, vision and creativity.

It is the common experience of mankind that where there is a will to do something, that, somehow, we find a way to do it. If we embrace the policy of educating all Africans, we shall find a way to pay for it.

For one thing, the billions of dollars stolen by African leaders and banked overseas could go a long way in defraying the cost of these educational ventures. The billions of dollars stashed in Europe by such African kleptocrats as Mobutu and Abacha could, for a few years, fund all elementary and secondary education in their respective countries.

How do we fund this seeming grandiose scheme? Taxes. There are individual taxes, corporate taxes, property taxes, sales taxes and other forms of taxes. This is not the place to elaborate on these sources of public revenue. Let us just say that adults ought to tax themselves and use the ensuing revenue to fund their social policies.

Africans, for too long, have been on a free ride, thinking that they could have governments without paying for them. Governments are set up by the people to protect them and to perform certain economic and social functions for them, such as providing all children with education and all citizens with medical insurance. These functions of governments have costs. Those costs are paid for through taxation. Therefore, it is about time Africans are made to pay taxes and those who try not to pay them get arrested and jailed and their properties seized.

It is appropriate for all adults above the age of eighteen to pay at least 25% of their annual incomes in taxes. Adults should also pay other forms of taxes, such as sales, property taxes etc. Altogether it makes sense for each citizen to expect at least 35% of his income to go to funding his various local, state and national governments.

When citizens pay taxes and know that their governments are funded by them, they tend to pay attention to how their political leaders spend their money. They form citizen committees to examine government books and where malfeasance is seen, insist that culprits be sent to jail. It is because, at present, Africans are largely not personally funding their governments that they do not find out how their leaders spend their money. In Nigeria, for example, the various governments obtain over 80% of their revenue from selling oil and the people do not fund their governments. Because the people are not directly funding their governments, they do not pay attention when their political leaders transform the national treasury into their personal bank accounts.

There ought to be laws so that stealing a penny from the public gets the individual ten years in jail. This prison term should be hard labor, that is, the inmate is made to work to feed himself while in prison; the public has no business paying to feed the detritus of humanity.


The ideas presented in this essay are meant as starting points in a necessary conversation on what African educational policies ought to be. If you disagree with them, please put your own ideas down on paper. It is about time Africans learned to share their ideas with all interested persons.

We all correct the mistakes in our thinking by having access to other people’s thinking. I say, let us have a vigorous conversation on African educational policies and, ultimately, establish educational systems that respond to African needs. Doing nothing, or doing the wrong things, as is currently the case in much of Africa, is self-defeating.

Ozodi Thomas Osuji, PhD

Africa Institute, Seattle

600-1 Avenue, Suite 325

Seattle Washington 98104

(206) 464-9004

Posted by Administrator at 06:30 PM | Comments (0)

August 18, 2005

Overcoming the Fear that Holds Africans Down, Part 2

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji (Seatle, Washington)---


Sister Helen dwelt at length on fear. She gave fear a metaphysical interpretation. As she sees it, we separated from God and from each other. We feel like we did something wrong. This separation is akin to what the Catholic Church calls the Original Sin. To be on earth, that is, to be separated from God, is an act of sin.

We feel like we sinned against God by separating from him. Since God is our real self, we feel like we sinned against our real self, by denying our true identity as unified spirit and taking on a false identity as separated, ego in bodies. To identify with the human personality is to attack the real self, and whoever attacks his real self has inflicted pain on his self. We cause our self pain by being in ego, separated states.

To be on earth, to feel separated from God and from other people is to feel guilty and sinful.

The guilty expect punishment. We feel like God would punish us for the sin we committed. We fear God’s punishment. To be human is to feel guilty and to fear God’s punishment, Sister Helen said. The person, who feels separated from God, defends his ego personality, feels like he committed a crime and fears punishment. To be human, which is to separate from God, therefore, is to live in GUILT AND FEAR.

Fear is existential, Sister Helen tells us. Fear is not just a biological phenomenon, as biological psychology tells us, but is a metaphysical one.

Punished by God? Let us see. God is not apart from his children. God is in his children. God is his children, for the extender are the extended. God is his children.

God is everywhere and is everywhere. Since everything is God, if God punishes us for our sins, he has punished himself and acknowledged that he himself sinned, for our sins are his sins.

We are now in a philosophical tickle, so pay close attention, my dear friend. (In philosophy, these issues are generally addressed under ontology, metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics.)

Listen. God extended himself into his son, you. It follows that God is his son, you, for the extender is the extended. What you did, therefore, God did. QED (You cannot refute this statement on rational grounds.)

To sin is to separate from God. Since you are part of God, if you sinned, God sinned. If you separated from God, God separated from himself. QED

Since God is in his son and he is in God, and they are eternally unified, it is impossible for God to separate from his son, from himself. It is impossible for the son of God to separate from God, from his self. Therefore, in truth, separation has not occurred. Even the dream has not happened. QED

Shankara, the seventh Indian sage, having established that the world is a dream, goes on to tell us that the dream has not even occurred, for it would mean that God is dreaming this world.

Shankara’s postulation is that the world does not exist. Sister Helen said that the world existed for a brief second and was over with. When we separated from God and from each other, we but did it for a nanosecond. This would seem to imply that there was a moment when God was not on guard and did not notice what his children were doing. Since, by definition, God knows the past, present and future he must have known what his children were up to. Thus, by logical necessity, God knew that his children were planning on separating from him. In as much as he did not prevent them from doing so, he is partially responsible for their deed!

Nevertheless, Sister Helen tells us that God immediately realized what his children were unto and corrected it. (When the Big Bang occurred, separation occurred. As it were, reality was split into fragments; particles were invented. But immediately, some unknown force reunified the particles into atoms, then the molecules that formed biological life forms. It is as if the fragmentation of reality was reversed. What we are trying to do here, in case you have not noticed, is reconcile physics with metaphysics. In the temporal universe, man is both physics and metaphysics, so we must reconcile both aspects of him.)

When we separated from God, he created the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit immediately corrected our mistake. The Holy Spirit overcame the world. (And Jesus, having totally identified with the Holy Spirit, overcame the world.)


God as God is not in this world. God is transcendent. But God has an immanent aspect to him. When we separated from God and seem to live in this world, God entered the world as the immanent God. God remained in his transcendent state while also operating as the immanent God.

Thus God seems to have two aspects, the transcendent God and the immanent God. Actually, since the Son of God is an extension of God, it follows that God seems to be in three places: the transcendent God, aka God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. The Catholic Church calls this mystery the Holy Trinity, Triune; One God with three selves: God the father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. According to traditional Christianity, God the Son is Jesus Christ. According to Sister Helen, God the son is each of us.

God the son is not the self that we are currently aware of, but our real self. Currently, we are aware of our separated self, the ego self. But our real self is unified self, aka Christ self, or Son of God, or God the Son.

God placed the Holy Spirit in our “right” minds. The Holy Spirit is where the ego (wrong mind) separated mind is. As long as you think that you sleep and dream, you can dream with the ego mind (wrong mind) or dream with the Holy Spirit’s mind (right mind).To live from the Holy Spirit directed mind, which is to love and forgive and serve all people is to be righteous. (We are now employing traditional Christian concepts; pay attention, you might learn their true meaning.)

(Please do not concretize the term mind. Mind is an abstraction and does not exist as a tangible entity. There is no mind that you can touch or feel. Mind is the process of thinking. The universe thinks through what we call mind. Thinking itself is mind. There is a self, which is spirit, and that self thinks through a mind. God and his children think through their mind. God has a unified mind. We all share that unified mind of God. What this means, in fact, is that God thinks through all of us and that we think through God. God is not independent of us and we are not independent of him. Our thinking is God’s thinking. Conversely, God’s thinking is our thinking. Our ego thinking is the thinking of an insane God, God that thinks that he is not one but is in different places.

Hinduism believes that it is Brahman himself, God, who sleeps and dreams and thinks and lives in this world as all of us. To Hinduism, there is one God, Brahman. He has infinite parts, each part is called Atman. In heaven, Brahman and Atman know themselves as one self. On earth, they forget their unity. Each atman thinks that he is different from others. Each jivatman now sees himself as a separated self, as an ego, called Ahankara.

According to Hinduism, the object of religion is to enable us to remember that we are parts of God, and for us to give up our current identification with separated, ego self and return to the awareness of formless and selfless unity. This is accomplished through practicing one or more of the five Yogas explained by Patanjali.

Each person is different, temperamentally. One follows a yoga, religion, that suits ones temperament. The intellectual follows Jnani Yoga and thinks until he comprehends the nature of unity. The emotional type worships God via Bhakti yoga, the typical religion is Bhakti for over 90% of the people are not intellectuals and cannot really think, they belong to Bhakti Yoga. The active type person, Karma yoga, returns to God via philanthropy; the experimental type person returns to God via meditation, raja yoga, the royal yoga where one tunes out the world and unify with God in Samadhi, or as Buddha called it, Nirvana, and Zen Buddhism calls it Satori; the sensual person returns to God through love of his spouse, Tantra yoga.

Hinduism wants people to break through the veil of ego, Mocksha, and attain the awareness of cosmic union, Samadhi. But to get there, one must work out ones past sins, Sansara.

Hinduism believes in karma, the law of cause and effect, and reincarnation hence that it may take many life times to work out ones salvation.

You are saved when you love and forgive all persons. If saved, when you die, you no longer return to this world but stay close to God and enjoy his presence, in what Hinduism calls Bramaloca, which is equivalent to what Christians call heaven.

I spent three years studying Oriental religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, and Shintoism; I love to share insights from these amazingly sophisticated philosophies of life. Oriental religions are philosophical, whereas the Semitic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are poetic and appeal to our feelings, not to our thinking. Consider that the Rishis, the founders of Hinduism, speculated that the atom is made of three strands, three Gunas: Satva, Raja and Tamas. Modern physics agree that the atom has three parts, electrons, protons and neutrons. One must raise one’s hat for the ancient Indians; they were the world’s best thinkers. No wonder contemporary Asians are smarter than the rest of us; their ancestors used their minds to figure out the nature of reality and passed that habit of thinking to them. The rest of the world mostly emotes when they think that they are thinking.)

The Holy Spirit’s mind enables you to see all people as one with you and asks you to love them all and to forgive them all. If, for one brief second, you love all people, in that brief second, you awaken from this world. When you love and forgive all people, Sister Helen says that you are saved.

What is salvation, deliverance, redemption, healing, atonement, (all mean the same thing)? To be saved is to know that one is one with all people and love them all and forgive them all and see them as innocent.

We live in a perceptual universe. This means that there is a you, and a non-you. You see yourself as apart from other people. You see yourself as different from other people; indeed, you see yourself as unequal with other people; sometimes seeing you as superior to others and at other times as inferior to others.

There must be separation, differences and inequality for there to be perception. Whenever we look with the eyes of the ego we see a separated world.

Into this perceptual field enters the Holy Spirit. His function is to help you see things differently, to see with unified eyes. He wants you to see union rather than separation, to see all people as part of your one self. When you see all creation as one with you, your seeing is said to be purified. Now, you see with Christ vision and have spiritual sight.

What is a miracle? Is it healing physical diseases? To heal physical diseases presumes that body is real. But Sister Helen told us that body is a figment in a dream and is not real. The real disease is to see ones self as separated from other people. Healing and miracle is to change ones perception, from seeing other people as separated from one to seeing them as unified with one, followed with love and forgiveness for all people.

When we see people as separated from us, our mind is sick. When we see people as unified with us, our mind/ thinking is corrected, healed and purified.

A corrected mind, that is, a loving and forgiving person, has met the condition for returning to God. You are, as it were, now at the gate of heaven, but not in heaven yet. Your life on earth is now characterized by peace and happiness. Life is now a happy dream for you, rather than a nightmarish dream. You love all creation and they all love you in return. You now experience life on earth as if a gentle breeze is carrying you along, effortlessly.

To Sister Helen, when you forgive and love all, you momentarily experience what she called the Holy Instant. In it, the temporal world, the world of separation, disappears and you experience the world of union; you return to eternity, to unified state, to heaven and experience yourself as unified with God and all people.

Then you come back to this world of sin, the world of separation, for sin is separation, a mistake. But now you know that union is real, that love is real, that God is real. You become a teacher of union, a teacher of love and a teacher of God.

No son of God can stay permanently in heaven while his brothers are still in hell, that is, on earth. So when one is enlightened to ones true self, is illuminated of the fact that there is only one self and one mind in the universe, that we are all parts of us, one comes back to the world as an Avatar, Buddhavista, teacher of God etc to help those still believing in the illusion that separation is real, to believe that union is the truth.


God is everywhere, so if he were to punish any one of us, he would be punishing himself. Only an insane God would punish himself, for to punish is to inflict pain and God does not like to inflict pain on himself. God does not punish you, himself.

God, Sister Helen tells us, is not punitive. God does not punish us, no matter what we do on earth, in the dream that has never been dreamed.

To God his Son, you and I, are always innocent, for we have never done what we think that we did, separate from him. All the seeming evils we do on earth are done in a dream and, as such, have not been done. We are, therefore, always guiltless, innocent and holy. We are forever as God created us, unified with him and with each other.

To be in union is to be sinless. To separate from God is to be sinful. Since we have never separated from God, we are in union hence are sinless. We are forever and ever sinless, guiltless and innocent. (The Holy Spirit tells us that the Son of God, all of us, is forever as his father created him, unified with God and all his brothers hence sinless and innocent. Jesus, who completely identified with the Holy Spirit, teaches us the Holy Spirit’s gospel, that the son of God is forever Holy and sinless.

All teachers of God, all prophets, past, present and future teach one message: that the son of God is holy, innocent and guiltless; that he has not done the evil we see him do on earth. What we do on earth are done in a dream hence have not been done.)

But the part of us that thinks that we separated from God and from each other, the part that wants separation, the ego, the separated I, tells us that we are sinful, guilty and deserve to be punished. God does not punish us. The ego punishes us in behalf of God. Without waiting for God to punish us, the ego punishes us; since we are the ego, we punish each other.

Let me try to explain this metaphysics with real life experience. When I first encountered homosexuals and became aware of what they do, put their penises into other men’s anuses, in my eyes, they seemed less than animals, they had no worth whatsoever. I wanted all of them killed, now, not tomorrow. How could they do such bestial thing? God, where is Hitler to corral them and work them to death. Get rid of garbage. I had absolutely no regard for homosexuals. The female variety, lesbians, seemed like dogs licking each other’s filthy genitals. Get rid of these animals from my sight.

At one point, I had an office mate, a Caucasian male. I did not know about his sexual orientation. One day, he invited me to his house for dinner. As I walked in, he introduced a young man as his lover and kissed him. I soon recognized what was going on and felt like I was in the house of sin, Sodom and Gomorrah, and vomited, right there in his house and subsequently left. The next day, I asked him to move out of my office and he did. I did not want to see him for as long as he lived. He simply was a beast, in my eyes.

Prior to the discovery that he was a gay man, I had respect for him. He is a PhD clinical psychologist, and seemed to have a sharp mind in his head. Now, he seemed like nothing, in my eyes. As you can see, I experienced cognitive dissonance. I still know that he is sharp, so how can I dismiss him as nothing? The individual cannot live with cognitive inconsistency for long. He must reconcile his dissonance, one way or another. I could tell myself that he is crazy, that all homosexuals are insane. But that is not true. He is as sane as sane can be. (He has a touch of narcissism, all homosexuals do; they love their bodies and egos. Narcissism is not psychosis, it is a personality disorder. Just about every human being has a personality disorder, so why should a man living in a glass house, like me, point fingers at this brother?)

I began to think about homosexuality, trying to understand it. Whatever you have understood, you tend to forgive and live with. To understand all is to forgive all.

I found heterosexual sex ridiculous but accepted it for procreation only. Beyond procreation, I had no use for sex. I am asexual.

Being me, I read everything there is to read on homosexuality, that I could lay my hands on.

I had at that point not heard of Sister Helen and her philosophy that the world is a dream.

I had just read Sigmund Freud’s analysis of Judge Shreber’s paranoid schizophrenia. Freud thought that all paranoid persons have latent homosexuality and denied it. He was wrong, paranoid persons feel weak and inadequate and homosexuals remind them of their weakness, hence they tend to fear been seen as homosexual. If you make the mistake of making homosexual proposition to a paranoid man, he could attack you for feminizing him, transforming him into a weak, sexual object. Paranoia is a struggle to seem powerful and important and has nothing to do with sex, as Freud thought.

One fine day, the idea that homosexuality is something that happens in a dream entered my thinking. I said to myself: these folks are in a dream of self forgetfulness. They have forgotten their real self, the unified spirit self and imagine themselves as bodies. They then resolve to enjoy their bodies, if what they do can be considered enjoyment. Their acts are dream acts. It has never happened, just as what is done in a dream has not happened. Since dream acts have not happened they must be overlooked. These thoughts came out of nowhere and entered my mind.

Building on those thoughts, I resolved to overlook what seemed to me an idiotic lifestyle. Now I overlook the behavior of homosexuals. I allow them to have their absurd dream. Each of us is having his own dream; all dreams are not real, so shine them all off. What is done in dreams are not deserving of punishment.

God’s children are a defiant lot. They came to this world out of defiance of their father, and while in it will defy anything, including the proper sexual processes. God wills union and we defy him and seek separation. The world came into being as the opposite of God’s will. Separation is the opposite of union. But union is reality and separation is impossible. Therefore, overlook the absurdities of human behavior and your journey through this world would be characterized by peace, which is the same as happiness.

God will not punish homosexuals for they do what they do in dreams. As it is, they are already punishing themselves by destroying their anuses…as they grow old; they usually have feces dripping out of their anuses and have to wear depends, diapers. (Religionists would say that that is the price they pay for their defiance of nature. Every sin has a cost. The wage of sin is death.

The price of separation, which is sin, is to live in this world; to live in this world is to be dead. To live in the presence of God, that is, to be aware that one is unified with all creation, is to be alive.)

Sister Helen teaches that everything done on earth is like actions in dreams and ought to be overlooked. The Son of God remains as his father created him, holy, sanctified, unified and innocent; he merely dreams that he is unholy, separated and does the seeming evils things he does on earth.

Sister Helen tells us that Brother Jesus recognized that what we do on earth is like things done in a dream, hence are nothing, and overlooked them. He forgave what we do on earth for they are equally nonsensical, they are nothing. The world is not worth defending, so the brother overcame the world by not defending it.

By forgiving the world, by not defending its pathways, he awoke from the dream and, as they say, resurrected from death.

To be on earth is to be metaphorically dead. Jesus was dead when he lived on earth, when he lived in body and ego.

Jesus resurrected from death when he recovered awareness of his spirit self.

Did Jesus physically die and resurrect? What a question! To be on earth is to be dead. But death is impossible, so Jesus merely dreamed that he was on earth and was dead. He awakened from the dream of death. He cast off the veil that hid the face of Christ from his perception. He saw the face of Christ in all his brothers and sisters, that is, recognized all of them as unified with him, and in doing so experienced himself as Christ, the one Son of God. God has only One Son.

