Biafra Nigeria World Weblogs


BNW: Biafra Nigeria World Magazine



BNW: Insight, Features, and Analysis

BNW Writer's Block 

BNW News and Archives

 BNW News Archive

BNW: Biafra Nigeria World


BNW Forums and Message Board


Biafra Net

 Igbo Net: The Igbo Network

BNW Africa and AfricaWorld 

BNW: Icon

BNW: Icon


Flag of Biafra Nigeria

BNW News Archives

BNW News Archive 2002-January 2005

BNW News Archive 2005

BNW News Archive 2005 and Later

« September 2005 | Main | November 2005 »

October 28, 2005

AIT Deserved Some Sanctions, Not A Shutdown!

by Paul I. Adujie, ((New York, United States) --- I write with a heavy heart, the twin tragic incident in Nigeria, the crash of Bellview Airlines Flight 210 which led to the premature death of 117 persons. Tragic, also best describes the sudden death of Mrs. Stella Obasanjo, wife of our number one citizen.

There was, expectedly, stampedes and confusions after the air disaster, this is understandable…expected and understandable, are words that I have carefully chosen, because, it is rather universal for humans to react to accidents or disasters in panic, stampede and some confusion, as fallout of the air disaster, any catastrophe, this is a universal human phenomena and human condition.

After the Bellview crash, which occurred at night time, it took the federal agencies several hours to locate the site of the plane’s impact on the ground, until it was said to have been discovered in the town of Lisa by a television station, beating federal agencies to the discovery or the national efforts at search, rescue and retrieval of passengers of the ill-fated flight 210.

Nigeria broadcasting regulatory body, the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission or the NBC, promptly issued a press release and subsequently banned AIT/Raypower broadcasting company for airing the gory pictures of burnt and mutilated human remains from the air crash. The closure or shutdown of AIT was probably an overreaction, but having said that, we must also say that the publishing of burnt mutilated bodies was an egregious act on the part of AIT and others who may have engaged in such indecent and undignified act.

How would anyone like to see the charred remains of his father, his mother, or uncle or cousin or friend or co-worker on television? What is the voyeuristic newsworthiness in the body parts displayed on screen by AIT and perhaps, by other broadcasters?

I am an advocate of Press Freedom, I believe in the right of the citizens to know. I support the pending bill at our national assembly that will hopefully be transformed into Freedom of Information Act. I abhor censorship. But reckless journalism is also injurious

The NBC sanctions against AIT was not motivated by censorships, instead it was motivated by purely genuine outrage felt by the people at NBC and perhaps, as must have been felt as well, by a majority of Nigerians who were horrified by the broadcast of gory pictures of disintegrated body parts from the bloodied and burned passengers on Bellview flight 210.

I have always personally complained about American and European Media Houses and the type coverage of crises and tragedies in Nigeria and all of Africa that they provide, where the picture or outlook is painted as if, to say, it could not get worse than this any where, or to say, "this is an only in Africa moment" This attitude was recently repeated in the American Press coverage of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Louisiana where there was a different sorts of coverage and spin, depending on whether the Hurricane victim was a White or Black person, Whites were portrayed as looking for food and found food, while Blacks who equally looked for found and found food, were portrayed as looters of the food that they found, just as their counterparts in the after-Hurricane desperations… but the Whites were not referred to as looters!

In the name of press freedom in Nigeria, we must not thrash decency and dignity. We must not abandon our culture that dictates respect for the dead, and this is in fact not particularly an African thing. I have been living in the United States for decades now, and it is my experience here in America, that when a person dies, whether in the hospitals or on the sidewalks of streets and avenues, the Americans are quick to supply blankets or some sorts of cover for the dead person’s body or at least the dead’s face.

Here in America, such dead person does not even have to be mutilated or burnt or look gory, just that the person is now a corpse, and the body is quickly covered. The dead person could be rich, poor or even homeless street vagrant or street urchin, the same process is undertaken to give the dead some respect, dignity and somewhat a decent end.

To that extent, it does not speak well of Nigerians citizens and governments, that dead bodies are allowed to remain in Nigerian streets or avenues and roads uncovered, and sometimes, corpses are actually neglected on public space, until such corpses start to decompose! Now, I understand that the remains of flight 210 passengers have not been retrieved, several days after the deadly crash. That is a complete shame.

NEMA, the Police, the Airforce, Navy, Army, NRSC and other security forces ought to be empowered to do search and rescue operations, on land, at sea or by air. Nigeria need more ambulances, to do these things and Nigeria also need ample supply of body bags or coffins available at every of our 774 local government areas and Abuja. Nigerians should not allow bodies to rot in the streets or any public space… any dead Nigerian citizen deserve better than such nonchalant abandonment or wanton neglect at life’s end

How we treat our poor and our dead, is the sum total of how we value ourselves as Nigerians. This is an area that I am convinced, Nigerians can learn from the Americans.

Has any Nigerian seen body parts of the more than 3,000 that were killed in the World Trade Center in New York City on September 11, 2001? I live in New York City and I never saw a body part of any of the 3,000 dead at the WTC on television or newspapers

And yet, it is unarguable that there are more television broadcasters and more newspapers in America, particularly in New York City, known as the financial and news capital of the world. New York City boasts of all news media of the world represented here

Do some Nigerians actually suppose that is because there are no daring and scoop loving television and newspaper journalists in America, which is why the world never saw burnt and burned body parts, mutilated victims of he terrorists attacks in New York, Washington DC and Pennsylvania?

Have Nigerians seen pictures of dead American soldiers in the Iraqi and Afghan wars?
Is this because there are no television stations in America and there are no cameras?

As at today, October 26, 2005, 2000 American soldiers have been killed in Iraq alone and there are no pictures of the dead or injured Americans who serve in the military.

Do Nigerians care why journalists were embedded in American current wars, and not allowed to roam free? Publish and be damned and all?

American military industrial complex carefully selected journalists from both print and electronic medias and trained these journalist for several months before the American invasion and occupation of Iraq, and these journalists, become what was known as the embedded journalists, whose reporting were filtered and or orchestrated, so that our trusted sources such as The New York Times, the BBC, the VOA only reported to America and the world, what has been approved and allowed by the American federal government and its military commanders!

When some American soldiers and civilians were displayed on television by the insurgents in Iraq, American government protested outrage, and when American soldiers killed Saddam Hussein two sons, Uday and Qusay, and circulated their heavily mangled bodies, the average America was appalled and complained, there were also complaints from outside the United Sates as well… even though Saddam Hussein and his sons were nobody’s favorite.

During the tragic Hurricane Katrina disaster, the American Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA was grossly inept and incompetent or just nonchalant, but even so, it strived to contain the broadcast of pictures from the scenes of the horrendous disaster, FEMA actually sent out memo, demanding that press houses refrained from publishing pictures of the dead and dying

Why have the Americans taken all these steps to protect and prevent the broadcast of pictures, gory pictures of dead Americans in the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, in Pennsylvania, or the pictures of dead American soldiers in the wars of Afghanistan and Iraq? Have Nigerians seen dead and dying Americans from these wars? Do Nigerians know why that is? Do Nigerians even care?

So, why must we demean ourselves and or our dead by displaying disintegrated burnt body parts on television during break fast or dinner times? Why is it now not enough to show the crash site, the wreckage, but without showing the bleeding and or burnt human remains? What is so newsworthy in that? What is the demonstration of press freedom in that?

AIT should be reprimanded and fined, if there is such rule in Nigeria… AIT should not be banned or closed; AIT or any overzealous journalist should be sanctioned, not arrested or banned! We must use due process and always have recourse to the rule of law.

NCC should prescribe fines, perhaps huge fines in cases where hunting for scoops offends public decency/morality or taste, and what is appropriate, whatever the community or national standards are determined to be, by Nigeria. But closing down AIT or any press/media house sounds heavy -handed and arbitrary; And Nigeria may because of it, it is receive bad press galore, as Nigeria may be painted or portrayed as hostile to free press.

It was my intention to plead that the ban be lifted, but since the ban has actually been lifted already, it is instead, suggested that there ought to be a fine, just so, everyone is on notice what the law and rules are, so that, next time, NBC can impose a fine if there is a breach of the rules. Nigerians and the world understand pocket-book politics....and AIT or other broadcasters would not want to lose money and of course, they will comply with such rules that requires some circumspection in news reporting and that is not inconsistent with Nigeria’s National Interests, National security, or national purpose, including the mundane matters of decency and dignity for our dead and the all important concept and ideal, of free press in Nigeria.

By Paul I. Adujie

New York, United States

Posted by Administrator at 02:15 PM | Comments (0)

The Five Modes of Thinking: Studies in Science and Thinking

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. (Seatle, Washington) --- INTRODUCTION In this paper, I will describe the five modes of thinking known to man, or, at least, known to me. The five are: (1) God/Christ, unified mode of thinking; (2) Ego, separated mode of thinking; (3) Ego, separated and idealistic mode of thinking; (4) Holy Spirit directed ego, separated mode of thinking: this has two levels, absolute Holy Spirit directed mode of thinking, in which case the individual is not in this world (5) and the lesser level of it where the individual is ego driven but occasionally listens to the Holy Spirit and does as the Holy Spirit directs him to do; this is where most people are.

I will not necessarily be sequential in making this presentation for the points were pieced together from disparate notes. Nevertheless, by the end of the presentation, the reader would be able to identify the five modes of thinking and decide which one he is employing at any point in his thinking.

This paper is meant for those already searching for God, those alienated from the extant world; the paper would probably not make much sense to those comfortable with the world, as we know it.

Human beings are always thinking. They cannot, not think, for to be a human being is to think. If one ceased thinking one would cease being.

To be alive is to think. Living is thinking; thinking is living. The individual is always thinking and thus is always living.

Life is eternal. Thinking is an eternal process. Thinking takes place in this world and in all other worlds, including in the world of God.

The universe is a thinking universe. However, there are many modes of thinking in the universe. The goal of this paper is to describe the various modes of thinking, so that the individual, since he is always thinking, recognizes his mode of thinking, and where he feels that his thinking is not yielding the results he desires modifies it. One cannot, not think; all that one can do is think differently.

Each mode of thinking brings its own results. Some modes of thinking bring peace and others bring conflict. If one desires peace, one must think in the mode that brings peace. On the other hand, if one desires conflict, one thinks in a mode that brings conflict. The choice is up to us. Peace or war? Choose.

In eternity there is no choice, but in time there is choice. In our world we have the illusion that it is up to us to choose, so we must choose the mode we want to think in. In realty, in eternity, we are always thinking in unison. But we chose to seem to think separately and that choice produced our current world.

The world is the opposite of heaven. Heaven is union; the world is separateness. Heaven is sameness and equality; the world is a place of differences and inequality. The world is a place of opposites, a place of contradictions and paradoxes: good and bad, black and white, night and day, pleasure and pain. In this world, we must seem to choose, so let us then know what we seem to be choosing.

The goal of this paper and Real-Self Fellowship, in general, is to help us choose to think in a manner that would produce peace and joy for us. If you do not share this purpose, please stop reading, now. You are perfectly free to choose to live in conflict and pain.


The Son of God, you, each of us, has the freedom to choose to think and behave as he pleases. However, since there is a law of cause and effect in the universe, whatever one chooses and does have its effects. One cannot escape from the consequences of ones choices.

In reality, in heaven, we really do not have choices for we are always as God created us and cannot choose to be different. But in the world of dreams and illusions we seem to choose and our choices have effects in our dream setting; not real effect, for reality remains as God created it, unified, but temporary, dream effects.

If one chooses to think in a manner that conflict is inevitable one must accept that reality. On the other hand, if one prefers peace, as we do at Real-Self Fellowship, one must think in such a manner that peace is the inevitable result.

Science of Thinking, of which this paper is part of, aims at enabling us think in accord with our real self. Our real self is unified spirit.

When we think in accord with our real self, with unified self, we are peaceful. When we think as our real self, unified self, we think in tandem with God and all creation; we think in a unified manner. This means that we stop thinking in ego, separated manner. It means giving up our current self, the separated ego self.

If we did this, give up our egos, we would not be in this world of space, time and matter. We would reawaken in the world of unified spirit. We would return to thinking as we do in eternity, what Christians call heaven.

One cannot be on earth, a place of separation, and simultaneously be aware of heaven, a place of union. That is impossible.

One is either aware of union or separation, but never both at the same time. Thus, if one completely returned to unified thinking, Christ/God unified thinking, one would exit from this world of ego/separated thinking.

Alternatively, one remains in this ego/separated world and its thinking and do one of two things. One can give ones thinking over to the Holy Spirit to guide one.

If one completely permitted the Holy Spirit to guide one, one would say nothing unless the Holy Spirit told one what to say.

If one listened to the Holy Spirit one hundred percent of the time and spoke with his voice, that is, through his guidance, one would also exit from this world of separation. But in as much as one still has some wishes for separated living, albeit directed by the Holy Spirit, one would be in what we might call by several names, including purgatory, real world, happy dream, heaven’s gate, near heaven, near God, Bramaloca etc.

Finally, one can choose to be in our world of separation, retain ones ego and occasionally over rules ones ego thinking and choose to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit. Thus, occasionally, one does not do what ones ego self asks one to do. One overlooks ego reason, which amounts to overlooking the ego’s call for vengeance and defensiveness.

In this world, we live in bodies and bodies are vulnerable. We see environmental factors attack us. Body must be defended to stay in being. If, for example, one did not eat food, one would not live in body. We need food, medications, clothes, and shelter to protect our bodies. If we did not wear clothes, particularly during the cold winter months in Alaska, we would die within twenty-four hours. Life on earth, which is lived in body, which is life in separated, ego state, must be defended for it to exist.

Without defense, that is, defenselessness, the earthly individual’s body dies. However, one can choose to occasionally not defend ones body and ego and momentarily, therefore, die to their awareness.

When one dies to the awareness of the ego one awakens to the awareness of unified spirit. When one does not defend the ego self one remembers unified spirit self.

If one is occasionally not defensive, one is occasionally listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit. One is occasionally thinking from the perspective of the Holy Spirit.

During the moments one thinks from the perspective of the Holy Spirit one is near heaven. In this mode of thinking, one is still in ego state, but an ego guided by the Holy Spirit. One thinks in ego, separated thinking, hence is in this world but occasionally permits ones self to think like God does hence momentarily escapes from this world and come near to God, and eventually returns to this world’s mode of thinking and see ones self in this world.

This world’s primary mode of thinking is ego, separated thinking. If you are reading this material you are in the world of separation, which means that you have identified with the ego and think as an ego.

There are essentially two types of ego-based thinking. Ego normal thinking; this is what we might call normal persons’ thinking. Ninety nine percent of the people on earth are essentially normal most of the time. That is, most people think in ego normal mode. Here, the individual accepts that he is separated from God and from all people. He sees space and time between him and God and all people. He sees himself as living in a body. He accepts that what he sees with his physical eyes are facts and live accordingly. He is living in ego reality. He is not fighting with ego physical reality. He is a well-adjusted human being. He is a medical doctor, an engineer, a lawyer, and or a scientist; in short he is the normal human being. He is at home in this world. He is able to compete in this world and successfully do what the world asks of him to adapt to it; he is adapted to the realities of this world of space, time and matter.

The other type of ego thinking is what psychoanalysts used to refer to as neurosis. Here, the individual sees himself as he is, sees the world as it is and concludes that they are not good enough. He sees the world of separation, space-time and matter but does not like what he sees. He then uses his imagination to recreate and improve the world in his mind. He images himself as an improve person, he images other people as improved persons and he images animals, trees, every thing he sees in an ideal form of them.

Karen Horney, in her Book, Neurosis and Human Growth, describes this type of person very accurately. She described me to a T. Since I became self aware, which is, at least, by age six, I have rejected myself, rejected other people, rejected social institutions and used my thinking to image ideal alternatives to them. I then aspired to bringing my ideal forms into being.

I rejected my real self and created an ideal self, a replacement self, a substitute self and attempted to actualize that merely imaginary ideal. Of course, the imaginary is not the physically real. The self one imagines in ones mind is not the self in ones body. The self in body is imperfect, weak and vulnerable. The ideal self is purely ideational and therefore can be made perfect. My ideal self can seem invulnerable but my physical self is in body and experiences pain and hurt. Simply stated, the ego ideal is not the ego real.

The person who rejects the ego real self and pursues the ego ideal self is called a neurotic. He feels anxiety from not attaining his ideal self. The neurotic always lives with free-floating anxiety, for he defends his ideal self and is afraid of it failing.

Let us see how this works in real life. When I was in school, I wanted to be an A student. My ideal self preferred to make As in all my examinations. Therefore, during examinations I feared not making As. I experienced tremendous anticipatory anxiety, fear of not making As in future examinations.

When I made Bs I felt devastated. Bs was not part of my ideal self-image. My ideal self-image is that I am an A student. A very intelligent person, I believed does not make Bs, he makes As at all times.

Since I did not make As at all times, I did not live as my ideal self-image. Therefore, I felt anxious most of the time.


The neurotic looks externally for affirmation of who he is. He invents an ideal self concept and translates it to an ideal self image and presents it to the rest of the world to affirm. Whenever he is around people or even not with people but merely thinking about them his primary preoccupation is how they see his self image: do they accept his ideal self image or not? If he fears being rejected, not his real self being rejected, for no one can reject the individual’s real self, it is his ideal self that fears being rejected and since it is false it must be rejected, he feels anxiety. (Karen Horney called it Basic Anxiety.)

Generally, he withdraws from other people. He avoids other people and in avoidance reduce his anxiety but not eliminate it for he still fears other people’s rejection of his ideal self. His life is wrapped around having his ideal superior self accepted by himself and by other people. This ideal superior self is not real and must be defended at all times least it is exposed as the false entity it is.

In social isolation, withdrawal from other people, the neurotic manages to convince himself that he could be his ideal self, which he is not and needs not even want to be that false self, a self trying to be which gives him nothing but anxiety, pain and suffering.

(There are many types of neurotic persons; the one that I have just described is called avoidant personality disorder, the shy person.)

What is healing for neurosis? It is letting go of the ego ideal. The individual must let go of identification with his ego ideal, must stop all wishes for a superior self, must give up all wishes for a special self that he himself invented to replace his real self. He must give up the substitute self, defense of which causes him a lot of pain and anxiety and interferes with his interpersonal relationships. He must stop looking outside himself for a self and instead look inside where his real self is.

The real self is created by God and does not look like ones body. It is not anything that the individual invented as a concept and transforms into a self image. The real self is not a concept and is imageless; the real self is an idea, the idea of God’s son in the mind of God. It is the self that God created; it is whole, holy and unified with God.

The individual needs do nothing to make the real self real; it is real because God created it and what God created is real and eternal.

The real self is inside one and one does not need other people to validate it, to like it or not. It does not matter what people in the world, in the dream, in an illusion that does not even exist say about the real self.

The real self is eternal, permanent and changeless. The real self is the son of God as God created him, unified with his father and with all his brothers in eternity and is immortal.

The real self is formless spirit and is not in physical form; it is an idea in the mind of God. Ideas leave not their source. The real self is always in the mind of God where it was created as the extension of God.

When neurosis is healed the individual feels calm, peaceful and happy. Why so? Because he is no longer looking externally to other people and the world to approve the false ideal self he invented to replace his real self with. He is being the self God created him as, the self he is given by God, not the self he gave to himself. He has rejected the self he made, the craven idol, the antichrist, (the ego is the antichrist) and accepted the self that God created, the unified Christ, as his real self. He is no longer in competition with God trying to create himself by giving himself a false self, but has accepted that God created him by accepting the real son of God that God created.

He is happy to be the child of God. That child of God is inside him, not outside him. The Child of God, the Christ in him, is the one who went into sleep, forgets its real identity as the holy son of God (holy is contraction of whole, the whole Son of God, meaning joined to God and all creation, not the unholy Son of God, the separated ego self) and invents the ego self and the ego ideal self and tries to become it.

The son of God is the dreamer of dreams and the thinker of earthly thoughts. He is not his earthly thoughts, for the dreamer is not his dreams. He is the conceptualizer and the image maker. When he recognizes that he is the maker of the self concept and self image and gives up trying to make concepts and images for himself and for other people and becoming them and just accepts the self that he already is, the self that God created him as, the holy self, he is now innocent, sinless and guiltless for he has stopped sinning.

To sin is to make a different self, the self concept and self image for ones self and try to be it. To sin is to make a false self and use it to separate from God and try to go make it seem real. When one stops trying to make the ego/neurotic/psychotic false self real one is no longer separating from God and is sinless and does not feel neurotic affects like guilt, fear, anger, sadness, depression, paranoia, shame and pride. One knows that the internal self is all worth and is magnificent, for God is magnificent and what God made is magnificent, not the grandiosity the neurotic self gives itself but the grandeur that God created his son as, a grandeur given to us by God, not the false grandiosity one gives to one by ones self.

A healed mind is a person who thinks differently, for mind is thinking, from thinking separately to thinking in a unified manner. What this means is that he loves his real self, not his ideal self, he loves all people’s real selves and he forgives what the ego selves do on earth. He is a prodigal son who is now returned to his father, to his home and is being how his father created him and wants him to be, unified.

A healed mind looks inside himself and experiences God inside and gives him thanks, as God gives thanks to him, his son, after all he was created by God to be a companion for his father and brothers. He closes his eyes to the external world and what it says of him and sees inside, his real self, the Christ self. He sees the face of Christ in himself and all his brothers and loves them all.

He seeks a vocation that he truly loves and has aptitude in doing and does it not to get attention for his ego ideal but because he has interest in doing it and loves doing it. Such a Holy Spirit directed vocation generally contributes to the rest of the community, in a positive manner. In our own case, we contribute to the community by living our real self and showing people how to live out of their real self, in atonement, in at-one-ment with the whole, in union with God and all his creation hence in peace and joy. We engage in our profession of writing on the science of thinking, to enable all people to think in such a manner that peace and joy results for them.

The neurotic has a pattern of behavior: he presents his ego ideal to others, uses its ideal standards to criticize others and nobody can ever live up to his ideal self and its deal standards. People feeling unfairly criticized by him, to judge and criticize is to attack, so he is psychologically attacking people and they feel upset and attack him in self defense. They attack him because he did not love them; they attack him because they are asking him to love them and not criticize them. But instead of recognizing their attack on him as their call for love for them, when love is missing, and love them, to love himself, he feels unjustly attacked and counter attacks people. He may even avoid people to go retain and maintain his false ideal ego.

What he needs to do is see his attackers as sending him a message; the message is that he needs to give up his ego ideal for himself and for other people and stop using it to make life hellish for all people. To be a neurotic is to live in hell, a hell of ones making. To overcome neurotic thinking, that is, to not think from ego ideal stand point but to think from love and forgiving stand point, is to feel released from all the pain, anxiety and suffering that neurotic thinking patterns induce in the individual. This improves the individual’s interpersonal relationships.

A healed mind, a mind that now joins other minds that think forgiving and loving thoughts, not separating thoughts that maintain the false ideal self, has healed relationships. One is now one with all people; one is no longer judgmental and critical; one is accepting of all people hence at peace and joy with all people. Life becomes a joy, a happy dream.

There are those who go from garden-variety neurosis, like what I had, to psychosis. The psychotic is an exaggerated neurotic. He sees the ego real, his body and self, as not good enough. He sees the world of other people as not good enough. He uses his mind to construct ideal self for himself, and for other people and an ideal world. In reality, nobody is ever ideal. The psychotic to be adolescent is thus in a dilemma. Before he is age twenty-five, he recognizes that his ideal self and world is not going to occur in the world of reality. But he fervently wants that ideal self and ideal world to occur. So what to do?

He flips over and imagines that he is living in that ideal self and ideal world. He images that he is living in the world of ideation, the mere imaginary, the world he wished existed but that does not exist in the real world. That is to say that he tunes out our ego real world and lives in his own imaginary world, in the world of fantasy.

Real-Self Fellowship (RSF)

(Seattle Center)

600- 1st Avenue, Suite 325

Seattle, WA. 98104

(206) 464-9004

Posted by Administrator at 02:05 PM | Comments (0)

October 25, 2005

Ozodi Osuji Lectures #20: Training for Leadership in Nigeria (Continued)

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. (Seatle, Washington) ---Are you are a leader, as we have properly defined it here, and, if not, why are you calling yourself a chief, and why are you in politics?

Nigerians have identified leadership as a critical variable missing in their politics. I, therefore, suggest that we consciously train Nigerians in leadership. This training can begin at secondary school level. We can adapt the training provided at graduate schools, of management and leadership, to the level of secondary schools, and teach them.

We have to train our students, at secondary schools, technical schools and universities in leadership and management, if we want to produce good leaders and managers who would pull us out of the economic morass we currently are in. This can be done. We just have to have the will to do it. The present national political reform conference can recommend that leadership courses be taught at the various levels of education, and require all aspirants to public office to seat and pass the equivalent of MBA and MPA examinations before they run for offices.

Better still, we must require all aspirants to public office to write a blue print of what goals they want to accomplish, for the level of society they are planning to rule. They ought to state in the book why they are running for office: to make money ala wabara or to do what improves the country, as leaders ought to be doing?

Certainly, every university graduate (the minimum for seeking public office) can knock off 100 pages, or more, Political Manifesto in a week, and publish it. We, the public, then read and evaluate it, and elect him on the basis of what he intends to do for us, but not because of what he intends to steal from us.

Some American business schools make funds available to students, money with which they are encouraged to start business and see whether they can succeed. It is businessmen that create and grow jobs. The idea of giving these students loans is to encourage the spirit of enterprise. We can do the same in Nigeria, and encourage students to start businesses and/or initiate public programs, and do what it takes to make them succeed, not by stealing from the public, but by earning every penny they get. This would enable them to gain leadership skills. We would then elect into public offices youngsters that have demonstrated an excellent track record in starting projects, and seeing them through to maturity, and made profits.


This essay consciously did not address itself to the technical aspects of leadership and management. It did not address such leadership topics as planning, organizing, coordinating, controlling, delegating, hiring, training, supervising, firing, accounting, financing, reading financial statements, budgeting, cash flow issues, cash receivables and payables, payroll, span of control, power, authority, influence and so on. It did not mention the seminal studies all students of management know about, such as Frederick Taylor’s Time and Motion’ studies, the famous Hawthorn studies, Herzberg’s studies, Morton’s studies, Mary Follet’s studies on the interpersonal aspect of leadership, Field’s distinction between task oriented leaders and emotion oriented leaders, Macgregor’s idea of X versus Y leaders, Ouchi’s write up on Japanese management styles, Max Weber’s write up on bureaucratic organizations…they are hierarchical, pyramidical, impersonal, merit recruited, process and procedure bound, promotion is based on merit etc, his distinction between bureaucrats and politicians, and the nature of charismatic leaders; Abraham Maslow’s concept of hierarchy of needs; writings on transformational leaders, reformative leaders, status quo/establishmentarian leaders, Total Quality management and other management fads etc..

This paper did not engage in academic discourse because that was not its goal. If the reader is interested in those technical aspects of management and leadership, he could visit relevant texts in management. My goal was very simple: to call attention to the need for Nigerians to start training our leaders in the nature of leadership and management. This has to be done, if the country is to improve its economic and political standing. We really do not have a choice but to do these things. We can only vacillate, and put off the inevitable. Sooner or later, reality will catch up with us, and force us to do what we ought to have done.

That reality may catch up with us in a most unexpected manner. Look here, political realism teaches us not to be having illusions about human nature. Man, empirical observation shows, is very capable of evil behavior. Go read Machievelli (Prince) Hobbes (Leviathan), Pareto, Schumpeter, Kissinger and other political realities. In the world of reality, if Africans do not soon get their acts together, other races will start rethinking who we are. They will stop making excuses for our apparent failures and see us as failures in life. Already, some see us as evolution’s failure.

The liberal orgy of the1960s is effectively over. As economic resources become scarce, men will think realistically, not sentimentally, as liberals do. Liberals tell us that all men are equal. Good. In the real world, we have black Americans who cannot enter America’s top universities, whose scores on the SAT are almost half Asian scores. We have Black American students who, at best, are C students at America’s top colleges. Now we add African’s shiftlessness to this poor performance, to this mix, and disaster is brewing for us.

We have been independent for forty something years, and have not learnt to govern ourselves. For a while, liberal scholars offered excuses for our inability to do the right thing. In the meantime, the Asian countries that got their independence from Europe, at about the same time as us, are now out competing Europe. Singapore, in fact, has exceeded the United States in information technology.

What does all this mean to you? When political realism sets in, as it is bound to do, other folks may conclude that Africans are genetically unintelligent and are probably also genetically programmed criminals. They would then respond accordingly.

In 1923, the American Congress passed a law banning Eastern Europeans, Slavs, from coming to America, because they performed poorly on standard American IQ tests. It was only later, when it was shown that it was cultural differences that accounted for the differences that Congress rescinded its Act.

(As you can see, Hitler was not the only one who dealt with Slavs in a negative manner. Americans did the same, in their habitual velvet, but, nevertheless, murderous manner. America is probably the most oppressive country on earth, but it presents the face of innocence to the world, and gullible persons buy it. Behind the lovy, dovy Christian mask worn by Americans, they are really as predatory as Neanderthal, and do not hesitate murdering people, for their own gains.)

Slavic Europe is probably a century behind Germanic Europe, in material development. Moreover, the Slavic culture is not as dynamic as the Germanic culture of Western Europe (all western Europeans are Germanic: Britain, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany, Scandinavia…they are a mix of Germanic and Celtic population, with the later subjugated by the former. In North America, too, the Germanic race subjugated American Indians, and, of course, Africans).

We all know what Adolf Hitler did to the Slavs. Believing that they were an inferior race, Hitler set out to kill most of them, and reduce what is left of them to performing laborer jobs for their supposed Aryan masters. The Nazis killed 25 million Russians, whom they considered sub human beings, animals really. Russian war prisoners were worked to death, just as the Jews, the other supposed inferior race, were worked until they died.

War prisoners from the other Germanic groups, Western Europeans and Americans, were treated like friends and well fed, while Polish, Russian and other Slavic war prisoners were starved to death. Just imagine what this war-mongering race will do to us, black people, when they turn their attention to us. They will reduce us to slavery or wipe us out and take Africa over.

And, if we fail to prepare for this eventuality, as Stalin and Slavs failed to take Hitler seriously, we, like them, will pay a terrible price. Russians read Hitler’s 1925 book, Mein Kampf, in which he described his view that Russians are animals, and carefully delineated his plan to eliminate them, but did not take him seriously. They cavalierly dismissed what the man said. Indeed many of them thought that the man was insane. Hitler was a paranoid personality, all right, but so are many persons holding responsible positions. Moreover the man had an IQ of over 140, hence a gifted political and military strategist. . At any rate, Russians lived to regret their foolishness, for when, in 1941, operation Babarosa was unleashed on mother Russia; she was not prepared for the match. But for Hitler’s over confidence, and certain miscalculations, such as redirecting his Panzers to the Caucasus to get hold of the all mighty oil, instead of smash the weak Russian troops defending the ramparts of Moscow, Moscow would have been taken before the end of 1941. If Von Paulus army had descended, like a brick, on Moscow, instead of allow itself to get bogged down in Stalingrad; Russia would today be a German colony. We must also remember that many in the capitalist West did not like the Bolsheviks, and quietly prayed that Hitler would get rid of the pesky Communists, for them. If you are interested in political leadership, not leadership of nursery schools, you must be interested in military affairs. Wars are inevitable in human aggregations. Please read about great generals and their wars. For a starter, read about Field Marshals Montgomery and Erin Rummel.

If we ignore racist perception of us, as sub human beings, and their intention to reduce us to slavery, like foolish Russians, we shall live to regret the day we chose to be idealistic, rather than be political realists, and face facts as they are.

Human beings, their historical behaviors show, are predatory savages, and will reduce you to slavery, or destroy you and appropriate your territory, if you are weak. Racist Americans enslaved Africans, didn’t they? What more evidence do you need to demonstrate for you that man is an aggressive creature? If a people, who masqueraded about, as loving Christians, could do to Africans, what Americans did to us, well, you must be a fool not to recognize that human beings are capable of iniquitous acts.

Realists always try to checkmate other human groups by being prepared to jostle with them at wars. The force of arms guarantees peace, not by love. As Machievelli observed, teach love, but exercise force, for it is better that people fear and respect you, than love you.

In case you do not know it, the rest of the world suspects that Africans are dumb, and on that basis discriminate against us. In America, blacks are generally the last hired and the first fired.

I have never heard a Nigerian leader express disgust at how white America treats our brothers in America. Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela, occasionally speak out against racist dehumanization of our brothers in America. How about Nigerian leaders? They are too parochial, particularistic and self-centered to be interested in universalistic human issues of justice and fairness. These apes do not see it as their business that how whites treat our brothers in America, is symbolic of how they would like to treat us. Thus, they run around America, staying in the most expensive hotels, unaware that if they walked around the neighborhoods where those hotels are located, at night, that racist police officers would harass them. If you are black, walk around Bel-Air and Beverly Hills, California, at night, and see what happens to you. I used to jog in those neighborhoods, and cannot begin telling you how many times racist police officers stopped me, and or shadowed me.

Nigerian leaders imagine that white America is their friend. America has no permanent friend. America’s friend is money, not human beings. One hopes that some day Nigerian politicians would become a bit more intelligent and become preoccupied with universal issues of rightness and wrongness, rather than just think about lining their pockets with ill-gotten wealth. One looks forward to the day a Nigerian leader would in fact, act like a courageous human being, and speak out against George Bush’s foreign policies, rather than thinking that it is a great honor to be invited to the White house. (Why not call it Black House; after all black slaves built it? For what it is worth, let me tell you that I visited George Washington’s house, Mount Vernon, and Thomas Jefferson’s house, Monticello, for the sake of spitting at them. I hate the fact that those monsters enslaved my brothers, and built their houses with their free labor. During my first visit at Capitol Hill, Congress, and realizing that black slaves built it, it gave me great joy in cursing it. That act may not be much, but my intense hatred of the oppressors of my people had to find symbolic outlet.)

Perhaps we are unintelligent? Intelligence includes ability to foresee the future and plan for it. We are messing up, big time. This will result in others perception of us as hopeless. Today, out of misguided liberal, bleeding hearted, and do gooderness; the West gives us economic aid, which we promptly squander. One can just imagine a major depression, as in 1929, hitting the West. When that happens, Westerners will look out for their own survival. No one would give a damn if Africans starved to death or killed themselves in their present senseless, tribal wars. In fact, many non-Africans would probably say good riddance of us. I know many white folks who immediately turn off their TVs when yet another story of African suffering appears on the news. They say: if Africans cannot govern themselves, like any one else, let them die. Why do we have to feel guilty for a shiftless race that cannot properly fend for itself?

One does not need to be paranoid…even paranoia has its positive aspect…to visualize a future where fascists take over American government, and the rest of the western world, and resolve to return to Africa and re-colonize it. If you doubt this eventuality, perhaps you ought to take history a bit more seriously. Please read about the cyclic patterns of events.

If we keep misbehaving, another Joseph Chamberlain, Spangler, and Herbert Spencer could emerge on the ideological horizon, and argue that the 1% known genetic difference between people (people are 99% the same) is enough to condemn Africans to eternal servitude. The difference between human beings and chimpanzees is only 3% (Chimps are 97% like us) yet they are a world apart from us.

The point is that a time may come when white folks argue that the 1% genetic difference between them and us is sufficient for us to not catch up with them, to always be basket cases asking for hand outs from the West. When that happens, one can see a demagogue say: let us go to Africa and kill Africans, and take over their land.

If you think that all these are improbable, keep dreaming. Perhaps, you look to the United Nation’s Charter, and its talk about respecting national sovereignty, hence gives you the right to misgovern your nation. Revisit history.

The concept of nation-state is a recent phenomenon. It emerged after the 100 years religious war that devastated Germany. The treaty of Westphalia in 1648 established the concept of nations; prior to that, there were no nations. What this means is that the idea of nation is a social construct, and an artificial one at that. Whatever man constructs can be deconstructed, and reconstructed.

Americans formed the United Nations in 1945, at San Francisco, California, to suit the world they wanted to dominate. If that world appears to be escaping their control, they could pull out of the UN and make other arrangements. The neo-conservative elements in America already resent the United Nations. Indeed, President Reagan refused to pay his share of the United Nations budget (America contributes 25% of UN budget).

The point of all this is, that if Africans keep behaving like they are unintelligent idiots, and are unable to govern themselves, if they keep producing leaders like Abacha, Mobutu, and let us not forget, the cannibal Idi Amin, criminals in positions of political power, the rest of the world could conclude that we are born idiots and criminals.

In my world, the world of thinkers, there are already white racist psychologists who would like to demonstrate that the reason why black Americans are the dominant population in American jails and prisons is because they are born with criminal genes. These racist psychologists would like to eradicate whatever guilt they have from enslaving and discriminating against blacks, by proving that blacks are born unintelligent (they tend to score 15 points less than whites…and luckily Orientals score 15 points more than whites, and that kills the genetics argument, for if whites bring it up, they, ip so facto, imply that Orientals are superior to them, a proposition they would not like, and to avoid it, they seem to ignore the subject. (115:100:85 are the average IQ of Asians, whites and blacks.)

Racist white pseudo scholars would like to demonstrate that Africans are born criminals, and that that accounts for our leaders being thieves rather than dedicated leaders of their people.

If changes in intellectual climate occur, from liberal to conservative, you can kiss Africa good-bye. We may be re-enslaved.

Actually we are already re-enslaved. These days, Nigerian university graduates come to America and do menial jobs that white folks do not want to do. They get here, and in a few weeks obtain Certified Nurses Assistant certificate, and proceed to essentially become care talkers of older white people. They work at assisted homes for the elderly. (I call them certified domestic servants, slaves.) The rest of them work as janitors and cab drivers.

Of course, when these brothers go home to Nigeria, they pretend to be big men in America. What are Nigerians noted for but putting on acts? A taxi driver in New York goes to Nigeria and behaves like he is the president of the United States. In America itself he is relegated to living in the inner cities and breathes in smog that reduces his life span.

Of course, a handful of Nigerians actually become medical doctors and engineers and make a good living in America. A few of them even teach at American universities. Usually when affirmative Action sets out to hire a black to have as a token on a white campus, if there is an African around, he is hired. Then the token brother runs home to Nigeria, and tells his people that he is an outstanding professor at an American university.

In Europe, Nigerian women are proliferating as prostitutes. Go visit Rome, Milan, Amsterdam, etc, and the chances are that the whore on the street is a Nigerian girl (or Eastern European). That is correct, we are now exporting harlots and domestic servants to Europe and North America.

What does that make us? Slaves. For 1000 years we exported slaves to Arabia and America. We have now resumed that practice by sending to the white world our people to go perform their menial work.

If Nigeria were to take care of business, get its house in order, provide jobs to its citizens, they would not have to be running to the West for the honor of performing menial jobs. Perhaps, we shall learn, and start caring for each other, and realizing that if one of us is unemployed, we are all unemployed. The answer to Cain’s question: am I my brother’s keeper, is yes. We must care for each other for we are one. We must provide jobs for our brothers and sisters in Africa, to stop the current disguised slave trade going on, and we do not even know it for what it is.

(It is probably not wise for African governments to stop emigration to the West, as some African nationalists are advocating. Out of the evil of our slavery in the West, some of us actually acquire some useful skills that may serve Africa well. Besides, you need to get closer to the man to know him, as he really is, not as he presents himself to be. He is a beast masquerading as an angel. )

And this sad fact does not bother our so-called African leaders.

I feel angry whenever I see a Nigerian whore in Europe. I do not know about you, every Nigerian girl is my sister, and seeing her as a plaything for the man makes me angry.

Have you traveled, lately? Have you noted how folks with Nigerian passports are treated? Not long ago, I was going from France to England, and at Dover, British immigration and customs officers paid particular attention to Nigerians. They literally frisked them, searched them and stuck their fingers wherever they wanted to.

At American airports, Nigerians are presumed as criminals, and treated as such. Our so-called big men are treated similarly. I have been at airports and seen the garbage searched like they are common criminals.

The humiliation inflicted on them by white men does not make them mad enough to go home and do what they have to do to make their country respected and their countrymen treated with dignity!

My God, where did this breed of humanity called Nigerians come from? What other people consider degrading, they laugh at, hence their silly reputation as the world’s happiest people. Happiest slaves, I say. Nigerians do not feel mad when other people belittle them, at least not mad enough to fight back. Like slaves, they tolerate others abuse. Indeed, they tolerate the abuse of their local black colonialists, their so-called rulers, without rising up, and marching for freedom. Liberty is never given to a people by rulers, because the rulers are good persons, but because the people demand it, and are willing to die for it.

It is really true that, the government a people have, they deserve. Nigerians deserve the corrupt governments they have. If they were manly and rose up, and challenged the thieves ruling them, those cowards would run away. See what a little courage has accomplished in the Ukraine: drove out the Russian quisling ruling that country. If Nigerians rise up, demonstrate, get killed by the police, and do not run, but persist, their rulers would respect them, and start doing the right things by them. The problem is that if you fire a gun into the air; kill a few persons, like cowards, the Nigerian crowd runs away. A cowardly people cannot have a good government, for good government is a product of a people’s willingness to die for it.

Nigeria must do what it must do, to make its people respected all over the world. We can do it. Despite the poor state of our educational institutions, the fact is that there are many smart Nigerians. I know some of them with doctorate degrees in Nuclear physics. That is correct; there are some of Nigerians who can out compete the white man.

First, we must strive after economic strength, and later on military strength. Eventually, we must develop nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.

Why so? Grow up. If your neighbor has a weapon that you do not have, he will dictate what to do to you, whether you like it or not, for that is the reality of human history.

International relations studies have an axiom, that balance of power is what makes countries not attack and subjugate each other. According to this view, it is balance of power that maintains world peace, not misguided trust in human beings supposed good nature.

The present situation where only one country, America, is the sole superpower has witnessed American leaders, morons and all, run around the world imposing their will on other people. If you do not like what they are doing, then have the economic and military power to check them, or shut up.

I do not like America bullying every body else, but I am realistic enough to know the difference between them and me. They have the power to clubber me.

I resent whoever has the power to destroy me. But in the present, there is nothing I can do about it. But I can make sure that future Africans are not in my, our predicament. In this light, we ought to work to make sure that Africa develops economically, and, eventually, militarily. We must, in the long run, acquire nuclear power.

No weapon ever discovered by human beings remains in sole possession of its discoverers. Sooner or later, most countries will have access to nuclear power. Despite America’s self serving efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, they will spread. The genie is out of the bottle, and no one can put it back. That is reality. Besides, knowledge is such that what, at one time, seemed difficult, and was the exclusive property of a few, tends to become commonplace. A few centuries ago, only a few persons understood Newton’s mechanics. Today, he is child’s play for high school science students. By the same token, nuclear physics seems tough, but soon, most high school students would understand it. It is called the law of critical mass. In the not too distant future, many folks would be able to rig nuclear weapons in their backyards. And there is nothing any one can do to prevent this eventuality.

When this happens, the chicken will come home to roost for the world’s present oppressor of the weak. We all know whom weak, emasculated folks would like to use weapons of mass destruction on. The proposed victims also know that this is the case, hence they run around trying to prevent the inevitable, the spread of nuclear weapons.

In, as much as, all people will sooner or later have nuclear weapons, I want Africans, too, to have them.

America is the sole possessor of superior force, and she wields it as a club over other nations' heads, and uses it to intimidate them into doing what they do not want to do. This is power. Power is the ability of A to get B to do what, otherwise, he does not want to do. I resent another human being having such power over me, and over Africans. This untenable situation must be corrected. Africa’s humanity demands that the situation be corrected, for the playing field to be equalized.

This brings us to those who want to Balkanize already small African countries. Small countries are politically, economically and militarily irrelevant in world politics. Biafra, whatever that nonsense is, will be irrelevant in world politics. Therefore, we must all struggle to make Nigeria a strong, well-governed state, and forget about the nonsense of Biafra. All Nigerians, Hausa, Yoruba, Ibo, are one. At any rate, in the Western world, we are treated alike, discriminated against. We must all work for our common Nigerian good.

I make no secret my wish for all West Africa to become one country. I also wish that by the end of this century, all of Africa became one country, a federation of five hundred states, with each tribe constituting a state. I am a Pan Africanist. My heroes are Garvey, Nkruma, and Padmore.

In the short run, unfortunately, a united Africa is not attainable. Africans must first go through the orgy of tribalism, then progress to nationalism, and eventually recognize their common fate, and unify. There is inevitable progression in human affairs. You must first learn to walk before you can run. Thus, my present goal is a united Nigeria. One must set small, incremental steps at a time, steps that led to a larger goal. What is currently achievable is strengthening Nigeria.

A unified West Africa is fifty years in the future, and a Unified Africa is probably a hundred years in the future. So let us do what are doable in the present, make Nigeria the best it can become.

Finally, one is a realistic-idealist; one keeps one’s eyes on a dream, African Union, but, in the interim, does what present social reality permits. One never loses touch of the larger picture, while doing what the smaller picture calls for. One is not a hopeless utopian; one knows the difference between ideals and reality, fantasy and facts. One knows what we, in Africa, are up against, the implacable forces, particularly the West, against us. But nevertheless, one knows that a totally committed, bold, and decisive leadership can pull Nigeria, indeed all of Africa, up from its present unenviable situation.

Continued from "Ozodi Osuji Lectures #20: Training for Leadership in Nigeria"

Ozodi Thomas Osuji

With this lecture, I end the series of lectures I gave in commemoration of Nigeria’s 45the Birthday. I hope that you found them useful. I plan to edit, add references and bibliography to the lectures and publish them as a monograph

Posted by Administrator at 01:28 AM | Comments (0)

Ozodi Osuji Lectures #20: Training for Leadership in Nigeria

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. (Seatle, Washington) --- When Nigerians gather, a likely topic for conversation is: the trouble with Nigeria, and what to do about it. Invariably, they identify corruption and lack of political leadership as among the problems with Nigeria and Africa. In this essay, I will explore how to train for leadership and management in Nigeria and Africa.

Leadership is the art or science of identifying what a group of human beings need to do, to more effectively adapt to the exigencies of their environment, and doing it. The world is such that it does not provide human beings with what they need for survival. We have to work for what we need to survive. There are no free lunches on earth. The Bible said that while fleeing from Egypt and on their road to the Promised Land, that Israelis were given free food, manna. It also said that none of those Jews who ate that free food reached the land “flowing with milk and honey”.

Those who reached the Promised Land were those who did not partake in eating free food. Moreover, when the Jews got to the Promised Land, they first had to fight those already occupying it, Canaanites, defeat them in pitched battles, and took over the land. Thereafter, they worked hard to transform the semi desert land of Israel into a productive land that met their supplies.

The point is that human beings, whether they like it or not, have to work for the means of their survival. In Genesis, Bible, it is written that by the sweat of their labor will human beings survive. Apparently, it is the wish of God that we human beings must work for our daily bread? Those who engage in corruption and steal to get their daily bread are cursed, and despite appearances of superficial wealth, tend to die miserable deaths. Examples are Sani Abacha and Joseph Mobutu.

As far as one knows, there is nowhere in the world where people obtain their food without working for it. If such a place exists, one would like to be told about it. In the meantime, one operates under the assumption that we live in an impersonal universe where our survival depends on our efforts. Whether we survive or not is our choice. If we choose to survive, then, we have to do those things that enable us to more effectively adapt to the challenges of our tough physical and social environment.

The individual must do what he has to do, to address the difficult tasks his environment demands be performed for him to survive. A group of individuals must do what they have to do, at the collective level, to adapt to their environment.

Leadership is a group variable. Whereas the efforts by the individual to cope with his world is leadership, but as far as leadership studies is concerned, leadership has to do with what a group of human beings do, to adapt to the demands of their environment.

Leadership entails the ability to foresee what the environment requires for a group to survive. The leader is a person who has vision as to what his group ought to be doing, if they are to effectively adapt to the demands of their world. The leader has ideas, dreams, and visions of what needs to be done to cope with the physical and social demands of our world.

Every person probably has dreams of what needs to be done, but not every person is a leader. A leader is a person who is passionate about his dreams of what needs to be done. He is totally enthusiastic about doing what needs to be done for his group’s survival that if you are around him, he infects you with his enthusiasm, and you could not help but want to help him accomplish his vision for the group.

A leader is totally committed to his vision of what needs to be done to enable his group to do what makes them survive. He is a living embodiment of devotion to a task(s). The goals he is devoted to means the difference between life and death for the leader. He is willing, if necessary, to fight and die for what he believes needs to be done for his group’s survival. This is called total commitment to goals that one believes are necessary for the group’s survival. One’s whole existence is wrapped up in the attainment of such goals.

What does life mean to you? A leader answers that question by juxtaposing his goals for his group. The attainment of his goals is what life means for him. He lives to attain the goals he deems necessary for his people’s survival. Surviving as an individual does not make any sense to the leader, unless he does what enables his whole group to survive as a group.

A leader mobilizes the people around him in pursuit of the goals he has identified as necessary for their group’s survival.

Goal attainment requires effort. It takes people to attain goals. Leaders, therefore, generally have good interpersonal skills, and know how to gather people together, and employ their labor to attain the goals they have identified for their group. Without good social skills, one can dream all one wants about goal attainment, one would not attain them. It takes ability to work well with people, for the individual to get them to work together in pursuit of goal attainment.

To work well with people, one must know something about human psychology. For example, human beings are prideful, vain and narcissistic. They need to be praised if you want to get them to do what they have to do. If you criticize them, you make them defensive, and when they are defensive they may work to obstruct the attainment of your goals. Leaders, therefore, know how to use positive reinforcement of good behavior to motivate people. You reward people when they do a good job by praising them or giving them pay raises, if you want them to work harder. (In the context of Nigeria, people like titles like chief. Apparently, that title gratifies their narcissistic nature, so give it to them as a motivator. Give it to them only when they do something above average for the group’s well being. Britain motivates its citizens to work harder, inter alia, by giving them honors, such as being called sir this or that.)

In addition to people, it takes capital to accomplish group goals. In this world, it takes money to get anything done. That money has to come from somewhere. Leaders, therefore, are persons who understand the financial costs of goals, and seek ways to make financing available for the accomplishment of their goals.

In the modern polity, governments raise money for their projects through several ways including taxation, individual and corporate; property taxes, sales taxes, licenses, royalties etc. Sometimes, governments do not have the money that projects require, and have to borrow it. Usually, governments borrow money from the public through selling bonds. Let us say that the city of Abuja wants to build a technical college, and does not have money in hand to defray the project’s initial capital outlay. Let us say that cost accounting studies have shown that it would cost $200 million dollars to build the proposed school. The city could sell bonds to the tune of $200 million.

What selling bonds means, in effect, is that the government has borrowed money from those who have it, with a promise to repay them in the future? Usually, the government promises to repay the principal in about thirty years, while paying annual interest rates of about five percent on the principal.

To be able to repay the principal sum of $200 million, plus the accruing annual interests, there must be a regular source of revenue stream coming to the government.

National governments, these days, take advantage of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund; financial institutions set up by the United States of America at the Breton woods, Rhode Island, conference, shortly after the second-world war, and borrow from them. The United States had learned well from John Maynard Keynes’ studies that showed that capitalist economies tend to go through periods of boom and bust, and, therefore, require governments to overrule Adam Smith’s insistence that the market is the best means for allocating resources efficiently. Keynes had advocated governments intervening in the economy to fight inflation and depression. When inflation rises, governments withdraw money from the economy, perhaps through raising taxes, and or raising the interest rates the Central Banks charge the commercial banks that borrow from them, and the later, in turn, charge their individual and business customers higher interests, hence discourage borrowing, and in the process reduce the quantity of money in circulation, and reduce inflation. Conversely, if the economy is moving towards recession/depression, as exhibited by rising unemployment, slow downs in businesses’ productivity and general slow down in the demands of goods and services, governments fight it by reducing taxes and or engaging in more spending so as to pump money into the economy, and in the process fight recession/depression. The American Federal Reserve Bank, under the capable hands of Alan Greenspan, lately, fought creeping recession/depression by lowering the prime rate.

The World Bank and IMF were set up to help governments, or if you like, those governments controlled by America, to have access to funds to engage in staving off inflation and recession/depression. The idea was to prevent a collapse of the economy, as happened in 1929.

The World Bank offers long-term loans, usually money that enables governments to defray the cost of expensive capital projects. The IMF offers short-term loans.

African governments, although America did not have them in mind when it structured the international economy to benefit it, learned to borrow from America’s funded and controlled international financial institutions. Today, African governments are saddled with enormous debts from these foreign lenders. Indeed, debt financing alone is so eating up most of their annual revenues that they are left with little or no funds to engage in developing their economies. In fact, some of them are not even able to pay for their recurrent budgets, let alone engage in capital expenditures. And, we are talking about paying the interests on the loans they had, and not repaying the actual principal yet. Many of these governments are not ever likely going to be able to repay the loans that they obtained from foreign lenders, money they squandered in corruption, and have nothing to show for it.

(Some African countries, Nigeria included, are now asking their foreign lenders to forgive their loans. This is not a good idea, for it encourages embezzlers in Nigeria to go to Washington DC, borrow money from the IMF, money that Congress gave to the IMF, hence American tax papers money, and squander it. Our local thieves have no business being subsidized by the hard working, and tax paying American workers. We must repay what we borrowed, that is adult behavior.)

For our present purposes, the point is that leaders identify the cost of proposed projects, the money needed to finance their goals, visions, and dreams, and seek ways to come up with that money.

Individuals who want to start businesses generally do so through their own savings, or obtain their seed money from relatives and friends. Commercial banks seldom lend money to new entrepreneurs to start their business. New businesses are risky affairs: over 90% of them fail during the first two years. Those of them that weathered the first few years, are incorporated, and are deemed successful can be authorized by relevant civil authorities to sell stocks as a means of generating revenue for their business, especially for their business expansion.

Stocks are different from bonds in the sense that bonds are, strictly speaking, borrowing and must be paid back in full, whereas stocks are money invested in business, and do not have to be paid back. If the business makes profits, those holding its stocks get paid dividends, if not, they loose their money. Of course folks holding securities can trade them in the Stock market. As companies’ fortunes improve, their stocks improve in value, and those holding them can sell them and make handsome profits. Let us say that the initial product offering (IPO) was twenty dollars per stock, and a chap bought 1000 stocks, and now the stocks are selling at forty dollars, the chap has doubled his original investment. Without business firms paying stock holders dividends, as long as they are improving their business fortunes, their stocks may be rising in value, so that those holders of them can trade them at the various stock exchanges, and make profits (capital gains) on their original investment.

Leaders identify where money to finance their dreams are going to come from: the group’s past savings, borrowings, as in bonds, stocks (if the business is run as a private corporation, rather than as a government owned one) etc. In the context of Nigeria, it is clear that folks rely on revenue from oil to fund most projects. We sell oil, and share the money we receive among the federal government and the thirty-six states. The states, in turn, share the money they received from Abuja between the various local governments, who, in turn, share it between corrupt officials. Generally, our oil-derived money is seldom devoted to capital projects.

As an aside, assuming that there are rational persons in Nigeria, they would understand that oil revenue is an exhaustible one. Sooner or later, Nigeria’s oil will run out. And, if it does not run out, the West will eventually discover other sources of energy, such as hydrogen and or solar, and would not have to buy our oil. At that point, one supposes that we would become a basket case, and like other mismanaged African countries starve, and beg the world to feed us with handouts called aids. Financial Aid that would promptly be wasted.

If there were leaders in Nigeria that have foresight, they would be thinking of ways to diverse the economy, to prepare for the necessary rainy day. That would mean finding alternative sources of revenue. Putting all of one’s eggs in one basket is not exactly an intelligent behavior, is it?

We have coal and could develop it. We have all sorts of minerals that could be developed. We have the ability to farm and can sell our produce (cocoa, palm oil etc.). More importantly, the so-called state governments, that go hat in hand begging the federal government for money, can learn that a government ought to be generating its owns money, and start collecting income taxes, individual and corporate, property taxes, licenses and generally engaging in the other known ways governments generate funds for their programs.

One hopes that Nigerians do not have a special corner on stupidity, and would do the right thing for once, by seeking ways to generate revenue for the governments that are mushrooming everywhere in the country.

Leaders are persons who understand that their societies have needs, and seek ways to meet those needs, and dedicate their lives to meeting those needs. In this light, how many Nigerians can be considered leaders? How many folks, in our bribe taking National Assembly, dedicate themselves to identifying the needs of Nigeria, and doing what needs done to meet them?

When the Russians beat America into space, President John F. Kennedy felt shamed, and made his famous speech that by the end of the decade, 1960s, that America would place someone on the moon. He gathered around him men and material to make his vision come true. He motivated Americans to work like they were driven, and by 1969, America had landed Neil Armstrong on the moon. America beat Russia in the race to the moon. This is called leadership in action.

Please tell me one current Nigerian leader who has set a goal for the nation, mobilized resources, human and material, and dedicated his life to realizing it, and doing so? Our so-called leaders are a disgrace to humanity.

Leaders are persons who are keenly aware of what their group needs to do to survive in the world they find themselves, and resolve to do them. Let us, then, ask ourselves what needs to be done for Nigeria to survive?

One could write a whole book on this subject (and one has done so), but one will delimit one’s self to delineating a few needs of the Nigerian polity.

It is clear that Nigerians need education. Despite all the noise made about how educated we are, it is the case that our universities graduate only a handful of scientists and engineers, annually. Compare our situation to South Korea. In South Korea, over thirty-three percent of all secondary school graduates go to universities. Less than ten percent of our secondary school graduates go to universities. In South Korea, most of the university students major in the physical and applied sciences. South Korea, a small country graduates more engineers a year than all of Africa combined. That is correct, a country the size of Eastern Nigeria, produces more engineers than all of Africa. Please tell me how we are going to be able to compete with South Korea?

In South Korea, all children go to elementary and secondary schools. What is the percent of Nigerian students that go to elementary and secondary schools? Less than forty percent of Nigeria’s secondary school age children go to secondary school.

The typical Korean secondary school graduate mastered physics, chemistry, biology and mathematics. In international competitions, Korean students invariably out perform other countries. Nigerian secondary school graduates can hardly be said to have attended secondary school. What is the percent of Nigerian secondary school graduates that took calculus and advanced physics, organic, inorganic and physical chemistry? Please tell me. If we graduate scientific illiterates from our secondary schools, how are we going to compete with the Asians whose secondary school graduates, in fact, do better than White America’s university graduates?

(Black Americans are a special case; many of them can hardly be said to be educated. Generally, the only way they can enter into America’s top universities is through special arrangements, Affirmative Action programs that admit them despite their possessing high school lower grade point averages and lower scores on the various scholastic aptitude tests. Many reasons have been advanced for their poor performance on these tests. These reasons are interesting. I am a realist and do not make excuses for any one. If you want to go to a particular university, you ought to study hard and get in through the right door. I do not support entering into schools through the back door. Like Saint Francis of Assisi, I do not want other people to understand why I do not do the right thing; I want to be the one understanding other people. I am sick and tired of black people always wanting other people to understand why they cannot do the right things. Asian students study very hard. If you go to libraries and laboratories they are invariably there. When libraries close up at night, you literally have to shove Asian students out. That is why they do well at American schools. They are a disciplined and studious bunch. They are every professor’s joy. I feel happy when they are in my classes, for they would do the tough work you demand of them. They do not need to be understood and helped to make C and D grades, like their black counterparts. They aim at, and make, A grades.)

India and China have more or less cornered the market on information technology. India is graduating so many information scientists that Microsoft has decided to build one of its businesses campuses in India. Please tell me what Nigeria is doing in the information technology sector? Are we not a part of the information technology world? Are we condemned to be mere consumers of other people’s inventions, and not be inventors ourselves?

If you are not aware of what is going on in higher education, let me open your eyes. Asians dominate American universities. It is mostly Asians that obtain doctorate degrees in the physical and technological sciences from American universities. Asians out compete all other students in the real sciences. We now practically have affirmative action programs aimed at admitting less qualified white students to America’s top universities. Based on merit alone, Asians would be the ones that go to the top schools. My Alma mater, University of California, is, in fact, finding creative ways to admit white students, and not the Asians who out score them in most entrance examinations. As for the black students, very few of them qualify for entrance, there.

Do all these facts seem trivial to you? If you were a leader, you would appreciate the implications of these developments in education. They mean that other countries have left us far behind. We are not part of the equation when education is talked about. These days, very few American universities recognize Nigerian university graduation as qualification for admission to do graduate work in their schools. As a matter of fact, many of our university graduates are not able to write in correct English grammar. This is an amazing turn of events. When the British were running our schools, our graduates were as good as graduates in English schools.

How did all these come about? Is it because of our so-called leaders’ lack of attention to education? It really does not matter how what is came to be. Whereas scholars need to do contextual analysis to understand the cause of the collapse of Nigeria’s education, what is germane is how to fix it. We must fix our schools, now, not tomorrow.

How do we fix it? Let us revisit South Korea, again. What are they doing right that we could emulate?

Nigerian leaders must immediately make it mandatory and compulsory for all Nigerian children to go to elementary and secondary schools. Please do not ask me where the resources to accomplish this goal would come from. The amount of money Mr. Obasanjo spends jetting all over the world can fund many of those schools. The South Korean President travels rarely, and one sees no reason why Obasanjo should be a perpetual tourist.

That is correct. Obasanjo is merely a tourist to the countries he visits. Why? People listen to leaders whose shops are well run, and since Nigeria’s shop could hardly be said to be well run, who would listen to Obasanjo? If the Prime Minister of Japan, a man running an efficient economy, talks, and people will listen to him, but not to a man whose economy is a mess. The man is merely using our money to satisfy his obsessive-compulsive craving to see the rest of the world. So let us cut down on his perpetual tours, and cut down on corruption, and use the money saved to provide elementary and secondary education for all Nigerian children, boys and girls. Remember the function of leaders, to come up with resources to accomplish group goals? Therefore, let Nigerian leaders come up with the resources to provide all Nigerians with elementary and secondary education.

And such education must emphasize science. There is no reason why we cannot invest in physics, chemistry and biology labs, and provide first-rate education in those much needed areas.

Korea sends 33% of its secondary school graduates to universities. We must do the same. If we have leaders in Nigeria, arrangements must be made for at least 33% of our secondary school graduates go to universities and, moreover, ascertain that the majority of them major in the physical and applied sciences…. subjects a modernizing economy requires. Seventy five percent of all university graduates ought to be in science and technology.

A poor developing country does not need to waste its meager resources producing social scientists and humanists who are destined to be unemployed, and worse do not really contribute that much to economic growth. Of course we need a few social scientists and humanists. Twenty-five percent of students graduating in these unproductive areas are probably acceptable risk management policy. Businessmen and technologists who produce jobs probably can afford to support a small population of idle social scientists, humanists and lawyers, but not too many of them.

Russia used to pay money to students studying physics, mathematics and engineering, as a motivation for more students to go into those fields. I say, let us pay monetary stipends to Nigerian students who go into the sciences. Those who go into the social sciences should not be paid; in fact, they ought to be paying for their higher education. Society has no obligation to help folks satisfy their hobbies.

Thirty-three percent of secondary school graduates, that is, one out of three students, is able to do university level work. The rest are not. Let us not waste our time debating the obvious. Intelligence is spread along a bell curve. About two percent of the population has superior IQ (over 132, on the WAIS), about five percent have above average intelligence (120-130) and about two percent are mentally retarded (under 70) and the rest of the population is average (85-115). These are universal facts. Not all people are Galileo, Isaac Newton, Copernicus, Kaplan, Harvey, Dalton, Boyle, Albert Einstein, Shrodinger, Hersenberg, Bohr, Pauli, Max Plank, Maxwell Taylor, Born and Bolm, the geniuses of mankind.

Most people in every country are average, and can only do average work. Therefore, a realistic polity makes allowances for the gifted and above average persons in it to go to universities, and for average persons to go to technical schools.

In practical terms, this means building no less then three hundred universities, and seven hundred technical schools in Nigeria. This must be done, now, not tomorrow.

A leader in Nigeria ought to initiate the equivalent of what Americans called land grant universities. In the late nineteenth century, the American federal government gave money and land to state governments to start state universities. Prior to that time, America had mostly private universities, schools that catered to the rich landed gentry that ruled America. When America decided to industrialize and realized that it needed to produce large middle class educated persons, it gave states the help to provide mass college education for the people. With the help of the federal government, America, a country of about 300 million persons, has 3000 universities, technological colleges and community colleges.

Nigeria, with its reported 100 million persons (can we ever have an accurate census?), ought to have one third of the number of America’s universities and colleges.

Please do not ask me where the money would come from to satisfy this seeming grandiose goal. I have already told you that it is the function of leaders to finagle resources for organizations to accomplish their goals. If you cannot find a way to come up with the labor and capital to operate the expected 1000 universities and technical colleges in Nigeria, please leave the leadership arena, and do not call your self a leader.

One performed needs assessment, and identified education, as one of the crucial needs to address, if Nigeria is to catch up with other countries. Nigerian leaders must resolve to build the elementary, secondary, technical colleges and universities necessary to educate Nigerians.

As in America, states are probably best placed to provide university and technical level education, whereas local governments are best suited to provide elementary and secondary education.

Of course, we must allow private schools. We do not need to pretend that all people are equal in wealth. As Jesus himself said, the poor will always be with us. It is the function of the public to provide education for the masses. If the rich want to have their own private schools, so be it. In fact, we must encourage private schools, if only to provide competition for public schools.

We know, from studies of public organizations that they tend to be less productive compared to private ones. America’s publicly run K through 12 Grade schools is a mess. Those Americans who can afford it send their children to well run private schools, where less unionized teachers are held accountable for teaching. We must, therefore, encourage private elementary, secondary, technical and university educational institutions. Their numbers is not a concern to us, here. The 1000 technical schools and universities identified as necessary for providing Nigeria with adequate education is what concerns us.

(Germany’s technical education system is universally acclaimed as the best in the world. Here, post secondary school students study technical subjects on campus, for two years, and then do two years on the job training in the area they studied. They then take a rigorous national examination to qualify to practice their trades. German technicians are demonstrably the best in the world. They fix and maintain things. We do not know how to fix and maintain the factories and buildings that we constructed. We ought to copy Germany’s technical schooling system. Our current British modeled Poly technical schools have mission confusion: they are confused regarding their objective, to produce academics or builders/repairers of things?)

Whereas America’s elementary and secondary schools are nothing to brag about, everybody agrees that her higher education system is probably the best in the world. We can borrow from America and hire university presidents whose job description includes finding money for their schools. The typical American university president is not necessarily hired because of his academic distinction, but because of his business acumen. He is expected to go after funds, and bring the money the university’s professors need to carry out their teaching and research functions. In other words, university presidents are managers and, as such, have the responsibility of acquiring the resources the crew working under them need to realize their organizations’ goals.

How do they accomplish this fund raising task? To begin with, they keep a list of all alumni. I get mail from my Alma mater just about every month, asking me to send money to it. Rich alumni sometimes donate millions to their former schools. Let me ask you this question. How many times has a Nigerian school contacted its alumni? The principals of our secondary schools, and the vice chancellors of our universities, do not even bother keeping in touch with their products. It is asking too much of these lazy folks to expect them to want to find out how those who passed through their schools are doing later in life.

Nigeria’s educators know only one thing: how to rely on the government to fund their shabby schools. Of course, we need government funding, but we also need to supplement that source of funds with money from elsewhere.

Consider the money that comes to American universities from its sports programs. Couldn’t we replicate that phenomenon in Nigeria?

Consider the relationship of American Universities with industry, relationships that generate income for them. Most business and engineering departments are in daily contact with relevant business organizations in their area, and work in tandem with them, know their labor needs, train students to suit them, do research for them, and garner money from them.

Simply stated, an American college president is expected to generate resources for his college, and not just rely on the lousy money state governments’ budget for higher education. Nigerian university presidents ought to have their job specification rewritten, so that they are expected to generate most of their schools’ funds through their ingenuity, and be evaluated annually by their governing boards, on how well they do in this department, as well as in the other areas they are expected to deliver.

Industrialization is a major area that Nigeria needs to emphasize. Nigerian leaders must industrialize Nigeria in a hurry. We are talking in decades, not in centuries. Joseph Stalin, like him or hate him, industrialized the former Soviet Union, in a hurry. Iron and Steel, Automobile, Airplane, pharmaceutical, textiles, etc must all be manufactured in Nigeria, now, not tomorrow. We need to borrow a bit from Stalin’s methods for industrializing Russia—his five-year economic plans, for example---- and combine it with the wisdom of the capitalist market.

Despite all the propaganda spilled out by the University of Chicago, department of Economics, regarding the wisdom of the free enterprise economy, the fact is that for developing countries to develop, a combination of government planning and free enterprise is what is called for. Milton Freedman and his fellow propagandists for capitalism have wrecked many third world economies with their privatization philosophy. I know for sure that publicly run organizations are generally poorly run, and that privately run organizations are generally more efficiently run. But the fact is that we do not have adequate private capital in Nigeria, and the government must play a key role in starting needed industries. Once these industries are up and running, it is probably wise to sell them off to private businessmen.

Again, please do not ask me where we shall get the money to industrialize Nigeria. Do remember the popular aphorism: where there is a will, there is a way. Besides, Abacha allegedly stole over 3 billion dollars, and God knows how much the other klepocrats that ruled Nigeria stole. With the money those criminals stole, we could fund a few industries.

It is the function of leaders to find the money necessary to fund society’s projects. If you are a leader, then, find ways to posit goals, and go get the funds to fund them. That is your job description.

Recently Obasanjo fired a few bad apples from his cabinet, and expressed shock that he had such corrupt persons in his government. Please give us a break. Obasanjo must have been out to lunch, if he, in fact, did not know that corruption is rife in Nigeria. Even in the 1970s, Peter Pan, (Peter Enahora) was already writing about "How to be a Nigerian" as how to bribe people to get what you want. Just try getting the Nigerian passport, and find out that you have to bribe some one to get it.

Recently, I was at the Washington DC, Nigerian embassy, trying to renew my passport. As I stood on the line to talk to the chap behind the glass window, to collect the requisite form, a chap approached me and told me not to waste my time seeking forms to apply for my passport’s renewal. He said that I should just give him $80 dollars, and that I would get my passport renewed in a few hours. Low and behold, when I finally got to the creature in the glass boot, he told me that he ran out of forms to give to me. That is correct, I traveled all the way from Seattle, Washington, to Washington DC, a distance of three thousand miles, to obtain some forms (that would not cost two dollars to Xerox them) and a whole Nigerian embassy had no forms to give me. I am not a spring chicken. Of course, the Embassy had forms to give to the public, but probably hid them, and had its bribe-collecting agent tell those seeking its services to pay bribe.

And our head of state does not know these facts! If that is correct, the man must be a moron. Of course, Obasanjo knows that corruption is the way of life in Nigeria. How does any one get any thing done in Satan’s own country, other than by bribing someone? Mr. Obasanjo please do not insult our intelligence; please treat us like the adults we are. If you want to fight corruption, by all means do so, but do not pretend that you just woke up to its reality.

It is the function of leaders, particularly founding leaders, to lay down the political system that future generations will operate on. Hopefully, the on going National Political Reform Conference will perform that task, and find a workable political structure for Nigeria. Actually, if they are intelligent persons, what they need to do is self-evident, and does not need rocket scientists to do it.

Nigeria is composed of diverse ethnic groups, each of whom fears domination by others. Therefore, Nigeria needs a federation.

There are about twenty authentic ethnic groups in Nigeria (and a few derivative small ones). Divide Nigeria into twenty states, each state comprising of one ethnic group, except in cases where the ethnic groups are too small to be a viable economic entity, as in the middle belt where there are numerous small groups, some a few thousand persons, in which case, a few of them would comprise a state.

Nigeria needs a Hausa, Yoruba, Ibo, Efik, Ijaw, Edo, Urobo/Ishikiri, Tivi, Fulani, Kanuri, Bornu state etc. Any solution that falls short of making each tribe a state is a temporary solution, and will not last.

Obafemi Awolowo, perhaps the best tactical leader Nigeria has produced, had the insight to call for each tribe to be made a state. That must be the case, or else we are kidding ourselves.

Other than making each tribe a state, the present federal structure of Nigeria seems fine. We do not need to fix it, if it works. We need a president that serves no more than two five-year terms, a unicameral legislature that is elected every five years (bicameral legislatures waste money, please note that Britain is essentially moving to unicameralism, with the marginalization of the redundant House of Lords), and an independent judiciary, headed by a Supreme Court. The central structure is to be replicated at the state and local government levels.

Please, please let us allow reason to guide our behaviors. We should not listen to the clamor for the creation of more states in Nigeria. Thirty-six states are already too many.

If you give Nigerians the opportunity, they would turn every town into a state. The folks are vainglory seeking, and when they loose the race to become the governors or whatever muckity muck governs their present state, they want to divide up that state, and carve out another state for themselves to become governors of.

This phenomenon is more likely to happen among the Ibos. As we all know, Ibos did not develop large social-political organizations before white men forced them into the Nigerian polity. Their political horizon is still village based. Their psychological make-up is attuned to small-scale social organization. They are generally lost in large, bureaucratic organizations. If permitted, Ibos would return to their village based social organization. Thus, each of them would make their villages a state.

Abia state is composed of a few towns. The distance between Aba and Umuahia, the two major towns in the state, is less than forty miles. Given good roads, you could drive to any part of that state within an hour. This small geographic area cannot be a state, in fact. Properly considered, it is not even large enough to be a county.

Compare Nigerian states with American states. California and Texas are just about the same size as Nigeria. Alaska is almost twice the size of Nigeria. So who are we kidding making areas not even large enough to be a county a state?

Our states are not economically able to support the governments sprouting in them. Yet people clamor for true federalism.

Please tell me how folks are going to pay for the governments of their mini states, other than beg money from the federal government? If they obtain most of their monies from the national government, how can they be on an equal footing with it? He who pays the piper calls the tune. You cannot have true federation unless states are capable of sustaining themselves independent of the national government.

A state ought to be able to maintain itself, economically. An American state can support itself without the federal government. Indeed, it is the states that give the federal government the money it needs to survive. California is the twentieth largest economy in the world. California’s economy is larger than that of Russia, and all of Africa combined.

Therefore, I recommend that our so-called states be redacted into economically viable states. Let us stop the silly shenanigan that every town can become a state.

Nigeria was put together by the British to serve British interests. That is real politics. We do not need to waste our time on infantile anger at the metropolis for stealing from its periphery. The metropolis stole from the periphery, and that is all there is to it. That is reality. Everywhere in the world, the powerful take from the weak.

Powerful Europeans drove weak Indians away from their lands, and stole their lands. Today, we assume that America is a white man’s land, when, in reality, white sociopath(s) stole the land from weak Indians.

Powerful Europeans bought Africans, and used our labor for free to build America. Such is life, C’est la vie. No body ever told you that life is fair.

Okay, the British put us together against our wishes. So let us pity ourselves for a little while before we get on with the business of facing reality. The British are victimizers and we are victims. Now, does that make you feel good? Feel that good, but now grow up, and smell the coffee, my friend.

The reality is that we are today one country, and that is good for us. Nostalgic as the past may seem, we cannot go back to it. In our past were weak independent tribes. Those tribes were too powerless to put up a fight against marauding Europeans. A dozen well-armed criminals from Europe defeated our fathers, and superimposed their criminal superstructure on them.

Please note that even at the height of British colonial rule in Nigeria, there were just a few hundred white men in the land. Yes, a few hundred armed bandits from Britain took over our lands and ruled us. Why were they able to do so? Guess? They came from a powerful country, and our tribal states were too weak to resist them.

Africa was too weak, and its weakness invited armed robbers from Europe (that is what the colonialists were, thieves) to take it over. That is reality, and we might as well face it.

I have bad news for you. If we continue being weak, the political climate might change and Europeans may agitate to go re-conquer Africa. They could rationalize their new colonial venture with the fact it appears that Africans cannot rule themselves.

Political ideologies do change, from time to time. The fifteenth century saw the ideology that said that Africans were inferior persons, hence justifying Europeans taking us as their slaves. The nineteenth century produced the ideology that non-whites are non-persons, hence justifying taking over their lands. International law did not recognize non-whites ownership of land. As far as international law was concerned, Africa, America, Asia and Australia were terra cotta, and whichever European power first got to them, and planted its flag, owned that territory.

Such an aggressive ideology is actually brewing somewhere in the psyches of white folks. And it is given credence by black Americans pathetic performance at American schools. These folks poor showing at American schools has resulted in the perception of them, and by generalization, Africans, as less intelligent persons.

History moves in cycles, and one can see a powerful racist demagogue articulating the fascist ideology that Africans are incapable of governing themselves, and that like children, they need to be governed by the assumed adult white persons. (Let our leaders keep misgoverning us and inviting that possibility.)

Pre-colonial African tribes were not economically viable political entities. We need larger political frameworks to be able to compete with other countries.

I am thankful that we have Nigeria as a country, and all those idiots calling for the actualization of Biafra ought to be jailed. (The fools talking about movement for the actualization of Biafra are not even intelligent enough to come up with an authentic African name for their infantile state; they name their insane country with a Portuguese name. Biafra is a village in Portugal.)

We need Nigeria, and must work for her survival. Indeed, in the future, we must work for a Unified Africa, a federated Africa where each of its five hundred tribes is a state in the anticipated Africa federation. We are, however, talking about the now, not future. In the now, we have Nigeria to contend with, and must make it work. We must take one step at a time; we must learn to walk before we can fly. We must make Nigeria work before we can dream of a unified Africa.

Nigerian leaders must figure out a way to train Nigerians to identify as Nigerian. We must find ways to see ourselves as Nigerians and not just Ibo, Hausa or Yoruba.

Another need of Nigeria is her need for infrastructural improvement. Nigerian roads are abysmal. Real leaders could do for Nigeria what President Eisenhower did for America. Eisenhower was the allied military leader in Europe, and while there, saw what Hitler did to German roads: built autobahns. When elected the president of America in 1952, Eisenhower decided to replicate excellent German roads in America. His administration funded the interstate freeways.

Nigeria needs freeways built to crisscross it from north to south and from west to east. We also need to build railways, airports, seaports, and generally improve all means of transportation. We do not need to reinvent the wheel. We can go to Germany and copy its excellent high way system (it is better than American freeways…Americans are cheap, the pavement of American freeways is only eleven inches thick, whereas Germany’s is twenty seven inches; Germany’s road are better made and last longer).

We should just copy what others have done right. When, after the Meiji restoration, Japan decided to modernize, it sent delegates to Europe and America and from them copied whatever works. It copied the Prussian military and bureaucracy, copied French local government system (prefectures), and copied America’s economic system (and injected Japanese management system into it). Today, China is unabashedly copying the West, and is increasingly becoming industrialized. Indeed, China sometimes ignores Western Copy right and Patent laws, and steals the ideas behind them, to do what it has to do to industrialize. If others would not share their idea, “borrow them”.

For example, if American pharmaceutical companies insist on selling HIV/Aids medication at prices that Africans cannot afford, and Africans are dying of Aids, their actions are immoral; I say, ignore their patents, and manufacture those medications, and sell them cheap in Africa, to preserve African lives. Even though one understands that Western pharmaceutical companies invested lots of money doing the research that resulted in the medications they sell to us, and need to make profits to recoup the cost of their expenditure, but in as much as they do make usurious profits, we ought to disregard their pleas to fleece us. No one has a right to make profits while others die.

Nigeria needs rural electrification, provision of pipe borne water to all villages, and hospitals and clinics to treat the people. The fact that we have to talk about this matter is a shame. If we had leaders in Nigeria, by now, these things would have been taken care of.

It is possible to provide electricity to all parts of Nigeria in five years, to provide pipe borne water to all villages in five years, and to build hospitals and clinics in every local government area in five years.

How is this to be done? In the early part of the twentieth century, America decided to electrify its rural areas, and built dams at strategic locations, and constructed other sources of energy, and by the 1930s, had met its goal of providing electricity to all Americans. I suppose that we have scholars in Nigeria, and that they do study America’s economic history, and know how America was transformed from an agricultural society into the industrial giant it is today? When Alexis Du Toquiville visited America in 1831, he saw a rural society. The leaders of Hipville America subsequently decided to accept the industrial revolution that began in Britain in the 1740s, and become industrialized, and mobilized its energy, and by the early twentieth century, America was no longer Appalachian boondocks, but a mighty industrialized country. (The reason we study comparative economics and politics is to see how others do what they do, and if they do it better than us, learn from them.)

We can study how America accomplished its goals and do the same. That is what Nigerian leaders ought to be doing, and not devoting their intelligence to figuring out ways to rob the nation down.

Stalin decided to modernize an essentially primitive Russia, and did so in three decades. He did so through his infamous five-year economic plans. He destroyed the Kulaks that stood on his way to improving Soviet agriculture. By the 1950s, when Stalin died, Russia was considered an industrialized country. Please do not tell me that what Stalin did was all-wrong. May be he over did some things, but in the real world, the fact is that you cannot make omelet without breaking eggs. If you want to industrialize your country, you must deal with those with investment in the backwardness of the country, you must rootlessly destroy them.

Even America that today glibly talks nonsense about the virtues of the free enterprise economy did not hesitate in employing non free enterprise methods in modernizing its economy. Hamilton, America’s first Treasury Secretary, placed prohibitive protective tariffs on manufactured goods coming to the US, as a means of keeping them out, so as to give America’s infant industries a fighting chance to develop. A developed American Industry was later able to compete with Manchester and Birmingham. In case you have been sleeping, when America decides that something is in its national interests, it would destroy those who are obstacles on its path. Indeed, if America, today, decides that it is in its best interests to keep Africa a primitive continent, whose resources its companies rob, it would do so. It would not even have to try hard to accomplish its objective. All it has to do is give its comprador agents in Africa bribes, and they hold down their own people. The slave sellers, called our leaders, will sell their brothers down the river, as they have done in the last one thousand years.

If you are an adult, you pretty much know whether you have leadership skills or not. Do you have a history of initiating activities? Do you have a history of getting other people to work with you to accomplish goals that you and they set? Do you have a history of finding out where to obtain the resources needed in attaining the goals you and other people seek? Do you easily commit to goals that are larger than your personal goals? Have you ever done something for the simple fact that it is good to do so, and not because of what is in it for you? Have you so believed in something, and dedicated your life to it, that you are willing to die, if necessary, in pursuit of it?

If the answer to all these are affirmative, you have leadership traits. But if the answer is negative, you are not a leader.

If you lack leadership skills, you can train for them. Business schools do teach them. The goal of this essay is to encourage training of leadership and management in Nigeria. Read on.

Most economists tell us that national economies should strive for no more than five percent unemployment. In seeking to realize this idea of zero unemployment (five percent unemployment is considered zero unemployment, for there are those, who, for any number of reasons, cannot work, such as the mentally ill, the mentally retarded, and those between jobs), most modern governments accept Keynesian economics. (Monetary policy, fiscal policy, taxation policy etc.)

Governments now accept that it is the function of the national government to provide jobs for its citizens. Does this assumption apply to Nigeria? What is the unemployment rate in Nigeria? Sixty percent? Does Nigeria, in fact, keep good statistics on any thing? It can’t even tell you how many people are in Nigeria or how many ethnic groups are in Nigeria. It is always saying that Nigeria is about, 100, 120, and 120 million persons, and that Nigeria has over two hundred ethnic groups. Why not give definite figures? How about 100 million persons and 20 ethnic groups? Try those numbers for size; they approximate the truth, not the fantasy figures banded about by our lazy government officials.

The folks governing Nigeria actually do not know what they are doing by permitting large unemployment in Nigeria. Sociologists tell us that persons between the ages of 14-24 are more likely to engage in criminal activity. Thus rational societies keep these people occupied, at sports, schools, universities and jobs, to prevent them from having the free time to engage in antisocial activities. But what does Nigeria do? Our government, through its inaction, in effect, says that it does not care that its young people are unemployed. Do you know the consequences of this behavior? Guess? Criminality.

If the trend of high youth unemployment continues in Nigeria, one expects there to be brigands, and high way robbers everywhere. One hopes that these unemployed, hence angry youth direct their anger at their leaders, and kill them. That is correct; they should visit the various governors and legislators and kill them. Why not? If you do not do what you are supposed to do for youth, provide them with education, sports, and job opportunities, why should they respect your life? Just give me one good reason why an alienated youth should care for adults?

I am not a sentimental type of person so do not give me clap trap reasoning. I know, for sure, that if we do not address the needs of our youth that they will necessarily become criminals. See what happened in America’s inner cities. The racist white world ignored the plight of young black Americans. Of black American children, 70% are raised by single parents, usually hard pressed women (the men get the women pregnant, and abandon them…I know, I know the reasons for this, I have read one million sociological studies on this subject, beginning with Patrick Monyham’s studies on the black family, in the 1960s…black men are unable to secure jobs in racist America, hence cannot take care of their children, hence leave their women to go on welfare, and at least obtain some handout to feed the children etc.).

The nurturing and economic needs of inner city youth are not met. What do you expect of them? Do you want them to care for the black community? Care for those who abandoned them? Of course not. Thus these under-socialized kids go wild, and randomly kill black people, and do not exhibit the slightest guilt or remorse.

You feel remorseful if you harm those who helped you, not those who ignored your needs, particularly when you were young.

Nigerian leaders, like senseless fools, ignore the plight of our youth, and these youth roam the streets of Lagos etc. unemployed. Many of them will turn to criminal behavior, and hopefully, start killing the parasites that call themselves our leaders. Useless garbage needs to be gotten rid of.

I personally do not shed a tear when a Nigerian so-called leader dies. In fact, I rejoice. It may seem macabre, but the happiest day of my life was the day Abacha dropped dead.

Compare and contrast my reaction, which I assume is the same reaction of many Nigerians, to Americans reaction when Kennedy was shot. The entire American nation became depressed, literally. The American people mourned their great leader.

When our criminal leaders die, we feel good riddance. So what exactly is the good all the money these thugs in government steal doing them? If their people do not miss them when they die, what good are they?

As for history, Nigeria has not produced a political figure that would be noted in history books a hundred years after his death. Even Nnamdi Azikiwe, popularly called Zik of Africa, compared to Kwame Nkrumah, was no African leader. Mr. Benjamin Azikiwe was, at best, a tribal leader. History books will note him for the piddling, although exaggerated, role he played in anti colonial movement. He will be a minor footnote in history books. Future generations of Africans, on the other hand will read about Nkrumah and Nelson Mandela.

I have a question for you: since Nigerians are narcissistic and seek others’ attention, why don’t they, as leaders, aim at securing their places in history books? Why don’t they become the types of Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln and the other great leaders of mankind? Perhaps, they want history to remember them because they stole from the public to grow fat bellies?

Talking about their fat bellies, it is poetic justice that these useless leaders generally die from cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks and strokes…although like superstitious persons everywhere, they attribute their death, not to physical diseases from over eating, but to juju.

I suppose it is asking too much for our leaders to understand that they are supposed to be role models, including physical role models? People look up to their leaders, and if they are physically trim, people will struggle to be so. A trim Kennedy made Americans struggle to be trim.

The typical Nigerian leader is around five feet ten inches tall. That means that he should not weigh more than 175 lbs. To weigh in the healthy range, he must eat right, not too much, and must stay away from cigarettes and alcohol (or limit intake of alcohol), and exercise regularly: run for an hour, three times a week, swim, ride bicycles, and generally do whatever keeps him in healthy shape.)

If you observe children, some as young as age six, you can identify those who are “natural leaders”. A child with leadership abilities will go get a ball, and gather other children to play with him, and assign roles to the other kids to play. In effect, he has set a goal (playing soccer) and gathered resources (ball, players) and organized the resources to achieve the group’s goal (play). He coordinated the activities of the players, assigned roles to the players, monitored their activities to make sure that they conduced to their goal attainment, win over another team, planned activities, evaluated others activities and performed other leadership and management tasks.

Empirical observation indicates that only a small percentage of any human population has natural leadership skills. However, many persons can be trained to become average leaders. If a nation is lucky to have a few outstanding leaders, it will achieve a lot.

Some leadership traits are inherited. Not all of us can be Napoleon. Napoleon reportedly once tested his hold over men by asking his generals to jump into an icy river, and the generals, bedecked in their military splendor, immediately leaped into the cold water; they obeyed him. They did so because they accepted his leadership. They were willing to go to war, fight, kill and get killed for their leader. Not all of us can elicit that kind of total obedience from those around us.

Psychological studies have shown certain attributes of leadership that we know are inherited. Leaders tend to be extroverted rather than introverted. Jerome Kegan, at Harvard, has demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that introversion and extroversion are inherited qualities. Although you can train the shy, introverted child to become somewhat outgoing, he is not going to be totally at ease in social settings. In, as much as, leaders tend to be socially out going, it follows that they inherited that trait.

This does not mean that all leadership traits are biologic in origin. Many of them can be trained for. We can consciously train people to set goals, initiate action that serves public interests, and seek out ways to mobilize human and material resources to attaining them. In America, business schools consciously teach courses on leadership, along with management courses.

Whereas, it is self evident that not all of us are going to be outstanding leaders like Alexander the Great, Attila the Hun, Theodosius the Barbarian (German), Genghis Khan, Tamarind, Shaka Zulu, Napoleon, even Adolf Hitler, most of us can become lesser leaders, if we train for it. I, therefore, suggest that we consciously train for leaders in our schools.

Some make much ado about the so-called differences between leaders and managers. Leaders are said to have visions and set organizational goals. Managers are said to be those who, while they did not set the organization’s goals, come into it, and use men and material to achieve them. Management is said to be different from leadership because a great manager may not set organizational goals, while he may help whoever set the goals to achieve them. This may be true or not. It is universally agreed that management can be trained for, whereas leadership is not easily trained for.

Leadership is mostly social psychological, whereas management is mostly technical. You can train in finance, accounting, production and marketing, the core aspects of management, but it is doubtful that you can easily teach a person charisma, the ability to influence other people to the point that they are willing to sacrifice their lives for you?

If you want to be leader of a modern polity, you must understand management and that entails studying basic economics, finance, accounting, marketing, human resources, operations/productions management, general management principles, organizational behavior, e-commerce, labor relations, customer care, and the other courses taught at master of business Administration schools.

In, as much as, leaders deal with government, they must also study aspects of political science, public administration and law. However, training in political science is not relevant to being a politician. Political scientists are journalists who report on the activities of leaders, but are seldom themselves leaders. Many of them, in fact, are too timid to give other persons orders to do something. Leaders must be prepared to give people orders to march to war, to kill and be killed. It takes tough skin and iron will to be able to command men to kill and be killed. Thus Leadership has nothing to do with academic sentimentality, the type of stuff considered in graduate seminars, in safe Ivory Tower. Talk fest is not action fest.

We can package management courses in a few books, and train all persons aspiring to enter politics in Nigeria on them; and require them to sit and pass examinations based on them, to demonstrate that they understand leadership and management. No one should be a member of the National Assembly who has not taken courses on public and business finance, macro and microeconomics, and leadership.

One ought to know something about running a business; a country is a big business, before one pretends to run it. Part of the reasons why there is too much corruption in Nigeria is that our leaders, in fact, do not understand what leaders are supposed to do: set goals and achieve them through the aid of other people. Our folks call themselves chief without understanding that the term chief means leader. If it means leader, and a leader is a person who sets goals and accomplish them through the auspices of other persons, and you are not doing so, why do you call yourself chief? Chief is not just an honorific title; chief means a leader of a group.

Click here to continue reading "Ozodi Osuji Lectures #20: Training for Leadership in Nigeria"

Posted by Administrator at 01:15 AM | Comments (0)

Ozodi Osuji Lectures #19: Nigeria and the Business World (Continued)

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. (Seatle, Washington) ---The on-going function of personnel mangers involves recruiting applicants for vacant positions (from either inside the organization or from outside it), and with line managers, interviewing and selecting some of these, and training them. Generally, line supervisors perform actual job evaluations on employees, but the personnel department keeps records of such evaluations on employees.

The personnel office, with the accounting office, manages the business’s benefits plans, such as health and dental insurance, disability insurance, life insurance, and retirement plans.

In the past, the business owner simply hired whomever he liked and fired whomever he did not like. Whereas this may still be much of what happens in the real world, large businesses now have to grapple with the slew of government regulations regarding proper personnel practices, including laws against discrimination. In the USA, infinite laws have been passed to discourage discrimination based on race and gender, and personnel departments are supposed to make sure that these laws are enforced. But the reality of the land is that whoever wants to discriminate does so and uses these laws to cover their tracks.

Consider affirmative action laws and American universities. From the outset, they decide to hire a white candidate. They would then go through a charade of inviting minority candidates for interviews. After this silliness, they decide that these minority candidates are not qualified, and hire the white candidate they always wanted to hire. They would provide tons of paperwork to the federal government, showing how they made efforts to recruit minorities but could not find qualified ones, hence, justifying the white person they hired. Then they pretend to sleep well, assured that their tracks are covered. They get on soapboxes and talk about how they are doing their best to end racial discrimination. These fools are so self-deceived that, they do not know that they do not deceive other persons. When the house of cards they have built collapses, they would be surprised that it did so. Any way, the point is that personnel offices are supposed to make sure that labor laws are implemented in businesses.

Personnel departments orient new employees to what is expected of them, train and develop them to do their jobs well, manage wages and compensation (including bonuses, profit sharing, merit plans, seniority plans, employee stock ownership plans), employee benefits, insurance plans, pension plans, implement guidelines to follow laws regarding worker safety and health on the job, promotion and separation from employment, etc.


Until the twentieth century, capitalist economic theory assumed that it was up to the business to treat labor as it wished, pay whatever it wanted, and sack those who did not prove amenable to control. Most businesses did not pay attention to working conditions. Utopian socialists like Robert Owen, Charles Fourier, Joseph Proudhon, Karl Marx and Frederick Engel pointed out the exploitative relationship between business and labor during the primitive phase of the industrial revolution.

It was not unusual to work people for sixteen hours and pay them a pittance. Indeed, children as young as twelve years old were worked in factories and mines, until they dropped dead from exhaustion. It was not considered society’s function to protect these children and their equally poor parents, laboring like wage slaves in the factories of Manchester and Birmingham, England.

Human beings are predatory animals and given the opportunity, would enslave their fellow human beings and/or exploit them for their own benefits. It is simply naïve and utopian to assume that man is naturally good. In his ego state man is evil. His history is a record of exploiting and killing his own kind.

Socialists did an excellent job pointing out man’s exploitation of man. Where they made a mistake is in thinking that a socialist utopia would end such exploitation. Their communist’s heavens turned out the worst type of hell on earth. Russia and China were not much better than slave societies, with communist leaders the new slave masters, the emperors using the masses as their slaves to accomplish their self-serving goals.

The more realistic Anglo-Saxon specie of human beings discarded the rubbish of communism, and did what they could to ameliorate man’s inhumanity to man, through labor laws, without the illusion that all exploitation could be eradicated. (As we write, Western businesses are exploiting third world workers…the peons of South America pick coffee seeds from coffee plants but earn so miserable an income that they can not even afford to buy coffee.)

We have no illusions about man: he is a criminal by nature; he violated the law of union to be in separation, and has to be closely monitored lest his lack of social conscience comes to the fore. (Imagine the rich in New York living in mansions bought with several million dollars, while some of their fellow human beings live like rats on the streets of New York.) Now do not get sentimental on us, for if you aim at redressing the situation with governmental laws, you give bureaucrats a lot of power to decide what businesses do; bureaucrats are the worst type of oppressors, they are cowardly by nature and like cowards derive a childish sense of power from implementing senseless laws…. they are generally sadists and ought not be permitted to govern society. We can tolerate the narcissism of the courageous politician, but the fear-driven bureaucrat is a miserable vermin that ought to be treated as such.

Laws have been passed to govern business-labor relationships. These laws have not made the work place a heaven, but generally have improved working conditions. It is doubtful that working conditions would be ideal, whatever that is. This is so because management and labor have conflicting aims.

Management (the paid foremen of the owners of big business, if you like, the working rich, used to control the working poor) aims at making profit for their employers, the stockowners. If management does not make profits, return reasonable dividends to shareholders, they are out of jobs. Therefore they must seek ways to cut costs, including exploiting labor and material. If they could get away with it, some would rather not pay workers any wages at all or pay them the lowest wages possible, and just use employees to make money for their bosses.

Labor, on the other hand, would rather not work but be given the means of their daily bread. McGregor may say whatever he wants about Theory Y, the fact is that if the average worker could help it, he would rather not get up in the morning and go slave for eight or more hours for his daily bread. The exception here would be the person doing the work they love and are passionate about, especially if they can express themselves being creative.

Man must work for his daily bread, so the adult person reconciles himself to the inevitability of work, but many want to work as little as they can get away with. Would it not be nice to work for only four hours during the day and during the rest of the time read poetry and soak in the sun at tropical beaches? (This is the vision of Karl Marx for workers, and only God knows who would produce what those aristocrats would be expending, slaves in third world countries? Marx was a racist and did not even think that non-Europeans were human beings. It baffles the mind why Africans and Asians call themselves Marx’s followers, when clearly he had no respect for them. Indeed, he had no respect for Russians and did not expect them to lead the communist revolution; he centered his hope on Britain, his idea of a civilized land.)

The labor, that we as managers have managed, is composed of people wanting to work as little as is possible and be paid as much as is possible. This is not an academic write up but derived from actual observation of people at work. Because of the difference between management and labor, there must be conflict between them. It is therefore necessary to have labor laws to guide the relationship of the two.

Given the exploitative nature of man, in general, and in particular business owners and their lackeys, management, (the writer has been in top management, chief executive officer, hence, a lackey of the owners of wealth), laborers formed labor unions to protect themselves, and this is as it should be. The abused have a right to seek ways to prevent people from abusing them.

There are several types of labor unions, including industrial unions, craftsmen unions, professional unions and public employee unions.

Industrial unions tend to include all workers in a particular industry, like railways; whereas craftsmen unions tend to include only those possessing certain trades, such as electricians, plumbers, bricklayers; and professional unions, such as healthcare providers.

The function of unions is twofold: one, to lobby legislatures to pass laws that protect workers, and two, to negotiate with management to have rules specified in contracts governing the relationships between management and labor. These contracts specify working conditions, wages, conditions of hiring and firing workers, etc.

Where labor unions exist, it is generally difficult to fire workers, as they run to their union representative to protect them. This way inefficient labor is kept. Try to sack one government lazy bum, and it would take twenty years to do so. Clearly we need unions, but sometimes their power gets distorted out of portion. It is also obvious that where they are too powerful, productivity takes a back seat. Unions have evolved extensively from their original intent of fair wages for fair work, and themselves have created big businesses, with divisions and problem within their own ranks. Balancing the need for productivity and employee benefits is an on-going struggle.

The process of forming unions is that a group of employees desire a union, and contacts the Labor Relations Board to come and conduct an election within their work place, to see whether enough workers support unionization. If a substantial number of the employees vote for union, a union is certified for them. This certification by the labor relations board makes sure that labor is legally recognized to form a collective bargaining union, to bargain with management for their rights concerning working conditions, wages and benefits, and that management does not prevent the union from existing.

The union elects its officers and the officers form a bargaining unit to negotiate with management, the result is a contract that both agree on. (Workers generally vote on the contract negotiated for them by their union leaders before accepting them.) The bargaining must be done in good faith. If there is a deadlock and both parties cannot agree on a contract, often they agree to seek a mediator. The mediator is given the power to conciliate the differences between the two positions and both accept his recommendation. When that fails, they may seek a government arbitrator; the arbitrator’s recommendation is usually binding and final. There is voluntary arbitration and compulsory arbitration. Where management and labor fails, the government may step in and both parties must accept the government’s arbitration recommendations.

Collective agreements aim at providing workers employment security, to prevent arbitrary firing by requiring that certain procedures be followed before letting go of a worker, who must be represented by his union representative; setting down wages and benefit packets, hours of work (usually eight hours a day or forty hours a week, with anything above that considered overtime to be paid at rate and half), and promotion procedures. These contracts also lay down grievance procedures, ways workers go about seeking redress of whatever grievance they have against their bosses.

When all else fails, workers can always go on strike. Here workers walk off their jobs and picket the premises of their employer, and attempt to prevent him from hiring replacement workers (scabs).

Employers can play their own last card, seek a legal injunction to prevent striking, or work with other employers to lobby government to prevent strikes and/or negotiate industry wide working conditions, conditions that may not be good for specific situations.


No country is able to produce everything its peoples need to sustain themselves. And even if it were possible for a country to produce everything it needs for its survival, in the nature of economics, some other countries are able to produce certain things more efficiently and cost effectively. The same as it is able to do certain things better than other countries.

Given the realities of scarce resources and other economic factors, countries engage in international trade, selling goods and services to other countries and buying from them. Each country exports its goods and services to other countries, and imports other goods and services from them.

Each country has its principal trading partners, those countries from whom it imports most of its goods and services, and to whom it sells its goods and services. Oil producing countries like the Middle Eastern countries, for example, sell most of their oil to Western Europe and North America, and with the money they make from so doing, buy manufactured goods from them.

In an ideal situation, each country ought to be selling those goods it produces more efficiently to others, and buying from them, those goods they produce more efficiently. This way each country does best what it is able to do best, and buys from others what they do best; the result would be efficient utilization of the world’s resources. Goods and services would be sold cheaply.

Unfortunately, there are political realities that interfere with the free flow of goods and services across borders. Politics and the pursuit of national interests dispose countries to produce goods they deem in their national interest, even if allowing other countries to do so would have been more efficient and cost effective, thereby being able to buy and have them at a lower price. Consider iron and steel, for example. Iron is critical for most countries armament industries. In times of war, a country that cannot produce iron and steel is at a disadvantage, since its enemies would be able to out produce weapons and defeat it at war. Thus, whereas it might be cheaper to permit other countries to produce iron and steel, and sell it to them, many countries feel very vulnerable doing so. Therefore, they ignore the high cost of producing and selling iron and steel, and do so any way, so as to augment their countries strength.

Countries restrict the flow of goods and services into them and going outside them. They do so through laws that create barriers to international trade. For example, a country that wants to develop certain industries might discourage the importation of the goods produced by such industries, in other parts of the world. By discouraging them from selling their goods in it, it is able to encourage its own infant industry to produce those goods and sell them without the stifling competition of perhaps better-made goods from other countries.

Countries use high tariffs and other import and export taxes, to restrict the flow of goods and services into them. Some of them impose strict quotas on how much of certain goods can be imported into them, others embargo the export of certain goods to some countries (usually as a means of political punishment for a regime ruling a country).

Some countries encourage their producers to dump their goods in others …sell them at prices below production costs so as to gain market advantage in them and destroy their competitors, hence, dominate that market.

Those countries that have a sort of monopoly over the production of certain goods, often band to form a cartel, and through it, control the production of the goods and control the forces of supply, creating a guarantee of higher prices for their goods. The oil producing and exporting countries, OPEC, for example, regularly fix the quantity of oil they produce, and that way influence the supply of oil and its price in the world market.

Clearly, in pursuit of national advantages, countries try to interfere with the free flow of goods and services across their borders. These interferences to trade often lead to difficulties in international politics. Indeed they have been known to lead to war, as manufacturers in one country, who cannot sell their goods to other counties, where doing so they would make profit, encourage their nations to go to war with those countries banning the free flow of goods and services, so as to defeat them and open up their markets to their goods and services, hence, make profits. Therefore, to avert trade wars the international community formed the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). The World Trade Organization was recently set up to monitor compliance with GATT agreements.

Essentially, GATT attempts to get countries to not discourage trading between them due to imposing unreasonably high tariffs (taxes on goods coming into them). WTO not only monitors tariffs but discourages countries from subsidizing their industries; subsidies that enable them to produce certain goods cheaply, hence, have lower prices in the international market place, and thereby gain an unfair advantage over their rival producers in other countries. The organization also monitors such illegal economic activities as dumping, the protection of intellectual properties (that is, getting countries to respect copyright and patent laws, hence, not produce and sell goods and services copyrighted and/or patented by others, without paying them money). The organization generally acts as a mechanism for dispute resolution between countries. If country ‘A’ believes that country ‘B’ is doing something to gain unfair economic advantage in trade, it takes its case to the world trading body asking that it rule against the culprit, fine it and discourage it from doing whatever it was doing; And failing to desist from such practices, the country would risk trade embargos and other punitive actions taken by the United Nation’s Security Council.

The various regions of the world have formed their own trading organizations to encourage free flow of trade in them. The European Union, for example, has all sorts of laws governing trading among member nations, including those that encourage free flow of goods and services among them, without tariffs and other custom duties. In North America, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) seeks to open the borders between Canada, USA and Mexico to trading without undue taxes at the borders. In Asia, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) seeks to do the same for its members. In Africa such organizations as ECOWA seek to accomplish similar goals for its members.

Countries, like individuals, would like to make profits from their economic activities. They would like to sell more goods and services to others, than they buy from them, so as to have favorable balance of trades.

A country has a favorable balance of trade when its businesses sell more goods to other countries, than they import from them. If a country imports more goods and services from others, it is sending more money to them than it is receiving from them, hence, has a disadvantage in trade.

Balance of trade issues affect countries’ rates of currencies. A country with an unfavorable trade balance tends to find its currency trading, at lower exchange rates than others, in the international market for currency exchange. (Currency exchange is the value of each currency vis-a-vis others, how much other countries are willing to pay for it in their own currencies).

The world’s economic health largely depends on the free flow of goods and services across borders. Therefore, the various countries constituting the world trade organization seek to encourage the free flow of goods and services into them. Some countries clearly have a disadvantage in this regard, and find themselves unable to compete with those who can produce and market goods and services more efficiently. Thus, we have countries that are chronically poor.

Certain organizations, like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) play ameliorative roles here. The World Bank lends long-term loans to struggling countries; the IMF lends short-term loans to struggling countries to meet their obligations.

Both the World Bank and IMF are head quartered at Washington DC, USA. They have been accused of being the instrument for economic control of third world countries by the economic giant of our time, the USA.

Many third world countries are owing these organizations so much money that practically all their current revenues go into paying interests on their debt, leaving them little or nothing else to finance current expenditures. Many of these countries are so poor and broke, that it is doubtful that they would be able to pay off the capital sums they borrowed.

Many people are calling for these loans to third world countries to be forgiven, if we are to extricate them from their vicious cycle of poverty.

The World Bank and IMF were originally formed to help prevent the capitalist economic and business cycles, the tendency for economies to go through periods of economic boom followed by periods of depression. The idea was to make money available to countries undergoing recessions and depressions, to stimulate their economies so as to prevent world wide economic downturns.

In 1944, delegates from forty-four countries met at a town in New Hampshire called Bretton Woods, to form both the World Bank and the IMF. Member nations were to contribute funds to these organizations, with which they were to lend to those countries experiencing economic difficulties (and wanting to engage in certain capital developments that they do not have the funds to pay for) and pay interests on their borrowings.

The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) is primarily responsible for financing development projects.

Clearly these organizations play key roles in the world of international finance and economic development. They not only stabilize the world’s economy but also affect whether third world countries are able to develop or not develop. They are thus not only economic institutions but political ones, hence, to be monitored carefully least they become instruments of control of the weaker countries by the more powerful ones.

The other key actors in international trade are multinational corporations (MNC). These are businesses that operate across national borders. They may have manufacturing concerns in different countries and/or sell their goods and services in different countries. IBM (International Business Machines), for example, is an American business that produces computers and other business machines. It sells these machines in practically every country in the world. Its revenues thus come from its worldwide operations. It is therefore a very powerful economic player in world business. Its annual revenue is in fact larger than the revenue of many African countries, and in the nature of things, it has clout over them.

Multinational corporations obviously bring needed goods and services to third world countries; they also provide missing technical expertise in developing countries. General Motors selling its cars in Africa, for example, is helping to provide the means of transportation that enables that continent to develop itself. On the other hand, some of these MNCs are so powerful that they have been accused of undermining economic development in third world countries. Those Latin American countries that got it into their heads to go socialistic have been known to be perceived as threats by American businesses, and that the latter worked with their country’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to remove them from office.

America apparently believes that it has a right to engage in regime change in weak countries. Might, it believes, makes right, and such is the nature of international politics. The so-called international laws do not prevent the powerful riding roughshod over weaker countries.


Clearly many multinational corporations are so powerful that they can and do exploit third world countries. Indeed, they also exploit people in the so-called developed countries. Therefore, there is a movement afoot to make business more socially responsible, to get it to engage in proactive socially serving behaviors. This is as it should be, but we must make sure that some unproductive but power hungry bureaucrat is not allowed to define what constitutes responsible behavior, and impose his madness on the activities of businesses responsible for producing wealth for society.

It is right that business’ decisions take into consideration the consequences of its actions on society, but it is not the role of business to engage in social and political engineering; a practice that decides what is appropriate social behavior and then enforces it on society. The primary function of business is to seek out business opportunities, produce goods and services it thinks there is a market for, sell them and make profits.

It is for the people to choose what they buy with their money, and in so doing, decide what businesses they permit to survive. That is to say that it is the forces of the market, supply and demand, that ought to decide what businesses thrive not some government committee making decisions on which business is responsible and which is not. Given the opportunity, the little fellows in government offices would over regulate business and kill the golden goose that lays the eggs, that produces the wealth that pays for their existence.

Nevertheless, businesses, like individuals, ought to have clarity as to what is moral and ethical behavior and seek to engage in them. Morality is accepted social behavior in society, and ethics is the behavior deemed right or wrong by individuals. Business ethics ought to reflect what society, in general, deems right or wrong. For example, should businesses build their manufacturing plants in India where they exploit lack of child labor laws, and employ children as young as twelve in manufacturing, paying them stipends, that is barely enough to feed them? Obviously it makes economic sense to locate factories where labor is cheaper, thereby reducing production costs, and then sending the manufactured goods to markets where profits are made. Still, employing children to do work that adults ought to be doing is reprehensible.

All children ought to be at school until at least age twenty-one (until they complete elementary, secondary, technical and/or university education) before they enter the labor market. Having said this, it would be idiotic to expect manufacturers not to take advantage of the low labor costs in developing countries, and set their factories there. They at least provide jobs for the starving masses of third world countries and also help produce persons with needed technical expertise in them. But this practice needs to have some consideration for humanity, that is, a conscience.

The bleeding hearted liberal must be checked least his sometimes irrational desire for utopia leads to passing laws that adversely affect businesses. It is true that we must make sure that manufacturers do not exploit labor or pollute the environment, but insistence on purity in everything leads to closing manufacturing plants and throwing people out of work. We certainly do not need these plants contributing to global warming and acid rain that destroys forests, but at the same time, we need these plants to produce needed goods for our survival. Modifications and changes are necessary.

The most rational thing to do is to research, and come up with environmentally friendly ways of manufacturing goods we need for survival; in the meantime keep our older manufacturing plants, but adjust and modify them until we find their replacements. But to shut down a plant because some misguided environmentalists’ demand it, is uneconomic decision. The Kyoto Protocol, for example, is a good idea but if it leads to lack of economic activities we ought to revise it and make its implementation contingent on finding replacements for our current plants.

There are areas where business’ social responsibility is not a question but a must. Discrimination is one such area. Traditionally, American businesses discriminated against non-Caucasian persons. Obviously this practice must stop. The only criterion for hiring some one for a job must be: can he or she perform that job satisfactorily, not race and/or gender issues.

It is no longer economic to practice racial discrimination. In a world with a substantial part of it composed of non-Caucasians, continuing discrimination against them will cause unaccepted consequences for Caucasians. Race war is always a possibility and its consequences would be devastating for all mankind.

Management philosophy ought to accept the idea of treating every person equally. Failure to do so, politicians and their lackeys, bureaucrats, are always hovering in the corner, ready to pass laws that restrain business activities. Businesses must therefore voluntarily audit themselves, so as to avoid government audits of their behaviors, to make sure that they are not discriminatory and/or lacking in other ethical and moral behaviors.


Businesses exist to produce and sell goods and/or services. Those goods and services, in a capitalist economy, the best type of economy we know of, must be bought by customers for the business to make profit, hence, stay in business. No sales, no existence for businesses.

The customer is the god of businesses for they sustain businesses, and without them businesses would not exist. If realistically, customers foster businesses, and businesses want to survive, it follows that they must study what customers want and then strive to meet these wants. They should strive to maintain the loyalty of customers, who would then repeat buying their goods. Satisfied customers are more likely to recommend a business’ products to others who become potential customers, hence, generate business and profitability. Losing customers therefore, is expensive to businesses. Businesses that want to be afloat must cultivate excellent service skills to satisfy their customers. It costs approximately seven to ten times more to attract new customers, than it costs to satisfy, service and keep existing ones.

A business must recognize that its customers are its partners, and treat them as such with the respect they deserve. They have to get customers to trust their products as good and worthwhile, and their customer service as second to none. When customers believe that businesses look after their interests and talk to them with compassion and respect, they are likely to go to bat for them. But treat customers as if they do not matter and you alienate them, and they take their business, their buying power to other businesses.

Getting and keeping customers is an art in itself. It is not just the product that plays a role here, but also how customers perceive the personnel of the business.

The loss of one customer alone may cost the business a lot of sales’ revenue and affect its bottom line. Therefore, businesses must strive to keep their customers for life. This entails always striving to study what they consider satisfactory service, at any point in time, and doing what can be done to meet their needs.

Only customer satisfaction creates customer loyalty, which the business needs to be in business. In a capitalist business world, where many producers can enter the production market, at any point in time, and produce the goods and services a particular business is producing and perhaps do so more efficiently, hence, lower the price of the goods, the quality of customer service makes all the difference as to sales, hence, who stays in the business.

Businesses must study what brings the customer to buy their goods and services, as well as, what turns them off. Customers are human beings and have their ideas of what they do not like in those selling the goods and services they want to buy, so listen to them. Do not assume that you know what customers do not like, go find out, ask them through interviews and opinion surveys.

Generally, customers detest rude and indifferent sellers of the goods and services they are buying. They do not like to be kept waiting too long before they are served. They do not like poor quality work. They do not like shoddy products that they have to return, even if it means getting their money back. They do not like to be kept on hold when they call. They do not like dealing with service employees who do not seem to know what they are doing, they admire knowledgeable persons. They do not like employees talking to them as if they are not important, and do not like high-pressure sales personnel.

Customers, as a general rule, want to be made welcomed by the companies they are doing business with. They want to be greeted and smiled at; they do not want to be ignored when they are waiting to be served, they do not like employees who seem dirty and unprofessional in appearance.

Customers are likely to become loyal to a business, when they believe that the business makes quality of service to them, its number one priority. Essentially, human beings want to feel important and special; and when they feel like they are treated as if they are nobodies, they do not like it and if they can help it, will take their business elsewhere. Interestingly, this is more so when businesses are dealing with poor customers.

The poor already feel like they have no worth in society and detest it when they are reminded of their social insignificance by the businesses they patronize. The poor like to be treated as if they are princes. The poor are not so much impressed by the quality of the products they are buying, as the upper middle class is, but by how important they are made to feel.

Businesses can find out how customers want to be served by conducting focus groups where customers are invited, even paid, and asked to participate in discussions on how they would like to be served, then training their employees to serve them in that manner. They can also listen to customer feelings by including feedback cards with their purchases, requesting comments on how they would were treated and how they like to be served.

In the nature of things, most people suffer in silence. Many customers feel it not worth their while to complain about the poor treatment they received from a business; if they can help it, they vote with their feet and their mouths. But occasionally a few customers come forward and complain, some rather vociferously. These vocal complainers are barometers of the silent majority that do not complain, and must therefore, be listened to carefully. Instead of being put off by their sometimes rude and accusatory statements, they should be looked at as a godsend, telling the business how the public perceives it. This becomes an opportunity to know what the problem is and address it. Responding to the customers’ complaints becomes an opportunity to win their loyalty.

The customer must be made to feel like he is understood and that his problem or displeasure is appreciated by the business, rather than be cavalierly dismissed as the voice of a disgruntled customer. Even if the specific customer is a chronic complainer, as some of them are, and complains to just about any one who would listen to them, in business or in their private lives, there is always a reason for his complaining. Perhaps no one has ever genuinely paid attention or made him feel important in his life? If so, making him feel important and calmed down, becomes a means of training staff to respect customers, even the irritable and demanding ones who are seeking attention for their egos.

“I don’t get no respect and dignified treatment” is the typical complainer’s view of those who serve him, so give him what he craves, respect and dignity, and gain his loyalty.

Where possible, chronic complainers ought to be written to and thanked for bringing problems to the attention of management, and told how those problems are being dealt with. Written feedbacks as to how their issues are handled, makes them feel important and appreciated.

The customer must be given the feedback that the business is doing all it can to address and resolve his problem, or else he feels discounted and rebels. Where necessary, apologize to him and atone for the staffs’ sin of not treating him as the very important person he wants to be.

After resolving a particular customer’s complain, it should be processed, to see whether it could have been handled differently, better. If it was well done, it could become a model way for treating irate customers and used to train employees.

We admire assertive persons in social life, and there is no reason why assertive customers should be treated any differently. Even if they are aggressive, they still need to be responded to. Aggressive and passive persons are often acting out of fear. Fear makes some cower in dependent passivity, and makes others act out in pretentious bravados.

Love and respect is always the opposite of fear. Love is the cure for fear. Love the fearful person and you reduce his fearfulness and defensiveness.

The angry, hence, fearful customer is calmed down with a few kind words that really make him feel loved and respected. This is not manipulation, but being realistic to human nature.

The best customer service policy is always to exceed customers’ expectations. Find out what the customer wants and exceed it, and you obtain his repeat business. Customer expectations, like everything else in life, are dynamic and always changing. Businesses must continually seek ways to understand them and respond to them. Stay close to your customers and you would learn what they want from you, and meet and/or exceed their expectation. An aloof business is soon not in business. Nothing irritates people more than workers that seem aloof in relating to them. Every customer wants personalized treatment and resents been treated as if he is a number, a machine.

Do not assume that customers understand and appreciate your good intentions towards them; show them behaviorally so they can see that you value their business. Action speaks louder than words, so telling customers how well you care for them would not help you much; what matters is your actual behavior towards them. Did you listen to them, did you do so respectfully, and did you provide the answers they were asking for? Maintain a positive attitude to customers and they sense it, present a negative attitude to customers and they also notice it and resent it.

Good customer service is not to be left only to front line staff that deal with customers, but must be practiced by every one in the business, from the lowest employee on the totem pole to the supervisors and top management.

Good customer service must become a philosophy that permeates the entire business and become its culture so that customers stepping into the premise of the business, or listening to its employees on the phone, feel a sense of quality service everywhere. Nothing pleases the complaining customer more than to go get the boss to listen to him and address his problem. He feels special, if the chief executive officer listens to him, indeed one of the reasons why he is complaining in the first place, is that none of the big cheese listens to him, hence, makes him feel like he is a somebody. Being talked to by the boss makes him feel that he is a somebody, so make him feel like a somebody and gain his loyalty and money. You have nothing to lose by serving him right, and everything to lose by not serving him right, his money.

Praise but do not ever criticize the customer. People do not like to be criticized, it makes them feel belittled which nobody likes; so listen to them and hear them out, praise them for speaking out for their interests, and promise to do your best by looking into their complaints and addressing them, if necessary, in writing, with a promise not to permit it to fester and repeat itself. That way the complainer feels like he protected other customers and his ego is stroked.

Apply the insights of total quality management. TQM teaches the importance of customers and finding out what they want on an on-going basis, gearing one’s services to meet them if one wants to be in business. TQM wants customers to be involved in making every aspect of the business’ decisions, even top management decisions. This does not necessarily mean having the physical presence of customers in the boardroom, but that adequate effort is made to understand their desires and to incorporate them in making decisions, regarding the business’ behavior, certainly with regards to product design and service delivery.

TQM not only recognizes customer input in decision-making, but employees input. Essentially, every part of the business is to treat other employees as their customers, and take their input into consideration in its decisions and activities. In sum, TQM is a useful tool for good business-customer relations, employee-employee relations, gathering statistics and data to continually improve the quality of the business’ products and services.

Management is filled with fads and there is no doubt that aspects of TQM are faddish. Nevertheless, it is a win-win situation (for business and customers) if the philosophy of total quality service is adopted by every business organization.

Much of the relationship between customers and businesses is conducted over the phone, and increasingly through the electronic media, like email and e-commerce. It is therefore critical that those who pick up the phone when customers call, be trained in good telephone manners. The voice at the business end of the phone call, may determine whether the customer buys from it or takes his business elsewhere. Rude telephone operators put off customers.

Telephone courtesy can be taught and learned; it ought to be taught to and learned by anyone who answers the telephone when customers call. This is even more so, for those who handle customer complaints. Good telephone attitude generally emanates from a positive attitude towards people in general.

Those with a cheery temperament tend to be more suited to callers registering complaints, and ought to be particularly the choice for such jobs. Answer the phone promptly and speak in a respectful manner, letting the customer understand that you are there to serve him, and that he is not a bother that you would rather not listen to. The worst thing that you could do is to hang up on an irate customer; if you do so, you make him angrier and lose his business (if not your job, for he might complain to your boss and demand that you be fired, if only to spite his injured vanity). If messages need to be taken do so cheerfully.

In the era of Email, follow good letter writing suggestions. Your letter must have an introduction, a body and a conclusion. It must be succinct and written in correct Standard English, or whatever language it is written in. Customers are often put off by grammatical mistakes in the email and other forms of communication they receive from businesses. “My God, if they cannot even write in correct English, how can you rely on them to do well in what they say they are doing?”

English grammar is something that many persons, including writers, find difficult to master. All that can be said about the matter is that whoever writes a letter ought to take time to find out whether what he wrote is grammatically correct, before mailing it. He should employ computer spell and grammar checks, of course, but must not rely solely on them since they often make mistakes.

Whatever is placed on the businesses website ought to be edited by a person who understands grammar and syntax before being placed there. Some customers are put off by even typographical errors in the material they read. It is better to win a customer if paying a good editor enables one to do so.

It is always a good idea to write thank you letters to customers. Such letters get them to be loyal to the business, to feel as if they have been paid personal attention and being valued.

Of course, it is critical that occasionally businesses share information with their customers, by providing them with written information on what is going on in their business world and information about their products.

Publications in local newspapers and classified advertisements are good ways of getting the business to the public’s attention. A business with a good write up in a newspaper is more than likely to have a few additional sales because of the goodwill created by the publicity. Placing news releases every now and then, on the business’ products and whatever improvements have been made in them, and the awards and recognition they received from authoritative organizations and/or persons, is a sales tool for generating demand for the business’ products and/or services.

In the final analysis, businesses deal with customers, and marketing deals with understanding what customers want and getting their businesses to satisfy these desires. People generally desire personalized, one-to-one service, and whatever efforts are made to meet that need tends to secure their business and loyalty.

Relationship marketing is the only way to survive the competitive markets of the future.

Market share is gained when customers come to believe that a particular business pays attention to their needs, in addition to selling the best product in their market.

Good businesses often send Christmas cards to their customers; some are even known to send gifts to their best clients.

The future belongs to e-commerce so businesses must find ways to break into this market. Internet shopping is increasing in leaps and bounds. Essentially, this entails setting up a home page for the business and publicizing the web address, so that people could tap into them to order goods and services sold by the business. Moreover, people seeking information on the products, prices and services of the business, could visit the page to obtain such information about them.

Virtual shopping is in the air. Here a customer uses his computer to zoom into a shopping center and walk himself through the aisles as he would if he were inside a store and picking the goods he wants, except that this time he does it with the click of his mouse. When he is done shopping, he sends the information to the shop personnel and within a few hours they deliver his groceries to him at home. This line of virtual reality shopping is going to make shopping a lot easier, especially for those who do not like to go to stores.

There are many other avenues to exploit the electronic revolution, known and still unknown. Businesses must keep abreast with what is happening in the information superhighway, and take advantage of its wonderful developments to sell more goods and services, hence, make profits.

In the end good customer service means figuring out how the customer wants to be served and doing exactly that. Businesses exist to sell what customers desire, not what the business owners and their employees want. You either provide to buyers what they want and how they want it, or you are not in business in the free enterprise economy, you are out of business. In the so-called socialist and communist economic systems, the employees were so sullen and uncaring in serving the customers of their already shoddy goods and services, that as soon as those dinosaurs of economic systems collapsed these businesses went under and their employees were unemployed. Those who could find work had to be retrained, to become customer friendly, so as to sell goods and services, make profits and stay in business.

Continued from "Ozodi Osuji Lectures #19: Nigeria and the Business World"

Next lecture, #20, Training for Leadership, October 23

Posted by Administrator at 12:57 AM | Comments (0)

Ozodi Osuji Lectures #19: Nigeria and the Business World

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. (Seatle, Washington) --- In this lecture, we shall, in a rudimentary manner, summarize the nature of capitalist economics and business organizations. This chapter is not meant to replace studying economics and business, but to give the reader a bird’s eye view of the real world, that he must deal with, in his efforts to earn a living for himself and his family.


There are primarily three types of economic systems: capitalism, socialism and a mixture of capitalism and socialism. We should very easily dispose of socialism because it is idealistic and not realistic. It is predicated on pure cognitive processes, not rooted in the realities of man, as we know him to be. Socialism wants the individual to work for the public, to serve common interests. It generally believes that it is possible to serve other persons more than the individual can serve himself. As it sees it, man is a social animal, and ought to devote his existence to serving other persons’ needs at the expense of his own needs. Obviously this is idealistic and negating of the individual, for if he cannot serve himself, how is he going to be able to serve other persons?

The originators of socialism appreciated the exploitation of workers, by the owners of capital, during the period of primitive capitalist states (during capital accumulation period), and decried the capitalist system of production. They were, of course, right in calling attention to the exploitation of labor by factory owners. However, they sought to throw the baby away with the bathwater. They sought to take away the ownership of private property from individual hands and give it to the state. They wanted the public to run factories and become the owners of the means of production. This is in the face of the obvious fact that, what is publicly owned is owned by no one, and is generally poorly managed.

What one owner would take an hour to do, would take ten bureaucrats ten hours to accomplish. Socialism wanted public ownership of the means of production. As it sees it, this is the only way to prevent exploitation of man by man.

In the Communist Manifesto, and later, Das Kapital, Karl Marx waxed strong and wrote idealistic nonsense that has no bearing on the real world we know of. Simply stated, Communism is rubbish for it has no capacity for producing wealth. Wealth is produced by individuals pursuing their private interests, working hard, working ten or more hour per day, rather than the average of two-hour days worked by bureaucrats in their public works. A gaggle of bureaucrats merely make noise, whereas productive individuals commit themselves to doing work that interests them, that they have aptitude in, and do it for profit.

We are not naïve about human nature. We know that human beings do exploit one another, and will continue to do so if they can get away with it. Therefore, some role for government in the economy is inevitable. Hence, the mixed economic system is probably the most workable economic system, given the realities of the world. In a mixed economy, the government plays some role in making sure that capitalists do not exploit the workers; it does so primarily through regulations of what capitalists can and cannot do, passing laws to protect labor and working conditions; and it intervenes to prevent and or remedy inflation and depression. By and large, a mixed economy is a regulated capitalist system, it is less productive than a pure capitalist system, but seems the best we can do given the nature of man.

The most productive economic system is the capitalist economy, so we shall devote the rest of this chapter to its workings. Many books have been written on this economic system, yet the reader should peruse the granddaddy of them all, Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations. The premise of this economic system is that man is a rational creature, and that his rationality disposes him to pursue what optimizes his survival, his self-interests. He is motivated by self-interest and only secondarily thinks about social interests. But since he lives in society, the satisfaction of his self-interests is generally attained when he also does what satisfies other persons’ self interests. In effect, he exchanges goods and serves with others, and this way each person satisfies his self-interests.

The basic axiom of this economic system is the laws of supply and demand. Individuals need certain goods and services to sustain their lives. They demand those goods and services and are willing to pay certain prices to obtain them. Businesses supply the goods and services demanded by the people. A successful business is one that understands what the people want to buy, produces it or gets it, and sells it to them at a price they are willing to pay. In the market economy, the producer supplies certain goods or services, and people offer to pay him a certain price for his goods or services. Complex mechanisms affect the interaction of supply and demand; the result is a price for the goods that the supplier is willing to sell his goods at, to a buyer who is willing to pay a certain price for these goods or services. This is the equilibrium price.

Given the desire by the buyers to pay the least price for goods, they would always be on the look out for sellers whose prices are cheaper for similar goods. Therefore, other sellers attempt to produce the same goods and/or sell them cheaper to buyers, and in the process make profits. To be in the market, to sell, all producers of goods and services must be attempting to produce their goods and services in the most efficient manner, and to a specific sector, niche, in the market. Competition for survival in the market place, therefore, compels producers to be efficient, to utilize the factors of production (labor, capital, technology, entrepreneurship, land, raw materials, etc), in the most efficient manner possible.

The capitalist economy, therefore, is characterized by competition for consumers, for the sale of goods and services, and in the process discovering the best way to produce and market them, so as to make a profit.

There are different types of competition. Briefly, there is pure or perfect competition, also called laissez-faire; here the forces of the market, that is, supply and demand, strictly determine the production and distribution of goods and services, with no interference of government. In this type of market, the best seller of goods and services survive, and the weak disappear. This is akin to Herbert Spencer’s Social Darwinism, where the fittest survive and the weak die. This is an unsentimental approach to the economy.

In the real world, people do take care of their old parents and children, and never permit pure competition to determine their approaches to them. People have always intervened to help the least competitive person, the underdog so to speak, for he could be them, tomorrow. The best student may obtain scholarships to go to school but if you ignore the needs of the mediocre student, should something happen to the best student you are stuck with no one to produce knowledge. Therefore, to guarantee the presence of knowledge, you must provide education to as many students as possible, even those that may not appear to aspire in it, for educational provides knowledge on some level to all.

In monopolistic competition, a few relatively large businesses monopolize the production and sales of certain goods and/or services, and exert influence on the prices they charge for their goods and/or services. This is a very inefficient economy, for if there is less competition, there is less incentive to improve the means of production or to improve the quality of goods and services. A monopoly tends to make businesses complacent in their quality of products and services, and not keep up with increasing needs. An economy stagnates, becomes outmoded, if monopoly is permitted.

In oligopoly economy, there are few suppliers of a specific product or service, so that one’s actions can have a significant impact on prices and its competitors; often a small number of businesses produce similar products, agree amongst themselves on the prices to charge the buyers of their goods, thus disproportionately affect a large population, much like we see with gas prices due to OPEC. This is an inefficient economy.

In a monopsony, a single customer market, where a specific type of product or service is only being used by one customer, the buyers dictate prices paid to producers of goods and services.

There are many variations of these basic types of competition sketched above. For our present purpose, what is salient is that in a capitalist economy, competition is encouraged as the best way to produce and distribute wealth. It is assumed that businesses are motivated by the profit motive, and the bottom line is: “what is in it for me? How do I benefit from what I am doing? If I am not going to benefit from it, why should I do it?” Profit is the incentive for economic activity. Where there is profit to be made, resources are channeled to it, and in the process the consumers are best served.

Capital goes to where profit is to be made. This way the forces of the market allocate capital in the economy and allocate it most efficiently. No one central committee sits around in an unventilated room in the States, Moscow, Peking, Havana, etc and pools their collective ignorance, to tell the people where to spend their money, and to decide where capital is allocated in the economy.

The capitalist economy is the most efficient means of producing and distributing resources in an economy. No one has yet discovered a better alternative to it. But like everything else that is part of human behavior, it is flawed. Man is an imperfect creature and his actions must be imperfect. Capitalism has built-in problems. It tends to have cycles of inflation, depression and recession.

In inflation, there is too much money chasing too few goods and services, therefore, prices rise.

In depression, there is too little demand for goods and services, therefore, prices fall. Recession is a minor form of depression.

In a hyper inflationary economy, it may take a bucket full of currency to buy a packet of cigarettes. This happened in Germany after the First World War.

In depression, too many people do not have money, are out of work and cannot buy goods and services, hence, businesses cannot sell their goods and services, do not make profits and may have to close down, laying off many persons. As a result of the stock market crash of 1929, the United States economy and its collateral, the rest of the world’s economy went into deep recession. At a point during the depression, over twenty five percent of the adult population were unemployed, hence, had no money to buy goods and services; as a result, many businesses could not sell their goods and services, and had to close down. The world went into a funk, as hordes of unemployed men sloshed about looking for work.

John Maynard Keynes published his “The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money” in 1936, and in it, proposed new economic behaviors that would prevent the known business cycles of capitalist economies. His ideas were translated into new economic practices, the so-called Keynesian Revolution, that in the United States is commonly referred to as the New Deal or government intervention in an otherwise capitalist economy.

Briefly, Keynes proposed that societies lay to death the idea that governments should have no role in the economy. He suggested what governments could do during inflationary and depressionary periods, to help the economy. Lawrence Klein writings on Keynes shows that the government economic planners would have to have "complete control over the government fiscal policy so that they can spend when and where spending is needed to stimulate employment and tax when and where taxation is needed to halt upward price movements."

Many folks have since added to Keynesian economics, but the basic tenets of this economics remain the same. Keynesian economy, like pure capitalism, accepts that private ownership of property is the best economy, but suggests ways to manage the economy to avert excessive disruptions in economic activities.

Taxation policy. Here the government taxes people, raises or lowers taxes according to how the economy is doing. If the economy is in an inflationary period, that is, too much money is chasing too few goods, governments should raise taxes and that way take away some of that money from the people, leaving them with less money to spend.

With less money available to them to purchase goods and services, people would want to buy goods and services cheaper, hence, suppliers are inclined to reduce the price of their goods and services in order to sell and make profits. Prices fall and inflation is reduced, as money regains some value.

On the other hand, if the people are paying higher taxes, and have less money to purchase goods and services, sellers are unable to sell their goods and services; the economy heads towards recession and/or depression, taxes could be lowered so that the people would have money to spend. With more discretionary income to spend, they buy goods and services, thereby stimulating more production of goods and services. The economy picks itself out of depression and becomes buoyant. Taxation policy, therefore, is an ongoing process, with government raising or lowering taxes to regulate the economy.

Government spending (fiscal policy) is used to stimulate the economy. When the economy is in the doldrums the government can consciously spend money to stimulate it. It could pump money into the economy by building roads, bridges, airports, railway lines and other public infrastructure. In doing so, work is created and workers spend their money buying goods and services that stimulate the production of those goods and services. Sometimes, governments do not have the money to spend to stimulate depressed economies. In such instances, they many have to borrow that money from those who have it, through selling bonds. This is called deficit spending. The government borrows and spends money that it does not collect in revenue, so as to improve the economy, hoping to then collect more taxes to pay off what it owes. Many a government owes so much money through deficit spending, that interest payments on their debts consume much of their current revenues. That is, they pay out large chunks of the money they currently collect in taxes as interests on the money they have borrowed to finance public projects. Ronald Reagan, for example, borrowed extensively to finance his military build up. He saddled future generation of Americans with trillions of dollars of debt to be paid off. In the meantime, the government pays several billions of dollars in annual interests on the trillions it owes.

In Monetary Policy, governments, through their central banks, regulate the behavior of the economy through raising or lowering the interest they charge borrowers of funds from the government banks. Commercial banks borrow money from the central banks. They are charged certain interests for the money they borrow. They, in turn, charge their customers, those they lend to, interest on the loans. The interest the central bank charges determine the interest commercial banks charge, and indirectly affect the performance of the economy. If the prime rate charged by the central bank is low, commercial banks borrow more and lend more money to their customers, who are more likely to borrow because of the lowered interest rates. People borrow money to buy houses and cars. Businesses borrow money to invest in capital goods. This way economic activity is stimulated.

Lowering interest rates can be used to stimulate an economy out of recession or depression. Raising interest rates, on the other hand, lowers borrowing and spending, hence, reduces inflation.

Keynesian economics has ushered in an era of government intervention in the capitalist economy. This serves some good. The problem is that some idle, unproductive bureaucrat may be tempted to over do it, and in the process destroys the goose that lays the golden egg. If the government over regulates the economy, say has too high taxes, people may refuse to work hard; people see no reason why they should work eight or more hours per day to make money, so that some bureaucrat can take much of that money from them, to fatten government coffers and support the malingerers on the public dole.

Clearly, this problem does not have a simple solution, certainly not an either or one. There must be some role for the government in modern economies. The question is how much. How much should be the role of government in the economy is the subject addressed by public policy and public choice. As long as, the national policy enables the capitalist economy to grow jobs and produce wealth for the people, it seems tolerable.

As long as, the people’s standard of living is rising, the Gross National Product (GNP) and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) are rising, there is little to complain about the economy. (GNP is the gross value of the goods and services produced in a country during a period of time, usually a year; GDP is the GNP plus the income paid to non-residents, minus income received from non-residents. Gross national income, GNI is the sum of the various economic sectors in a country. Per capital income is the gross income divided by the population, to figure out what each individual would make if wealth were shared equitably. Unfortunately, many make incomes below poverty level wages…living wages is that wage deemed necessary to sustain an individual in an economy. Goods are generally divided into two main classes, capital goods and consumer goods. Capital goods are those devoted to producing more wealth, such as factories, whereas consumer goods are finished products bought and consumed by people.)

As we see it, governments must play some roles in the economy. It is simply nostalgic to yearn for past eras that probably never existed, when governments were supposedly hands off the economy. (In the past, we had mercantilism, trade from commodities, where governments actively tried to preserve certain trading for their citizens and prevented other countries from doing so.) As long as, governments understand that human nature dictates that people work hardest when they are working for their interests, they pretty much leave them alone to pursue their interests, so the economy grows.

Private enterprise, where most of the factors of production (land, labor, capital, technology, entrepreneurship) are left in private hands, is the most productive economic system. Until any one shows an alternative to it, that is equally productive, or better, it should be titrated and improved, but essentially left alone. We should not make the mistake naïve Russians made of adopting an untested economic system, communism, only to give the people poverty, and brutal authoritarian and totalitarian dictatorship. For all his murderous activities, Stalin did not improve the standards of living of the Russian people. So what was the point of that entire killing? Not any that pure reason can discern.

The profit motive, which drives business activities, is still the best way to generate wealth in an economy. Of course, we need to tax those with money, and give some money to non-profit organizations to use in serving the poor, those who cannot participate or benefit from competitive business. This is the way it should be, wisdom lies in knowing how not to over play our hands and allow our sentiments to over rule our reason.

We need bureaucrats to perform critical governmental functions that must be performed for the survival of the polity. But we also know that bureaucrats are inefficient, so we must keep them to the absolute minimum. As it were, they are necessary but should not be permitted to mushroom all over the place. If allowed, they expand their jobs but not their productivity. So we must keep watchful eyes on the detritus of mankind, and reward our most productive persons, entrepreneurs, those who generate wealth and employment in the economy.


Most people who have jobs are employed by small businesses. For our present purpose, we define a small business as any work organization employing less than twenty-five persons. It is, therefore, critical that we understand the nature and operation of small business ventures.

A small business comes into being when an individual has an idea that he thinks would make him money. An entrepreneur has an idea (product or service) that he thinks there is a market for, that is, he thinks that people would buy, that there is demand for). He attempts to produce and market his idea.

Unless one is trained in business, either formally (a MBA) or through work-experience, as a beginning entrepreneur one often does not possess management skills. Management is the ability to gather human beings and other resources, and coordinate them in pursuit of stated organizational goals. Human beings are complex and it is difficult to tell them what to do, and get them to do it. There is, however, a psychology to managing people that needs to be learned (human resource management).

Small businesses are often handicapped by lack of adequate financing. One may have good ideas, but not have the money to finance them. Moreover, given one’s lack of track record, financial institutions like banks hesitate lending one the money to start one’s business. Thus entrepreneurs are often forced to rely on their own savings, and borrowing from family members and friends to start their business.

We live in an era where government involves itself in practically every aspect of our lives. As noted above, if bureaucrats are permitted, they would over regulate the economy, including making it difficult for persons with good ideas to start and operate their own business. The hoops entrepreneurs have to go through to obtain all the licenses they need to operate their businesses is amazing. One would think that since they are the ones who provide most of us jobs, that idle bureaucrats who do not generate jobs for any one else, but themselves, would cheerfully do everything in their powers to make sure that entrepreneurs succeed. (It is estimated that over ninety percent of all business that start fail before the end of two years.) Often those businesses that manage to survive are burdened with high taxes, actual disincentives to their working hard to stay in operation.