Jesus rolled the stone away from the sepulcher and walked away. (This is metaphor for saying that this world is a sepulcher, is our grave, and is a place where the son of God comes to seem dead and buried; that the stone is what prevents us from looking out of that grave we placed our selves in. See Plato’s parable of Cave dwellers.)

Sister Helen said that Jesus, while in this world, recognized that while he thought himself apart from God, which he was always one with God. There is no such thing as separation. Only union is real. Sin, that is, separation, does not exist. Death, that is sin/separation, does not exist. There is no death. It is all a dream.

Consider: in our nightly dreams, we see people die, get buried and rot but when we wake up in the morning, we realize that none of that happened. Nobody died.

We merely dream life and death on earth, Sister Helen tells us. The lady, as it were, was consoling us. You see, human beings fear death. Whoever tells them that death is not real tends to appeal to them.

Alas, the good news lady, Helen, developed cancer and died from it. That would seem to invalidate her philosophy, wouldn’t it?

Did she really die or did she play a trick on us and seem to have cancer and died? Was she ever on earth, in the dream? If so, did her dream require her to have cancer and die in the manner that she did, so as to make those still in the dream dismiss her philosophy as sham, and get on with their ego separated existence? Where are you, unified state or separated state? You must answer this question for your self.

(I know the answer to these questions. I will not tell you. And even if I told you, you would not believe it, for you probably are not ready for it. Struggle to find the ANSWER TO THE RIDDLE OF EXISTENCE. When you are ready for it, it will dawn on you, on its own accord. But you must meet the condition for truth, love, forgiveness and service to all God’s children, for truth to be revealed to you, by your real self. We have one problem, our belief in separation; there is but one solution to our problem, no matter what hue that problem takes: union. To unify is to love, to forgive and to serve all children of God.)


In the meantime, people on earth would like to do certain things and shrink from doing them because of fear. Fear of harm and fear of death prevents us from living fully. Ultimately, all fear is rooted in fear of death.

Fear of death is rooted in belief that this life is it and that there is no life after death. One never knows whether there is life after death or not. Therefore, I advice you to put metaphysics aside and simply resolve to do whatever you are afraid of doing.

If you experience fear, go ahead and do what you are afraid of doing. Of course, there is such a thing as rational fear, after all some fear is adaptive to the exigencies of this world. If a car careens towards you, it is appropriate to experience fear and run away from it. The type of fear that we need to eliminate is properly called anxiety.

So you are afraid of talking to other people, lest they reject you, eh? Go ahead and talk to them. Let them reject you. Their rejection of you will not be the end of the world. Actually, the chances are that they would not reject you. Like you, they are seeking other peoples acceptance, they too fear rejection hence do not take the initiative to reach others to make friends. (See Aaron Beck and Albert Ellis’ writing on Cognitive Behavior Therapy. These might help you restructure and reorient your thinking; help you believe in yourself and do whatever you are afraid of doing.)

If you reach out and try to make friends, you would find out that most people are dying to be friendly. I am a black man. I used to believe that white folks want to keep to themselves. So I avoided them and kept to myself and to other black folks. Then I reached out to whites and found that they are like me, seeking friends, but held back by the bugaboo of racism and irrational fear.

If you over look color and gender, you can relate to any human being on earth. Fear prevents people from relating to those from so-called other races. Actually, all human beings belong to one race. The idea of race is a misnomer. Genetically, all people, black and white, are 99.9% the same. Human beings belong to the animal species and can procreate with each other.

Fear holds one back from doing whatever one wants to do. Therefore, I tell you, go do whatever you want to do that fear prevents you from doing. Do it and do it now, not tomorrow.

You will always have some residual fear, for fear protects your body and the ego it houses, and is involuntary; fear is built into the body. My ego and body still react to fear as before, but I have learnt to use my cognition, my mentation, my mind, my thinking to overrule it. Use your mind, which is not body but of spirit, to overcome the fears of your body.

I try to walk my talk. I am a very fearful person. As noted, that fear is in my genes. But I have learned to do whatever I am afraid of doing (which would not lead to my death, of course; there is such a thing as rational fears).

I find that in doing so, I have expanded the horizon of my life. Fear had restricted my life and enslaved me into a small corner of the world.

With resolution to do whatever fear asks me not to do, my world has expanded. The entire planet earth is my home. I am born in Africa but the entire world is my home. I feel at home wherever I go, Europe, North America etc. I refuse to permit some territorially aggressive animal to tell me that any part of this world is not my home. If the birds of the air have a right to fly to wherever they want to, I see no reason why I should not live wherever I feel like living at. My home is everywhere and nowhere in particular.

Fear had given me poverty from not trying to do anything in the competitive world. My effort to overcome fear gave me the freedom and ability to roam the world.

In a manner of speaking, I have overcome fear and the body and ego that it protects. Of course, I still live in body and ego and have some residual fear. Any one who completely overcomes fear cannot live in ego, body and this world. I am in this world but not of it.

Actually, I have always wanted to overcome the ego and its body. At first, I did so neurotically. At an early age, I recognized the meaninglessness and purposeless of this world and rejected it. I hated my sickly and over sensitive body and rejected it. Other people seemed even more nonsensical so I rejected them, too.

I embarked on a neurotic trip to change my body, other people and the world. I wanted to change myself into an ego ideal, my body into a perfect body. I used to run, at least, four times a week, five miles at a time. I Swam, rode my bicycle, weight trained, ate sparingly, all in an effort to make my body as good as it could be. (I still exercise and hate to see fat on my frame. But I now exercise for a different reason, health, not escape into idealistic body.)

I wanted to change myself and the world into ideal forms of them. I saw reality as ugly and wanted to transform it into an ideal form of it.

With middle age, age 40, I learnt that reality is what it is, and that one cannot change it. All you can do is try to understand it, through science, and cope with it, through technology. Therefore, I have given up my youthful idealism. I no longer feel the urge to change man and his society.

I wanted to change society into socialist ideals of it. Now, I know that socialism is a pipe dream.

I accept man as he is, competitive; I accept the capitalist economy as the most realistic adaptation to human nature. I accept democracy and the power plays in it. Power plays are realistic adaptation to man’s impersonal environment.

I accept people as they are, competing for power and wealth, each self centered. I accept the world on its terms.


Acceptance of the world, as it is, initially makes one depressed, for it means accepting the ugliness that is this world. This means accepting one’s imperfect self, accepting other people’s imperfect selves and accepting imperfect social institutions. It means giving up the youthful yearning to transform the self, other selves and the institutions of this world into their ideal forms.

Plato is wrong; there are no ideals out there waiting for us to discover and be them. Our earthly reality is imperfect. This imperfect reality must be accepted and dreams of perfectibility of man given up. What is, is, Katie Bryan, a Canadian mystic, wrote. Accept this world on its own terms and seek to understand it through its own terms, science, and adapt to it through realistic terms, technology.

Give up wishful thinking for ideal states. Give up neurosis and psychosis…those are wishes for ideal states.


Sister Helen gave us a metaphysics that negates this world, is idealistic and escapist. If you followed her recommendations, you would not defend yourself and you would die. She said that you would merely re-awaken in unified state, aka heaven. But you do not know that heaven is real. There in lies the rob. She asks you to make what Kierkegaard called a leap of faith and believe that heaven exists.

She is asking for too much. I do not believe in faith; I accept only self evident propositions that I can verify, following the scientific method. I do not ask you to have faith in the unseen.

I ask you to understand the nature of fear, as delineated by science, and do its opposite. Do whatever fear asks you not to do. Do so and then find out if unified state exists or not.

Do not consciously pursue unified state. As Adam Smith pointed out in The Wealth of Nations, those who consciously attempt to serve other people tend to end up not producing wealth and, moreover, tend to become dictatorial; see the former Soviet Union. But when people pursue their self interests, somehow, the blind forces of the market make them produce what the people desire and they wind out serving other people’s interests.

So I ask you to go ahead and do the opposite of whatever fear asks you not to do. If fear tells you not to relate to other people, go ahead and relate to them. If fear tells you not to travel to other parts of the world, defy it and travel to other parts of the world. If fear tells you that you cannot enter any profession, go train for it. Do whatever fear attempts to prevent you from doing and you begin to live fully, happily and in peace. When you live in joy and peace, you are approximating living in union.

Is there another world, other than our present world? If not, why bother reviewing Helen’s metaphysics? Good question. I do not know whether there is another world or not. By nature, I am skeptical, cynical and agnostic. But I have had certain experiences that speak to the existence of another world. Those experiences, unfortunately, are not amenable to scientific verification hence not an acceptable evidence for the existence of another world. Let us then say that one has an open mind in these matters.

I provided a review of metaphysics because I know that man does not live by bread alone. Man searches for meaning in many quarters, one of which is religion. So, I thought it nice to provide some religion. My experience is that to overcome fear, one needs to understand the science of fear. I also think that one needs some hypothesis on metaphysical issues if one is to truly overcome fear.

Human beings have no control over many contingencies that affect their lives and need belief in some sort of God, even if God is an illusion(as Freud said in The Future of an Illusion) to derive a sense of control, albeit fictive control.

Good luck in your effort to understand and over come the fear that prevents you from living fully. I hope that I have been of some use to you? If not, then search elsewhere for help. No other person can save you; only you can save you. What other people can do is show you how they saved themselves and, hopefully, that helps you save yourself. If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him. As Buddha himself said, 2500 years ago, discover the Buddha in you, not the Buddha that other people tell you exists.

Ozodi Thomas Osuji, PhD

600-1 Avenue, Suite 325

Seattle, Washington 99104

(206) 464-9004


In this essay, I consciously chose to expose my own issues. I did so for a reason. Most Africans do not talk about their mental health issues. They do not go to psychotherapists until they decompensate and have to be hospitalized against their will. I have involuntarily placed many of them at Psychiatric Hospitals. They all would like to think that they are psychologically healthy. (There is no such thing as a healthy human being. At best, one is normal, that is, has issues that are not out of control, and is within the norm. Norm means the middle, average; one has issues like the average person but is not healthy. Only extraordinary persons’ like Jesus Christ and Mohammed attained perfect mental health.)

Here are the facts. All middle class Africans and African Americans have mental health issues, ranging from garden verity neurosis, like mine, to serious psychosis (schizophrenia, delusion disorder, mania, depression, organic mental disorders etc). The white man knows this fact and manipulates African leaders’ psychopathologies. Although this is not a clinical/academic paper, let me remind us that the foremost political psychologist of all time, Harold Lasswell, wrote that politics is the arena where individuals act out their personal psychopathologies. Many politicians are sick persons acting out their madness on the political arena. Adolf Hitler felt inordinately inferior and wanted to seem superior and thought that political office would give him that feeling. Political office does not change an inferior feeling person to a superior person. Hitler killed over 50 million persons in his quest for deluded power. African leaders pauperize their people in their misguided quest for narcissistic sense of special-ness. They are not special; they are just ordinary human beings pretending to be special and the sooner they accepted that reality, the better they get on with becoming their people’s servants, not their imaginary masters.

It is psychological sickness to want to be seen as a very important person and to hang unto office for that reason only, as African leaders do. This is called narcissistic personality disorder. Most African leaders have either narcissistic or antisocial personality disorders. (They exploit their people and do not feel guilty and remorseful from doing so.)

It is time the so-called educated African examined his psyche and resolved the inevitable conflicts in it. He is African but he is educated in European ways of life. He experiences cognitive dissonance. He is confused. Africans should learn from me and heal themselves, or continue to be the sick men of the world. Of all people on earth, Africans seem unable to govern themselves; they make a mess of their continent and run to the well ordered societies of the West, where they work as neo-slaves.

An Igbo medical doctor admonished me not to wash my Lenin in public, not to talk about our individual and tribal’ issues in public. That is part of our problem.

A problem must be publicly identified, accepted and solutions sought for it. I wash my Lenin in public to help the superior feeling-inferior feeling Igbo medical doctor to learn the psychological truism that the mark of mental health is perception of one’s self and all human beings, men and women, black and white, as the same and equal, and as worthy of love. We are all members of God’s one family; whoever fancies himself better than other people, as Igbos tend to feel towards other Nigerian groups, and at the individual level, to other Igbos, as the pathetic pathologist, apparently, feels towards me, is a neurotic and is in need of psychotherapy, to help him accept our inherent equality. When a person accepts his equality with all people and works for our common good, he or she tends to feel peaceful and happy.

Peace and joy are the gifts of God. To the extent that you feel peaceful and joyous, you are in the presence of God. If your life or your country’s life is chaotic, as is the case in much of Africa, you have deviated from the presence of God. God is love and those who want to be godly must be loving, forgiving and social interest serving persons.

August 15, 2005

See also, Overcoming the Fear that Holds Africans Down, Part 1

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Overcoming the Fear that Holds Africans Down, Part 1

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji (Seatle, Washington)--- If you are like me, you notice that you are not living fully and that you are not being all that you can be. You wonder what it is that is preventing you from living fully and from being your authentic self. So what is it that prevents you from living fully and from being your real self?

Why is it that some people go out there and do most things that they want to do and, by and large, succeed, whereas you seem to be in a rot, blocked and not moving forward or back, left or right? What is it that makes you live a circumscribed existence, in Abraham Maslow’s terms, not actualizing your potential?

One must do something to realize ones potential. If one is just sitting around and doing nothing, one is not going to realize whatever innate potential one has.

Each of us seems to have aptitudes and interests and is expected to put them to work and, in so doing, enrich the human condition. But something can prevent the individual from doing something to actualize his potential.

In the Bible, Jesus talked in parables, one of which says: a certain rich man was going on a long journey. Before he left, he gathered his servants and gave them talents (money, in those days). He did not tell them what to do with the talents. After some years had elapsed, he came back. He asked the servants to account for how they spent the money he gave them. Some said that they hid theirs under mattresses, not wanting them stolen, so that when the master came back they would give him back his money. Others said that they invested their monies and made profit on them. The master praised those who invested their monies and put them to work, benefiting the community. He rewarded them with more money.

Why give to the rich more wealth? It is because they understand the need for investment, so they had to be given money funds to invest, so that it yields dividends for the entire community. (The Igbos say: ji ye uru, ya abara ndanda.) Those that had not invested their money had it taken away from them and it was given to those who understand that money is to be put to work. Money is useless unless it is put to work, producing fruits for the betterment of the people.

This parable of the Jewish rabbi, Emmanuel Ben Joseph, whom the Greeks called Jesus the Christ, Jesus the anointed Son of God, is meant to instruct us on a critical lesson. The master, the man going on a journey and gathered his servants, is, of course, God. The servants are the children of God. The talents are the mental aptitudes each of us is born with. God gave his children natural aptitudes and interests. He then left them alone on planet earth. Sooner or later, each of us returns to our maker and is asked to account for how he employed his time and energy while in that place called planet earth. Those who, while they were on earth, put their aptitudes to serving humanity are blessed with peace and happiness; those who hid their aptitudes, afraid to use them lest they make mistakes and displease God and man, did not yield results that served human interest, are not blessed with happiness and peace.

Those who refuse to use their abilities to serve humanity tend to reap poverty. They are like those talked about in another parable of Jesus (that Jesus chap was full of Parables). He said that a lamp lit and hid under a bushel is no use to anyone. The purpose of light is to enable people to see. If you hide your light, you are not using it to enable people to see. Your light, then, is as good as darkness and you might as well not have light.

When you have light, it is meant to be used to see in darkness. The world is a dark place and we need light to see in it. If you place your light on a hill top, those in the valley would see their way around. But if you hide your light, no one would see from it.

If you hide a lit lamp under a bushel, it is most likely to make the bushel blow up. Instead of showing the people light, a hidden light creates problems for the people. Africans are hidden light, they create troubles for themselves. Those people who recognize that each of us is a light and use it to show the people the way to live good lives tend to generate abundance in our lives. Those who hide their light, those who do not employ their aptitudes to do good work, live lives of poverty.

Bill Gates gives the world his computing light. He gives the world material abundance. Africans hide their God given talents or use them to seek ways to do each other in, to steal from the public. Each of us is salt. Salt is meant to make food taste better. If one does not add one’s salt to food and the food’s flavor is bland, what use is one’s salt? Jesus said that that salt then must be thrown away, for it is like the fig tree that did not bear fruits and had to be cast off.

Nigerians ingenuity seems to lie in figuring out ways to cheat, not to produce wealth, peace and happiness for their fellow human beings. No, their specialty is to rip people off and feel very important person from doing so.

(Please note that I am consciously stereotyping people. A writer is permitted to use hyperbole to make cogent points. Not all Nigerians are thieves. My secondary school principal, Mr. Ajayi, is a saint, if ever there is a saint in this world. This man took interests in all of us; it did not make any difference to him whether the kids were Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, Urhrobo, Edo, Ishikiri etc, and he took care of us, as if we were his own personal children. When any of us got sick, this man personally saw to it that we were given good medical care. He visited our parents. He came to my parent’s house, in the poor parts of town, to talk to my parents about my progress, or lack of it, at school. He was, is, an angel. The point is that there are outstanding Nigerians. Thus, when I make generalized and global negative statements about Nigerians, I hope that the reader puts it in perspective.)

The man Jesus also said (please do not blame me for borrowing from the man, I couldn’t help it, though currently an apostate Christian, I was raised a Christian and my little head was filled with sayings by the man, I spent my childhood reading the bible, over and over and over again, and my little mind practically memorized the damn book) that each of us is like a new wine. He said that a new wine should not be mixed with an old wine or poured into an old wine bottle.

If you mix new wine with old wine, you dilute their tastes: the new is no longer new and the old is not itself. If you pour new wine into a bottle that had contained old wine, the residue of the old wine would distort the taste of the new wine. To have the full flavor of the new wine, you must place it in a new wine bottle.

Clearly the old boy was trying to say something here, for parables are idioms and do not literally mean what they say. Parables are metaphors and figures of speech, they represent something else.

A parable can be interpreted in several ways; moreover, it can be interpreted to suit different situations and that is the beauty of parables. So what was the man from Nazareth, a place, where, hitherto, nothing good comes from (the rejected brick has become the pillar of the temple), trying to say with this parable?

Traditional Christianity interprets the parable to mean that the new wine is Christianity and that the old wine is Judaism. The New Testament and the Old Testament are not supposed to mix, or one dilutes the other. Jesus diverged from Moses. He brought a new wine, a new religion, a religion of love as forgiveness.

Alas, Christians have not learned the import of this parable and are still mixing the teachings of Moses and Jesus. Moses taught punishment for sins; Jesus taught forgiveness for sins. See the story of the woman caught in adultery. Mosaic Law insisted that she be punished, but Jesus forgave her, for those who live in sin, all of us, have no right casting stones at sinner. The entire gospel of Jesus can be summarized as forgiveness. The New Testament is a gospel of forgiveness. Do we do that, do we love and forgive one another our sins or do we punish each other for the wrongs we do?

And a man was going to worship God and remembered that a neighbor had wronged him. Jesus said that the man must first go home and forgive his neighbor before he prayed to God. That is correct; the wronged must forgive the wrong doer before he expects God to hear his prayers.

Of course, God does hear our prayers. In fact, God knows what his children want before they pray for it. He has, in fact, given us all we need to live on earth. But before we can receive the gifts of God, we must do one thing: we must love and forgive each other.

Forgiveness is the condition for receiving God’s grace. And he taught them a prayer: “Father, forgive us our sins FOR WE HAVE FIRST FORGIVEN THOSE WHO SINNED AGAINST US”. Please think about the import of the “Our Lord’s prayer”. It implies that we had entered into a covenant with our creator and the provision of that contract stipulates that he forgive us only when we forgive each other. God is law abiding and as such keeps the provisions of a contract he entered; he does not make compromises. So we must love and forgive one another before he forgives us our own sins.

Jesus taught that the meaning of love is forgiveness. He said: if someone slaps one of your cheeks that you should turn the other one for him to slap too. He said: love your enemies, do not feel grievance for wrongs done to you by others, do not seek vengeance for what others do to you; as a matter of fact, give those who wronged you your last cloak. (See the Sermon on the Mount, the so-called beatitudes.)

And Jesus walked his talk. They can to arrest him. Peter brought out his old and rugged sward and attacked one of the High priest’s police men that came to arrest his master. Jesus looked at him, as one looks at a child who had been taught and did not understand what he was taught. He said: Peter, I brought a different way to solving problems. The old way, grievance, anger and revenge, produces conflicts and wars. Those who live by the sword die by the sword.

Finally, they took him to Pontius Pilate, to the Courts of this world and falsely accused him of doing what he did not do and found him guilty. He was sent to be crucified. Before he died he said: father to forgive them for they know not what they are doing. If they knew that they are love and forgiveness, they would only do that. But they think that they are ego and attack and do that.

Any which way you look at it, Jesus taught love as forgiveness. Do we practice love and forgiveness? A Christian is a person who loves and forgives all people. By this definition, I did not see Christians in my world; hence, at age 14, I parted ways with the Catholic Church of my upbringing. I read Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species, fell in love with biology and have not looked back since.

As observed, a parable can be interpreted and is meant to be interpreted in several ways. In this context, the new wine speaks to our individuality. You are a new wine. You are a unique human being. There is no one else in the entire world that is like you. You must bless the world with the talents that you were born with.

You should not try to give the world old, and tired philosophies of how human beings ought to live. You should not repeat old unproductive religions that retard, rather than make for progress. You should give the new to the world.

The new brightens the world. Spring time is the best time of the year for newness is everywhere.

Winter is the worst time of the year, for, in it, things are old, tired, withering and dying, or stagnant, to be reawakened to life in spring.

So do you give the world a new you, do you bless the world with whatever talent nature and nature’s God gave you? If not, what is preventing you from doing so?

To be at peace with yourself and to be happy, you have to give the world something.

Giving is receiving. If you give something to make the world happy, the world will give you something in return to be happy with. Use your talent to enrich people’s lives and you receive from the people what makes you live your life more abundantly.

Generate wealth and you become wealthy. Hide your talent and do not give the people wealth and you live in poverty, as most Africans do. Africa sits on tremendous natural resources yet Africans are poor. Why this abnormally?

Africans, in Africa and in the Diaspora, talk the talk but do not devote themselves to working, at least, twelve hour days, doing something that blesses all Africans. In so far that they try to work, they work negatively. They seek ways to steal from the public treasury. Their expertise lies in bribery and corruption.

Only the discouraged, those in despair, the dispirited, steal and take bribes. Many Africans are so discouraged that they think that the only way to become rich is to steal and pretend to be very important persons. They do not recognize that one can become rich by making it the old fashioned way, working for it. (I believe that colonialism instilled this discouragement, this lack of belief in ourselves as able to make money in the right way; colonialism made Africans feel powerless so that some of us believe that the only way to become rich is to steal from the national treasury. Stealing from the public ought to make a healthy person so ashamed that he would rather die than do so. It is better to give than to take.)

Figure out what people around you need, a product or service, and produce and sell it to them and they would buy it. When they buy it, you make profits. This way, both seller and buyer benefit, and life become a win-win one, a joy.

Steal and you live a life of spiritual poverty, even if you are materially wealthy. I have interacted with so-called rich Nigerians; I would not trade my humble place for theirs. In many instances, they are not as good as my dog, Ebony. They are nothing, refuse, really. At least, my dog gives human beings joy. Nigerian leaders give people poverty.

The man, Jesus, told a lot of parables. Read his parables and bless your life with them. It does not matter whether you are a Christian, an apostate Christian like me, or not, you would benefit from this Jewish rabbi’s extraordinary wisdom. This man articulated the perennial wisdom of mankind like no one else has ever done.

Unfortunately, Jesus did not do one thing: he did not tell us what prevents people from living their lives as fully as they could. He did not do so, not because he could not tell us, but because he had to leave something for those who come after him to do. He just could not be the only one with wisdom; he had to leave something for other teachers of God to teach. Mohammed had to have something to teach and, by all accounts, improved on aspects of the Jewish rabbi’s insights. (I am not a Moslem and cannot speak on matters Islamic. However, let it be noted that I have taken the trouble to read the Koran. In fact, I read it regularly as I read the Bible. I am a strange non-religious person.)

Brother Jesus and all the past teachers of God left us something to teach our fellow human beings.

I have something to teach you. A person teaches only what he needs to learn. I needed to understand my screwed up life. I am Igbo but, in fact, more Yoruba than Igbo; I am black but, in fact, more white than black. I am at home in the world of philosophy and, without thinking about it, can tell you all about Plato, Aristotle, St Augustine, Origin, Tatulian, Montana, Meister Eckhart, Thomas Aquinas, Erasmus, Anselem, Martin Luther, Calvin, Francis Bacon, Rene Descartes, Spinoza, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Charles Montesquieu, David Hume, George Berkeley, Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Blasé Pascal, Jean Jacque Rousseau, Leibniz, Henry Bergson, Karl Marx, V.I. Lenin, Bukanin, Trotsky, David Ricardo, Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill, William James etc. But I am an African. There in lay my confusion. A black man spouting the best of the West but lacking understanding of whatever Africa has contributed to knowledge. (Could someone please write on African philosophy and psychology, so that I can read them?)

I believe that our encounter with the West has created identity confusion in our minds. I believe that, like me, you, too, have problematic aspects to you. Therefore, my mission is to teach you something about your personal psychology, your individual personality.

I spent over twenty years working in the mental health field, working my way to running a few mental health agencies. I became an executive director of a large mental health agency (over 200 staff, mostly whites) at age 34. (I always taught a class or two, each semester, at local state universities, so, I had a foot in academia.) I must have learnt something along the way and want to share what I have learnt.

Nigerians take pride in calling themselves professors. Strictly speaking, they are not professors. A professor is a person who professes what he personally believes to be true and could care less whether he makes a living from doing so or not. Instead, Nigerians tend to think that the term professor, which is French for teacher, is one that gives them prestige. What poor fools. It simply means a person who has conviction and teaches that conviction to other people. A professor has found knowledge, at least, an aspect of it, and teaches it to the world. He says, in effect, this, I believe is the truth; I stake my life on it, I give you my truth; this is my gift to you and to mankind; take it from me, it is good for you.

A person should not be teaching at the university until he believes that what he is teaching is true. Until one can truly profess some thing as truth, one ought not to teach it. Upon completing my doctoral dissertation at UCLA, still in my mid twenties, I obtained a teaching position at California State University, Dominguez. After a while, I decided that my young head had been filled with Western ideas, much of which I did not believe, so I quit my position and sought to work with real people, to understand the mentally ill, as a way of understanding the so-called normal person.

When we have learned the nature of our problems, solved them, in as much as problems are solvable, then, we can share our solution with other people.

I had tremendous fear in my life. You can say that my middle name was fear. I was afraid of everything. I developed a personality characterized by fear, avoidant personality, aka shyness. (Please pay attention, if you are shy or know any one who is shy or have a child who is shy. Nigerians have personality issues but because they do not take the time to study these things, things that make them less productive, they do not understand what is keeping them down.)

All I did, as a kid, is keep to myself and read, I mean read. I must have read most of the books at Lagos Central Library. During holidays, I used to get there in the morning, and leave when it closes at night. I checked out books and read under an electric lamp. I had very few friends, for I was afraid to talk to people; I feared that if they got close enough to me that they would see me as not good enough and reject me.

The avoidant person is full of fear. He uses his imagination to anticipate other people’s rejection. He does not want to be rejected. He believes that as he is, that he is not good, that he is flawed. He thinks that if other people get close to him, that they would appreciate the fact that he is not good enough hence reject him.

To avoid being rejected by other people, the shy child withdraws from other children (and later, adults). He keeps to himself most of the time.

But since in life we must interact with other people, we are social animals, after all, he finds a way to relate to people without really relating to them. He develops a wall around himself. He is emotionally detached from other people. He relates to people from an emotional distance. He is around you, but is really far away from you. He does not let you into his life; he is afraid that if you come too close that you would appreciate his assumed inferior and inadequate self and reject him. Thus, he pushes people away with his well defended ego self.

He keeps to himself, while yearning for social interaction. But, alas, he does not know the first thing about social interaction: you must welcome people into your life. You must invite people to psychologically come into you and get to know you. You must be psychologically naked and let people see you, as you are, not as you pretend to be.

Generally, the shy, avoidant child waits for other people to approach him for friendship. Usually, one or two caring children would do so. Thus, he has one or two friends, those who took the initiative to approach him for friendship. When I was in elementary school, during the 1960s, at Ladi Lak School, Randall Road, Apapa, two boys, Alexander and Chima, used to come and play with me. They were the only friends that I had. I don’t think that many people knew that I even existed, for I hid my self, afraid of people coming too close to me.

In social isolation, the avoidant, shy child, person, uses his fertile imagination to imagine himself an important person. He visualizes himself doing whatever it is he could not do in real life. His fears prevent him from getting into the field of life and playing a part in it, so he sits around imagining himself becoming the best player in whatever field of life he sees people playing.

As a kid, I avoided sports. I would sit by the side lines, imagining how I could be the best player in whatever game I saw other kids playing. I visualized myself an Olympic athlete, winning several gold medals. But the trouble is that to win those medals, one had to participate in sporting activities and demonstrate that one is, in fact, good at them. One cannot win the kudos of life by sitting on the side lines.

I was destined to be a loser in life. And, in fact, I was a loser in life. I wind up poor, not because I do not have what it takes to make it, but because I did not invest my talents, as the big boy told us to do. I was too afraid to get into the arena of play and play fully, play my little heart out.

It takes playing 100% to become a winner at whatever field one is engaged in. If you are half assed in whatever you are doing, you aren’t going to become a winner in it.

Brother Jesus did not quite tell us about what prevents us from playing fully; he did not tell us what prevents us from investing our talents. He merely told us about what happens to those who did not invent their talents: they did not make profits.

Apparently, Jesus has finally done what he did not do. He did it through an American clinical Psychologist. He has now told us what holds us back from being the best that we can be: FEAR.

It is fear that is holding us back from investing fully in life, hence reaping the full benefits of peace and joy, the gifts of God. Helen Schucman, a Jewish Clinical Psychology Professor at Columbia University, New York City, tells us that what is preventing us from living fully is fear.

It is not that most psychologists do not already know that fear holds people back, it is the manner she said it. In her book, A Course in Miracles, she mixed secular and spiritual psychology. Most psychologists tend to dwell only in secular psychology. In fact, many Psychologists would resent it if you associated their field with religion and what they call the “God hypothesis”. To them, God does not exist and should not even be mentioned.

Psychology, as a field of inquiry, feels inferior for it is mainly speculative; its conclusions are difficult to verify. In his seminal essay on the nature of science (scientific methodology) Karl Popper cavalierly dismissed Psychology as nonsense.

In science, an idea, a hypothesis, must be verifiable by any one following the scientific method: observation, experimentation, replication and the idea must be refutable. (You can neither prove nor not prove the God hypothesis; it is not refutable hence not a heuristic subject.)

Behaviorists like B.F Skinner, in fact, rejected Psychoanalysis primarily because it is speculative. Instead, they concentrated on observable aspects of human behavior. Classical and operant conditioning was all that Skinner and company were interested in; they were not interested in knowing why you did what you did, for as they saw it, no human being, in fact, knows why he does what he does.

(Do you know why you do what you do? Are you just guessing or are you sure that your understanding of your motives is correct?)

While academic psychologists were too busy denying the reality of God, Sister Helen came along and claimed that human beings are spiritual beings and that they cannot live, as the old boy himself said, by bread alone. Apparently, man needs the word of God to live fully.

Sister Helen found a way to give fear a spiritual interpretation. However, her efforts tended to be too much on the side of metaphysics and too little on the side of physics. Human beings live in physics, in body. You must, therefore, take into account their bodies, as well as their minds, not in an either or manner, but both. Sister Helen’s thesis, in effect, was problematic. (I have addressed her mistakes in my writings, elsewhere.)


All human beings have experienced fear and anxiety. If you have not experienced them, you are probably not alive on planet earth.

Fear is considered objective, whereas anxiety is considered not so. One can be in the safety of ones room and feel all the symptoms of fear; this is called anxiety disorder. In fear, on the other hand, there is an actual cause for it, for example, someone is threatening your life. In my experience, anxiety also has objective cause, though that causal factor is not immediately apparent to the eyes. For example, I was born with two medical disorders, Spondilolysis and Mitral Valve Prolapse. The first produced pain in my body and the second made my heart pound upon the slightest exercise. Those underlying physiological disorders contributed to my apparent anxiety disorder. But since most parents do not even know anything about those medical disorders, their correlation with anxiety, no one knew the cause of my anxiety. I had the worst separation anxiety in the world. At age five, when I began school, I simply refused to stay at school, expecting my mother to be at school with me…she did for almost a month. (Many black children have undiagnosed medical disorders affecting their learning abilities. This probably accounts for their tendency to find ridiculously easy schools difficult. I found American universities so easy, boring, unchallenging, really, that I cannot imagine any one saying that it is difficult to succeed at them.)

There are some children born with fewer propensities to pain hence to fear. Fear is usually a product of pain. Human beings live in body. Body does experience pain. Fear enables them to anticipate whatever could cause them pain. They, then, avoid whatever could cause them pain.

Fear is a means of avoiding pain. Those children who are born with deficient capacity to feel pain (ANHIDROSIS or CIPA, congenital insensitivity to pain with anhidrosis), tend to not anticipate pain with fear and avoid it hence tend to be hurt and die from the injuries they sustain. Such children seldom live to adulthood.

Fear is what keeps us alive in body for it alerts us to what could hurt our bodies and cause us pain and eventually destroy our bodies. Fear is very critical for our physical survival. Without fear, no human being can survive into adulthood.

Unfortunately, or is it fortunately, some children are born with propensity to more pain hence to more fear. I was such a child. The shy child tends to have more pain and fear in his life. This is so due to his inherited body. (If you are interested in the academic literature on this subject, see Professor Jerome Kegan’s efforts at Harvard University. Also see the writings of Professor Isaacs of Oxford University.)

On the other hand, there are children who tend to feel less pain hence less fear. These children tend to develop antisocial personalities. The criminal type, generally, feels less pain and less fear. As a matter of fact, he tends to engage in high risk behaviors in his quest to excite his body, to feel a little fear, for after all fear is sign that one is alive in body. The antisocial criminal seeks thrills, to excite his “dense” body. (Psychotherapy generally aims at instilling some anxiety in criminals. These people have less fear and anxiety hence engages in the incredibly hurtful activities that they engage in; therapy attempts to instill anxiety in them, so as to make them amenable to socialization, to internalizing, interiorizing and introjecting pro-social norms.)

The shy child has an over aroused soma (body) and tends to seek reduction of his somatic excitement. (See the writings of Hans Esynck. He rewrote Carl Jung’s psychoanalytic postulations of introversion and extroversion in behaviorist categories.) The introverted, shy child feels over aroused and seeks somatic calmness, whereas the extroverted, antisocial child tends to feel under aroused and seek thrills to make him feel some fear. The criminal actually enjoys stealing for there is a prospect of him being caught and that makes him feel a little anxiety, which stimulates his seeming over calm body.

Kegan has definitively proved that temperament is inherited. If one is shy, one inherited it, one inherited an easily arousable body; if one is extroverted, and one inherited a less arousable body. Temperament is stable from day one of ones life hence is not a learned variable. If you are shy, you can manage it, but you cannot eliminate it, for your body is easily aroused.

The physical environment is always impersonal. It hurts the human body without regards to our desire to not be hurt. Any number of factors can hurt our bodies. Our bodies, therefore, evolved a mechanism to alert us to whatever could hurt us and give us pain. That mechanism is called fear response.

All animal organisms that survive on planet earth tend to experience fear, some more so than others. Those with less fear tend to be called bold persons; those with more fear tend to be called timid persons.


A car nearly runs into you, a mugger points a gun at you, demanding your money, or he kills you. Without thinking about it, your body goes to work, in an involuntary manner, to defend you. Your nervous system urges your adrenal glands to release more adrenalin into your blood stream. That excitatory hormone is released and speeds up the workings of most of your organs.

Your heart pumps faster, sending blood to all parts of your body. Your body releases stored energy (sugar) and your blood carries it to all parts of your body, particularly to your muscles, giving them energy to do additional work, work demanded of them to enable you survive. In fear, even if you are obese, you could run the hundred yards in 10 seconds, an Olympic time; nature does everything to protect your body when it is endangered.

Your lungs beat faster, enabling you to inhale more oxygen into your body. Your body needs that energy to do its additional work. That oxygen is carried to all parts of your body by your blood. Your body uses the released glucose and inhaled oxygen, burns them up fast in doing the additional work it is doing to find a way to defend you when you are under attack. In doing so, your body produces enormous heat.

Too much somatic heat could destroy some of your visceral organs, so your body finds a way for you to exhale that heat. The air you exhale, when in fear, is hot. You also sweat, because blood carries hot carbon dioxide to your skin and tries to get rid of it through the pores in your skin. When a person is in fear, his skin tends to feel hot, for his body is actually eliminating heat.

Your nervous system works very fast, sending messages from all over your body to the central nervous system (spine and brain). The CNS makes decisions as to what you should do in response to the threat to your life. If you could defeat it, out wit the mugger, your brain asks you to call his bluff, to challenge him to a fight and take the damn gun away from him. (Criminals are always cowards, I have already told you that they are merely seeking thrills for they have under aroused bodies; they are not courageous persons; courage lies in overcoming fear and doing what benefits all of humanity. All those Nigerian politicians that steal our monies are, in fact, cowards; if they were courageous, they would, if necessary, go without food to help develop their poor country.)