Be this as it may, small businesses are the bedrock of capitalist economies, and people must be encouraged to start their own businesses, rather than aim at working for other persons.

If you intend to start your own business, you should think about it; it is desirable that you provide yourself with some business education, formally or informally, by reading books on business (and that is why we are adding this chapter to this book), studying the market, understand the structure of demand, that is, do a survey to find out whether there are people who want to buy what you want to produce or not. If there is a demand for it, then plan your production carefully to make sure that you avoid cost overruns. Chances are that you do not have training in finance and accounting, and may need to secure the skills of those trained in that field, particularly the services of a good bookkeeper. You must budget and keep good records of your revenues and expenditures, so as to avoid running into major financial problems or having to declare bankruptcy.

You must draw up an effective marketing plan, a strategy on how to sell your goods and/or services to the target market you are aiming at to buy your goods and/or services.

You must manage your time well and acquire the type of labor you need to aid you in the production of what you want to produce, and compensate them adequately…. people are motivated by self interests; if you do not reward them as they think that they deserve, they would leave, you do not want a high labor turnover rate, for if those who understand your business leave, you may have difficulty finding and training replacements.

One should go into business that enables one to do what truly interests one. Even if one is buying an existing business (business opportunity) or acquiring a franchise (a unit of a chain, like McDonald’s), one must follow a line of business that interests one.

Once the individual decides to go into business for himself, it helps if he creates a Business Plan. A business plan provides a detailed plan of the business goals and objects, and how one intends to accomplish these goals, including how the finances are to be obtained, who the market for the product of the business is, and how the revenue of the business is to be managed.

The mechanics of beginning and running a business, such as acquiring a location and facility for the business (could be out of one’s home), equipment, insurance, means of communication…such as computers and phone systems…obtaining and motivating staff to work hard, meeting the legal requirements for that type of business, going after sources of financing, and so on, can be studied in most books on how to start and run small businesses or books on entrepreneurship. Networking and talking to already successful entrepreneurs is one of the best ways to learn, gain contacts and support to bounce ideas and issues off of someone in the know.


Businesses can be organized in several forms. The primary forms of business organization, in most capitalist economies, are sole proprietorship, partnership and corporation.

The sole proprietor is exactly what the name says, a business owned by one individual. The owner is solely responsible for the firm’s operation, and assumes all the risks involved. If he makes profit it is all his (minus taxes, of course) and if he incurs losses, he is solely responsible for them. From a legal entity the sole proprietor and individual are the same entity.

This type of business organization has some advantages, including ease of formation and dissolution, management freedom and right to do as the owner wants without interference from bosses, and, of course, the keeping of all profits by the owner without sharing it with other persons. Like everything else that has pluses, this type of business organization has disadvantages, including: unlimited financial liability, limited financial resources, perhaps limited managerial skills in the owner, and tendency for the firm to terminate with the demise/death of the owner.

Many businesses start as sole proprietors and in time change forms, perhaps become partnerships or eventually corporations. The need for capital to expand businesses often compels sole proprietors to seek partners, and eventually incorporate and possibly even to go public, financing their business activities through selling of stocks.

A partnership exists where two or more persons pull their resources to start a business and agree to share responsibility for running the business; they take equal risks in doing so. The formation of a partnership often requires following some legal procedures that delineate who the partners are, their individual investments in the business, the salary of each partner, the duties to be performed by each partner, the name of their business, how profits are to be shared, the location of the business and the conditions for dissolving the business.

Partnerships have three forms; general partners, limited partners and silent partners. In general partnership, all the partners are involved in the running of the business and share in the total liability; in limited partnerships, partners are only liable to the extent of their investment in the business, and may not take an active role in the day-to-day operations of the business; silent partners are not involved in the management of the business, but often provide financial support.

Partnerships have certain advantages, including ease of establishment, pooling of management skills, ability to pool funds from many persons and more stability than sole proprietors. Its major disadvantages are that partners have unlimited financial liability, may disagree amongst themselves as to how to run the business, inability to raise larger funds, possible dissolution of the business due to disagreement of the partners.

Corporations are legal entities; they are considered artificial persons in the eyes of the law. This is so because the law considers the corporation like it was a person, and taxes it, as it taxes individuals. The corporation is usually owned by shareholders who are liable to their investments in the corporation.

Corporations tend to have certain advantages, including: limited financial liability for shareholders, greater ability to raise money, greater longevity, greater capacity to expand, greater ability to attract top quality managers, and ease of transferring ownership. The disadvantages include lack of personal interest in the management of the business by employees, greater cost of production, government regulations, and lack of secrecy of operations.

Essentially, corporations are the most effective way to run large business concerns. Money is difficult to come by, and one of the best ways to come by it, is to borrow it from many persons. Public corporations acquire funds by selling shares in their business. Shareholders own stocks in corporation type businesses.

There are many types of stocks: preferred stocks, common stocks, and so on. (If you are planning to become an investor, you are advised to take a course on investments, so that you would understand the various types of stocks and their advantages and disadvantages.)

A board of directors usually runs a corporation. The shareholders elect the board of directors. The board of directors is usually elected from those with the most stocks in a corporation.

The board of directors hires a chief executive officer (CEO or president) to run the business on a day-to-day basis, and is responsible for reporting and keeping the board informed.

A group of individuals can form a corporation by filling out the required forms by the government, and paying the fee for starting their business. Once in business, corporations tend to expand through many ways, including mergers, acquisitions of other businesses, and sometimes through hostile takeovers of other businesses.

There are other forms of business organizations, such as cooperatives, usually a non-profit corporation organized on a voluntary basis, for the benefit of members. An example is credit unions, which is usually a financial cooperative to lend money to members, who pool their money to lend to each other, and that way counter the disadvantages of commercial banks.


Now that a business has been started, it has to be managed on an ongoing basis. Management is the process of planning, organizing, leading and controlling the activities of work members, in order to achieve the business’ goals. Management is the utilization of men and material to achieve organizational goals and to make a profit.

Many writers have delineated the specific functions of management, including planning (setting the goals and objectives of the work team, how best to attain those objectives, the resources necessary for achieving them, and where those resources would be obtained), organizing (establishing a formal organizational structure, delineation of tasks to be performed by members of the organization, lines of reporting authority), staffing (the recruitment of people to perform specified tasks necessary for the organization’s goal attainment), leading (guiding the workers so that their activities are conduce to the organization’s goal attainment), controlling (making sure that the performance of the staff is what is expected and making sure that resources are utilized, as expected, taking corrective actions where necessary.

There are levels of management, a hierarchy of the distribution of authority in an organization. The hierarchy usually looks like a pyramid, with more people at the bottom, and less at the top. Generally, there is top management (president, CEO, Vice presidents), middle management (division managers, department managers), and supervisory management (lead workers).

Managers generally are expected to possess technical skills (the mechanics of the jobs in their organization) and social skills (how to relate to people and use them to achieve organizational goals).

Managers make decisions as to what goals and objectives are to be pursued, and how to pursue them. Therefore, managers must understand how to make decisions, positing possible solutions, costing the solutions, studying the consequences of each solution in terms of benefits and social good, and choosing the alternative solution to the problem that seems to optimize benefits and reduce costs, implementing it, and eventually evaluating whether it works, and if not, refining it or throwing it out for other solutions.

The major function of management is planning what goals to pursue and ascertaining strategies to attain them. Gathering of information and analysis of this information is crucial in making future plans as to the business’ direction.

Nowadays there are computer software programs that can aid in planning and decision-making. The manager must be familiar with computers, and respective business software; he must understand the role of computers in his particular industry. Education in computers is now a necessary part of management training. E-commerce is in the future of most business. Knowledge of computer applications, such as word-processing, data processing and management, statistical analysis, excel, and Power Point, is useful for managers.

Managers must be effective communicators. They achieve goals and objectives through people. As such, they must know how to relate to people. Communication is an effective way of relating to people. Indeed, managers are best served if they take courses in communication and human relations. They communicate up and down the organization’s hierarchy, send memos to those above them and to those under them, write business letters and reports for presentations to other managers (management meeting) and other business, etc.

Although managers do not have to become accountants, they must understand money and record keeping. They must be able to prepare budgets and read financial statements, giving the performance…revenues and expenditures…of their units, produced by the accounting department, monthly. Management decisions are based on knowledge of the state of the organization’s finances.

Managers engage in business with other business that requires having formal contracts written, regarding their relationships and obligations. Contract management is one of the required skills of professional managers, in today’s business climate.

Managers involved in production must understand inventory management, the record keeping of raw materials coming into the factory, how they are processed into finished goods and sold (department stores have to keep records on the inventory of merchandise they order and sell).

Project management is now a general skill required of most managers (how specific projects are managed, what it takes to accomplish them, when to start and complete them, costs, technical requirements for accomplishing them, the labor required to accomplish them, and the management of these resources).

Management boils down to the courage to take risks. Academic professors of business talk shop on planning, but are not known to actually set business goals and do what it takes to achieve them. Often business goals are set on a hunch, by pure intuition of what the manager thinks will work. Managers are persons who take calculated and studied risks, and are prepared to take the consequences of their actions. Those who take profitable risks make profits, whereas bureaucrats, who study a problem to death and write tons of literature on it, do nothing to take risks, make no profit.


Work organizations tend to be organized hierarchically, with the majority of employees at the bottom and the minority at the top. This is the so-called organizational pyramid, with top management (usually the chief executive officer, and president and his functional vice presidents, who reports to the Board of Directors, usually seven to twenty members who are elected by shareholders), middle managers (division managers), supervisory or first line managers and finally the workers at the bottom of the totem pole.

The typical corporation usually has a formal organization chart that plots each employee’s position, and what it does within the organization. The formal organization delineates power relationships between employees, and suggests that those at the top tend to have more power than those at the bottom. But this could be deceiving as most organizations’ have an informal organization that indicates that, persons who are not expected to have much formal power and authority actually possesses power. The secretary to the CEO, for example, may wield actual power behind the throne of the organization. The janitor may have more say so in the organization than persons who supervise him formally.

One of the key functions of management is organizing people, to use them to accomplish organizational goals. Organizational structures, learned from the military and the Catholic Church, seem to be an efficient way of organizing people. Communists contended that hierarchical work organizations were anti-democratic, that they indicate master-servant relationships and talk nonsense about the equality of comrades at work. However, examination of communist work organizations revealed a more feudal organization with those at the top presuming to know what is good for those at the bottom while not even bother listening to them, as capitalist organizations, at least, try to do. Communist leaders presume to have all the knowledge there is to have, hence, when in office stay forever, usually until they die or until someone kills them in a coup. At least capitalists make a show of listening to the people, and theoretically, information flows both downwards and upwards, from the workers to the top management, and from management to the workers.

Usually work organizations are departmentalized by function. The work that must be done to accomplish organizational goals are divided and grouped into functional areas, and each is called a department; such as production, accounting, finance, marketing and sells, human resources, etc.

A designated person such as the vice president, finance etc, heads each functional department. The vice presidents report to the president, who reports to the Board of Directors.

Departmentalization can also be made geographically: a large corporation with operations in many geographic areas, in the same country, or even in many different countries, may organize itself by regions so that in each region a manager runs its affairs there. Some organizations have product departmentalization, that is, a unit producing a given product is a department. Some organize through project management, whereby folks from different units come together to pursue a special project within the overall organization.

Whichever way an organization is organized, the goal is to delineate the lines of authority, power and influence.

Power is the ability of one individual to tell another what to do, and he does it, even if he did not want to do it. Power generally implies an ability to punish the person it is exercised over, if he did not do as he is told to do. The boss can punish the employee by sacking him from his job, just as political authorities can put the citizen in jail if he disobeys the laws of the land.

Authority is the reposition of certain powers in positions in an organization. One may have formal organizational authority, but lack power and influence in the organization.

Influence is the ability to influence persons with or without formal authority to do so. Persons, who have the power of speech, may not have a formal authoritative position in society, yet exercise the ability to get people to do certain things.

In formal organizations, there are different types of authority, such as, line and staff. Line authority is the authority in a position within the organization chart. Staff authority is the authority exercised by those not holding formal positions in the organization’s chart.

Theoretically all the power in the organization is in the hands of the chief executive officer. He then delegates some of his power to his subordinates, who in turn may delegate some power to lower subordinates. For delegation to be meaningful, the person doing the delegating must really permit the person he gave power and authority to, the freedom to act within his given power. However, he must be expected to be accountable for his behavior; if he does not do what is expected of him, and if he does not improve as needed to work within the organizational structure, may be let go. Delegation of power must be real for folks to truly feel empowered by the work organization.

It is generally believed that each supervisor is only able to supervise so many persons, if he is to do an effective job. Some believe that six to twelve persons are the best span of control. There is no hard and fast rule about this matter, for it may depend on individual managers. Some managers are only able to keep an eye on a few subordinates, whereas others can keep an eye on a large number of subordinates. Each organization must know its people, in designing its chain of command.

There is a debate going on whether large organizations should centralize authority or decentralize it. Either end of this argument has its merits. In the nature of things, a bit of both is probably inevitable. Management must be centralized to have effective control, but it must also be decentralized to give subordinates a sense of empowerment to do their jobs. If folks feel told what to do, by people external to them, they tend not to work very hard. Yet workers must be told what to do by their bosses, while being given the impression that they are in charge of their work lives.

Large organizations often form a committee to perform a certain task and then disperse. A committee is a group of persons, usually selected from different parts of the organization, to perform a particular task or a particular project, while still performing their usual line work. Committees are useful ways of pooling expertise from many parts of the organization to solve problems.

There is an academic debate going on as to whether organizations should be flat or hierarchical, vertical or horizontal. This is an idle debate by idle academics. In the real world, persons performing different tasks tend to have different skills. Moreover, persons in an organization tend to possess different levels of information. The vice president of finance is probably more knowledgeable, or should be so, about finance than the janitor. It would, therefore, be silly to expect the janitor to have the same input as the financial manager in making decisions on where to invest the organization’s money or where to borrow money from. The point is that, whereas, democracy seems an ideal social organization, we are not going to have participative democracy in the work place; perhaps we can have an enlightened commitment to the workers’ interests by bosses, and that is the best we can hope for.


The key function of management is to get people to perform tasks, performance of which leads to the accomplishment of organizational goals. Organizational goals are attained through human beings. Therefore, to achieve these goals, human beings must be understood and motivated to do their jobs. Management theories are, in effect, ideas as to how to get people to produce at their best.

Frederick Taylor performed Time and Motion studies, and figured out how best to perform each task needed to be done in a work process, and how quickly it could be done; he then hired those who are best able to perform such tasks within the most efficient time parameters to perform them. If it takes a teller at a bank, approximately five minutes to complete each customers transaction: of depositing or withdrawing money from his checking and/or saving accounts, then test potential tellers and select those who have the capability to perform this task within the expected time parameters. This is what time and motion studies amount to. Clearly, it has some merits, and as such, is still used in hiring and training employees.

Human beings are flesh and blood creatures, not robots. Even if you hire them based on their efficiency, you still have to treat them in a certain manner, for them to perform at their best. George Elton Mayo and the Hawthorne experiment, found that the ambience of the work environment plays a role in workers’ productivity. Such a seeming minor issue, as the lighting in the room and color of the paint on the walls, affects how happy and productive workers are. Thus, the human relations school of management stressed paying attention to human psychological needs, if productivity is to be raised.

Abraham Maslow talked about the hierarchy of needs: physiological, security, social, esteem and self-actualization. Frederick Herzberg posited a hypothesis that says, jobs that offer challenge and opportunity for advancement, tend to motivate people to work harder than jobs that offer their opposite. He suggested combining good wages, security of employment with challenge, if the worker is to be motivated to work hard.

Douglas McGregor postulated that there are two basic types of managers, what he called Theory X and Theory Y. Theory X managers make assumptions that workers are lazy and need to be closely supervised if they are to work hard; whereas, Theory Y managers assume that with trust people can do what they are hired to do on the job.

Clearly this bifurcation of attitudes towards management is unrealistic, for in the real world people need to be trusted, as well as monitored, if they are to do what they are hired to do, and do it well. It is not an either or case, for men are complex creatures and no one approach to them serves them well. Theory X managers may alienate workers but then if workers are not monitored the business may not be there for the employees to be monitored.

More behavioral psychologists divided management into what they called task-oriented managers and people oriented managers. Supposedly the former is interested in the task of the organization and seldom interested in the emotional well-being of the managers. Thus he asks: what can I do to produce good computers, and does not worry about the feelings of his workers. On the other hand, people oriented managers are too preoccupied with the personal needs of the workers, to pay close attention to the technical aspect of management.

Again, this bifurcation of management into two grids is self-defeating, for in the real world, managers must be concerned with both technical and social aspects of management. The jobs needed to done to produce goods and services have technical and engineering aspects to them, and since they are done through people, the psychological needs of people must be paid attention to, also. It is not an either or question. However, it is clear that some managers tend to lean in one direction or the other, whereas excellent managers combine both traits. Morton’s managerial grid is obviously useful in talking about leadership styles.

Fred Fiedler’s contingency Theory suggests that not one-leadership hat fits all; that leadership and working conditions determine what leadership style is called for. In effect, different situations require different leadership styles, and good leaders adjust their style to suit the condition they find themselves in. In the political arena, for example, during emergency times, such as wartime, it is probably that strong-willed leaders are called for. Churchill was probable the best leader for Britain during World War II. It takes a mad dog to check another mad dog. Hitler was a mad dog and required a man unafraid of blood and dying to checkmate him. The softhearted, democratic Neville Chamberlain, was probably more suited for peacetime parliamentary talk-fests, than wartime leadership that required brutality and non-squeamishness in the face of blood, death and dying. Notice that the Great War leader, Churchill, did not make good leader material after the war, and was thrown out of office, as if the people knew that he was not suited for democratic leadership. For one thing, he was an outdated jingoist, who did not read the winds of change blowing through the world, asking for an end to colonialism. In a similar vein, the war loving George Bush did not seem to be an effective economic manager.

In the 1970s, it became clear that the Japanese were onto something that was not happening in the West; after all, the Japanese were outselling the West in such consumer goods as cars and electronics. To understand how they did it, scholars studied the Japanese management style. William Ouchi came up with what he called Theory Z management style. Essentially, he advocated doing what the Japanese were supposed to be doing: transform the work place into a family-like organization, with the leaders acting as surrogate parents, protecting the workers. The fact that there was no real democracy here was overlooked. The benign dictatorship of the Samurai system of social organization, residual in the Japanese social organization, obviously would not work in the West. For now let it be said that fascination with all things Japanese is now passé particularly since the free fall of the Japanese economy in the 1990s.

Whatever mode of management is adopted, the aim is to motivate workers to do their best at doing what they are hired to do. Management tries to improve workers’ morale, to make them identify with their work, and do their best while at it. Obviously not one approach is required to skin a cat. Whatever is necessary to make workers to like their jobs must be done, including such concepts as job enrichment, empowerment, flextime, socio-technical systems, redesigning jobs, management by objectives (MBOs), participatory management, Total Quality Management, and so on. Every decade sees its own management fad; these must be evaluated and some paid attention to, provided the bottom line is there and profit made.


Managers must understand the key functional areas of management: production, accounting and finance, marketing, and human resources.

Production entails the process of converting resources…raw material, capital and human labor… into goods and services.

In those businesses producing goods, production usually means the manufacturing aspect of their business. This area of management is often the domain of engineers and others trained in the world of machines and men.

Managers make decisions about the level of machinery and labor they need to produce their particular goods. They may need to cover some of the following aspects: decide on standardization…the production of uniform products… determine the question of automation or labor intensiveness, purchase of raw material for conversion into finished products, how much inventory of these materials is to be bought, and held in stock etc.

The organization of the production’s department is generally a technical matter, that is, it is determined by the state of the technology in the industry. This involves an idea of the products to be produced, what type of machinery is needed to produce it, and where to obtain them or how to design them, the production process itself (assembly line), plant layout, capacity planning, maintenance of equipment in good shape, planning where to locate plants, where to obtain raw materials, location of markets, work design, work measurement, forecasting of demand for the products produced, inventory management and costs of carrying large inventory versus just in time inventory, scheduling of work to appropriate work centers, purchasing and relationships with suppliers, quality controls, the role of robots in manufacturing, the role of computers in manufacturing, distribution planning, and so on.

Marketing management entails the activities that get the products and/or services of a business organization to the end user. The marketing function involves performing marketing research to ascertain whether there is demand for the goods and/or services to be produced by the business organization. And if there is market for it, what is the nature of that market? What is the target market…. their demographic, lifestyle characteristics, purchasing characteristics, motivation for purchasing the goods and/or services and their available money to do so…markets are further segmented, that is, divided into sub-markets, based on the specific needs of each segment. Marketers develop the marketing mix: the combination of products, prices, promotions, and place in order to satisfy a particular segment of the market.

Markets are divided into capital and consumer goods markets. Capital or industrial goods markets entail the demand of industry, usually businesses, whereas, consumer goods markets entail, those who buy goods that they consume, as individuals. Clearly the two markets have different needs.

Marketing managers usually work very closely with production managers in creating products to be manufactured. This is done for obvious reasons: marketers give realistic feedback as to what type of goods buyers want. Both plan products and the lifecycles of products (product life cycles include: product introduction, market growth, market maturity, and sales decline).

Production mangers and marketing managers work closely to brand, package and label their products. (Brand is the effort to identify the business products by name, packaging is the manner the product is packaged; labeling provides information on the products and its manufacturer). These two managers also work closely in pricing the product.

Pricing entails consideration of many factors, such as the cost of manufacturing the product, break even analysis, demand for the product, markup prices, skimming the market, and so on. Essentially the manufacturer strives to sell his products so that he covers his cost of production and makes profits, but do so in such a manner that buyers are willing to pay the price he is demanding.

Once goods are produced, they have to be promoted, made known to the buying public. This is usually done through promotion mix: mass advertising, personal selling, sales promotions and publicity. Each of these activities has costs attached to it and the marketer chooses what option optimizes benefits for his business.

Once goods are manufactured, they have to be gotten into the hands of their consumers. Distribution channels have to be established. These include: retailers, wholesalers, agents, etc. The idea is to get the product to the consumer in the most cost effective manner. Clearly, the nature of the product affects how it is distributed; some products can be sold directly by the manufacturer, whereas others need agents to do so, and still others need retailers to do so. Whichever mix of distribution channels are deemed optimal, arrangements must be made for the flow of goods from the producer to the consumer.

The most common form of distribution is through the chain retail stores. We go into food stores and buy manufactured and fresh food from all over the world. The manufacturers of these products have arrangements, agreements, with these stores to sell their goods and how these goods are brought into their stores. In typical department stores, like Wal-Mart, products from all over the world are sold. Arrangements are made to bring those products demanded by consumers into the store, on an on-going basis, and to stop carrying those that are no longer demanded by consumers.

Today, selling of goods and services is increasingly done through the Internet, E-commerce. This is a new form of the old practice, of ordering and selling goods through the catalogue and mail. Suppliers, through marketing, advertise their goods on their web pages; buyers order through the internet from these websites, pay with their credit cards, and have the goods shipped to their homes.

Financial and accounting management involves determining the level of funds necessary for operating the business, and ascertaining where those funds are to be obtained.

Manufacturing businesses invest a lot of money on buying equipment (fixed capital-buildings, machines, equipment, furniture, etc). Working capital (the cash used in the daily operation of the business) must be obtained.

Cash flow is the movement of money into and out of your business; it’s the cycle of cash inflows and cash outflows that determines the business’ solvency. Net or free cash flow is the difference between cash inflows and cash outflows. Accounts receivables provide cash inflows and form revenues, while accounts payables use cash outflows and form operating expenses. The difference between them becomes profit.

Businesses sometimes have to borrow money in order to operate. There is short term financing and long term financing.

Short term financing is borrowing that must be paid off in a few months to a year, such as from banks credit lines for the business. (Bank loans are usually secured with collaterals such as the business’ accounts receivables, inventories.) Long-term financing is borrowing that takes several years to pay off in full, such as a mortgage on a building.

Factoring…here businesses borrow money from lenders by selling their accounts receivable to a factor company at a discount; the factor company then collects the money from the businesses’ customers.

Businesses also obtain funds from finance companies and from venture capitalists that take risks in funding business ventures with the hope of making profits in the future.

But by far, the way public corporations obtain most of their financing for long term projects, is through selling stocks to those interested in becoming shareholders in their company. As noted elsewhere corporations are often authorized to sell stocks through the stock market. Loans are also obtained from governments.

All monies coming into a business must be kept track of and how they are spent accounted for. Financial accounting keeps tracks of business revenues and expenditures, and profit or lack of it. This is generally done through bookkeeping (a clerical function that record’s a company’s daily financial transactions, accounts received and accounts paid out).

Management accounting provides managers financial information, usually on a monthly basis, with which they make managerial decisions. This information includes how each unit of the organization is doing, how much money comes in to it, how much flows out of it, and whether it is in the red or in the black. A unit that is in the red, for example, may lead the manager to lay off some workers in order to cut costs.

The accounting process is a critical part necessary for the business’s survival. The balance sheet (which shows the income and expenditure of the business at a particular point in time, usually monthly) is critical in making management decisions, for example, to continue a line of product or to stop producing it, if it is not bringing in sufficient income to cover costs of producing it. Income statements show the net profit or loss from the firm’s operations over a period of time usually a month or year. Budgets state how a business plans to spend its money during a period, usually a year, and how they intend to obtain their income.

Much of budgets are based on forecasting of future revenue streams, hence, have to be adjusted with the reality of actual cash flow during the year. A business forecasts how much in sales it hopes to make, but reality determines its actual sales, which may be more or less, hence, profit or loss.

There are different types of budgets but the two main ones are capital budgets and operating budgets.

Capital budgets cover the cost of capital goods and equipment, and their depreciation and replacement time and cost, and where revenue for such replacement would be obtained.

Operating budgets cover current operating costs: labor costs, manufacturing costs, selling costs, administrative costs and expected sells revenues.

Financial budgeting shows how the business intends to raise funds for planned business expansion, from internal savings or from borrowings?

Corporate borrowings are usually in the nature of stocks and bonds. Stockholders lend money to businesses, on a gamble that companies would make profits in the future and share these profits with the stockholders, investors, by paying dividends.

Quarterly, although it may be less frequently, many large corporations declare their profits or losses, and on that basis elect to pay out dividends or not.

When companies are performing optimally, their stocks go up in value, hence, can be resold at profit by their holders; conversely when they are doing poorly, their stocks go down in value, and may indeed become valueless. Clearly, the buying and selling of stocks is a gamble that requires the buyer and/or his stockbroker to do background research on companies before their stock offerings are bought.

Whereas, bonds are usually the means governments raise money to finance projects they do not have money to finance, larger corporations are these days permitted to also raise money in this manner. Bonds are different from stocks in that the buyer gives the seller a certain amount of money, and the seller promises to pay him a certain annual interest on his money, and to return the entire amount during a specified period of time, when the bond matures.

The securities market (on stocks and bonds, for example, the New York Stock Exchange) provides a daily barometer on how stocks are doing. Some of the major stocks indexes such as the Dow Jones and NASDAQ provide daily feedback on how the stocks registered with them are doing.

Human resources management deals with securing the right personnel a business needs to have in order to produce its product or services effectively and efficiently, compensating them appropriately, training and motivating them to do their jobs well. Human resources is a staffing department, for it is not directly involved in the production of what the business exists to produce. For many years this department performed mostly clerical functions, handling the paperwork for hiring and paying employees. Over time it has evolved into much more, with needs to keep track of the various labor laws that govern management-labor relationship making it more of a managerial function. For our present purposes, personnel managers hire workers for large business outfits. Small businesses do not have the luxury of personnel departments, the overall owner of the business hires whomever he judges able to help him produce the goods he is there to produce, compensates them when they do good jobs and sacks them when they are inefficient.

Human resource planning entails making plans on what personnel the business requires in the future, where to obtain them, how much they will cost and whether the business can afford such costs.

Personnel departments perform job analysis, job specification and job description. They study what functions need be performed by each position in the organization, specify and describe them in specific position descriptions. New employees are given their job descriptions and are evaluated on this basis.

Click here to continue reading "Ozodi Osuji Lectures #19: Nigeria and the Business World"

Posted by Administrator at 12:36 AM | Comments (0)

October 21, 2005

The 2005 MBNG UK Pageant

by Uche Nworah (London, UK) --- It was a night of fun, thrills and laughs at Kensington Town Hall, in the swanky South West area of London in early October when 11 Nigerian women took each other to the wire in a bid to become the maiden Most Beautiful Nigerian Girl in the UK.

MBNG-UK, Evening wear ParadeThe event which was in aid of HIV/AIDS awareness campaign in Nigeria also featured live performances from budding Nigerians artistes such as Natives, Naturals and Johnnie N’doe amongst others.

The wave making and award – winning comedian Julius Agwu compeered and the London audience were treated to the many hilarious jokes which have made him a household name in Nigeria.

Speaking after the show, the event organiser Lawrence Akhidenor of LD Productions thanked all the contestants and their families, as well as guests and sponsors and promised even a much better outing in 2006. According to him:

these set of contestants are the best I have worked with, I am quite grateful to our numerous sponsors as well as to all the guests, I must say that for an inaugural event we quite exceeded our own expectations, this indeed is a positive sign although we have also learnt a few lessons, which will help our planning for next year.

MBNG-UK, Flanked by Runners up and Ms. Ghana, UKAsked if the MBNG pageant was a break-away from the long running Miss Nigeria UK pageant which he had coordinated in the past with Prince De-Martins Ojie (publisher of Celebration magazine) in honour of Prince De-Martins’ late daughter (Natasha), he replied in the negative. He said that he set up the pageant in aid of HIV/AIDS awareness and also because the Miss Nigeria UK pageant wasn’t really accommodating the interests of all Nigerian women in the UK who had aspirations of becoming beauty queens. According to him,

there are always room for variety in the pageant industry as shown by the Miss world, Miss Universe and Miss Earth pageants.

The interesting aspect of the 2005 MBNG UK pageant is the quality and profile of the contestants, most of whom are currently pursuing undergraduate and graduate level studies at different UK universities, this is against the popular misconception that beauty pageant contestants are usually women with not so impressive backgrounds. According to Amenze (one of the organisers of the Miss Pearl beauty pageant),

The Agbani Darego factor changed all that misconception in Nigeria, especially with all the fame and fortune she attracted to her self and her family, families now encourage their daughters to go for it, beauty and brains now go together.

Liz, her partner couldn’t agree more, according to her

The same way parents now encourage their sons to become professional footballers, following in the footsteps of the likes of Jay-Jay Okocha, so also do they encourage their daughters to take up careers in modelling, acting, fashion and so on – mainly as a result of the fame and fortune people like Genevieve Nnaji, Omotola, Oluchi Onweagba and Agbani Darego have earned.

Contestants at this year’s MBNG UK pageant were Rosemary Ijeoma Belonwu (22, medical student at Cambridge University), Gbemisola Animashaun (18, Pharmacy student at the University of Kingston), Omotola Olabowale (20,Business student at the University of Greenwich), Evelyn Omoregie (21, Human Resources Management student at Middlesex University), Adetola Alimi (22, Masters student majoring in Marketing), Adeola Bamigbade-Adele (23, MA Social science student at the University of Brunel), Abiola Adelaye (22, Economics and Management major at Middlesex University), Lara Olubanjo (21, Business systems student at the University of Luton), Annette Onaolapo (21, medical student at Kings College), Nkem Dike (22, has a Masters in International politics from Birmingham University), and Eseoghene Ebihor (23, a financial accountant).

Miss Eseoghene Ebihor: Most Beautiful Nigerian Girl UK 2005The contestants appeared in traditional and evening gowns courtesy of star designer Adebayo Jones, while a previously recorded swimsuit parade was shown on the large screen. They each took turns to answer questions from the event compeer, and also enumerated their plans if they eventually won the contest which attracted a first prize of £1,000 and also modelling contracts with Arista cosmetics and Regal Beauty (sole distributors of Dark & Lovely products in the UK). To their credit, the contestants showed very high level of maturity and poise, and also thrilled the audience with a well orchestrated and choreographed dance routine, evidence of lots of preparation and hard work.

In the end, the judges announced 23 year – old Miss Eseoghene Ebihor as the Most Beautiful Nigerian Girl in the United Kingdom (MBNG UK) 2005, Omotola Olabowale and Lara Olubanjo were judged 1st and 2nd runners-up respectively. Not surprisingly as in most beauty pageants, the judges’ decision attracted jeers and boos from the crowd, who had rooted all night for Cambridge medical student, Miss Rosemary Ijeoma Belonwu.

David Pryde who accompanied Miss Ghana UK (Naana Agyei-Ampadu) to the event said it was a good outing and was worth the £25 he paid for the ticket, ‘I’m already looking forward to next year’s event’, he said.

Uche Nworah is a freelance writer and lives in London.

Posted by Administrator at 12:44 PM | Comments (0)

Ozodi Osuji Lectures #18: Extra-legal Governments in Nigeria:: the Military, Religious Groups, and Transnational Corporations

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji (Seatle, Washington) --- In the modern polity, there is a designated government, usually elected by the people. But whereas the government formally rules the county other social forces participate in governing the country. These informal rulers of the country are often very useful in maintaining law and order.


Consider religion. Men obey the laws of their societies for many reasons, including the fear of the hang man, the fear of God’s punishment and, of course, in a few cases conviction that the laws are just and ought to be obeyed.

Man is that creature that desires to live forever and some of them believe that there is a God that judges and punishes them should they do bad things to each other.

Some religions tell man that if he is a sinner and dies that he may go to hell. Apparently, man does not want to spend eternity in hell. The fear of burning in eternal hell fire scares some men into doing what is right with their fellow human beings.

If a society relied only on secular authorities to bring about law and order it would be fighting a losing battle.

Atheists who say that there is no God may not have appreciated Dostoyeski’s observation in Brother’s Kalamazoo that without God and his absolute morality that every behavior is permissible. Without God’s laws of white and black, there is no reason why the individual should not do what he wants to do. Stealing? If God does not exist and there is no punishment in the after life, all that one has to do is figure out a way to avoid being caught by police authorities and being sent to jail. Nigerians do this too well. They cheat, take bribes and are corrupt and as long as the law does not catch up with them, it does not matter.

In the current secular society of the West, there are no absolutes, no right and wrong, every thing is relative. Folks ask; why not? Why should I not do it? Why shouldn’t I do drugs? Who said that one should not take drugs? Who said that I should not have sex with animals? (Bestiality is very common in America…in Seattle, a few weeks ago a man bought a horse for the specific purpose of having sex with it and died from choking from sucking the horse’s penis.) Who gave that person the right to tell me what to do? Who gave the Catholic Church the right to say that Homosexuality is wrong? There is no authority apart from the individual.

Believing in the fallacy of absolute freedom, folks do whatever they now want to do. If you push it, they ask you: who defines what is natural or not? Other people? Why should one accept other people’s definitions? Natural ness is whatever the individual says that it is. Go get lost with your bogus morality, they tell you. There is no morality in nature; the universe is an amoral place. Thus every behavior is now permitted in America and Europe.

This is a recipe for a fall. The West is on a fast track to self-destruction.

If you remove God and religion from human affairs you create a society where every behavior is permissible. In such a situation, law and order tends to breakdown. Chaos and anarchy reigns where there is no religion and belief in God.

There are those who say that through pure reason that human beings can figure out what is good for them and do it without belief in God and parasitic religious clergy. This is the view of secular humanists. Alas, whereas a few persons are given to reason the run of the mill human being does not predicate his behaviors on reason. Perhaps, only about ten percent of human beings are actually thoughtful. The rest are like animals and need the structure provided by religions and belief in God.

On a personal note, I believe that there is God. In fact, I know that there is God. God is the only reality there is, the rest is noise. I believe that we live in a moral universe.

I know that our behaviors have consequences for us and for other people. The individual’s private behaviors and choices have public consequences. In as much as the individual causes others harm, he is responsible for so doing. The individual’s choice is cause and his behavior is the effect. Whatever I choose to do has effect for me and for those around me.

There is no such thing as independence. We are interconnected and what each of us does affect all of us; we are all adjusting to what each of us is doing. Since we affect each other, the individual ought to choose to only positively affect other people. If he does what brings pain, instead of pleasure to other people, they have the right to protect themselves from his negative behaviors. One way to do so is to jail him or even kill him.

If a man engages in pedophilia, his personal choice, he hurts children and, therefore, should be in jail for the rest of his life. He has no right to walk the streets endangering defenseless children. In as much as he is a coward and imposes his perverse sexuality on children who cannot defend themselves from adults, he ought to be shot, killed. Cowardly perverts have no business living to commit their depravity in darkness.

The individual’s rights ends where other peoples well being starts. To insist on personal right to do as one wants in every situation is unrealistic. Does one have the right to steal, kill, rape etc? In nature, may be, but in organized society nothing prevents those affected by the individual’s negative behaviors from defending themselves against him. The best defense is offense. Remove evil persons from society before they strike. Build jails and prisons and put these people away.

In as much as every cause has an effect (good or bad) the individual ought to choose those causes that have positive effect for society. If not, society must protect itself by punishing the anti social individual.

The earth is a reflection of eternity. If the individual does negative things to other people, just as society punishes him, I believe that the universe also punishes him. How this works I am not quiet sure.

All I know is that Africans sold their brothers into slavery and nothing will work out well for Africans until they make amends for that evil behavior. They must ask African Americans to forgive them. I have suggested that African countries give black Americans 1% of their GDP for a generation, 34 years, as symbolic of their atonement. I have also pointed out that whereas the West appears to have gotten away scoot free from using blacks that the West will pay a heavy price for its evil behavior.

I expect America to collapse in a spectacular manner. Contrary to her self-perception as a superpower, her sins are so great that she must be punished. She is already punished. That society is so decayed that if you get to know America well you look away with disgust. America is hell on earth, not the heaven we are told that it is.

Many Americans seem to have anti social, sadistic personalities. As such, they calmly and remorselessly abuse blacks. They must pay a price for this criminal behavior. How they go about doing this, I do not know. They can, of course, make amends and ask blacks to forgive them and pay reparations to black Americans for a generation (not to Africans). For a generation, 34 years, all black children ought to be provided with universal free education, from elementary to university, preferably in the physical sciences. This would help equalize the playing fields so that they can compete on the same basis with whites. Until this is done, America will know no peace. She is condemned to conflict and must seek false salvation in drugs and stupid sexuality.

Because we live in a moral universe, as I believe, the bad behaviors people engage in are punished, how I do not know.

I believe in God and accept religion as a mechanism for approaching God. I, therefore, advocate religion and belief in God. Christianity, Islam, Buddhism etc are useful religions. The individual is free to gravitate to a religion of his choice. Government cannot tell the individual what religion to adopt, nor should government stifle religion.

From a pragmatic perspective, as Machiavellian observed in the Prince, if there were no God and religion, society ought to invent them, for those enable people behave appropriately.

A young man under age 25 who does not have God and religion in his life is more likely to engage in anti social behaviors than a religious young man.

Simply stated, religion plays a critical role in society. Therefore, religions leaders tend to exercise a great deal of influence on people. When this influence is positive, they make people behave lovingly towards one another. Unfortunately, religious authorities, for their own evil purposes, can be a negative force in society. They can incite people to hate, harm or even kill other people.

Religion and religious leaders are therefore partners with government in securing law and order in society. In every society religious authorities are, more or less, a partner in governing the people hence we call them extra legal government. They are not legal in the sense that the people do not elect them. But they are, nevertheless, partners with the elected government in socializing and making people law abiding.

In Nigeria the main religions are Christianity in the South and Islam in the north. We also have residual animists, that is, African religionists, all over the place. For all intents and purposes, however, we have two main religions in Nigeria, Christianity and Islam.

Both of these religions are fine religions. In fact, they have common roots in the religion of Abraham, Judaism. Judaism, Christianity and Islam are the same religions, really. All three are monotheistic, they believe in one God. All three worship one God. Jews approach God through Moses; Christians approach God through Jesus Christ and Moslems approach God through Mohammed. All three teach morality based on God. All three teach love and forgiveness. In my opinion, these religions are excellent religions and ought to coexist with one another. I am a Christian and respect those who are Moslems. We can respect each other.

For our present purposes, religious leaders have enormous influence on the citizenry of any polity. The Pope says something and Catholic Christians fall in line. The Mullah says something and Moslems do it. Therefore, every rational polity must seek ways to get along with religious leaders. Since we need religion to have a law and ordered society we must, therefore, cooperate with religious leaders rather than antagonize them.

Whereas it is unacceptable to have a theocratic society, a situation where religious leaders rule, as Popes used to rule Europe and Mullahs rule Iran, we must listen and, in fact, consult religious leaders. If religious leaders rule, since they are human beings and have egos and vanity, they are more likely to mistake their ego wishes as the word of God.

Human wish is not God’s will. Since none of us is God, we are the children of God, we should not speculate on what God’s will is. Nevertheless, as Christian, I personally believe that the will of God is that I should love every person around me, Igbo, Yoruba, and Hausa, black and white, men and women. God is one and has one family. All people are parts of God’s one family. All people are my siblings and I love them all. My Christian religion tells me never to do harm to any of God’s children.

However, if any of God’s children is anti social, I want him arrested and put in jail, and while in jail, re-socialized, corrected, taught the Bible, Koran and other Holy books until he learns not to harm any one. He should only be released to the community when he makes a personal commitment to care and love all people and work for social interest. If he fails to do so, his parole is revoked and he is returned to jail for further training in pro-social behaviors.

In my view, we must have religions in society. In fact, I do not see how we can have a civilized humanity without the positive influences of religion. I have studied man long enough to know that he is inherently self-centered. Man is a fallen creature.

In eternity man obeyed the will of God, love, and loved God and all people. But he fell from God’s grace and chose to not care for the whole but to care only for himself. Hence we have selfish Nigerians.

As long as we are selfish, we must have religion reminding us that we have common interests and asking us to work for each other. I do not mean communism using secular power to take from each and give to others. We need to give to each other voluntarily.

Religion enables us to be our brother’s keepers. (Cain asked: am I my brothers’ keepers? The answer is yes. I am my brother’s keeper. I must love all my brothers.

Who is my brother, Jesus asked and responded with the story of the Good Samaritan, the man who helps the weak on the roads of life is his brothers’ keeper. Care for all people and, in my view you are a good Christian and Moslem. Live only for yourself and you are not a religious person.

Human beings come in all sorts of varieties. As such, some religious leaders are egoistic, proud and vain. They attribute their ego interpretations to God and take their views as God’s Will. These folks often incite their religion’s members against other people. Instead of preaching inclusiveness they preach exclusion. Thus we have religious uprisings in Nigeria, with Christians and Moslems at each other’s throats.

This needs not be. These people should get along with each other. Religions leaders ought to be preaching love for all children of God, Allah.

One is not naïve regarding the nature of things; there will always be rotten apples that misguide religious people. Good government can arrest and jail such unproductive so-called religious leaders. We must monitor evil religious leaders and make sure that they do not generate riots in Nigeria.


Another very powerful institution in society is the military. As I have pointed out, man is a fallen creature. He places his self-interests ahead of others interest. Given the opportunity, he will oppress other people. Man is man’s worst enemy. The strong can enslave the weak. Therefore, we set up government to enable us have security, to prevent other people from abusing us.

Government provides us with internal security as well as security from external enemies. For government to provide us with security, it must have a strong internal police force and an army ready to fight external enemies. We need the police and military to enforce laws in the human polity.

If you make laws and have no police to enforce them, arrest and punish lawbreakers, the chances are that no one would obey the laws. You do not have far to look. Look at Nigeria and see what the devil has made. Nigeria has good laws but no one enforces them.

As pointed out in the lecture on international relations, the international arena is jungle where the strong eat the weak. Therefore, we must have a strong military to have a balance of power with our neighbors hence deter them from attacking us.

Unfortunately, those we hire to protect us can also abuse us. We give the police and military weapons with which to protect us. We all know how the police abuse their positions by using guns to extort bribes from Nigerians. We all know that the military intervened in our politics and seized power. We have pointed out Major Chukwuma Nzeogwu’s illegal seizure of power in1966, thus initiating military miss rule of Nigeria.

It would be nice to say that the military ought not intervene in politics, but that is an idealistic statement. The fact is that as long as the military has guns that it is always tempted to intervene in politics and rule through the barrel of guns.

A good society must find mechanisms to prevent the military from intervening in politics. We hire the military to protect us, and the world being what it is, a dangerous place, we cannot do without them.

We must, therefore, incorporate the military into governance. In one of his exuberant writings, Nnamdi Azikiwe talked about what he called Diarchy (the man liked to invent his own words), a situation where the military becomes part of the government. I do not think that we need to do that. What we need to-do is do what they do in Britain and the USA and consciously cultivate respect for the military and use it as training ground for political leadership.

In my view, no one should contest elections in Nigeria without first serving in the military for at least two years. If one is under age 65, one ought to belong to a reserve military unit, National Guard, and continues receiving military training. The military trains for leadership.

Exposing all men to military service intertwines the military with political leaders, without the military becoming directly involved in ruling the country. The military must indirectly be involved in ruling the country; it does so if all leaders are ex military and hence subject to military influence.

Real politics dictates that we pay the chap welding guns well if we do not want him to turn his guns at us. The military ought to be well paid. Moreover, the military ought to get most of their budgetary requests.

I personally want a strong Nigerian, and eventually a strong African military. Our military must have the best weapons available in the world. In fact, in the not too distant future, I want nuclear weapons for Nigeria. As long as White men have nuclear weapons, they will use them to intimidate black men.

White men tend to act as terrorists and use their overwhelming power to threaten blacks, to harm or kill them if they do not do as asked, obey whites. To avoid white terrorism, we need a strong military. We need all the equipment our white enemies have. But I am a realist and know that this situation isn’t going to happen soon. First things first, restructure Nigerian realistically, along ethnic lines and have a strong central government and develop the Nigerian economy.

We all know what the military is. We have lived with them since 1966 when they intervened in our politics. No Nigerian is a stranger to soldiers. But for the sake of academics let me say a few things about the Nigerian military.

Nigeria came into being when the British embarked on ruling us. Prior to establishing the Nigerian polity, the British squabbled with the French, competing with them as to who should exercise control over the territory that eventually became Nigeria.

The British recruited Africans into the military and officered them with Britons. This was called the West African Frontier Army. They were mostly composed of Hausa soldiers.

Hausa soldiers were used to taking orders from authorities and the British were more comfortable with them than with the Igbos who insisted on near wild independence and resisted organized authority.

With the West African Frontier Army, Lord Lugard marched through Nigeria, pacifying the lower Niger. Along the line, 1902, he destroyed the Arochukwu oracle that insisted on slavery. The Aro had utilized their false god in subjugating Alaigbo. Upon destroying the long juju of Arochukwu, the British easily conquered Igboland.

The Nigerian Army grew from this small force hastily put together by the British to fight off the French and eventually to subdue hostile African tribes.

During the First World War, the British increased the number of Africans in the Royal Nigerian Army, to help them prevent Germany from attacking Nigeria from Cameroon and Togo, near by German colonies. Ultimately, the British fought with the local German garrison in these African countries, defeated them and took over governing the area. These were really not real wars, just skirmishes.

A small Army existed to help the colonialists rule Nigeria. Then the second world came along and the British recruited quite a few Nigerians into their Army. These folks were used for guard duties, some as far away as North Africa. When the war ended, most of these African service men were demobilized and Britain retained a handful army in Nigeria.

In 1960, Nigeria gained her independence from Britain. Nigeria had a small army, less than ten thousand men. As far as armies go, this is not even an army, just a couple divisions. A typical army is over 100, 000 men.

The structure and training of the Nigerian army was like the British army. In fact, many of the officers were trained at Britain’s prime institution for trainings its officers, Sandhurst (the equivalent of the American West Point, in New York).

The organization of the Nigerian military is as follows: the lowest soldier is a private. Usually, he has about three months of boot camp training to transform him into a soldier. He then begins his service in the military and progresses upwards. If he is good, he is promoted to non-commissioned officer status, beginning as lance corporal, then to corporal, to sergent, to staff sergeant, to company staff sergeant, to regimental staff sergeant. His career essentially ended with that rank: RSM.

If the would be soldier has secondary school education he could be recruited into the officers class and trained to become an officer, at the officer academy. It usually took four years to complete the training, which gives the man the equivalent of bachelor’s degree in a university. While in training he is called a cadet. Upon commission, he is called second lieutenant. He leads a platoon (22 men). If he is good, he rises in leadership ranks and is promoted to full lieutenant, then to captain (commands a company, usually 100 men), then to major, then Lieutenant colonel (commands a battalion, 1000 men) and then colonel. Here he ends his career as a junior officer.

Very few officers make it to senior officer status, for that requires political skills as well as military skills. Generally, politicians, the head of state, the Commander in Chief, are involved in appointing generals. Any way, the successful colonel is promoted to brigadier (brigadier general, in America, one star general), then to major general (two stars), then lieutenant general (three stars) and finally to full general (four stars). There the typical general ends his carrier.

A major general leads a division. A full general leads an army (many divisions). One of the generals is made the chief of general staff, coordinating all the other generals,’ divisions and armies.

The chief of staff works with the civilian minister of defense, so he must be politically savvy, know how to keep quiet and listen to his civilian masters. If there is a major war, a few generals may be promoted to five star generals (field marshals).

The military has three branches, army navy and air force. The ranks in the other two branches correlate with what we have just narrated except that the names may change, private may be called seaman/ensign, general may be called admiral (or air marshal in the air force), you get the idea.

The military that Nigeria inherited from the British was well trained. It was probably as good as the British army itself? The manner in which Nigerian officers executed the civil war (1967-70) tells one that they knew what they were doing. Their tactical and strategic planning was as good as found in the US army. Even their discipline appeared good enough, though not as good as in the Prussian army. (I take interest in military strategies. I like to know why Napoleon, or Nelson or Molkte or Montgomery, or Patton, Romel, or Zukov did what they did; what blunder made Von Paulus allow himself to be encircled by the Russian army at Stalingrad, why was he unable to break out? Clautzwitz in On War observed that war is politics by other means. I say that Politics is war by other means.)

The military ruled Nigeria from 1966 to 1979 when Obasanjo handed power to Shahu Shagari. In 1984, the military returned to power via Buhari and Ideagbo. Ibrahim Babangida, then came to power. There was the civilian rule of Shonikan before Abacha put the man out of his misery. Abacha died in office and his second in command, General Abdul Salami took over. This man wrote a constitution for Nigeria and had elections and made general Obasanjo a civilian-military President of Nigeria.

(As already observed, I believe that only former military officers ought to be in politics, so I do not regret Obasanjo’s rule. However, I regret his lack of vision and plan for what he wants to accomplish in office.)

In all human polities, the military are powerful behind the scene. Nigeria is no exception. If the present government continues to be as corrupt as it is, it is quite likely that the military will return to power in Nigeria. My prediction is that if the next civilian government continues the tradition of corruption that Nigerians would be so fed up that they would welcome a young colonel taking over power. May be this time we shall be lucky and find a real nationalist in uniform and he transforms Nigeria.

The military has many uses. Nigeria is a multi ethnic country; military experience and its building of spirit d’ corps tends to inculcate a sense of one Nigeria in military personnel. In that sense, the military is a useful instrument in making Nigeria a unified polity.

Military men tend to be posted to all parts of the country and get to see how others live and develop respect for them. In fact, many military men marry from outside their tribes. As I pointed out elsewhere, Nigerians ought to be encouraged to marry outside their ethnic groups. This makes for national feeling.

All said, the military is a positive force in the country. All Nigerian males ought to be trained in the military and required to serve two years (after schooling, of course, if schooling ends with bachelors degree, one goes into the military right away for two years, if it ends with a four year technical training, one goes into the military right away and serves two years).


In our interconnected world, businesses know no borders. They go wherever they can make profits. This phenomenon will rise in the future when borders break down, as they are bound to break down. The borders have already been put aside in Europe, meaning that any business from anywhere in European can expand to anywhere in Europe.

The future holds more, not less transnational corporations.

Nigeria really does not have many MNCs. Nigeria essentially has oil. Therefore, MNCs into the oil business are found in Nigeria. Shell, BP. Texaco, Mobil AGIP etc are found in Nigeria. These explore for oil and eventually mine them and ship the crude to overseas and sell them. They pay Nigeria royalty.

Nigeria’s revenue comes almost exclusively from oil (at least 90%…this is an absurdity for when oil goes missing Nigeria goes broke; the rulers of that kleptocracy should have struggled to diversify the economy).

Nigeria is a mono-economy. The cash crops that she used to export (cocoa, Palm oil, Palm kernel etc) are now neglected. Even such possible alternative source of energy as coal is untapped.

Obviously, Nigerians rulers do not have brains. A reasonable person does not put all his eggs into one basket; he diversifies his source of income.

There are other MNC such as what remains of the Royal Niger Company, today’s United Africa Company, UAC (it operates super stores like Kings ways). There are some MNCs involved in telephone and so on.

For our present purposes, the relevant point is to know what MNC do in third world countries. These American and European companies have the resources to bribe and even topple African governments. We have noted that Nigeria relies almost exclusively on oil revenue. That means that oil companies like Shell and BP literally control the Nigerian economy. These people have the resources to bribe military officers to remove civilian governments that they do not like.

If the government engages in policies that MNCs deem detrimental to their pockets they know what to do. First, try carrot and if talking fails, you contact the homeboys, the CIA etc and have them do their thing, remove the non-complaint African government. The role of the CIA in killing Patrice Lumumba and other African leaders is yet to be fully documented. But such is life.

If you are in politics, you must anticipate that foreigners are trying to eliminate you, especially if you truly work for your people’s interest and not for Western interests.

We can talk about the specifics of what MNC’s do in Nigeria and Africa but that is not possible in our one-hour lecture. Suffice it to say that these business corporations are so powerful that they participate in governing African and third world countries. Hence we regard them as extra legal governments in third world countries, just as religious and military leaders are.

We do not need to moralize about reality. Politics is war by peaceful means. Westerners are at war with Africans and African politicians ought to know that fact and prepare to checkmate the Western warriors in their midst. It is childish to pretend that we do not know that the West wants to make profits at our expense. Our goal ought to be to do to them as they do to us, no personal feelings.

MNCs possess a lot of technical expertise we need. We need to understudy their business and technical practices and when we master them replace them with African managers. But do not replace whites with unqualified Africans. Instead, have Africans work their way up, from the bottom of the ladder and when they know what they are doing, then have them replace foreign managers.

We cannot make the mistake of nationalizing MNCs and give them to green, inexperienced Africans to manage. If we do so, those companies would collapse from poor management.

Management is acquired slowly through understudying experienced managers. Learn what they know before you attempt to get rid of them. In fact, do not get rid of them, form partnerships with them.


In this lecture, I have pointed out that whereas the people have formal leaders that, in fact, there are informal leaders that are as powerful as formal leaders. This phenomenon occurs everywhere in the world.

The military, religious groups and big business tends to play roles in governing the human polity. In America, a chief executive officer of General Motors once said that what is good for GM is good for America. American politicians and appointed secretaries of government departments tend to come from business backgrounds. There is a lot of influence from the business sector in the public sector. President Dwight Eisenhower, in his departing speech, warmed of the military industrial complex, the fact that military, and businessmen increasingly rule America. What else is new? This is reality all over the world. All we can do is building in checks and balances to protect the interests of the common man.

The military and successful businessmen usually rule the human polity. Such is political reality and we need not cry about it.

We need a lot more relationship between the military and business and political leaders in Nigeria, not less. We need to cooperate with religious leaders and nevertheless avoid theocracy. We must relate to religious leaders and take their views into making policies, particularly in the sphere of ethics and morality.

Ozodi Thomas Osuji

October 22, 2005

Next lecture, #19, Nigeria and the Business world, October 23

Posted by Administrator at 12:42 PM | Comments (0)

Ozodi Osuji Lectures #17: Nigeria and International Organizations

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji (Seatle, Washington) --- In this lecture, I will review some international organization and then see how Nigeria participates in them. I will begin the review with the United Nations Organization.

The First World War ended in 1918. The powers that fought that “war to end all wars” met at the Versailles Palace, near Paris, to draw up a treaty to officially end the war, and assign blames. Germany was blamed and given heavy indemnity to pay to the victorious countries.

Woodrow Wilson, the American President, came to the Treaty drawing sessions with a 14 points plan that he wanted the major powers to embrace, a plan that he believed would prevent future wars and make the world safe for democracy.

The group drew up their treaty and included the formation of what it called the League of Nations.

In this League, all members agreed to meet and work against wars and to collectively sanction any country that attacked other countries. All member nations of the League were equal and none could over rule others; each had just one vote.

Apparently, the League failed in preventing the Second World War from erupting in 1939. Adolph Hitler had quaffed that the reparations that Germany was made to pay was unfair and was crippling her economy. When he came to power in 1932, Germany quietly rearmed (the treaty had limited Germany to an army of 100,000 men). When Hitler felt ready, he simply marched into the Rohr, Germany’s industrial heartland that had been given to France. France or any other European power did not challenge this daring behavior by Hitler.

Emboldened, Hitler absorbed his native Austria in 1936. In 1938, he negotiated with the lackluster Neville Chamberlain, the British Prime Minister and was given the Sudenteland, the German speaking part of Czechoslovakia. This appeasement at Munich was not enough for Hitler.

Hitler signed a non-aggression treaty with Stalin (USSR) to avoid war with each other and to divide up Poland. Assured that Russia would not declare war on Germany, Hitler marched into his potion of Poland in 1939.

Western powers at that point realized that Hitler’s ego was insatiable and that no amount of appeasement would stop him from attacking his neighbors, so they declared war on Germany. Hitler turned his attention westwards and marched into France in1940 in a blitzkrieg that the world had not seen the like before. He subsequently took the lowlands of Belgium and Holland and eventually marched into Scandinavia.

In 1941 Hitler’s Panzers stormed into Russia and Operation Barbarosa nearly took Moscow before the Russians stopped drinking their vodka and realized that Hitler meant business, killing all of them, and taking over their land, all the way to the Urals. In his 1925 book, Mein Kampf, Hitler had said that the Slavic race were subhuman beings that had contributed nothing to human civilization. He said that if he ever came to power that he would kill off the Slavs and take over their land and or keep a few of them alive as slaves working for Germans in their new farmlands in the East. Hitler said that he would prevent Slavs from going to school or, at best, gave them no more than elementary school education, so that they would be able to read and read instructions given to them by their German Aryan masters. Hitler said that he learnt from the Americans who had killed off Indians and took over their lands and reduced Africans to slaves. He said that he was merely repeating what white Americans did to blacks, prevent them from going to school, so as to keep them ignorant and be more able to control them. Hitler planned to do to Eastern Europeans what whites did to Indians and blacks in America. Hitler admired white American racists for doing what they did to other races. He believed that they were realistic and that there was no use keeping inferior races like Africans, Jews and Slavs alive; kill them all and keep a few alive to work for you. To Hitler, this is the course of history and ought to be respected. He was merely being realistic to the course of history. He was a man of historical destiny; doing what providence ordained, kill the weak. In nature, Charles Darwin, Herbert Spenser and Spangler said that strong animals killed weak ones. Evolution progresses when the strong heartlessly killed the weak. To Hitler, the blood (genes, we would today, say) of the various races should never be mingled. Racial mixing lowered the superior races and brought them down to the lower levels, to where Africans are. As Hitler saw it, Aryans, Germans, are superior to other races and are responsible for all human civilization. (What has Africans contributed to human civilization? Trevor-Roper, Hitler’s biographer, Hitler’s Table talks, said that Africans had not contributed any thing to human history. And Trevor-Roper was a Cambridge don.) Kill off those who have contributed nothing to science and technology, the man said.

Of course, the Slavs dismissed Hitler’s book and his planned lebensraum foreign policy as the raving of a mad man. They did not even prepare for war with him when he came to power in 1932. They lived to regret their dismissive attitude when Hitler made good on his plans and stormed into Slav lands and began killing Slavs. He killed over 25 million Russians alone; folks he said were less intelligent than his dogs.

(David Duke, the white American racist, in his various books, claims that Africans are less intelligent than dogs and that he plans to kill all of them and give Africa to white farmers. Do the idiots who rule Nigeria realize what some white folks plan to do to them? No, the idiots masquerade in the West as very important men unaware that some white men see them as sub human beings. If they had any brains in their idiotic heads they would work like driven people to develop their country, so that whites would not look down on them, rather than squander their wealth in corrupt living. If they don’t wake up and start developing the black man, soon, white racist demagogues would come to power in the West and make good on David Duke’s promise. Those who do not take paranoid racists like Hitler and Duke seriously usually live to regret their unprepared ness. Paranoid personalities are often intelligent, though mentally sick; they can do a lot of harm. In their pursuit of superiority, they can kill those they see as inferior to them. A paranoid Igbo chap on Naijapolitics forum is very capable of doing a lot of harm to other people. This man feels so inordinately inferior that all he lives for is to make himself seem superior to other people, to show that others are beneath him, he once tried to show that I did not go to school, so as to feel superior to me, and would kill whoever made him seem inferior.)

When Russians stop drinking and start fighting, they generally fight like the demon itself. You may easily march into mother Russia but the chances are that you may not march out alive. These people are real soldiers, provided that they are not drunk. At any rate, Russians gradually drove the Germans out of mother Russia and pushed them all the way to Berlin and eventually defeated Hitler.

The West aided Russia but, by and large, it was Russia that defeated Germany. Indeed, initially the West had sat back and waited for crazy Hitler to destroy the dreaded Bolsheviks. Hitler was a mad boy doing their dirty job of ridding the world of communism. But when the Russians discarded the nonsense of communism and embraced nationalism and fought like demons and shocked Hitler with the ferocity of their fighting, you killed them and they still came at you, undeterred by death, millions dying as German tanks mowed them down, well, the West recognized that the game was up and that Stalin was not going to be finished off by the little paranoid Austrian corporal. They joined forces with Russia and even then did not open the second front until June 1944,waiing for Russia to bleed to death, so that when the war-ended Russia would be subservient to the West.

In May of 1945, the European theater of the war ended and it took a few more months before Japan surrendered after its two cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, were obliterated with atomic weapons.

The victorious Americans called for a conference to replace the moribund League of Nations. The great powers had learned from the League’s failures. They met at San Francisco, California and drew up the United Nations’ Charter to replace the unrealistic League.

The new organization recognized power realities: not all countries are equal. Therefore, if you want to prevent war you must give the most powerful nations the right to decide when to go to war collectively. Thus, the United Nations was divided into two segments, the General Assembly where all members have one vote each and a Security Council limited to the five most powerful countries in the then world: USA, USSR, Britain, France and China. These permanent members of the Security Council had veto powers and could individually veto what the General Assembly, the mass of powerless nations, plan to do. If the five agree among themselves they can launch war against any country in the world or enact sanctions against any country.

The structure of the Security Council was recognition of political realism for, if the big boys decide to do something, the opinion of weak countries was irrelevant. As Stalin used to ask: how many tank divisions do you have? If not he did not bother talking back to you, he simply whipped you (such as occupying Eastern Europe and starting the cold war from so doing).

The General Assembly offered nations the opportunity to air their differences, to talk it out, to vent steam. It sort of is an international talk shop where folks talked all they wanted. Their talks had no power but do manage to shape world opinion.

The United Nations has other segments, such as UNESCO, UNISAFE, ILO, WHO, UNICOM, World Court at The Hague, and the recently constructed World Criminal Court and so on. These organizations play roles in coordinating the activities of an increasingly interrelated and interconnected world. They are all very useful.

There are Non-governmental organizations (NGOS) that along with the UN have made the world a safer place.

For all intents and purposes, the primary segment of the United Nations is the Security Council for it is where real decisions are made. The five big powers, in effect, determine the fate of the world.

Recently, the current Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan (by the way, the big powers agreed among themselves not to hire secretaries from their countries but from insignificant countries, so that they would be neutral errand boys for the big boys), suggested restructuring the Security Council to make it reflect current power realities. Obviously Germany and Japan (even India and Brazil) are increasingly powerful and ought to be considered for membership in the power club. Annan recommended that two African countries be represented in the Security Council.

That Annan boy must have been smoking some mind-altering substance. What African country is a powerful country? African countries collective economy is less than the economy of California in the USA, and if so, how can these poor countries stand up to the big boys? Annan, apparently, is amateurish to the ways of power politics and does not understand real politics. His recommendation is simply idealistic and silly.

Germany and Japan may be considered for the Security Council but Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa? you got to be kidding. What are those countries but starving countries, none of which can mount a military attack on the big powers?

Nigeria, one of the most corrupt countries on earth, a country that might not even make it through a few more years, unless it is cleaned up, made a lot of noises about joining the Security Council. Apparently, Obasanjo was smoking something, too. This man must be very naïve and untrained in real politics. He would spend his time better trying to industrialize Nigeria and make her economically powerful. Economic power goes with military power. When Nigeria becomes economically powerful and fund a strong military then we would be talking. If a nuclearized Nigeria demands to join the big boys, her request would be taken seriously. In the present, it was a joke for Nigeria to even take Annan's suggestions seriously.

The United Nations is funded through collection of levies on member nations. The organization assesses each country’s GDP and on that basis levies it.

The annual budget of the UN is about $4 billion dollars. Since the US economy is about one quarter of the world economy, she is assessed to pay one quarter of the UN annual budget.

Nigeria is a poor country and as such pays chicken change towards supporting the UN. A country paying chomp change into UN coffers wants to be a member of the Security Council, this tells you how deluded Nigerian leaders must be. These jokers do not even know that outside Africa that their country is not even mentioned in calculation of economic or power equations. A country that produces nothing is a useless country. It depends on oil and if the West stops buying it today the country collapses. It is oil revenue that prevents Nigeria from joining other failed African economies like the Congo.

The UN also collects monies from member states and uses such money to pay for its peacekeeping functions. Some countries cannot even pay for their troops to participate in these peacekeeping functions.

Africa Union recently decided to keep the peace in Darfour province of Sudan, but does not have the money and logistics to maintain its troops in that part of Africa. It took The EU and others to pay for these activities. Money talks, apparently, corrupt Nigerian leaders do not know that. They ought to know that, after all they bankrupt their country trying to steal its money so as to become individually rich while the country is impoverished.

The average Nigerian makes $1 a day and this banana republic wants to be a member of the Security Council, a club whose citizens make $22, 000 per capita. I have not recovered from laughing from Nigeria’s idiocy of setting up a committee to work towards joining the Security Council. Apparently, the jokers at Abuja are stark crazy and do not understand how the real world works. The Security Council is supposed to be for countries with powerful economies and militaries, none of which Nigeria has.

At the end of the second world, Europe was prostate and only the USA had the military and economic power to control the world. Russia had tanks but not economic clout. To the present, the Russian economy is less than that of California, a state in the USA.

America ruled the roosts in 1945. Indeed, it had to spend money (Marshal Plan) to resurrect the economies of Europe.


The leaders of America learned from the great depression and sought to structure the international economy in such a manner that depression would be avoided. We live in an interdependent world and the collapse of one economy affects others. American companies are heavily invested in other countries and if those countries fail American companies would fail and drag the USA economy with them.

To avoid this from happening, America called for a conference at Breton Woods, Rhode Island. At that conference, the participants agreed to set up certain organizations to deal with the world economy (capitalist cycles of inflation and depression and recession). They set up the International Monetary Fund, The World Bank, and the International Bank for Reconstruction and General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (which later muffed into the World Trade Organization, WTO).

Each of these monetary organizations were given functions to perform, performing which it was expected that depressions/inflations would be prevented.

Member nations of the rich economies were expected to contribute money annually to these organizations and make them available for lending to threatened economies.

The IMF is a short-term lender, the World Bank is a long-term lender and The Bank for Reconstruction was specifically designed to help reconstruct devastated economies as in war etc.

A country can borrow from the IMF and agree to repay, with interests, in a short period of time. Nigeria, for example, sometimes does not even have the money to pay it civil servants and could go to the IMF and borrow money to pay them and repay when it gets its oil revenue.

The World Bank lends for long-term projects, say ten to thirty years, such as money to build dams for electricity etc.

These world monetary institutions were not set up for third world countries. The West set them up to help themselves deal with their capitalist economies tendency to cycle from depression to inflation. But in the 1960s African countries gained their independence and joined the United Nations. They are now playing on the international scene. The problem was that they did not have the money to foot their Bills. Imagine, say, Tanzania. It does not even have money to maintain an office space in New York, to house its so-called diplomatic mission at the UN headquarters. (Rockefeller donated the building that house the UN…whoever pays the piper calls the tune, so America dictates what happens at the UN).

African countries borrowed heavily from world monetary institutions. Debt finance alone is eating up their annual revenues. Some of them do not even collect enough money in annual taxes to pay the finance charges on their debts, what more pay off the capital.

And where did the borrowings by African countries go? They went into the Kleptocrats pockets. Mobutu borrowed and spent it on himself and in buying palaces in Europe. Apparently, this jungle boy wanted to live where European nobility used to live and that kind of made him feel civilized and powerful. He would have become powerful if he offered all his countrymen education to University level, and thus help eliminate the ignorance that Africans live in.

(I am giving these lectures for free as part of my effort to reduce the ignorance Africans live in.)

Africans are unable to repay the money they owe the West. First, the West sent in economic teams to go restructure African economies, the so-called Structural Readjustment Plans of the 1980s; here folks listened to the views of Milton Friedman of the Chicago school of economics. Milton saw privatization, as the only way to make third world countries productive, not socialized economies. Privatization, selling off state owned businesses to private businessmen, is still going on in third world countries. The problem is that many African countries still do not have money to repay their debts.

These days, the battle cry is for the West to forgive Africans their debts. Obasanjo and his Finance secretary Ms Iwuala go begging the West to forgive them Nigeria’s debts. The Paris club, European banks that Nigeria owes, has agreed to write off some loans.

Mr. Wolfowiz, the new president of the World Bank, is now amenable to writing off some loans for Africans. The trouble is that since the USA’s government guaranteed some of these loans, the US government would have to puny up and pay the banks Africans owe.

America does not have that kind of money to do so. America itself is so indebted that it is only a matter of time before her economy collapses. America owes others eight trillion dollars and annually pays over two hundred and fifty billion dollars on debt finance. America floats because of her past good credit and her military power.