If your past experience believes that you can defeat the person endangering your life, your brain urges you to stay and fight him. In that case, your fear is transformed into anger. (The same neuro-chemicals are involved in fear and anger response; in fact, the two affects are the same, physiologically. A fearful person tends to be an angry person, for the same physiology under lays both response.)

If you cannot possibly defeat the attacker, your CNS urges you to flee from him (and if you cannot run away, to beg him for your life).

Fear response is characterized by fight or flight. You fight back and remove whatever is threatening your life or you run from it. Either response is done involuntarily; they take place in seconds, when your life is threatened. You do not pause to think about what to do when a car approaches you, you simply run from it…your adrenalin pours itself into your blood stream and the fear response mechanism described above takes over, and in a split second you jump away from the path of the oncoming car. If you fail in doing so, well, you are hurt or killed.

(This essay is meant for the general public. Therefore, I will not go into details on the actual physiology of fear; that would require some courses in biology, physics and chemistry; you would have to understand the nervous system, the electrical system of the body, biophysics/biochemistry, how messages are transmitted from one neuron, synapse, to another; the role of the electrical ions of potassium, calcium, sodium, magnesium, phosphor, nitrogen etc; the nature of neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, neuropiniphrine, GABA, endorphin and so on. I will keep it very simple.)

Now get this fact into your brain. If fear is holding you back from living fully and from doing whatever you want to do, you probably inherited a body that is prone to quick fear response.

I know this truth for I lived in fear from day one of my life. Make a little noise and my body is aroused and goes into fear mode. My heart pounds as if it wants to jump out of its chest cavity, my lungs flap; my nervous system goes fast and I experience the fight-flight response to fear. If I am sleeping and you switch on electrical light, I immediately wake up; that is how attuned to changes in the environment that my body is. Raise your voice, and I jump. (I should point out that some psychologists have speculated that persons who inherited such extreme tendency to fear, who generally tend to have very high IQ…over 130… were those who, in primitive societies, became their people’s shamans and prophets. My philosophical mental, Arthur Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Idea, described his body as being as I know my body to be. He struggled to avoid people for their nose making jarred his over sensitive body. He said this almost two hundred years. He helped me understand why I avoided people for their idle charter made my body want to run. When I am with Nigerians and they begin to talk loudly, as they do, I run away. I go read. Reading calms me down. Reading is probably the best way to relax the mind. If you are stressed out, try reading good books. )

I have been fearful from day one of my life. In fact, all persons in my family are fearful. My father was fearful; my grand father was so etc. Our over fearfulness is due to our inherited hyper sensitive body. Since my ancestors were their people’s Amadioha High Priests, I have often wondered whether there was a correlation between their hypersensitive bodies, high intelligence and their social function.

There are advantages and disadvantages to everything in life. Fearful people tend to develop introverted, introspective personalities. Fearless persons tend to develop extroverted personalities.

The introvert thinks a lot and the extrovert thinks less. It is introverts that give us our philosophy and psychology. Extroverts do things and give us our food.

If life gives you lemon, make lemonade with it. If you are born with an over aroused central nervous system, hence compelled to introspect, you might as well read books, think about them and contribute to the world of ideas.


Human beings are self conscious animals. In fact, what seems to differentiate them from other forms of animal life is their self consciousness. The Canadian Psychiatrist, Richard M. Burke, in his book, Cosmic Consciousness, observed that what differentiates animals from human beings is human beings self consciousness. He seemed to think that that quality makes us spiritual beings. However, he also seemed to think that we must lose that self consciousness to return to our assumed spiritual origin. As it were, we separated from unified spirit and each of us feels conscious of his separated, in Carl Jung’s categories, individuated self. Therein lays the problem of human existence. We must relinquish that sense of separation and its allied self consciousness and return to a state of what Buddha called “no self” to regain awareness of our true self.

In meditation and mystical experience folks claim to have given up awareness of their separated self and regained awareness of unified self, hence entered what they call God state. Hinduism calls it Samadhi, Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism calls it Nirvana, Zen Buddhism calls it Satori. Here, the separated self is let go and the individual’s mind is whipped clean of all self concepts. In a mind made void of all conceptual categories, emptied of all ideas of self and meaning, an open mind, the real self, which Buddha thinks is unified, dawns on one’s mind. One feels at peace and is happy. Hinduism calls this experience absolute bliss.

The fearful person tends to be extremely self conscious. What is going on here? Briefly, self consciousness is the awareness of one’s self as different from other selves. Human beings are conscious that they are individuated (See Carl Jung on Individuation) and separated from other people and from the rest of the world. As Eric Fromm pointed out in Escape from Freedom, human beings have a sense of being detached from the world they live in.

It is said that other forms of being feel as if they are one with their environment, whereas human beings feel apart from it. As a matter of fact, we do not know how other forms of life feel, so the statement that animals, for example, do not feel separated from their world is speculative and untenable to science. But the point is well taken, man feels cut off from the rest of being, he feels all alone in the universe.

I believe that self consciousness is an ego variable. To feel self conscious is to see ones self as different from other people, as not the same as other people and as unequal with other people. One either feels superior to other people or feels inferior to other people, or vacillates between the two.

Self consciousness is an effort to make one’s separated self seem real in one’s awareness. Here, one is keenly aware that others are looking at one, that they observe one, evaluate and judge one’s every behavior. The self conscious person feels like he is in a fishbowl, is the center of other people’s attention. He feels like all people are judging his every behavior and deciding whether they are good or bad. Of course, he would like to be judged as good, so he does whatever he could to make him seem good and avoid being seen as bad. (As a child, I was conscious of other people judging me and tried my best to conform to accepted social norms; the prospect of doing the wrong thing hence be negatively judged and possibly rejected filled me with anxiety. Behaviorally, I was a model child and never engaged in anti social behaviors. I dutifully went to confession every Saturday and confessed sins I had not committed.)

There are clinical terms for these issues, such as ideas of reference, ideas of centrality etc. But this is not a paper for mental health professionals, so I will stay away from those terms. If interested in the literatures see David Swanson et al, The Paranoid; William Meisner, Paranoid Process; David Shapiro, Autonomy and the Rigid Character; The American Psychiatric Association, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, relevant sections.) The salient point is that the fearful person, who in extreme form is a shy person, tends to be s a self conscious person. Whereas all human beings are self conscious, shy, fearful persons are extremely self conscious.

Contrary to the general perception that shy person are timid, actually they are very egotistical. They have grandiose self concepts. They secretly feel superior to other people. Their shyness is, in fact, a strategic withdrawal from other people so that their imaginary big self is not exposed as the sham it is. Alfred Adler explicated this phenomenon better than other psychologists. He observed that the shy, neurotic person feels inferior and compensates with a fictional, imaginary superior self concept. He wants to become a very important person. The important self concept and its pictorial form, self image, is not real; it is a conceptual self and does not exist in the real world.

In the objective, real world, all people are the same and are equal. But the neurotic wants to seem better than other persons. He uses his imagination to invent an imaginary big self. However, the neurotic is aware that that self is not real. He then feels that if other people come close to him that they would appreciate that his grandiose self concept is make belief and not real. In a futile effort to protect his imaginary big self and make it seem real, he avoids other people. In effect avoidance behavior is an effort to preserve a false neurotic big self. (Please note that every human being is a bit neurotic. The clinical term for normal persons is normal neurotics. Therefore, in talking about neurotics, we are talking about all human beings. It is all a matter of degrees.)

In psychosis, such as schizophrenia and mania, the individual, in fact, believes that he is his imaginary important self, hence he is insane. The neurotic person, like most Nigerian big men, wants to be seen as an important person but knows that he is not, hence is able to test reality and, as such, is normal. On the other hand, the psychotic person, in fact, believes that he is more important than other persons hence has lost touch with reality. He now lives in his own world. The psychotic actually believes that he is god, Jesus, Napoleon or whatever big self he constructs for himself. Reality is awareness and acceptance that all human beings, man and woman, child and adult, black and white are the same and equal.

The neurotic detests his inferior feeling self and wishes that he were superior but knows that he is not superior to any one else, he is able to distinguish between wishes and facts. The psychotic has lost the ability to distinguish between wishes and facts, hence believes that since he wished that he were superior that, in fact, he is so.

It is impossible for one human being to be superior to other human beings. The same life force, unified spirit, which is the same and equal everywhere, manifests in all people hence all people, in their essence, are equal. Of course, in the temporal universe, there are apparent differences in people; some are black, others white, some tall, others short, some smart, others not so smart etc. But these are appearances and appearances are deceiving. Look beyond human appearances and behold the sameness and equality in all human beings.

For our present purpose, shyness and self consciousness are efforts to defend the separated, ego self. The shy person is attempting to have a big ego and must accept that his ego is the same as other egos. Therapy for the shy person includes shrinking his swollen ego. If your child is shy and avoidant, he or shy has a swollen self concept that needs to be shrunk. The shy child’s approach-avoidant behavior is rooted in his misguided efforts to seem a very important person.

The moment you feel better than other people, you have interfered with relationship, and can no longer relate well to other people. Good relationship requires that people be equal; only the equal can relate well, the unequal have conflicted relationships. Give it up, give up the neurotic and or psychotic wish to be better than other people and relate to all people as your equal friends. All God’s children are equal. (I have developed these ideas in more clinical papers.)


In the beginning is God. (All metaphysics must have a story of creation, all of them myths; so bear with me as I narrate Sister Helen’s myth of creation; as long as you understand that we are now in the realm of mythology, not science, you are safe; do not always accept what people tell you is the truth, as the literal truth; no human being knows what the truth is. Where objective knowledge ends mythology begins. Lest you are cavalier, myths are necessary for living. Please pay close attention to this myth, for it has an element of truth in it; all useful myths have some metaphoric truth, but not the whole truth in them.)

God is one. God extended himself into his Son. God gave his son his ability to extend himself. The Son of God extended his self into his own son.

There was no time when God did not exist. Since, by definition, God is creative and is always creating his children, there was no time that the children of God did not exist. As it were, the son of God is as old as God, for if there was a time that God did not have a son, since to be God, one must be a father, God did not exist. Creation has no beginning and no end. (We are talking in metaphors, but we are also talking truth, so pay attention and learn.)

Creation begins in God and extends outwards to his Son and to the Son’s children, ad infinitum. In concrete terms, God created your father. Your father has the power to create given to him by God. He created you with that power. He gave you that creative power. You create your own children, who, in turn, will create their own children, ad infinitum.

God is creative and is always creating his children and his children creating their own children. This process has no beginning and no end.

God and his creation are one. God is his creation. God is in his creation. God is in his children. The children of God are in God. The children of God are in each other. Where God ends and his children begin is nowhere. Where one child of God ends and another begins is nowhere. There is no space or gap between God and his children, or between the children. All creation is unified as one. God is in you and you are in God; and you are also in all people, as they are in you. (When you sleep and dream, you project out the entire world. You see a world that seems external to you, yet when you wake up in the morning, that world no longer exists. Why so? Because the entire world is inside you, as you are inside it. You project the seeming external world out and seem to live in it.)

In eternity, aka heaven, there is no you and not you, all are you. One God is himself and simultaneously his infinite creations.

(Do you think that this is fiction? Have you had mystical experience? In mystical union, you suddenly know yourself to be you and simultaneously all people. See William James, Varieties of Religious Experience; Evelyn Underhill, Mysticism. Also see the writings of Catholic, Protestant and Moslem mystics, such as Meister Eckhart, St John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, Hilton, Boehm, and Sufi Moslems.)

According to Sister Helen, eternity is unified. There is no you and not you in it; no seer and seen, no subject and object; all are one. All share one self and one mind. All share the self of God and the mind of God. We do whatever we do with the spirit of God in us; without him, we can do nothing. The son of God can do everything with the power of his father in him, but can do nothing without his father’s power. We are nothing without God; but with God we are everything.

Sister Helen said that in this unified state, eternity, she called it (traditional Christianity calls it heaven) entered the spirit of division and rebellion.

Each son of God, each part of God, wanted to separate from God and from others. Why this desire?

Separation is a means and must have an end. So why did we seek separation from God and from each other? Sister Helen said that we resented the fact that God created us and want to create ourselves. We are like God except in one respect. God created us and we did not create God and did not create ourselves.

Each of us does help create other people, our children, but we do so with the creative power of God in us, but not by our own powers. God is the creator and we are the created and we sorely resented this fact.

We wished to create ourselves and to create God. In other words, we wished to replace God. For that to happen, God had to be killed and die. We wished the death of our father. (This desire to create God, create ourselves and create each other Sister Helen called special-ness; I call it narcissism. The world came into being in pursuit of special-ness, in our vain effort to be narcissistic.)

We wished to drive our father out of his creatorship throne, usurp it, and create him and ourselves. (Please remember that we are now in the realm of metaphors, not facts. Nevertheless, we are articulating what, in fact, seemed to have happened. Please pay close attention.)

God is eternal and lives for ever and ever. Therefore, much as we wished to kill him, we cannot kill God. For one thing, God does not have a body that could be destroyed.

God is spirit. Spirit is that which is not in form, in body and in matter.

In eternity, heaven, we are spirit, not bodies hence we are in each other and in God. Spirit is eternal, permanent and changeless and could not be killed by his rebellious sons.

But the wish for self creation is powerful. So what to do? We contrived to tune God out, and, as it were, seem to go to sleep, and in our sleep, dream that we are separated from God and have now created us. We invent our self concepts, our egos, and our personalities as our replacement selves. Our real self, in heaven, is unified self, but our current self, on earth, is separated self. The separated self is a substitute self; the real self is unified spirit.

(Cross reference Hindu story of the origin of this world. See Veda, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Upanishads, Bagavad Gita, Patanjali’s Yoga, Shankara and Ramanuja’s philosophies, Guru Nanak’s writings, The Gospel of Ramakrishna, and Vivekananda’s writing. Hinduism believes that the world is a dream. Western solipsistic philosophers like George Berkeley and Arthur Schopenhauer built on Vedanta, the philosophical aspect of Hinduism; Hinduism has two aspects, the intellectual part, Vedanta, Janna Yoga, and the emotional aspect for the masses, Bhakti Yoga.)

Fifteen billion years ago, we all went insane and attacked each other and attacked God (the Big Bang of physics), and in doing so, seemed to separate from each other. That much attack made the loudest noise you ever heard, the big bang. (Please see Joseph Campbell’s The Power of Myth. Also see his series on a Hero with Thousand Faces.)

As it were, we shattered unified reality and in nanoseconds invented space. Space gave us separation from each other.

The moment space came into being, time came into being. Draw a line between two separated points and it takes time to go from one point to the other.

If I separated from you, in space, then, it requires time for me to reach you. Space and time came into being almost simultaneously, with space preceding time by nanoseconds.

As soon as space and time were invented, particles had to be invented. Space invented time and matter. Thus, in seconds after the big bang, particles were invented. Quarks, protons, neutrons, electrons etc were invented.

Particles, in time, unified to form atoms. First, hydrogen atoms. In time that atom and its isotopes differentiated into the 104 elements (and counting) in the universe.

The elements, in time, unified into biological organisms; first, into plant life and then into animal life and finally into human beings.

(Are you enjoying this creation mythology? I told you that Sister Helen was the best myth maker of the twentieth century. And that is good for all the old creation myths, like Genesis in the Christian Bible, were invented by men. I say that it is about time we had female myth makers. Right on, Sister Helen, this brother is with you. But he must necessarily correct your problematic aspects. That is his contribution to what Aldus Huxley called the perennial philosophy of mankind.)

As Sister Helen sees it, none of this has actually happened. God and his children are still unified. What seemed to have happened is that the children of God seemed to have fallen, metaphorically, asleep, and are dreaming that they are in a place called this world. But, in fact, they are still in God and are with God.

This may sound spooky to you. When you experience mystical union, all you feel is like you merely awakened from a sleep, momentarily remember that you were in a place called this world, and quickly forget about it; as we tend to forget our dreams. You quickly know yourself to be at your real home, unified state, heaven, call it whatever you like; it has no name. You know yourself to be a part of God and God to be your creator. You know yourself to be immortal. You know everything (excluding information on material things, for matter does not exist in eternity). You know yourself as formless unified spirit.

Sister Helen tells us that our world does not exist and that it is as a mere dream. Good gracious, what does she mean that this apparent solid world is a dream and is not real? It sure seems real to me.

George Berkeley wrote his Dialogues, philosophical solipsism, and claimed that the world is in our minds. Boswell, Dr Johnson’s side kick, told Dr Johnson, the old English wit, about it, and he struck his toe on a rock, felt pain, and said: that is the answer for Berkeley.

A few years ago, I was living at Alaska. I told a bright Yupik Eskimo boy about Sister Helen’s story that our world is a dream and he said, and I quote, “Dr Osuji, if I strike my toes on a rock, I feel pain, so this world is sure real to me”. This thirteen year old boy had never heard of Dr Johnson, yet his response to solipsism was exactly like Johnson’s. This goes to show you that all human beings are the same.

(As an aside, Dr Johnson was so afraid of death that he clung to life and died a miserable death, fighting death. Apparently, he did not want to go to that oblivion which, as an atheist, he preached. He was scared shitless of death. On the other hand, Berkeley, a Catholic Bishop, who believed in God, died gracefully. The atheist that talks volubly that God does not exist is usually afraid to die and go to that finitude that he talks so much about. In an emergency, in the fox hole, the most vocal atheist prays to God.)

God exists. In fact, God is the only thing that exists. Nothing else exists. But your concept of God may not be God, for God is beyond concepts. God is not anything that you can conceptualize or think about. God is ineffable; you cannot understand him with earthly ego, intellectual categories.

God is unified spirit and only those in spirit can understand God. Since you are in body, or think that you are, you cannot understand unified spirit. Moreover, the intellectual categories of this world are meant to help us understand a separated world. For example, language is adaptive to separated people. One is apart from you, so one talks to you. But if people are unified and there are no others to talk to, language is redundant. You cannot understand eternity with our earthly language, for language adapts to the separated realities of this world, not to the unified reality of heaven.

Sister Helen wants you to give up this world, to awaken from the dream of special ness and separation and return to God. She reinterpreted the Gospel of Jesus to tell you what you have to do to awaken from this dream.

Jesus taught people to love one another. He said that true love means forgiving one another. If others do bad things to you, forgive them. He forgave those who destroyed his physical body.

On the other hand, on earth, we invented matter and body and seem to live in it. Matter, body, gives a sense of boundaries, separation. One is in this body and other people are in different bodies, so one must be separated from them. We experience attacks on our bodies as pain. We do not like pain. We fear pain. We defend against attack by either counter attacking those who attacked us or avoiding them. On earth, we survive to the extent that we avoid attack.

If attacked we tend to be defensive. Jesus, on the other hand, tells us not to be defensive. He asks us to be defenseless, to not fight back when attacked. But you think that if you are attacked that you would be killed, so, you defend yourself when attacked by counter attacking the attacker, or if weak, running from the attacker.