Let us say that Americans are now the universal mercenaries fighting wars to make the world safe for Asians to trade in. That is what it has come to. The cowboys are really mercenary soldiers for Korea, Japan, and China. They fight to make sure that these Asians obtain their oil from Iraq. These Asians then are able to make profits and lend money to America to run her budget deficits.


Let us briefly talk about a few other organizations. The world court at The Hague. This international court of justice exists for nation states to sue each other and have the court rule on their disputes before they go to war. For example, Nigeria and Cameron have dispute over Bakasa, a region that Cameroon claims belongs to her while it is in Nigeria. The region produces oil and Cameron, apparently, wants a piece of the oil action. It claims that that region was part of Western Cameroon before the later voted in a plebiscite to join Cameroon. If so, it claims that the region belongs to Cameroon. Cameroon went to the world Court; the court ruled in its favor.

The problem is that the Court does not have a military to enforce its ruling. Generally, powerful countries ignore the Court’s ruling while weak ones obey them or risk UN sanctions.

The USA routinely ignores the Court when it rules against it and in favor of some banana republic in Latin America.


The UN recently established an International criminal court. The idea is to be able to bring criminals from other nations to that court and punish them. The USA, realizing that is military could be sued, as a criminal army given the fact that it intervenes in other countries, violating UN sovereignty rules, decided not to sign the treaty establishing the court. Indeed, the USA did not even sign the treaty establishing the League of Nations even though its President was largely responsible for initiating that ridiculously unrealistic organization. The US senate is required by law to ratify any treaty the president negotiates before it becomes law in America. Where politicians do not see an overarching benefit for America, they usually refuse to ratify treaties.


Recently, the world signed a treaty at Kyoto, Japan to regulate how much pollutants countries can send into the air. We live in an interconnected world. The pollutant the West puts into the air is killing Africans who do not manufacture anything.

America’s industries did not want their government to sign the treaty because it would obligate them to invest billions in new technology to control and reduce pollution. They did not want to spend that kind of money so they prevailed on Washington not to ratify the Kyoto Accord.

Indeed, America has refused to acknowledge that the environment is being destroyed and that there may be global warming. The arctic ice is receding at an alarming rate, meaning that there may be environmental catastrophes in our future, such as rise in coastal waters, inundating coastal cities like Lagos.


This brings us to treaties. We live in an interdependent world and what one country does affects other countries. Therefore, treaties (either multilateral or bilateral) are negotiated to regulate countries conducts.

Consider the recent treaty on the seas. How far into the ocean does a country own? It used to be three miles from the country’s coastland. A new treaty suggested twelve miles. America claims two-handed miles.

What are you going to do to stop the cowboy from gratifying his wishes? Can you fight America? Can you lay sanction on the world’s hegemon? All you can do is talk. Talk is cheap; action is expensive. You cannot do anything to the arrogant superpower. Nigeria, for example, does not even have the capacity to board American war ships packed right off her coast.

As we talk, America patrols the Atlantic sea-lanes in West Africa. They are there to protect their oil from Nigeria, of course. Should the Ijaw militia go from-making noises to attacking Shell, BP property, the marines would land and handle them.

For our present purposes, international treaties are signed, such as treaties on Air flights …how airplanes fly into other countries, what constitutes national air space etc? The world labor organization arose to monitor labor practices all over the world and to prevent slave labor (such as Western companies paying Indian children a few rupees a day and have them work for twelve hours a day, practically enslaving them).

The various treaties signed by international groups have to be enforced. To do so, an international organization is set up. These organizations monitor the behavior of all countries. For example, if unwatched, many industrialized countries would come to the Coast of West Africa and dump their garbage into the seas (they are running out of dumpsites in their home countries). Indeed, they would dump their nuclear waste materials in Africa.

Given what we know about Nigerians, their not caring for their peoples lives, so give Nigerians a few dollars bribe and they would permit Americans to dump their nuclear waste in Nigeria. Who cares that Nigerians would die? Since when did Nigerians start caring for their own people? Isn’t the function of Nigerians in life to exploit and or sell their fellow black people into slavery and pretend to be innocent?

It is thanks to international agencies that prevent the West from bribing Nigerians and dumping their waste material in Nigeria.

UNESCO does a great job spreading scientific education in poor countries. They provide laboratories and other materials for teaching science. Some African countries cannot even provide their school children with chemicals to be used in chemistry laboratories.


In addition to the above governmental organizations are many non-governmental organizations, NGOs working to make the international world well ordered. Consider Green Peace. This group monitors what folks do in the high seas. They make sure that Japan, for example, does not over fish whales and make them extinct. Caritas, a Catholic relief organization, helped starving Biafrans. Simply stated, there are many non-governmental organizations working to make our world a good place to live in.


I have briefly highlighted some international organizations. Our next focus is on how Nigeria participates in them.

Simply stated, Nigeria is irrelevant in the international arena. Nigeria practically says nothing at the United Nations. It does not even have the guts to talk loudly in the General Assembly, not that such talks would amount to something. Making noises lets others know that one exists. Sitting in the General Assembly gallery watching debates, you would not hear the Nigerian delegate say anything. And when the wooden tongued clown says any thing at all, it would be silly.

It seems that Nigerian delegates to the UN are mostly interested in angling to be offered jobs at any of the UN agencies. Nigeria is irrelevant in world politics.

When Kwame Nkrumah was around, he made noises. Indeed, he was one of key players in the non-aligned nations group, the so-called Bandung group that President Sukano of Indonesia championed. Nigeria was conspicuously absent in such politics.

To the present Nigeria sends delegates to just about every international organization and the delegates just sit there saying nothing. Even OPEC, the oil cartel that sets oil production quotas hence influence world oil prices, which Nigeria is a member of, you would not see Nigeria’s delegates say a word at its deliberations.

Watching Nigerians performance at international organizations would make you feel that Nigerians are unintelligent. They just sit there like manikins in their flowing robes.

The reason for this phenomenon probably is that there is no radical politics in Nigeria. As I write, I do not know any Nigerian radical. Nigerians play it safe. In this paper, for example, I make disparaging remarks about America. You would not find a Nigerian do so. They are too bloody cowardly to stick out their fingers afraid that they would be whacked by the powerful. When I was a college student and ran around with the communist crowds I did not see Nigerian students participate. As Winston Churchill correctly observed, if one is under thirty five and is not a socialist, one has no thinking in ones brain. One is supposed to be idealist, a dreamer in ones youth. If one is above thirty-five and is not a conservative one is not thinking either.

As one grows older, one recognizes that human nature is fixed, selfish and, as such, that man is not going to become an angel no matter what one does. Indeed, those who insist on helping people, do good, bleeding hearted liberals, are often dangerous. These folks often use government to destroy free expression.

See what liberals and lesbian radical feminists did in America with their political correctness. These women talk rubbish and if you criticize their childish views they accuse you of patriarchy and sexism. To avoid being negatively seen, you keep quiet. Advocates of unhealthy lifestyles use political correctness to essentially legislate their unnatural behaviors, to browbeat society into accepting their silly behaviors.

(I am glad that the Nigerian Anglican Church has severed relationship with the English Anglican Church. if the West is bent on self-destruction by endorsing unhealthy life styles we do not have to go along with them. To hell with political correctness. It is unnatural for a man to put his pennies into another man’s anus and call that depravity sexual pleasure. These folks are insane. But political correctness requires one not to say what one thinks least one be judged homophobic, afraid of gays. No, one is not afraid of human beings but does not like some of their misguided behaviors.)


Whereas Nigeria is irrelevant in international politics, somehow, she does something in Africa’s regional politics. Nigeria seems to participate in its regional organizations. Nigeria played an effective role in establishing the economic community of West African states. She plays some useful role in monitoring trade in this regional community.

Nigeria has also played some useful role in establishing the African Development Bank. She appears to be genuinely interested in making this bank work. The bank is sort of like the World Bank and is supposed to lend money to African development projects.

Nigeria plays a useful role in Africa Union. AU’s predecessor, OAU, was a mere talk shop. African heads of states met in each other’s capital, annually, for photo opportunities and really did not accomplish anything. They had parties at their citizen’s financial expense and went home.

OAU’s clause that African countries should not interfere in each other’s domestic affairs permitted the OAU to do nothing as African tribes committed genocides against one another.

In 1994, the Hutus killed the Tutsis and Africa did nothing. Then again the Tutsis dominated the Hutus in both Rwanda and Burundi, even though they are the minority population, and Africa does nothing. Who cares that one African group maltreats another?

In 1967-70 the various Nigerian groups ganged up against the Igbos and the OAU did nothing. I am for a unified Nigeria and believe that it was a mistake for Ojukwu to secede from Nigeria.

I am a Pan Africanist and want a unified Africa, not a balkanized Africa. Nigeria needed to be kept together. Gowon was right in working for one Nigeria. Nevertheless, it was wrong for the Nigerians to use starvation as a policy against the Igbos. It was not necessary to have Igbos suffer kwashiorkor. African countries should have found a better way to prosecute that war and keep Nigeria together without permitting the pogrom that was unleashed against Igbos.

In so far that the OAU played some role in the liberation of South Africa from Apartheid, the liberation of Namibia from South Africa, the resolution of Savimbi’s egoistic war in Angola, it was through the efforts of individual countries, but not as result of the efforts of collective Africa.

Believe it or not, hapless Nigeria played an admirable role in funding liberation fighters in Southwestern Africa. That was one shining light in the sea of darkness called Nigerian politics.

Nigeria has played a useful role in peace keeping in many African countries, such as Liberia, Sierra Leone, Tanganyika, Congo, and Sudan. On the whole, one must give Nigeria high marks for her regional politics.

Nigeria must continue working for African unity. AU should become like EU; open all African borders to free movement, not require Visa to travel to anywhere in Africa, remove tariffs and duties and permit all Africans to trade with each other and have one African currency, Afrik.

Nigeria should work tirelessly to bring about an African federation where each tribe is a state in it, like the United States. The capital of that resurgent Africa should be in Nigeria, after all one out of every four Africans live in Africa. Properly managed, Nigeria’s economy would power Africa’s economy.

Nigeria also plays a key role in Africa’s regional non-governmental organizations. Nigeria’s democracy groups, for example, model democratic criticism for all other Africans countries to imitate.

The Nigerian press is relatively free. In fact, Nigeria’s Press is freer than the American Press. In America, the mainstream press will not publish what is not system maintaining. They publish your views if you praise America. Submit any article critical of America and it goes into the waste paper basket. During the lead up to the Iraq war some of us wrote against that war but the America press would not publish our views. All they did was sing George Bush’s praises, talk about what a decisive leader he was and other such nonsense. They ignored his lies, the fact that he went to war under false pretenses and did not obtain the UN’s approval.

The Nigerian press publishes material critical of the country’s political leadership. The leaders, of course, ignore such criticism, but that is better than arresting and harassing those who critic the government. The recently concluded National Political Reform Conference witnessed a lively debate in the Press, with opposing views aired. That would never happen in America. America is a velvet dictatorship and the Press is muzzled in an indirect manner. Criticize America and the advertising revenue dries up and the paper goes out of print.

The point is that Nigeria’s free Press is modeling good behavior for other African countries. Nigeria’s journalists influence other African journalists.


I have briefly described salient international organizations. I have described what they do. Nigeria does not play key roles in these organizations.

Nigeria tends to play useful roles in Africa’s regional politics; I say useful roles, not radical roles for Nigeria’s politics is devoid of radicalism and principled behavior.

Nigeria is learning and, in time, will become a productive member of the international community. In an increasingly unified world, there will be more and more treaties to regulate our behaviors and these treaties would see the creation of international organizations to monitor them. There is no such thing as independence in our world. We are all interdependent.

Whereas it is too premature to talk of a world government, it is obvious that in the future there will be a world government. I see world federation with each ethnic group a state in it. Africa’s four hundred ethnic groups would be 400 states in that world federation. But that is too far into the future to be of primary concern to us now. The future can wait. If we had a world government before African countries are developed Westerners would dominate it. I do not want Westerners to dominate Africa, not again. So we must defer world government until the playing field is equalized and Africans can play as equal members of the world community.

In the meantime, our African job is to develop Africa and restructure our inherited colonial boundaries and make them realistic of our ethnic diversity.

Ozodi Thomas Osuji

October 21, 2005

Next lecture, #18, Extralegal Governments, October 22,

Posted by Administrator at 12:33 PM | Comments (0)

America’s National Security & Nigeria's National Security: Free Market, Forces of Demand & Supply Are Now Irrelevant?

by Paul I. Adujie (New York, United States) --- A major economic transaction of monumental proportions occurred in the first ten days of August, 2005; $18 billions dollars worth! And it was between the Americans and the Chinese; it was botched by pressures emanating from the Americans against the Chinese. The Chinese company is CNOOC and the American company is Unocal Corporation.

These strong-arm tactics on the part of the Americans ended the several month long negotiations in connection with the gargantuan petroleum oil deal, which was really between a Chinese company and an American counterpart, until external forces seeped in

The aforesaid transaction was transcontinental, it involved pure economic, gallons and barrels of petroleum oil, and it was supposed to be determined, ordinarily in the natural cause of events, by the tenet and ideals of the ubiquitous free market, of demand, supply and all. But those fine points of economic theories were summarily jettisoned.

Some American forces, outside of demand and supply chain of economic command, arbitrarily interfered and truncated the this purely economic transaction between an American company and a Chinese company, simply put, the same Americans who are quick to lecture the rest of the world about opening up markets, free markets and fair trade, where demand and supply reign supreme, actually found themselves resorting to extra legal, extra economic, big stick jungle justice, whereby, the American political leadership, some business leaders with Congressional Action invoked national security argument, as poor excuse, why the sale of goods and services by an American company should not go to the highest bidder, just because it happens to be a Chinese!

The American action was reminiscent of similar American overreaction and panic about twenty-years ago, during a period in which Japan experience major economic boom and as a result, Japanese individuals and their companies were splurging as they bought up many major landmarks real estate in American cities, especially New York City’s Rockefeller Plaza/Center skyscrapers. And suddenly! There was uproar! with, Oh, the Japanese are buying up America! Oh the Japanese now own everything sort of phobia.

When this summer, this oil deal negotiations between the Americans and the Chinese, was in progress, this old phobia was resuscitated and it finally truncated the sale. All Americans who were opposed to the sale to the Chinese company were quick to disregard every economic parameter and the usually talkative economists of Harvard Business School and elsewhere in the US, were all deathly silent!

Even the Nigerians who would want Nigeria to sell all of our national assets in the name of privatization, deregulation and removals of subsidies, were not commenting on, this usual usurpation of pure economic transactions, by politicians who were invited in, by private business concerns, who were desperate in their efforts to circumvent economic forces of the free market place, where the American business had been outbid by a Chinese competitors.

So, as it happened, the month of July and the first ten days of August 2005, was spent by this writer, observing the melodrama, resorted to by the Americans who wanted to thwart the transactions. As the American and Chinese transactions unfolded, then botched and unraveled, due the underhand chicaneries of deals, all aimed by the Americans, at thwarting the deal to the disadvantage of the Chinese, who were eventually pushed to the proverbial wall, but of course the Chinese were compelled to withdrawn and abandon their bid, which was higher, it was all about comparative strategic advantage over petrol-politics and it would appear that the Chinese chose to run away, just so, they could fight more effectively another day, while also marking down for history books, the precedent that the Americans have set with their admixture of economics with politics, in this crude oil, crude politico-economic petrol-politics of a mega transaction, that was worth eighteen billion whopping US Dollars!

CNOOC the Chinese oil conglomerate, sought to purchase an oil giant company with multi-various tentacles, and the Americans, thinking too far ahead, panicked and through blackmail and subterfuge, threw everything into the bargain, including the kitchen sinks of political intervention by the US Congress which summarily designated a pure business transaction with the speedy appellation it became ….known as, national security inspired defense of America ... a la French fries conversion to Freedom fries! Because the French had opposed the America’s invasion and occupation of Iraq, French Fries, was renamed!

While I followed and watched this oil saga of a transaction between the Americans on the one hand and the Chinese on the other, another oil transaction was unfolding in Nigeria, involving the Nigerian government agency which handles the Nigeria’s oil and petroleum businesses. Part of this transaction involved oil prospecting in Sao Tome, and there was competition between foreign oil companies and the growing consortium of indigenous oil prospecting companies in Nigeria.

And so it was that I received an email from a Nigerian in Nigeria, Mr. Jude Iyamabo who wrote the following, ..Quote I will appreciate it if you can comment on the attached document. I am trying to relate it to a recent Washington post editorial which alleged that President Obasanjo’s is been held hostage by Nigerian businessmen. Reason: many indigenous Nigerian oil companies for the first time in Nigeria’s history won lucrative oil blocks in Joint Development Zone (JDZ) of the Gulf of Guinea against the practice in the past where only multinational oil companies walk in and won the entire oil block on concessions.

While the American/Europeans claimed that the bidding process was not transparent, the Sao Tome and Principe’s government says that they considered more than the financial bids, technical competent and signature bonuses. One of the factors the Joint Development Zone Authorities (the agency which handled the bid) put into consideration was Nigerian/Sao Tome and Principe’s governments’ policy to get more indigenous players involved in their oil and gas industry. This policy is in continuation of both governments’ desire to open up the oil and Gas sector to more players and has been responsible for the recent entrance of the Brazilians, Chinese, Indians, Malaysians and South Africans into the Nigerian oil industry. I will like to believe the Nigerian government. Unquote.

This revelation and eye-opener, is shocking! It is as if the Americans and Europeans are perpetually telling us what to do, and usually something they would never ever do themselves! It is analogous of do what I say and not what I do? It is clear that the Americans frustrated the Chinese out of a legitimate oil business deal, where the Chinese, for all legitimate business purposes, were the highest bidder, and the Chinese conducted themselves fairly and properly in consonance with all the rules and precepts of free market, free economy and all the nary details of demand and supply, but, political intervention from high places, including by members of the US Congress, who argued that the simple oil business transaction portended some elephant size implications for US national security!

With that fiat or national security fatwa, and political pressures from the top, the fair deal, that had appeared a done-deal, for the Chinese, was aborted summarily! All this despite the Chinese bidders, Unocal Corporation haven been the highest bidder in the transaction under review. Then, as the deal was aborted and botched by the Americans against the Chinese, Chevron the American giant oil company and conglomerate got the sweet deal, despite its partnership with China in other oil deals, and this, regardless of the fact that, Chevron offered a lower bid for the purchase! Chevron’s offer that was then accepted was billions lower than the $18billion that the Chinese had offered!

Why are all this important at all to us? Nigeria and other developing countries are engaged in privatization and deregulation, including the removal of subsidies, and frequently, the purchasers of these national assets that are being sold off, in Nigeria and in other developing countries, are snapped-up, in rock-bottom bargain prices, by multinational companies, that are not of, Nigeria or of, any of these developing countries that are selling off, national assets without deliberative contemplations of national security implications of unbridled sale of their national assets and public infrastructures.

And what is worse? These multinational companies are now the same ones, whose home governments are quick to announce and pronounce political and economic fatwa of national security proportions and arbitrarily deny the Chinese of legitimate business transactions, in which the Chinese were the highest bidder. It should now be clear, that those who are happy to buy or acquire our national assets at cheap prices and ridiculous bargains, are unwilling to sell their assets, even to the highest bidder, if the bidder is not politically suitable geographically!

We see in this, brazen hypocrisy and double standards, including selective application of free market concepts, of demand and supply rules, fair trade or noninterference in business transactions by political leaders. It gets egregiously worse, when the comments ascribed to Washington Post is added to all these. The Washington Post is said to have commented that President Obasanjo of Nigeria is being held hostage, by local businesspeople, who as Nigerian citizens, want a chance to participate in Nigeria’s booming oil business, which, if truth be told, is currently being dominated and controlled by foreign oil companies. Foreign oil companies have operated for decades without plans for backward integration; there is no local input, in terms of local personnel and materials. Granted that oil prospecting, exploration and exploitation are capital intensive, requiring foreign partnering, even so, Nigerian engineers, geologist and seismologists ought to form the bulk and backbone of this crucial sector of Nigeria’s economy.

But instead, foreign oil companies have for the most part, operated as if they are mercenaries who are splendidly uninterested in the health and wealth of the locales, locales that are polluted, degraded and ruined with endless oil spillages, gas flaring, while these companies add no value to the lives of the people.

These foreign companies do not even pretend to be responsible or good corporate citizens of Nigeria! These companies are not contributing to public infrastructures, as they rather would engage in improperly influencing the authorities or sometimes resort to hiring thugs for protection, when their mercenary-type shortsighted policies returns to bite them.

It is time to wrest the Nigerian oil sector from foreign domination as such control by foreign concerns, have been the case for decades of Nigeria’s oil prospecting and exploration, exploitation. There have been no long term benefits, by way of technology transfer to Nigerians or enhancements of industrial processes as a byproduct of the oil sector in Nigeria.

The Americans have just showed Nigerians and the rest of the world, in their dealings with a Chinese oil company, that American oil companies represents American national interests and we, as Nigerians must be awake to our national security interests as well!

Nigerians must then learn to disregard the antics of commentaries such as the one that emanated from the Washington post regarding President Obasanjo efforts in the oil sector

Clearly, the Americans seem to chose when demand and supply or the so-called rules of free market are relevant or when the selectively deem such concepts irrelevant, regarding American agricultural products which America heavily subsidizes, as they do steel, aircrafts and many other American products, which also now include oil prospecting.

Considering all the above, it is crucially important that Nigerians support the efforts by President Obasanjo to elevate participation by Nigerians and indigenous Nigerian companies in the downstream and upstream sectors of Nigeria’s oil prospecting, oil exploration and exploitation. This means Nigeria’s oil wealth circulate among more Nigerians.

It also means nurturing and protecting Nigeria’s national security interests imbued in our oil wealth and when it pleases Nigeria, Nigeria must also dispense with demand and supply theory, or free market concepts, when we determine that such concepts run counter to Nigeria’s national security interests!

Paul I. Adujie

New York, United States

Posted by Administrator at 12:30 PM | Comments (1)

Ozodi Osuji Lectures #16: Nigeria and International Relations

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji (Seatle, Washington) --- International relations are the study of how nations relate to one another. First of all, we must appreciate that the concept of nation-state has not always been around. In the past, there were no boundaries and human beings, like all animals, moved around.

Birds can be in Africa in one season and migrate to Europe in another. They do not have the concept of boundaries. Animals went to wherever they could find food. This way, our forefathers moved around. Where one is now living was probably not where ones ancestors lived a thousand years ago. In Igbo land, for example, where a particular group now lives was not where they lived a few hundred years ago. Ngwa people (Aba), for example, lived at Mbutu Mmbaise just a few hundred years ago. The point is that the idea of boundaries and the nation states they enclose, are a new phenomenon in human history.


In 1517, Martin Luther challenged the Catholic Church and precipitated religious wars that lasted over 130 years. The various kings of Europe fought each other trying to reclaim whichever land had left the Church for the Church. When the wars ended, a treaty was signed at Westphalia, Germany, in 1648. That treaty is generally recognized as the beginning of the nation-state, for, in it, the European powers recognized each other’s territory as, more or less, permanent and not to be attacked and appropriated by other kings.

However, having recognized each other’s nation-state, Europeans did not extend the same courtesy to non-Europeans. Through the early 20th century, lands not belonging to European nations were considered terra cotta, not inhabited by human beings and thus are empty land. Whichever European nation’s citizens’ first got to that new land and planted his country’s flag on it, his nation is said to own it. That way, Europeans took much of the world and saw them as theirs. They took over the Americas, north and south; Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and much of Africa and Asia.

In international law, non-Europeans did not have rights to territory until after the Second World War.

For our present purposes, nation-states now exist. They are the primary internationally recognized human grouping. Usually, if a nation-state is a member of the United Nations, it is assumed that it has sovereignty over its territory and is recognized in international law to govern itself without unnecessary interference by other nations (Except if those other nations are strong and powerful; George Bush woke up one fine morning and decided to attack and occupy Iraq and kick out Saddam Hussein from office; and as a pretext for doing so, he accused Saddam of having weapons of mass destruction, fully aware that the man did not have them; might makes right; Bush the second’s father had failed to occupy Iraq while he was at it, when he occupied Kuwait and that allegedly cost him the next presidential election and his wimpy son decided to seem tough by finishing what his father started).

The nation-state is the unit of human groupings recognized by the United Nations to exercise power within its territory without others challenging it. There are over 200 nation-states in the extant world, most of which are members of the United Nations.


In international relations, it is assumed that the international arena is a lawless arena, a jungle and that each nation is like Thomas Hobbes man in state of nature and is looking after its own interests and could care less for others interests.

National Interests is said to be what motivates nations in their relationships with other nations. Nation A wants to optimize its interests when it relates to nation B and vice versa.

Because each nation is looking after its national interests only power can limit it from getting what it wants. No law prevents nation A from attacking nation B to get what it wants. Nation A, the USA, desired the oil found in nation B, Iraq, and attacked it. It attacked nation B to gratify its national interests, its need for oil.

Of course, it is crude to put it this way. Therefore, nation A comes up with phony excuses regarding why it attacked nation B. It claims that it did so in self-defense because nation B allegedly has weapons of mass destruction that it could use on it. Thus, to protect itself, nation A preemptively attacked nation B. When A’s bold lie was seen through, another lie was invented and presented to the world. Nation A now claims that it is out to spread democracy in nation B, the Arab world.

Nation A is now the big brother of the Arab world, making sure that democracy is given to Arab countries. In the meantime, nation A steals nation B’s oil resources.

The international arena is said to be a jungle and, as such, any nation would attack others if it could get away with doing so. Therefore, it beholds every nation to strive to be as powerful as its neighbors. It is not your neighbors good will that prevents them from attacking you but your ability to deter them, defeat them at war, or at least match their aggression with aggression that prevents them from attacking you.

Balance of power is said to be what prevents wars between nations. If you were able to match your neighbor’s attack he would not attack you. In this light, the former USSR and USA were matched in power. They had mutually assured ability to destroy each other (MAD).

In international politics, therefore, every nation strives to be as strong as its neighbors, if it wants to be independent for long. It tries to match its neighbor’s military, political and economic power.

If nation A builds a weapon, nation B must strive to build it, for if it does not, nation A has advantage over it and could lunch an attack on it, defeat it and write history to make it seem it was provocateur.

The winner writes history and its lies are taken as the truth. To avoid that from happening, nation B must strive to match the powers of its neighbors.

It is, therefore, balance of power that prevents war and establishes peace, what there is of it, in the international arena.

Boris the drunk Yeltsin of Russia allowed his country’s military to go to pots. Russia is now a third world country. The moment the drunkard permitted his nation’s military to decay, its opponent, the other superpower, suddenly acts as Mr. good guy. It pretends to be helping Russia, when actually it is disarming it.

Because Russia is disarmed, the remaining superpower now feels that it has hegemony over the world and that no one can do anything to stop it from doing whatever it wants to do. Like a proud cowboy, it runs around the world swaggering and boasting of its power to clobber any one who dares challenge it. These days, it runs around the world removing governments it does not like.


That is to say that the demise of Soviet power has enabled America to translate the world into its plaything. Where there is no balance of power, political realists tells us that there is bound to be instability in the international arena, that wars would be more frequent and common.

Political idealists would like to believe that human nature is loving, and would not attack innocent persons.

Political realists agree with Hobbes that man is a predatory animal and will kill and eat you, take your property and or enslave you and blame you for doing what he did. You see, white Americans, predatory animals, killed Indians and took their lands and enslaved black people. They then have the audacity to blame those they oppressed. They come up with all sorts of rationalizations for their aggression. They claim that Indians and blacks are inferior to them. No, these people are not inferior to them. What theses defeated people are, are idealists who do not fight back and expect their opponent to treat them nicely. They have idealistic views that human beings are nice. Unbeknown to them, white Americans tend to have antisocial personalities and would attack and kill you at any time, if you are not defending yourself. And they would do so coolly and calmly and show no remorse or guilt from doing so.

From the perspective of real politics in international politics, the nation must strive to be powerful and checkmate its neighbors’ aggression. A nation must be powerful if it wants to be a free nation and if it wants to have control over its territory for long.


Nations are said to be perpetually trying to do each other in. They spy on each other, trying to understand their military, political and economic capability. Where they see others as becoming more powerful than them, they try to reduce their power through diplomatic means and if that fails attack them.

Thus, the USA uses carrot and stick in international diplomacy. At this point, for example, it is using carrot, trying to bribe North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons. If that fails, it clobbers North Korea with its stick. (The two countries had war in 1950 and North Korea bloodied America’s nose. Therefore, America is not particularly looking forward to a repeat of that humiliating show. But if it could get China to be neutral, the bully goes to work and clobbers Korea. So far, China plays coy. For one thing, China does not want America close to its borders, so it is not about to allow the great beast to attack North Korea. Thus, the great bully bides its time, waiting for an appropriate opportunity to destroy North Korea.)

Theodore Roosevelt said it all: in international politics carry carrot, dangle it before your enemy, but if he refuses to bit, and become subservient to you, hit him hard with your club and subdue him to serving you. As he sees it, we are like Neanderthals and are still welding clubs over each other’s heads, except that that club is now nuclear weapons.


In international politics, each nation assumes that others are its enemies. There are only temporary alliances but permanent enemies. The person who was your ally today may become your bitter enemy tomorrow.

The USA and the USSR were allies during the Second World War but thereafter-bitter enemies. Boris the Drunk’s destruction of his country has made the USA seem friendly towards Russia, but should Putin the Short decide to be Putin the Tall and rattle America, the lid is off and the competition begins all over.

Because there are no permanent friends but only temporary allies and permanent enemies in international relations, nations must be very careful how they relate to one another. They could instigate war by a careless behavior. For example, all nations desire to be prestigious. Man is a proud and vain animal. He is motivated by prestige. He wants his neighbors to see him as very important.

A nation is a group of men. As such, they translate their individual psychology to collective psychology. Nations, as men, want to be seen as prestigious. America wants to be seemed as the most important nation on earth. If you collude with its delusion and see it as its paranoia wants to be seen, it feels fine, but the moment you see it for what it is, a scared little boy, a clown really, it feels angry at you and may even attack you. The great bully does not reason anything out; it just attacks and destroys. These people are Neanderthals.

Nations must treat other nations respectfully if they do not want to provoke wars. Thus, you look at America’s current president, a moron, and pretend that he is an intelligent man. If you dared see him for what he is, a dullard, you would insult Americans. To avenge their hurt vanity, they could attack and destroy you.

To avoid such conflicts, international relations evolved a language of its own called diplomacy, the art of telling lies and making them seem truthful. Thus, a nation like Britain whose prime minister is probably a political genius pretends to see the president of America, a moron, as its superior and kowtows to him and goes to war with him in Iraq. Why? America is very powerful and you never know when a resurgent Germany may attack Britain and you might need American GIs to defend you.

(A powerful Germany makes France and Britain literally pee in their pants, for they know that Germany could knock them out in a few weeks of war. The German is the world’s most wonderful fighting machine. He is not even human. So Europe needs America to intimidate Germany. Western Europeans can handle the Russian bear, what they really fear is Germany. They must humor the great cowboy and pretend that they respect him when they have great contempt for him.)


In international relations, diplomacy rules the world. Failure to find ways to relate well to others, you might alienate them and risk their vengeance. Thus, it came to pass that each country has a diplomatic mission in others, as they have in it. These diplomats spy on their host countries and do what they can to foster their nations national interests in their host countries.

Diplomatic missions are dens of spies where folks are given different titles to mask their real jobs. The commercial attaché, for example, could be no other person than the local KGB or CIA operative spying on the host country. The military, commercial, education and other attaches have one thing in common: figure out the host country’s military, political and economic strength and prepare your own country on how to deal with it.

Nations agree to allow each other’s bags, (so-called diplomatic bag) to go through their borders un-searched. In these bags, reports are written about host countries, reports that if made public there could be war. For example, Western diplomats interacted with Emeka Ojukwu and concluded that he was narcissistic and vain, and could become dictatorial if given the opportunity. They saw him as a little bedroom napoleon. Thus they worked to undermine him. But in public, they pretended to support Biafra. They smiled at Ojukwu while trying cut his throat. Their reports were carried out of Biafera through the diplomatic bag. These diplomats assessed the Igbos as very bright and hard working but tempestuous and political unsophisticated and not really ready to rule themselves yet. On the other hand, these diplomats talked to Yakubu Gowon and appreciated his genuine humility. The man is probably one of the most loving men Nigeria has produced. Unfortunately, he did not have much education and, like poorly educated men, felt somewhat inferior to the Oxford-educated playboy called Ojukwu.


The relevant point is that diplomats are in their host countries to gather information about them. Generally, there are two types of people who work in diplomatic missions. Foreign service officers and counselors. Foreign service officers are usually recruited from the nation’s best schools: those who attended their countries best elementary, secondary and university schools. In England, they probably went to Eaton, Harrow, Rugby, Winchester (secondary schools), Oxford and Cambridge. In America, they probably went to Andover (secondary school), Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. They probably have master’s degree in political science, history and or law degree. These are the best of the best, the cream de la cream of their society. They probably are tall, preferably six feet and more, athletic, fluent in many languages and well cultured. They are their countries best and represent their countries abroad.

You do not hire poorly educated, short, and ugly persons to represent you overseas. Most countries recruit FSOs when they are young, usually under age 26, and train them in the Foreign Service and post them overseas. They then rotate through many countries. In their host countries, they mix with the ruling elite and write reports on them and send their reports home through the infamous diplomatic bag. If a head of state, for example, likes women; that are fully noted. This weakness is exploited. Local spying agents might arrange for a few high-class hookers to dally with such head of state and through these expensive whores get information they need from him.

The FSOs progress to become their countries Charge de affairs, the head of the embassy. Some even become ambassadors, although ambassadorial appointments are political rather than merit based.

The counselors tend to be from the middle classes and their job is to give Visas to those wishing to go to their home country. These folks also coordinate other activities at the embassy and consular offices, such as talk to businessmen about business opportunities in their home country, trying to get them to go invest there. If an Asian has a few million dollars to give to Canada, Canada literally begs him o come o Canada. Canada, more or less, sells its Visa and Asians are buying. The Country is literally being taken over by Asians. If in Vancouver, you would think that you are in Hong Kong.

Each country has diplomatic missions in other countries and has consular missions scattered throughout the country to give Visas to those wishing to go to its home countries.

Diplomatic missions see themselves as on the front line of the war to protect their countries national interests. They do whatever they could to sell their country and make others see them as nice, even if they are killers. American diplomats in Africa manage to make America seem like heaven. Heaven indeed. America is nothing short of hell for Africans and blacks in general. Most blacks in America perform menial jobs. But when America shows black Americans they show the handful that seem to have glorified nigger jobs to the world and the world thinks that blacks are treated as human beings in the country. It is the job of diplomats to sell their countries in a positive light and America does an excellent job of self-marketing and self-promotion.


I have briefly summarized international relations in general; now let us see how it applies to Nigeria. Nigeria is an artificial construct. It was put together by the British to serve British interests. The various ethnic groups living in Nigeria were at different stages of political development when they were placed together into one country. The Hausas had attained feudal level of political development. Hausa land was probably where France was before the French revolution. The Sultan of Sokoto was probably equivalent to the French King.

Yorubas were not unified as one nation but had fairly well organized groups. Oyo was probably equivalent to German princedoms before Bismarck unified Germany. Benin, though small had a powerful Oba and state.

Igbos were at the most rudimentary level of political development. They were where Greece was 2500 years ago, during the age of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. The Igbos did not have a unified Igbo state; each town governed itself in the most rudimentary manner.

The British agglomerated these very different groups into one country. The whole thing had all the makings for disaster. And disaster we had.

Upon independence in 1960, Nigerians embarked on governing themselves. Since they were at different levels of socio political development, they saw things from different lights. Igbos wanted unmitigated freedom, bothering on wildness, really. The Hausas were used to social discipline and faired better. The various Yoruba states were always at war with each other and, therefore, Yorubas had learned how to relate carefully to each other. Yoruba’s are the most diplomatic Nigerians. In fact, they sought of engage in diplomatic mission of dividing and conquering. They incite the impetuous Igbos to fight with the Hausas.

The vain Igbo likes to fancy himself superior to others and imagines himself superior to Hausas, when, in fact, he isn’t even as developed as Hausas. The Yoruba gets the Igbo and Hausa to go at each other, sits back and enjoy them destroy each other. The Yoruba picks up the pieces from the warring parties. In fact, they seem to benefit most from the chaos that is Nigeria. It is as if they deliberately create the chaos and anarchy so as to benefit from it.

The Igbo lacks in diplomacy. You can literally sell the boastful Igbo, stroke his infantile ego, make him feel important and sell him to the Arabs or to the Americans.

For our present purposes, the various groups in Nigeria have differences which internal diplomacy could smooth out. But instead of learning to be subtle, the Igbos seem bent on self-destruction and always put other people down, as if they are asking to be attacked by others.

They do not seem to understand that all human beings are vain; vanity is not the exclusive property of Igbos. If you insult other people, they will attack and kill you. The killing of Igbos in the North of Nigeria was largely attributable to Igbos misguided arrogance.

The Hausa man is probably the kindest of all human beings. That he attacks Igbos means that Igbos did something to him.

Nigeria has need for developing internal diplomatic relationship among the various peoples. But in as much as Nigeria is a nation state and is the unit in the chess game called international relationships, let me concentrate on Nigeria’s relationships with its neighbors and the international community.

In 1960, the departing colonialists from Belgium created a volatile situation in the Congo. The Congo exploded. Lumumba, Kasavubu, Joseph Tsombe, Katanga. I will not review the situation in the Congo here. Suffice it to say that the country degenerated into mayhem of mutual killing. The United Nations intervened. At that time, the Nigerian army was well trained by the British and was, therefore, selected for peacekeeping duties in the Congo.

That was Nigeria’s first spat with international conflicts. The Nigerian leaders themselves had no clue as to the nature of the conflict in the Congo; the political chess game being played out in the Congo involved Belgium, France, Britain, and USA. Congo is a huge real estate with a lot of minerals and the Western boys wanted chaos and anarchy so as to offer them the opportunity to steal the country’s resources, and they did, big time.

When finally some sort of peace came to the Congo, the shrewd sergeant Joseph Desire Mobutu came to power. Through him, the West robbed the Congo clean. Of course, they looked the other way as the high way robber called Desire took his country’s wealth and carted it to Europe. As far as diplomatic behavior is concerned, Nigeria did not even know what was going on in the Congo.

After the Congo came Tanganyika and Nigerian troops were sent there. Here, again Nigerian leaders had no clue as to what the Western big boys in Washington, London, Paris etc were doing.

Eventually, Julius Nyerere got a grip on himself and managed to unify Tangayika and Zanzibar. Were it not for his socialism, nyerere would have gone down in history as an astute politician.

Then Nigeria herself exploded in 1966. The ethnic groups needed diplomatic relationships to obtain peace among them. But diplomacy went missing. Igbos, true to character, boasted, always putting Hausas down, Hausas, a warrior people took, to killing Igbos.

In 1964, the Yorubas slid back to their traditional wars with each other, and fought one another rather than unify. Chaos reigned everywhere.

In 1966 Major Chukwuma Nzeogwu and his fellow coup plotters killed Hausa and Yoruba leaders and spared Igbo leaders. That was the greatest blunder one could make in politics. If you must kill, kill indiscriminately. Igbo leaders heads should have rolled. As it was, the coup seemed like a sectional affair.

Aguiyi Ironsi, the drunk, out maneuvered Nzeogwu. This man had no clue as to the problem with Nigeria. He did not understand the need to balance ethnic politics. Reportedly, he wanted to transform Nigeria into a unitary form of government, with himself as the ruler, of course. He miscalculated and his body was found in the gutter.

Gowon, a very gentle, humble and peaceful man, a man more suited for the ministry, rather than politics, he would have made a good Catholic priest, ended up the leader of Nigeria.

At first Ojukwu seemed to out maneuver Gowon at the first Aburi conference. Later, Gowon recognized that it would not be good if under his watch Nigeria split up, so he surrounded himself with more mature advisers like Awolowo and got a grip on events. He launched an attack on Ojukwu and eventually deafeated Ojukwu.

Gowon should have divided Nigeria into twenty states, instead of twelve, each state a tribe, at least the major tribes: Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, Edo, Ijaw, Efik, Tivi, Urhobo states, and placed a collection of smaller tribes into the balance of states. If he had done that, he would have solved the structural problem that is still unresolved in Nigeria’s politics. Nigeria needs to be a federation where each state is composed of an ethnic group.

For our present purposes, Gowon managed to keep Nigeria one. That is good. We do not need the balkanization of already small African countries. We need a unified Africa. By and by, black Africa will be one Africa Federation, with each of the four hundred or so tribes in Africa constituting a state.

Gowon was chased out of office in 1975. Mutala Mohammed and Obassanjo took over.

Things heated up in Angola, South West Africa, Mozambique and other Portuguese territories. For the first time, the Nigerian government got a clue as to what international politics was all about. It recognized the need to support the freedom fighters in those troubled countries. Nigeria’s foreign policy became one that supported the liberation of all Africa.

Nigeria contributed money and time to the anti colonial struggles in Rhodesia, South Africa and elsewhere. One must commend our leaders for beginning to appreciate the nature of politics on the world arena. All of Africa has one fate and we must fight along each other. Nigeria’s foreign policy was admirable to the extent that it supported Africa’s freedom fighters.

Nearer home, Nigeria made some efforts to get the countries of West Africa to come together in an economic community, along the line of the European economic community (now European Union). Nigeria worked hard for the establishment of ECOWAS.

It is difficult to know what ECOWAS’s real purpose is? But that was a good start. Clearly, we need a unified African economy. In fact, we need an Africa free trade zone, so that goods move between countries without paying duties.

We need to do away with Visa requirements so that all black Africans can travel and in fact live in any part of Africa that they desired to. Our forefathers used to travel all over Africa and I see no reason why we should be prevented from visiting all parts of Africa.

I know that in this century, Africa will become one county, an Africa federation with a central government and state governments. This is inevitable and no rational person should fight the inevitable.

In the meantime, Nigeria has a regional foreign policy that tries to unite West Africa into an economic, if not political community. The latest half-hearted effort is the desire to have a common currency in West Africa. Good, but why not a unified African currency, the Afrik? (Afrik would give the Euro and dollar a run for their monies.)

Nigeria’s role in the international arena is very negligible. Out side Africa, very few persons know that Nigeria even exists. As far as I know, Nigeria does not contribute in a significant manner to international issues.

What is Nigeria’s position on the USA running wild in the Middle East, for example? North Korea?

May be it is as well that Nigeria delimits herself to African politics and leaves international politics for the time being?


Clearly Nigeria is not a powerhouse in international politics. The international arena is an arena of power politics. You take part in this arena if you have a powerful military, supported by a vibrant economy. Nigeria’s economy is nonexistent. We all know that the country is prevented from collapse by her oil money. Without oil money, Nigeria could disintegrate and join Africa’s other failed states.

In his book, Africans, Ali Masrui talked about the collapse of imported political institutions in Africa. He suggested that out of this collapse that indigenous African institutions would rise up. By indigenous African institutions he does not mean the Africa that existed before the white man came to Africa.

Pre-colonial Africa is dead and gone. Let the dead bury the dead. There is no need for nostalgia over the past.

What is going to happen is that a synthesis of the old and new will take place. Old Africa will mix with imported institutions from Europe and Asia and something uniquely authentic African would come into being. Africa is not Europe or America or Asia, but Africa. The new Africa will still be Africa but incorporate what from other countries work in Africa.

I have pointed out the need to have each African tribe be a state and since there are about four hundred African tribes that would mean four hundred states in Africa. They would operate like American states. Then there would be a central government. The central government would have control over military and foreign affairs and coordinates trade but otherwise have a free enterprise economy (actually mixed economy, since the states must provide free education, medical service etc to all Africans).

In the context of Nigeria, what needs to be done is to divide the country into realistic states, twenty states. These would then rule themselves as in America and abide by the central government’s rule in foreign and military affairs.

Nigeria’s foreign policy ought to be working towards a unified Africa. She is in a position to do this. But to do it she must be respectable. To be looked up to one must have integrity. Nigeria must reduce corruption if it wants other African countries to respect and accept its leadership. As it is, to be a Nigerian is to be seen as a criminal, a 419 scammer. This must stop.


Nigeria is new in the international politics game. She has not even understood the nature of international politics as a place where sharks bite and eat each other. She does not seem to realize that it is literally at war with Western powers. But in time, she would learn the nature of real politics and give up her present idealistic, sentimental nonsense. She must learn to pursue her self-interests, become powerful militarily, economically and politically.

Ultimately, Nigeria must seek nuclear weapons. Why not? Why should white men have such weapons and not black men? Of course, these weapons are awful. But as long as one group of human beings possesses them others must. If not, the possessor will bully those who do not have them. At any rate, given what we know about history, every weapon ever invented by man eventually becomes available to all people. At present, the West has these weapons, but sooner or later all countries will possess them.

Perhaps, we can eliminate the weapons of mass destruction from everywhere in the world? How I wish that that were possible. The genii are out of the bottle. Knowledge of nuclear weapons will be increasing, not diminishing.

In about a hundred years time, most college students will know how to construct nuclear weapons. Then the fun starts as the weak use them on the powerful. Of course, all can learn to respect all and work for all.

It is only love for all that would prevent mankind from mutual annihilation. In the meantime, man being what he is, self-centered and selfish, Africans must look after African interests.

Ozodi Thomas Osuji

October 20,2005

Next lecture, #17, Nigeria and International Organizations, October 21.

Posted by Administrator at 12:15 PM | Comments (0)

Ozodi Osuji Lectures #14: State and Local Governments in Nigeria's Politics

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. (Seatle, Washington) --- Why do State and local governments exist in the first place? Generally, they exist where there is federation and or confederation. To begin our discourse, therefore, we have to pause and understand the various forms of government and why we have them.

Essentially there are three forms of governments: unitary, federal and confederal. In a unitary form of government, one central or national government governs the entire polity. This form of government exists in Britain, France and Italy. Her Majesty’s Government at London governs the Realm. The decisions made at Westminster affect all of Britain. There were no other governments in the realm that the national government competed with. In so far that there were city governments, they derived their power to govern from the national government and, indeed, Whitehall could remove them. (Even with Tony Blair’s recent devolution of government, giving Scotland, Wells and Northern Ireland some local government powers, yet Britain remains a unitary form of government for the center can remove the local parliaments.)

France is a unitary government for the government at Paris governs all of France. France is divided into 95 or so departments/prefectures, equivalent to American counties, and the central government appoints prefects for each of these to govern it. Though there are elected city councils everywhere the national government can overrule them and even remove them from office. Simply stated France is ruled by one central government hence is a unitary government. The same goes for Italy.

In a confederation, on the other hand, the central government is very weak, whereas the governments of the constituting parts are very strong. Such situations are rare in the world, for such countries generally are weak countries and very few countries want to be that weak. An example of such a country is Switzerland.

This little central European country has a unique situation. It is composed of citizens from several countries, including France, Italy and Germany. The part that speaks French wants to retain their French identity, so do the parts that speak German and Italian. Thus, the various groups retain their ethnic identities and form of governing themselves, while forming a central government that, more or less, does not really tell them what to do. The central government is so weak that the country is one only in name.

This type of government works out in Switzerland for several reasons, including that the European governments around it agree for it to be so. The Concert of Europe (See the writings of Prince Metternich of Austria) agreed to retain Switzerland as it is, a weak non-military power, so that it acts as a place where all could take refuge. All agreed not to attack Switzerland, to leave it as a heaven where refugees from European countries wars could take refuge. Its financial institutions are deliberately structured so that other countries can hide their wealth in it. Simply stated, Switzerland exists because its powerful neighbors agreed to keep it weak, so that they have buffer zones between them and a place they could meet, a neutral territory, to hash out their problems. They do not want it to become another powerful country challenging them.

The United States of America began out as a confederation. If you recall, there were original thirteen colonies in British North America. For any number of reasons, these colonies united to fight Britain. They were essentially thirteen different countries that banded together to fight a common enemy, their colonial master, Britain and its King George the third. It is commonly believed that the war is initiated by the colonies anger at being taxed by Westminster without representation. However, the causal factors were more than that.

We shall not go into the specifics of American history here. Suffice it to say that originally the thirteen states wrote what was called Articles of Confederation to guide them. That Article did not really call for a national government. Instead, each state governed itself and periodically sent delegates to a Congress to go talk with other states on how to manage their common affairs. There was no federal government, no president, no common judiciary etc.

Eventually, many issues arose between the states, including trading issues, the same very issues that led to war with England. Remember that England had prevented the colonies from importing goods from wherever they wanted and imposed taxation on the goods they imported from different countries other than England. The famous Boston tea party occurred because England was taxing tea imported from elsewhere to prevent the colonies from importing tea other than from England. England itself did not produce tea but imported it from India and other places. That means that English merchants imported tea from India and resold it in the colonies at a higher price. Why not allow the colonies to import tea from the same source hence sell it at a lower price? But the traders in England banded together to get the House of Commons to pass a law preventing American traders from doing what they themselves did, so as to retain their higher profits. Their cousins in the colonies resented their behavior and threw their tea into the Boston harbor.

The thirteen states were having major trade and other disputes and sent their delegates to meet in Philadelphia in 1787, to hash out how to deal with those issues. The delegates were not sent to go draw up a new constitution for America, but simply to go resolve some identified issues and prevent others from occurring. Instead of limiting themselves to solving those issues, the delegates, called Congress, locked themselves up in a chamber, and did not let any one know what they were doing and in secrecy wrote a spanking new constitution for the colonies. They resolved to go sell it to the people.

After writing it, they went home, each charged with the obligation of marketing it to his state. It was agreed that if two thirds of the states accepted it and their state legislatures passed laws ratifying it, that it passes. In the meantime, those who supported federation, folks like Madison, Hamilton and Jay (the first chief justice) went to work writing newspaper articles, trying to convince the people that the new document is good for them. Their writings in various newspapers were eventually collated and published as the Federalist Papers. This book provided a rationale for why America chose federation over other forms of government.

Eventually, the constitution was ratified by the required number of states and became law. A new Congress met at New York and elected George Washington, the military leader during the revolutionary war, as its president. Old George formed his government at New York and later moved to Philadelphia.

Congress voted to build a brand new capital in the middle of the country and Virginia and Maryland volunteered lands, today’s Washington, District of Columbia. When President Washington began out, he had his wife work as his secretary and that was the extent of the Federal bureaucracy. Today, over two million folks, the military excluded, work for Uncle Sam.

In the Federalist Papers, the writers offered reasons why they chose the federal structure of government. As already noted, the confederal structure tends to be very weak, since it lacked a national governmental structure to look after the interests of all the constituting parts. If enemies decided to attack a confederal nation, they could easily defeat it. Any one can defeat weak Switzerland, even the Nigerian army could, but as already pointed out, Europeans agreed not to attack it, to keep it neutral so that it can act as a seat for their conferences to settle their issues.

America was weak in a confederal structure. Furthermore, America was too large a geographical area to have a unitary government. So something in-between had to be designed and that was a federation, a situation where the national government is given substantial powers to be powerful but not so powerful as to intimidate the states. Thus the United States 1787 constitution balanced the powers of the center and the periphery. The center was given powers to defend the country, engage in foreign affairs and coordinate the commerce of the states (hence provision was made for secretary of war, secretary of foreign affairs, called secretary of state, and secretary of treasury…the other departments were created as the situation warranted, in the future).

Even then the initial United States government eschewed a strong central government and tried to remain weak. There was, for example, no standing army. It was believed that if the nation was attacked that a people’s militia could be quickly put together to fight the attacker.

There were two parties during the Washington administration, the federalists who wanted a strong national government and the anti federalists who wanted a weak center and strong states. Hamilton was a federalist and Jefferson was an anti federalist. The cleavage between advocates of a strong center and weak states and vice versa continues to this very day. Those asking for strong states, state rights, tend to want to be left alone so that they can have slaves and abuse black folks, their favorite abuse objects.

The war of 1812 taught America how weak its national government was. British forces simply marched into Washington DC and burned it down, including the White House, then called the President’s Mansion. (When the house was repaired and painted white, to cover the darkness from the burns, it was affectionately called by its new color, white house. In fact, that new name symbolizes that the house belongs to white Americans only and that whites rule America. That horrible name therefore ought to be changed to “Black House” to symbolize black rule of America. Kidding aside, the name is an insult to non white Americans, so one prefers that the house return to its original name, the President’s House).

After the war of 1812, it dawned on the state rightists that they had to provide for a strong center and a strong army to prevent other countries from defeating America so easily. Thus, gradually the center began to grow in power. Even then, it was only in the 20th century that the central government became powerful. Washington DC remained a village until the 1930s. Even today, the town is not a world class city, as national capitals are supposed to be. The city remains a sleepy small southern town with nothing to do in it.

It was only in 1913 that Congress passed a law requiring Americans to pay income taxes hence producing the money to run a central government. In the 1930s, FDR’s New Deal policies enlarged the scope of the central government and made it the colossus it is today.

Washington DC is a company town with mainly one industry in it, the Federal Government. Other than that major employer it is really not a world class city. New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Miami, Atlanta, Houston, Chicago, Los Angles etc are the main cities of America, not the nation’s ponky-donky capital.

The Federation of the United States eventually became a model for other countries to imitate, such as Canada, Australia etc. For our present purposes, federation is now a reality in forms of government.

When the colonial rulers of Nigeria decided in 1914 to unify the original two separated protectorates, Southern and Northern, into one country, they looked at the North American model. They chose federation for emergent Nigeria. Initially, they had two regions, north and south, but eventually divided the south into east and west. Thus, for the longest time (in Nigeria, a decade is a long time, whereas in countries with long histories a decade is a second in their history) Nigeria had three regions in its federation.

The post independence government, the most incompetent and idiotic government known to man…they make you wonder if the black man can really govern himself, for if he could he would have restructured Nigeria and made each tribe a state and formed a federation of ethnic based states, the only solution that would work for Nigeria, well, the first republic managed to carve out the Mid-West region from Western Nigeria. One senses mischief in that behavior, perhaps, it was done to punish the Yoruba’s by reducing the size of Western region?

Nigeria had four regions when the civil war started. Gowon divided the country into twelve regions in 1967. Subsequently, the Mutala/Obasanjo government divided the country into 19 states.

Thereafter, the fun started. Every town wanted to become a state even if it produces nothing to fund it. The idea was to form a state to give some local ego the opportunity to masquerade around as a governor and go to Abuja and participate in stealing the Delta’s oil revenue. So without consideration of economic viability, thirty six states were created and some are still asking for more states.

Nigerian states are not states in the American sense, but counties, not even counties, for they cannot even fund themselves, as American counties are able to do. These idiotic states look to the center to steal Ijaw money and give it to them, so that they can pretend to govern themselves.

Nigeria today has thirty six states. These are not states. What they are no one knows for sure, a cabal for mismanaging Nigeria, may be. On paper, the states are supposed to function like American states.

The 1999 constitution carefully delineates the powers of the center and the states. As in America, the center has the power over war, defense, foreign affairs, international trade etc. States are given residual powers, that is, any power not specifically given to the center belongs to the states.

What state powers are, no one quite knows. This is so because we do not have true federalism in Nigeria. We actually have a pseudo unitary form of government in Nigeria. The states are glorified French prefectures, who fancy themselves to have elected their governors when, like the French prefect, they are practically appointed by the central government’s ruling party, the peoples democratic party, PDP.

Nigeria is practically a one party state, with the leaders of that party at the center deciding what happens every where in Nigeria.

No matter. Let us proceed with this sham federalism. The states are divided into local government areas, sort of like American counties. For Christ’s sake, why not call them counties, or better still, districts, as they call them in Canada? We all know that their function is local government and we do not need to call them by their function, a function they do not even perform.

The local government areas are composed of towns and villages. There you have the structure of Nigeria.

The governments at the state levels replicate the governmental structures at the national level. There is a state legislature that supposedly makes laws, a state governor that supposedly executes the laws and a state judiciary that supposedly adjudicates the laws.

At the local government area level, there is a council that supposedly makes the laws, there is a chair person that supposedly executes the laws and there is a court that supposedly adjudicates the laws.

At the town and city level, there is a town council and mayor that perform legislative and executive functions.

Simply stated, Nigeria copied the American political system and understanding of America helps one understand Nigeria, on paper, any way.

So let us see how state and local government works in America. In these lectures, I deliberately inject Britain and America into them, to give them a comparative flavor, and, more importantly, to enable Nigerians understand how other people do what they are trying to do. Nigerians are trying to have state and local governments. They do not know how to make these governments work. So talking about how those who know how to do it well might help them do it well.

America runs responsive state and local governments and one hopes that Nigerians copy from them. Therefore, I will spend some time talking about the American state, county and city structure of government.

In the United States, we have fifty states. Each state has a state legislature that passes laws. Most legislatures are bicameral except for a few like Nebraska that has unicameral legislature, that is, has only one house of legislature.

Generally, there are about fifty members of the lower house and about forty members of the upper house. That is, 50 members of the House of Representatives and 40 members of the Senate.

The procedure for making laws in state legislatures is the same as at Congress. Bills are introduced by any member, and the speaker/president of the House/Senate sends them to the appropriate committee. The committee discussed them and holds public hearings. The bills are voted on and if passed by simple majority are returned to the whole house for another discussion and voting on. Bills go through the two houses concurrently. If they pass, a conference committee is called to reconcile differences between the two houses and the final product is voted on again by both houses. If they pass, the Bill is sent to the governor to sign it or veto it. If he signs it, it becomes law, if he vetoes it, it dies, unless over ridden by two thirds vote…which is near impossible to obtain since the two parties, republicans and democrats, tend to be more or less equal in the legislature, and since each member tends to vote party line, it is difficult to obtain two third vote on any issue.

Parliamentary procedure at state legislatures is the same as at the national legislature. We covered those in our lecture on the legislative process and do not need to rehash them here.

State legislators are elected to serve two years and can be re-elected. Some states are now instituting term limits, to throw out the bums, the professional politicians who, apparently, cannot earn a living from doing something else but have the tax papers support their idle life styles. (One ought to be a professional in doing some thing and then go into politics part time; politicians should not be paid by the public, they should merely serve the public, and earn their daily bread from their own professions; okay, may be we should pay them some sort of stipends, but that should not be more than the minimum wage in the state.)

Each state has a governor who is elected for four years. Many states have term limits for their governors. He can only serve two terms. He is the chief executive officer of the state. He uses the bureaucracy to implement the laws and policies made by the legislature. Like at the center, though, he is not only a legislator he is, in fact, the chief legislator for most Bills that become law tend to originate from the governor’s office. Individual legislators seldom see their Bills become law, unless supported by the governor, after all the governor could veto them.

The governors in American states do not touch money. The state treasurer does. In some states, the treasurer is elected and in others he is a bureaucrat. Either way, the idea is that legislators/governors approve funds for their bureaucrats but do not disburse them. The governor is then in a position to evaluate how the money is spent. Any one who misspends a penny has his “ass in jail”. This practice ought to be copied by Nigeria. At present, Nigerian governors go to Abuja and take their sates share of the federal revenue sharing and take that money, at least, a substantial part of it, and board the next flight to Europe or North America and deposit them in their personal accounts. If we prevent governors from touching money, may be we would prevent them from being the thieves that they currently are? This would also strengthen governors’ over sight functions and give them the ability to monitor how bureaucrats are spending the monies allotted to their departments.

Each state has a judiciary. This is usually composed of the three tier system: state Supreme Court, state Appeals Court and county Superior court(s) (and in cities, city magistrate courts, to deal with fines and such minor issues). Governors recommend judges and the legislature approves them. As at the federal level, there is a judiciary committee in the Senate and this examines the qualifications of proposed judges and after public hearing votes to recommend them to the full house or not. If approved by the full house, such persons become judges. In some states, judges are elected (this is a very bad idea, an idiotic idea, really, judges ought to be meritocrats, aristocrats, really who have their positions based on qualification. As I pointed out yesterday, the German system of selecting judges, via written examinations and having them working for the ministry of justice seem the best way to go).

The state judiciary tends to be well ordered. In fact, were it not for the judges obsession with sending young black males, whom they fear more than they fear their God, to jail, America would be said to have a good society. But for some reasons, when a white man sees a black man he essentially pees in his pants. He is so afraid of blacks that obviously he feels inferior to them. The only way he knows how to deal with his fear of the black man is to arrest black men’s male children and put them in jail. If you are black and fourteen to twenty four years old, the chances that white policemen will arrest and molest you, is high. These policemen usually act in packs, never individually when dealing with blacks, four or more of them would tackle one fourteen year old black boy, cowards, we are talking, here, well these folks reason for existing is to jail black kids.

Each state has a state bureaucracy pretty much as at the federal level: department of education, transportation, social services (usually the largest department, composed of divisions of mental health, alcohol and drugs, elderly, the mentally retarded, child and family services and health). State bureaucrats are so carefully monitored that one instance of stealing and they are in jail. Overall, these machines for carrying out the people will tend to do what they were hired to do.

At the local level is the county system. Again, here the governing apparatus is as at the federal level. There is a county council, usually made up of about nine persons and a county executive implementing the decisions of the council. As at the sate and national levels, the county council is the legislative body and the executive the executive officer. In reality, the executive is also the chief legislator.

Each county has its superior court, which generally is part of the state judicial system. Judges are appointed by the governor, not county executive.

Beneath the county are city and town councils and mayors. (Some cities have city mangers who, in fact, manage the city’s bureaucracy and then reports to the mayor. These are usually small cities, not big cities.) The council makes laws (ordinances) and the mayor implements them, via his city bureaucracy.

Each city performs the usual local government functions, such as providing electricity, water, removing garbage, paving roads etc.

By and large, American cities are well run. However, in the past, the cities were run by machine politicians. In Chicago, for example, the mayor was as corrupt as Nigerians are. No one got any thing done unless he bribed the Irish mafia that ruled Chicago. But things are changing. The current mayor of Chicago, Daly, the son of a past corrupt mayor is said to follow the law. On the whole, American cities tend to be efficiently run.

Most cities chose to run their school districts through an independent school board (school district Board of Directors). These elected officials hire a school superintendent, usually an outstanding headmaster at a secondary school and through him run the K through 12 grades. Each school district runs its own school: hires its own teaches and does what it wants. Schools are funded through property taxes. Every house in the city is taxed, say a dollar for each thousand of its worth. Some cities supplement that with sales taxes, usually five percent on goods sold in the city.

I believe that counties should be the ones running K through 12 grade schools. I also believe that counties should provide technical education to those who cannot proceed to higher education. I believe that states should run universities. As I pointed out elsewhere, all children must go to elementary and secondary schools, at the tax payers’ expense. We have an obligation to educate our children. We know that not all children can do university work. Perhaps, only a third of secondary school graduates can do university work. So the state must have enough universities to educate 34% of secondary school graduates, those who passed at A and B levels in their secondary school leaving examinations. The rest of the graduates should go to technical schools where they learn to become mechanics, electricians, carpenters, masons etc. Only God knows how much Nigeria needs technicians. We build things and cannot repair and maintain them. I recommend the German technical school system, two years workshop training and two years apprenticeship in a relevant industry and then passing a national examination in the field to be licensed to work in it.

This is very much the American structure of local governance. The idea behind it is to give citizens access to their leaders. The average American can talk to his city councilor, mayor etc and complain about the quality of services he is receiving from the city. May be Nigerian local government leaders can learn to be accountable and tell the people what exactly they are doing for them?


Nigeria has experimented with several forms of local governments. This began with the British. They tried establishing local governments and using them to govern the people. In Northern and Western Nigeria were there were already existing administrative structures, be they feudal in nature, the British used those to rule the masses. In the east, particularly in Igbo land where political development was very rudimentary, there were no centralized administrative mechanisms, and the British had to fashion them out of nothing. They invented local governments and appointed chiefs, warrant chiefs they were called. Those idiots became the first batch of corrupt Nigerians. The various warrant chiefs grew rich by exploiting their people. In fact, their children were the first to go to Western type schools and are the rulers of Igbo land today. In Owerri, the Osujinjemanzes were a product of Lugard’s warrant chiefs and they are supposedly the most important family in the area.

The British toyed with many forms of local administration; at one point creating counties and at another districts.

Today, Nigerians have what they call local government areas, which generally fall within the boundaries of the district council areas that the British established. What we have going on is musical chairs, changing of names but doing nothing new really. We still have the same old district councilors who exist to extort bribes from the people and their head, the big bribe eater of them all. What are Nigerians but kola nut eaters, bribe eaters? These people live for their bellies and their bellies live for worms.

The current state structures in Nigeria are untenable. The states are too economically unfeasible. Consider my state, Imo state. The total area of this state would fit into an American county. I live in King County, (whose largest city is Seattle) Washington State. The county is over two million people. The area of land is probably twice the area of land of Imo state. Its economic base is probably one trillion times the economic base of Imo state. (We have Boeing, the world’s largest airplane manufacturer; Microsoft, the world’s largest manufacturer of PC programs etc.)

What does Imo state produce? Yams, Cassava, corn, Cocoyam, and assorted other crops. It probably has a tiny bit of oil. If you add up the GDP of the state it is only a few million dollars. There is, therefore, no way on earth that this state can support a government.

All of Igbo land, from Port Harcourt (Ugwuocha) to Abo, from Enugu to Umuahia, is about the size of the four counties that make up the Seattle metropolitan area: king, Snohomish, Price, Thurston, that is, from Olympia to Marysville, a distance of about one hundred and twenty miles. Nowhere in Igbo land is more than a hundred miles from Owerri. Owerri to Port Harcourt is 48 miles, to Onitsha is 58 miles, to Aba is 38 miles, to Umuahia is 40 miles, to Asaba is 60 miles, to Abo is 98 miles, and to Enugu is less than 100 miles. Thus we are talking of an area of a hundred miles radius. This area is not even large enough to be a state in the American context. It is more like a county in Alaska. Alaska itself is almost twice the size of Nigeria and yet it is only a state in America.

The point is that Nigerian states are too small to be economically viable. But if you make each of the large ethnic groups a state, you have about eleven states and then you bundle the small ethnic groups together into nine states for about twenty economically viable states. Each of the ensuing states would then be able to support itself, to pay for its services. No state government should ever have to wait for the federal government to go steal money from Ijaw land and give it to it to run its services. Each state ought to be totally self sufficient.

Each state ought to be in total control of its resources. Let the ensuing Ijaw state have 100% control of its oil revenue. Let them have it and let Ijaw citizens, like every one else, pay taxes to the federal government.

Each person must pay at least 20% of his yearly income into federal taxes and 10% of his income to state taxes. We need those taxes to run our governments. And when governments begin to depend on peoples taxes people would be conscious of how their leaders spend their money and slap them into jails should they misspend their tax money. At present, the people really do not carry the burden of government. The government derives over 90% of its money from oil and shares that money among the states and local governments. This way, the people are not really paying for their governments and do not care what they do with their monies.

As long as our governments depend on oil money, there will be corruption in Nigeria. It is when we turn to taxes, individual, sales, corporate property etc as means of funding our governments that we would overcome the monster of corruption.

In the meantime, there really is not much else to say bout Nigerian state and local governments other than to say that they are corrupt and are not doing their jobs. These governments do not provide education, water, electricity, medical health, remove city garbage and pave roads, as they are supposed to do. We hear about the travails of Ngige and Chris Uba. We hear about two primitive egos squabbling for national attention. But we do not hear about them removing garbage from Onitsha. Onitsha has feces dumped on its streets and the people die before they are forty years old. That is, we do not hear about what folks do in local government but hear about their egos dances of vanity. One is not interested in colluding with infantile men and making them seem like they are important when they are not.

One is important, to the extent that one does something for other people, not because one fancies ones self an important ego. We need humble persons in the governor’s mansion, in the chairman’s house and in such other places where power resides.


Nigeria currently has a state and local government structure modeled after that of America. If one understands America’s local government structure, one understands how it is supposed to work in Nigeria. Therefore, to help us understand how it is supposed to work in Nigeria, I took the trouble to describe how it works in America.

It is not working in Nigeria. What we have in Nigeria are the same old thing, same same, same tale of black men selling each other into slavery, albeit now by not caring for their people.

Africans have a culture of not caring for their own people, for selling their people. For over a thousand years, all they ever did was sell each other into slavery. From about 900 AD they sold themselves into Arab slavery and from about 1500 AD they sold themselves into American slavery. These people have developed a culture of selling each other and not caring for each other.

See a Nigeria and be very careful with him for if you are not, he would sell you into slavery. Of course, the law now prevents him from doing so; otherwise he would do so, and obtain trinkets to adorn his body, his body that is food for worms. These people now sell each other by not caring for each other. Give them positions in governments and they use their positions to rob their people blind.

You never hear of them making self sacrifices for their people but of stealing from their people. They are a contemptible and despicable people.

Out of this detritus of mankind, we shall produce decent men and women. We shall do so by showing them what it means to be a human being. A human being is different from an animal, though his body is animal, because he cares for other people. A true human being works for social interests. To be mentally healthy, one must work for social interest, Alfred Adler, a psychologist tells us.

My function in life is to help train Africans to care for one another, to refuse to eat while other Africans starve. That is what I came to this world to do. And I am doing it, by, for example, writing these lectures and giving them to folks for free. Every body must do his part. Africans make one want to puke but one cannot deny ones own people. One must help them become truly human, folks who care for one another.

Ozodi Thomas Osuji

October 18, 2005

Next lecture, #15, October 19, The Nigerian Bureaucracy

Posted by Administrator at 12:12 PM | Comments (0)

Ozodi Osuji Lectures #15: the Bureaucracy in Nigeria's Politics

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. (seatle, Washington) --- DEFINITION The bureaucracy is an instrument for implementing the policies and laws made by the political decision makers in a polity. Legislators, executives and judges make decisions as to what needs done in the human polity. Those decisions have to be implemented otherwise they might as well not have been made. Laws and policies must be applied or they are no good.

Bureaucracy is that instrument through which society operationalizes its decisions on governing itself. The bureaucracy is a machine, a mechanism through which policies and laws are realized. In theory, the bureaucracy is not supposed to make the decisions and policies it implements, but be a neutral organization through which decisions are actualized in a human polity.