Fear is a means of running from attack and anger is a means of counter attacking your attackers. Fear and anger enables you to protect your body hence to survive on earth as a separated self.

Jesus asks you to forgive those who attack you hence to be defenseless to attack. He must be crazy; your earthly ego intellect tells you, for you know that if you do not fight the bully, that he could hurt, even kill you. If you re a boy-child, you quickly learn that if you seem weak that other boys would, for no good reason, come and push you around. You must be assertive to avoid being messed with.

As a shy, quiet boy, I was pushed around a lot. One day, after school…I can just see us at Point road, Apapa… three boys, my class mates, the three stars, as they called themselves, confronted me. Other boys immediately circled us, cheering them to beat that “know it all” Tommy. Well, I suddenly found the strength to fight back. I fought like hell and in fact inflicted a lot of physical harm on the three ten year old boys. They had attacked me in the presence of other boys, to humiliate me and to seem powerful. If I had allowed myself to be pushed around, I would have lost social face. I gained prestige by attacking to kill. (Up to the present, though I seem gentle, if you mess with me, I attack you with such verbal fury that I might, in fact, destroy you.)

Please note that none of the other boys came to my rescue. They just circled us, expecting to have fun from Tommy having the crap beat out of him. The lesson here is that when push comes to shove, no one will come to your rescue. You are all alone in this wide universe. Defend yourself, as much as you could. Ces’t la vie, such is life. Life is, as Charles Darwin told us, and Herbert Spenser popularized in the philosophy of social Darwinism, a struggle where the fittest survive and the weak die. Don’t give me that emotional bull that others are looking after my self interests. That was the lesson I learned in my childhood. (To the present, I tend to look at people with cynical eyes; I expect them to do nothing for my survival. I survive by my own efforts. To me, those masquerading as very important persons are no more than clowns. I do not rely on them for my survival therefore they are superfluous human beings. Why should I see you as a socially important person when you play no role in my survival? No Nigerian, other than my parents, has contributed to my physical survival, so Nigerians seem no more than empty vessels making a whole lot of noise.)

From that moment of whipping three boys, no other kid at my elementary school messed with me.

The salient point is that in our world, you got to defend yourself, to be alive. And here comes a chap called Jesus telling you not to defend yourself. He must be a crazy. See, he did not defend himself and his enemies killed him.

Defenselessness and forgiveness is a recipe for death. So if you want to die, then forgive your enemies.

(By the way, I am engaged in a serious philosophical discourse, so you might as well pay attention. I am trying to tell you that if you practiced true Christianity, which is love and forgiveness, that you would be destroyed by this world. My fellow thinker, Frederick Nietzsche, said as much, in his book, Thus Spake Zarathustra. Christianity had to be practiced in the breech, for people to survive. This accounts for the fact that those who call themselves Christians do not practice it. If they did, they would die off. The question then is whether they should bite the bullet, practice what their master, Jesus, told them to practice and die? Think about it. Stop being emotional and use your freaking mind, for once in your life. If you are a Christian, as Nigerians run around telling us that they are, how come you do not do what Christians are supposed to do: love, forgive and serve all people? How come you only look after your self interests and not public interests? I am yet to see a true Christian in Nigeria or any where else, for that matter.)

If terrorists attacked you, and you want to live in this world, you must defend yourself. If you are defenseless, they will kill you or convert you to their violent religion. Simply stated, forgiveness and defenseless are antithetical to survival in this world.

Nevertheless, Jesus taught that message and Sister Helen rearticulated it. She asks us to forgive those who harm us. As she sees it, they harm us because we harmed them hence we must forgive them.

In her view, nothing could happen to one unless one wants to experience it. One must have attacked other people, for them to attack one. To separate from other people is to have attacked them; it takes attack to split unified reality and thereafter seem apart from other people. Apriori, we have attacked other people, hence are guilty.

The three boys who jumped me believed that I attacked them by being haughty. I was not an innocent boy. I used to consider the boys primitive. They just came to town from their villages and seemed uncivilized; it was like they came from a different planet, culturally speaking.

In the here and now, the fact is that defenselessness leads to physical death. Sister Helen tells you that therein lay your problem: that you believe in death. She said that when you think that you are dead, that all that happens is that you awaken in unified state. To her, there is no death. This world is a dream and when we die in it, we merely awaken from a nightmarish dream.

But you have no way of knowing whether what the Jewish sister is telling you is true or not. Clever religious charlatans and quacks have been known to deceive gullible people; so your ego intellect asks you to defend yourself, which is what most of us do.

See also, Overcoming the Fear that Holds Africans Down, Part 2

Posted by Administrator at 08:53 AM | Comments (0)

August 16, 2005

Carnage On Nigerian Roads: An Eye-witness Account

by Uche Nworah --- (London, UK) If you have ever heard the saying that the death of one person diminishes us, then you will truly appreciate its deep meaning after seeing these shocking images, and imagine that it could have been you, your friend, or family member lying under this 40-feet petrol tanker.

For the families of the 16 people that were crushed to death in this accident, no cries will ever ease their pain and no amount of condolences will bring back to life their loved ones, who lost their lives in a most horrific and horrendous manner.

Mangled bodies trapped beneath the truck

Even as they boarded the Mitsubishi L300 passenger bus with registration number: Akwa Ibom XA 554 KTE on the evening of Thursday, the 14th of July 2005, they must have been filled with a sense of joy, that they were finally going home from their different offices and places of work to their families, after another long hard day. Some of them may have dreamed of sitting out in the moonlight with their families for some late family dinner, others may have been looking forward to a forthcoming family or personal event, a wedding or naming ceremony or even to attending church service the coming Sunday.

Uche Nworah surrounded by angry villagers at the scene of the accident.

But all those dreams died, and with them the dream carriers. Their lives cut short by a combination of factors: human error, poor judgement, government maladministration, infrastructural decay and man’s inhumanity to man. Some of the villagers I spoke to blamed the cause of the accident on the driver of the petrol truck belonging to Total Nigeria PLC, who had mistimed an overtaking manoeuvre, others heaped the blame on the Nigerian government for neglecting the pothole – filled Aba/Owerri Express road, saying that if the road, one of the busiest in the eastern part of Nigeria had been dualised as planned, then there would be less risks of accidents.

According to another villager, the accident occurred between 7-8 pm, he said that the driver of the petrol truck which was travelling from Owerri to Aba had tried to avoid a pothole, and had then suddenly swerved to the left, and on to the path of the on-coming mini-bus, which was then already close by, the driver of the mini-bus had then out of desperation swerved sharply into the nearby bushes to avoid a head-on collision with the truck, but for whatever reasons, the driver of the truck lost control of the truck which then climbed on top of the mini-bus crushing all the passengers to death. There were still unconfirmed reports as to the fate of the driver of the truck by the time we arrived the scene, a few metres from the main gates of the Anambra-Imo River Basin Development Authority, in Agballa – Owerri, Imo state.

Villagers look on, bewildered and helpless.

Any hopes of rescuing any survivors must have been lost because of the slow pace of response of the largely under - funded and under-equipped ambulance and emergency services, who are not equipped to handle such tragedies and situations, little surprise then, that as at 10 am on Friday, in the morning of the day after the accident, no form of help or assistance had yet arrived the scene.

This is not an isolated case; there is so much death on Nigerian roads, as a result of a combination of the factors I earlier mentioned. This is again one of the many sad tales and tragedies that confront our people everyday, and another example of wasted opportunities in rural Africa.

This is not an isolated case; there is so much death on our roads, as a result of a combination of the factors I earlier mentioned. This is only one of the many sad tales and tragedies that confront our people everyday, and another example of wasted opportunities in rural Africa.

As for the families of the deceased who may have lost their 'bread winners', we can only pray for them, that is the much we can do for now, knowing that the true causes of the accident may never be officially determined, neither will those responsible be brought to justice, nor will they be made to pay any sort of compensation, but as a good corporate citizen, hopefully Total Nigeria Plc will not sweep this under the carpet. A case then for the many non- governmental organisations (NGOs)in Nigeria to pursue to its final conclusion.

Uche Nworah is a freelance writer and lives in London.

Posted by Administrator at 08:38 AM | Comments (0)

Paris Club Calling: Ngige / Obi may have just won 18 Billion Dollars

by Farouk Martins, Omo Aresa --- Before you claim your prize, come up with 12b dollars from your 24b foreign reserve. The people of Anambra know who they voted for - neither Obasanjo nor Chris Uba can anoint a Governor for them. But Ngige and Uba already confessed they rigged election.

If there is any consensus in Anambra or among many of us who have written about Paris Club and their invitation to negotiate the interest and penalties piled on Nigeria, it is that celebration is premature.

Is there a link here? Yes, Anambra can not afford to go by the contract between Ngige and Uba just as Nigeria can not afford Paris Club contract. Before the latest Justice Nabaruma Tribunal judgment overturning the Governorship election, I had developed some anxiety over Anambra ability to pay Chris Umba. That same fear griped me again that Nigeria will take the bait even before negotiating what they are paying for.

Some of us think we can purge our frustration about Nigeria after our academic diarrhea at parties and end up saying the usual – only God can save Nigeria. In Part 2 of NO POWER CAN BREAK NIGERIA BUT…., I condemn the creative financing in form of interest and penalties by the Paris Club. But I still have fears that Nigeria will pay 6 billions dollars in September and over six billions later.

We have World Bank, IMF and WTO loan collectors planted among us telling us it is the honorable way to go. I can understand where they are coming from. Some of us do not understand their logic. You see, there are rules, regulations and laws that govern these loans and which we agreed to. In short, we signed a binding contract. If you borrow, you must pay. Chikena!

High Court Justices Egbo Egbo and Staley Nnaji followed the law of contract and ruled against the Governor based on what he signed. There is more to contract than the law. The law also looks at the circumstances and situation that led to the agreement. Was it under duress or the unequal relationship between master and servant?

If you think that can only happen in Nigeria, think again.

It is not the first time poor people have been taken advantage of by that contract. The farm workers in the southern part of United States used to sign those contracts until people like Chavez died fighting against it. That does not mean it is not happening now.

Some unscrupulous contractors, in the eighties, were prowling the neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts looking for poor old people who have paid or almost paid off the mortgage on their houses. These people were so poor; they could not even qualify for a loan to buy a sweeper not to mention a new car.

Nevertheless, contractors like Chris Uba were able to secure loans for them to renovate their houses. These loans were in thousands of dollars. When they could not pay, banks were ready to take their houses. It took the effort of the City of Boston, Workers Union, and other non profit organizations to tear up the contracts. The banks, in fairness to them also donated money to clean up their image.

There was also that time in the seventies, up to the nineties when sweet talkers would promise to sell you a house with no money down, bad credit and sometimes without a job. They would prepare your application for the banks and get you insurance for cover.
As soon as you default, the banks would take your house. This time, it was the banks who found out that the house is not worth the mortgage they gave. The insurance did cover some of their losses.

I have not mentioned Savings and Loans bail out; Boesky or Milken in the stock market where all your stocks that you depend on for retirement would turn to penny stocks. Boesky was noted for praising greed as very good for capitalism. The Government has cleaned up some of the most egregious cases. Right now some of the executives are doing jail time.

Contracts, laws, agreement are needed but are also subjected to abuse. Once the abuse is discerned, it must be remedied. It was Anambra yesterday, Ogun today, and Nigeria tomorrow. Nigeria has been abused. The law takes cognizance of evidence in good faith and fair dealings.

On one hand, the pictures of children during Nigeria/Biafra war, Ethiopia famine, Somali war, Niger famine were all over the televisions; on the other hand which hardly communicate with the first hand, are people asking a Country where 90 percent of its population live on less than 2 dollars a day to come up with 12 billion dollars. That is what you call MURDER.

Even the 40 billion dollars announced loan forgiveness that exclude Nigeria and pacified concert organizers was in form of deduction and replenishment to the lending banks from any new contribution. More important, it is over 40 years. So the Net Present Value boils down to 17 billion dollars!

What is Chris Umba, one man, going to do with all that money extracted from his own State while the rest suffer? Greed knows no bound. America cry about the difference between the lowest paid workers in the company compared to the ‘Thief Executive”. Go to Nigeria where Ministers like Olu Adeniji get paid in foreign dollars and El Rufai paid his “consultants” in foreign dollars. Are any of these Ministers more dedicated than Dora Akinyuli or Nuhu Ribadu?

What then do you call the loan collectors planted among us? House “negroes”!

Therefore, I am begging Obasanjo in the name of Adimu/Adumu/Oduduwa/Obi/Oba who was his forefather to take another look and allow the Senate or the House to listen to all sides before we hand over 12 billions dollars to owners of the farms who want to keep us in perpetual bondage. There is too much money going to contractors and their foreign expatriates or corporations.

Peter Obi, people are suspicious, watch out! I know once he makes up his mind, he prides himself as a stubborn Owu man, that nobody can change his mind. Mr. President listen to the cry of hungry bellies in the Anambra; north, south, east, and west of Nigeria, so that you can face them and say you did it in their interest. Dee Baba Iyabo! Na beg I beg o.

That money does not belong to only Nigeria, it belongs to all Africans all over the world, where ever they are and we are all watching. A worthy Nigeria is the pride of all blacks. Sometimes the black world is proud of the way an African, conduct himself or spend his money even when none of it enters our pocket.

Nigerians, this is not the time to bicker over money that you may not even smell. Beg your President, your Minister of Finance, Minister of Foreign Affairs and your representative for a second look before that amount of money is exchanged. At least those who exchanged gold for mirrors could see their faces, interest and penalties on interest are virtual debts not substance. I am sure that I am not the only one going through sleepiness nights thinking about what Nigeria can do with that money.

Contractors could have taken over Anambra State but for the power of the people. The fight is never over, it is continuous. In Adamawa, the Governor regained his seat after Tribunal ruling. No celebration that has meaning only for those who desire laurels in the so called international arena. Not yet.

Posted by Administrator at 08:23 AM | Comments (0)

August 15, 2005

Africans should Pay Reparations to African Americans, Part 2

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. --- (Seatle, Washington) I believe that Africans are as guilty as white people in causing the suffering of African Americans. As such, both Africans and whites must make reparations to African Americans.

It is estimated that one out of three African Americans came from Nigeria. Many African Americans are Igbos, Yorubas, and Hausas. (My friends and I used to indulge in a game of trying to figure out what tribe a particular African American came from. We would observe their behaviors and match them with the stereotypical behaviors of specific Nigerian tribes. If they are industrious and intemperate, we said Igbo, if they are very clever and diplomatic, we said Yoruba, if they are polished and aristocratic in their bearing, and we said Hausa and so on. Of course, we were mostly wrong for the typical African America is a mixture of the many African tribes that came here, and additionally are mixed with Caucasians and Indians. They are, in fact, a new breed of human beings, not African, not European, but the new human being. They are the vanguard of tomorrow’s mixed humanity. As the means of transportation and communication improves, people from all over the world will relate to each other closely. In the past, distance and culture separated people, but that is no more. With increased proximity will be increased so-called interracial marriages…genetically, there is no such thing as different races, and there is only one human species, from the so-called different races are, genetically, 99.9% the same…. and the result would be a new race of humanity, one that is neither white, nor black. In a thousand years, all people would be mixed and brown in color. This is our future and we might as well not fight it. We should rather provide all children with scientific education, and society with scientific culture, so as not to witness degeneration of the race to primitive forms of existence.)

As I see it, African Americans own as much of Nigeria’s oil wealth as those who claim to be Nigerians. Therefore, Nigeria ought to set aside 1-5% of her oil revenues for African Americans. All African countries ought to do the same. Moreover, all African countries ought to pass laws offering any African American (by which I mean those in both North and South America) who so desires it dual citizenship. If an African American desires it, he retains his American citizenship and passport and seeks, say Nigerian, Ghanaian citizenship and passport.

(African Americans came from Senegal through Namibia, all in West Africa. They did not come from North, South or East Africa, so the policy recommendations proposed here do not apply to those other parts of Africa. One is talking about West Africa, from Senegal to Namibia. However, East Africans do not escape Scott free. They sold themselves to Arab Countries. Take a look at Saudis, for example. Some look blacker than me…for some reasons, my family members tend to be fair in complexion, sometimes as white as Italians…East African countries must make reparations to blacks in the Middle East.)

Africans must make reparations for the abuse we subjected African Americans to. We must do so for a whole number of reasons, including the need to assuage our guilty conscience. As noted, some of us consciously feel guilty when we go to the inner cities of America and see how our American cousins live. I feel personally responsible for Harlem and Watts. I used to go through Watts and Compton, California, on my way to teach at a college in Dominguez Hill, and saw, first hand, how our people are made to live like second class citizens. I am personally responsible for this situation. So are my fellow Africans.

It is time for us to accept responsibility for our past wrong doing and ask our African American brothers to forgive us. I personally ask every African American I see to forgive me. I do not always say it aloud: I sometimes say it as a silent, inner prayer. Every day of my life, I ask God to forgive me for my ancestor’s evil behaviors.

(That evil behavior is preserved in my village. When, as a result of Lugard’s conquest of our world, slavery effectively ended in it, the slaves that had been captured but had not yet been sold were left in our village. To the present, these folks are treated as second class citizens. Being a life long rebel, while visiting our village, from my childhood home of Shanty town, Lagos, invited one of my fellow eight year olds from our Catholic church, Jeremiah where are you, to come to my house and my grand mother told me that we do not associate with “those people”, Osus. The boy was made to go home. To the present, we do not intermingle with them. We do not marry their people. As you may have noticed, my last name is Osuji. That means God’s slave. My ancestors, though Dialas, freeborn, were a positive kind of slaves; we were the priests of our clan. We are like the biblical Samuel; we are dedicated to serving God, to leading the people in spiritual affairs. In Hindu terms, we are the Brahmin class, the highest class in society. I suppose that that accounts for my extraordinary interest in spirituality? Perhaps, after all, I am here to do for our people what my ancestors did for them: provide them with spiritual, aka psychological, guidance? You never know how these things work. How do you account for my studying the major religions of the world, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Shintoism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam? I do not know.)

There is no use denying our complicity in the crime against humanity called slavery. I believe that both Africans and white Americans must take ownership of what we did to African Americans. When we do so, we must repent for our sins and make amends. This amends may take the form of monetary reparation to African Americans. However, I am against giving individual persons free monies. If we did so, they would drink themselves to death with it. I want us to set money aside to train every African American child, from elementary to university. This must be done for a generation (35 years).

I think that it is in taking ownership for our past criminal behavior of selling our people that Africans will finally become emotionally grown up. In their present state of denial, they tend to seem very childish. We must tell the universe that we accept our sins against some of God’s children.

I know that there are those who claim that there is no God. I can even make these atheists and agnostics’ arguments for them. But deep down in my soul, I know that God exists.

God tells me that Love is the highest form of being. As brother Jesus said: do unto others, as you want them to do to you. I want to be loved and, therefore, ought to love other people. In as much as we did not love our African American brothers, I believe that we violated God’s moral law.

I believe that one of the reasons why nothing is working out well for Africans is because of our evil behavior in selling our own people, that is, in not loving some of God’s children.

God is merciful. He tells us to forgive one another. Forgiveness is the highest form of Love. I ask my African American brothers and sisters to forgive us Africans, that is, to love us. I ask my fellow Africans to engage in behavior that shows that we love our African American brothers and sisters.

At the individual level, loving our African American cousins’ mean accepting and caring for them. If you are good at science and mathematics, please go the ghetto and teach black children physics, chemistry, biology, arithmetic, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, statistics, calculus etc.

I am a block head when it comes to mathematics, but I am very good at psychology. I do go to jails and prisons to counsel my brothers who are essentially political prisoners. Please do not get me wrong. I do believe in law and order and would punish a criminal in a jiffy. But things are such that in America a black boy is likely to be jailed than a white boy. One out of four black men between ages 14-24 is either in jail or being supervised by parole and probation officers. America annually spends more money to house one African American in jail than she does to educate each African American school child. It spends about $35,000 on each inmate and $6,000 to educate each student, annually. I think that this is an outrage against humanity.

My goal in this essay is not to take issue with white Americans’ abuse of African Americans. I have done that in other essays. Suffice it to say that I believe that if white Americans do not change and make amends for their evil against African Americans that their empire would eventually collapse. Where are Samaria, Egypt, Greece, Rome, France, Britain, Russia, and other hitherto great empires based on exploitation of God’s children?

All empires based on oppression, sooner or latter, fall. If America does not change her ways, her military might will not prevent her from joining the other evil empires. History is littered with fallen evil empires and there is no reason why America should be an exception.

I know that to Americans their present sole super power status is intoxicating and they may not imagine themselves no longer at the apogee of human civilization. But they must ask what happened to the other superpower, the Soviet Union? It took only a small trigger and Stalin’s oppressive house collapsed in a year. America is already a house built on a shaky foundation. It does not take too much perspicacity to appreciate that America’s morality is degenerate. We already have pedophiles and other such bestial creatures in ascendancy in America. Every moral deviancy now wants to be recognized as alternative life style. It is Nero’s decadent Rome all over again. We have been there before, de javu.

If Americans are mesmerized by their possession of weapons of mass destruction, perhaps, they ought to study a little history. History teaches us that no weapon system ever invented by man stays in one group’s possession for ever. The Chinese invented gun powder but Marco Polo brought it to Europe, and with it, Europeans ended the feudal era of bows, arrows and lances. Look around and see who is studying science at American universities. It is mostly third world students. By and large, these folks will go home and develop their own nuclear weapons.

All things being equal, America will, of course, fight tooth and nail to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons; it is in her self interests to do so. If others have those weapons, they could use them on America. Moreover, if only America has those weapons, she enjoys the status of a terrorist and is able to use her weapons to intimidate other people into doing what she wants. American leaders would saber rattle and generate fear in other countries, and out of fear they would obey America.

However, it is precisely because of this unacceptable intimidatory situation that other countries feel compelled to seek to acquire nuclear weapons. No one likes to be bullied by the school yard bully. If history is constant, and it is, by the end of this century, those countries, including African countries that want nuclear weapons will have them, America’s opposition not withstanding.

One is a political realist and knows that the genie cannot be put back into the bottle. All we can do is redesign the international order, so that we can manage the necessary weapons of mass destruction available in our world. The United Nations must be transformed into a real world government, with teeth to punish member nations. We must reduce the present nations’ sovereignty and give law enforcement powers to the United Nations Organization.

America’s culture is so fragile that with a little external and internal push; America will implode under the weight of her moral corruption.

Of course this does not have to happen. America is the first universal country. Indeed, it is my adopted country, and I wish her well. But as a moral agent, I cannot countenance abuse of any of God’s children. As some one said, do not ask for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for you. The abuse of any human being is my abuse. I look forward to a morally regenerated America and the collapse of a morally degenerate America.

Again, this essay is not directed at Americans but at my fellow Africans. I want my African brothers and sisters to think about the evils our ancestors visited on our American brothers, and think of creative ways to do their best to correct the situation. We must all pitch in to help those whose lives we made hellish. It is really hellish to be a slave and to live in America as the children of slaves, daily reminded of ones second class statuses by racist institutions.


In this essay, I am thinking out loud. Nothing written here is written in concrete. I am merely trying to provoke a discussion that I believe needs to take place among Africans.

I believe that there is tension between African Americans and Africans. That tension is rooted in our mutual awareness of our secret past. We Africans harmed African Americans. African Americans know this fact but it does not yet seem necessary for them to bring it to the open. They have one war to fight at a time. Currently, they are fighting a war with Caucasians, to redress the evil the later visited on them. But when their issue with Caucasians is properly disposed of, they would turn their attention to Africans. Sooner or later, African Americans will ask us Africans to make amends for our role in their suffering.

But it must also be remembered that some African Americans, while still in Africa, participated in slavery, until they were enslaved. Many of them went to wars to capture slaves and wound up been captured and sold. Even in the Americas, some of them had their own slaves. One has read about blacks in Virginia who had other black slaves. But then again there were the children who were caught in adult’s stupidity.

There is no use blaming any one for the past. What needs to occur is for us all to take mutual responsibility for the past and make sure that it does not repeat itself.

Long ago, I noticed an interesting phenomenon among Africans in America. Some Africans put a distance between them and African Americans. They saw only the bad in African Americans. They were always harping on what African Americans did wrong.

In my Igbo community, such persons called African Americans Ndiakata (troublesome people).

While putting African Americans down, such persons, nevertheless, did not hesitate marrying them, if only to obtain the almighty green cards. Unfortunately, as soon as they secured their green cards, they divorced their African American wives. They then went home, to Africa, and got themselves what they called their real wives.

These folks used our American sisters to secure permanent status in America. What is new? These people are as callous as their slave selling ancestors; they are merely engaging in modern forms of slavery, using others for their own good. If you use an American woman for green card, you are a practicer of slavery. You should only marry a woman you love and take care of her for the duration of your life on earth.

The tendency to see only the bad in African Americans is the same mental trick employed by white racists. By seeing them as not well, one justifies using them and discarding them. The slave master told himself that Africans are subhuman beings and that enabled him to have good conscience, while he exploited them as slaves. By the same token, when Africans put African Americans down, they rationalize using them to secure green card and discard them after words. That way they do not feel bad for using some of God’s children.

But in as much as Africans are human beings, they do feel guilty. As pointed out, Africans tend to employ projection and denial to get rid of their guilt. As also noted, those who do so tend to be emotionally immature. Hence the Africans’ tendency to give one the impression that he is childish. I am sorry to say it, the average Nigerian comes across as very emotionally warped and stunted, and a child in adult uniform. This is primarily because he over uses denial and projection in his childish efforts to avoid guilt and depression.

For Africans to become emotional adults, they must accept guilt and feel remorse, even depressed, if needs be. We need to put some sadness in those silly, smiling faces of Nigerians. What are these fools laughing about, any way? They are merely trying to avoid examining their evil past and seeing the guilt in their subconscious minds. They must learn to accept guilt, feel sad and become emotional adults.

If they are adults, for example, they would rather die than take bribes. I would feel degraded were somebody to offer me bribes. In fact, I would slap the idiotic face of whoever dared insult me by offering me bribes.

Nigerians do not feel insulted taking bribes or demanding it. What children! I know that Nigerians may feel insulted being called children, but if you behave like one, you must be prepared to be seen as one. If you are corrupt, you are an emotional cripple; that is all there is to it; there are no ifs and buts about it.

One is not naïve. One lives in the real world and sees all the dances of God confused children dance. These dances are not limited to Africans; whites and Asians dance them, too. In this essay, however, I am restricting myself to Africans.

Why did Africans sell their brothers and sisters? They did it because they are human beings. And on that note, let me end by re-presenting the familiar Christian theological view of the human condition, the view that man is sinful, a view that is no longer in vogue in our modern, secular society, but a view that I accept as correct. Make of it what you like. I am not trying to impose my religion on you; I am just sharing with you what I believe.

I believe that all human beings, me included, are born in sin. To be on earth is to be a sinner. To be here one has sinned already.

The Catholic Church has a concept called Original Sin, with which it accounts for our sinful nature.

The Garden of Eden story is a metaphor of man’s descent to sin. According to that creation mythology, God created us and placed us in a place of abundance, a place where all our material needs were met. He, however, asked us not to eat of the fruit of a particular tree.

If we know any thing about God’s children, us, it is that we are defiant. We did what we were told not to do.

We said that the devil made us do it (excuses, rationalizations). Satan made Eve do it and Eve made Adam do it. That way each of them had excuses for disobeying God’s Will.

God does not make compromises. If you disobey his will, you suffer the consequences. Thus we were driven out of the garden of abundance and sent to a world of scarcity, where we could only secure our daily bread through our labor.

Obviously, the biblical Adam and Eve story is a myth. It is a story meant to teach the lesson that we are sinners and account for the origin of sin.

There are other ways of accounting for the presence of sin in our world. Gnosticism presents its own stories. According to one version of it, Lucifer, also called the Demiurge, was an angel that God loved. He felt pride swell in his chest. He envied God’s creatorship of him and wanted to be his own creator. He rebelled against God. The arch angels Gabriel and Michael organized loyal angels to defeat Lucifer and he was driven out of heaven, and came to earth to start his own kingdom.

As Gnosticism sees it, heaven is the kingdom of union. Union is love. Love is light. The earth, on the other hand, is the opposite of heaven. The earth is the kingdom of separation. Separation is hatred. Separation is darkness. To be on earth is to be in darkness. To be in heaven (love, union) is to be in light.

Gnosticism aims at taking people out of this world of darkness (hatred, separation) and back to the world of light (love, union). (See Plotinus for a concise essay on Gnosticism. Also see the Gnostic Gospels, particularly, The Gospel of Thomas.)

Of course, Gnosticism is also a myth of the origin of this world. All stories of creation are exactly that, stories, metaphors for what we do not know.

I have presented my own story of creation in a four volume book called Real Self Psychology. I built on the story of creation presented by an amazing Jewish clinical psychologist called Helen Schucman, in her book called A Course in Miracles. She recast the Gnostic view in psychological categories. (Helen’s book probably will not appeal to Africans. Africans seem not to like psychology; they tend not to analyze their behaviors and feel put off by any effort to give them insight into the etiology of their apparent childish behaviors. In that light, I suspect that many of them will not like this essay. Nevertheless, one must try to reach them, to provide them with insights as to why they do some of the most terrible, horrible things they do while laughing, such as sell each other into slavery, and steal moneys from their governments and squander them while their people suffer in preventable poverty. In the past, I had believed that, perhaps, Africans were at a lower level of evolution and wrote them off. But now, I am resolved to do whatever I could to transform them into moral beings, not just animals who ate and did not bother with others not eating.)

According to Schucman’s mythology, God is one. God extended himself into his Son. The Son extended himself to his own sons. This way, creation has no beginning and no end and is always on going.

There is no space and gap between God and his children. God and his children are unified; they are one. They share one spirit, one self, and one mind. The son of God is in God and God is in his son. Where God ends and his son begin is nowhere. (See St John’s Gospel, Chapter 14. Jesus responded to Phillips question: show us where God is, with, where you see the son, Jesus, you see God, for God and his son is one.)

The son of God resented being created by God and wished to go create him. He could not do so in reality, so he appears to have done so in a dream setting. Our world is said to be a dream. (This is solipsistic and idealistic philosophy ala George Berkeley and Arthur Schopenhauer, Pascal and Leibniz. And Vedanta Hinduism, as articulated by Shankara and Ramanuja.)

In the dream, the children of God invent space, time and matter. They invent self concepts and self images. Each sees himself as apart from other persons, and as housed in body. Each sees space and time between him and others. Each pursues his own self interests at the expense of others.

Helen Schucman’s myth is exactly that, a myth, not a fact. The fact is that none of us understands how we came to be in this world.

Science too presents a mythology of the origin of this world. The current accepted science story of creation is the Big bang fairy tale. According to this nursery tale, fifteen to twenty billion years ago, every thing was one thing, state of Presingularity, which is beyond the categories of contemporary science to understand it.

Somehow, that one thing shattered itself and in a nanosecond invented space, then time and finally particles (quarks, electrons, protons, neutrons etc). These subatomic particles somehow united to form atoms. Given changes in space and time, atoms made changes that led to the 104 and continuing elements on the chemical table.

Somehow, the various elements combined to form biological organisms, first unicellular organism, then multicellular organisms like trees, then animals and, ultimately, human beings. (What a quant fairy tale! This story is as unbelievable as the one found in Genesis, the Christian Bible.)

Physics is fascinating and every person must study it. I cannot see how an individual can be considered educated if he does not have university level understanding of physics, chemistry, and biology. Nevertheless, science does not answer all our questions.

Given the vacuum in our understanding, Meta science purports to provide some useful answers. Alas, metaphysics is mostly speculative and not verifiable. As Karl Popper reminds us, all scientific, all propositions, really, must be verifiable and discard able.

No one understands the origin of our being. Where ignorance prevails speculation exists. We have a need to know and tend to confabulate where our knowledge ends. Here then is my own conjecture…an abbreviation of what took me over 2000 pages to accomplish.

I believe that we separated from our creator. Our Creator has no name. To name something is to limit it. Our creator is limitless. But if it helps you, call him God.

I believe that our separation from God was probably motivated by our desire to go seem to create ourselves and to be special. As it were, each of us wants to play God and pretend that he created himself and created other people.

On earth, we all seek our self interests, often at the expense of others interests, but, sometimes, we cooperate with others and seek mutual interests. Nevertheless, when push comes to shove, human beings are self centered and selfish and will eat and have you starve. I proved this thesis for myself. During the Biafran war, as a very observant child, I saw people struggling for scarce food. In my own family, when mom obtained salt, a very rare commodity indeed, we literally fought for access to it. One would rather have that salt and others not. Thus, I learnt that I was self centered as others were. I am a sinner as others are.

I believe that on earth, we are all sinners. We are born in sin and live in sin. We need to be saved from our sins. It is here that Jesus Christ comes in. He transcended the separated self, the ego, the I, and returned to the spirit of union. As it were, he gave up his sense of self creation and accepted that God created him. He returned to obeying the will of God, and gave up his desire to do his own wishes. In effect, he transcended the world of separation, the egos world we live in. He returned to the original world of Union, which is love, which God created. He overcame the world and returned to heaven.

Jesus Christ is now the mediator between heaven and earth. He is our intercessor. If we call on him, he tells God what we ask of him and brings God’s response to us. He is a bridge between the earth and heaven. He knows the earth, for he was here, and knows heaven, because he is in it.

Jesus is one with the Holy Spirit and with God. When we separated from God, and came to this world, God entered the world, the temporal order, as the Holy Spirit, the spirit of love and union in us. The Holy Spirit asks us to love each other. The ego asks us to fend for only ourselves. Jesus, as part of God and the Holy Spirit, teaches us to love and forgive one another.

The Catholic Church has a concept called the Holy Trinity, Triune, and God in three persons: God the father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

The Church also has the idea that God can be seen in two manners, the transcendental God in heaven and the immanent God on earth. The Holy Spirit is the immanent God. ( If you love Catholic theology, as I do, see the writings of St Augustine, Origin, Tatulian, Montana, Thomas Aquinas, Meister Eckhart, Erasmus, Anselem, and such protestant theologians as Martin Luther, Calvin and so on. )

In our minds are three parts, God the father, God the Holy Spirit and our mind, God the Son’s mind. Each of us is the Son of God, a part of God. We separated from God and transformed our mind into the separated mind, aka ego mind. Where our real mind, son of God’s mind, Christ’s mind was, is now the ego mind, the spirit of rebellion, the desire to separate from God and from each other.

You can cast it this way: on earth, in space and time, each of us has a right mind, and a wrong mind. Our right mind is the mind of God, the Holy Spirit in us. Our wrong mind is the ego mind. To be righteous is to be led by the Holy Spirit and do what he asks us to do, love and forgive all people at all times; to be sinful is to behave from the ego mind, to look after ones selfish interests at the expense of others interests.

In eternity, our true mind is unified mind, the mind shared by God and his son. The One son of God is all of us.

I know that all these are confusing, so you can skip this part of the essay.

To be sinful is to look after only ones self. To be sinless (to approximate it, for no one on earth is completely sinless) is to love all people.

To love is to serve all people. To love is to see common interests and not just self interests. To love is to work for our social interests.

In Nigeria, indeed, in all of Africa, people mostly seek self inertest. In pursuit of their self interests, they sold their brothers and sisters into slavery. My grand parents sold African Americans and used the money they got from the white slave buyers to buy useless but ego serving goods. Our house is filled with those trinkets from yore: swords, guns, beads, empty bottles of expensive French wines (that they drank) etc. These primitive ancestors of mine, and yours, used to adorn their bodies with those useless trinkets and that made them feel important, powerful and worthwhile.

In bodies, we all feel that we are nothing. In ego states we feel like we are worthless. So we do things to make us seem worthy and powerful. Alas, we are never worthy and powerful apart from God. Our real worth lies in God.

The Son of God has worth only in his father, not apart from his father. By himself, the son of God can do nothing, but with the power of God in him he can do every thing.

I am worthless, no matter what I do on earth. I only have worth in God.

We sold our brothers and sisters to obtain useless trinkets to adorn our bodies with. In doing so, we are all sinners. In contemporary Nigeria, folks buy expensive lace to make elaborate attires for themselves and adorn their bodies with gold and imagine that such childishness give them existential worth. They are nothing. In fact, they seem hideous in those archaic robes they wear. (Those clothes are not adaptive to modern industrial life. Suit and other Western type clothing are adaptive to our times. And before you talk nonsense about how the clothes Nigerians wear is traditional and how we ought to be proud of them, let me immediately tell you that they are of Arab origin. What Arabs have discarded we call our own. Japan and China had their national clothes but to modernize had to discard them in favor of Western clothes. You can not work in modern industries with clothes that adapted to feudal eras.)

Our worth is only in God and has nothing to do with our external appearance.

In as much as I do what my ancestors did, seek self interests at the expense of social interests, I am a sinner.

We are saved when we follow the example of Jesus Christ, Mohammed and other messengers of God. We are redeemed from our sins when we give up identifying with the separated ego self and accept the unified Christ self, the son of God who is as God created him, unified with his father and with all his brothers and sisters, as our true self. We are delivered from the hell of living in ego state when we see our brothers and sisters pains as our own, and do something to help them, for in helping them we help ourselves, for they are part of us. God has only one Son, all of us as one spirit, one self and one joined mind. In Christ self we reconcile the ego, and its world with the Son of God as his father created him, earth and heaven.