The origin of bureaucracy is long lost in the past. For our present purposes, we know that the Romans had bureaucracy through whom they implemented the laws and rules made in Rome, in Rome’s far-flung Empire. Laws and policies were made at Rome and those were implemented throughout the Roman Empire. Those doing the implementation are bureaucrats.

A person who did not make decisions but merely implements them is a bureaucrat. He is implementing other people’s, not his own personal, decisions. As such, a bureaucrat must be impersonal, objective, impartial, unsympathetic and detached in implementing the decisions he is implementing. Rome gave an order for a general to go to war and conquer yet another territory for it, and the general and the army he leads does as Rome’s political authorities (emperor, Senate etc) asked him to do. It is not for him to decide whether the decision to go to war is right or wrong, that is for political actors to determine; his role is to do as told.

Bureaucracy is a giant wheel through which society rolls its decisions into motion. Each person working in the bureaucracy is a spoke, an object doing what he is told to do and not asking questions why he should do what he is told to do. The day a bureaucrat asks questions and disobeys orders, he is no longer a bureaucrat, perhaps, and he is now a politician, may be. He at that point should get out of the bureaucracy and go to where he belongs, politics, or he is booted out.

A bureaucrat is a humble servant, a machine operated by the decision makers of society. He is not supposed to have opinions of his own, or if he does to keep them, to himself. Just do what your bosses ask you to do or if you do not want to do them you must quit your job. As long as you want to retain your job as a bureaucrat, you must obey orders and do what told to do, it is not relevant whether what you were told to do is right or wrong.

The Roman army and civilian bureaucracy was, perhaps, the world’s best bureaucracy and did what it was told to do. Told to fight and good soldiers fight. Die while fighting for the empire and the good soldier lays his life for his superiors. He does not ask questions.

Rome decides to punish Jews by destroying their temple in 70 AD and gave the order to the local Roman bureaucrat in Jerusalem and he does as he was asked to do and destroyed the temple. He does not ask why he should destroy such a historic monument but just does what he was asked to do.

When the Roman Empire fell in 450 AD, for a while, there was chaos in Europe. Later, the Catholic Church emerged as a universal European Church. The Church replicated the bureaucracy of the Roman army and spread throughout the Roman Empire. It had its headquarters at Rome and the Pope and his cardinals made decisions and the decisions were relayed to the Church’s army in the field: Rules emanated from Rome (from the Pope and his council) and went to cardinals in major population centers of Europe, and from them to Archbishops in major cities and from them to Bishops in medium sized cities and from Bishops to reverend fathers, priests in their parishes.

The Church had monasteries and nunneries through out Europe. Here scholastic monks and nuns lived and, among other things, researched how best to control the local areas where they were located. The monks and nuns practically controlled the lives of every person in their areas of operation. Like the modern secret police, these people made sure that the will of Rome was obeyed and that those who did not were punished. An example is for the offender to be ex-communicated from the Holy Church, hence sent to hell fire…later the Church could not wait for people to be damned in hell fire and subjected them to fire right here on earth, I am talking about the Spanish inquisition that burned heretics on the stake.

The Roman Church was a far-flung bureaucracy for controlling Christendom. It worked well. For our present purposes, the Church was part of the roots of modern bureaucracy.

The Church exists to the present except that its power has been weakened. In 1517, Martin Luther challenged the authority of the popes of Roman and precipitated wars that lasted over 130 years. At the end of those religious wars, the Catholic Church failed to bring back Protestants to the Church. The treaty of Westphalia of 1648, which ended the religious wars, essentially saw the creation of the modern nation states.

The Catholic Church was further weakened by the rise of secularism and scientism. Today, very few educated persons really pay much attention to the doctrinal policies emerging from Rome. In the past, the Popes encyclicals ruled the Christian world. Today, folks see them as just another superstition that they have to tolerate until religion is done away with from human society.

The various kings of Europe had their own bureaucracies for governing their kingdoms. They had officials spread out in their kingdoms making sure that folks obeyed the kings’ divine rights to rule, to make laws for them. Those who did not obey the king were arrested by the sheriff, judged, and if found guilty, sent to jail or even killed. Bureaucrats enabled the monarchs of Europe to control the people and maintain law and order.

The above past bureaucracies contributing to the modern bureaucracy were exactly that, antecedents, for none of them remotely resembles the modern bureaucracy.

The modern bureaucracy is a 19th century phenomenon. Throughout the Western world efforts were made to professionalize the bureaucracy. Prior to that movement, in America, for example, winning presidents used to sweep into town and appoint their cronies into most government offices. This was called the patronage and spoils system. You won the presidency and you came to Washington and kicked out whoever was working for Uncle Sam and replaced them with your own people, those who worked in your campaign.

In 1887, Congress passed the first civil service law requiring that civil servants be hired on merit and not just be the cronies of the president. A Congressional Act established the Civil Service Commission to hire and supervise a professional civil service. Ultimately, Congress passed laws that civil servants are employed by Uncle Sam, not by the president, and that they be recruited on the basis of merit and promoted on the basis of merit. Thus, it came to pass that a professional civil service was established in God’s own country, thanks largely due to the efforts of Woodrow Wilson, the scholar President of Princeton University who later became an idealistic president of the United States (remember his 14 points proposals to make the world safe for democratic?)

While America was turning its corrupt civil service into a professional civil service, other European countries were doing the same thing around the same time. In Prussia, the Kaiser’s chancellors turned their civil service and army into a marvelous machine for carrying out the will of their emperor. The German civil servant and soldier did exactly as he was told to do, no questions asked. He was the quintessential bureaucrat, a machine for carrying out the will of politicians. Max Weber wrote admiringly about these Prussian machine men.

With those machine men, the iron fisted chancellor, Von Bismarck, smashed the French army in 1870 and made Germany a united country.

The modern bureaucracy came into being in the late 19th century. By the 1920s we essentially have the bureaucracy we have today. Max Weber described this new type of human organization so well that we just have to summarize what he said. As he sees it, the bureaucratic organization is hierarchical in structure, is a pyramid with fewer persons at the top, many at the bottom and few in the middle. Those at the top giving orders to those at the bottom. Those at the bottom obey what they were told to do without asking questions. Those at the top, in turn, are told what to do by the civilian leaders of society and they obey without asking questions.

For example, Congress passed laws/policies and gave them to the right bureau to implement. The top bureaucrats in that bureau write procedures on how to carry that order out and go about doing so in an impersonal, objective manner. There is nothing personal about the bureaucrat’s behavior; he is just doing his duty.

Bureaucrats are recruited on the basis of merit. Generally, they are required to take examinations and qualify for the positions that they are applying for.

The jobs that bureaucrats do are not their personal jobs. Rather, those jobs are roles in an organization, and any one could be hired to perform the job specification described for each role. Indeed, it would be better if machines could do the jobs, so that we did away with human sentimentalities and emotions.

There is a job description and one is hired to do that job. If one can do it one stays, if not one is fired. That is all there is to it. A bureaucracy is not a charity house. The employee is used by the organization to achieve goals others set, that he did not set. His job is to help the organization accomplish the goals the decision makers of society set for it.

Bureaucratic organizations must follow procedures. They must rigidly adhere to procedures, policies, how things are done there and should never deviate and do their own things. It does not matter whether the person in front of a bureaucrat is a family member or friend or foe, he is supposed to treat him or her according to the rules of his bureau. No favoritisms allowed and no nepotism permitted.

Bureaucrats are required to do their jobs without enthusiasm and feelings of rightness or wrongness, but to just do what the job descriptions call on them to do or they are sacked from the bureau (French for office…bureaucrats, office workers).

Bureaucratic organizations are not democratic organizations where all members gather and collectively make decisions regarding what to do. Instead, they are machines used by the decision makers of society to accomplish their goals and objectives. Bureaucratic organizations are non-democratic for employees cannot be democratic when the decisions that they are implementing are not theirs in the first place.

Bureaucratic organizations are excellent instruments for those who formulate political policies to implement them.

Max Weber’s abstractions not withstanding, the real world is a bit different. In the real world, top bureaucrats tend to possess a lot of information and expertise on their line of work. Therefore, the decision makers of society often rely on their expertise in making decisions.

Consider the British minister. He is assigned to a ministry. He may or may not know much about the ministry he is supposed to rule. The permanent secretary in the ministry and his assistants probably has spent upwards of thirty years running that ministry. Who has more knowledge about how the ministry works? The permanent secretary, of course does. Therefore, the minister, if he is a sensible chap, must ask the opinions of his top civil servants before he makes any decision. Nevertheless, the minister does not have to rely on the opinion of civil servants.

The minister, prime minister and the rest of the cabinet was elected by the people to implement certain policies and do not need to rely on the opinion of civil servants to do so. He just needs to take the views of civil servants into consideration, particularly on how to implement his policies, but not the policies themselves. In the final analysis, the minister is the decision maker and if the public deems his decisions inappropriate he may not be reelected during the next election, while the stiff and proper bureaucrat retains his job.

In the real world, civil servants do influence public policy because they have information that politicians may or may not have. Some observers, indeed, argue that we are in the age of technocracy, that experts now rule our governments. This view seems a bit exaggerated for we all know that technocrats/bureaucrats tend to lack vision. As Max Weber correctly pointed out, there are differences between the political personality and the bureaucratic personality.

The politician is a force of nature with ideas and visions of what society should look like. Bureaucrats, on the other hand, tend to be doers who do what they are asked to do and may not have innovative ideas. Thus, it is highly unlikely that technocrats would soon rule society. What is true is that experts in the various ministries do provide useful information to their civilian leaders.

If the ministry of transportations is going to build a road from Port Harcourt to Onitsha, for example, it is the technocrats in the ministry, the civil engineers, that will draw the plans, and the accountants in the ministry will cost those plans out. These technicians would bring their plans and expenses to the minister of transportation. His job is to study the plans as given to him and take political equation into calculation before he makes a decision to build the roads or not.

We live in a world of scarce resources and there is such a thing as opportunity cost. If you spend money on one project, you may not have money for other projects. Thus, perhaps, instead of building that road what is needed is to build elementary and secondary schools in Alaigbo? The minister is supposed to make such tough choices.

Decision making entails evaluating several alternative courses of actions and choosing a few and letting go of others. The decision maker takes the consequences of his choice. It may mean being thrown out of office come the next election.

The technocrat, bureaucrat has a secure job and is, therefore, not qualified to make risky choices…unless he is ready to loose his job if his decisions do not pan out and prove a winner to the public.

The modern bureaucracy began in the 19th century. Even then, bureaucracies remained small affairs. Governments until the twentieth century were small affairs. It was after the 1929 depression when it was accepted that governments ought to be playing a role in the economy, largely due to the influence of socialists and John Maynard Keynes economic views that governments grew in size. In the United States, the New Deal polices of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt expanded the United States government from a few thousands to million employees. Today, over two million employees work for Uncle Sam, plus another two million in the military. The various states, counties and cities in the United States have their own civil servants. Today, many Americans work for the government or government related employers. The bureaucracy is now a humongous affair, touching just about every citizen’s life.

In Africa, there were really no bureaucracies, not as we know them in the West, until the twentieth century. Oh Hausa and Yoruba states had some bureaucrats working for them, but these employees, by and large, were not really impersonal bureaucrats ala Max Weber. It was when the European colonialists established their rule in Africa that the modern bureaucracy began to take roots in Africa.

In Nigeria, the birth of the modern bureaucracy can be traced to the Royal Niger Company. The British Government took over from the Royal Niger Companying in the early 20th century and formed the Southern and Northern protectorates of Nigeria in 1906. In 1914, the British amalgamated the two protectorates into one Nigeria and began the enterprise called Nigeria. The colonial officials raided the personnel of the Royal Niger Company and used them to start the first Nigerian civil service.

Frederick Lugard was made the first Governor General of Nigeria. To help him govern Nigeria, he established a small secretariat at Lagos and appointed lieutenant governors for the North and South, along with district officers. He sent out the district officers to work all over the country. He established the famous indirect rule system whereby he used already existing Afriocan leaders to rule the people. One white district officer would work with the emir of a large area and through the emir ruled the people. In Alaigbo where there was no king or bureaucracy for controlling the people, Lugard created Warrant Chiefs and superimposed them on the Igbos and used them to impose his will on the people.

By the 1940s, it could be said that there was a rudimentary bureaucracy in Nigeria. But at no time were there more than five thousand British administrators governing Nigeria. So we are talking about a small bureaucracy here.

Nigeria gained her independence from Britain in 1960. Thereafter, Nigerian leaders expanded the role of government in society and began expanding the bureaucracy.

If you create a new function for government, you must also form a new bureaucracy for it to accomplish that function. For example, if you accept the function of supervising environmental matters as appropriate role for government, then you must have a civilian bureaucracy to make sure that the government’s rules regarding protection of the environment are implemented.

Modern society, and Nigeria is not an exception, is giving governments a lot to do and, as such, is creating bureaucracies all over the place. Today, governments are the largest employers in Nigeria.

The Nigerian bureaucracy is essentially like the British Bureaucracy. It is structured like this: At the top is the secretary to the Federal Government. This man supervises the various permanent secretaries.

A permanent secretary heads each ministry. Below him is the under secretary, then the deputy permanent secretary, the principal assistant secretary, the senior assistant secretary, and at the bottom of the administrative ladder is the assistant secretary. Assistant secretaries are hired from university graduates. Candidates generally take and passed written examinations, are then interviewed and recruited by appropriate ministries. They are recruited into the administrative class and work their ways to the top. It is expected that they would get to the top at the tail end of their public service, after thirty something years of service in the government. The typical civil servant works for the government for about forty years and mandatorily retires at age 65.

Beneath the administrative class are clerical persons. These are usually hired from secondary school graduates; clerks work their way to junior executive positions and do not make it into the administrative class (except in exceptional cases).

Each government ministry is a functional area and requires different training. To work in the foreign ministry, for example, may require studies in political science, history and law. To work in the ministry of finance may require training in finance and or economics. To work in the ministry of transportation may require training in engineering. Each ministry thus hires those trained to do what it exists to do and promotes them upwards. Hopefully, the best employees get to reach the permanent secretary positions.

Believe it or not, the Nigerian civil servant is as good as any civil servant in the world. The typical Nigerian permanent secretary tends to be as good as the typical British permanent secretary.


Nigeria is a federation. That means that there is a federal government, state governments and local area governments. These various levels of government have their own bureaucracies. They generally follow the same British format.

The British themselves have attempted to modify their stiff civil service and borrow from the more flexible American model. In America, there is something called lateral entry into the civil service. Non civil servants, say those in the private sector, can be hired into any level of the civil service ladder, if they are deemed qualified. Any citizen can apply for positions in the civil service that he believes himself qualified to perform, including the director of government departments. A CEO of a medium sized cooperation can be hired to run a government department without prior experience in the civil service. This could not happen in the British system where folks are hired for positions at the bottom of the administrative class and work their way upwards.

The American system has a tendency of bringing in new blood into the bureaucracy, whereas the British system tends to perpetuate the same old ways of doing things. The American system is a bit more innovative than the British. I said a bit more innovative because despite his non civil service background, once a chap comes into the bureaucracy, he is quickly socialized to its ethos and becomes unproductive and lacking in creativity. The job of bureaucrats is to have jobs, not to do anything worthwhile. It actually takes ten of these folks to change a light bulb.

The British is experimenting with hiring non civil service folks into the middle echelon of their bureaucracy rather than rely on dead wood that worked their way to the top. If an individual spends all his career life in one ministry, he may have zero ideas of what leadership is all about, taking risks? America itself is quietly relying on internal promotions than it did before. This tends to reduce the amateurish nature of the American civil service.

Nigeria is mix of the British and American systems, with heavy tilt towards the British system.

As we have observed, the primary function of the bureaucracy is to implement the policies made by the political sector. Parliament passes a law, policy and it is given to bureaucrats who then write regulations regarding how they intend to implement it. They hire the right people and implement the law. They set up internal administrative judicial systems to offer all opportunity to contest how bureaucrats applied the law. For example, a bureaucracy regulates the Airline industry. If a member of that industry thinks that it was treated unfairly by the agency regulating it, it could appeal to the administrative judge regarding such complaints and have a hiring. If he wins he gets redress, if he loses he is punished.

In the West, modern bureaucracies tend to do what they were set up to do. However, it is a well known fact that bureaucrats once hired want to keep their jobs even if what they were hired to do is no longer needed done. To deal with this issue, some governments now pass sunset laws requiring agencies to go out of existence when their agency objective is accomplished. But government agencies, by and large, tend to find something else for them to do, even if it means duplicating other department’s jobs. They seldom go out of existence.

Government agencies tend to be inefficient. What a few persons can do in the private sector takes many persons to do in the public sector.

Government agencies tend to duplicate each other’s jobs. Several agencies doing the same line of work. This costs government a lot of money.

We can go on and on pointing out some problems with government work but, by and large, they tend to do what they are supposed to do.

Obviously, we need the public sector. If you assign functions to government to perform you must be willing to pay for civil servants to help it do what you want it to do. Thus, the bureaucracy is a necessary part of modern life. As long as you expect your government to provide the people with education, health insurance, public transportation, electricity, water, garbage removal, you must have bureaucrats performing those tasks. The most we can do is make sure that the bureaucrats are a bit efficient and cost conscious.

We can have citizen oversight committees scrutinize bureaucrats and make sure that their budgets don’t just grow but that they do so only when necessary. We must make sure that only necessary personnel is hired, not personnel to fetch coffee for the permanent secretary.

With regards to the tendency for bureaucracy to be full of red tape and procedure bound that seems inevitable for only persons assigned jobs should do them. We must have a bureaucracy where folks pass the bucks and get others to do jobs that they could do but that are not in their job descriptions. This is how we maintain accountability.

Our job is to make government responsive to the peoples needs, to have policies that serve people and recruit civil servants that serve the people. Those asking for reduced bureaucracy are not going to get their wishes satisfied. We live in a modern world; our lives are interconnected; we need government workers to perform services for us. We cannot go back to the past when less government was needed. If any thing, there will be more governments in our future.


We have talked about Bureaucracies in general. Is there anything to say about the Nigerian bureaucracy? In so far that there is anything unique about the civil service in Nigeria, it is the tendency for public officials to demand bribes before they do their jobs. But this is not unique to the civil service; bribery permeates every aspect of Nigeria’s life.

If a policeman stops you for routine traffic violations, he expects kola money from you or else he delays your business. To pick up a form from a ministry often requires bribing the clerk handing out such forms or suddenly there are no forms available, come back next week, you are told. Fork out the required sum and the form appears.

If you desire to have a contract from a ministry, well, be prepared to pay ten or more percent of your gross income from the said contract to the awarding committee.

We do not need to repeat the obvious. In Nigeria, you bribe to get what you want. Even the custom and immigration officer examining your passport at the airport expects you to slip a few dollars into the passport as you hand it to him or else your name is suddenly not spelled right, as he thinks that it should be spelled, and he delays your entry into the country.


African civil servants generally tend to see their positions as their personal offices and their work as their personal work. They do not detach from their jobs and do them impersonally. They do not seem to recognize that they are supposed to be machines doing what they are told to them. They fancy that they are important because they are occupying government positions. They want the public to treat them as very important persons. This illusion probably explains much of the nepotism and corruption in Nigeria.

The civil servant uses his job to do favor for those close to him, his relatives and tribal people. In doing so, he fancies that they see him as a very important person in their community.

Many Nigerian civil servants are nepotistic and will give jobs to their relatives and friends before they do so to other Nigerians. Moreover, they want you to bribe them before they do what they were hired to do. That is to say that they personalize their offices.

I have given this phenomenon some thinking. I think that it has something to do with importation of African cultures into an otherwise impersonal civil service.

In African societies, we are our brothers’ keepers. Therefore, when folks obtain jobs with the government they feel obligated to use their positions to help their relatives. This desire to help sometimes goes beyond merely helping them obtain jobs to stealing from government coffers to have the money to help a coterie of siblings and town’s people that are dependent on the official for help.

Much of the corruption that exists in Nigeria is motivated by goodwill; officials desire to obtain money to help their people. Very few persons can rely on their official salaries if they want to help their people. Indeed, most government officials cannot even rely on their salaries to be able to train their children in school.

If Nigeria had good elementary, secondary and university systems, all paid by the public, it would reduce the burden on officials to take bribes so as to have the money to pay for their children’s fees. The policeman taking bribes is often doing so to obtain the money to train his children and be useful to his people, not because he is a bad person.

Whereas we must improve the pay structure of Nigerian officials, yet it is not for them to steal or take bribes. One cannot rationalize their thieving behaviors. I just wanted to point out that our extended family system and its burden on the few persons with jobs may play a role in the high incidence of corruption in Nigeria. If folks were individualist and did not expect to be helped by any one else once they are eighteen years old, they would not have to depend on others who would feel the pressure to take bribes so as to be able to support them.

It seems that Nigerian cultural variables contribute to the corruption in the Nigerian civil service. To reduce that corruption those cultural variables have to be addressed. Of course, we must also address socialization of civil servants, training them to have high ethics so that they no longer think that the degrading behavior of taking bribes is something that they could do. You see, the moment you give a policeman bribe, he has lost his authoritative position in your eyes; he is, as Nigerians’ say, nwabugger, a nothing.


Bureaucracies are really a modern phenomenon. Though they existed in the past, such as in the Roman Empire, what we now regard as bureaucracies are inventions of the 19th century Europe and North America. We had Chinese mandarins, who took examinations to obtain their jobs, but they were not quite what we mean by modern bureaucrats. The emperor, for example, could hire and fire the Chinese worker. In a modern bureaucracy, even the president cannot fire the government worker. Given their union contracts, it often takes years to fire a bureaucrat and it costs more in money and effort to fire them than it is worth. Once a bureaucrat is hired and he passes probation, he is difficult to let go.

Modern bureaucrats are hired to do their jobs in an impersonal manner and, by and large, do so. In Nigeria, there is a personal quality to the civil service. If you know somebody working in a government ministry, he is more likely to serve you first and well before others on the line (what line, since when did Nigerians started queuing up to be served?).

This lecture is designed to be basic and not graduate seminar material so we shall not get into debates as to what to do to fix the Nigerian bureaucracy. Put your energy to figuring out a way to make the Nigerian civil service less corrupt and that would be enough improvement for the time being.

Ozodi Thomas Osuji

October 19, 2005

Next lecture, #16, The Nigerian international relations, October 20.

Posted by Administrator at 12:10 PM | Comments (0)

The Wabaras: Felicia & Senator Adolphous Wabara; Suddenly Rich?

by Paul I. Adujie (New York, USA) --- Felicia Wabara, the wife of the former Nigerian Senate President, Senator Aldolphous Wabara, purchased a house in New York a few months ago for one million dollars cash! This was reported two months ago by Sowore Omoyele and Jonathan Elendu both of

It, was widely reported at the time, that the purchase by Mrs. Wabara had no mortgage installments or some sorts of regular bank payments involved in said property in New York, United States. These revelations were first made by Messrs Sowore Omoyele and Jonathan Elendu, both of months ago and since then, the public focus has seemingly shifted to President Obasanjo and Vice President Atiku’s squabble, the Dukubo gangsters and other matters. The Wabaras controversy has seeped into oblivion, as it has hardly received a mention in the Nigerian media!

Unearthing the sudden wealth between Mrs. Felicia Wabara and Senator Wabara is important for several reasons they lived here in New York before moving to Nigeria where Mr. Wabara became a senator, in the Nigerian senate and at some point, the chairperson of senate subcommittee on Police Affairs, this is the committee that was supposed to act as an oversight and supervise, Nigeria Police that produced Tafa Balogun the disgraced corruption laden billionaire former Inspector General of Police. Some National Assembly members surely need to chat with the EFCC, in this instance, we may also recall that Senator Wabara was implicated or ensnarled in the Osujigate fifty-five million Naira Ministry of Education bribe for budget scandals.

Additionally, Mrs. Felicia Wabara was a president of a Nigerian cultural association here in New York, United States, where members constantly agonized about the abject conditions of Nigerians in Nigeria and most decent Nigerians would say ad nauseam, how they wish they could change things in Nigeria, just so that, abject poverty, that drove some of us here and continues to drive the desperations of throngs of Nigerians to foreign embassies, would be a thing of the past.

As a former president of this Nigerian cultural organization, Mrs. Wabara, even after relocating to Nigeria, with her newly minted senator husband, she was invited to an annual dinner event by this Nigeria cultural association and she was a featured speaker and this was about four years ago. And while her husband, Senator Wabara, headed the senate subcommittee on Police Affairs in Nigeria, she used, or more like, she abused the opportunity to engage in tirades against the federal government of Nigeria and she spoke in that vein and for longer than she was scheduled and a good number of those present, including myself, complained that she had turned the event into a political pulpit, in which she engaged in countless invectives and in the most acerbic tones!

Some of us had wondered about her behavior, especially as wife of a prominent senator, who in our view, was part of the current Nigerian federal government and as a member of the ruling party, the PDP. Mrs. Wabara raved and ranted in my presence, about corruption during that annual dinner by a Nigerian cultural association here in New York and even those in agreement with some of her expressed displeasure, wondered why she could not see the inappropriateness in her indecorous tirade against a federal government of which her husband is a prominent part.

And the complete hijack of the evening’s cultural program for her ad hoc lecture on corruption in Nigeria, at a forum that was entirely not the right setting for the gripes that she expressed and in also considering how time-consuming her speech was, as well as her choice of words.

Now, a reexamination springs a complete surprise between what Mrs. Wabara claimed she stood for then, which is irreconcilable with her apparent profiting from the Nigeria system that she roundly criticized at the time! It smacks of hypocrisy and doublespeak. And it has all the smudges of do as I say, and not what I do? I had previously forwarded the Wabara’s property purchase revelation to the EFCC and the ICPC and I will do so again, as a reminder, these anti corruption agencies in Nigeria are probably overwhelmed with so many petitions and myriad information.

But we must all be encouraged by the achievements of the EFCC in particular, and we must keep supplying information that will assist the corruption fight, it is a dauntless task! It is surely an arduous duty that requires sustained and focused efforts by all Nigerians.

This is therefore to serve notice to those engaged in corruption in Nigeria, against Nigeria’s national interests, that we will not let them forget their iniquities and their pillaging of Nigeria through their corrupt ways. We will not let them off the hook; we will not let them sleep easy.

Mrs. Felicia Wabara and Senator Wabara must explain to the Nigerian public, the source of their sudden wealth and property acquisition in New York, United States, even before they have a chance to also explain to the EFCC and the Nigerian judicial system!

Paul I. Adujie
New York, United States

Posted by Administrator at 11:49 AM | Comments (1)

Avian Flu Pandemic Prevention Among Africans after the AIDS/HIV Blow

by Farouk Martins, Omoaresa --- The number of people the bird flu virus that is ranging from Asia to Turkey, Romania and Greece in Europe, may kill has been estimated from two million to 150 million. Every country is preparing on how to prevent this by head-on preparation. How many African people are prepared before it becomes another “African disease”?

The avian flu infection is a virus common in wild birds that can be transferred to domesticated chickens, duck and turkey making them sick enough to kill them. Before it can become an epidemic, it has to mutate (change) so that it can be transferred from man to man. Nevertheless, the infection has been reported in humans through live poultry or poultry not well cooked or from contaminated surfaces.

So far about 117 people have been infected and at least 60 of them have died.

There is no immunity for this virus and the effectiveness of the present antiviral drugs is not guaranteed. The drug manufacturers are now being courted by leaders in Europe and America to get set for mass production for immunization or combative drugs against the bird flu virus. The Swiss are ready to establish more factories outside. In countries where lawsuit can paralyze a whole industry, these companies are looking for immunity from class action suits.

Between the advice of Professor Blakemore of Medical Research Council in U.K not to panic and that of Dr. Nabarro, the UN Coordinator worst case scenario of 150 million fatalities, Africans still have to be apprehensive because we are the most vulnerable.

We still remember AIDS as the disease that started among certain groups of individuals with promiscuous lifestyles in California. Those who had watched Tony Brown’s Journal then were warned that it might be labeled the disease of the blacks. Before long, there was scientific quackery claiming its origin in African monkeys that was transferred to humans by all kinds of means.

The Lancet 10/29/60 had reported the demise of a sailor David Carr who died in England of unknown disease that was later retested 7/7/90 and found to be AIDS. Before he died, he had spread the disease on his way as he sailed, also to Africa. It became a controversy whether to credit him with the disease. Phillip Emeagwali, the super computer genius, noted this in a presentation.

Needless to say, AIDS have now become the disease of the poor all over the world, proportionally higher among Africans in and out of the Continent. Though many of us take our health seriously, the poor take food and shelter more seriously before thinking about health. Even the food we pick in many cases is of poor nutrition.

While strokes and cardiac diseases are leading causes of death among the rich, in poor countries, infectious and parasitic diseases kill more people. This is why any virus or bacteria that are endemic or impending can deal a deadly blow to majority of poor people no matter where they are in the world.

Please understand that these infections do not pick on poor people because they are poor. They also flourish among the young children and the senior citizens. It is the law of least resistance. The poor are the least prepared to fend for one another. This is why Africans must be prepared and take necessary precautions before the arrival of the bird flu.

There are people thinking loud already about how to prevent the birth of black children in order to decrease the number of crimes, as if most of the crimes are committed by them. As far as we know, blacks do not commit the majority of mass murders. Yet, no black would suggest that those who commit these mass murders should be prevented from being born. Studies are needed about these perpetrators to prevent mass murder. What some of the people discuss among themselves sometimes spill out inadvertently.

So Mr. Bill Bennet, the former Education Secretary under President Reagan might have just been thinking loud. It happens! In fairness to him, he stated that it would be morally wrong. The hint is enough for Africans. Not all the people who thought and planned heinous crime against humanity carried it out. Slavery, lynching, syphilis experiment were morally wrong but still perpetrated on Africans. Yet, there are people of goodwill all over the world devoted to correct past mistakes only to be blocked by a few powerful men thinking loud.

If we do not take care of ourselves, nobody would care enough about us. The reason they call some of these viruses and bacteria opportunistic infection is because they attack the weak and the helpless already with compromised immune system. In cases where overuse of antibiotic disturbed the flora balance in our bodies, bacteria that may normally behave themselves may cause diseases. So if we do not eat and drink well or where people are malnourished, there is no way we can prevent a higher number of people dying of flu that others may survive.

There are some cultural impediments that are no more relevant in today’s environment. Case in point, a man had sexually transmitted disease. Each time he was treated, he became infected again. So the public health doctor who was treating him refused to treat him again until he disclosed his sexual partners. He claimed it was forbidden!

African cultures always separate the toilet far away from the house. Now that both can be accommodated within the same house, we have to make sure that the two systems remain separate. Wells and bore hole must be far from the toilet.

In the face of an epidemic, isolation which may be mistaken for ostracizing a loved one may become necessary. This is why preparation and sensitization before an epidemic may be necessary. Africans have always bear the brunt of any disease. Health Education and Participation can not be over emphasized.

It is very critical to spend most the money for majority of the people. In others words, spend the greatest amount on the greatest number of people. This may be seen as socialized medicine. But those who have controlled infectious and parasitic diseases by adequate clean water and sewage system can only be imitated if we control ours.

Most African countries are still building big hospitals and laboratories we can not maintain. As a result of which privileged people are sent outside the country for headache while primary health care is lacking. That money can be used in the development of drugs and vaccines. There are simple technologies we can develop for our laboratory tests instead of buying these simple kits in Europe and America. Once we run out of them, we complained about lack of foreign exchange to import materials from abroad or broken equipment made abroad. In fact, a few of the businessmen are looking for way to buy vacation mansions outside the Country.

Nigeria banned importation of live and frozen poultry over a year ago but it is still smuggled into the Country by businessmen. President Obasanjo, who is a chicken farmer, said “everything must be done to protect the Country from bird flu”. Dr. Akerejola, a veterinary surgeon, welcomed the ban. Indeed, Dr. Jarhlet Umoh called for more surveillance and training against bird flu. However, action speaks louder than voice. Good proposals but no action. It is over a year, enough time to prepare for the imminent danger we face today.

Fortunately, some of these unscrupulous businessmen are few. They were the ones who imported adulterated oil into the Country causing upper respiratory infection in some people. These are the same people who imported solid waste into the Country. So we should not be surprised if they try to import all the poultries suffering from Avian Flu infection in Asia and Europe destined for destruction. We just have to watch out.

Bird flu virus may not be as deadly as 150 million casualties but there is no reason to take chances.

Farouk Martins, Omoaresa

Posted by Administrator at 11:42 AM | Comments (0)

October 17, 2005

The King and his Mighty Libido

by Uche Nworah (London, UK) --- King Mswati III of SwazilandThe story of the mighty libido King Mswati 111 of Swaziland may just be the last evidence we need to show that maybe we are being a bit too harsh on our leaders in Nigeria, you know who they are, the ones that lord it over us, the ones of which we are supposed to say how high your Excellency whenever they say jump!

Our supposed leaders come in different shapes and sizes, they also come with different tastes, expectations and fantasies as regards their choice of women ranging from ikebe, lekpa, American specs, European specs, double- action, sweet sixteen, Big mama etc, some of them though, in all fairness have remained in the ‘past’, staying loyal to their wives and ensuring that their trousers or shokoto remain zipped or roped up always. But for the rest of them, they may have finally found their match in the 37 year old King Mswati 111 who is only still married to 13 wives, not any where near his late father’s 70 wives record.

For some of our profligate Mswati's Women - 1leaders the king may just be their most influential role model yet, and to think that my late grand father Nze Nkaonadi Nworah Okeke who only managed a ‘lowly’ and ‘pitiable’ 3 wives went about town like a warrior and conqueror when his mates were marrying tens of wives, i wonder what he would have said if he was here today to hear the king’s story.

The brother rules over Swaziland, a poor and impoverished land in Southern Africa with a population of about 1.1 million, his people live mostly on huts and survive on just the equivalent of 50 American cents a day but that is the least of his worries. He appears bent on breaking both his father’s and King Solomon’s record of the King with the most concubines and wives. He is surely on his way though. Still in his 30s, he already has 2 fiancées, 13 wives and has ‘only’ managed to father 23 children till date.

Now I understand why majority of Germans were angry with Mswati's Women - 2Americans during the Monica Lewinsky affair, they couldn’t understand the fuss over Monica, cowboy Bill and his famous cigar. Such malfeasance in Germany is actually a way of life and a positive sign of manhood, a man like Bill Clinton in Germany will be applauded and given a loud ovation, a sure sign that men are still alive and that the feminization of man that Rudolf Okonkwo wrote about is yet to show up on their shores.

In Germany Bill would have been considered a saint, especially when you consider that Gerhard Schroeder (their former Chancellor) is currently trialling his fourth marriage with Doris Kopf. To the average German, all that Bill did wrong was to stay married to one woman – Hillary plus that ‘one off’ indulgence with Monica, an act that is not anywhere near the heroics of the true greats.

Anyway, back to the great one of Swaziland. As a man, Just be honest, do you envy him? Would you wish to swap places with him for a day? Especially during the occasion of the annual reed dance when over 20,000 young virgins and maidens strut out half-naked in the village square and expose their goods and wares to the king, pleading, waiting and hoping to be selected as wife number X.

Surely the king is Mswati's Women - 3stretching his customer (or is it suitor?) rights to the limits, inspecting the goods first before buying.

I am still surprised though that in all their foreign travels, none of our leaders have yet been reported to have visited Swaziland. They chose rather to hunt and fish in local and nearby colleges and universities and also in London and America where their several mistresses get paid to look after government treasury on their behalf, although with the recent happenings and plights of the likes of Joshua Dariye of Plateau state, and D.S.P Alamieyeseigha (I hope I got the spelling right), London and America may no longer be ideal for such executive past times. If only King Mswati 111 knew of the affinity he has with some of our leaders, and the passion they share together, I am sure he would be glad to have willing allies in them.

After seeing the photos from the annual kingly wife selection event, it would be interesting to see if any of our leaders would undertake to visit the king as special guests of honour (a privilege our excellencies cherish so much), if tomorrow the king extends any such invitations to them and they indeed accept, at least you know why they have accepted the invitations.

The king apparently is a smart man, already thinking of the chastity of his future wives, just like his late father King Sobhuza 11, he once banned teenage sex in his country, a ban which he broke and eventually revoked when he married a 17 year old school girl and paid a fine of a cow as a result, some people have life easy you may say.

This ban, a protectionist policy and measure Mswati's Women - 4was borne not out of love for his country nor to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS which currently afflict over 40% of his kinsmen and women, but rather to ensure that no other man touches the young girls, as any of them could still potentially be one of his wives in the future.

I still think that Nigerians should be ashamed of themselves for their criticisms of our leaders and their ways, especially with women. We are being unfair to them because they haven’t even gone any where near a third of King Mswati’s bootylicious exploits yet, the king and his country do not have the type of resources that our leaders have at their disposals and see how many women the king controls, this means that our leaders deserve more, they are not yet up there in the rankings, if they were, Jonathan Elendu and Omoyele Sowore would have longed exposed the brand and quantity of condoms they use per week (if any) , as well as the names and addresses of the shops where they are bought. Do we still require any further evidence to show that our leaders are still playing in the minor league?

We should just leave them alone to indulge before they change their minds and go into exile to Swaziland where their soul mate is beckoning, and then we won’t benefit anymore from their great leadership and wisdom. Such a situation will definitely cause great uproar and turmoil in the land, especially amongst the female folks (the beneficiaries of government contracts and other pecks from the largesse of our leaders’ kindness).

We don’t want to put these women out of work and then swell the ranks of the unemployed in our land, do we?

Uche Nworah is a freelance writer and lives in London.

Posted by Administrator at 02:05 PM | Comments (0)

Ozodi Osuji Lectures #13: the Judiciary in Nigeria's Politics

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji (Seatle, Washington) --- Parliaments make laws. Presidents execute them. Some one must adjudicate them. Someone must be an impartial umpire that settles disputes between citizens (civil laws) and between citizens and their government (criminal laws).

We have laws because we have conflicts and laws are designed to enable us solve those conflicts. Therefore, there must be some one that interprets and applies the law when conflicts arise. The social institution that interprets and applies the law is the judiciary.

Let us trace the origin of the judiciary in Nigeria. Nigeria is composed of many ethnic groups. Before their encounter with the British, each of these ethnic groups had its own laws. However, these were not the origin of the judiciary in Nigeria as we now know it. Contemporary Nigerian judiciary was essentially imported from Britain, so we have to understand that institution in Britain for us to understand what there is of it in Nigeria.

British jurisprudence is complex and has roots in the various peoples that settled in England. In 27 BC, the Romans conquered what they subsequently called Britannia and ruled it for four hundred and fifty years before the barbarian uprising led them to pull out of Britain around 450 AD. While in Britannia, apparently, the Romans instituted their judicial practices. The native Celtic Britons were Latinized by the time the Romans left Britain.

When the Romans left, the very barbarians (Germans) that the Romans went to fight in Rome itself crossed the English Channel and invaded England. A bunch of Germans from Saxony and Angel land (Germany) crossed the channel and settled in England (hence the name Anglo Saxon, German tribes). The Celts of Britannia were conquered by the Germans and the Island was taken over by the Germans.

The Anglo Saxons ruled England until the Vikings, Scandinavians, another Germanic tribe, began menacing the Island, beginning in the eight century. The Scandinavians settled in many parts of England.

In 1066, the Norman French, themselves Scandinavians who had settled in northern France, Normandy, conquered England and took the island over. William, Duke of Normandy, became the King of England and his lieutenants became the dukes, earls, counts and marquis of England. The French nobility spread through out England and ruled it. In fact, they imposed their French language on the people.

Over time, French language mixed with the mix already in England to produce the language that we now call English. English language is a Creole language, a language formed from the mixture of many peoples: Celts, Romans, Germans, Scandinavians and French.

In the meantime, the Norman kings in London imposed French law on England. They appointed judges to go from one part of England to others hearing cases and settling them. Initially, local squares, the French nobility on the scene, heard cases and made rulings. However, the persons involved may appeal their Lords’ rulings. If they did, they had to wait for a judge to ride his circuit, (literally on a horse) and come by and hear their appeals. This is the origin of circuit courts or courts of appeal in the English world.

For our present purposes, the locals tried to interpret the law as they saw fit until the circuit judge came around and finally settled the matters. The circuit judges, French men, mostly deferred to the locals and respected their understanding of the law as it applied in their shires/counties. (Shires…from which we have sheriff, the police officer who enforced the law in the shire, the county.)

The judges made decisions and when they came back in the future referred to the decisions they had made in the past and or the decisions made by other judges. This is how the English legal system, called Common Law, grew up. Laws were not necessarily written down; England still does not have a written constitution, but is the accumulation of decisions made by judges and the Acts of Parliament.

A judge in England, a common law country, hears a case and tries to see how other judges ruled on it in the past, this is called Precedence, and takes into consideration Parliamentary Acts relating to the case. He rules on the bases of his understanding of precedence and statutory law.

The Common law countries, which include Britain’s former empire: USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, South Africa and African countries ruled by Britain, have a different legal system than continental Europeans. The continental Europeans were more rigidly ruled by Rome and had a more lasting Roman influence on them. Their legal system tends to be part of the Romano legal system. Rome tended to have written and codified laws. Thus, Europeans tend to formalize and codify their laws. Moreover, when Napoleon went conquering most of Europe he wrote a legal code and imposed it on wherever he conquered. Thus, in much of continental Europe, the law tends to be codified and adhered to as it is written.

In continental Europe, judges tend to be, more or less, bureaucrats applying the law as written and not interpreting it. For example, a jury hears a case and finds the defendant guilty or not. If guilty, the judge looks up the law and applies it impartially and impersonally, as written. The judge does not have a lee way to decide to send the accused to prison or not, how long, and or release him and or place him on probation.

Britain has county/shire courts. These courts of first instance hear evidence and make judgments. If the case is a criminal case, the crown counsel represents society and the criminal is represented by his own lawyer. A jury of twelve or so men and women hears the case and decides whether the accused is guilty or not. If guilty, the judge decides sentence. As noted, in common law countries, the judge has a lot of leeway how long to sentence the guilty to jail. The loser can appeal his case to a higher court. The circuit court hears appeals and if the loser still loses he may appeal his case to still a higher court in London. If he loses, he may appeal his case to the highest court in the land, Parliament. The Privy Council, a judicial committee of the House of Lords, is the highest court in the land; its ruling is final.

In America’s legal system, a judge makes the decision on how to punish a guilty person. Generally, he follows sentencing guidelines laid down by the state and reads the pre-sentence investigation reports written for him by his legal and psychological staff. In the end, the judge may decide to let the guilty go without serving jail time, or send him on probation, or sentence him to the amount of time in jail he deems appropriate etc.

Thus, it came to pass that for stealing the same amount of money, a person could get five years in jail, or only probation time, depending on the judge’s disposition.

As you would imagine, a black man found guilty of criminal offences tends to be thrown into the slammer, to go cool his heels in the Big House and do so for as long as the law permits, whereas a white man is likely to be given the least amount of jail time in the Big House, if not placed on probation or even not punished. Indeed, if the white person is jailed, the chances are that he would earn parole quicker than a black man.

The judge decides whether the accused is a threat to the community or not, and whether he is remorseful for his crime, likely to re-offend or not. On the basis of his judgment, he sentences or releases the accused.

People tend to see those who are like them as good and those unlike them as bad. Since most American judges are white, they tend to see white folks as good and black folks as bad.

In America, there are two justice systems, one for blacks and the other for whites. This is not the way it is supposed to be, for on paper, justice is supposed to be blind. But in reality, we all know that the chances of one doing time in jail has a lot to do with ones race and gender. This is the American reality, ugly but that is what it is.

In America of today, one out of every four inner city black males between the ages of 14-24 is either in jail or is under the supervision of parole and probation officers.

Please note that if one is a felon or ex-felon that ones citizens rights, such as voting or being voted for, is taken away. Thus, America uses the legal system to remove many blacks from participating in politics. The number of black Americans who can vote and or be voted for is very small. As I write, 2 million Americans, mostly black persons, are incarcerated in America. This is nothing short of war on the black race. The man is using his criminal justice system to decimate blacks from politics.

America is a house of injustice and will self destruct, implode. It cannot go on and on being unjust for much longer.

There are many types of law: common law, codified law, and within those two broad categories are many forms of law: criminal law (where the state is the party prosecuting the accused, alleged to have committed a crime against the community by committing a crime against one person) civil law (where it is a suit brought by one citizen against another and the state, judge, merely acts as an impartial arbiter of the truth and the defendant and plaintiff agree to abide by his ruling). Within the broad category of civil law itself there are many varieties of it, such as torts, contracts, family law, etc. There are other forms of law such as admiralty or marine law (pertaining to the oceans), administrative law (that interprets regulations made by administrative agencies of government), statutory law (law made by parliaments), ordinances (law made by city councils), corporate law (law regarding corporations, artificial persons) and so on.

Britain brought her common law system to Nigeria. She gave Nigeria her legal tradition, as she gave it to America. In this legal tradition legal system, the courts tend to have three tiers. In the USA, there is the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land whose decisions are final, unless overruled by Congress and or constitutional amendment. There are appellate courts and district courts.

The Supreme Court, under its first chief justice, John Marshal, in the Madison versus Marbury, 1803 ruling, gave itself the right of Judicial Review, the right to examine what the other branches of government did and rule whether they were legal or not. Thus, it came to pass that if a law is passed by Congress; those who do not like it, immediately go to the nearest federal district court and challenge it. The law would not be implemented until the challenge of it goes from the district court to the appellate court and reaches the Supreme Court. This process may take years before the Supreme Court finally rules on the constitutionality of the said law, thus frustrating the law made by the people’s representative in Congress.

More importantly, the Supreme Court may rule against the law, that is, overrule Congress. This way, the Supreme Court is acting as a legislative institution, what the framers of the constitution never intended for it to do. Article one of the constitution specifically stated that only Congress shall make laws. But, as noted, John Marshal gave the Court the right of judicial review and President Thomas Jefferson’s failure to challenge him on constitutional grounds has made that right part of the legal custom of America.

Today, America’s law is dependent on the whims of unelected nine white persons on the Supreme Court. If the court comprises of judicial activists who are of the left or right they rule as such. Seldom do we have judges who are strict constructionist of the law. Why should judges be strict constructionists of the law, after all the very first chief justice did not construct the constitution in a strict manner?

Other chief justices left their own unjust marks on the court. Chief Justice John Taney ruled in the Dared Scott case, where a run away slave was brought to court and the question was whether he should be returned from the non-slavery state he had ran to, to the slave state he ran from. Taney uttered the most infamous statement a human being could. He said, and I quote: “no black man has rights that a white man ought to respect” hence returned Dred Scott to slavery.

That no black man has rights that whites ought to respect remain the legal tradition in America. White judges do not believe that black men have rights that America should respect. This stupidity has built the foundation for America’s eventual collapse, for though the universe seems amoral it is actually a moral universe. The evils we do eventually come to hunt us. America must pay a heavy price for her abuse of African Americas.

In 1896, the Supreme Court literally instituted Jim Crow laws and ended desegregation which the fourteenth amendment that ended slavery had brought about. The Court ruled that separate is legal in America. Thus, the races were separated in America: separate buses, separate housing, separate areas of living, separate bathrooms, separate sitting places in public transportation, separate schools, separate eating places at restaurants.

It was only in 1954 that the Earl Warren (a republican) Supreme Court ruled that separate is inherently unequal. That ruling ended segregation in America?

After that ruling, it took several demonstrations in American cities, with the likes of Bull Connor setting police dogs loose on black demonstrators, for America to start integrating its society. To the present, if you are black and have a case and the judge is a white man, you might as well not expect justice. A white judge is likely to rule against a black man, even if he is right. These pompous white judges, in fact, make up their minds to find blacks guilty from merely seeing their black faces in court. Moreover, they figure that blacks are too poor to have good counsel representation and, as such, that no one would know if justice was miscarried or not.

America sits on mass injustice while pretending to be just. If you are afar from America all you see is the glitz, the razzmatazz presented to the world to see and see America as a just place. But come close and you see a rotten house.

Britain, believe it or not, tends to have a color blind justice system. John Bull is fair and square. If you commit a crime in Britain, the chances are that the judge will be impartial in treating you, black or white. I will take my chances with a British judge than with an American, any time.

For our present purposes, there are three tiers of courts in the land. We have talked about the Supreme Court. Beneath it is the Circuit, also called Appellate Courts. These are usually composed of three judges collectively hearing the same case. They hear appeals from Federal District courts.

In America, each state has, at least, one federal district court (as you could imagine, a large state like California has many district courts, whereas a small state like Alaska has only one).

A group of states constitute an appellate court area, a circuit court. Folks in that area appeal their cases to it.

Cases begin at the District Court, then are appealed to the circuit court and finally at the Supreme court.

The president nominates all federal judges, with the recommendation of the senior senator of the state where the judges are to serve. The Senate approves the judges.

The three tier judicial system at the federal level is replicated at the state level. Each state has a Supreme Court, its highest court interpreting state laws, an appeals court, there could be more than one, depending on the size of the state, and county courts (also called Superior Courts). Cases originate at the county Superior Court and are appealed all the way to the state Supreme Court.

In addition to the three tier courts are town magistrate courts. These deal with minor issues not requiring possible imposition of jail time, such as traffic tickets.

In America, each county has its own jail. Jails can hold inmates for up to one year. Each state has its prison(s). Prisons can hold inmates for life. The Federal Court System has its own prisons.

As noted, America has over 2 million persons in jails and prisons. America has the largest percentage of her people in jail/prisons of all countries in the world. As also noted, most of the inmates are African-Americans and these days, the other threatening minority, Latinos.

Jails are essentially political instruments with which the white ruling class removes unruly minority persons from society. That is, jails are mainly political instruments for controlling those who challenge the white power structure. Most blacks in jail are, in a sense, political prisoners. Minority persons know this fact and do not necessarily feel stigmatized from going to jail. In fact, going to jail is often seen as a badge of honor for these folks. It means that one has challenged “the man”, hence is a man and not an Uncle Tom doing what the man wants him to do; one is not a house or field nigger, but ones own man..

In America, it costs upwards of $35, 000 dollars a year to keep a person in prison. Annually, America spends less than $6,000 dollars on each of its students. That is, it spends more money to house Americans in jail than to train them for productive work. This is one of those penny wise pound foolish policies that only happen in America.

As James Brown, the rhythm and blues singer croons: it is only in America that the unreal seem real. No matter. These racist policies will come to hunt America. A white police officer stops a black motorist and if no one is looking will beat him into unconscious state and claim to have done nothing. See what they did to Mr. Robert Davis, only a few days ago in New Orleans. They would commit crimes and write false reports regarding how the black person is the one that attacked them. American police men seem singularly sociopathic and nothing they ever say regarding black men is true.

(If I may personalize, when I was a graduate student at UCLA, one day, while walking on campus, I saw a police car stop and two white police officers jumped out and literally pushed me to the ground. In seconds, they treated me as I had not imagined human beings could treat one another. I asked what I had done and I was told to shut up. Eventually, I was bundled into the policy cruiser, car and taken to an apparent crime scene and released. I learned that what happened was that a bank clerk had reported that a young black male, about my age, 25, had behaved inappropriately in a Westwood bank. The man is supposed to be about 6 foot, four inches tall. The call went out to the police. The campus police saw me walking on campus and mistook me for the man. I was only five feet, eight inches tall, and how on earth any one could take me for s six foot four inches man is a wonder that can only happen in America.

Being who I was, I wanted the case investigated and wrote a citizen report against the said police officers. I was given their own report to read. Every thing they wrote was a lie. They said that I fit the suspect. That I was six foot four inches tall (how I wish) and that I looked suspicious etc. There you have it. The cops lie through their teeth and get away with it. But being me, I was outraged and challenged everything they wrote and insisted that they be punished for telling lies. The case lingered and somewhere along the line, a few of the black faculty on campus had a meeting with me. They asked me to let the matter drop. Why, I asked, and one said that if I insisted and got the two obviously white trash police officers in trouble, that they would come after me. How? That someone would just find my body riddled with bullets, dead. As they saw it, most white police officers have antisocial personalities. Apparently, it takes a criminal to catch other criminals. My counselors said that typical white police officers are from the poor class and that the best they could do in America is work as police officers or fire officers and that any one who deprives them of those jobs returns them to poverty and that they might not like it. No matter, I do not fear death; in fact, I say bring it on, now. Anyway, the case was eventually settled when the said officers wrote me a letter of apology.)

Let us see how Nigeria’s judicial system works. The British bequeathed its legal system to Nigeria. The legal system that operates in Nigeria is the British Common law tradition. However, during the colonial era, some British social scientists, anthropologists mainly, studied the various Nigerian tribes and their laws and recommended that their legal traditions be incorporated into the British system superimposed on Nigeria.

The British set up Local Authorizes in the various ethnic areas. The judge in these Local Authorities tried to take into consideration local traditions in his ruling.

Often the judge was also the administrative office of the district (District Officer or County Officer).

The local authority courts had local authority police, court messengers, they were called. The Igbos called them Kotima (which is still what some Igbos call police men or, alternatively, “Ndi uwu ojie” men in black, for police men wore black uniforms in the then Nigeria.)

For all intents and purposes, though efforts have been made to incorporate some Nigerian legal traditions into extant Nigerian law, Nigeria’s law is still of the British variety. Many of the top Nigerian lawyers and judges were trained and called to the bar in Britain.

Recently, I looked at the curriculum of a Nigerian law school and it is not that much different from what obtains at American law schools. Students in Nigeria study criminal law, constitutional law, torts, contracts, corporate law, and family law and so on and so forth. The point then is that if you understand law as it is in Britain and America, you probably understand law in Nigeria.

The legal structure in Nigeria, on paper, is like what obtains in Britain and USA. At the federal level, there is a federal Supreme Court, Appellate Courts and District Courts.

At the state level, each of the states has similar courts. The counties, that is, the local government area, have the courts of first instance where original evidence is taken and evaluated and decisions, guilty or not, made. The larger cities have magistrate courts.

Appointments to these courts are in the same manner as in America. (I personally think that the American system of appointing judges stinks. I prefer the German system. In Germany, lawyers take examinations to become judges and those that pass in an outstanding manner are interviewed and hired by the ministry of justice. They work for the state; often in several different capacities before they are deemed qualified to become judges. When a judgeship is available, one of these lawyer civil servants is promoted by the ministry to it. He then works his way up the legal ladder until he gets to the highest court in the land. This way, judges tend to be well qualified. In America, George Bush appoints a woman who has not written a legal opinion in her life to the Supreme Court. At the state level, many of the judges are appointed by governors because they contributed to the governors’ election or for other reasons other than judicial experience. Thus, many judges tend to be political hacks working in cahoots with the political system. It would be nice to separate judges from politics and make them totally professional, as in Germany.)

Nigerian Judges tend to be well qualified and are as good as any anywhere in the world. As elsewhere in the British common law tradition, they are supposed to hear cases and apply the law. If the case is a criminal case there is supposed to be a jury of ones peers judging the accused. The jury of twelve men and women hear the case and decide guilt or innocence. The judge then applies the law, following certain procedural guidelines,

What makes judges’ ruling legal is their following proper procedures. Law must follow the rules laid down for it to be legal. A judge must have the qualification to hear the case before him or else he is incompetent to hear it. If a judge has vested interest in a case and cannot be impartial, he is supposed to excuse himself from the case. The judge must not take sides in a case. He must carefully listen to both sides in a dispute and to the best of his knowledge, may God help him, decide guilt or innocence and apply the law properly. He must follow the rules of evidence and go to where they take him. He is supposed only to accept facts, not his personal opinions, into consideration in his ruling. It does not matter whether he likes the law for not, he must rule as the law requires him to rule.

Consider the latest craziness in America, the three strikes and you are out law. If you repeat offenses and have been convicted three times, you are sent to jail for life (which is usually 25 years before parole hearing are held). If a teenager stole a pack of cigarette three times that puts him away in prison for life. But a George Bush sends American kids to go die in Iraq, just so he proves to his father that he has balls that he is not a wimp, that he completed what his old man started, and he is not sent to jail. Where is justice in all these? A murderer walks the streets a free man and a black boy who was foolish enough to steal three packets of cigarettes spends the rest of his life in prison. This is absurd and many judges know it. Nevertheless, the law is the law and they must sentence the confused brother to life in prison. Send the boy to the big house and go drink the spirits to cheer your spirit up. A majority of American judges are drunks. That is the only way that they can tolerate the injustice they dish out to minority persons in America.

Nigerian judges tend to be as well educated as any other judge in the world. In fact, in comparison to American judges, they tend to be very erudite. Go read the decisions and legal opinions of Nigerian judges and see good thinking at work.

All this notwithstanding, the bane of Nigeria comes into play. Corruption is the main issue in Nigeria’s politics. Judges, like every one else in Nigeria, are corrupt. To start with, judges have to bribe some one to be appointed judges. Having become judges, they have to recoup their investments. Thus, they take bribes. If you have a case before a Nigerian judge, you do what you are expected to do. You do not approach him directly, of course. You talk to, say, the court messenger, whose real job is to collect bribes for the judge. You talk to whomever you have to talk to and you are told what you have to do for a favorable hearing of your case.

I once witnessed this practice at work. A cousin, an auto mechanic, was involved in a car accident. It was not his fault. That is not the point. He was arrested any way and after several bribes the police released him from custody. The case was taken to the court at Owerri. Here, the game begins. Through intermediaries, an amount was negotiated and the judge gets his “kola”. Then the bloated judged ruled in his favor.

What is self evident is that judges in Nigeria, from the local government area court to the higher court in the land, the Supreme Court, take bribes. Recently, Obasanjo has been making noises about anti corruption. The Chief Justice of the federation, Owais, has been accused of taking millions of dollars in bribes. Mr. Owais is currently under investigation. The investigation may last indefinitely.

If you make sufficient noises, the powers that be in Nigeria will humor you and initiate some fruitless investigation of your allegation. But nobody investigated is ever jailed. Obasanjo’s so-called anti corruption war investigates several persons but, so far, no big cheese has been jailed.

The former Inspector general of the Nigerian police, Mr. Balogun, who was caught red handed with billions of police cash redirected to his personal bank account, as we write, is still not judged guilty and jailed, as he should be. Mr. Balogun’s lawyers play the Nigerian game and who knows, the man may walk away free. He is in Nigeria after all.

It takes the English Bobby to arrest the governor of Bayelsa State for money laundering in London.

All the governors, repeat all of them, redirect money they got from the federal revenue sharing to their personal bank accounts, but what is happening to them? There is an immunity clause in the 1999 constitution that prevents hauling governors and the president to court. Okay. Amend the constitution, now, and remove that nonsense. Send all the bastards to the slammer where they belong. Chop off their heads. What are we waiting for? For the white man to come put our house in order for us?

Are we waiting for most Nigerian professionals to run out of the country and go to America? One of America’s strengths is the ability to attract the best and brightest from all over the world. Home grown Americans are usually too lazy to amount to much, so America attracts the smartest from other countries. Most of the best scientists at America’s universities came from Germany and other European countries, and now that Asians have gone from being mere copycats, from merely being good at technical matters to doing original research, America has scoped down on Asia, attracting their best to American universities.

Go to a typical American university, particularly to the science departments, and you would think that you are in Beijing, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Bombay, Soul, and Taipei. Asians are now mostly the science students and teachers at America’s top twenty five universities. Not long ago, I went to my Alma matter, University of California, and could not believe where I was: it was like I was in Asia.

America opens her doors to the best and brightest from all over the world. Nigerians with good education, particularly in the sciences and engineering, are joining this mix. Just about every Nigerian with technical degree, engineering and medicine, can come to America and obtain a fairly good job.

In America, a typical engineer makes about $50, 0000 a year; a typical medical doctor makes at least $100,000 a year. In Nigeria, they would make about $10, 000 a year. So what do you think? Being self centered animals, these folks obtain a visiting visa and come to America, obtain jobs and stay there.

If you studied the social sciences, however, don’t even bother coming to America, for America cannot even provide jobs for its own social scientists. PhDs in sociology drive cabs in New York. America buys technicians not intellectuals.

Corruption is the lay of the land in Nigeria. That notwithstanding when I talk to Nigerian lawyers and judges I tend to find them second to none in the world. It is too bad that our political leadership does not create a corruption free environment for Nigerians to show the world who they are. Nigerians, in fact, are some of the world’s smartest persons. We have had only one hundred years of experience with the West, yet some of us are knowledgeable about Western ways. Indeed, some of us can compete on equal terms with the best of the best, the cream de la cream in the West.

Improve Nigeria and no country in the world would out-compete her. We have heard so much about how well Asians are doing; improve Nigeria and Nigerians will not be second to Asians or any one else in the world.

In papers on the judiciary, it is customary to review some salient cases. Who can write a paper on the American judiciary without reviewing civil rights cases, abortion cases, privacy cases, pornography cases (free speech) and so on? I could do that in the context of Nigeria but nothing would be gained from so doing. I would not be elucidating a serious legal principle.

In Nigeria, in so far that there are controversial cases that seem worthy of review, they have to do with the constitutional immunity for governors. But then again that constitution itself is, strictly speaking, illegal. It was not written by the people.

A constitution is supposed to be written by the people and or their representatives to represent their wishes as to how they want to play the political game. The Nigerian 1999 constitution was written by only God knows whom. Some one wrote it for General Abdul Salami, for obviously the soldier boy does not have the legal skills to write that, admittedly fine piece of work.

The 1999 constitution, on paper, is good. The point is who wrote it and who authorized him to do so? Only the people can write their own rules of the game and, in as much, as Nigerians did not write their so-called current constitution, it is not legal.

That means that the current government in the country is illegitimate. That is one reason to scoop the garbage to the garbage dump.

Nigerian lawyers seem to be up to the task and are giving the courts an opportunity to earn some of their living. The various democracy groups seek every opportunity to sue this or that person, even government agencies, challenging the legality of what they are doing. Recently, our president had his cronies raise money from those doing business in Nigeria. As it were, he stiffed them, hit them up for contributions or else they would not obtain contracts from his government. He raised billions of naira to build his Presidential library. He is now building that library in his home town. The man couldn’t even wait until he does what American presidents do. American presidents end their tenure in office before they build their monuments to their vanities. They do so to avoid conflict of interests, as they raise funds for their final memento to human pride and vanity.

Our man Obasanjo has no real polices that would make his name last in Nigerian history. Would a library, that if we know any thing about Nigerians, would decay a few years after it is built, make his name last in Nigerian history? Of course not. As soon as the bugger is out of office, his successors would erase his name from everything he ever touched with his grubby fingers. The library would become dilapidated and decay in a few years, the books, rot. Apparently, the big boy does not even understand the Nigeria he pretends to rule.

It would have served the man better if he did something salient, so that future generations would remember him for it. He could, for example, restructure Nigeria into twenty states, each composed of a major ethnic group. He could make the country’s legislature unicameral; we do not need bicameral legislatures. He could make the country a parliamentary system, so that the prime minister has to debate facts and know what he is doing, rather than be running around the world leaving other people doing his job for him.

Obasanjo’s comes to America and hires a third rate woman who works for the World Bank, and makes her his finance minister. Worse, he pays her almost a quarter million dollars annually, in American dollars, too. The average Nigerian makes a dollar a day, so why pay a woman with no contribution to economic theory and practice that much money? Only in Nigeria do such things happen.

The Nigerian judiciary is in shambles, but not as bad as it could be, all things considered. With a bit of thought, it could be made one of the best in the world.


The Current Nigerian judiciary is a mix of the Anglo Saxon common law and a mesh marsh of local Nigerian legal systems. If you understand how law is practiced in Britain and the USA, you pretty much understand how it is supposed to be practiced in Nigeria.

But like every thing else in Nigeria, the evil of corruption affects the judiciary in Nigeria. Nevertheless, one gives high marks to the judiciary in Nigeria.

With a little effort, the Nigerian judiciary could be as good as the best in the world. In fact, many Nigerian judges have been deemed outstanding enough to be hired by the World Court at The Hague.

Ozodi Thomas Osuji

October 17, 2005

The next lecture, #14, is on state and local governments in Nigeria, October 18

Posted by Administrator at 12:44 PM | Comments (1)

Gen. Yakubu Gowon in Conversation with Pini Jason, Part I

by Pini Jason (Chinua Achebe Foundation) --- Gen. Yakubu Gowon had a conversation with Pini Jason a columnist for Nigeria’s Vanguard newspaper, Associate Editor of New African, London (1987-2004), author of A Familiar Road, and publisher/Editor-in-Chief of The Examiner newspaper. Mr. Jason has several years of experience in major Nigerian newspapers as well as international publications. The full interview is published in the BNW Magazine. Click here to continue reading Gen. Yakubu Gowon in Conversation with Pini Jason, Part I.

Posted by Administrator at 06:00 AM | Comments (0)

Ozodi Osuji Lectures #12: the Executive in Nigeria's Politics

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. (Seatle, Washington) --- As we saw yesterday, laws and policies are made by legislatures. These laws have to be implemented or they might as well not have been made.

Any one who knows contemporary Nigeria knows that the main issue is not laws but law enforcement. Nigeria’s 1999 constitution, on paper, is perhaps one of the best in the world. The problem is that very few persons adhere to its provisions. Nigerians make laws and public policies but seldom enforce them. Strict enforcement of the rules of law is what makes for social order.

Every society has mechanisms for law enforcement. In ancient Greece, when Athenians gathered and made laws and policies, they selected the manly part of them and charged them to enforce those laws.

Law enforcement generally involves show of force hence the manly type of person is always chosen to enforce it. Human beings, by nature, want to do their own things and left alone would be negatively affecting each other. You have to use threat of harm, coercion to get the average human being to override his apparent immediate self interest and do what is in social interest. All societies threaten to arrest and jail those who do not abide by the laws of the land to get people to obey the laws. If you baby human beings and merely talk about the need to obey the laws and do not crack a few heads when they do not obey the laws, the chances are that very few persons would obey the laws.

Law enforcement requires having police, courts, judges, jails and, yes, the hang man, the executioner waiting in the wings ready to chop off people’s heads if they transgress the law. Ignore law enforcement and you would have present Nigeria, chaos and anarchy. But round up a few thousand Nigerians and shoot them, that is, correct, kill them and the rest of them would know that you mean business. You can talk all you want about how corruption is bad, but until folks begin going to jail, people would not stop taking and giving bribes. Just talk about corruption and do not arrest most of the public officials known to have enriched themselves and chop off their heads and you would have corruption in Nigeria.

We know that corrupt persons are generally fearful and cowardly persons. The criminal may talk tough, but he is the most cowardly human being on earth. A man who sticks people up from the back or steals in the dark is a coward. Kill a few criminals and the garbage who want to live, and live for what we do not know, would beg for their useless lives and straighten up.

The problem with Nigeria is not lack of laws but inability to enforce laws in a draconian manner. That is to say that the executive branch of government in Nigeria stinks.

In traditional Igbo society, the Oha gathered and made laws and social policies. They selected a few manly men to implement the policies and punish those who disobeyed them. They selected men who were not sentimental, men who obeyed the letter of the law. Chinua Achebe captured this reality in his seminal novel, Things Fall Apart. He narrated a bone chilling incident; I am talking about the fate of the lad Ikemefuna. Another town had done something bad to a town and for reparation gave one of their children to be killed, Ikemefuna. Never mind whether it is right to kill any one, we are talking about law enforcement now. The child was kept with Okonkwo, the town’s strong man, the police type of man. The lad got emotionally attached to Okonkwo and his family. But when the town required him killed, Okonkwo did not hesitate in chopping off the lad’s head. That is what is meant by law enforcement. You do not need to like killing any one but you must nevertheless do it if you want to implement the law. You must be ready to send to jails members of your own family if they disobey the law.

And it does not matter whether the law is right or wrong. We discuss rightness and wrongness in philosophical discourse but once law is enacted it must be obeyed. Plato showed this at work when he narrated Socrates drinking poison, hemlock, willingly and dying. Socrates’ only crime was teaching proper thinking. He asked people to think in a logical manner and not just accept nonsense as the truth. As a result of getting people to think, many young persons began to question the authorities that ruled Greece. That would not be accepted. Authority must be obeyed for there to be social order. So, Socrates was perceived as a threat to law and order, was arrested, tried and condemned to death.

Now, from a philosophical point of view, Socrates did not do wrong but from a political point of view, he did generate disobedience of the law. In this regard, he was properly tried and condemned to death. He willingly obeyed the law and died. He could have insisted that he was only doing the right thing by teaching rhetoric. But he recognized that once law is made that it must be obeyed or else we would have chaos.

The only right a citizen has is to struggle to change laws, if he considers them inappropriate and unjust, but once a law is in place he is obligated to obey it, period. That is the lesson of Socrates’ death, that law, just or not, must be obeyed, after all determination of just or unjust is a subjective matter.

Laws must be obeyed or else one is arrested, tried and sent to jail, even killed, if you want a law and ordered society. Without law and order, human society is not different from animal society, wild. We are predatory savages and need law and order to humanize us. We are potential criminals and need law and its swift application to make us live in civilized society.

Man must live under law or else he is not man, an animal may be. In the Serengeti veldt, predatory animals like tigers and lions kill and eat weaker animals. That is not organized society. In organized society, the powerful do not kill and appropriate the property of the weak. The powerful must respect the weak in the commonwealth or there is no shared wealth. Law is what makes human beings who they are; without laws and obedience to laws man is not different from predatory animals like lions.

Even in heaven, what we imagine that it to is, since we have not been to it, is law and order. We imagine God making the laws of heaven and we, his children, obeying them.

According to Christianity, God is unified state and the earth is separated state. God is union and the world is separation.

Love is that which glues things together. If you want things to be unified you must glue them together with love. Thus, in heaven law is love. God demands that we obey heaven’s law. This means that God demands that we love one another, for love unifies us.

If we do not love one another, we separate from one another, and things fall apart. If we do not love one another we are punished.

Apparently, we chose not to love one another, to separate from one another, to go do our own things, to be egocentric rather than be unified and the result is that God punished us by sending us out of his unified heaven.

Our present world is a prison where God sent us for our transgression. The world is a jail where those who disobey God are sent to go serve their jail terms. The earth is hell, a place folks come to suffer because they disobeyed the law of love.