Some children of God chose to listen to the Holy Spirit and therefore teach the message of the Holy Spirit. These people are the messengers of God. If you like, they are the prophets of God. (Call them what you like; in reality, like their father, they are nameless for they are limitless.) For our present purpose, Jesus and Mohammed are messengers of God. Listen to any one of them and you will learn the gospel of God.

What is God’s message to us? He asks us to love one another. He teaches us that we must forgive one another, for to forgive is to love. The messengers of God teach love and forgiveness.

Love is union. The messengers of God teach the unity of mankind. We are all one, literally and figuratively.

In the temporal universe. When we love and forgive one another, and serve one another we are saved. More importantly, when we relinquish the delusion that we created ourselves, accept that God created us and worship God through his most Christ like son, Jesus Christ/Mohammed, we are born again.

God created us. We metaphorically died when we separated from him and from each other, left union, heaven, and came to earth and assumed ego, separated status.

We are born again when we return to the awareness that God created us and that we are all members of God’s one family.

When we love and forgive one another, serve one another and accept God as our creator and Jesus/Mohammed as our guide, we are saved. We are on our journey back to God and his unified state, heaven, our real home. We are, as it were, now at the gate of heaven.

Heaven’s gate is not heaven. Heaven is perfect union. Perfect union is spirit. You cannot be in body and be unified. At best, one uses ones body to love other people. On earth, all we can do is approximate heaven, but we cannot be in heaven. Heaven requires formlessness and total love.

(Heaven and hell are not places but states of mind. If you love all people, you are in metaphorical heaven; if you hate people, you are in metaphoric hell. However, there is heaven in the sense that it is existence outside of body, a formless, unified spiritual state. That state is beyond ego, rational explanation; it is ineffable. See William James, Varieties of Religious Experience and Evelyn Underhill, Mysticism.)

We can aim at sinless living, which, in real terms, means loving and forgiving and serving all people. This is our present call and duty.

We have done wrong to our African American brothers and sisters. We are sinners. We must repent of our sins by loving and serving African Americans. We must collectively and individually find ways to help our African American brothers and sisters.

West African governments must seek ways to show African Americans that they are sorry for what our ancestors did wrong, and make some financial reparation to them. The African Union must publicly apologize to African Americans.

At the individual level, each African must bow down before one African American and honestly beg for his forgiveness. You must do it, if you are to be forgiven your sins. If you ignore this advice, well, see how well things are working out for you, and for all Africans. We are the world’s laughing stock. To change our fortune, we must make changes in our lives. We must apologize to those we sinned against. We must stop denying and projecting our guilt out to others. True, white folks are also sinners, but that is not our issue. Our issue is to find our own salvation by correcting our past mistakes and leave white folks to find their own salvation, when they are ready.

Dr. Osuji can be reached at
600 First Avenue, Suite 325, Seattle, Washington, USA 98104 ( Phone 206-464-9004)

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Africans should Pay Reparations to African Americans, Part 1

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. --- (Seatle, Washington) Recently, there is talk of White Americans making reparations to African Americans. This talk has exercised the minds of the “talking heads”.

Reparation is based on past injustice and guilt. The demand for whites to pay reparation to blacks is premised on the ground that white folks used black folks as slaves to develop America. Africans were brought to the Americas, north and south, and their labor was used for free by whites to transform a virgin territory into what America is today, a developed corner of the world. It would seem to make sense for those whose labor was appropriated against their will to be compensated.

The whole chatter about white folks making reparation to black folks got me thinking. It occurred to me that it takes two to tango. True, whites bought African slaves and abused them in every way imaginable, but the other part of the equation is, who sold those slaves? There must be sellers for there to be buyers.

I am an African. I would like to believe that my ancestors did not sell their kin into slavery. In pursuit of such denial, I could come up with stories of how white men kidnapped black people and brought them to American slavery. I could come up with all sorts of creative ways to convince myself that my ancestors did not participate in selling their own people. If I can convince myself that my ancestors did not willingly participate in selling their own people, I would not feel ashamed of them and would not feel guilty from their acts. Indeed, I would feel self righteous in blaming white folks for the injustice that they did to my brothers and sisters in America.

I understand the functions of the ego defense mechanisms: repression, suppression, denial, projection, displacement, dissociation, rationalization, sublimation, reaction formation, intellectualization, minimization, avoidance, fantasy, avoidance etc. Human beings employ the various ego defenses to protect their egos, to protect their sense of I, me.

The ego is the sense of me, the separated self. Each of us has a self concept that tells him that he is separate and apart from other persons and from the world. That self concept and its self image (the self in mental image form) feels a need to defend itself.

The separated self sees the entire world arrayed against it and feels powerless and vulnerable. It feels that if it does not defend itself that it could be snuffed out of existence by the exigencies of being. Therefore, the self is perpetually defending itself.

At the physical level, the self defends itself with fear. We all see things about to harm or even destroy us and feel fearful. Fear response is characterized by increased heart pumping, rapid breathing, rapid movements in the nervous system, release of sugar and that sugar carried to the muscles to enable them do what one has to do to protect ones self, run or fight the source of threat. In fear response, the individual feels a powerful urge to fight or flee from whatever he perceives is threatening his physical and or psychological integrity. Fight-flight response to fear is meant to protect the biological organism when its life is threatened and is undertaken involuntarily.

The fight response of fear is anger; anger is the energy that fights back physically or verbally. The flight response is what most people call fear response. Technically, both anger and fear are the same affect hence the well known fact that an angry person is invariably a fearful person. The same neuro-chemicals are involved in anger and fear…adrenalin, neuropiniphrine etc.

Whereas, when the individual feels physically threatened he is most likely to employ fear/anger to respond to it, when he is threatened psychologically he tends to employ the various ego defenses to defend his sense of self. If the ego defenses defended against only attacks on the psychological self, life would be very simple. Life is complex because people employ ego defenses for a whole variety of reasons. One of the things we use the ego defenses to do is defend against guilt feeling.

As Kernberg and Pieget pointed out, human beings are moral animals. When a human being does something that his conscience tells him is wrong, he tends to feel guilty.

Guilt feeling is a negative affect. If the individual felt guilty most of the time, his life would be paralyzed. Therefore, the individual’s ego finds a way to protect him from guilt feeling.

In depression, the individual is immobilized by guilt feeling. Depression is also characterized by feelings of lack of interests in the activities of daily living, such as no desire to eat, play, engage in sports, socialize with other people, go to work, fatigue and a general desire to crawl into bed and stay there all day long. In clinical levels of depression, major depression, there is desire for death; the depressed person is so fed up with his life and living that he could commit suicide.

Nobody likes the noxious affect of depression and its allied guilt feeling.

According to some Psychoanalysts, one way to avoid depression is to deny responsibility for whatever makes one feel guilty.

On the other hand, God and morality denying, materialistic neuroscience tells us that depression is not caused by guilt feeling but by imbalance in the neurotransmitter, serotonin. Contemporary psychiatry treats depression by giving the depressed person serotonin reuptake blockers, such as Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft; these do have symptom relief effect but do not heal depression.

The fact that despite its ballyhoo, neuroscience and accompanying psycho pharmacotherapy does not heal depression, or any other mental disorder, means that the psychoanalytic view that guilt may be involved in the etiology of depression is still a valid causal proposition in depression; it seems that psychoanalytic perspectives are at least heuristic in our efforts to understand the cause of mental disorders.

People employ the ego defense of denial to convince themselves that they did not do what makes them feel guilty. Additionally, people employ the ego defense of projection to help them get rid of guilt feeling. In projection, the individual projects what he sees in himself that he does not like to other people? He externalizes what he thinks is in him, that he would like to get rid of, to the outer environment. For example, one has desire for sex; one could deny it and project it to others. White men tended to want to have sex with black women. Sex between the races, until recently, was forbidden. White men, therefore, deny their desire for sexual relation with black women and project it to black men. Subsequently, they imagine that all black men exist to do is desire sex with white women. You get the point on how projection works? We shall later argue that Africans feel guilty for their ancestors selling African Americans into slavery, deny it, and project it out by blaming white folks for slavery.

People displace inappropriate affects to other people. For example, when one is made angry by ones boss, and one knows that if one fought back that one could loose ones job, one swallows ones anger and goes home to displace it to ones spouse; ones spouse displaces her own anger to the children and the children displace their anger to the dog. We displace anger to those we perceive as weaker than us, those who cannot fight back and harm us.

People dissociate from their feelings. For example, if a woman is sexually violated, she could dissociate from this traumatic experience by inventing a different self and identify with that new, but false self. By identifying with the different self, she does not feel the pain inflicted on her real self. In dissociative disorder (so-called multiple personality disorder), a sexually traumatized woman, particularly if it took place in childhood, denies her real self and invents different selves, alters, and identify with them. When stress mounts in her life, she flips out from her usual real self and takes on the personality of an alter ego. She talks and behaves as if she is the alter ego she invented for herself. That way she is able to cope with stress.

In reaction formation, a person fights what he sees in himself. For example, if a man likes sex with prostitutes, he may fight prostitution. Similarly, if a man likes pornography, he may champion the banning of pornography. Somehow, he manages to get himself into a position where he sees pornography, so as to judge what is pornographic. In so doing, he sees more smut than the average person and satisfies his prurient interests.

In sublimation, the individual converts what he sees in himself into useful social activities? For example, the artist who likes to see nude women converts that forbidden desire to painting nudes.

In fantasy, the individual uses his imagination to invent ideal worlds and seem to live in them, rather than in the real world. A poor African, for example, could visualize himself as very rich. Many Nigerians, upon coming to America, feel pauperized and engage in silly lying about how their parents are kings and what not. That is, they engage in the ego defense of fantasy. Some of them actually think that their American audience buys the lies that their parents are kings, presidents and governors. If they were such rich folks how come 99% of Africans live in abject poverty, the knowing American smiles at their childish lies?

In rationalization, the individual tries to justify what he sees in himself that he does not like. Instead of owing up his mistakes, he comes up with elaborate justifications for them. If a chap smokes, for example, instead of accepting the fact that he is addicted to smoking, he tells himself that he would quit smoking tomorrow or that smoking does not harm any one.

In intellectualization, the individual uses his intellect to talk about his issues, without actually trying to solve them. For example, if he feels inferior, and compensates with superiority feeling, that is, is neurotic, he talks about it, and may even teach psychology, without making real efforts to overcome his sense of inferiority. (University professors tend to over utilize intellectualization and talk about issues but do nothing about them. Hence professors seldom make good leaders, for they are talkers and not doers. It takes a different type of energy to do something, and not just talk about it in a seminar. The greatest mistake any one could make is making a college professor the leader of a country. Nothing would be accomplished. Only idealistic abstractions would be dwelt on. See Woodrow Wilson’s 14 points to change the world; Congress rightly rejected them as the dreams of an unrealistic, neurotic ex-college president.)

In avoidance, the individual avoids what makes him feel small. For example, the shy child feels that, as he is, that he is not good enough. He feels that if other people get close to him that they would see that he is not good enough and, perhaps, reject him. To prevent being socially rejected, he avoids people or relates to them in a very detached and circumscribed manner. In social isolation he maintains a false sense of importance. Clinically, such persons are said to have avoidant personalities. Avoidant personality disorder tends to run concurrently with dependent personality and obsessive compulsive personality disorder.

(The dependent person feels powerless and wants other people to help and rescue him; he tends to please other people with the hope that they would help him. The obsessive compulsive person tends to obsesses a lot, think as if ideas are intruded into his mind and he must think them through and feels powerless to stop thinking; sometimes he acts compulsively, such as check and recheck his door to make sure that it is locked, his stove, to make sure that it is turned off etc. There are other personality disorders, such as paranoid, schizotypal, schizoid, antisocial, histrionic, narcissistic, borderline, and passive aggressive. Briefly, the paranoid personality is suspicious and feels that other people are always demeaning and humiliating him. The schizoid person does not care much for social company. The schizotypal person is odd and eccentric and believes in what most people in his world do not, such as UFOs. The narcissistic person feels special and, as a result, expects other people to admire him; he tends to exploit other people, use them to get what he wants and then discards them. The antisocial person has no social conscience and does not feel guilty or remorseful upon transgressing other people’s rights. The histrionic personality is overly dramatic and seeks attention as the drama queen and, in general, has shallow affect for other people; think of the woman who marries men for the attention they shower on her but quickly leaves them for other men who give her more attention, loving none of them. The borderline person is dysfunctional in just about every aspect of her functioning and expects to be loved but lacks love for others; when she feels about to be abandoned, she may cut on her self and threaten suicide and hopes to instill guilt in people, and out of guilt they take care of her. The passive aggressive person is unassertive and permits other people to walk all over him and indirectly shows his anger by defeating their goals. Persons with personality disorders essentially live lies about who they are. They want to be who they are not and want other people to collude with them and validate their false, ideal selves as their real selves. Because they are prone to lying about their true identity, they also tend to steal rather easily. Both the narcissist and the paranoid personality have no conscience, are self centered and easily exploit other people and engage in other criminal behaviors. A paranoid member of this forum presents himself as all knowing and wants folks to affirm that false, ideal self of his; he is self centered and lacking in conscience and morality and is probably a thief, too.)

We shall not be able to review all the known ego defense mechanisms. I have reviewed those that are germane to this essay. If interested in these matters, the reader should see American Psychiatric Association, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, forth edition.

When the individual feels guilty, denies and projects it out, he tends to develop paranoia. Every human being has paranoid traits but some have more of it than others. In paranoia, the individual feels like other people are out to harm and or kill him. He is filled with hostility towards others and projects it to other people and sees them as hostile towards him. He tends not to trust other people and is generally suspicious. He anticipates threat from other people. He is almost always guarded and cautious in relating to other people. He scans his world expecting danger and defends himself. Physiologically, he tends to be uptight; emotionally, he tends to be rigid and inflexible. He tends to be argumentative and wants to win all arguments and have others loose. He wants to be right and others wrong. Being right satisfies his desire to be perfect and important, whereas being seen as wrong makes him feel unimportant and weak. Psychoanalytically, the paranoid person feels weak, powerless, inadequate and restitutes with desire for their opposite. He wants to be seen as a very important and powerful person. If you did anything that made him feel inadequate, he feels angry at you. He forever fears being demeaned by other people.

Paranoia does not affect the intellect in a global manner. The individual can be paranoid and still be an outstanding medical doctor, scientist, president of his country and so on. In fact, many of our well known politicians were paranoid personalities, such as President Nixon, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Idi Amin, Sani Abacha etc.

The paranoid personality is a neurotic hence within the normalcy spectrum. Indeed, he seems suited for certain professions, those where being suspicious is an asset. Police Officers, Custom Officers, Immigration Officers, District Attorneys, Judges Etc are some of the professions where a bit of paranoia is required. However, there are disordered levels of paranoia, such as delusional disorder and schizophrenia, paranoid type.

In delusional disorder, the individual believes what is not true as true. He has systematic delusion in one area and not in all areas of his life. I had a Nigerian woman client who had the delusion that she was married to Jesus Christ, yet she was a nurse. (Analytically, the racist conditions of America made her lose self worth and she felt like she was worthless and compensated with psychotic self worth. In Christendom, Jesus is the most important man. If she is married to Jesus, it follows that she is the most important and beautiful woman on earth. Thus, her delusional beliefs serve a function for her: give her imaginary worth. She, therefore, finds it difficult to give up that delusion and her other religious ideas of reference. To give up seeing herself as the bride of Christ is to revisit her racism induced sense of worthlessness, and that self concept is intolerable to her ego. Racism sees all black women as not beautiful and the average black woman’s primary narcissism is attacked and she is angry. She is angry at black men for permitting white men to devalue her. There is tension between black men and women, for black men did not protect their women from white folks’ marginalization of them, hence, as it were, are not real men, if men are those who defend and protect their womenfolk. It is the rare black woman that respects black men. When African women come to America, their hitherto belief that they were beautiful hence sexually desirable to men is attacked by racism. In America, black women are not considered sexually desirable and are merely tolerated. Indeed, neurotic black men often prefer white women to black women, a slap on the faces of black women. The cumulative effect is that African women in America doubt their self worth and develop neurosis, that is, self hatred, with compensatory imaginary ideal self worth. In racist America, all black men are presumed to be inferior, unintelligent and to be nothing, really. They, therefore, feel inferior and restitute with imaginary self worth. See Kardiner and Oversay, The Mark of Oppression; Thomas Pittigrew, A Profile of the Negro American; Karon, The Negro Personality; Franklin Frazier, The Negro Middle Class, Franz Fanon, Black Skin, White Mask; and Kenneth Clark’s studies showing that black children prefer white dolls to black ones, explaining why Michael Jackson’s real problem is that he is ashamed of his blackness and that he wants to be white, that Nigerians’ real problem is that they hate their African-ness and want to be white, hence they ignore developing their black country, and cart its money to the West, to develop the West, their ideal self and ideal home…though they are ashamed to own up this psychopathology in their souls. Every psychologist could easily appreciate Africans self hatred.)

My client has Erotomania. (I have had male black clients who claimed to be Jesus, God, or Zeus…grandiose type of delusion… compensatory self concepts and self images; masks over their racism induced sense of inferiority.)

There are other types of delusions, such as persecutory, grandiose, jealous and somatic. This is not a paper for clinicians; therefore, I will not describe these nosological categories.

In schizophrenia, paranoid type, the individual, in addition to being deluded, has hallucinations. Hallucination may occur in any one of the five senses…olfactory, tactile, visual, and auditory and so on.

In mania there are delusions, such as grandiosity. The manic may claim to be the most important man in his world, or the richest man around, such as tell people that he is Napoleon or Bill Gates; if a woman she may claim to be the most beautiful woman on earth, Cleopatra; is euphoric, and lacks good judgment.

Schizophrenia, delusional disorder and mania are the quintessential mental disorders. They are considered functional mental disorders, for despite the posturing of neuroscience no one has yet demonstrated their biological causation. However, there are instances where injuries and traumas to the brain cause these mental disorders. An accident could cause the individual to behave as if he is schizophrenic, manic or deluded, hence organic mental disorders and or organic personality disorders.

Generally speaking, Africans tend to exhibit more paranoia than depression. This has led some observers to conclude that it is because they tend to over utilize the ego defense mechanisms of denial and projection. As it were, when they see something in them that they do not like, they deny and project it out. When they do something wrong, feel guilty, and since guilt is a noxious affect, they deny and project it out (to whites). In denying and projecting guilt out, they are able to seem happy, hence Nigerians are said to be among the world’s happiest people.

(One wonders why they are happy. Their economy is in shambles, their leaders are mostly rogues. One would think that they ought to be sad. Apparently, they are employing the ego defenses of denial and projection to seem happy, to avoid awareness of their underlying unhappiness.)

Some psychoanalysts believe that those who tend to over employ the defenses of denial and projection tend to be less emotionally developed than those who employ them less. They argue that the depressed person is developmentally more mature than the paranoid person. (For such an argument see William Meissner, The Paranoid Process and also his Psychotherapy and the Paranoid Process. For a pure descriptive approach to paranoia, see David Swanson et al, The Paranoid. For a somewhat psychoanalytic view of paranoia, see David Shapiro, Autonomy and the Rigid Character, also see his Neurotic Styles. If you are really interested in the subject, see Sigmund Freud’s analysis of Judge Shreber’s autobiography. In it, Freud argued that the paranoid person has underlying homosexuality, denies and projects it out.)

Because Africans tend to over utilize the defenses of denial and projection, they are said to be underdeveloped Vis a Vis Caucasians. They are said to be more childlike than adult like.

It should also be noted that Africans tend to over utilize shame than guilt.

In shame, the overriding desire is to avoid social embarrassment. The individual does not avoid doing something because it is in itself wrong, but because he does not want to be shamed by society; he does not want to be rejected by other people. Social approval is his primary goal. On the other hand, in guilt, the individual has a well developed sense of right and wrong, and feels guilty upon doing wrong, irrespective of whether other people are around to disapprove of him or not.

In as much as guilt is predicated on moral principles, and shame on desire to avoid social rejection, those who feel guilty a lot are said to be developmentally adult, whereas those who only feel shame, but not guilt, are said to be more like children.

One should add that anthropologists have mitigated the earlier perception that Africans are childlike persons because they do not feel guilty but shame by reminding us that shame is a learned social variable, that traditional societies, in general, use shame to control people, whereas guilt is a function of acceptance of higher religions, such as Christianity.

Oriental societies, for example, use shame to control people. The Japanese is so afraid of loosing social face that he may commit suicide if he were to loose face in his society. If he is unemployed and is unable to support his family, since in his society, to be seen as a man, one must support ones family, the Japanese who is unable to support his family looses social face and my commit suicide. Suicide is not frowned on in Japanese society; it is often considered an honorable way out. A Japanese soldier would rather commit suicide, Hara Kari, than allow himself to be captured by enemy soldiers. To be captured is to loose face and that is worse than death. By the same token, Japanese soldiers do not think that prisoner of war soldiers deserve respect for, in their view; they ought to have preferred death to capture. They, therefore, tend to maltreat prisoners of war, even starve and work them to death, for they are seen as lesser breed of human beings.

My personal experience teaches me that those who are prone to depression tend to be more emotionally mature than paranoid persons who are seldom depressed. (Paranoia…Greek for being who one is not, taking on a different personality, a mask, persona, is defense against depression. If the paranoid person stopped pretending to be perfect and important he would grasp his existential lot, our meaningless, purposeless and worthless existence and become depressed.)

The depressed person takes responsibility for his actions and the paranoid person does not. The depressed person accepts ownership for doing what makes him feel guilty.

Experience shows that the individual is more likely to change his antisocial behavior, if he takes responsibility for it and feels guilty.

On the other hand, if the individual does not take personal responsibility for his actions and feel guilt, he is not likely to change his untoward social behavior.

I will cite a personal example. I came to America at a very young age. I saw the plight of African Americans. I saw how they were abused by white people. I saw how they were relegated to the worst parts of town, the ghetto. I saw how they were always the last hired and the first fired from their jobs. I saw them trying to do whatever they could to reduce their psychological pains, such as take recourse to alcohol and drugs. Then I began thinking about my ancestor’s contribution to these people’s plight. I did not tell myself lies. I know that our people sold these people into slavery. In as much as we sold them, it occurred to me that we are 50% responsible for the oppressions and abuses they received in America. I became depressed (dysthymic disorder). For years, I was ashamed of myself and my people. I could not respect any African around me, for he reminded me of a slave seller.

Africans tell white folks lies regarding how slaves were kidnapped and sold into slavery by white slave traders. I will tell you the truth. We Africans sold our brothers into slavery. We are responsible for selling our people. We do not need to say that other people made us do it, did it, and that we are innocent.

I am an Igbo, so let me tell you how we did it. (If you are into denial and projection, please do not read any further.)

A segment of the Igbos, the Aros, situated on the borderland between Efiks and Igbos, apparently, entered into treaty with the Efiks to supply them with Igbo slaves. The Efiks at Calaba were at the Atlantic Ocean coast and Portuguese slave traders had established slaving quarters there in the early 1500s. The Aro formed an unholy alliance with the Abam and Abriba…mercenary soldiers… and those roamed Alaigbo, kidnapping slaves and selling them to the Aro, who, in turn, sold them to the Efik, who, in turn, sold them to white men.

The Aro, Abam, Abriba etc were all over Igbo land instigating inter-village wars and losers taken as slaves and sold to the Efiks. These people roamed around and kidnapped little children and sold them into slavery. (See The Interesting Autobiography of Gustavo Olauda Aquiano, an Igbo boy’s account of how he was kidnapped at age twelve, in the 1700s, and sold into slavery.)

Worse, the Aro bastardized religion. They established so-called priest- judges in most Igbo villages. When villagers had problems to solve, they were encouraged to bring them to Aro priests-judges. The judge ruled and the loser was sent to prison, prison alright. The Aro handed him to the Abam, who took him to the Efik, who gave him to, first, the Portuguese, and later, to the Spanish, then the Dutch and later the English.

More important cases, such as disputes over land, required most adult members of the village to troop to Arochukwu, the Aro hometown. Here, the Aro organized their long juju. They dug a long tunnel and whoever was judged to loose a case was put into the tunnel and was said to have been taken by the gods. In actual fact, at the other end of the tunnel were Efik slavers who took him to Calaba and sold him to the Europeans.

When the British stopped slave trading in 1807 and used their war ships to patrol the Guinea coast to prevent slave traders from the Americas from buying slaves from West Africa, the Igbos redirected their slaving business from external to internal. They sold slaves to each other. It got to a point where when important persons died several slaves were buried alive with him. Early Christian missionaries left accounts of how they stopped Onitsha chiefs from being buried with live slaves. That was how degenerate our society became.

When the British decided to take Nigeria over, as a protectorate, they resolved to put a stop to Igbo internal slave trade, and, in 1902, Frederick Lugard and his Hausa solders (West African Frontier Army) stormed Aro long juju and scattered the little cowards who called themselves priests and sold their brothers into slavery. Subsequent to that attack, Lugard marched to Owerri, my home. He pacified them, that is, made them amenable for Christianization.

I should say, with primitive pride, that my great, great grand father, Njoku, led his people in the war to stop Lugard from conquering his people and when it became apparent that Maxim, gun, was superior to their flintlocks, guns, and that the British would conquer them, he, like Achebe’s Okonkwo, in Things fall Apart, took his own life. Njoku died rather than live under British rule. He was the last of the true Africans. The rest of us, through his son, Osuji, are bastards, for on the heels of Lugard’s army were Christian missionaries who built their church and school in our village in 1910, and subsequently our people became Christians and took to going to Western schools.

The point is that it is us, Africans that sold our brothers into slavery. I am an African. I take personal ownership for the sins of my fathers. Therefore, I felt like I personally sold African Americans into slavery. I felt guilty. I became existentially depressed, and for years hated all Africans (myself, that is,) for what we did.

While I was existentially depressed, I looked around me and all I saw were laughing Nigerians. I used to ask them: what are you so happy about? Are you not ashamed that our fathers sold these suffering African Americans? Don’t you feel like hiding your god dammed, hideous face in shame, for what our folks did to this people? They would ask me: what are you talking about? They were totally oblivious to the type of guilt that wracked my young mind. It was at that point that I decided to study psychology, even though my natural bent is biology and I had planned to study medicine. I wanted to understand why Africans sold their brothers and do not feel like they did something wrong, why they smiled when they ought to be crying with shame and guilt.

I believe that the psychoanalytic hypothesis that guilt is denied and projected out, so that a person who did something wrong sees himself as innocent, is a worthwhile hypothesis. I believe that Africans are human beings and, as such, do feel guilty for their wrong behaviors. If they did not feel guilty for their wrong behaviors, they would, indeed, be subhuman beings. I think that they employ denial and projection to seem to get rid of their guilt from selling their people. In so doing, they manage to retain some semblance of self acceptance and a sense of innocence. As it were, they feel innocent, when, in fact, they are guilty. Scratch their surface happiness and you find a clinically depressed people.

I believe that at some point, in the future, that Africans will feel their existential guilt and at that time begin to commit suicide at a higher rate. At present, they seldom commit suicide because, like the paranoid personality, they seldom feel guilty and depressed. Paranoids blame others for their problems hence do not feel devastated by guilt and seldom commit suicide.

It is a well known clinical fact that in psychotherapy the paranoid person must undergo depression if he is to heal. The paranoid person blames other people for all his problems. He points two fingers at other people, not seeing the three that point right back at him, reminding him that he is more responsible for his fate than other people are. In a General Systems environment, all people affect all people. No body is apart from other people. We are all connected to each other and to everything in the universe. Whatever other people do, whatever happens in any part of the universe affects us and we affect them. We are all reacting and adjusting to each other’s behaviors. There is no such thing as absolute independence. We are all interdependent. In this light, other people contribute to our problems, but we contribute more to them than others do.

The paranoid person always blames other people for his problems. In blaming others, and in seeing others as responsible for his failures in life, the paranoid manages to retain a semblance of positive self esteem. He retains imaginary sense of perfection by seeing himself as not responsible for his problems.

In psychotherapy, when the paranoid person is helped to take responsibility for his problems and for his wrong behaviors, he tends to feel guilty and depressed. At this point, he might be overwhelmed by guilt and might even entertain suicidal thoughts. (You must be an experienced therapist before you set out to decompensate the paranoid’s rigid ego compensations, for if you succeed, and do not help him recompensate with a healthier self concept, he might commit suicide. It is probably best if you left him to live in his defenses, even though those make him seem child like in his affect and behaviors, rather than risk suicide in your hands. To deconstruct the human ego and reconstruct it with healthier ego structures should be left to experienced psychotherapists.)

Nevertheless, the paranoid person must undergo depression if he is to heal. He must accept responsibility for his behaviors; take ownership for his mistakes, stop blaming other people for his problems, and feel some guilt. It is only when one feels remorseful for ones bad behaviors that one can change them. As long as one feels not responsible for ones bad behaviors one cannot change them.

With the exception of Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki, African leaders are essentially thieves. We do not need to quibble or equivocate on this subject.

Question: Do these antisocial African leaders feel guilty for redirecting their people’s money into their personal pockets? Of course not. Why not? Because like paranoid persons they over employ the ego defenses of denial and projection and blame other people for their behaviors. Thus Obasanjo, the president of Nigeria, robs his country clean and has the guts to call for white men to pay him reparation for enslaving Africans. Apparently, in his mind, whites are guilty and Africans are innocent. Suppose he was to accept responsibility for Africans behaviors, he would realize that, in as much as, he is the president of Nigeria, if corruption exists in his government, he is personally responsible for it. If he is responsible for it, he would feel guilty. Feeling remorseful, he would go about doing something to eradicate the ridiculous level of corruption that exists in Nigeria.

(Corruption has gotten to such a state in Nigeria that one would be a fool to trust Nigerians. A few years ago, I was attempting to hire a comptroller to manage my agency’s finances, an accountant, and interviewed several qualified applicants. One was a Nigerian. I agonized whether I should give a fox access to the chicken coop? Caution told me not to hire him and I did not hire him. I could not take risks with my agency’s money by hiring a remorseless Nigerian. He could cook the books and abscond with the agency’s money. Nigerians’ ingenuity lies in figuring out a way to cheat, not to help solve problems. Still, I felt bad for discriminating against him. To make up for it, I searched for Nigerians to hire in other capacities, where they were less likely to do the agency harm, and hired them. I must observe that there was a time that I was ashamed to see myself as a Nigerian. In fact, I hid my Nigerian identity. I did not want to be associated with 419 criminals. All Nigerians, in my eyes, seemed criminals, and I denied my Nigerian-ness. Since I spoke English like African Americans, I “passed” as one. Of course, I had to give that neurosis up. It is neurotic to deny who one is and pretend to be somebody else. A normal person accepts his real self, despite its imperfections. As the Igbos say, one does not deny ones mother just because she is a thief. One works to make her not a thief. And that was exactly what I undertook to do: seek ways to make Nigerians less prone to thievery.)

Psychoanalysis is not the only methodological approach to understanding human behavior. There are other approaches, such as social psychology and biological psychology. This means that there are those who would reject my methodological approach to knowledge; the tools of my analysis hence reject the conclusions based on them. That is to say that if your methodological approach to phenomena is different from mine, that you might dismiss this essay as hogwash. Please go ahead and do so. But I would like to see how you approach the problem I am grappling with. Write it down and do not just talk about it. It is time we Africans developed a body of literature on every subject.

In our time, most human behaviors are reduced to biological causation. Are you schizophrenic (hear voices, is deluded)? If so, you have too much of the neurotransmitter, dopamine, so, here, take the various neuroleoptic medications (such as zyprexa, resperdol, seraqual, millaril, Thorazine, Haldol, Prolixine etc). Are you manic? If so, you have too much of the neurotransmitter neuropiniphrine, so, here is Lithium, Depakote and Tegritol to reduce it. Are you depressed? If so, here are anti depressants to increase your low serotonin. Are you anxious? If so, you have low GABA, so, here, take the various anxioleptics (Valium, Librium, Xanax, and Ativan etc) to boost it up. Are you personality disordered? Here, take psychotropic medications. If you are a child, and have Oppositional Defiance Disorder, ODD, Conduct Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, ADHD, Reactive-Attachment Disorder, Asperser’s Disorder, Autism and childhood Anxiety Disorders. Here are the various psycho-stimulants (Ritalin etc) for ADHD. In America, some African children experience anxiety/stress…particularly separation anxiety; their parents should watch out lest white mental health professionals stick them up with unnecessary anti anxiety medications; those medications are addictive and have adverse side effects, effects similar to those of alcohol and heroine.

Briefly, in ODD, the child, usually between age 9 and 18, rebels against authority figures and does not want to listen to them. He is in constant power struggle with adults: his parents and does not want them to tell him or her what to do, and teachers and often drops out of school, so as not to be told what to do by them. In Conduct Disorder, the child is like the antisocial personality and has underdeveloped conscience and easily engages in criminal behaviors. He starts drinking and doing drugs at an early age. He is on his way to stealing and is likely going to wound up in Juvenile Detention Center; later as adult, in jail. He is part of the 2% of the population that recycles through jails…has high rate of recidivism. In ADHD, the child is unable to concentrate and has short attention span. In Asperser’s disorder, the child is unable to attach to other people and is emotionally detached from people. In Autism, the child is emotionally closed off to the world and lives in his own world. Again, this is not a paper for professionals and, as such, I will not go into details explaining these states. See Psychiatric nomenclature for explanation.

Make no mistake about them, psychopharmacotherapy tends to be useful, at least in symptoms reduction; however, they have no track record of permanently healing mental disorders.

Before the age of biological psychiatry we had behaviorism. Pavlov, Watson, Skinner, Bandura, Milgram, Zimbado, Seligman and others ran around telling folks that all behavior was learned. Every behavior is due to classical and operant conditioning. In graduate school, I learned behaviorism. Skinner boasted that his behavior technology could modify, change any behavior, hence that we did not have to take recourse to psychoanalysis. Of course, experience has shown that behaviorism is as vacuous as psychoanalysis. In time, neuroscience, our present god, will be shown to be an emperor without his clothes on. In mental health, we tend to have fads and one must patiently wait for the present fad of biological psychology to exhaust itself and fade away. This, too, must come to pass. Change is the only thing that is permanent in our existence on earth.

The salient point is that one is aware that there are those who vehemently disagree with psychoanalytic methodological approach to understanding human behavior. I respect those people. I myself reject some aspects of Freudian Psychology. Freud’s over emphasis on sex as etiological in Neurosis seems odious to me. I do not buy the notion that our behavior is motivated by sex and aggression (and Thanatos), and that in our heads are warring psyche forces: Id, Ego and Superego, and that the best we can do is struggle to balance them and become normal neurotics and never healthy.

Briefly, Sigmund Freud posited that in our heads are three forces, id, ego and superego. The id comprises of instincts of sex and aggression. These are involuntary. On the other hand, man lives in society. Society cannot permit the free exercise of instinctual desires or there would be chaos.

As Freud sees it, all of us desire to have sex with all of us. He believes that we are polymorphously sexually perverse. Even children are said to desire to have sex with parents of the opposite gender (Oedipal Complex). Society gives us a set of rules that forbid our doing what our natural instinct dispose us to do. Those rules of society are internalized by us as we are growing up. If we fail to behave as society approves for us to behave, it punishes us; it does so for its own good.

In general, the properly socialized adult is said to have introjected his society’s norms and uses them to check his id desires. The interiorized norms are called the superego. The superego checks the id.

But the id insists on having some outlet. As Freud sees it, we developed a third part to our psyche, the ego. The ego is sort of like a referee and balances the demands of the id and strictures of the superego. For example, the Christian ego insists that one have sex only in heterosexual marriage.

In the normal person, Freud believes that the instincts are repressed and driven into what he called the unconscious mind. The desire for sex and aggression are still there, but they are driven out of the conscious mind and hidden in the unconscious mind. From the unconscious mind, they still affect our behaviors. Hence we sometimes behave irrationally despite our best intentions.

Despite the individual’s Christian upbringing that represses extramarital sexuality, every once in a while, he engages in such sex, that is, sex without love attached to it, for the id does not attach love to sex. Only religion does so. By the same token, every once in a while, our aggressive instinct breaks out, and we act out, strike at other people or go to war, for we apparently have instinct for aggression.

Freud believes that the best we can do is redirect our aggression, such as channel it to competitive activities at school, sports and work, but not entirely eliminate it.

Where socialization fails, the individual develops neurosis. In neurosis, the individual’s superego may be too punitive (as in hysterical women, conversion reaction, who over internalized the social stricture against sex and swoon very easily), or there is failure in internalizing social norms. For example, the child may still yearn to have sex with the parent of the opposite sex.

Freud recommends that the neurotic come to him and his disciples for psychoanalysis, lay on his couch, and free associate, say whatever comes to his mind, so as to cathete, get what is in his unconscious to the conscious mind and have Freud analyze it. The individual engages in transference relationship with his analyst and the later helps him resolve his unresolved psyche conflicts. (See Freud, Pleasure Principle; also see Civilization and its Discontents.)

I tend to accept Adler’s views on the origin of neurosis. Adler sees us all as made to feel inferior by the exigencies of being and compensate with superiority, and that the best we can do is redirect our striving for power towards social interests. (See Alfred Adler’s The Neurotic Constitution. Also see Karen Horney, Neurosis and Human Growth, and Carl Rogers, Client Centered Therapy.)

Let us just say that one is aware that many folks out there would disagree with ones causal analysis. That is fine. We must engage in intellectual discourse, for who knows where the truth lies? Knowledge improves through intellectual dialogue.

Dr. Osuji can be reached at
600 First Avenue, Suite 325, Seattle, Washington, USA 98104 ( Phone 206-464-9004)

Posted by Administrator at 02:44 AM | Comments (1)

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