While on earth, if one remembers that ones nature is love and resolves to love ones self, love other people and to forgive those who wronged one, one has remembered the condition of heaven. One must meet the condition of heaven to return to heaven. One must obey God: love one another, to come back to God. Love is the criterion for being in God and his heaven. Union requires love to be in it.

Jesus remembered that love, that is union, is God’s law and obeyed it. He obeyed the will of God and gave up his ego’s wish to live in separation and do his own thing. Jesus loved every person; he loved his real self, which is unified spirit, and loved all persons, who are part of that unified spirit. Unified spirit is Christ, the son of God who is as his father created him, unified with his father and all his brothers.

Jesus let go the will of rebellion, hate, and accepted the will of God, love for all creation and its creator. In doing so, he overcame the world of separation and returned to the world of union, to his father. The prodigal son, Jesus, (and still all of us) gave up his willful desire to separate from his father and returned to his father.

In overcoming the ego, the desire for separation, Jesus reconciled the earth to heaven, man to God. He is subsequently the mediator between man and God, asking men to love one another so as to return home to their father, God and bringing God’s good news of love to man. Jesus teaches human beings that love is their reality and that forgivingness is the best meaning of love on earth.

Jesus is our intercessor and pleads with God to have mercy on us and welcome us back to his heaven despite our imperfection. But God does not make compromises. God is law, the law of union and love. God and heaven are always unified.

You cannot have the desire to separate from others, to go do your own thing and be in unified state.

If you desire separation, God would not stop you from doing so, for God is perfect freedom and permits his children to dream that they are separated from him. God knows that union, love is reality and that no one can separate from union, love. All that we can do is seem to do so in our dreams. To dream is not to destroy reality, but merely to delude ones self. Reality, union, remain what it is as the children of God dream that they are separated from him. They merely have an illusion of being separated from union, for, in fact, they are always in union. They are always in love while dreaming that they live in the opposite of love.

It is impossible to disobey the will of God, union, for no one can separate from union; all that one can do is pretend to be separated from God while one is always in God. God is everywhere and wherever we are we are in God. The world is a journey to nowhere, a journey without distance. Wherever we are God is and where God is his sons, us, are.

So you wish separation? God permits you to have the illusion that you are separated from him. Then you find yourself in this world, a prison of your own choice. You suffer until, like the prodigal son, you remember that union is truth and voluntarily embrace union, which is love, and love all, hence return to union, to your father, love.

On earth, to love is to forgive. The real meaning of love is forgiveness. To forgive is to overlook separation and what is done in it. To love is to forgive the mistake of thinking that separation and what is done in it is possible. You give up the illusion that you can disobey the will of God; no one can. Union, love is reality. You give up the wish for separation and return to union, love, God, heaven. In doing so, you find salvation, redemption and deliverance; you are saved from the suffering of this egoistic world.

In the last few passages, I talked metaphysics. But we are not here to talk metaphysics. We are currently in the world of separation. Here we have people who see themselves as apart from each other and have different interests and look after their interests. Each of us pursues his self interests. In doing so, as Thomas Hobbes reminds us, we have conflicts. We clash with each other. We kill each other.

To obtain some surcease from conflict, as Thomas Hobbes tells us, we formed civil society. We formed Governments to make earthly, not heavenly, laws under which we must live to have personal security and social harmony. Without laws and law abidance we revert to the state of nature and threaten each others lives and live in insecurity.

To be on earth, to be human, is to live under the law, St Paul tells us. We must have laws.

We have legislatures to make laws under which we live. Those laws must be executed, implemented for us to obtain the benefit of laws. And that brings us from the philosophical to the real, to the here and now world.

Our topic today is how does society execute the laws and policies made by the legislative arm of Government? Let us see how that is done in the human polity in general and then see how it is done or not done in Nigeria.

Nigeria began her journey of self governance by accepting to operate under the parameters of the British system of government. Let us revisit that government and see how it executes its laws. Yesterday, we talked about how Britain makes laws, now let us see how it executes its laws.

Britain has a parliamentary system of democracy. That means that parliament makes, executes and adjudicates laws. The three branches of government are in one place, parliament.

Britain has a representative democracy. The country is divided into over six hundred constituencies and each, every five years or so, elects a representative to Parliament, the House of Commons in London. The party with the largest Members of parliament, MPs, is invited by the Queen to form Her Majesty’s Government. The leaders of the party become the cabinet, with their chief becoming the Prime Minster.

The leaders, prime minister and cabinet, are supposed to be generals, literally; they are generally selected from the manly type of men, the military type, and these are military leaders, not wimpy academic, intellectual and artistic types.

Men are wild animals and it needs power to rein them in. So we need generals, the men who are willing to close their eyes, shoot and kill other men at war, to lead men.

The wining victorious army, read, political party, is given the opportunity to govern England, Albion, that fabled realm of Arthur and his knights of the round table, Camelot, that most bloodied island, that most inveterate island of killers among men. John Bull, though smiling and seeming effete and civilized, is ready to kill for king and country at any moment. The English man is ready to sacrifice his life for England. He is a truly civilized man. A civilized man must be willing to sacrifice his life for civitas, the city, and the polity that nurtured him. Without the city we are wild animals; we must, therefore, give our lives, what we value most, to our cities, polities.

The prime minister and his cabinet govern England. Each minister is assigned a ministry to supervise and use force to get the civilian civil servants to implement the law. The minister, a general commanding a division of the army, can punish civil servants who disobey the law, who fail to follow his marching orders.

What are bureaucrats but spokes in a giant well? Bureaucrats are mechanisms through which ministers implement the will of their party, which should be the will of the British people. If it gets into a bureaucrat’s head that he is an important person he is slapped down. The permanent secretary is nothing but a gloried servant doing what he is told to do by the minister. This is reality; bureaucrats are soldiers and must carry out the law to the T or punished.

We cannot have bureaucrats with personal opinions as to how things out to be, running around, creating disturbances. We hire bureaucrats as Max Weber tells us, to help us implement the law and policies made by the rulers of society in a very dispassionate and impersonal manner. We are not interested in what a bureaucrat thinks; he must just do his job, implement the law as blindly and as unsympathetically as possible.

If given the order to shoot and kill, the soldier, bureaucrat must do so or he should be shot. A disciplined army, civilian or military, carries out orders without asking questions. The Prussian army is a model of discipline and only God knows that we need that kind of iron discipline in Nigeria. Line up corrupt persons and shoot them and go drink beer after wards. Do not even think that you did something wrong. The things you shot are garbage. Get rid of garbage without feeling remorse, or guilt. Why feel remorse when feces are carried to sewage disposal? If you leave feces around you cause disease, so get rid of it, get rid of Nigeria’s present pseudo leaders, they are causing disease for the polity.

The British prime minister and his cabinet and a host of helpers enforce the laws of England through an impersonal civil service, the bureaucracy. The prime minister and his cabinet are also charged with helping to make laws and policies that they implement. Her majesty’s government, so far, is excellent in governing England.

Antisocial persons in England used to have their heads chopped off. In fact, not longer than two hundred years ago, ones head is chopped off in England for stealing a few pennies. Subsequently, criminals were shipped off to England’s colonies, America and Australia and told never to return to that fabled misty island. (May be the reason why these colonies tend to have a substantial number of antisocial personalities is because their ancestors were criminals? You never know if criminality is in people’s genes. That is no matter, we are not here engaged in sociological causal factors debate, just get rid of criminals and worry about what caused their antisocial behavior, genes or social experience. I do not care what makes men do bad things, all I know is that if they do, they ought to be punished. Draconian punishment makes for a law and ordered society.

At any time, the prime minister and his cabinet are discussing laws and policies that they think serve England’s national interests. They introduce those ideas that they think are good for England in the House of Commons, as Bills, and shepherd the Bills through the various steps they must go through before they become parliamentary Acts, hence the law of the land.

Once made law, the Cabinet gives them to the appropriate ministry to implement. The bureaucrats go to work and write regulations based on the law and implement the law. The law enforcement arm of the bureaucracy, the police is mandated to arrest and punish those who disobey the law. If you disobey the law, Bobbies arrest you and take you to court (to the old Bailey) and the somber judges protect England’s interests by putting you to jail, in a merciless manner. England is perhaps the best governed country in the world.

England gave its system of governing to Nigeria. But Nigerians went missing from governing; actually, they listened to the call of the wild and permitted their country to descend into anarchy, a lawless hell.

Nigeria is hell on earth. Everything goes. A policeman stops you on the road and asks for bribes, and you feel like putting him out of his misery by clamping his “sorry ass” into jail. He is there to enforce the law, not destroy it. Apparently, those charged with executing the law in Nigeria construe their jobs as destroying the law.

We have talked about the British form of Government; since Nigeria has seen it fit to borrow from the American system of government, let us talk a bit how law is executed in America.

In America, the executive arm of government, called the presidency, is separated from the legislative arm of government. The president is elected separated. Initially, he was elected to serve four years and there was no term limits. But George Washington served only two terms and, apparently, was exhausted and decided not to serve another term. His self imposed two term limit became sort of the law, for subsequent presidents served only two terms, not because the constitution forbade more terms but because of following custom.

In 1932, Franklyn Delano Roosevelt was elected president. He ran for four times and was reelected each time. He died in office in 1945. (Who knows whether he might have served for life, president for life, aka king?)

The Republicans introduced a Bill and eventually amended the constitution and made two terms the limit on how long a person can serve in the office of the presidency, the elected king of America.

The Constitution of the United States carefully delineated what the president can or cannot do. It is Congress that is given the responsibility of making laws and raising money. It is the Supreme Court that is given the responsibility of adjudicating the laws of the land.

The president was given the responsibility of executing the laws made by Congress, and spending the money appropriated by Congress. The president was also made the commander in chief of the armed forces of America. He appoints ambassadors and Supreme Court members. Simply stated, the president executives the laws of the land, he is the chief executive officer of these United States of America.

In actual fact, the president is not only the chief executor but also the chief legislator and chef appropriator of money. Bills that eventually pass Congress and become law are mostly those that emanate from the executive branch of government. The typical Congress man may serve twenty years in the House and have not seen one Bill become law; his real job is to amend the Bills introduced by the president. As we saw last year, during the presidential election, John Kerry had been in Congress for twenty years and in all that time had not succeeded in getting a Bill become law. This is not for lack of trying, but because, in real politics, it is mostly the president’s Bill that stand the chance of becoming law.

The president is the chief legislator of the land. This is the ugly truth. But truth must be stated, any way.

The president is also the chief appropriator of funds for running the government. The president decides how much taxes he wants to levy on the people, or whether to reduce their taxes. His decision, if passed by Congress, becomes the law and people are levied appropriately. In effect, whereas the constitution says that only Congress shall appropriate money to run the government, in reality, the president does so.

The president appoints members of the Supreme Court. George Bush just appointed a member of his upper class, John Roberts, to become the chief justice of the land, and, as if that was not bad enough, has nominated his personal attorney, Harriet Meirs, to become an associate justice of the Supreme Court. This sixty year old woman has not written any legal opinion, assuming that she can write at all, and yet she is going to sit on the highest court of the land.

What is the point? It is that the president is a very powerful man, indeed. He makes most of the laws of the land, he adjudicates most of the laws through his judicial appointments and he executes the laws. That makes him king, the most powerful king in the world. Richard Nixon nearly turned that symbolic fact into reality when he tried to subvert the constitution and turned his office into an imperial presidency.

The American president is the most powerful man on earth. George Bush decides to remove Saddam Hussein from office, right or wrong, and it is done. If he decides to remove Obasanjo from office, the useless imp would be gone from Aso Rock tomorrow. All that Bush needs to do is give a signal to his CIA operatives in Nigeria and they go to work in Nigeria. Given Nigerians fickleness, their readiness to be bought, just give a few military officers a few dollars and off Obasanjo’s head goes.

This is the real world. Don’t cry for me, Argentina. Accept the world as it; it is a slaughter house and a bedlam. Like men, we must toughen our hearts and do what we have to do to survive in this impersonal world. Please do not go emotional on us. No sentimentalities accepted, certainly, not in governing men.

Nigeria accepted the American form of government and today the Nigerian president does what the American president does. He rules Nigeria like a king. The man even fancies himself ruling a wealthy polity, as the American king does, and bought himself a private plane to match the American king’s plane. Imagine the head of state of a banana republic jetting around the world in a Boeing jet while his country men make a dollar a day. That is how powerful Obasanjo fancies himself to be in his upside down world. The man couldn’t wait to industrialize his country before he begins living like a king, as America did, but dives right in and enjoys the amenities fit for a king.

This is very sad, very, very sad, indeed. A president that ought to be staying put in Nigeria, working his heart out trying to develop his country is all over the world masquerading as a very important president. See, the semi illiterate, high school drop out, soldier boy cannot even speak in the English language. He is a big, fat clown, a nothing pretending to be something.

You are somebody if your economy is thriving, not if you have fifty percent unemployment. Obasano belongs in jail not in the presidency.

In the new political dispensation, the president supposedly implements the laws and policies made by the National Assembly. In fact, he is the one whose Bills are likely to pass out from the National Assembly and become law. But since he has no vision, no clue as to what he wants to do for Nigeria, very little Bills ever come out of the National Assembly as the laws of the land.

I cannot remember any thing the man has done for the country. I honestly cannot lay my hand on a policy he has initiated and seen from inception to implementation. This manikin is a disgrace to humanity.

Oh, I can remember something that the man does well. He and his cronies at Abuja enacted laws making themselves the sole owners of all resources in the land. Since currently Nigeria’s government is financed for well over 90% by oil revenue, the man and his goon squad go to oil producing states, mostly in the south, and appropriate that oil and sell it to the West, mostly to America. They keep most of the oil money in America and Europe. Most of that money goes into their personal bank accounts.

(This man has not paved one single road in my state, Imo, not one single road has been paved since the 1960s. This is what we are dealing with here, do nothing apes in government.)

Whatever oil revenue they bring back to Nigeria, the president and the governors share among themselves. It is called federal revenue sharing. The president is supposed to use the federal share of that money to do federal work. The governors are supposed to use their states shares to do work in their states. But, in fact, what happens is that the governors go home and personalize a substantial part of their states shares, then share what is left of it with the chair persons of their various local government areas.

Each takes his share of the loot from the lootocracy and banks it overseas. Nothing is ever done to improve the lives of ordinary Nigerians. Schools are so run down that students have to bring their own desks and chairs to school and teachers have to buy their own chalk. Teachers sometimes go months without being paid. Of course money had been appropriated to pay them but the governors must first invest it and make some profits from the stock exchange before they bother paying those responsible for raising our next generation. Teachers are probably the most important persons in society, they help civilize us; they ought to be priority in payments. But we are talking hell on earth, Nigeria, not human society.

I will be very frank with you. I do not hide my feelings. I want the leaders of Nigeria arrested and shot. It is as simple as that. These people’s blood must be used to water Nigeria’s tree of liberty. There is no two ways of going about it. I want to see blood flow. I mean rivers of blood, not just a little blood. Joseph Stalin where are you when I need you most. I want at least a million Nigerian crooks jailed, now, not tomorrow.

Nigerian leaders are beyond contempt, they are despicable. They have brought us shame and must go. Instead of making us proud they make us ashamed to be Nigerians.

You see, first, the world thinks that black men are unintelligent. Indeed, some suspect that we are born with criminal genes and are all thieves. Our leaders insist on validating the speculations of white racists that black men are born with criminal genes in them. They turn themselves into criminals and all they do is steal and steal some more. They import lace clothes from India; they cannot even manufacture it in Nigeria, and bedeck their useless bodies in them. (I just feel like getting my hands on those bloated bodies of theirs).

These criminals are not even as good as dogs; at least dogs give their owners friendship. I generally do not want to be in the same room with them; they make me want to vomit. Literally, my stomach turns if I see a Nigerian governor. They are garbage, scoop them to the garbage dump, I say.

We need a revolution in Nigeria. Remember the French revolution of 1789? We need the reign of the Jacobeans to mercilessness go after these idiots. Robespierre where are you, we need you in Nigeria.

The idiots governing Nigerian do not even have the presence of mind to change their country’s name. Frederick Lugard’s girl friend gave them the name of Nigeria. A white woman named their country, Nigeria. What did she mean? Niger river area? What is Niger River derived from? Nigger. So properly put Nigeria means nigger area or niggerland. So why not change that insulting name to some thing more appropriate, say an African name. I do not care what African name we choose, as long as it is African. I have a suggestion. The Igbos call human beings Manu; they call land, Ala, so why not call Africa Alamanu, people’s land, a place where human beings live?

What is the matter with Africans any way? Why can’t they do such simple things as change their name? Why have names given to them by Europeans? Africa is given to them by the Romans, from Latin Aferi, black, hence Africa is land of black people. Must we always be defined by our color? Arabs call us Sudan, the land of black people for in Arabic el sud is black.

We call ourselves people, so our land should be people’s land, Alamanu. Actually, I do not care from what African tribe’s language we derive a name for Africa, as long as it is of African origin that is fine with me. But for Christ’s sake do not call me by A European name. I have always refused to be called a Nigerian. I say that I am from Alaigbo, which is from Alamanu. (Do you have better ideas? If so, let us hear them.)

The executive organ of government in Nigeria. What executive are we talking about? No one executives the law in Nigeria. As observed, the so-called executives gather and share the national treasury and go partying overseas. But in as much as this is a lecture on political science, let me grudgingly provide the executive structure in that woeful land called Nigeria.

At the central level is the president. He is supposed to be the American styled chief executive officer of the republic. But as we all know, he is almost always outside the country, in the West, doing only what God knows. We essentially do not have a president in reality. We have an absentee president.

Nigeria is currently divided into thirty six states. Every politician wants to turn his town into a state, so that he may qualify to share in the federal looted money. (Nigeria should not be more than twenty states, each state composed of a major ethnic group, Hausa state, Yoruba state, Igbo state, Edo state, Ijaw state, Efik state, Tivi state and so on. Each state should have 100% control of its resources and then pay taxes to the federal government, as is done in the United States of America. I have outlined my idea of a realistic federation for Nigeria in a different paper.)

The structure of government at the center is replicated at the periphery. Thus, at the state we have a legislature and a governor and state judiciary. The governor is the chief executive officer. He is supposed to implement the laws of the state and initiate policies and implement them. He does what the president does except that the president is in charge of foreign policy and is the commander in thief of the armed forces.

State governors neglect their jobs and for all intents and purposes are not the chief executives of their sates. I call them the chief thieving officers of their states. They belong to the guillotine rather than the governor’s mansions. I would not even dignify any of these rogues by mentioning their damned names. To me, they do not exist, except as garbage to be removed.

The states are divided into local government areas. The LGA are equivalent to American counties. As in America, they have county councils and county executives. They are called by different names but their functions are supposed to be the same. The council is the legislature; the chair person is the executive. The chair person is supposed to implement the laws and policies made by the council. He is supposed to head the county bureaucracy and use it to enforce the law. But, in fact, he uses the bureaucrats to destroy the laws of his county area.

Local government areas are composed of several towns. The towns are supposed to govern themselves through town councils and mayors (in big cities). Again, these people are not there to do their jobs but to enrich themselves and we do not need to bother with them.

There you have it. I have given you a brief summary of the present political structure of Nigeria. On paper, it is like what obtains in the United States of America, but in reality what exists in Nigeria is chaos and anarchy. The executives exist to pillage the country.

As I see it, our leaders are modern versions of African slave sellers. These people are like our ancestors who sold our brothers and sisters into slavery. Instead of physically selling us, they are doing so indirectly. They do so by not caring for us. They take the resources that could have gone into developing our world and use them on themselves; they cart our money to the West and leave the rest of us starving.

The Nigerian, in fact, the African, is the world’s most self centered human being alive. The African is callous beyond belief. He eats and sees his brothers starving and does not care. If there is such a thing as the devil it is an African. Africans are evil through and through. A people who sold their children into slavery are evil people. Indeed, instead of taking responsibility for their evil past they deny it and blame only the white man for his own evil part in slavery. True, it takes two to tango. Whites were available to buy slaves but we sold them the slaves, so both of us are equally implicated in the iniquitous trafficking in human misery.

I am really not interested in the white man. He will have to make peace with his maker. I am interested in the role played by my people, Africans. I want Africans to take responsibility for their part in the crime against humanity called slavery. It is only if they accept their criminal past, regret it, make amends for it, that they can change in the present and start caring for their people. As long as they remain like children and are always blaming others for their behaviors they aren’t going to change.

When I see a Nigerian, I see a big child, for I see a person who does not take responsibility for his behaviors. I see a person who always blames others for his fate. I see politicians who are no different from highway robbers robbing the country and yet having the audacity to blame the white man for their people’s poverty. I am not naïve; I know that the Whiteman is screwing us Africans. But what hurts most is being screwed by my own people.

We shall obviously deal with Europe, by and by. Europe must pay reparation for slavery. You cannot use someone’s labor to develop your land and pretend that no wrong was done. But reparation is not for Africans, for we are partners in the crime of slavery. Reparation is to be paid to black Americans. Africans, too, must pay reparations to black Americans. As I pointed out elsewhere, all black African countries, and I do not care how poor they are, must give 1% of their annual GDP to black Americans, for a generation, at least 35 years. This is the least we could do to appease the “gods”, our conscience, for our past criminal behaviors. Until we make this amend and ask our black American cousins to forgive us, I believe that Africa is going nowhere, developmentally. Just thinking about what our people did: sell our brothers sand sisters makes me ashamed to be an African.


The current political dispensation in Nigeria is based on the American model. If you have understated the American executive structure you would have understood how the system is supposed to work in Nigeria. But in Nigeria, it is not working out as planned because of Nigerians perversion of every thing that they lay their thieving hands on.

As we shall see when we discuss the bureaucracy, the Nigerian instrument for implementing public policy is a mix of British and American systems. Thus, in the various ministries we still have permanent secretaries and their subordinates running the show. In America, we do not have permanent secretaries, we have disposable secretaries, hence people who work hard to keep their jobs.

Nigeria needs total overhaul, not minor one, but total one. Until then, we must continue talking about what is wrong with Nigeria, or as Achebe put it in a salient pamphlet, “The trouble with Nigeria”.

The trouble with Nigeria is corruption. You cannot have a country of corrupt people having an efficient government. That is impossible. Criminals are not known for law and order, but for chaos and anarchy.

Ozodi Thomas Osuji

October 16, 2005

Next lecture, #13, the Judiciary in Nigeria, October 18

Posted by Administrator at 05:14 AM | Comments (0)

October 16, 2005

Potomac Mansions: Finance Minister Explodes

by Jonathan Elendu --- On the afternoon of October 14, 2005, I got a call from one Chi-Chi Okonjo. I didn’t know anybody by that name but I took the call anyway. Chi-Chi told me he called to express his displeasure with our story entitled, “Bayelsa Governor’s Modest Mansion in Potomac.” He is upset particularly because we published the Potomac home address of his sister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s Finance Minister.

He stated in very clear terms that we had no business publishing the home address of the Minister as that would put her family in danger. Chi-Chi Okonjo also questioned my humanity and sense of decency.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

After shouting at me for a while, I asked Chi-Chi Okonjo what he wanted from me. “I demand that you take my sister’s home address off your story. I am going to put her on the phone and I want you to apologize to her.” “Is that all?” I asked. “No,” he responded. “I sent you an email; read it,” he said. “Ok…I will read your email. If you are so aggrieved with our story why don’t you write a rejoinder and we’ll publish it,” I enjoined.

Chi-Chi whose anger had been simmering now exploded: “I am a writer like you. I have written articles. This is irresponsible of you. Why are you doing this? This woman has been threatened by a lot of people because of the work she is doing for Nigeria,” he yelled. The man was obviously angry and Sowore and I had been discussing a few details of an investigation we were doing. I wanted to get him off the phone as quickly as possible.

“Mr. Okonjo, I don’t know if screaming at me makes you feel good. If it does, I’m glad to be of service. As to your demands, taking down our story or deleting any part of it is not going to happen. Apologizing to your sister is also not going to happen. But we’ll publish any rejoinder you send,” I said to him. “I challenge you to publish my email. Let me see if you can take criticism,” he fumed. At this point I laughed. “Chi-Chi, I am criticized everyday. It goes with the territory. But let me say this, I did not mean to put your sister’s family in danger. Sowore and I would not do that. We did not know there are kids in that house…” He cut in, “You guys don’t know the seriousness of what you have done. Here, Dora Akunyuli is here. I can put her on the phone and you talk with her!” This was getting out of hand. “Chi-Chi, I don’t have need to talk with Ms. Akunyuli. If you feel good screaming at me, that’s fine but I still don’t know what you want. I can understand you being upset because you think your sister have been endangered. I probably would feel the same way but there’s nothing I can do,” I said. “I challenge you to publish my email and give it the same level of publicity like your article.”

Twenty minutes after my conversation with Chi-Chi Okonjo, we published his email to us. Not long after that somebody called and asked me to hold for the Minister of Finance. A female voice came on: “This is the Minister of Finance. Are you Mr. Elendu?” she asked. “Yes, Madam Minister, this is Elendu Reports,” I replied. That was the last thing I said for about fifteen minutes. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Minister of Finance, Federal Republic of Nigeria started a tirade. She accused our magazine of endangering the lives of her family, especially her children. “What kind of a human being are you?…How could you put my children’s lives in danger like this?…Are you not a father, and even if you are not, will you not have children someday?” she screamed at me. I tried to put in a word, but she would have none of it. “I am all alone here in Abuja. My husband and children are there. If anything happens to them you will see…I will hold you responsible,” she threatened.

“Madam Minister, are you threatening me?” I inquired. “Threatening with what?…Threatening you for what?…Who are you?” she screamed. The tirade continued: “I have been in Washington for twenty-one years. If I didn’t have a house people will wonder. Why didn’t you tell them that I didn’t steal money to buy the house? Don’t you have the records? My house was built eleven years ago?” she thundered.

“Madam, Minister, may I speak?” I asked. “Speak for what? I’m not here to talk with you. Is this a negotiation? You have done the damage, the least you can do is tell people when the house was acquired. I would understand if I acquired the house inappropriately. I can’t believe a Nigerian can be so cruel. Are you not a Nigerian? Are you not a human being? How can you have the heart to do this?” she screamed.

“Madam Minister, it appears you called me for a one-sided conversation…” She cut me off. The tongue lashing continued, “What am I going to hear from you? No Nigerian supports what you did. Look at the names of the other people you mentioned there. How can you lump me with those people?” she queried.

That’s it. I had enough! “Madam Minister, I resent you calling my office to scream at me! The truth is that we would not intentionally endanger your family. We did not know there were young children in that house…after all the same address is listed as the office of one of your organizations!” I said. “Eh…it is public information. Everybody knows that. Anybody with access to a computer can find that out. I am a public official. You can criticize me. My skin is thick enough,” she fumed.

“Dr. Okonjo-Iweala, the story in question is not about you. We were not trying to impugn your integrity. It wasn’t a criticism of you. We reported facts as we saw them. I can boldly say that I am neither pro, nor anti-government. I am just a reporter. I take no sides. If we wanted to impugn your integrity we could have done so. This magazine has a reputation of not knowing any sacred cows,” I said.

“I don’t care!” the Minister returned. “Criticize me if you want. What are you telling me here…who are you? Anyone can drive up to my house and get into my house…instead of you to say, “honorable Minister, I am sorry…I did not know you have children in the house”…you are here arguing with me!” She hung up the phone.

This was the second time the line had cut or she hung up on me. Twice in one day, I thought, the Okonjos have screamed at me. What a day! I turned to my computer and typed: “Ngozi Okonjo Iweala” into one of the browsers we use for investigations.


Posted by Administrator at 04:56 AM | Comments (2)

Ozodi Osuji Lectures #11: the Legislative Process in Nigeria

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. (Seatle, Washington) --- It is difficult to ascertain when legislatures came into being. I suppose that the difficulty lies in defining what is meant by legislature. In ancient Greece, the people of Athens gathered at the Acropolis, discussed matters affecting Athens and voted on them. Was such behavior legislative? In Igbo land, the entire male citizens above age fifteen gathered at the village square as Oha, Amala and discussed matters affecting the village and voted on what to do. Was such practice legislative? These were probably legislative behaviors except that they are not quite what we mean today when we think of formalized legislative process.

In 1066 AD, Norman Frenchmen invaded England at the famous battle of Hastings. The French defeated the English army and subsequently began French rule of England. The French Duke of Normandy, William the Conqueror, became the King of England. He appointed his lieutenants the dukes, earls, counts, marquis etc of England. These folks, the Plantagenet, more or less, still constitute the English aristocracy in the present. Since the aristocracy in France itself are of German (Franks) and Scandinavian origin, the English aristocracy has Germanic origin.

The emergent kings of England had a tendency to claim a right to participate in French politics after all they came from France. If the monarchy in Paris was vacant, the English King, himself a French man, would vie for it. Failing to get it he could go to war with his cousins ruling France for the right to rule France. Thus England and France had numerous wars.

The English kings spent the treasury dry fighting wars with France. During one such war, the king of England, John, had less money to prosecute his foreign ambitions and called together his dukes, earls, counts etc to a council. His intention was to get them to support the war and puny up with the money to fight it. The Lords managed to get the king to sign a contract with them to henceforth consult them before he makes decisions involving spending of money. This was the famous Magna Carter of 1215. This date is deemed the origin of the English Parliament (the word parliament is French for council, those making legislative decision in a community).

Subsequently, the Lords met and advised their king on assorted array of issues. It came to pass that when the Lords met to advise the king, they were said to meet in Parliament. In the English world which, ip so facto, Nigeria is a part of, Parliament began in 1215?

The King did not have to accept the advice of the Lords but it was a good start to have a belief that the king needed others input in the making of laws and policies affecting his realm.

Subsequent developments in England led to the rise of the House of Commons. We shall not recount English history here but suffice it to say that the House arose to accommodate non-hereditary aristocrats who were by now becoming important in English economy. Gradually, the House of Commons displaced the House of Lords as the main policy making body in England.

Today, the House of Commons rules England. The House of Lords is essentially ceremonial and has no real power. The House of Commons makes decisions, send them to the House of Lords for input and may or may not accept the input of the House of Lords and sends its decisions to the Queen who is obligated to sign the decision into a parliamentary Act. In effect, the Queen is as ceremonial and nominal as the House of Lords.

England is now ruled by the people, not by the king and his Lords. The King and his Lords, apparently, are retained for historical purposes and otherwise are irrelevant in contemporary English politics. Indeed, the present British Prime Minister, Tony Blair has reformed the House of Lords and gotten rid of hereditary peers. Henceforth, only life peers, those the prime minister recommended and the queen honored can serve in the House of Lords; and do so during their lives but cannot pass such privileges to their children. Again, the House of Lords can only advice the House of Commons, but are not a co-policy making body with the House of Commons.

England established effective control of Nigeria in 1914. She bequeathed to Nigeria her parliamentary form of government.

The first republic of Nigeria was parliamentary. In understanding how the English made laws, we understand how laws were supposed to be made in the first era self governing Nigeria.

In the British Parliamentary system, elections are held. Many parties contest elections. At the end, votes are counted and whichever party wins the majority is invited by the Queen to form Her Majesty’s next Government. In England of today there are many parties but only two are relevant in real political discourse: the Labor party and the Conservative Party (we might also mention the Liberal party and the Social Democratic party). English governments are these days formed by either Labor or Tory (Conservatives).

The leader of the winning party becomes the Prime Minister. His lieutenants assume the posts that they had been shadow ministers of when they were in opposition.

The Prime Minister and his cabinet essentially rule England. Each minister is given a ministry to supervise. In real life, the permanent secretary of a ministry, a civil servant, rules his ministry, but in political terms, the “perm-sec” merely advises the political minister, and the later is supposed to be the one who makes decisions regarding his ministry. The minister, in turn, works with his fellow cabinet members and the prime minister in making the decisions affecting the Realm.

Legislation in the House of Common goes like this. The prime minister and his cabinet introduce most of the Bills that are discussed and eventually become law. But on paper, all members of Parliament are entitled to introduce their ideas of what policy they want enacted into law. The Bill is handed to the Speaker of the House. The Speaker gives it to the civil servant clerk of the House to read. It is then routed to a parliamentary committee where it is studied, debated and hearings held. Ultimately, amendments are made to the Bill. Then the committee votes on it and if it passes it is routed to the Full House for further debate. If the entire House approves it by a simple majority, it is sent to the House of Lords for further debate and voting. As noted, the opinion of the Lords is not binding, for if the Lords reject the Bill, the prime minister can still submit it to the Queen for her signature (assent) anyway. The Queen must sign the Bill, she has no choice in the matter for she does not rule England and cannot reject the people’s will. When she signs it, it becomes a Parliamentary Act, part of the statutory law of the Land.

(Unlike the United States that has a written constitution Britain does not have a written constitution so her laws are essentially an accumulation of parliamentary Acts and the rulings of judges. Britain is a Common Law country. I should say that unlike the United States, there is no Supreme Court in Britain. The highest court in the land is the Privy Council, a committee of the House of Lords. This council acts as the final court of appeal in England.)

The above is a brief summary of how laws are made in Britain. It seems very simple but the devil lies in the details. For our present purposes, the relevant point is that Nigeria inherited the British parliamentary democracy system and for the first six years of her independence attempted to practice that mode of making laws and public policies.

It appears that the first Nigerian republic learnt well from Britain and from all available evidence was initially well behaved. The then Nigerian MP, apparently, was as good as the English MP. Then Nigerians listened to the call of the jungle and embraced lawlessness.

In 1966, the military intervened in Nigerian politics and scattered the politicians who by then had redefined their function as that of being thieves stealing from Nigeria’s treasury rather than leaders managing the Nigerian economy. (I must confess that one of the greatest joys of my life is sitting in the galleries watching British Parliamentary debates, particularly watching cabinet ministers and the Prime Minister Answer questions. Their mastery of the English language and knowledge of facts and figures on every facet of British life is something that one wished that Nigerian leaders had. The typical Nigerian politician would not know such a simple data as how many students are in Nigeria secondary schools, how many passed the O. L last year etc. But the British Prime Minister, on the spot, would give you data on most aspects of British life. That is real governance.)

Nigeria was ruled by the military from 1966 to 1979. During that time, the military ruling council, composed of the head of state, the military upstart that took over the government, and his appointed cabinet made decisions that governed the entire country.

At the state level, the military governor, appointed by the head honcho military leader at the center, and his cabinet made decisions that governed the state.

In 1979, the then military leader, Olusegun Obasanjo decided to hand power to a civilian government. Before doing so, he wrote a spanking new constitution for Nigeria. He embraced the American presidential system of government and discarded the British parliamentary system.

Shehu Shagari was elected the first executive President of Nigeria and governed until 1984 when the military returned to power. The military, playing musical chairs among them selves, governed Nigeria until 1999. In 1999 the last military strong man Abdul Salami handed the government to a civilian elected president, a former military leader of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo.

The 1999 constitution bequeathed to the nation by Mr. Salami is American styled presidential system. It is doubtful that this constitution is legitimate? A constitution is a set of rules that the people accept as how they want to play their political game. It is legitimate only if the people themselves wrote it, or wrote it through their elected representatives. In as much as the 1999 constitution was not written by the people, even if it is good on paper, it does not represent the people’s wishes and, therefore, strictly speaking, is illegal. Shall we then say that the present political dispensation in Nigerian is illegal? In as much as they rule under a constitution that was not written by the people they are not ruling, as Jean Jacque Rousseau would say, by the people’s general will.

That not withstanding let us briefly see what this Yankee constitution demands of legislators in Nigeria.

Whereas in the British Parliament the three branches of government: legislative, executive and judicial are fused and are in Parliament, the American system of government separates the three branches of government.

Charles Montesquieu had recommended the separation of powers to avoid tyranny and the Americans listened to him and structured their government accordingly. Thus, the three branches of governing are separated and are in fact required to compete with each other; they are supposed to be in adversarial relationship. The idea is that their in-fighting would prevent one person from becoming too powerful, prevent tyranny and, that way protects democracy and liberty. The legislature is supposed to check the president , the president the legislature and the judiciary is supposed to make sure that all play by the rules of the game and punish whoever does not do so. (John Marshall, the first Chief Justice of America managed to extend the role of the judiciary by adding judicial review to it, even though the constitution did not specify that it do so.)

In America, Congress is parliament. Congress is composed of two houses, the House of Representatives and the Senate. Members of the lower House (Representatives) serve two years, members of the upper House (Senate) serve six years.

America is divided into 435 Congressional districts and each elects a Congressman to Congress every two years. The upper House, the Senate has each state electing two senators to the Senate every six years.

(As you know, there are differences in the population of American states and you wonder why large and small ones should have the same number oaf senators? California, the largest state in the union, has 35 million people. Alaska, although geographically the largest state in the country, has only 635,000 people. Yet each state has two Senators. Alaska has just one Congressman while California has 54. This is because representation in the lower house, more or less, is based on population; each representative represents approximately 500,000 Americans. Smaller states can have one representative, as Alaska and others do. The idea is to make the lower house democratic and the upper house aristocratic. The lower house represents the people and the upper house represents vested interests in the country. Moreover, the equal representation of the states in the Senate is a way of saying that all states are equal despite their population differences. It remains to be seen whether this structure is democratic or not, but we are not talking about American democracy but Nigerian’. We only referred to America for Nigeria has seen it fit to copy America’s system of democracy, a very problematic democracy itself. In America, the powerful and the rich rule the land. It costs millions of dollars to elect Congressman so that only the rich can run for political office. America is ruled by the rich, making what obtains in America either an aristocracy of money or Oligarchy, but strictly speaking, not a participatory democracy. Indeed, 50% of Americans don’t even bother going to the polls to vote on Election Day.)

In the American system, the House of Representative has 435 members, and the Senate has 100 members. Both Houses follow similar parliamentary procedures. The lower House is headed by the Speaker and the upper House is headed by a President (who is always the vice president of America…he is not always there in the Senate, so the senate generally has a president Pro Tem during its discussions; if there is a tie in votes, the vice president is shipped in to break the tie in favor of the president.)

Laws are made in America pretty much as they are made in Britain. Theoretically, each member of Congress can introduce a Bill but only Bills introduced by the administration and or powerful members of the House are likely to be acted on. A member writes a Bill, that is, writes on paper what he wants to see become law, or policy; he does so in the accepted legalistic format; there is a department of Congress that helps members draft their Bills in legal jargon. The Bill is handed to Mr. Speaker, if in the lower house, or to Mr. President, if in the upper house.

The Speaker/President reads the Bill to the House. Actually, his clerk reads it, usually to an empty House since members are not obligated to hear it. The Speaker/President then routes the Bill to the Committee that he thinks should handle the matter.

Congress has many Standing committees and Ad hoc committees. Standing committees tend to correspond with government departments, such as defense committee (overseeing defense matters), judiciary committee (supervising judicial matters, appropriation committee (supervising financial matters), international relations committee (supervising international relations matters etc). Ad hoc committees are set up to deal with temporary issues and end when the issues are resolved. Each committee is further divided into sub-committees, to deal with specific issues.

Each committee is composed of about 19 members. Generally, the committee is divided among the two parties, Republicans and Democrats. It is divided according to their representation in Congress. At the present, the Republicans have a slight edge over Democrats, so they generally have about two more members in each committee and have its powerful chair persons. Thus, there would be 11 republicans and 8 democrats in each committee, with the chair a republican.

(For decades, democrats ruled Congress before the Republicans took over control of it in the 1990s. It looks like the Republicans are going to be in control of Congress, Presidency and Judiciary for a long time to come. Why? It seems that the democrats have marginalized themselves; they have managed to alienate ordinary Americans by championing such absurd policies as homosexuality, abortion on demand, and other idiotic liberal courses that destroy the social fabric rather than strengthen the nation.)

A Bill comes to the committee and the committee chair decides when to hold public hearing on it. In the meantime, he sets his civil service staff to study it, particularly to cost it out; that is, show the financial aspect of the Bill, figure out what the proposed bill would cost the tax payers. If you want to give the entire country medical coverage, how much would it cost to do so and where would we obtain the funds to pay for it? Bureaucrats come up with these figures for the chair. It might take these bureaucrats many years to obtain the required information.

The chair then decides what to do with the Bill, and if he judges it frivolous, kills it by not wasting time on it by having public hearing on it. If he decides that it warrants public hearing, he sets a date for such hearing and publicizes it in Congressional reporter (journal).

All American citizens who wish to testify, for or against the bill, have the right to call and ask to come and testify. In reality, it is mostly interest groups that have the ability, information and other resources who come and testify.

On the scheduled day, folks come and testify for and against a Bill. The testimonies may last weeks, months or forever. When hearings are done, and amendments are made to reflect the consensus of the committee members desires…it is at the committee that real politics takes place, Bills are changed, amended to obtain other members support…Bills are bargained, trade offs made, and compromises reached, this is real politics stuff, not idealistic politics…. the chair then calls for vote.

If members approve the Bill by a simple majority, it goes to the Full House. But before the vote, party leaders, through their whips make sure that their party members on the committee vote as the party requires them to vote. Whereas each member has a right to vote independently, a member who ignores the party’s wishes may not be reelected come the next election. Indeed, the party leadership might marginalize him and get him out of the loop, the backdoors where real decisions are made, not in public hearings where members grandstand for the press and public.

If the Bill passes committee it goes back to the Speaker who decides when to have the full House debate it and after debates (here further amendments are made to the Bill) a vote is called for. Again, party leaders remind members how they are expected to vote on the Bill. If it passes the entire house and passes the other house (Bills are introduced in the two houses concurrently, if it originates in one house, the person introducing it must find some one in the other chamber to introduce it in the other house), the two leaders of Congress, the Speaker and President pro-tem, appoint a conference committee to reconcile whatever differences there are in the two Houses approved versions of the Bill. Then the final version is voted on again and approved by the two Houses.

I must add that the Senate has an added procedure that the lower house does not have, filibuster. Here, a Senator can talk for however long he wants to on an issue and thereby prevent bringing the Bill to a vote. He represents a sovereign state and no one can ask him to stop speaking if he decides to talk. He could bring a novel and read it aloud to the House. He may talk for days, weeks and years. Whenever the Bill is brought up, he takes the floor and talks his heart out and takes up the entire time scheduled for the Bill hence prevent voting on it.

Senate Procedural rules stipulate that a Bill will not be voted on until all senators have talked all they want on it. In the past, Southern Senators used to use this mechanism to kill voting on any civil rights Bill. That way, they did nothing to end segregation.

Frustrated, blacks bypassed Congress and went to the judiciary for help. The 1954 Supreme Court landmark ruling on Brown versus Topeka, Kansas School Board, in effect, ended segregation in schools. Congress had refused to integrate schools and the NAACP had to use the court system to change the Jim Crow laws of the land.

Using the Court in this manner is a double edged sword, for all kinds of radicals now use the Court to legislate their views into law, rather than have the people’s representatives do the law making. Thus, judicial activist judges in either the right or left use the Bench to make laws, rather than construe the constitution strictly. The Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe versus Wade made abortion legal even though a majority of Americans oppose abortion on demand; the courts are on the curve of making homosexuality legal.)

If the conference committee reconciles the differences in the Bill, it goes to the President to sign it. If he signs it, it becomes the law; if he refuses to sign it, veto it, it dies. If it is vetoed, Congress can revote on it and if two thirds vote for it, it overrides the President’s veto. No party has two-thirds majority in Congress so it is near impossible to override the president’s veto.

The above is pretty much how laws are made in America, be it at the national, state or local level. At the state level, the state legislature follows the same procedures and when a Bill is passed goes to the governor for his signature or veto. Governor Arnold Schwasenegger just vetoed a California Bill that would have made homosexuality legal in that state. At the county and city levels, the same process is followed. The County council is the legislative body and the County Executive is the executive arm of government. At the city level, the city council is the legislative body and the mayor is the executive. The same process is followed in making laws at the local level as at the state and central levels.

As we pointed out in our lecture on interest groups, laws in America are made by a confluence of parties including the President, Congressional committees (particularly the chairperson), top bureaucrats and interest groups. Some argue that in fact interest groups rule America. Socialist scholars tend to argue that America is ruled by elite of powerful interest groups. There is some merit to their views but as I pointed out before, it seems that America is a pluralistic democracy and many groups affect law and public policy.

What is self evident is that the rich and powerful have more access to influencing Congress than the poor. African Americans, who are generally poor, have little or no influence on legislation. (In Louisiana, the average black makes less than $1000 a month, an amount not even good enough to for renting a good apartment.) Blacks are poor and do not affect public policy. Until last year, there was not even one black man in the Senate. Barrack Osama, whose father is from Kenya, was elected Senator from Illinois.

It is simply self-evident that whites rule America and that blacks are marginalized. But this is real politics and one is not being sentimental about reality. It is for blacks to get their acts together and figure out a way to play an effective role in the governing of America. Consider that at present all Western Europeans can come to America without visas. But Africans are required to have visas, which they seldom obtain, to come to America. The result is that America preserves its European majority. Why not encourage more Africans to come to America and that way reduce the domination of whites over blacks? Politics is war by other means, so Africans must fight their war to make themselves given the same opportunities, as others are given. In war as in politics people do not get what they want without struggling for it.


I took the trouble to describe how laws are made in Britain and America because Nigeria’s legislature is supposedly patterned after them. If you have understood what I described above, you have an idea of how laws are supposed to be made in Nigeria.

Let us recapitulate the legislative process in Nigeria. The 1999 constitution gives Nigeria a bicameral legislature: a lower house and an upper house, a National Assembly and a Senate. As in the U.S, the lower house is elected democratically (supposedly) and the Senate is elected on equal basis, each state sending five senators to Abuja.

The legislative process in both houses is supposed to work as in America. When the new political dispensation began, Nigerian legislators came to America to understudy how Congress works. They went home and, as expected, “Nigerianized” the new system. What does it mean to be a Nigerian?

To be a Nigerian is to have the genius for figuring out ways to steal. So the Nigerian National Assembly is nothing but an outfit for figuring out a way to rob the country.

Bills are introduced in the house and sent to the respective committees. The chair of each committee is supposed to study the Bill and have public hearings. Here, the real Nigerian rises to the occasion.

Those who introduced a Bill usually go to work and bribe the committee members…if not the Bill dies. Even government ministers, as testified by Mr. Fabian Osuji, the former minister of education, (my cousin, Fabian Osuji, the real Fabian Osuji, I hope that you read this lecture) have to bride the committee chairs to see policies introduced by their ministries voted on. If you have money to bribe someone your bill sees the light of day, voted on and passed.

If you have the money to bribe the executive branch of government, at least, those working there, if not the president himself (?) the president signs it into law. The chances are that the president would not be shown the Bill unless some one bribes the lower echelon persons working for him.

It takes bribery to even obtain supposedly free government forms. If so, you can only imagine how much it would cost for the minions and sycophants working for the president to bring a Bill to his attention.

Obasanjo claims to be fighting corruption. Fighting corruption indeed. Let us see. He jets around in a publicly funded plane. Does he refund the public when he uses that plane to fly to his home for pleasure? In America, the president can only use Air Force one for official business. If he uses it for personal business, such as fly to raise funds for his party, he must refund the public for the cost. If a public official uses a government vehicle for non-official purposes he must refund the public for such exercise.

In Nigerian, government ministers have publicly paid drivers drive them around for non-official business. In America, they would be fired from their jobs for such an act. Members of Congress do not have public vehicles assigned to them and fly commercial planes when they travel.

The point here is that on paper Nigeria has a system that is supposed to make laws in a democratic manner but that is not what happens in reality. As a master of fact, the National Assembly has a broken record. As I pointed out on the lecture in public policies, the Nigerian government is solving no problems. One cannot point to any serious policy by this government in six years in office. What exactly has Obasanjo and company done to benefit Nigeria?

Nigerian school leavers cannot obtain jobs; we have over 50% unemployment. If an American president has over 6% unemployment he is out of office. But it is only in Nigeria that folks are placed in office to do nothing. So what are Obasanjo and the members of the National Assembly doing for Nigeria other than “eating bribes” and growing fat bellies?

The outstanding educational system Nigerian inherited from Britain has fallen apart. Those of us who went to secondary school in the sixties and early seventies found American education a joke for our secondary school education was as good as the first two years of university education in America. But now, university graduates in Nigeria cannot even do undergraduate work in America. So why did the government permit our school system to fall apart.

Do we, in fact, have leaders in Nigeria or is it the case that what we have are animals governing Nigeria? One wonders. From what jungle did the leaders of Nigeria crawl out from? These people are an insult to the term human beings. They are beneath contempt. Here we have a situation where the rest of the world thinks that Africans are subhumans and are unintelligent and our leaders give them the ammunition to have that belief.

Look at the streets of Onitsha and Aba: garbage is on them. What fools govern these cities? Have they not heard about city administration, about how to tax citizens and their properties; obtain the funds to run city. The primary function of city administration is to provide water, electricity, collect and dispose garbage, pave roads and run elementary and secondary schools. So how come our city leaders are not doing these things. Are they men or animals? Ah, they see being elected to offices as opportunity to be very important persons. But very important doing what?

You are standing in line to buy food at a MacDonald restaurant and behind you is your Senator or Congressman or Governor or Mayor. He cannot jump the line. You sit down with him and chat about politics. You relate to him as you would any other person. You ask him what he has done for the state, city lately. He tells you why he should be elected to office: because of what he does for you and the state.

By contrast, in Nigeria we have semi-illiterate politicians masquerading as very important men and women. In fact, when you talk to them…and I have had the opportunity to talk to many of them…you feel like you are talking to fools. They practically know nothing about management of public affairs. All they seem to care for is being seem as very important persons and stealing from the public. The governors’ specialty is to take their state portion of federal revenue sharing and come to the West and buy multi million dollar mansions.

So what are these people, human beings or animals? They are despicable. (Notice that I do not even bother mentioning their names, why mention the nations of criminals. I know exactly who is in the National Assembly and who chairs what committee but why bother mentioning their names if they do not do their jobs? These creatures are not even worthy of footnotes in books on politics.)

In the current Nigerian dispensation, the legislative system at the national level is replicated at the state and local levels. Nigeria is divided into 36 states. These states are essentially dependent on the center for their survival. The center goes to oil producing states, takes their oil and the revenue from oil and shares it between the federal government and state governments. This way the state governments do not have to generate their own income, as they should. Every state government ought to be able to fund its activities by itself. That is the case in America.

In America where the federal government has money to extend to states, states compete for it. Grants. States and or businesses apply to get federal rant money to perform specific functions and if they succeed in getting it, account for how every penny of it is spent.

Nigerian states are not real states. Folks talk of wanting real federalism; how can you have true federalism if the states are dependent on the center for funding? Whoever pays the piper calls the tune. Obasanjo controls the so-called state governors. The later, in turn, control their local government chairs.

The states are divided into Local Government Areas, LGA (as in counties in America). Each LGA has its own council and chair person. The council is the legislative arm and the chair is the executive arm of government. The chair person obtains money from the Governor (who is supposed to share the money he obtains from the center with the local governments). The chair person proceeds to do with that money as he wants. No accountability is built into the system.

I have question: why do we need politicians, governors and chair persons of local governments handling money? In America, money is not handled by elected persons but by civil servants. Thus the state chief accountant could receive the state’s federal revenue share and work with his staff to manage it. As a civil servant he can be removed from office at any moment, so he has less leeway to mismanage the funds. At present, Governors have immunity from prosecution and cannot be prosecuted while in office. This way they steal all the money they want and nothing can be done about it. It is only in Nigeria that such an absurdity can happen.

The local government areas are composed of towns and cities. The towns and cities have their own town councils and leaders; these two obtain some money from the LGA and proceed to squander it in riotous living.

Nigeria is a country where the city council doesn’t accept that it is its function to pave city streets. So what is its function? Dress up in flowing robes and masquerade as ogas?

Last week, Governor Orji Kalu, that child in an adult’s body, was blaming the Federal government for the deplorable condition of the streets of Aba. As he sees it, it is for the Federal government to pave his city streets. If so, what exactly is his job, to visit America every week and stay at his several mansions? This man is an imbecile and is not worthy of being a dog catcher. But this brain dead nothing wants to become the next Nigerian president and plans to ride ethnic jingoism to that office. He claims that it is the Igbos turn to produce the next president of Nigeria and positions himself as the most qualified Igbo candidate. If the best that the Igbos can produce is this nincompoop, the Igbos are finished as a political force in Nigeria.


On paper, the legislative process in Nigeria is similar to what obtains in the United States of America. Understanding the legislative process in America enables one to understand how it is supposed to work in Nigeria hence I spent some time offering a summary of how this phenomenon works in America.

The legislative process is not working in Nigeria. One hopes that in time that Nigerians will gather and write their own constitution and make it work for them. I personally prefer the British parliamentary system. I wish that Nigeria has that system. But should Nigerians prefer to have a presidential system, as long as it is their choice, made freely by their delegates, so be it.

If Nigerians choose the American system of government, then let them make it work as it should. Let them make laws as they should.

No one in his right mind expects human beings to be perfect. We are not angels; there will always be corruption in the human polity. There is corruption every where in the world. There is corruption in America.

What realistic men expect is for corruption to be reduced to the absolute minimum. If, say, five percent of public officials in Nigeria are corrupt, we can manage to get things done despite them. But for the entirety of officials to be corrupt, well, nothing can be accomplished.

Nigeria is a pathetic country. It only seems to be doing okay because it obtains oil money. But when that source of revenue runs dirty, Nigeria will become another failed African state.

Imagine what would happen if 130 million Nigerians are starving. The world has never seen such suffering before. But Nigerians seem to insist on producing this catastrophe.

Nigerians destroy their country and run to the well ordered polities of America and Western Europe. Here, too, they embark on their nefarious criminal actives. Left alone, these lawless, wild men will destroy the honor system that makes America work.

In America, for example, you go to a newspaper stand, put in your money, fifty cents, and take one paper and nobody is watching you so you could take more than one. If it were in Nigeria, one person would take all the papers and go resale them. He would think that what he did is smart. It never occurs to him that if every person does what he did that chaos and anarchy would reign in the land.

In effect, Nigerians seem very unintelligent. May be they are less intelligent than other races, as white racists speculate? If these people were minimally intelligent, they would recognize the utility of making their house as orderly as it could be. If ones house is disordered, one is not likely to have peace of mind. But, like thoughtless children, Nigerians think that they can create disorder and have an orderly country, impossible.

Be that as it, we shall never give up on our mother hand. We will keep talking about the problems of Nigeria, though they seem intractable, until we fix them. We must fix them. We must eventually make our legislative body a real law making arm of government. Until then we do not have real legislatures in Nigeria.

Ozodi Thomas Osuji

October 15, 2005

Next lecture, # 12, October 17, topic: the executive organ of Government in Nigeria.

Posted by Administrator at 03:48 AM | Comments (2)

October 15, 2005

Million More Rally Underscores New Orleans Big Contracts Over Aids Mentality

by Farouk Martins, Omo Aresa --- There is more to demonstration or rally these days than being recognized as a man. Please do not pity Africans to death; we want those big contracts to reflect the rainbow make-up of the areas affected.

It was Red Fox of Sanford & Son who said he was tire of Roots, he wanted the Fruits. It has nothing to do with quota, affirmative action or discrimination. It has to do with letting people help themselves. Each time millions or billions of dollars are flowing, Africans are always under-represented.

Africans are grateful for all the love and pity showered to those affected by Hurricane Katrina but where is the beef? There is no amount of dancing, Live Aids or telethons that can rival the billion of dollars in contracts in the affected areas. This is the opportunity to show sincerity to those who can create African empowerment through these mega contracts. In these cases Africans are the majority in these areas. Let them determine their economic survival through these contracts.

There is no doubt that any help from any of the foreign countries have to go through the Federal authorities. The Canadians were there and ready to help but I can not believe that they can not dispense certain materials like drugs in an emergency situation. The same drug the senior citizens make bus trip to buy in Canada? There was the story that German planes carrying emergency materials were turned back but later allowed in. The offer made by Venezuela to supply oil to the area were not accepted or not yet negotiated? Nigerian envoys were actually present distributing cash and material?

Excuse me, when you are in Rome, act as a Roman. In that part of the world, you make sure every African knows Nigeria was present and made materials available to the needy folks. After all, some Nigerians do not spray money at parties until people and video camera can witness it. If Nigeria was looking for ways to invest a little of that foreign reserve, that would be a good place. No amount paid to lobbyists in Washington can do a better job. It is not even too late to do more. Establish an enterprising zone and be a part of revitalizing factors. Our children will benefit from it. US, China, India, U.K, South Africa etc investments are in Nigeria. Seek honest Nigerians who know what to do.

These may be an embarrassment to the richest Country in the world but these helps from these countries would go a long way to some of the neediest people in the whole world. Nobody could tell the difference between New Orleans in the middle of Hurricane Katrina or Tsunami in Asia or affected part of Africa. America has a big heart and has demonstrated that all over the world, it does not mean that USA is too big to accept even the gesture of kindness from other countries.

We are now seeing a part of baby Bush that has not been seen for a long time – caring. Some would argue that it is public relation. But the history of the family will show that it has always been there, survival in the midst of conservative waves masked it. The Million More rally and Hurricane Katrina should open the eyes of the silent majority in the USA.

This is the time for those Africans in the Republican Party to show that they have some influence with the Federal Government to direct big contracts to Africans because they make up majority of those affected and displaced. It can be done by getting the Mayor involved. They need to cast aside political rivalry for now and work with people of goodwill across color lines for the benefit of their people.

We are aware of the story in New York Times about cronies and the well connected getting contracts. There is also television news about a luxury vacation ship getting paid for services under-provided. If you are curious about where some American trained Nigerian businessmen learned their skill, now you know. While the US Congress is looking into how these contracts can be efficiently executed, they must also direct the big contracts to the majority of the people affected. This is the time for inclusive free enterprises not exclusive club of the rich and powerful.

Partnership should be encouraged and created where African expertise may have been shut out. In spite of the cry that Africans would survive Nixon Administration, he created the minority business office that some people benefited from. Anytime billions of dollars are at stake, you find powerful sharks swimming around. We are less interested in their donation to charities after the fact; include Africans as part of the action now.

Law and Order

There is no doubt that everyone in New Orleans is on the edge these days. The Mayor is tasked to full capacity, the Police Chief resigned and the head of FEMA had resigned. Whenever the situation is this tense, Africans have to watch out; they usually get the short end of the stick. Tough on crime, yes but do not pick on Africans as examples.

I have seen coast guards at work. There are soldiers helping their Country in time of calamity. There is so much for soldiers to do these days that they are stretched. If they need any help, Nigerian soldiers are idle. They do not know what to do with themselves. They have been limited to either their barracks as staff in molue buses or retired into mufti ruling the Country in agbada. Once in a while they take out their anger on “bloody civilians” as they call us. There are other times when they have gone ballistic on other members of the Armed Forces.

Recently, it was another turn of the police to get a taste of their anger. They actually gave us a preview of what to come. In Surulere, they threw grenades into police barracks and destroyed vehicles then blamed it on area boys. A couple of my neighbors lost their lives as bystanders. Some years ago, I tried to get one of my sons to transfer from his college to a Nigerian law school. He looked at me and asked if I wanted to get him killed. He caught me unawares. I had been so proud of our participation and impute into our Jakande’s school as a model; I had bragged that my kids attended. That experience has vanished from his memory replaced by negative news about Nigeria.

Nigeria is very generous when it comes to peace keeping. We are well represented all over the world. When some of them misbehaved in Congo recently, they were recalled and punished. United States can have some of them at New Orleans. I may personally “grant- ee” (no guarantee) US Government that they will not go AWOL!

As for the police, I am not sure which is worse, New Orleans Police or Nigerian Police. One friend of mine in another US city who tried to bail his friend out of trouble was dealt with sometime ago and warned that he was lucky that he was not dealing with Nigerian police. Anyone who thinks Rodney King syndrome is behind us did not watch New Orleans police dealing with a respectable retired African teacher. I always tell my friends to stay away from the police even in the days of – I am black and proud. This Million More rally is for economic justice.

In a crowd of white people, if the police see a black doing the same thing as everyone else, it is like showing red flag to a bull. They will charge at you. So, I am not surprised that a respectable 64 years old man who quit drinking 25 years ago, was labeled rude and a drunk. He was lucky they did not see a “shining” object in his hand. Everyone in that area of Hurricane Katrina is on the edge these days.

African must Remain in New Orleans

Our history of displacement goes way back but that is another topic for a different day. Suffice to say that it is transcontinental. If the African leaders in New Orleans do not put their feet down and insist on the composition of enterprises, historical land marks, residential and recreational buildings, Africans will be displaced again. Speculators are never far away from “rehabilitated” areas.

Many of our youths in Africa mother land do not realize this in the so called greener pastures. They have all kinds of wild success stories at home, until they saw Hurricane Katrina in action. My brother even told me one about a classmate of his who was looking for a job. During the interview, he met a professor who had taught in Nigeria. As soon as the professor noticed that he attended University of Ibadan, he asked him about Professor Sosoandso. That was how he got the job. Bull!

Africans live in certain areas of the major cities in the US. My first amazement was in St. Louis, Missouri. As certain point, most of the people in the bus were whites. As we got to another point, most of the passengers changed to blacks. African unemployment rate is about twice that of whites and big contracts have been eluding us since quota and affirmative action became bad words. So the chances of renovating or maintaining their houses are not as great. If they are driven out of New Orleans, they would move to less expensive or less desirable area. The developers and big contractors would take over and rebuild. Only those with good income from big contracts and good jobs would be able to afford the rebuilt areas. Africans must be economically viable to remain in New Orleans.

Nigeria needs to create the same economic zones outside of the big cities to attract our youths who are willing to work hard. Cooperative societies have always worked in Nigeria. Agriculture is a good stating point. Today, food is a weapon. Africans who are desperate and running from hunger at home are thrown into Moroccan desert to die. They are willing to die by bleeding to death from the wounds of barb wires fence in Spain’s Melilla and Ceuta than return home. What does that say about our leaders at home?

Hypocrites complained about Robert Mugabe uprooting people from the slums in the Cities while they are doing the same thing in France where Africans die in substandard housing. They are thrown outside to live in the Parks if they are legal, deported if they are not. They have no jobs or big contracts to employ each other but live on generosity of passersby. Cunning politicians use their plight to cultivate conservative votes.

African Leaders Conference

I wonder if African leaders world wide do not compare notes. They meet in different fora but keep on making the same mistakes since slave trade era. But then, some would argue that slave trade is not over. It is now practiced between willing partners for the same selfish gains. There are more Africans outside the Continent willingly than ever. Foreign embassies in Nigeria are a sight of shame where we gather and we are dehumanized in our own Country. All this is for the sake of three square meals a day for the family:1-1-1.

One would expect that those who are educated and well read would lead the way. The answer is that it degenerates into political squabbles. As for African military leaders, their experience in Europe and America is pampered, skewed and narrow. They live on full scholarships, estacode and full salary. They never actually experience the daily life of gburu and work their way up against all odds.

There are also some of us that worked our way up but decided to change from the oppressed to the oppressor. I once asked a member of American Wives club about the difference in their life style in Nigeria compared to that in America. She confessed that she had no intention of suffering all her life as she did in the USA. You blame her?

It reminds me of a Rev Father who saw a guy he knew from the time he was a devoted religious worker for the poor. He was driving a Cadillac, so the Rev asked – didn’t you promised to work for the poor? He said: yes but did not promise to remain poor all his life. That is the difference!

We have to admit to ourselves that we have been outfoxed too many times and economic success as a people has passed us over and over. How can you explained the case of a continent as rich as Africa; yet creative financing is used to exploit the riches for the benefit of outsiders? How many Million More rallies and where, will solve that?

Nigeria has about 29 billion dollars in foreign reserve working to generate jobs and income for those who have no vested interest in the Continent. We are all scared that investing it at home will fall into the hands of kleptomaniacs, and we can not invest it where we want outside. A little of that in New Orleans and other minor Cities around the world including Nigeria may be a good start.

Posted by Administrator at 08:55 AM | Comments (0)

Ozodi Osuji Lectures #10: Civil Rights and Civil Liberties in Nigeria

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. (Seatle, Washington) --- Governments, ah governments, we love them, we hate them, don’t we? We set up governments over us. The very reasons why we set them up and the duties we charge them to perform for us make them very dangerous to our health.

Let us see, in the Bible, it was said that Israelites felt threatened by their neighbors and to organize themselves for war, to protect themselves, they needed a secular/military leader. Apparently, they could no longer trust their divine leader, God, to protect them in human affairs. God granted them their wish alright and had them appoint Saul as their first King.

Beware of what you ask for, for if you get it, you might regret it. In addition to helping the Jews defeat their enemies Saul turned around and oppressed the Jews. Saul became the Jews worst nightmare. We ask for governments but governments can be tyrannical hence our worst nightmares.

Let us try another track, this time, secular. Why do we have government? Logical positivists, empiricists who eschewed reference to God, responded to that question with several philosophical treatises, including those by Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Charles Montesquieu, Jean Jacque Rousseau and others. Whereas in the past someone might have said that we have governments because God gave them to us, in the age of Cartesian skepticism it was no longer permissible, certainly not acceptable to rationalize any thing with sacerdotal arguments; one must provide a rational, read, secular rationalizations.

So why do we need governments? English empiricists gave us answers. The most important of English political philosophers, Thomas Hobbes gave us enduring answers. Let us briefly review his mythology, his story of the origin of governments. Please take this story very seriously for it is what is behind the behavior of governments, at least, those in the Western world.

In the beginning, all stories of origin begin with “in the beginning”, don’t they? In the beginning, human beings lived in the state of nature. That means that they were like other wild animals. They were predatory, kind of like lions and tigers. They roamed around the Serengeti Veldt. (I am assuming that man began his journey on earth in Africa, as Paleontologists tells us.) These predatory creatures were each concerned with personal survival and could care less for others survival.

As Charles Darwin told us in his seminal book, The Origin of Species, and Herbert Spenser reinforced in his book, Ethics, all we do is struggle for survival. We forage for food in search of survival. (But survive for what? Why do we live? Ah my beloved epistemology is useful after all? But let us not go there; let us concentrate on secular reductionism for a while.)

Animals, human beings included, search for food to enable them survive. At some point they discovered that it made sense to take the food other animals acquired. Why work if you can take the food other animals worked for? Better still, since we must work for our food, why not kidnap some persons and use force to compel them to work for your survival? Why not have slaves and threaten to kill them should they disobey you and since they fear death and they would work for you and make it possible for you to survive and survive in luxury?

Posted by Administrator at 02:08 AM | Comments (0)

October 13, 2005

What do Ndiigbo want? From Biafra to MASSOB

by Paul I. Adujie (New York, United States) --- I am a strong advocate of Nigerian Unity and I abhor any action that would lead to the disintegration of Nigeria, as presently constituted.

Having said that, I would like to attempt to answer the question I posed above, as the header, what do Ndiigbo want? The Igbos in Nigeria like all other Nigerians! They get born and they live and die, just like the rest of humans, and like the rest of humans, Ndiigbo have economic, political and cultural pursuits and aspirations, which could and should be capable of being realized within the confines of our darling republic of Nigeria.

But history, Nigerian history has not been even-handed with Ndiigbo, as Ndiigbo have been at the receiving end of animosities and vile anger actions; Anyone familiar with the colossal loss, that resulted from the so-called "abandoned properties" which were Igbo properties that were converted and greedily appropriated by others, during and after the war, would understand, these vile actions that I speak of, among many others.

But after the fateful and unfortunate events that led to the declaration of Biafra as a republic, and the consequent brutal civil war, the cessation of hostilities led to Mr. Gowon famous speech of no victor no vanquished, even as Ndiigbo were promised full integration in our dear republic of Nigeria, with full rights, obligations and responsibilities.

Ndiigbo have done the best than could have been expected of any marginalized group, particularly, with the peculiarities of a people recovering from the vagaries of a brutal civil war; Ndiigbo, through dint of hard work, resourcefulness imbued in self-reliance, have rehabilitated individually and collectively, Ndiigbo rehabilitated through self-help, and this have been so, notwithstanding the unspeakable neglect by every apparatus of government.

Despite the deprivations and abject poverty created in Igboland as a consequence of the civil war and its aftermath, Ndiigbo have thrived in the professions, in academia, in business, in politics and all callings of human endeavor. The ubiquitous "Igbo-man" is everywhere in Nigeria, creating wealth and contributing to national development.

Many Nigerians have often stated that political leadership in Nigeria have been dominated, in a lopsided manner in favor of the North, these circumstances, coupled with June 12 agitations, culminated in the Southwest producing a candidate as president of Nigeria in 1999, which translated into the election of Mr. Obasanjo as a sort of compromise candidate, a candidate, a healer and as unifier with all other appellations.

Many Nigerians had thought and assumed, that it was only fair to naturally expect Ndiigbo to take turn, (the next turn, that is,) as a natural course of events, and as the third largest ethnic group in Nigeria, (Hausa-Fulani, Yoruba, Igbo, the so-called three majors) would be called upon to produce Nigeria’s president or a candidate that becomes our president in 2007.

But now, we have Mr. Babangida who is only a south-south/south-east citizen through marriage, who now seeks to usurp, south-south/south-east region’s turn, at Nigeria’s presidency. There are some other potential presidential candidates, who are not from Ndiigbo-land, but Babangida stands out, as he is reputed to have immeasurable or limitless wealth, just as he does political connections. Babangida was an absolute monarch and center of the universe of Nigerian politics for about nine years 1985-1993, the most warped and twisted years of Nigeria’s existence, in both economic and political sense.

Now as Nigerians grapple and struggle with and from the lingering brutal effects of SAP, and other Babangida-era policies, (which are proof enough of his ineffectiveness and ineptitude); Babangida seeks to be president of Nigeria again? He surely cannot convince anyone that he expect to accomplish in a democratic and contentious civilian government settings, what he could not, even when he had absolute unfettered power, all to himself?

He is lecturing the rest of us, with the air of finality and matter of course, that only God can stop him from becoming Nigeria’s president in 2007 and with this, Mr. Babangida reminds me of the late Mr. Abiola who ended one political statement with "over his dead body" and he died, God in turn, will stop Babangida.

Mr. Babangida has become very powerfully wealthy in every sense, with money and connections to the politically powerful. And all this boasts, and self-assuredness, stemming from arrogance, calls the sanctity of the ballot in Nigeria to question, why are some so sure of victory, if not their heavy reliance on foul means and plans to surmount of the will of the electorate?

Why is it that Babangida and his praise-singers are unaware that a majority of Nigerians are still reeling from the brutally painful effects of Babangida asinine policies foist on Nigerians during his nine years at the helms of Nigerian affairs?

Babangida and most presidential candidates and their acolytes have so far, been talking over our heads, most especially so, in complete disregard to the genuine and heartfelt political aspirations by Ndiigbo, within the Nigerian scheme of things and within the confines of Nigeria as a single political unit and entity.

Those who are currently posturing in self-aggrandizements, are simply playing with unquenchable fires, as the fire next time in Nigeria, will engulf them and cremate them to smithereens! They may now be posturing as if 2007 elections is merely 24 hours from now, even as they talk over our heads? They must accept the dictum, "those who make peaceful change impossible, make violent revolution inevitable" There are so many people in Nigeria these days, drunk with money and powers, acting literally drunk, as they fiddle with explosives, oblivious of obvious dangers, because of their drunken stupors! They will self-destruct and be consumed by their willful ignorance, as they pretend to be completely ignorant of the suffering of other. This is their folly.

It is ominous that some are already grandstanding in lieu of the crumbs that will filter out of Babangida’s sumptuous table, they are therefore willing to sell their conscience, their sense of fairness, justice and decency, as they pretend that all will be well with Nigeria, if Ndiigbo is denied a rightful turn and a rightful place, in Nigeria's political scheme of things; If Ndiigbo is not made secure and comfortable and assured of a timely and orderly realization of their genuine aspirations, Nigeria will no longer be at ease. Last year, I wrote that the time to address Igbo political grievances was nigh; it has even become clearer by the minute. Nigeria must learn to trust Ndiigbo with political power, with the presidency.

Biafra and its later imitation, MASSOB, resonates with a lot of people, because there are genuine yearnings for the actualization Igbo aspirations, these yearnings and genuine aspirations, have been repeatedly ignored or treated with impatience, disdain or even contempt. Ndiigbo have repeatedly bore the brunt of Nigeria’s brew of ethnic, religious and political fractiousness and these are the fuels that led to the declaration of Biafra and now, its imitative offspring, MASSOB, Ndiigbo are not mindless trouble makers, Igbos are reacting to perennial political second-class citizens status conditions.

Mr. Ubitu Ukiwe was second-in-command to Mr. Babangida, the former, suffered a cruel fate in the hands of the latter, Mr. Alex Ekwueme and few others, are among the very few Ndiigbo who have been close to Nigeria’s presidency or seat of power, during the past several decades Nigeria must trust Ndiigbo with power and responsibility of full citizens of Nigeria.

PDP as the dominant political party in Nigeria, without viable opposition, appears to have a lock on Nigeria’s political calendar, the PDP has not informed us, why Mr. Abubakar Atiku, the VP, has not earned his pupilage, training, experience as an occupant of Aso Rock, a heartbeat-away from the presidency, or why has the PDP adjudged the VP unsuitable? How can the VP be unsuitable when he is certainly part of the current government adjudged by PDP to be good? PDP has no interests in the VP becoming president come 2007. Babangida is PDP default candidate?

And the PDP has not shown any indications of ensuring that a PDP member Nigerian of Igbo extraction is who gets nominated and offered for elections to be president of Nigeria in 2007; But instead, the PDP has admitted new members with veto powers, persons awash with money and political connections? This lends more credence to the allegations of political decadence, in which the present government was sponsored and paid for, or godfathered into office, by the man, who now wants to succeed his godson’s government? Is Nigeria a personal estate to these characters? Are the rest of us Nigerians this powerless, gullible or both?

All Nigerians ought to be interested in fairness, justice and equality of all ethnic groups in Nigeria. I wish it is the case, that any Nigerian citizen, with legal or legitimate disqualifications, could offer herself or himself for election to be president of Nigeria, regardless of state, region or religion and notwithstanding, whether such Nigerian is from any of the majors, (Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa-Fulani) or the multitudes of our citizens from the minority ethnic groups of which Nigeria is comprised; I was roundly criticized last year, because I wrote, "2007 Presidential Elections In Nigeria And Ndiigbo's Genuine Aspirations" However Nigeria's democracy has not matured enough to a point where the ethnic composition of Nigeria is not considered a major factor or criteria for determining candidates for Nigerian presidency; hence my arguments and points for Ndiigbo’s genuine aspirations.

Some day in the future, all Nigerians, including ethnic minorities, must be able to aspire to and actually become president of Nigeria, but, right now, ethnicities remains one of the parameters, Nigeria's democracy and development will mature to a level, where the best candidate, based on stellar qualifications, the issues and what are considered from time to time, to be in Nigeria's national interests, best interest, would be the only worthy measure, but alas, we are not there yet.

Ndiigbo’s political situation in Nigeria, is similar and comparable to a group of adults in a house (Nigeria is likened to such house) a house in which these groups of adults are "trapped" while trapped in the same house, the adults are presumably endowed with same or similar attributes, qualities including of course, all human frailness and foibles, some of these adults, in this Nigerian house have enjoyed perpetually dictating what the other adults have had for breakfast, lunch and dinner or whether to install air-conditioning as the days get hotter; But we are all aware that it is in human nature not to want to eat same type of breakfast, lunch and dinner without a change of menu or a role in deciding what is eaten at meal times?

Human nature to reject the abrogation of rights and privileges; We also know, that some humans want to leave or get away from a house, where they have no rights or say-so; Some bad humans may even set this proverbial house ablaze or asunder to disintegration? Could you blame marginalized and tormented adults for wanting of the house, or burning the house that represents oppression? This is the Ndiigbo situation in Nigeria today, as we approach 2007 presidency.

Nigerians should collectively ensure the actualization of a Nigerian president of Ndiigbo in 2007, to do otherwise will be tantamount to murdering sleep, in 2007.

Does Nigeria want to be sleep-deprived?

All Nigerians must stand up in support of Ndiigbo’s right to produce a president for Nigeria in 2007. To do otherwise, would have earned all of us, any and all the crises that could ensue, which we will deserve. Agitations by groups such as MASSOB and other groups will multiply, anarchy and worse, disintegration occur as a result of the festered hopelessness that Ndiigbo have endured in Nigeria; It is as if, Ndiigbo is being passed-over once more, in the jostling frenzy to produce a president for Nigeria in 2007, Ndiigbo have genuine grievances that Nigeria must address and resolve now and by 2007. What do Ndiigbo want? Nigeria must emphatically answer the Igbo question.


Paul I. Adujie
New York, United States

Posted by Administrator at 09:17 PM | Comments (0)

Ozodi Osuji Lectures #9: Public Opinion and Public Policy in Nigeria

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. (Seatle, Washington) --- PUBLIC OPINION In a democracy, public policies are supposed to reflect public opinion. Public opinion is what the public thinks on a variety of issues and, more importantly, it is what the public thinks that their government should do on specific issues facing the polity.

What should the government do regarding mass transportation: should it build roads, railways, fund light rails, fund city buses, build canals, airports, seaports etc, or should it not do any of those?

What should the government do in regards to industrialization in Nigeria: should it play a key role in getting the nation industrialized or should it allow the nation to remain agriculture based, a rural economy? Assuming that it should encourage industrialization, should it engage in partnership with industrialists and establish industries or should it stay on the side and merely encourage private enterprises to be the ones establishing industries? Should the government merely create an atmosphere that is favorable to industries, such as have a policy of lower taxes, less rigorous environmental impact studies requirements, allow labor to be cheap, not implement quality work place requirements, thus permitting employers to work their labor hard, produce and not worry about the human cost of it all? What exactly should government do?

When people gather they talk about politics. Generally, they proffer their opinions on what they think that their governments ought to be doing on this or that issue. That is what public opinion is all about.

Newspapers write about the opinions of opinion makers in society. Mayors, governors, presidents, members of parliament and local council offer opinions and the mass media report on those opinions. Powerful citizens offer opinions and reporters write about them, too. In the opinion pages of newspapers, columnists write opinions on assorted issues before the polity.

Many people read these opinions and think about them. People discuss with their friends what they read in newspapers, what they heard on the radio, what they heard from the television news broadcasters and more recently what they read on the internet.

Opinion makers, be they public servants, powerful citizens, newspaper columnists etc influence public opinion. These opinion makers shape the ideas most people in a polity talk about and certainly determine the ones they consider to be important and warrant public action.


How do we know what the people’s opinions on specific issues are? In the West, the primary method of finding out is conducting opinion polls. Specialized opinion gathering outfits like Gallop, Harris etc have developed surveying methodologies that they tell us are accurate in ascertaining what the people think on specific issues. Surveying, say 1500 people in a polity the size of Nigeria (120 million?), these polling companies tell us is sufficient to get an idea on what the entire nation thinks on specific issues.

These polling companies have criteria for selecting the persons whose opinions they seek, such as income level, education level, type of work they do, where they live, their gender and so on. The idea is that if you randomly select a certain number of people across the nation and ask them about their opinions on certain subjects that what those people say is representative of what the entire nation says on those issues.

Let us say that the question is whether Nigeria should have a presidential system of government (like the United States of America) or a parliamentary system of government (like Britain). Asking a carefully selected 1500 group of Nigerians this question is said able to tell us where most Nigerians stand on the issue. If 65% of the respondents to the Poll say that Nigeria should revert to British like Parliamentary system of government and 25% say that Nigeria should retain the current America style presidential government, the conductors of such a survey tell us that their result represents what Nigerians think on the subject. They tell us that they choose their samples, those they ask questions, so carefully that the result they obtain is statistically, plus or minus a few standard deviation points, accurate.

These opinion polling firms seem to accurately predict where people stand on political candidates. Generally, those they predict will win elections tend to do so, often by the percentage of votes they predict, with the margin of error being less than five points. Simply stated, there seems credible evidence that opinion surveying firms have figured out a way to find out what the public opinion on specified issues are. Their results seem valid and reliable. They seem to meet validity and reliability standards, critical standards in statistics.

On the other hand, are those who question the trustworthiness of these firms and their predictions? These people point out that the manner in which questions are asked affect the responses obtained. Indeed, some go as far as to say that the opinion firms lead their respondents on and get them to respond as they want them to respond on specific issues. The same question can be asked in many ways and the manner in which it is asked determines how folks answer it.

Consider these two questions. Should Nigerians modernize their agriculture by employing tractors, chemical fertilizers and other chemical products on their farms? High tech equipments like tractors and certain chemical materials tend to erode tropical soils, so much so that the quality of agricultural yield become less than when farmed in the old traditional low tech method.

Providing the additional information on the effects of high tech methods in agriculture may influence people’s response to the question on whether Nigeria should go modern on farming. If the people are given negative information on a proposed issue, they are likely going to express negative opinion on that issue than if they are given positive information on the issue. If you merely say that there is a correlation between using tractors on farms and high yields (which is generally true during the first few years in tropical countries) and then proceed to ask the question on whether agriculture should be mechanized, the chances are that the respondents would be more favorable in their responses. (Advocates of sustainable growth, who tend to be liberals, tend to discourage mechanization of agriculture in third world countries, whereas conservative thinkers tend to want the market to decide, if the market favors mechanization so is it.)

The point is that there are those who criticize polling companies and assert that they tend to skew questions in such a manner that pollsters obtain the results that they want to obtain.

There is no doubt that there are inherent problems with polling opinions. We can always improve our methodologies over any activities human beings engage in. However, the current issue is public opinion. It is a fact that individuals do have different opinions on issues and that in a democracy that the preponderance of public opinion ought to determine public policy.

However, one must observe that if the majority of the people are ignorant of facts their majority opinion, if used as the basis for propagating certain public policies, amounts to foolish public policy. For example, in the 1950s, the majority of Southern (USA) white persons opposed integration. If their opinions were used as determiner of racist public policies, America would experience international opprobrium and suffer. Thus, sometimes, public opinion should not always be the criterion for public policy.

Statesmen, sometimes, must overrule the opinion of their constituents and implement public policies that, in their judgments, are more prudent for the polity to have. John Stuart Mill and Edmund Burke addressed these issues in their various writings on the problems of democracy. Majority rule, if the majority is uninformed, can be dangerous. Sometimes the minority has the correct view on issues calling for public policy. But then again who determines what the truth is? This is dangerous ground, so leaders must walk very carefully here: balancing public opinion and the leaders’ conception of the truth.


Public policies are what governments do. They include the laws made by the governments, the economic policies engaged by the government or their lack of. Everything done by a government is public policy. If the Nigerian government decides to provide electricity to the entire country, to give pipe borne water to all villages and towns in the country, to provide publicly paid medical services to all Nigerians, to provide publicly paid education, from primary school to secondary school, technical school and university, those are public policies.

Public policies have costs attached to them. Where will the money to fund them come from? Would they come from taxes? Are there enough taxation bases to collect sufficient money from the people to fund those policies? If not, will the revenue to fund them come from petroleum products, revenue from corporate taxes, revenue from sales taxes, and revenue from income taxes?

And when implemented, are these policies working as they were designed to work? If you embark on providing publicly funded medical services to all Nigerians, how is the program working out in real life? Are all Nigerians provided with medical services whenever they want it or do they have to wait for years to have simple surgeries? How responsive are medical personnel? Are hospitals more like hospices where people go to die rather than recover from illnesses? Do doctors and nurses provide high quality services to their patients?

How about the costs of these services? Are there built in mechanisms to make sure that costs are within budgets, avoiding cost over runs? There is a tendency for public services to not be mindful of costs and what would have cost a few dollars ends up costing several dollars. Government workers tend to take their sweet time in doing something. What could be done in a few hours’ takes days to be done by civil (in Nigeria, evil) servants.

We know that whereas it takes only one person to change a light bulb in his home that it takes ten bureaucrats to change the same light bulb for the public. Ten bureaucrats are rather an expensive deal compared to one person doing the same amount of work.

Policy studies monitor the operation and costs of public policies, providing the public with information on how public policies are working out in the real world; whether they are accomplishing what they were designed to accomplish and how, and if not, what can be done to correct them. If publicly funded medical services are eating up most of the national budget, what can be done to reduce the costs? Where are cost cutting appropriate?

Or may be free enterprise delivery of medical services is the most effective way to provide medical services in a polity? If so, how about the poor and others who do not have money to buy private medical insurance?

There are no simple answers and solutions to human issues. Indeed, whatever solutions we come up with eventually create their own problems. There are no permanent solutions to human problems. As they say, death is probably the only permanent solution to our problems. Until we die and rest in peace we shall always have problems to deal with, and such is life.

Embracing problems and seeing them as opportunities to do our best is a positive way of living. Desiring to live a life devoid of problems is a wish to live a dull life. First of all, it is impossible to have such a problem free existence. It is a waste of time and energy to desire such a life; it is escapist from life as we know it on planet earth. We shall always have problems and must always seek ways to solve them.

Thus, society continues to design one policy after another to deal with its infinite problems. There is never going to be a time when society would run out of problems and out of policies. Policy making is an ongoing part of the political process. Indeed, governments exist to solve problems through public policies. The legislature, the presidency and the judiciary, even the bureaucracy are always making new policies.

Whereas in the West opinion surveys are conducted trying to ascertain what the people think on issues, the practice is absent from Nigeria. The Nigerian government does not have the resources to find out what the people are thinking on specific issues. This may seem bad but when we realize that what really needs done in Nigeria are known to every Nigerian, it seems a waste of time and energy conducting frivolous surveys trying to ascertain what the people want. Opinion surveys after all are recent phenomenon in the West.

In the past, the leaders in the West somehow figured out what their people wanted and did it without conducting opinion polls. (Bill Clinton reportedly over relied on focus groups and polling to find out what the people wanted and did it; this sometimes lead to lack of initiating trail blazing, bold public policies by his administration.) Past American leaders did not conduct opinion polls to recognize that their people needed rural electrification and water. In the 1930s America provided rural America with electricity and water.

An argument can be made that if opinion surveys were made in those days that since some people would have opposed rural electrification that the government may not have engaged in the policy of rural electrification. See, today, opinion surveys are often used to avoid giving people publicly funded medical services. These surveys tell us that publicly funded medical services would be too costly, or that it would be too bureaucratic, or too socialistic and so on. In the meantime, 45 million Americans have no medical insurance coverage, an outrage to human decency. If Americans had to conduct opinion surveys perhaps they would not have initiated free K through 12 schooling in the land. At least, 33% of the population, free enterprise diehards, would have opposed such an educational policy because, to them, it is socialistic, or because liberal teachers would be given the opportunity to teach students, their children, liberal ideas and in the process destroy the nation’s moral fabric.

The point is that we do not always have to wait to hear from all people to know what ought to be done. Good leaders sometimes have to bite the bullet and risk rejection in the next election and just go ahead and do what in their judgments are good for their nation.

In the context of Nigeria every body desires electricity, water, medical health, and schooling. We do not need fancy opinion surveys to confirm the obvious. If a Nigerian leader does not know that his people need those things and sets about converting their wishes to public policy, he is not a leader.

We Nigerians know what we want from our governments. If that is the case then the politicians can engage in public policies that provide us with what we desire. They do not need sophist opinion surveying firms in New York to tell them what everybody already knows to be the people’s wishes. The leaders should just do it and do it now. Do what? Give all the people electricity, water, medical insurance, free education at all levels, subsidized public transportation, and then leave the free market to take care of the rest of the economy. (This is called mixed economy, not socialism or laissez faire economy.)

Let public administration professors, accountants and think tank egg heads have something to do studying the costs of those public policies and helping society operate them efficiently.

Most Nigerians want paved roads, paved streets, affordable housing, good jobs, good food, good clothing and so on. Public policies ought to be made to provide the people with what they need without haggling over how we come by the information on what the people need. We know what we need. It is not difficult to know about basic human needs, where differences lie are in figuring out extraneous needs.

So what is the government in Nigeria doing to meet the people’s needs? How responsive are the governments in Nigeria to public opinion? The answer is that the governments are not at all responsive to the peoples needs. We do not have governments that see themselves as existing to meet the people’s needs.

The process of making public policies in Nigeria is as in everywhere else. Politicians are elected to office. They are supposed to know what their people want.

Leaders are supposed to articulate the aspirations of those they lead and find ways to satisfy them.

The people do not elect politicians to go be their bosses, to sit at Abuja doing nothing. Nigerian politicians, in fact, seem to believe that they are placed in political offices to be godlike and have the people adore them, even as they do nothing for the people. Being in office makes these people feel like very important persons, VIPs, and that is just about all they seek public offices for. Apparently, Nigerian politicians do not construe their jobs as from which they serve the people.

Ordinarily, people elect members of parliament to go enact public policies. Parliaments are supposed to be arenas where members articulate their policy preferences and introduce Bills on what policies they want funded and debate with their fellow parliamentarians, bargain with them and make compromises and the result is some policies that all members can live with. But the Nigerian National Assembly can go for years without actually passing any Bill that substantially creates a new policy that serves the people’s interests. Their first order of business is to pass resolutions giving themselves millions of dollars to spend.

The presidency is supposed to represent the entire country. As such, he is supposed to look after the entire nation’s interests. He is expected to introduce Bills in the National Assembly that serves the entire nation, not just certain constituencies, as members of the House are expected to do. The question then is what policies have Obasanjo introduced and seen through the National Assembly and implemented? What exactly is the man doing for the nation?

Has the life of the average Nigerian improved in the six years that Obasanjo is president? Is that even a right question to ask, as folks do in America, where they evaluate what their presidents have done for them? Is it not part of the job of the Nigerian President to create jobs for Nigerians, and, if so, how come unemployment in Nigeria is over 50%? Did Nigerians elect Obasanjo to merely dress in flowing robes, jet around the world and be a perpetual tourist?

Does the man have a job description other than to be the oga pata pata of Nigeria? Does he, in fact, have something to do in a typical eight hour work day? We know that he is politically astute and figures out a way to disgrace his opponents, but that is not all there is to governing, is it? Do we need a manikin in Aso Rock and that is all? An expensive manikin indeed.

The judiciary is supposed to be an independent umpire, a watch dog making sure that every one plays by the rules of the game. The rules are embodied in the country’s constitution, such as it is, and the statutory laws of the land. Judges are supposed to make sure that we all obey the laws of the land and punish those who choose not to play by the rules.

If a law is bad, a citizen’s sole right is fighting to change it, but as long as it is still the law of the land he must obey it. (This is the whole point of Socrates drinking hemlock and dying, even though the law under which he was killed was unjust; he spoke out against that unjust law but obeyed it to death, anyway. See Plato’s writings on Socrates death.)

Failing to obey the laws of the land one must go to jail. There should be no exception to this fact. The rule of law is what keeps society going. Without laws we are wild animals and might as well live in the jungle. Without draconian obedience of the law, chaos and anarchy replace civilization.

How are Nigerian judges umpiring the laws, making sure that all play by the rules and that the game is fair and that those who disobey the rules are punished? How many crooked politicians have the law put away? If the law is applied correctly, just about all Nigerian politicians would be in jail.

How about the judges themselves? They too seem to have a price for their services. A few dollars and they rule in favor of the briber and against the person without money to bribe them. Is this how courts and judges are supposed to behave in any polity, democratic or not?

At the state and local levels of governing in Nigeria, the governors, legislatures and courts are supposed to formulate policies and use their bureaucracies to implement them. State legislatures do exist alright and seem to be doing something: sharing the little money the governors give to them, among themselves. State governors, too, seem to be doing something: they go to Abuja, collect their state’s share of federal revenue and take much of that money right out of the country? They take it overseas and buy mansions. These governors spend as much time overseas as they spend in their states.

State judges are no different from other politicians; they, too, are part of the racket and look away as folks loot the treasury.

Local governments are supposed to have councils and chair persons. The councils are supposed to act as legislatures making laws (ordinances) and initiating policies that positively benefit the local council area. The chair of the council is supposed to be the executive arm of the council. The char is supposed to work with the local government’s bureaucracy in implementing the policies made by his council.

The local courts are supposed to make sure that all play by the rules of the game. On paper, Nigeria has an excellent constitution and governmental structure. But what are the personnel in that structure actually doing?

At the town and city levels we have similar structures, city council and council chair and municipal courts (magistrate courts). They are supposed to perform city and town governance.

Are Nigerian towns governed? Take a trip to Aba or Onitsha and notice what the devil has wrought: the roads have not been paved and or maintained since the 1960s; trash is dumped on the streets. What we have here is not government by caring human beings but government by anti social personalities.


Nigeria does not have a well delineated policy towards mental health issues. Nigeria inherited some mental health service delivery structure from her colonial master, Britain, and that structure is what still obtains in Nigeria. That structure consists of a few asylums for the chronically mentally ill. A few mentally ill persons are locked up in these facilities but by far most mentally ill persons roam the streets and byways of Nigeria without medical intervention. No one does anything to help these folks.

Traditionally, no one knew what to do with the mentally ill. Indeed, no one even understood the nature of mental illness. Some said that the mentally ill were possessed by the devil. In the Bible, Jesus was said to have cast off evil spirits from the mentally ill.

In the 19th century Psychiatry, as a profession, came into being and society began to study the mentally ill. For a while, Sigmund Freud diverted attention from the serious study of psychosis with his voodoo conjectures. Emil Kraepelin, on the other hand, focused on the biology of mental illness. He speculated that mental disorder may have something to do with the brain chemistry of the persons involved.

Recent studies have correlated psychosis with brain chemistry. Neuroscientists tell us that in schizophrenia that there is elevated dopamine, that in mania that there is elevated norepinephrine, that in depression there is low serotonin and that in anxiety disorders that there is low GABA.

Whether these chemical imbalances cause mental disorders or not is debatable. What is self evident is that certain types of thinking can affect the individual’s biochemical status. If one is grandiose in ones thinking ones dopamine, a neurotransmitter, tends to be elevated, if one is negative in ones thinking ones brain serotonin tends to be lowered and if one is fearful in ones thinking ones excitatory neurochemicals like adrenalin tends to be elevated whereas ones inhibitory neurochemicals like GABA tends to be lowered. In other words, there are biochemical correlates with mental disorders but whether the disorders are caused by preexisting biochemical imbalances or that the biochemical imbalances are the result of disordered thinking is not proven yet.

In the 19th century Western world, the mentally ill were housed in psychiatric hospitals, State hospitals, they were called. All sorts’ experimentations were done on these unfortunate people, including administration of electro shuck treatment on the clinically depressed. Nothing seemed to work and the mentally ill languished at state hospitals.

In 1952, by accident, it was discovered that Thorazine had some calming effect on schizophrenics. Psychiatrists began using that medication in treating schizophrenics. No one knows exactly how it works but it does seem to reduce the gross symptoms of schizophrenia. (Schizophrenia is characterized by the presence of hallucinations and delusions. Hallucinations can occur in any and all of the five senses: auditory, visual, tactile, olfactory and feeling; delusions: believing what is not true as true). Eventually other medications were synthesized, such as Haldol, Prolixine, Navene, Milaril etc. These medications have terrible side effects, so researchers kept searching for cure for psychosis. Lithium was found useful in reducing the gross symptoms of mania…euphoria, poor judgment etc. Lithium has been joined by other medications, such as Depakote, Tegretol etc.

Because of the reduction in the symptoms of psychosis made possible by anti psychotic medications, anti mania medication and anti depression medications, there was no longer any need to keep psychotics at asylums for the rest of their lives. Thus, they were deinstitutionalized. They were given medications and discharged from hospitals.

But they were not really cured for the residual symptoms of psychosis still remain in them. They still hear voices and see what other people do not see. Moreover, they could not hold down jobs, do not get along with other people and tend to live isolated lives.

They are unable to support themselves and some of them roamed the streets and or lived at homeless shelters or wound up in jails. It is said that a third of those in jails and prisons have some kind of mental disorder.

In 1963, President Kennedy and Congress passed the community mental health centers Act. Communities were given federal funds to start out-patient treatment centers where the chronically mentally ill could come and receive their medications and have them monitored. Some of their medications require close physician monitoring. Lithium, for example, requires that the manic person who takes it have his blood drawn regularly and tested for lithium levels in it. Too much lithium in the body apparently damages the kidney and liver.

Community mental health centers eventually were funded to add other components to their array of treatment regime, such as provide day activities for the mentally ill, and provide recreational programs for them. Eventually alcohol and drug treatment was added to these centers.

The mentally ill tend to be unable to take good care of themselves and needed to be case managed, so case management as a profession came into being.

Since these people were unable to work and make money to pay for their own housing, they had to be given supported housing. All told, a lot is done to help the mentally ill and to maintain them in the community. It is cost saving to have them in the community rather than to keep them at expensive state hospitals.

Society has not yet found a cure for mental disorder but until it does so the palliative measures taken to help these people seem all that can be done at the present.

What is being done to help the mentally ill in Nigeria? There is no comprehensive mental health policy in Nigeria.

In a few big cities, the asylums built by the colonial administration exist in dilapidated condition. If even government ministries are housed in run down shacks you can only imagine what the housing of the mentally ill looks like: gross. Nevertheless, a few city mentally ill persons are consigned to these dreadful asylums. They are not properly treated. Who cares for them?

If the country does not care for its productive normal citizens how can it care for its unproductive mentally ill citizens? Uncared for, psychotics leave their asylums and wander our city streets. The streets of our cities are filled with insane persons talking to themselves while eating from garbage cans.

Is it possible to have a comprehensive mental health policy in Nigeria? Of course the answer is affirmative. All we have to do is understudy what other countries do. We can study how Americans, Britons, Germans and Frenchmen approach this problem and modify their policies to suit our impoverished situation. Clearly, Nigeria is too poor to provide the type of sophisticated services provided the mentally ill in North America. Some of the more recent neuroleptic medications like Zyprexa, Risperdal, and Seraqual are so expensive that they could break the budget if Nigeria were to give them to her schizophrenics.

It is simply impossible to provide the type of comprehensive treatment offered the mentally ill in America, to the mentally ill in Africa. But there is something we can do. We can, at least, have a well thought out mental health intervention policy that specifies what we are going to do for the mentally ill.

There are all kinds of mental illness. There is psychosis, the type treated by psychiatrists. Then there is neurosis, the type found in most human beings. Indeed, there are personality disorders. As many observers have pointed out, there seems a higher level of antisocial personality disordered persons in Nigeria.

Whereas, world wide about two percent of the population tends to engage in criminal activities, clearly a large proportion of Nigerians engage in criminal activities.

What are our corrupt leaders but anti social personalities without social conscience, persons with no sense of guilt and shame; persons who hurt their fellow country men by stealing their moneys and seem to enjoy doing so?

I would imagine that upwards of ten percent of Nigerians have antisocial personality disorders. (There are other types of personality disorders such as paranoid, schizoid, schizotypal, narcissistic, histrionic, borderline, avoidant, obsessive-compulsive, dependent, passive aggressive etc). This is not the place to talk about these mental disorders.

What is critical is that we could have a policy on how to help people with mental health issues. Perhaps, we could establish community clinics and train psychologists to provide psychotherapy to the normal neurotic citizen? Perhaps these clinics could do didactic training, teach people to behave ethically and morally? Perhaps doing so could reduce Nigerians tendency to criminal activities? I do not know what we should do, but we ought to do something before the entire country becomes composed of criminals and the rest of the world writes us off as criminals.

Indeed some racist psychologists already suspect that there is such a thing as criminal genes and that it exists at a higher level in Africans and that it accounts for Africans tendency to criminality.

(This view is not true. At any rate, if there is such a thing as criminal genes, it exists in white folks, after all, they were the ones who stole on a grand scale; they killed Indians and took over their lands and enslaved Africans. Let us not divert our attention by talking about the frivolities of genetic influence on human behavior. Human beings are affected by their environment and do make choices; sometimes they learn to make bad choices and develop a culture of making bad choices. Criminals make bad choices; we can teach them to make pro-social choices and those that insist on being anti social should be jailed.)

There ought to be a comprehensive mental health policy in Nigeria that delineates how to approach not only the seriously mentally ill but also the mildly mentally ill, the personality disordered Nigerians. Doing nothing, as is currently the case, is not the best option to pursue. We cannot not do something to reduce the incredible high level of anti social behaviors among Nigerians.


Public opinion has to do with what the people think on the issues of their times, particularly what they would like to see become public policies.

Methodologies exist, albeit that they are imperfect, for ascertaining what public opinion on key social issues is.

Public policy is translation of public opinion into action. Governments listen to the people, hear them, know what they want done and go about doing them. Public policies actualize the people’s opinions, their aspirations, what they would like to see done in their world.

Once public policies are legislated into law the bureaucracy is charged with implementing them. The bureaucracy is supposed to be an impersonal mechanism for carrying out public policies and enforcing the laws of the land.

Public policy experts, mainly college professors, and experts at think tanks, study whether these policies are properly carried out or not, and make recommendations on how to correct faulty actions plans that do not seem to be working out well.

In the context of Nigeria, folks seldom bother finding out what the people desire and even if they found out seldom implement them into public policies.

Who does not know that all Nigerians want to go for a full day without interruption of their electricity? Sound public policy should have figured out a way to fix that problem. But in Nigeria, folks talk about problems and talk and talk and talk them to death but do nothing to fix them. Indeed, attempts to fix problems become opportunities for financial self enrichment and for other corrupt practices. The result is that the half-hearted efforts at public policy making in Nigeria exacerbate the problems.

Nigeria is a mad house, bedlam, pure and simple. The leaders have gone bananas, bunkers; there is no other generous way of putting it.

Does this mean that all hope is lost? If there is no hope one would not bother writing this material. There is always a glimmer of hope, even in the worst situation. Hope springs eternal in the human heart. When hope dies the man dies.

We must keep harping away at what needs to be done to fix Nigeria’s problems, even if our voices are not listened to. By and by, a generation of Nigerians will rise to the challenge and decide to listen to their people’s opinions and translate them into public policies that serve the polity well.

Ozodi Thomas Osuji

October 13

Lecture 10, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties in Nigeria, October 14

Posted by Administrator at 09:06 PM | Comments (0)

October 12, 2005

Bob Ejike out with "Fiesta"

by Mary M. Ajayi --- The Nigerian music industry receives a boost with the launching of Bob Ejike’s latest album entitled Fiesta. The ten-track CD which is dedicated to Governor Orji Uzor Kalu of Abia State, was exquisitely designed and packaged in the Nigerian national colours by legendary album designer Ghariokwu Lemi and is marketed and distributed by Obaino Music, Alaba, Lagos.

Fiesta is the result of the combined efforts of 23 of the finest Nigerian musicians, featuring youthful heartthrob Mr. Kool. The producers are the best in the country: Nelson Brown, Chris Okoro and Angel Michael, with the active collaboration of Nigerian musical celebrities like Daniel Wilson, Stella ‘Atupa’ D’lyte, Black Tribe, Joane, D.J Rumple, including Patience ‘Pepe’ William Frank Easy-Daniels from the U.S.A.

The album which was elaborately recorded in Goldmine, V.I.F, Dolphin and Bob Ejike Studios presents tracks like Jealousy (featuring Mr.Kool), Iyawo Mi, (a highlife/makossa love song), Fiesta (featuring Stella ‘Atupa’ D’lyte), Mirror, Mirror, Guessin’, Surulere (featuring Black Tribe and D.J Rumple), with a remix of Ejike’s masterpiece Does Your Mama Know? Sala Maleku Africa, No Vacancy, and Adamma. The CDs were manufactured by Bob Ejike Studios, Lagos. The video clips and a backing documentary on Nigerian arts are presently being shot in Europe.

All the songs were skilfully scripted by Bob Ejike who is a gifted writer and celebrated Nollywood actor. Ejike, a former consultant to The Italian Embassy, who was recently flown into the country from Europe (where he currently works as an associate professor, author, editor, translator and international journalist), as a special guest of the Abia State Governor Dr Orji Uzor Kalu, declared that he was impressed by recent developments in the Nigerian music industry. His words, ‘for several years I have been at the vanguard of the campaign to bequeath Nigerians with a deserving entertainment industry, film, music etc, to propound our cultural heritage and improve our economic well-being. I shouted my pen dry in my Klieglights column and other publications, but no one seemed to be listening. I can proudly say that Nigeria is now beginning to develop a real music industry, not the traditional ineffective one-man-show.

I predict that within the next five years we will transfer the same magic we made in the video-film renaissance to music and music has easier acceptance than film, so I visualize a Nigeria that will be running the world music industry within the next ten years. This is why I hastened to set up the Bob Ejike Studios in (Nollywood), Surulere. I am taking charge and that means that the Nigerian youth to whom I am fully committed is taking control. There is no stopping us now!’

Professor Bob Ejike, the protagonist of Tears in Heaven, Outcast 2, Sharon Stone 2, Polygamy, Wasted Years, Wanted Alive, Maximum Risks, Homeless and Confusion among other Nigerian films is the most pronounced Nigerian artiste on the Internet where his music and books are already on worldwide sale. He however lists his greatest achievements as ‘launching Lillian Bach and R.M.D. ‘I pulled the behind-the-scene strings that got Miss Bach started out in Nollywood and R.M.D got his first T.V exposure in my NTA Benin movie Echoes of Wrath’.

On his invitation as special guest of the Abia State Governor, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu, Professor Ejike had this to say, ‘it was a great honour in recognition of my thirty years of varied artistic efforts, His Excellency and I put minds together to devise a modus operandi for the development of Nigerian arts and culture, this is a testimony to the high esteem that the Governor reposes on the Nigerian youth and his understanding of the oil wells that lie in our creative ability. The Action Governor assured me that when he is elected president he will do all in his power to see that Nollywood transforms into Hollywood. I think it would be wise for the youths, and indeed all Nigerians of all ages to support Governor Kalu, because he is truly committed to our future. As a show of solidarity I recorded a campaign jingle for him and I dedicate this new album Fiesta to Orji Uzor Kalu’.

Mary M. Ajayi

Posted by Administrator at 07:27 PM | Comments (0)

Ozodi Osuji Lectures #8: The Media in Nigeria's Politics

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. (Seatle, Washington) --- The word media is plural; it encompasses many outlets of news. The media includes print media, such as newspapers, magazines and journals; electronic media, such as radio, television, internet, faxes and so on. Information and news can be spread through any medium that connects people.

In pre-modern societies people talked to one another and told stories about what was going on in their lives and in their world; such interpersonal communication was a medium for sharing information. In ancient Greece, books and plays were written and used to communicate ideas from writers to readers. That was print media at work.

In renaissance Europe people began writing books and plays, a rediscovery of Greek style writing and plays, and that too became a form of spreading information. Later on, the novel was born and folks wrote fictional novels as a way of telling stories to each other about what was going on in their lives and world. A novel is a disguised way to talk about ones character and human character issues in general and to show how individuals’ characters play roles in their life outcomes. Much later, when mass literacy was becoming a reality, newspapers and magazines came into being.

Newspapers became a medium through which writers talked about what was going on in their town and world. People were educated regarding current events particularly political issues exercising people’s minds. Newspapers made it possible for people to be informed about what is going on in their world and as such became less isolated from their neighbors. Newspapers informed people about who were the political big wigs in their town, who had the most pull and influenced political decisions at city council.

Of course, newspapers also informed their readers about who were the richest in town and gave people tit-bits about the lifestyles of the rich, powerful and famous. People like to read salacious materials about the rich and famous. They are titillated by reading every goings on in the lives of the powerful. Apparently people derive vicarious sense of power and fame by reading about the powerful.

People always want to read about the powerful; they want to read about their presidents, governors, mayors (and in eras gone by, their kings, dukes, earls, counts, marquis and other princelings). It seems part of human nature to want to know how the rich and powerful live and try to imitate them. American Tabloids wrote obsessively about the late Princess Diana. Her picture was practically on the cover of most ladies magazines, week after week. Apparently many women in America wanted to look like her. They imitated her hair style and clothing. If she starved (from some psychological disorder, anorexia-bulimia) they went on diet to look like Di. Even though the girl was a secondary school drop out, rich and well educated American women strove to be like her; she was their role model. That is how much power influences people’s behavior. Power and wealth rules the world, not wisdom.

When newspapers first came into being it was not unusual for the rich and powerful to take control of them and use them to slander their enemies. The wealthy funded papers to espouse their particular political views and desecrate their enemies political views. Thus, there were conservative and liberal rags, each unabashedly espousing its ideas of how human beings ought to be and behave and how governments ought to be. This era was called the era of yellow journalism. Newspapers did not make any effort to be objective and state the truth as they saw it but, instead, approached the truth in such a manner that their sponsors views were served.

It took a lot of struggle for newspapers to train their writers, now called reporters, to merely report what they observe in the human polity rather than editorialize and espouse a certain position on issues. This attempt at objectivity was helped a lot when schools of journalism and mass communication came into being in the early part of the twentieth century. These schools trained reporters in a certain style of writing, writing that merely described what was observed without trying to suit any particular point of view.

When reporters began to report news, without adding their individual opinions to them, the public began to see them as professionals and relied on what they wrote as independent source of information that they could count on. Journalists kind of became respected professionals. (Nevertheless, they invariably were among the lowest paid persons in the world. A few well known journalists make the big bucks, but the run of the mill reporter seldom makes enough income to buy his own house or support a family decently.)

Alas reporters’ touted objectivity is seldom true. Beneath the mask of objective reporting is a world view that the newspaper is espousing. For example, most of the big city newspapers in America’s East Coast, The New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe etc claim to be merely reporting news as they saw them happen. But an impartial analysis of their content shows that they tend to be tilted towards leftist views, liberal views. For one thing, they are owned by liberals and cannot help but serve the liberal social agenda of their owners. Of course, some papers tilt towards conservative views, some even right wing. One can think of Washington Times.

Most American newspapers, however, tend to be in the middle, reporting on what the political establishment approves. By and large that is the liberal-conservative continuum. Liberalism and conservatism are the mainstream political ideologies in America; they are accepted as official ideologies. Any paper that steers within this liberal-conservative ideological spectrum will survive in America, but if a paper deviates from the norm and publishes, say, socialist or fascist views it is simply killed off by the powers that be, or is so marginalized that one must seek it out to see it.

Those in America who want to read about non-mainstream ideas, from so-called alternative media, search for them. Sometimes one has to read foreign papers to see things differently from the way that the establishmentarian press wants one to see them. The American mainstream press literally brainwashes Americans to see the world in a certain manner. The average American is so programmed by his society’s educational system and media that he, more or less, spouts the same ideas, even uses the same phrases and clauses in his speech. Americans are so uniformized that if you have talked to one you pretty much have talked to others. In fact, they even use the same words and speak in the same sentences. They are boring. (I am out of here, am off to where I can, at least, talk to people with minds of their own and can talk in individuated sentences, one tells ones self. Go to France and listen to real individuated opinions. Americans talk of their so-called individualism but are the most socially conformists people in the world.)

One has to listen to foreign radio stations to hear how other people interpret the same news given liberal-conservative slant in America.

And to prevent Americans from listening to foreign news and being exposed to alternative points of views, most of the radio stations in America are either FM or AM stations; they only reach a small radios; only short wave ratios have far reach. One literally has to search for places where one can buy radios with short wave in America. Most of the locally produced radios are AM/FM. These were designed to give listeners access to local news but not international news. This way Americans are kept unaware of what is going on in the rest of the world.

Americans are the world’s most isolated and parochial people. Even little boys in African villages know more about the larger world than city dwelling American kids. The political system did this on purpose, to get the people to think only in American terms and to support Americana at all costs, to not have international points of views. The more ignorant the people are kept, the easier it is to control them by the powers that be.

This policy in the short term is clever but in the long run is self defeating. Americans ignorance means that very soon they would not be able to compete with others in an increasingly intertwined global market place. As it is, they are unable to compete with Asian well schooled kids.

It is difficult to tell when the first newspapers came into being, but it must be after the discovery of Guttenberg’s printing press in the fifteenth century. We know for certain that by the 1600s newspapers were published in American colonies, Boston, for example.

Newspapers came to Nigeria with the advent of the British in Nigeria. The British occupied Lagos in 1851, primarily to remove the reigning Oba, Kosoko who, apparently, was incorrigible and adamant in selling his own people into slavery. With the settlement of the British at Lagos and the advent of British type education in Nigeria, a crop of Nigerians learned to read and write in English. By the late nineteenth century the first newspapers were published at Lagos.

During the anti colonial era, newspapers became a weapon for fighting the colonial administration. The incipient anti colonialists of 1920s Lagos, headed by Herbert Macaulay printed papers in which they criticized the activities of the colonial administration that they found odious. These papers gave vent to the petty bourgeois desired for the colonial Administration to include them in governing. The Lagos elite, mostly composed of returned slaves and a handful of educated Yorubas, wanted the governor general to appoint a few of them to serve in the legislative council, at least, as ex officio members.

These papers also documented the activities of the educated and, should we say, rich Lagosians of the era. Actually, those papers, like most African American newspapers of that era, even of today, tended to be of tabloid quality, giving information about the activities of the socialites of Lagos; writing about who married whom, who had a great party and who attended such parties and what fancy clothing they wore. A man who had a steady job at the post office, a clerk, was a big African man. Thus, when we talk about rich Africans we are talking about the petty bourgeoisie.

While still in graduate school at Lincoln University, one of the negro universities in America, Nnamdi Azikiwe recognized the power of the media as a weapon for setting national agenda and correcting wrongs and made a decision to go study journalism at Columbia University. Instead of pursuing the PhD in political science, he satisfied himself with a master’s degree in that subject and went on to obtain a one year training in journalism and returned to Africa.

First Zik settled at Accra, Ghana where some rich Ghanaians bought him a printing place and set him up as a newspaper editor. When his association with his Ghanaian benefactor soured, he returned to Nigeria and settled at Lagos. He raised enough money to start his own newspaper and published what he wanted without being beholden to the dictates of his Ghanaian benefactor…the later had not wanted him to publish anti colonial issues for those got them into trouble with the colonial authorities, but instead to concentrate on tabloid matters. Azikiwe started his own publishing business and later had newspapers all over Southern Nigeria.

Azikiwe’s newspaper empire largely contributed to gaining independence for Nigeria. This is because Zik’s newspapers documented colonial shenanigans and made them known to the emergent African literate class. His readers read about and understood how they were been shafted by their white masters. A white boy with only secondary school education, for example, would be given a high placed job within the colonial order, whereas a Nigerian with university degree would go begging for a job. When educated Nigerians eventually obtain jobs, it is to serve the secondary school educated white boy.

Zik’s flagship newspaper, West African Pilot became the anti colonial mouthpiece of the era. It was a must read paper for those seriously engaged in fighting colonialists. The colonial establishment had its own sponsored papers, such as the Lagos Daily Times. The Daily Times wrote status quo stories, stories that did not rock the political establishment. Reporters working for the daily times had more prestige for they were part of the Lagos colonial elite. Zik’s papers wrote stories that aroused African emotions and got them to resolve to fight colonialism.

Zik’s newspaper writings propelled him into the political lime light and made him a household name in Nigeria. He became his people’s champion and began making public speeches. It was reported that hundreds of people packed auditoriums where the man spoke. Indeed, people looked forward to go listen to him speak. His speeches cheered the oppressed African crowd of the 1940s Lagos. His speeches were probably the only thing that made the depressed Africans of his era feel cheerful; they enjoyed hearing him rant and rave against what white men did to them. He was their undisputed hero, the champion of their course. African manhood was slighted by colonialists and Zik helped African folks to rehabilitate their humiliated egos; he made Nigerians proud to be human beings once again. (A good leader must make his people feel proud to be alive. He does so by emphasizing their good aspects and stressing their enemies bad sides. Objective writings that try to show ones peoples faults would never get one their vote. These lectures, for example, would never buy me the peoples respect for I am pointing out their short comings. As it were, I am making the people feel bad about themselves. A leader, on the other hand, must make the people feel good about themselves. Let us just say that there are several types of leadership functions and that one is serving one such function. Ones goal is not to insult the people but to correct their unacceptable behaviors. This is or should be the role of the scholar. Nevertheless, one is acutely aware of a depressing aspect to ones writing; talking about what people did wrong is depressing.)

The people adored Zik for here he was, an African talking back to the then feared white man. Colonized Africans were impressed with their alleged inferiority. Africans were taught not to look the white man in the face and never to talk back to him. They were cowed by their colonial masters. But here was one of them looking the white men in the face and telling them what he felt about them, telling them to get lost. He seemed so bold and courageous that some of his African contemporaries, in fact, thought that he had magical powers. Some even thought that he was born by the gods for certainly a mere mortal African could not look the colonial governor general in the face and ask him to go jump into the lagoon and get away with such audacity! Rumor, in fact, spread that the man had magical spells that no white man could kill him.

Zik probably encouraged all these primitive views of his prowess, it served his purpose, to mobilize the masses and give them courage.

In his autobiography, My Odyssey, Zik made his birth at Zungeru, Northern Nigeria seem auspicious, giving the gullible reader the impression that he was special, and had godlike birth. He, apparently, read his Homer’s “Odyssey” too well (and Illiad) hence built himself up along Greek hero proportions. In Greek mythology, the hero, such as Achilles, Hector, Agamemnon and Paris, was always born through the intervention of the gods and are on earth to play heroic roles. Zik, in that boyish, extraverted nature of his, apparently took such fairy tales too seriously and made his life out as such. Of course, he was a mere mortal and had no supernatural powers. When he irritated the colonial authorities enough they tried to arrest him and he fled to the East and laid low for a while. Emissaries were sent to placate the colonial authorities so that they would not throw him into jail when he returned to Lagos.

The man was one of the few anti colonialists who did not spend the obligatory time in jail. Doing time in prison was a badge of honor for anti colonialists. Zik not doing time in jail as Kwame Nkrumah, Jomo Kenyatta and Nelson Mandela did, actually makes some folks to question his anti colonial credentials. They wonder whether the man publicly talked tough but behind the scenes begged the colonial authorities for mercy?

Zik liked to write and talk in grandiloquent language; he employed big, big words, sometimes inappropriate words, but no matter. Whether Zik understood the English language is in question, but that notwithstanding, his people admired him for talking in the colonial master’s language and seeming to do so eloquently. Zikism became synonymous with talking in big words that may or may not be in English dictionaries.

Radio was discovered in the 1920s but did not really come to Nigeria until the 1940s. When it did come to Nigeria, radio was primarily limited to the few urban areas of the country, such as Lagos, Enugu, Port Harcourt, Ibadan, Kaduna, Kano etc. Radio became a means of spreading news. The news was read in the colonial master’s language, English, and then translated to the three main languages of Nigeria: Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo.

Not many Nigerians could buy radios. Until the 1960s the average Nigerian could not afford to buy radios so radio was really a luxury for the few educated Nigerians who at that time was less than 1% of the population.

Television became a reality in the West in the 1940s. By the 1950s most American households had black and white Television. By the early 1960s television came to Nigeria, mostly to a few urban areas such as Lagos, Enugu, Kaduna and Ibadan. Only a few, the middle class could afford television. The Middle class in Nigeria through the 1970s was less than 5% of the population so less than five percent of the population had TVs. These days just about every urban dweller in Nigeria can afford Television.

Fax machines became available to the masses in the 1980s. Fax machines had being available for American military and hospitals’ use many years before they became available to the general public. People could now fax their letters and documents to people all over the world. This became a means of spreading news.

However, to use fax, one must have access to telephones. Whereas third world countries like Nigeria have had telephones right from the time the technology was discovered by Alexander Bell in the late 1800s, unfortunately, very few Nigerians lave access to phones. As I write, very few of them have access to land phones.

The discovery of mobile phones has helped matters a lot, for it helped bypass the difficult task of laying telephone wires all over the country. Now all a country has to do is pay the advanced countries to help it put a satellite into space/orbit and it coordinates its mobile phone system.

These days, most Nigerian secondary school leavers have access to mobile phones. This would be about ten percent of the population. Mobile technology has improved communication in Nigeria. Folks can now share news almost instantaneously among themselves. A person at Lagos can now directly communicate with a person at Owerri and not have to wait on the incompetent Nigerian postal service to deliver his mails.

(Most letters sent through the Nigerian postal service are opened by the criminals that work for that outfit, are rifled through, in search of possible enclosed money to steal and or documents that they could use in their nefarious criminal activities. Emails and mobile phones have reduced business for Nigeria’s postal crooks.)

In the 1970s Personal Computers became a reality in North America. By the 1980s most middle class Americans were buying computers. Today, most American middle class households have several computers at home.

By the 1990s most Americans had access to the internet. The Internet was originally developed for the United States army in 1967 but was not put to civilian use until the late 1980s. Today, the world wide web is probably the quickest means of spreading news. Most people in the West have computers and email addresses and can pretty much communicate with each other. The world wide web has made communication among people very easy. You sit and type a letter and mail it and a few minutes later the person you sent it to read it. The Internet is probably the quickest and best way of spreading information. (For example, you are probably reading this material in the Internet?)

The media is a means of spreading news and opinions on subjects in the public domain. The media is a powerful means of educating people and persuading them to think in a certain manner. As such, whoever controls the media, more or less, controls what the people think about.

Whoever controls the media has the power to set the political agenda for public discourse. In America, white middle class persons control the media. White folks own most of the newspapers, magazines, radios, televisions, internet etc in America. This means that whatever these folks permit to be printed or to have air time is given public forum, and what they do not permit access to their media is not heard of. In effect, white folks decide what the general American public thinks and talks about. They decide what social issues are given prominent attention and which ones are ignored.

By and large, issues that concern African Americans are ignored by the American media. You can read the New York Times, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times and not read about black American issues. You can read Time magazine, Newsweek, US News and World Report and other weekly magazines and not read about 12% of the population, African Americans. You can listen to radios in America and not hear about issues relating to blacks. You can watch American television and not hear about issues relating to black Americans. Indeed, you are most likely to see only white faces on American television even though one out of every ten American is black.

Academia is no exception. American academic journals publish whatever serves white American interests. Try submitting articles on black issues and or African issues to these journals and they would not publish them. Years ago, I tried to publish something at Columbia University Business Journal. In that article, I argued that management in contemporary Africa is equivalent to what obtained during American’s revolution and compared African leaders with American leaders. The editor of this so-called academic journal went ballistic, asking me why I dared compare “primitive Africans” with, what to him were sophisticated founding fathers of America. He could not see how Azikiwe is equivalent to Thomas Jefferson. How can an African be like a white man, he probably thought. Of course, he did not publish the article.

America’s gate keepers, be it in academic publishing or in mass publishing serenade princess America and ignore issues black. (This idiocy will soon come to hunt them, for the average American is so uneducated, so ignorant of what is happening all over the world that it comes as a surprise to him that other countries are doing quiet well; the idiots will wake up one day and find that the rest of the world has long surpassed them.)

America’s media completely shuts out issues African and African America. Black people’s agenda seldom make it to national news and, as such, do not get discussed when public policy is discussed. Public opinion determines public policy and if black public opinion so ignored policies favoring blacks are ignored.

The media is very powerful in influencing public opinion. Therefore whoever controls the media controls public opinion.

Nnamdi Azikiwe must be given credit for realizing the importance of the media as a weapon in correcting the colonialist generated fear of white men and women. The colonial masters made themselves seem superior to Africans and propagated that nonsensical view in their colonies. Indeed, even the colonialists themselves believed in that propaganda. The typical white boy serving in colonial Africa actually had the delusion that he was superior to Africans. He was in fact psychotic for he believed in what is not true as true.

To feel superior or inferior to any human being is to have delusional disorder. Mental health lies in accepting the truth of our human equality. All people are the same and equal, and if you believe differently you are insane. If you feel superior (delusion/psychosis) or inferior (neurosis) to other people, you belong in a nut house. Your false feelings and beliefs about the human reality needs to be corrected. Correct thinking accepts all people as the same and equal.


Control of the media is sought by governments. This behavior is not restricted to any particular form of government. Both capitalists and communists do so. By and large, all governments try to influence, if not out rightly control, the media.

If newspapers print what the government considers seditious, the paper’s editors are generally invited for a chat with national security agencies. They are subtly warned and intimidated to refrain from saying anything against the government.

In America the intimidation of the media is done subtly. Most American newspapers and magazines are funded through advertisement. If a paper writes anti American stuff, it can kiss goodbye to advertising. Thus communist papers seldom have any one advertising in them. This practice means that communist and socialist papers do not have the money to publish on a large scale. At best, they manage to publish a few pages of material that they cannot even circulate widely, since the national distributors would not touch them. America is a velvet dictatorship and uses refined means to keep undesired opinions out of the public domain. America rewards and encourages those opinions that support it.

Other political systems out rightly censor opinion that is not their system supportive. In communist Russia, the leaders simply owned all the newspapers, radio stations and Television outlets and decided what is permitted publication and viewing. The communist monoliths controlled what the people read.

Of course some bold souls defied the powers that were in Russia and managed to publish contrary opinions. These dissidents were generally hounded, picked up and jailed and the keys to their jail cells thrown away. In fact many of them were tortured. In Soviet Russia, they even tried using their psychiatrists to drive dissidents insane and failing to succeed, ship them off to the Gulag in Siberia and work them to untimely death.

In contemporary China, the powers that be censor not only newspapers but even the internet. They monitor folks emails and clamp those expressing anti government views into jail.

In America, the government has authority to selectively monitor people’s emails. Those who oppose the political system are known to the system’s gatekeepers and are generally marginalized. Oppose Citadel America and kiss goodbye to obtaining good jobs in it. America is not crude and will not arrest and throw you in jail but will get you where it thinks that it counts most, in your pocket book. America is probably the most totalitarian, authoritarian and dictatorial political system in the world. It just goes about its social control in a subtle manner.

I should observe that America has dug its grave. It mostly permits the nonsense that supports it and keeps out objective information. The system is mediocre beyond belief. American high school graduates are virtual illiterates. American college graduates are practically not much better. What America does well is technology, its graduates tend to be technology savvy but intellectually underdeveloped. Try talking to an American medical doctor who makes over a $100, 000 a year, and you would be shocked at the poverty of his general knowledge; it is like you are talking to an elementary school kid. This is sad, very sad. In a misguided effort to protect itself, the system deliberately keeps its people ignorant. It does not want to produce smart people who could question its misguided policies.

Emergent third world countries are even more pernicious in their efforts to control the media. Most African leaders tried to own their countries newspapers, radios and televisions. These crude dictators would, in fact, send their goons squared to go beat up newspaper men who dared to publish opinions critical of them. The death of Dele Giwa, the editor of Nigeria’s New swatch is still unresolved. Who murdered Dele? The goons squad of the military dictatorate?

A few months ago, the wife of the president of Kenya, Mrs. Mwai Kibaki, went to a newspaper room and destroyed every thing in sight. She and her goons physically roughed up reporters they believed wrote against her husband’s corrupt government. Kibaki came to power promising to clean out corruption in Kenya but, if anything, corruption has skyrocketed during his watch. He promised to write a new constituent for the country within the first 100 days of his administration; several years later, there is not a new constitution; the draft he has managed to write makes him more dictatorial than his predecessors.

In Nigeria the government controls the media in several ways. The Abubaka Tafawa Belewa government set up its own newspaper, The Nigerian Morning Post, to combat the strident writings of West African Pilot.

The Nigerian government owned radio and television stations. Radio and television simply spouted what the ministry of miss-information wanted said.

The various military governments were crude and simply beat up journalists who wrote negative news about them. In time, reporters learnt to look the other way as the criminals in government looted the government treasury. Indeed, it is reported that some reporters were in the government’s pay roll. Such reporters had nothing better to do with their time than write serenades of the powers that be. They covered every Owanbe party at Lagos and did not write about the sufferings in the shanty towns of Lagos..

The present Obasanjo civilian administration in Nigeria seems to have left news papers alone. The current administration simply ignore the views of the media. Obasanjo and crew simply do whatever they want to do and let news papers cry their hearts out and ignore them. The man is so tough skinned that he does not seem to loose sleep from anyone talking about the corruption in his government.

Apparently, Obasanjo discovered that there is corruption in Nigeria when he went oversees begging for debt relief and his creditors insisted that he do something about Nigerians rampart corruption. The man every now and then croaks about his government’s commitment to anti corruption.

If the man was committed to anti corruption how come no high government official has been jailed, or better still, executed? It takes the British to arrest a money laundering Bayelsa state governor.

And who does not know that Nigerian governors convert the money they obtain from Federal revenue sharing into their own private moneys? These criminals have mansions all over the world while their country men live in poverty. If Obasanjo is not corrupt, I can sell you the Brooklyn Bridge. For starters, it is corruption for Obasanjo to live at luxurious Also Rock while the average Nigerian lives in a shack.

The mass media in Nigeria somehow manages to tell the world what is going on in Nigeria. One must raise ones hat for them. The quality of Nigerian news papers sometimes rivals, even surpasses the quality of American newspapers. I find the Guardian, Champion, This Day, Vanguard and other Nigerian newspapers as good as any in the world.

The quality of writing in these papers are comparable to any in the world. The media is one area where Nigerians are as good as their counterparts in other parts of the world.


The media is a means of spreading information in a polity. It is a means of expressing opinions on issues of the day. It is a means of trying to influence public opinion and public policies. Access to the media is a good way to influence what the political system does.

In America, the media is controlled by white folks. Moreover, American media is very expensive. To advertise in the New York times sets one back thousands of dollars. Poor folks do not have that kind of money hence are shut out of the media. The media mostly propagates what serves the system’s interests, this means white folk’s interests.

In Nigeria, the media is relatively free but it is ignored by the powers that be. The rulers of Nigeria leave newspaper men to do their thing and ignore them. As they say, who needs to pay attention to what starving reporters write about? Ignore them and pay attention to the other power players in the polity.

Share wealth with those capable of kicking you out of office and ignore what riff raffs in the media say. This is the situation in Nigeria. The media is relatively free to say whatever it likes but it seldom has effect on public policy. The big boys of Aso Rock simply do whatever they want to do and the public be damned.

The Nigerian Media is doing an outstanding job. It is one bright spot in the darkness that is Nigeria. It is one of the few spots in Nigeria where men and women of courage seem to exist. Reporters write negative materials about the country’s leaders and sometimes risk arrest and beating, even been killed. These reporters are real human beings, they are not afraid of death. They are fully alive for a human being is fully alive only when he is not afraid to speak the truth even if it means being harassed and killed.

The Nigerian media is to be commended for doing an outstanding job. Unfortunately, the media’s marvelous job does not seem able to change Nigeria. Nigeria’s problems are too entrenched for good journalists alone to make a positive dint in them.

There is no cause for despair. The good work of journalists is laying the foundation for a renascent Nigeria, a Nigeria where there is the rule of law and men and women serve common interest rather than only self interest.

Ozodi Thomas Osuji

October 12, 2005

Lecture 9, Public Opinion and Public Policy in Nigeria, October 13

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

T-Mobile and The Nigerian Call Barring

by Uche Nworah (London, UK) --- Should T-Mobile, the leading telecommunications firm continue to ignore the desires of over 2 million current and potential customers, and neglect a long established customer base and relationship?

No one really knows the origin of this relationship, between Nigerians living in the UK and T-Mobile, (the German telecommunication network). But obviously the relationship can be traced back to the 90s when possessing a mobile phone (a newly introduced toy at the time) was generally regarded as a social and status symbol.

During this period, T-Mobile hadn’t yet taken over One 2 One in the £8.4 billion deal, the network which at the time offered different deals to customers including the popular and over-subscribed deal which offered customers unlimited free evening and weekend calls to One 2 One numbers as well as UK land lines.

It wasn’t like Nigerians sat down at a place, had a meeting and agreed to adopt T-Mobile (then One 2 One) as their choice network, the consequent choice and adoption of the network may probably have been as a result of the deals which the network offered at the time, deals which were considered to be value for money, and well worth the low monthly subscription fees, and which were also considered to be better than what the other telephone networks at the time were offering for example O2 (formerly BT Cellnet), Vodafone, Orange and Virgin.

And so most Nigerians living in the UK owned either a T-Mobile pay – as- you- go or contract SIM card. Even those who had other SIM cards and numbers from the other networks still maintained T-Mobile numbers for cheaper and more convenient reach with friends and family within the Nigerian community in the UK.

This relationship continued and thrived for a long time, Nigerians continued to make calls from their T-Mobile phones both to Nigeria and to other parts of the world, until the network felt that the relationship was now tilting more in the favour of the Nigerian customers, and they pulled the plug on Nigerian customers and started barring all calls to Nigeria from T-mobile networks.

What really went wrong?

The story (though unconfirmed by the networks when the customer services department was contacted for clarification) is that Nigerian customers were abusing the credit line offered to contract customers, as they made calls and accumulated huge bills which sometimes ran into thousands of pounds, they also wouldn’t pay the bills, it has also been suggested that some of the Nigerian customers at the time would rent out their phones to family and friends and charge them for trunk calls to Nigeria and other parts of the world, when the bills arrive, they abandon the lines and take up new phone lines and contracts. Allegedly, this practice was sustained because of the ease with which some of the Nigerian customers were able to set up new identities and bank accounts (prerequisites for obtaining the contract lines) using falsified or fake documents.

Over a long period, as this problem became incessant and began to eat deeply into the network’s profits, One 2 One/T-Mobile conducted an internal investigation which revealed Nigeria as the destination country of most of the trunk calls made from telephone lines with questionable usage patterns and unpaid accumulated bills. Obviously the warning and threat letters from the networks to the customers asking them to settle their outstanding bills were returned back to the networks as undeliverable, probably as a result of the inexistence of either such addresses or the customers at the given addresses.

As a result of the huge financial loses of this scam to the network, especially when you consider the fact that the unofficial figures of Nigerians living in the UK is currently estimated at around 2 million, as well as the percentage of this number that may have been involved in the scam, the network then had no other choice than to implement the blanket policy of baring all calls to Nigeria the One 2 One/T-Mobile network, Pakistan is another country in this category of countries with barred calls from T-Mobile’s UK network.

This policy does however seem like an extreme fraud prevention measure, one that penalises millions of other genuine Nigerian T-Mobile customers.

As a result of this policy which is still in place today, Nigerians now feel that the network is singling them out and enforcing a punitive policy against them, this they claim amounts to discrimination against a particular market segment, especially one with huge numbers and potentials. Some Nigerian customers also say that the network has not really exhibited corporate maturity in their approach to dealing with the issue; they believe that the network could have used other measures to curtail the abuse.

Despite the inconvenience which this policy is causing Nigerian customers, they still remain loyal to the network by maintaining their T-mobile numbers, this though may not be borne anymore by their love for the network, other networks including 3 now offer almost similar and sometimes better deals than T-Mobile, which seem to be losing grounds to the competition in the area of product offerings and customer rewards, an area that T-Mobile once dominated and used as a key competitive strategy.

T-Mobile’s decision to bar calls to Nigeria from its network has meant that Nigerians now carry 2 or more handsets, The T-mobile line is still used predominantly in the evenings and weekends when the network’s free unlimited calls offer kick in, other networks which are now popular amongst Nigerians are Vodafone and O2, which are used mainly to send and receive text messages to and from Nigeria.

Despite the barring of calls to Nigeria from the T-Mobile network in the UK, why is T-Mobile still the primary choice network amongst Nigerians?

Nigeria is one of the countries in the world with heavy immigrant populations, it is easy to spread the word to new arrivals on the telephone networks of choice and their various uses, and so new arrivals are easily indoctrinated into the ‘free evening and weekend calls’ philosophy, what that means for them is that if they want friends and family to easily and freely call them, then they would have to get a T-Mobile number, if they don’t then they may as well remain in their own ‘island’ or ‘world’, without much contacts to other Nigerians, and therefore with limited access to information that may help them with jobs and in ‘settling in’.

But considering the rising competition in the UK telecommunication market, as well as the evolving of stricter ways of conducting credit checks, it may be better for T-Mobile to review its Nigerian policy and open their network to Nigerian calls once again.

Agreed, there have been issues in the past but they can not continue to ignore this huge market segment, which their competitors are actively exploiting, especially now that there are new technologies they can deplore to detect and check customer call excesses.

If T-Mobile opens their network to Nigerian calls, they would be fulfilling the desires of their customers, a key factor in strategic customer service which T-Mobile claim that their business and success is hinged and built upon.

Should this call barring continue, Nigerian T-Mobile customers in the UK may consider constituting themselves into a strong consumer advocacy group and take their case to the UK Competition Commission or the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to challenge this discriminatory policy from the telecom giant, an early and amicable solution from the network is more desirable to a class action suit situation which may be costly for the network, and may also impact negatively on their brand image and values.

Uche Nworah is a T-Mobile customer and also a branding and advertising lecturer at the London Metropolitan University.

Posted by Administrator at 11:17 AM | Comments (0)

October 11, 2005

Ozodi Osuji Lectures #7: Political Parties and Elections in Nigeria

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph. D. (Seatle, Washington) --- This lecture will briefly define the nature of political parties and elections. It will first do so in a generic sense and later look at the phenomenon in Nigeria.


Political parties are a recent phenomenon. We have not always had them. They came into being in the eighteenth century. In fact, at the time of the American revolution political parties were only coming into being. Indeed, back then they were called political factions and many astute politicians cautioned against them for they were deemed divisive. In his parting address to the nation, George Washington, the first President of the United States of America warned the nation against the dangers posed by the emerging political factions. During his term in office two distinct factions emerged in American politics: the Federalist and the Anti federalists.

The Federalists supported the new constitution enacted in 1787 and wanted the center to have more power than the periphery, the states, whereas the Anti Federalists were more in favor of the confederation that had obtained in the land before the Philadelphia convention that produced the new Federal constitution. The Anti Federalists wanted more power for the states and less power for the central government. To the present, American politics is still characterized by this division: those wishing for more centralized power and those seeking more state rights.

Alexander Hamilton, George Washington’s Secretary of the Treasury, was a federalist whereas Thomas Jefferson, his secretary of state, was an Anti federalist. These two factions: federalists and Anti federalists became the foundations for America’s two party system. The Anti Federalists evolved into today’s Democratic party, the oldest party in the country. The Federalists first evolved into what was called the Whig party and in the 1850s transmuted into today’s Republican party.

(For what it is worth, I would like to mention that it was the Republican party, the Party of Abraham Lincoln, that fought for the emancipation of Negroes in America. Black Americans were initially members of the Republican party until Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s great realignment of the parties in the 1930s. Black Americans then flocked to the Democratic Party. It should also be mentioned that it was the Republican Party that gave women the vote in 1920. On says all these because some misguided folks tend to associate the Republican party with retrogressive measures. It was the Democratic party that fought to maintain segregation in America. As late as the 1960s, Southern Democrats, who largely controlled Congress, refused to pass any civil rights Bill that was introduced in Congress. The chair persons of Congress’ committees tended to be southern white men and these were, by and large, racists and segregationists and opposed civil rights measures. It was northern Republics who, in fact, struggled to liberate blacks from the chains of oppression. One says all these because one is often baffled why blacks flock to the Democratic party, to liberals who take their votes for granted and seldom do any thing substantial for them. The Republican party stands for free enterprise economic system and for individual self help and one does not see any thing particularly wrong with that stance. The liberals in the Democratic party present themselves as the champions of poor people but, by and large, keep poor people down and perpetuate their dependency by giving them monetary handouts, and not making them to go train for skills and work and earn their own livings by themselves, as adults should. It is actually dehumanizing for any adult human being to be fed by other adults. That is unnatural. In nature animals survive by struggling to earn their living and those who fail to work hard simply die out.)

President Andrew Jackson in the 1820s made the Democratic party what it is today. As already noted, the Republican party came into being in the 1850s as the anti slavery and pro industrialization party. Back then, the Democrats not only supported slavery but were against industrialization; they wanted to keep America rural. Being rural means having slaves working in white plantations. The Democratic party of Douglas fought to keep slavery alive in America. (See Douglass famous debates with Lincoln.)

While two parties were evolving in the United States, two parties were also evolving in the motherland of Americans, Britain. The English Whig party transmuted into today’s Conservative party and the other party of note was the Liberal party (of Lloyd George). After the first world war, the Liberal party died a slow death (it still exists in skeleton form) and was replaced by the party of labor unions, today’s Labor party. Ramsey MacDonald became the first Labor Prime Minister of Britain in the 1930s.

Today, Britain essentially has two key political parties: the Conservative party and Labor party. The other parties, the Liberals and the Social Democrats are, for all intents and purposes, fringe parties. As already noted, the United States also has two parties, Republicans and Democrats. It seems that those with roots in England, Anglo Saxon people, tend to be comfortable with two political parties. Canada, Australia and New Zealand, Anglo Saxon countries, each has two main political parties. There must be something in the culture of England and her upshots that make for two political parties?

In continental Europe, the situation is reversed: many political parties exist. France and Italy have so many political parties that one does not even know where to begin counting them.

Some observers have suggested that the proportional representation system found in continental Europe account for the existence of multiple political parties there. In proportion representation, all political parties vie for election and after counting the votes cast, parties are allotted seats in the Parliament (French for council) according to their percentage of votes. Any party that has, at least, five percent of the votes is assigned some seats in the Parliament. This way many parties get to be represented in Parliament.

In the Anglo Saxon system, on the other hand, what exists is single constituencies where the winner takes all. In such a system, only powerful parties are able to win majorities in most districts hence are represented in Parliament.

I am not sure that this factor alone accounts for the existence of two parties in the Anglo Saxon countries. One suspects that there is a cultural variable at work in the phenomenon. Anglo Saxons value stability; two party systems make for stable polity than the divisive multiple party systems of Europe; France and Italy are almost always weak polities. They are so weak that the well organized German army generally walks through them. In 1870 Bismarck marched to Paris. In 1940 Hitler marched to Paris, and when he liked it, marched into Rome to support his threatened junior partner in the Axis alliance, Mussolini.

Let us just say that the Anglo Saxon world has a history of two parties. In the United States of America several efforts have been made to start third parties but they always fizzled out; the polity keeps marching along with its traditional two political factions.

By the twentieth century, the concept of democracy was accepted in much of the civilized world and party politics became the accepted mode of electing governments. As noted, this has not always been so. In the past there were no democratic governments anywhere and, as such, there was no need for electing folks into office through political factions. In the present world, most people accept the idea of democracy and political parties are the order of the day.


Political parties exist for one reason and one reason only: to compete at elections. They hope to win at elections and be given the opportunity to govern their polities. Political parties are organizations that exist to compete for an opportunity to govern their polities.


There are many types of political parties. There are the strong European political parties and the weak American political parties. In Europe, political parties are organized like government bureaucracies, with central offices, bureaucrats running them and with branches across the country. There is a central committee that manages this centralized organization with a party chair person at its head. Power and authority emanates from the center and travels downwards to the periphery. The bosses at the central office pass rules and those rules are implemented throughout the party structure in the country.

Every few years, the party has a national convention and elects its leaders. These leaders take their positions at the national office, usually at the nation’s capital and control the party’s activities. The leaders of the party, if in opposition, in the case of Britain act as the shadow cabinet. Here, each member of the central committee is assigned a functional area of government to monitor and collectively they become what is called a shadow cabinet: shadow minister of finance, trade, foreign affairs etc. When the party wins an election the shadow ministers essentially become the ministers of the ministries they had been shadowing. The chairman of the party becomes the prime minister (or chancellor in Germany).

The European political parties are structured along Max Weber’s bureaucratic lines, that is, hierarchical, with those at the top telling those at the bottom what to do; and following strict procedural rules. Orders come from the top and travel the organizational chart downwards to the lowest step on the party ladder. Indeed, the folks at the central office even determine who runs for elections in all the constituencies in the country. They select party members they consider party stalwarts, those who have worked for the party and run them for elections.

To be noticed for leadership position in European political parties, individuals must first apply to join political parties. When they join (some applicants may be rejected), they are expected to work for the party and prove their loyalty to it. Those who seem to have leadership skills are then selected by party leaders for leadership training and subsequently ran in elections. Simply stated, the national headquarters of European parties control these party.

The American party structure is very different from the European party structure. The national committee of each of the two parties in America are mere over sight committees and really do not have much power. To the extent that they have any power at all it is to raise funds for the party. The national committee of each political party is composed of the state chair persons of each party. The state committee, in turn is composed of county chair persons of the party. The county committee is composed of precinct chair persons of the party. Most of these committee persons work as volunteers and are not paid. Moreover, they are not full time party workers, they keep their day jobs in whatever professions they are in and on ad hoc bases help out with party activities. In order words, they are seldom professional politicians.

Americans do not have to join any political party and carry party member ship cards. All that they are required to do is vote for one party or the other. To run for election on behalf of a party, one is not selected by the party leadership. (In the real world, those approved by the party leadership, such as there is, tend to be the ones who run for office; at any rate, those who tend to be supported by the parties with party resources, including money and publicity tend to win elections.)

The individual simply declares himself a candidate for a particular party and competes in that party’s primary election. Several persons compete in the party primary election. Whoever won the largest vote becomes the candidate of that party. For example, during the biannual elections for Congress, each party holds a primary (say in March). Several candidates declare themselves as Democratic or as Republican. These candidates duke it out and an election is held. They usually campaign with their own monies or monies they individually raised. Let us say that ten candidates campaigned in the Democratic party, whichever one wins the largest vote becomes the party’s candidate to face the other party’s candidate during the general (national) election, usually on the first Tuesday of November.

The two candidates campaign and whichever one wins the election represents the constituency in Congress (Washington DC). Elections are generally conducted through the secret ballot system, that is, each voter goes into a boot and secretly casts a vote for one or the other candidate (and for whatever propositions, referendums are also on the ballot…citizens can place any proposition on the ballot by collecting 5% of the signatures of those who voted during the last election, within a specified time and having the state secretary of state verify the signatures; propositions are another way of passing laws, ones that bypass the various states legislatures).

The two political parties are evenly balanced in America. Pool after pool shows that about 33% of Americans declare themselves as Democrats and 33% consider themselves as Republicans and the balance consider themselves as independents.

Political candidates appeal to their base during primaries but during the November general election come to middle so as to attract the 33% independents if they are to win the election. Thus, whoever wins American elections tend to be centrist, moderate rather than be a flaming right winger (fascist) or left winger (socialist).

This situation has lead some political scientists to say that there are not much difference between the Republican party and the Democratic party. This is true up to a point. Whereas most American politicians are centrists, yet there are those who lean to the right and those who lean to the left. They are not just twaddle Dee and twaddle Dom as some social science professors tend to teach students. There are distinct difference between conservatives and liberals.

The two mainstream parties, the liberal democrats and the conservative republicans have distinguishing characteristics but agree on certain things. Both accept the reality of America and work for the nation’s survival. To even say something challenging the territorial integrity of America would amount to treason. Both accept the basic premise of American democracy and economy. Both parties accept democracy as their political frame of reference. Both parties agree that capitalism is the best economic system for America and want America to be capitalist.

Democrats want to use government to improve the lives of ordinary citizens, hence tend to favor big government and big government spending. Republicans tend to favor limited government and want the individual to fend for himself. As conservatives see it, the function of government is to provide the people with security: military and legal; apart from that leave the people alone to shift for themselves. Republicans tend to be in favor of unmitigated free enterprise whereas Democrats tend to prefer Keynesian economics.

Republicans tend to detest using the government for social engineering purposes, such as using the government to encourage abortion on demand and approve homosexuality. Liberals, on the other hand, tend to see the average citizen as ignorant and not knowing what is good for him. As such, Liberals feel like big brothers and know what is good for the people and want to use the power of government to get the people to do what they do not want to do.

Liberals think that homosexuality and abortion on demand are acceptable behaviors and want to use the power of government to make people change their attitudes towards these contentious and controversial issues. Liberals impose their policy preferences on the people with the understanding that the people would eventually change their minds and come to approve what they had hitherto detested. Liberals cite the case of civil rights. As they see it, the average American white was opposed to racial mingling and it took government passing laws that made integration mandatory, laws that, in effect forced white people to tolerate black persons. To the liberal, if the government had not used the power of coercion to force white people to see blacks as human beings, white people would still see black persons as not human beings and treat them as such.

Reasoning from this premise, Liberals think that the majority of the people’s current hatred of homosexuality would change if government used state force to make people accept homosexuality.

What these liberals do not seem to appreciate is that there is a difference between natural status and behavior. A human being is born black or white. He cannot change his color.

A human being can choose what to do with his sexuality. If he chooses, he can stay away from sex altogether. Homosexuality is a chosen behavior. But Liberals would like to make it a status thing by coming up with phony genetic studies showing that these people are born the way they are.

If human beings are programmed by their genes to choose their behaviors, they are no longer rational beings but animals. If they are animals, nothing prevents fascists like Hitler from deciding to kill them off. We do not cry when animals are killed. Why should we cry if criminals are born that way and to protect society they are killed?

There is great danger in reducing human behavior to genetic causation. This very foolishness is engaged by neuroscientists who tell the mentally ill that they are schizophrenic, manic, deluded etc because of their genes and consequent chemical imbalances in their brains. We know as a matter of fact that thinking alone does alter biochemistry. If a person thinks in a certain manner he can make himself excited and manic; if he thinks in a grandiose manner he can make himself deluded, if he keeps thinking that he is all powerful and godlike he may, in fact, alter his brain chemistry so that he now hallucinates.

Man is a thinking creature and a choice making one; to reduce him to only biological programming is a dangerous liberal sentimental trip. If liberals and their so-called neuroscientists manage to convince the gullible public that their behaviors are programmed by their genes, you might as well kiss civilization goodbye, for fascists would rise and rationalize killing homosexuals, the mentally ill and the mentally deficient because they cannot change and are born that way. If criminality is inherited then killing criminals can be justified, for why waste time and resources trying to rehabilitate them in jails if they are not ever going to change? Since criminals are socially unproductive why not safe society resources by wasting them? (And carrying this argument to its logical conclusion, since Africans are, more or less, corrupt, if their tendency to corruption is genetic, why bother trying to change them, why not throw a few nuclear weapons on Africa and get rid of them and populate the continent with decent human beings? By the way, these ideas are being discussed by white racists, so let Nigerians keep being criminals and think that the rest of the world think that it is funny for them to be nuisance.)

There are distinctions between liberals and conservatives. Some persons are naturally conservative and others are liberals. Conservatives tend to be self reliant whereas liberals tend to look for a big father to take care of them; they tend to transpose their dependency traits to desire for big government to care for them; eventually that government tells every body what to do, as in the monstrosity called the Soviet union.

Political parties exist to compete for elections. Generally, whichever party wins the greatest number of seats in Parliament is invited to form the next government. It proceeds to govern the land for however many years the constitution, written or unwritten, specifies before another election is held.

Britain’s unwritten constitution specifies five years for each government before another election is held. (The Prime Minister, however, can call for election at any time; also when the party in power loses a vote of no confidence on a key issue it resigns and calls for a new election.)

The US written constitution specifies two years for members of the House of Representatives, six years for the Senate and four years for the president. (The original US constitution did not have term limit for the president, but George Washington served two terms and quit and two terms became sort of the expected unofficial term limit. FDR ran for office four times and won all. To avoid that from happening again, Americans amended their constitution limiting the presidency to two terms. It is still debated whether you can bar a citizen from running for office; term limits seems a bad law.)

In the European context, often no single party wins an outright majority and has to form a coalition government. As I write, the Social Democrats and Christian Democrats, liberals and conservatives in Germany are negotiating a coalition government that would make Angela Merkle the first German female Chancellor.

Coalition governments tend to fall apart when partners disagree on key policy issues. In which case, new elections are called and new governments are formed. (Italy has had numerous governments since the second world war; each lasting, on the average, two years.)

Political parties are organizations that recruit members and train them for political leadership. They exist to take over governing of their countries and therefore make it their business to train for leadership. Members are trained in the art and science of leadership, management and governing. I am talking about Western parties.

Political parties are organizations of like minded persons, persons with similar beliefs, values and ideologies as to how society ought to be governed.

Political parties articulate the aspiration of those they lead, those who think as the party thinks, those with similar ideology.

When political parties are truly acting as such they tend to have party platforms, blue prints of what they want to accomplish should they win elections. Each party specifies what exactly it wants to accomplish for the nation and ask the people to vote for it and thus give it the opportunity to implement those ideas into public policies.

Labor and Tony Blair campaigned to devolve the British government, to reform the House of Lords and to bring about a strong economy. They won. They have devolved government by giving Wells, Scotland and Northern Ireland local Parliaments; they have transformed the House of lords by making its members life peers rather than hereditary peers; they have improve the economy; the unemployment rate in Britain is one of the lowest in Europe. In other words, the Labor party had an agenda and is accomplishing that agenda.

On the other hand, Nigeria is the only country in the world where political parties have no goals, no agendas other than to come and steal from the public treasury. Olusegun Obasanjo and the present crop of thieves at Abuja have a Nigeria with over 40% unemployment . And the criminals who call themselves Nigerian leaders have no shame at the level of unemployment and poverty in their country.

In any decent country, leaders with that much unemployment would be hiding their faces. It is only in Nigeria that the incredible happens. Folks do nothing for the citizenry yet they masquerade around as their leaders. Even gang leaders who go out of their way to way lay people and steal give something to fellow gang members. Nigeria is the only country in the world where the government does not care that its citizens drink feces in water and die at age 43.

Nigeria is that country where nobody cares for anybody. This is hell on earth, pure and simple. Bill Clinton came to office and balanced the U. S. budget and reduced unemployment to less than 4.5%. That is leadership.

Obasanjo comes to office, buys a jet and cruises the entire world, staying in fancy hotels while his fellow country men literally eat shit. This is hell. Nigerians are in hell.

Black man’s land is hell and our leaders are happy to have it that way. These shameless criminals ought to be shot on sight and save us the embarrassment they cause us. These days to say that you are a Nigerian is to say that you are a thief or a potential thief. What an inheritance we got from Nigeria.


I have, hopefully, delineated what political parties are in the Western world. Now let us look at what passes as political parties in Nigeria.

Nigeria was a British colony and, as would be expected, it developed British type political parties.

In the 1920s, Herbert Macaulay and his fellow middle class Lagosians gathered together to make some requests from the British colonial administration. They would ask the Governor General to make this or that changes, such as permit Africans to be hired in the civil services, particularly the higher civil service. In those days, Africans were limited to messenger and clerical positions in the civil service, whereas white Britons were allowed into the administrative class. The emergent educated Nigerian elite sought to be permitted to work in the higher echelons of the civil service.

This is hardly the place to review the colonial administration in Nigeria, but suffice it to say that political parties in Nigeria grew out of these early organizations agitating for participation in civil society.

In 1933 Benjamin Nnamdi Azikiwe came back from America with a masters degree in a new discipline called political science. Prior to leaving America, he obtained some training in journalism. He embarked on publishing broadsheets attacking the British colonial administration. He and similar minded young persons formed what was then called the Nigerian Youth Movement. This group agitated for the British administration, for example, to build a high school in Nigeria, Yaba College. This group eventually muffed into the NCNC. Zik, as Benjamin Azikiwe was called, made life a bit difficult for the colonial administration, criticizing every thing he considered “color bar”.

After the second world war, Britain, though victorious, was prostrate. Britain was exhausted and did not have the military wherewithal to control its sprawling colonies. America, the benefactor of Britain, refused to sponsor her going back to regain control of her colonies. Thus, in 1947, Britain reluctantly relinquished her Crown Jewel, India, to Nehru. Africans saw an opening for self governance and called for independence. Many constitutional conferences were held in the late 1940s and early 1950s cumulating in the Lancaster House conference that gave Nigeria independence in 1960.

Three political parties emerged in the years running up to Nigeria’s independence: NCNC, NPC ands AG. Whereas NCNC made a show of being national, it quickly became associated with the tribe of its leader, Zik. NCNC, for all intents and purposes, was an Igbo party. NPC did not pretend to be a national party, it delimited itself to the North, hence it was an unabashed Northern party. Awolowo’s Action Group party was actually the only ideologically based political party in Nigeria. It had a platform, a blueprint of what it actually wanted to do for all Nigerians. For a party to set out to, in fact, do something for Nigeria is an unheard of phenomenon in Nigeria. Unfortunately, given Nigeria’s tribal nature Awolowo’s exceptional political party became associated with his Yoruba tribe. Whereas Awo had meant the party for all Nigerians, yet the party became a defacto Yoruba party.

There we have it, three tribal political parties. These parties competed at the pre independence election and none emerged clearly victorious. The NPC formed a coalition government with the NCNC. Abubaka Tafawa Belewa was made the prime minister and Zik was given the honorific position of Governor General and in 1963 the equally vacuous position of president of Nigeria was bestowed on Zik.

The ensuing coalition government was mired in do nothingness. Nigeria slid backwards and the politics of tribe took center stage. The then Western region, Yoruba land experienced tremendous civil unrest in 1964.

I am not going to review Nigeria’s history here. I have done that elsewhere. Suffice it to say that in 1966 the military intervened and ended party politics in Nigeria.

All that is really relevant is that the immediate post independence parties were organized along European lines. I have reviewed how European parties were organized and that should suffice for information on such parties in Nigeria.

The Military ruled Nigerian until 1979. Before they handed power to politicians, Nigerians organized political parties. As usual, those emergent parties were formed along ethnic lines, with Awolowo’s party based in Yoruba land, Azikiwe’s party based in Igbo land and Shagari’s party based in Northern Nigeria. As before, the Northern party won with slight margin and ruled Nigeria until the military dispersed the politician crowd in 1984.

The military then ruled Nigeria until 1999, changing leadership hand. Military rule is a game of musical chairs, one soldier boy is bound to cut the throat of another at any moment. Initially, Buhari ruled (up to the present no one associates him with corruption, he and Ideagbo probably were the best government that Nigeria has mounted), then Babangida, the Maradona of Nigerian politics, the smiling artful dodger who took Nigerians for fools, dribbling them as the Brazilian football soccer star, his name’s sake, did. Babangida finally had enough from the Nigerian treasury and handed power to a lackluster Yoruba civil servant who was immediately dispatched by another military general from the North, Sani Abacha. Abacha then really, really turned Nigeria into his private preserve. All of Nigeria’s oil money was his. He was like the Saud Family in Saudi Arabia. Everything in Nigeria was his personal property. This man was so corrupt and useless that his name will forever live in infamy. It was alleged that he died of heart attack.

Abacha was replaced by another general, Abdul Salami. This man took as much as he could from the treasury and wrote an American style constitution for Nigeria and imposed it on Nigerians. He held an election and managed to have an ex military ruler, Olusegun Obasanjo given power. Apparently, he transferred power to a “civilian military”.

Several parties vied for the 1999 election but the peoples democratic party, PDP won and is still in power. The PDP has almost a strangle hold on Nigerian contemporary politics.

Nigeria’s new political dispensation is along the line of America’s. Political parties were formed so that they supposedly operated like American parties. However, in reality, they are a mix of European and American parties.

Each of the parties has a national committee that supposedly governs it. Each has a party chair person. The chair person and his national executive govern the party. But in reality the president of Nigeria places and removes PDP chair persons at will. Indeed, the President removes the president of the Senate at will.

(For some reasons, perhaps to cajole the Igbos? the Senate President is zoned for Igbos and Obasanjo plays musical chairs with these incredibly incompetent Igbo politicians; they never learn from their predecessors; one is removed for corruption, the very next one comes along and occupies the presidential suit of the most expensive hotel in Abuja. only God knows what Ken Nnamani has been smoking; at any moment now, Obasanjo will accuse him of corruption and the man’s SSS goons, of course, will have the goods on him, and make them public, and this idiot will be out the door and another Igbo Idiot will replace him as the senate President and repeat the charade. Igbo political naiveté baffles the mind; for a group that are supposedly smart to be such political dunces is amazing; they are played as fools by the more politically shrewd Nigerians.)

We really do not need to waste our time and energy describing Nigeria political parties, for they are not parties in the sense of organizations existing to articulate the people’s aspirations, with agenda of what they want to accomplish for the nation and competing for opportunity to govern, to implement their agenda.

What is called political parties in Nigeria are criminal gangs looting Nigeria’s wealth. That is all there is to it. There is no use pussy footing. We must call thieves by their real name. As our old folks used to say: call the devil Satan so that he is ashamed. Except that Nigerian leaders are beyond shame. These are antisocial personalities, criminals through and through and have no sense of pride, shame and guilt. These idiots fly to the West and despite their so-called high positions in Nigeria are searched like common thieves at European airports and yet they do not feel outrage and like men go home with resolve in their hearts to improve their country so that white boys would not treat them disrespectfully.

All that Obasanjo has to do is walk around Beverly Hills and Bel Air California at night and he would be harassed by the local white police. I know what I am talking about. I used to-do my jogging in that neck of the wood and cannot begin telling you how many times the racist police shadowed me, often stopping me and asking me ridiculous questions. Given Obasnjo dark color, and as we all know, in America the darker you are, the more you are assumed to be nothing and treated as such, he would be harassed. But then again these people have no shame. Even if harassed by racist white Americans these people shine it off and pretend that all is well in the land.

Given the opportunity to govern, all our folks can think of is how to steal. God, from what corner of Dante’s Inferno did these people come from?

Political parties in Nigeria are organizations training folks in the art of joining the free for all stealing fray; the goal is to see how much one can steal from the government uncaught. These people are experts are protecting their behinds. They do not even bother having an agenda for the country.

PDP, what exactly does that party exist to accomplish for Nigeria? Nothing. Ask Tony Blair and the Labor party why they want to govern Britain. Go find out. They work for England.

A political party ought to have a reason for being, but we are talking about Nigeria, that wonder land where the world is upside down.


Political parties exist to vie for elections. The winning parties generally form the governments. In this mode, Nigerian parties supposedly prepare for elections. They hope to win and form the governments. But to call what takes place in Nigeria elections is to abuse that word, election. Let us just say that the rich and powerful use their money to buy elections.

All elections in Nigeria, from 1959 to the present, were rigged. We do not need to belabor the obvious. Nor do we need to pretend that real elections where voters go out and vote for alternative candidates take place in Naijaland. The electoral Board simply fixes the election so that the party that is expected to win wins.

The gullible masses are bribed and they do what they are told to do, and if they refuse they are beaten up, even killed.

The boxes where votes are cast in get stuffed; opponents boxes disappear in transit to counting venues.

The Nigerian election situation is so pathetic that it is beyond even bothering with.

One is not a spring chicken and is by no means naïve. One is a political realist. As such, one knows that tampering with elections takes place all over the world. Man, after all, is an ego, not an angel. Egos are selfish creatures that exist for their personal survival and at best cooperate with other egos for their mutual interest serving. One is trained in Hobbesian/Freudian skeptical but realistic view of human nature. One has no misguided sentimentalities about how good human beings are. Human beings are not angels. They are self centered creatures. A human being will sell you down the river if you allow him. That just about says it all.

Even in America, some sort of election rigging takes place. We all know about state legislatures apportioning Congressional districts (apportionment), depriving poor blacks of the opportunity to vote for black candidates. Despite being about 40 million and 12% of the American population, only a few blacks are in Congress. (We just elected Barrak Obama, to the Senate, thank God, at last there is a Blackman in that all white domain.) I know about all the shenanigans that the white establishment engage in to disenfranchise black folks, such as literacy tests, poll tax requirements etc.

Congress itself is not free from corruption. Who does not know about Pork, logrolling, boon-ducks? In short, in America the powerful shaft the weak.

One is not expecting human beings to become angels. But one expects them to be decent in going about their selfish nature. Of course there will always be political corruption, even in the best polity, but if corruption can be limited to the fringe, say to less than ten percent of public officials, that ought to be acceptable. But if corruption is so pervasive that just about all Nigerian politicians are corrupt, well, that is unacceptable.

This is unacceptable because these folks will soon find themselves with no money to rob. The West is working feverishly to come up with alternative sources of energy. When that happens, Arabs will be left to drink their oil and roam the deserts as Bedouins, as they have always done. Nigerians will be left to starve to death.

At present, even the so-called rich Nigerians live like idiots, see, they eat like fools, grow fat, do not exercise and die from cardiovascular diseases. Just imagine what would happen when the anticipated starvation hits Nigeria, these criminals will be dropping dead right and left. It is really sad that human beings could do this sort of thing to themselves, or are Nigerians not human beings? Some times I wonder about that.

Let us not waste our time talking about elections in Nigeria, they are fixed. It is probably the case that some minds are somewhere in Nigeria figuring out how to fix the upcoming 2007 election. I assume that there will be an election? We can never discount the probability of some soldier boys intervening and wasting the thieves calling themselves politicians. Actually the soldiers do not have to kill any one. All they have to do is fire guns into the air and the little cowards called Nigerian politicians would scamper into underground burrows and hide. They go hide it out waiting for future opportunity to come for more robbing of the polity.


I hope that I provided some information on political parties and elections in general.

We all know that there are no political parties and elections in extant Nigeria. Let us just hope that by and by Nigerians would have had enough of the foolishness called corruption and decide to put their house in order. When they do, hopefully, this brief information on political parties and elections might come in handy, preparing them to form real political parties and electing their leaders, as decent human beings all over the world do.

Ozodi Thomas Osuji

October 11, 05

Lecture 8, The Nigerian Media, October 13.

This afternoon, I took a look at some of the lectures I had mailed out. I was appalled at the many typographical, even grammatical errors in them. Please forgive me. I generally wake up at 4:30 AM, sit by my computer and type for 2.5 hours, read what I typed for another 30 minutes and then send it out. I am always in a hurry to get to work at 9AM. That does not leave me much time to make corrections on what I typed. As I said in the first lecture, when I get to the last one, #30, I plan to edit the entire lectures, add notes, references and bibliography. If you desire the much improved version of the collated lectures, please contact Africa Institute Seattle for a copy:

Posted by Administrator at 07:28 PM | Comments (0)

Oliver de Coque’s Bad Vibes at L.A.’s Local 250 Warehouse

by Ambrose Ehirim (Los Angeles, California) --- With no media coverage and a little fanfare, Oliver de Coque’s Local 250 Warehouse concert in Gardena, California, was absolutely a flop and very disappointing. The crowd, many of whom drove down from the San Fernando Valley and Inland Empire to see Coque and his brother, Eugene, were upset and felt it was all a waste of time and money. “Oh, my God, is this a fund-raising ceremony or actually a concert?” asked a curious man who came to watch Coque live in concert.

I have watched Sunny Ade perform at the Vanguard in Hollywood, the Royce Hall at UCLA, and the Coach House, San Juan Capistrano, California. I watched Lagbaja perform with passion at the House of Blues in Hollywood. I watched the legendary “Chief Priest” Fela Anikulapo Kuti in several occasions at the Greek Theater and Gibson Theater (formerly Universal Amphitheater). I also saw the South African-born legendary trumpeter Hugh Masekela twice at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles and UCLA’s Royce Hall. Masekela’s performance resonated with emotion reaching well beyond the music, just like Fela and Lagbaja.

Back in the old days, while growing up, I watched Emma China’s –led new Wings perform at Orupolo Nite Club, in Port Harcourt. I saw Bongos Ikwue perform at Lido Night Club, in Port Harcourt. I watched the promising artist Kris Okotie launch his second album at National Theater, Iganmu, Lagos. I saw Tee Mac, then resident soloist play his flute at Suru Lere Nite Club. Also, in those pretty old days, we turned classrooms into ballrooms and had a ball with DJ’s and local ensembles; Action 13, Founders15, Heads Funk, Black Children and “Stone Face” Iwuagwu. We watched Okukuseku, Apostles and One World (Otu Uwa) perform at Hotel Unicoco, Aba. And, of course, back in the day, musicians—be it rock, highlife, afro beat, afro funk, soul, juju, ikwokirikwo, roots music and folklore--performed at night clubs, bars, concert halls and auditoriums, the appropriate place for performers and players of instrument.

However, Local 250 Warehouse located at 18355 Figueroa Street in the industrial layout of Gardena, a Los Angeles suburb, was the last venue of all places I had expected to watch a concert. Never in my entire life have I seen anything like that, a warehouse with two exit doors as concert venue. On Saturday, October 1, 2005, the teamsters’ warehouse would now be home to ‘Ogene Sound’ concert, to test the staying power of Coque and his brother, the fanciful duo admired by showman Solomon Egbuho and his group of promoters in the Los Angeles area.

The ticket I had purchased three days earlier at Four Seasons African/Caribbean Market read: “Afam Kings Entertainment Group/African Lions Productions/A.P.T.N. celebrates Nigerian 45th Independence Anniversary featuring Chief (Dr.) Oliver de Coque and special guests on Saturday, October 1, 2005 from 8:00PM to 6:00AM at Local 250. Donations: $25 advance/$30 door. Donations are non-refundable.” Are these promoters keeping up with the books? Was Coque performing for all proceeds to go to charity? Was the cover charge meant for worthy causes as the promoters claimed? Reality check, here we come.

First in the day, I was left with two of three choices, to go see South African singer Miriam “Mama Africa” Makeba’s last L.A. appearance at the West Los Angeles Church in a Musics of the World Celebration Concert; and prepare myself for a long night at Local 250, or stay at home like a normal couch potato, eat, drink with phone calls at intervals and watch mob movies all night long. Unlike Coque’s “45th Independence Anniversary” show, Makeba’s West Los Angeles Church performance attracted prominent black leaders, politicians and activists from all around the world. Representatives of music’s World Forum and various government officials, including Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D. Los Angeles) stopped by.

What took me to Makeba’s was the same desire that brought me to Coque’s at Local 250: Music is my passion. Born Oliver Sunday Akanite, he began his music career in the seventies when Olumo Records contracted him to do recording sessions in its studio. He had a fairly successful career considering he’s the originator of Ogene Sound, a blend of Congo drumming and “massive” guitar works. Without a doubt, Coque did more original materials in his earlier projects until his music became a money bags choice. “Identity” is still a good song. “Ugbala” and “Peoples Club” are also good songs. ‘Peoples Club” originally was made an Igbo traders anthem by Stephen Osita Osadebe before Coque’s flavor of a different version popped up.

But Coque I saw at Local 250 was totally different from the Coque of Identity years. His “yes” is no longer his yes. His “no,” I’m not sure. He is now full of pride, too much iyanga. He used to be “a simple man by nature.” Not anymore.

The last time I watched Coque perform was on November 18, 2000, at the Hollywood Park Casino in Inglewood, California. Back then, he had not degenerated way low into what he is today, the fund-raising, pan handler, coupled with applauding “money bags” and societal nouveau riche who fills up his pocket with stacks of cash. At Hollywood Park Casino, the place was packed with people from all walks of life, including a variety of white folks and Latinos who came to be entertained. Hollywood Park Casino had substance with good vibes, the typical night life, and pub-crawling kind of stuff. Hollywood Park Casino is real stuff of life. The stuff of music jams and cultural arts.

The trouble with Coque’s turn-off show is that the money bags and noisy promoters of the supposedly concert caused a whole lot of distractions each time they climbed on stage to show off their sacks of money and announce Coque as a recipient of a lifetime achievement award by the organizers of the show who would go to any length in the name of money. It was a full time job for the coordinators who picked up money all night long as it dropped from Coque’s face down to the floor. Ridiculous?

The moment of truth came when a little bit past midnight, Coque introduced his eight-piece warehouse band with his brother on guitar while his Diaspora road manager Christian Emedom took the microphone as background vocal. Typical of Coque mix and fund-raising ceremonies, Los Angeles-based attorney Jude Akubuilo set the night rolling when he brought his wife along with him to the stage and turned a night I had anticipated to watch a live concert into spraying money-in-your face, hi fives and name-calling jamboree.

No wonder Coque has been labeled a money-chasing musician instead of doing what he does best. Play his guitar. And no wonder the audience reacted angrily when all they heard Coque’s eight-piece warehouse band utter was a rendition of “Akubuilo,” Akubuilo,” Akubuilo,” Akubuilo,” “Akubuilo,” “Akubuilo,” on and on to open up the act. For more than twenty-five minutes, it was Coque and his band’s rendition of “Akubuilo,” “Akubuilo,” over and over again while the money man himself, Akubuilo kept spraying money on Coque, non-stop. Money flowed from all angles of the stage to launch Coque’s fund-raising drive. And the mood in the crowd was obvious; Coque “screwed up” the show and had disappointed everybody. Many displayed their feelings of regret each time Coque praises a spraying money-in-your face title holder, the “Ogbuefis,” the “Onyilimbas,” the ‘Okezes” and things like that.

“Is this what we came here to see this evening,” Emma Obodo asked during the intermission before Coque continued the spraying money-in-your face event. “It’s not worth it, I should have stayed home. This is outrageous.” Even Altadena, California Councilman, Bill Nwoye whom I had an extensive chat with, was disappointed from what he saw that night. Nwoye has not been out to any Igbo gathering in a while, and could not believe what he saw from the greedy, scandalous vendors who hijacked prices of food and alcohol at the makeshift stalls that hanged around the corners of the warehouse. There were also a group of bootleggers who made brisk business selling pirated CDs and DVDs. It was a concert-turned swap meet. No wonder our local performers live and die in penury as a result of record piracy by counterfeiters and street peddlers.

If you had just arrived, you haven’t seen anything yet. Next was Eddie Iheanacho who came on stage with bundles of a dollar bills. He began his spraying money-in-your face without much ado. Coque gave it to him anyway, in “Onyilimba Orlu” rendition that lasted for more than thirty minutes. There was “Quality,” the lady who had no problems telling the audience she was single and available. She sprayed money, sprayed money, danced and danced while Coque rendered “Quality,” “Quality,” on and on until her wallet ran dry. Enter Jude Uwaezuoke of all people. He joined the chorus as if he had just won the lottery. More single ladies and single mothers popped up on stage to point out the coast’s clear.

Rewind back five years when Coque performed at Hollywood Park Casino. The venue alone had the crowd jumping and stomping on their feet, and I remember Coque pulled out all the tricks out of his hat for the show—all the things that make live performances worth attending, playing many tunes and handling his guitar the way musicians do.

At Local 250, Coque was a bad rap. I paid attention to make out what he was saying in his lyrics. He sounded like he forgot the words in the verse, and kept playing and improvising lyrics about being rich and generous like the “Onyilimbas,” Qualitys,” “Onyeolilis,” and “Okeosisis” did, spraying money as a symbol of societal nouveau riche. Coque’s rendering of “king of kings,” and “alpha and omega” was exactly what his Diaspora road managers and promoters wanted as spraying money-in-your face continued apace. That’s why, if you check world music/African section of a major record store, Coque’s songs and projects are no where to be found.

I made some trips to Amoeba Music on Cahuenga and Sunset Blvd., the biggest record-selling franchise to check out Coque’s works. There, I asked one of the store attendants where to pick up Oliver de Coque’s CDs. “Oliver who?” he asked. “Do you mean Oliver N’Goma or Oliver Mtukudzi?”

“Oliver de Coque,” I said.

“Well, if you check world/African section and you don’t find it, you know we don’t have it,” he said. For sure, N’Goma and Mtukudzi are well known. Their CDs can be found everywhere.

Meanwhile, the many times that I have visited Amoeba, I took the time to walk the isles of African and world sections at this amazing record store. Uncountable CDs and DVDs of Fela, including the Chief Priest’s “1969 L.A. Session” was there. Plenty of Masekela, Sunny Ade, Osibisa, Makeba, Victor Uwaifor, Cardinal Rex Jim Lawson, Manu DiBango, Celestine Ukwu and lots more graced the shelves. Surprisingly, Lijadu Sisters, BLO, Ofo & The Black Company, Dick Khoza, Ray Stephen Oche and his Matumbo, Assagai, Black Truth Rhythm Band, Matata, etc., lay the shelves in a series of compilations. Coque’s CD or in a compilation could not be found. Nada! “Never heard of him,” one patron said. Besides, the CDs at Amoeba were much, much cheaper than what the bootleggers and street peddlers sold at Local 250 Warehouse.

So why should the underground ‘Ogene Sound’ maker be making headlines in the entertainment world when one cannot find any of his CDs at major record stores? Why are his promoters and entertainment projects not making any breakthrough and have Coque perform at sold-out concerts like Masekela and the rest always do? Or, would it be lack of exposure, bad promotions and poor showmanship? You bet!

By 2:45 AM and after two and half hours of spraying money-in-your face convention, three quarter of a frustrated crowd have left the warehouse. “We came here to watch a live concert, not this nonsense,” exclaimed a woman who left with her group of female friends, cursing out the show promoters who brought Coque to Los Angeles.

I don’t mean to criticize Coque for a song he didn’t write. I think I like “Identity,” and he should have kept up that way. Nothing can be compared to real music and original materials like Perry Como, Ozoemena nwa Nsugbe and Eddie Okonta.

Ambrose Ehirim,
Los Angeles, CA

Posted by Administrator at 11:34 AM | Comments (1)

October 10, 2005

Ozodi Osuji Lectures #6: Interest Group Politics in Nigeria

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. (Seatle, Washington) --- As in my earlier lectures, I will first explain the concept of interest group politics and then apply it to Nigeria. My goal, as usual, is to help us understand the idea of interest group politics in general and to see how it operates in Nigeria.

Robert Dahl characterized America’s politics as Polyarchy. By that he meant that America’s politics has many interests groups, each trying to influence public policy in its favor. As he sees it, America is a pluralistic democracy with many groups, each looking out for its interests and working within the established political system to optimize its interests.

Each interest group tries to influence the political establishment’s decision makers to enact public policies that benefit it. Since other groups are pretty much doing what every group is doing, trying to get the political system to work in their favor, all the groups have no choice but find a way to bargain with each other, so that each gets something in the process, but not everything it wants. In American democracy, many interest groups bargain, trade off and compromise. The result is that policies do not always reflect what each group wants, but a bit of what it wants and what other groups want. Policies are compromises that serve every ones interests but no particular person’s whole interests.

Politics is the art of making compromises and the art of giving up something to get something in return. A Bill introduced in Congress goes through many bargaining and negotiating sessions that by the time it becomes a Congressional Act, it seldom looks like what it was when it was originally introduced. This is because many interest groups go to work on the proposed Bill, each trying to make it reflect its interests. The final version of any Bill is something that serves the interests of many interest groups.

The fact that final Bills tend to be very watered down tends to frustrate political idealists who, think that their Bills ought to be enacted into law as they were introduced. For the idealist’s desire to happen, however, all human beings in the human polity must see things as the idealist sees them. In as much as people see things differently and desire different public policies, the inevitable outcome is that public policies must reflect diverse public opinions, hence must be compromised.

Failure to do so is to alienate powerful interest groups. Alienating powerful interest groups is not exactly good politics. As we observed elsewhere, politics is war by peaceful means. If you ignore some powerful interests’ desires, you risk their converting politics to war by violent means. When negotiations fail, cold war ends and people embark on hot war and shoot it out. At wars, the powerful win and the weak lose. The powerful get the spoils of war and the weak get nothing.

Statesmen avoid war from breaking out in the human polity by striving to please all relevant interest groups. Statesmen know that war is always looming around the corner when public policy is discussed, and to avert war, make sure that they serve the interests of all those capable of making war a reality.

In a pluralistic democracy, policies and laws must reflect the competing interests in the polity. Policies cannot serve one interest group’s desires at the expense of others.

Campus socialists, for example, wish for certain idealistic social policies. They wish that society could enact their pet projects into law. But that would never happen as long as other people oppose them. The only way it could happen is for the socialists to use violence to take over the government and proceed to use force to superimpose their views on the rest of the people. If socialists have preponderance of power, they may succeed for a while, but as soon as power shifts locus they are thrown out.

It is difficult for communists to understand that there are human beings who are conservative in political ideology and hate everything that communists stand for. For example, there are people who hate abortion, out of wedlock bearing of children and homosexuality. Communists in their arrogant thinking tend to believe that conservatives are ignorant and that all that needs done is to reeducate them to see things in their way. These communists are not aware that there are conservatives who are willing to go to war rather than permit communists and liberals to enact their wishes into law.

Liberals trying to get around taking into consideration conservative opposition to their proposed policies often resort to the judiciary. They employ activist judges to legislate their pet desires into social policies. Judicial activist Judges who seem naive of what politics is all about use the bench to enact into legislation what there is no political consensus for. Thus, in today’s America, liberal activist judges abhor strict construction of the constitution and legislate for abortion and homosexuality. They do what is strictly the purview of Congress to do. They believe that they have succeeded in changing society, but, in fact, have only sown the seed for social discord. If these liberal judicial activists proceed on the path they are on, there is no doubt that conservatives would try to use violence to reverse the situation and the result could be civil war in America. The alternative, of course, is to go back to politics and let people’s policy ideas battle each other and produce compromises that most people are willing to live with. It is arrogant for liberals and their judges to assume that conservatives who oppose them are ignorant and ram down their throats policies they do not approve and hope that in time that they would accept such policies. There simply are some social behaviors that some persons are unwilling to accept and any effort to make them accept them leads to schisms and break ups of polities.

In a pluralistic democracy, there are many interest groups, each jostling to influence public policy in its favor. Resultant policies tend to reflect the inputs of these many interest groups. This is the only way peace is served in such societies for the alternative of serving one group at the expense of others is social discord, conflict, wars.


Interest groups are unlike political parties in the sense that they are not interested in campaigning, winning elections and governing the human polity. Instead, they want to influence the government into making laws and policies that reflect their interests. Interest groups do not want to govern but influence those who govern. This is the main difference between interest groups and political parties. Both are interested in enacting policies that govern the polity but political parties want to constitute the personnel of government whereas interest groups only want to influence the behavior of government.

In America, interest groups are, in fact, as powerful as political parties, if not more so. In America, policies are made by three key groups: the President, Congressional committees (particularly their chairpersons) and interest groups. These three are called the Iron triangle. The three, apparently, work behind the scenes and agree on policy options and Congress passes their agreed upon desires into laws.

In America, failure to obtain the consent of powerful interest groups essentially means that a Bill is not likely going to become law.

To better understand this phenomenon, it is necessary to briefly see how Bills become law in America.

Any Congressman, and for that matter, any American citizen through his congress man, can introduced a Bill in Congress. A Bill is a wish, an idea on how things should be to become public policy/law.

A Congressman hands over his drafted Bill (written in the accepted legal format for Bills) it to the speaker. The Clerk of the House reads it to (usually an empty House). The speaker then routes the proposed Bill to a committee that he believes is appropriate to discuss it.

The committee chair evaluates the Bill and decides whether to hold a hearing on it or not. Most Bills introduced by members of Congress do not see committee hearings. It is mostly Bills introduced by powerful members of the House and the administration (Presidency) that gets to have a public hearing. The typical Congressman may spend ten years in the House without seeing one of his Bills passed into law. At best, he aligns himself with powerful Congressmen and co-authors Bills with them and see such Bills see the light of day.

The chair of committees are very powerful; they can kill or not kill a Bill or just sit on it. Assuming that the Chair decides to hold a public hearing on a Bill, he does so on his own time table, which may be two years from the time that the Bill was originally introduced.

The Bill is scheduled for public hearing. The hearing’s date is publicized in Congressional Journals so that the public may come and testify for or against it. Citizens call and schedule to testify for or against it. Then the hearings are held. These hearings last for however long the Chair wants them to last. After public testimony the Chair calls for a vote on the Bill. If a majority of the committee members are in favor of it, it is voted out of the committee and goes to the entire house where the speaker then schedules it for debate and eventual vote.

The United States legislature is bicameral. Thus the Bill must undertake the same process in the two houses, Representative and Senate. In practical terms, this means that if a member of the lower House introduced a Bill in that House, he has to find a Senator to introduce it in the upper House. Right there making of compromises begin, for the Senator is not about to introduce a Bill that he does not like or a Bill that does not serve his interests and the interests of those he represents, his constituencies. If the Bill passes both Houses, a conference committee is appointed by the Speaker of the House of representative and President of the Senate to reconcile the differences between the two versions of the Bill and the reconciled version is voted on again by the two chambers and then sent to the President for his signature. If the President signs it, it becomes a Congressional Act, part of the Statutory law of the land. The President can veto the Bill. If vetoed, Congress can override it with two thirds vote, which is almost impossible to muster.

A Bill that is discussed at the committee level is worked on by all committee members. These committee members make changes to the Bill, called amendments. It is the various changes that finally is voted on and passed to the entire House for vote. If the person who introduced the Bill insists that no changes be made on it, well, it dies right at the committee level.

In the meantime, interest groups, who are the ones with resources to come and testify in favor or against a Bill before a committee, come and do so. The average American does not have the resources to fly to Washington DC to go testify in favor or against a bill. Indeed, the average American may not even be able to understand the legal mumbo jumbo language that Bills are written in.

Interest groups have the technical expertise that the average citizen does not have, indeed that the average Congressman does not have. Their testimony carries more weight than the testimony of the average citizen. Let us say that the Bill has something to do with building a road. Whose testimony would be important, a citizen who knows nothing about building roads or an engineering firm that builds roads? All things being equal, it is the testimony of civil engineers, experts, that counts the most.

The opinion of interest groups, top bureaucrats working for the President and the predilection of committee chairs decide what Bills become laws. Hence it is said that in America interest groups(via their agents, lobbyists), the executive branch and top bureaucrats are really the rulers of the land. The term democracy seem a misnomer.


Each powerful interest group generally hires lobbyists whose full time jobs are to network with Congressional committees, top bureaucrats and the President and see to it that Bills serving their interests get favorite attention. Some left wing political scientists speculate that these interest groups and their lobbyist write a majority of the Bills that go on to become laws in America. Whereas there is no doubt that interest groups and their lobbyist impact Bills, it would be stretching it to say that they are responsible for most of the Bills that become laws in the land. What is more likely the case is that since interest groups and their lobbyist are experts in their fields, that they are consulted as Bills are written. If Congress wants to pass a Bill on oil matters, who else to consult than the executives of oil farms? Shell, Chevron, Texaco, Arco, Mobil, etc are certainly going to play a more effective role in public policies on oil matters than the average citizen who knows next to nothing about energy issues.

Washington DC, particularly K street is filled with thousands of lobbyists whose job is to try to influence the behavior of Congress, the President and top bureaucrats. These lobbyists sometimes were themselves former Congressmen, top bureaucrats and or top executives of the industries that they represent. These people know the lay of the land and know who to talk to and what to do to shape public policies.

Additionally, lobbyists and the interest groups that they represent have the money to help politicians get elected. The typical politician to be is not rich. It costs a lot of money to run for elections in America. It is estimated that Congressional seats in California and New York take several millions of dollars to compete for them. Where do poor candidates for Congress obtain such money? They do so through interests groups and other persons with cash to give away. (Political Action Committees etc).

Whoever pays the piper calls the tune. Interest groups that have the money to fund elections are in a position to decide what Congressmen do.

These interest groups also have the resources to fund the lavish life styles of politicians. A politician could be funded to fly to somewhere, to go evaluate issues that he supposedly is going to vote on; housed in plush hotels and wined and dined in the best restaurants in town. Interest groups do this. It stands to reason to suspect that politicians so treated by interest groups are often beholden to them?

All said, interest groups are very powerful in America’s politics and largely influence public polices. Socialist oriented scholars tend to draw from this fact the conclusion that a small elite rules America. Hunter’s study of Atlanta claims that a small cabal of powerful persons rule America. To these socialists, America is not a democracy but a land ruled buy powerful elite families.

Other observers say that is not so. These point out that not one group rules America, that many interest groups compete to influence public policies. Since not one group is entirely responsible for all policies, these observers claim that what we have in America is a pluralistic democracy. They point out that different interest groups influence different policy areas but that no one group influences policies across the board. For example, the American Medical Association and the Health Insurance Industry influences policies on health issues but not on other assesses.

In 1993, Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary Clinton tried to provide all Americans with European style, publicly paid health insurance. The American Medical Association and the Insurance industry felt that such a policy would not serve their interests and lobbied to kill the proposal. These interest groups spent millions of dollars to kill a Bill that would have provided all Americans with public health insurance.

In America, medical doctors somehow managed to convince most people that they are a very important and indispensable group. They form a powerful interest group and lobby to prevent the mass training of medical doctors by limiting admission to medical schools. The result is that they restrict entry into the market of potential medical practitioners. Having controlled the supply of medical doctors, they affect the price paid by demanders of their services. Thus, in American a medical doctor makes more than $100, 000 a year . If the forces of the market were allowed to determine medical wages an American doctor would not make more than $45, 000 a year.

As it were, the medical group rigged the system to work for it and if any one tries to change the situation they immediately perceive threat to their economic welfare and fight it. If health care is nationalized, the typical American doctor would make, perhaps, half of what he is currently making. To protect their group’s interests , medical doctors fight a policy option that would have benefited all Americans. Today, there are 45 million uninsured Americans. The inner cities are generally filled with uninsured Americans.


There are public interest groups and specialized interests groups. Specialized interests like the AMA, the National Rifle Association, the various labor unions (AFL-CIO) and others serve specialized interests; they work for their members interests and not for the general public. On the other hand, are those interest groups that claim to work for the generalized public’s interests. Those working for the protection of the environment, for example, tend to claim to work for public interests.

This may not be quite true, for conservatives have different approaches to the environment than liberals. Conservatives, for example, would like to mine oil in the Alaska National Wild Life Preserve, whereas liberals want to prevent such oil exploration, to preserve the pristine nature of the preserve. This liberal stance sounds good except that the same liberals drive gas guzzling SUVs like any one else in America and must get their oil from somewhere. They a do not mind if Shell desecrates the mangrove forests of IJaw land, provided they obtain their oil to support their expensive life styles.

The liberal is not the angel he tends to make himself out to be. He is as selfish as any one else. His sentimentalities does not deceive any one. The conservative’s unabashed self interested behavior is actually refreshing. Realistic persons would rather deal with the conservative white American for they know who he is, “a selfish son of a bitch” and can bargain with him for mutual self interests. In dealing with a conservative, you have no illusions. You know that he is not pretending to look after your self interests; he is serving his own self interests, and if you are realistic, as you should be, you serve your own self interest. The result is adult bargaining to serve mutual self interests.

The White liberal, on the other hand, is a phony; he pretends to serve the poor when, in fact, he is serving his own self interests. Liberals pretend to like black Americans. If liberals ruled America Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice would never be made the Secretary of State. The secretary of Housing and Urban Development, may be. Liberals are the most condescending racist breed of Americans. They do not even think that black Americans are intelligent enough to do any thing for themselves. They, the paternalistic white liberals, want to do things for poor black folks. In doing so, they prevent black folks from doing things for themselves. These people baby black folks. It is amazing that black Americans have not seen through the racism of the democratic party and joined the realistically self centered Republican Party, where, at least, there are no games, no pretence of helping the poor while screwing them.


Interest groups are association of persons with similar interests who band together to protect their self interests. They work together to influence public policies in such a manner that their interest are served. They tend to focus their political activities to the area of their interests, not globally, as political parties do.

The American Bar Association, for example, only focuses on protecting the interests of lawyers; if an issue does not directly affect lawyers it stays out of it. The various labor unions try to influence policies that serve labor’s interests. The NAACP deals with issues that affect the interests of colored people (whoever is a colored person).

American politics is the politics of interest groups. Interest groups working with top Congressmen, top bureaucrats and the President influence the making of laws in America. Interest group are powerful in America, they are so powerful that some political scientists believe that they rule America.


Nigeria is not a democracy and, as such, public policies are not made through the inputs of several persons and organizations. What seems to be the case is that powerful elements rule Nigeria. Interest group politics is underdeveloped in Nigeria.

However, there are a few interest groups in Nigeria. The Nigerian labor congress does make certain noises that occasionally affects public policy? The various professional associations, such as the Nigerian Medical Association and the Nigerian Bar Association seem to be well organized enough to look after the interests of their members. However, since the processes of making laws in Nigeria is not really democratic, it is doubtful how effective these mutual admiration societies are.

The various professional associations in Nigeria offer Nigerian professionals opportunity to grandstand as outstanding professionals. These folks gather in their regular meetings and bamboozle the public with their social importance. But what exactly is the Nigerian Medical Association or the Nigerian Bar Association contributing to Medical/legal research? Very little. As far as the world is concerned, little or nothing comes out of Nigerian professionals thinking. But within the context of Nigeria, these fellows masquerade as outstanding professionals. Their associations offer them opportunity to meet and admire each other and derive egoistic sense of importance. They bedeck themselves in flowery lace robes and jewels, look like manikins and imagine that they are very important persons.

To the rest of the world, a very important person is a person who makes seminal contribution to his filed of knowledge. To Nigerians, a person is important just because he calls himself a doctor do nothing or chief-thief.

We shall proceed on the assumption that whereas the various interested groups found in the West seem to exist in Nigeria, that they are not effective in influencing public policies.


Ethnic groups are the only salient interest groups in Nigeria. They are the only ones that seem to have the power to influence public policies. We shall, therefore, spend some time on these groups.

Nigeria’s politics is the politics of ethnic groups. The various ethnic groups jostle for power and control of the polity. They bargain with each other and the resultant compromises serve as Nigeria’s public policies, the little there is of it..

As pointed out in other lectures, Nigeria is a conglomeration of many ethnic groups. No one knows exactly how many ethnic groups there are in Nigeria. Some say hundreds. I have tried counting them and counted less than fifty. (It is for the government and its officials to make themselves useful by delineating the ethnic groups in Nigeria and stop giving us estimates of how many ethnic groups there are in Nigeria)

The major ethnic groups in Nigeria are, in order of population size: Hausas, Yorubas, Igbos, Jaws, Edos, Efiks, Fulanis, Kanuris, Urobos, Ishikiris, Bornu, Tivi, and so on. These are the ethnic groups that jostle for power and control in Nigeria.

No one knows exactly the census figures of each of these groups. The various census figures were rigged to serve ethnic goals, for if an ethnic group is perceived to have more persons, even if it does not have them, it claims the right to rule others.

The World Book Almanac, probably a more reliable outfit than any in Nigeria, gives Hausas 24 million people, Yoruba’s, 22 million and Igbos 20 million people, the Jaws, Efiks etc about 2 million each. In the absence of accurate figures from Nigeria, we shall proceed with the assumption that the above World Book Almanac’s figures are closer to the truth than other figures banded around by Nigerians.

(The Igbos claim to be the largest group in Nigeria. They tag themselves as 45 million. They want ethnic affiliation to be included in the upcoming Census count in Nigeria because they think that it would show that they are the largest group in Nigeria. It is probably useful to know the actual numbers of each ethnic group in Nigeria, but given that that issue led to rigging past census figures one understands the decision not to include ethnic affiliation as a unit of count in the upcoming census count.)

The 1959 pre-independence election gave the Hausa party, NPC some edge, but not enough to form government by itself. NPC formed a coalition government with the Igbo party, NCNC. The Yoruba party, AG was the opposition party. The Yoruba party’s chieftain, Obafemi Awolowo feeling marginalized tried to forcefully overthrow the Federal government. His coup failed and he was arrested, charged with treason, tried and sent to ten year prison term.

In the meantime, the NPC/NCNC government turned the government into a free for all corruption game. People were frustration and the military gave vent to this frustration. On January 15, 1966 Major Nzeogwu and his group over threw the Federal government.

Mr. Nzeogwu made the worst mistake any aspirant to power could make: he killed Hausa and Yoruba leaders and spared Igbo leaders. One does not know what he was smoking. Common sense would have told him that the other groups would see his so-called revolution as ethnic based. If he was going to waste anyone, he should have included Igbo politicians.

A compromise was struck whereby Nzeogwu was jailed and the most senor military officer, an Igbo took over. The military government of Major General JTU Aguiyi Ironsi was the most inept government that ever graced Nigeria’s checkered political history. The man did absolutely nothing. It was rumored that he was about to abolish the Nigerian federal structure and impose a unitary structure on the nation and that this proposal enraged certain elements that did not like that form of government. In August of 1966, Ironsi was eliminated and Major Gowon took over and said, on quote: “thank God, the government has returned to northern hands.”

The Hausas, more or less, governed Nigeria until 1999. (The 1975-79 Olusegun Obasanjo interregnum notwithstanding). In 1999, a Yoruba man, Olusegun Obasanjo won the Presidency. The election was supposedly fixed?

The government is now in Obasan/Yoruba hands. The Igbos claim that it is their turn to produce the next president in 2007. Why? Because ethnic calculations make it there turn. How about talking about what a president is going to do for Nigeria as the criteria for electing him to office?

In Nigeria, politicians are not placed in office for what they plan to do but because of ethnic calculations. In office, the politician is supposed to deliver bread to his group. The Igbos hope to produce the next president so as to get their own share of the national cake. The idea is not to have a good government, but a government that delivers to the Igbos, after all the other governments supposedly did not deliver to the Igbos. These other governments supposedly delivered to Hausas and Yorubas. (And despite what they supposedly got from the national booty, their lands still look as underdeveloped as any other African lands.)

No one who understands Nigerian politics can blame the Igbos for doing what they are doing, seeking to become the next president. In the context of Nigeria’s legendary corrupt politics, it makes sense for the Igbos to get their own share. Nevertheless, what we have here is not government but the activities of antisocial personalities, criminals who belong in prisons, not the halls of power.

In 1999, the outgoing military strong man, General Abdul Salami single handedly wrote a constitution and imposed it on Nigerians. Nigerians elected their present government on the basis of that illegitimate constitution. The President, Obasanjo, is on public record, stating that he had not even seen the constriction that he was elected on.

Let us not pretend naiveté. There is no universally agreed upon constitution in Nigeria. Constitutions are written by the people or by the people’s representatives. Constitutions are not given to the people by some one else but by themselves. Even if the constitution given to a people is good, as long as they themselves did not write it, it is illegal. Thus the present government in Nigeria, in so far that it governs under an undemocratically reached constitution, is an illegal government.

Nevertheless, let us evaluate how policies are made in the present political dispensation in Nigeria and see if interest groups play a role in it. The 1999 constitution copied America’s presidential system. There is an executive president, a bicameral legislature and a supposedly independent judiciary. We shall examine these institutions in future lectures.

When the present crop of politicians were elected to office, they descended on America to learn how the American government works. They supposedly observed Congressional committee systems and how laws are made in America.

In the new system, Bills are introduced in the House of Representative and Senate as in America. They are routed to committees by the Speaker/Senate President. As in America, these committees are supposed to hold public hearings, hear testimonies in support or against Bills before voting them out of committee to the full House.

It is here that we witness true Nigerians at work. These committees are not really arenas for debating the merit or lack of it of Bills but occasion for collecting bribes. In fact, even government ministries have to bribe committee members to have their budgets passed. The former minister of education, Professor Fabian Osuji said that he was compelled to bribe committee chairpersons before they could approve his department’s budget. He claims that all government ministers do the same.

Nigerian parliamentary committees apparently are designed to collect bribes from those wishing to see public policies reflect their interests. How to be a Nigerian, as Peter Pan, pointed out, is to bribe persons in power.

Ethnic groups seem to have organized into powerful interest groups and try to influence the Obasanjo government. Obasanjo being a realistic man knows that he must engage in a balancing act. He must share the national wealth among the various ethnic groups, if he wishes not thrown out of office, worse, killed.

The federal government essentially appropriates oil revenue from where oil is mined and divides that money among the various ethnic groups. Nigeria has 36 states. Most of these states cannot support themselves. They have no independent source of revenue. Indeed, most of the citizens of these states do not even pay taxes. They look to the Federal government to obtain revenue with which to even pay their civil (evil) servants.

The primary function of the Abuja central government seems to obtain oil revenue, the loot, and share it among the states. The ethnic groups that are judged more powerful than others obtain greater share of this national booty.

Ethnic groups like Arewa,, Ohaneze, Odua etc seem to have some pull on the central government. It is doubtful, however, that these groups are real interest groups, as we understand interest groups in the West. They have not accepted the inviolable reality of the political entity called Nigeria and work under its parameters. Instead, they seem to be out to grab whatever they could from the national treasury and in the main time work for the demise of the polity.

An interesting phenomenon, however, is emerging in Nigeria. The leaders of the various ethnic groups in Nigeria are increasingly intermarrying among themselves. Thus we have Hausa leaders marrying Igbo women and vice versa. It seems that these so-called elites are building intertwined relationships among themselves.

Though these associations currently serve pernicious purposes: better enable the elites steal from Nigeria, still they have some positive aspects to them. This practice is creating a sense of one Nigeria among the rulers of Nigeria.


Interest groups politics characterize American politics. This type of politics is less developed in Europe, although it is becoming increasingly so. European politics is increasingly becoming like American politics, with less powerful political parties and more roles for interest groups.

In my next lecture, I will focus on political parties and show, among other things, how they are very strong in Europe and weak in America. America’s weak political parties play a role in America developing powerful interest groups. Where political parties are strong, interest groups tend to be weak. Europe tended to have powerful political parties and weak interest groups. Europe is changing and becoming more and more like America, with weak political parties and strong interest groups.

Nigeria and African countries neither have strong political parties nor weak interest groups. Nigeria and African countries are not yet democratic and those political institutions that play keys roles in Western democracies are weak in them. What we have in Nigeria is the politics of ethnic groups.

Nigeria’s politics is dominated by ethnic leaders. If a fellow manages to convince his ethnic group that he looks after their interests, they tend to see him as a candidate for national office. Even if the chap has zero policy propositions his group, nevertheless, present him as a viable candidate for national office. In this light, Governor Orji Kalu, who has no recognizable positive agenda of what he wants to accomplish for Nigeria, positions himself as Igbo leader and expects Igbos to put him forward as their candidate for the “Igbo turn at the national presidency”. This man overseers a state, Abia, where streams flow where roads are supposed to be. If the best that Igbos can produce is this nonentity, they are, indeed, in trouble.

It is clear that interest group politics is on the ascendancy in Nigeria. Should Nigeria become a true democracy, interest group politics would probably become more important in Nigeria than it is at the present. Thus, even though it is really inappropriate to talk about interest groups politics in Nigeria, I found it necessary to add the topic to my lecture series on Nigeria at age 45.

One is not sure whether interest group politics is the best way for Nigeria to go. As we have seen, the well organized elements in America get their wishes reflected in national policies whereas the weak don’t. The issues that concern the poor seldom make it into America’s national agenda; this is largely because the poor do not have access to the media. Only wealthy interest groups have money to buy access to the media, a media that influence what is placed on the national agenda for political discourse and action. Whether this is good or not for democracy remains to be seen. Nigeria ought to be careful in permitting self serving interest groups to inordinately influence public policies.

Ozodi Thomas Osuji

October 10, 2005

Lecture 7, Political Parties in Nigeria, on October 12.

Here is the list of “ The Ozodi Thomas Osuji Lectures on the 45 anniversary of Nigeria’s Independence”.

Introduction: Why Study Politics?
Nigeria’s Political Culture
Nigeria’s Political Socialization
Political Ideologies and Nigeria
Nigeria and Capitalist Political Economy
Nigeria and Interest Groups
Nigeria’s Political Parties
The Media and Nigeria
Public Opinion and Public Policy making in Nigeria
Civil Rights and Civil Liberties in Nigeria
Nigeria’s Legislature
Nigeria’s Presidency
Nigeria’s Judiciary
Nigeria’s Bureaucracy
Nigeria’s International Relations
Nigeria and International Organizations (examples: UN, World Court, IMF, World Bank etc.)
Extralegal Gov. The Nigerian Military
Extralegal Gov. Nigeria’s Religions
Nigeria’s Leadership Issues
Introduction to Business in Nigeria
Introduction to Marketing in Nigeria
Introduction to Public Finance in Nigeria
Introduction to Business Finance in Nigeria
Introductions to Business Productions/Operations In Nigeria
Introduction to Human Resources in Nigeria
Introduction to Labor Relations in Nigeria
Introduction to Organizational Psychology In Nigeria
Customer Care in Nigeria
E-Commerce in Nigeria
Summing Up: Professional Management of the Public Sector in Nigeria.

Posted by Administrator at 06:20 PM | Comments (0)

October 09, 2005

Ozodi Osuji Lectures #5: Nigeria and the Capitalist Political Economy

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji (Seatle, Washington) --- Politics and economics go together. Because of their intertwined nature, some observers believe that they should be studied as if they are one subject, political economy. Indeed, Karl Marx tended to approach the two subjects as one and wrote about them as one subject. Many socialist thinkers still talk about the subject as their ancient mentor, Marx, did.

There is no denying that the two fields, politics and economics are related. Persons who want to do a good job managing their economy are certainly well advised to not only understand politics but economics.

One of the misfortunes of African politics is that the first generation African leaders often did not know what politics was all about and certainly did not understand economics. Those of them with some understanding of economics did so in an academic manner. They had training at British schools on economics. Such training was academic and did not prepare them to grapple with real life economic issues.

The type of economics that is germane to the administration of modern organizations is applied economics, finance: business and public finance, accounting, marketing and so on. (Because of the saliency of those subjects, I will devote the month of December to eight lectures on them.)

A leader must understand the nature of the economy. Yesterday, we talked about the communist economy. In today’s lecture, we shall talk about the capitalist economy in general and specifically how that economy, though still incipient, is operating in Nigeria.

The capitalist economy is very broad and complex. We shall not be able to cover the entire field in a one hour lecture. What I will do is highlight how that economy operates in fact, not in abstraction. We are not going to talk about academic macro and micro economics and econometrics, but real world economics.

Most people agree that the nature of capitalist economics is captured in Adam Smith’s book, The Wealth of Nations, published in 1776. All serious public managers ought to read that book, as well as other salient books on economics, particularly John Maynard Keynes’.

Adam Smith wrote his book as if it is an exercise in philosophy. His goal, apparently, was to make an argument for the type of economics that he believed is most productive in the human polity. Apparently, he was trying to show the shortcoming of other systems of economics, particularly the dominant economic system of this time, mercantilism.

Mr. Smith proceeded thus. Human beings seem motivated to grandstand as socially serving persons. They like to see themselves as motivated by social interests in doing whatever they do. Their self-talk would like to convince them that they are serving the common interests of all mankind. This is particularly so for Christian Europeans who were brought up to obey the Jesus dictum of loving other people as one loves ones self. They would like to think that they obey Jesus Christ and love their neighbors as they love themselves. This is their conscious self presentation, but deep down is another reality, what Sigmund Freud later called ID drives to look after their self interests. Edward Wilson, in Sociobiology, in fact, argues that human beings inherited selfish genes and do whatever they do from selfish motivation.

Mr. Smith said that even if men were consciously good (they are not, Thomas Hobbes told us) and were motivated to work for social interests, that empirical evidence shows that they tend not to work very hard when they do so. People tend to work hardest when they are working for their self interest, Mr. Smith said.

In the former USSR, the leaders tried to get the people to work hard on behalf of public interests; the people did not. The Russian worker was the most unproductive and inefficient worker in the developed world. His productivity was less than a half of the capitalist American worker. Why so? Mr. Smith tells us that it is because the communist worker was forced to work for public good, as defined by the soviet Apparatchiki, but not for his own good.

A man is willing to put in fourteen hour days doing his own business, but the moment he is hired to work for a public bureaucracy, he hardly works two hours during the day. It takes ten bureaucrats to change a light bulb, and even then they do such a poor job of it; you may have to hire a private business person to correct the mistake that those self styled ten experts on how to change light bulbs made.

Upon the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, American businesses set up shops over there. They found to their chagrin that they could not rely on the local workers. Those communist trained workers were so inefficient that they had to be retrained to do their job well. Moreover, they were used to being bossy bureaucrats and being in positions where they commanded the customer rather than served him. They were sullen workers who did not gladly and smilingly serve customers. Doing something for customers was like they were doing them a favor rather than serving them, as they should. To the present, Eastern German workers are less productive than their fellow country men in Western Germany. In fact, German businesses often prefer to hire non-German workers than the inefficient ex-communist East German workers. A communist worker is as good as an unproductive worker.

Human beings, Mr. Smith observed, are motivated by self interests and work hardest when they work for themselves. This seems an empirical fact. No person who observes human beings, in fact, rather than merely speculate about them in the abstract, as idealistic communists tend to do, contradicts the fact that people are self interest motivated and work hardest when they work for themselves.

This would seem a negative comment on human nature, but Mr. Smith said that therein lays economic advantages; advantages he wants the capitalist to exploit, which exploiting has transformed the world into a very productive place.

The capitalist economy is the most productive economy known to man; it is, in fact, the best thing that has happened to human beings since the beginning of human history. Since the Bourgeoisie revolution, a revolution that Marx derided, humanity has improved its standard of living by hundreds of times. No other economic system has shown comparative value.

How so? In a capitalist economy, each individual seeks to optimize his own advantages. He works hard to do so.

Being a rational person, the individual recognizes that other persons are doing what he is doing, trying to optimize their selfish goals. He has to deal with other persons who are doing what he is doing. To relate to other people, he must show them that he has something good for them. A man is useless to other people unless he has what they want. An employee is useless to a particular employer unless he has the skills to do what he desires done, and does it better than other employees. It is what the worker can do that is hired by the employer, not his person. The moment the employee is unable to do the job, the employer is unable to produce what he is in the business of producing, hence would not make profit and would be out of business. Therefore, to survive, the employer fires the unproductive employee and hires a productive one.

In a capitalist economy, it is assumed that all persons are selfish and are serving their self interests. In this realistic light, A is a selfish person and B is a selfish person. They enter into a selfish relationship. Each must do what the other wants for their relationship to be mutually advantageous. In the economy, the producer, aka supplier of goods and services, must produce what the people, aka market, will buy. The people will demand what serves their selfish interests. The rational buyer will buy only what serves his good, not what the producer tells him is good for him.

Secondly, people being selfish and rational they want to buy goods and services very cheaply. If one can buy things cheaply, one saves money. The rational person prefers to save than waste his hard earned money.

If two sellers of the same goods present themselves to the rational buyer, the chances are that he would buy from the seller selling his goods and services cheaply. The rational person demands that goods and services be cheap.

These consumer behaviors and producers responses to them lead to the allocation of resources in the economy to where there is demand for them. Producers will produce what there is a market for it. In doing so, they allocate resources to where there is demand for it.

Since the producer must sell his goods cheaply to sell and make profit he is motivated to produce his goods and services in the most efficient manner. He is motivated to find ways to reduce the cost of labor and capital in his production. He seeks ways to increase worker productivity and the productivity he obtains from his capital equipment. He struggles to buy the best machines and other equipments he needs to produce his goods and or services, so as to produce them cheaply and therefore sell cheaper than his competitors.

The cumulative effect of these behaviors is that in capitalist markets, resources are not only allocated to where there is demand for them but tending to be utilized more efficiently. As far as the consumer is concerned, prices tend to be cheaper in capitalist markets.

(In basic economics courses, students are taught the principle of supply and demand; the nature of equilibrium price, that price that buyers are willing to pay and sellers are willing to sell; which is generally the break even price, a price that if goods and services are sold, the business person makes some profit so as to stay in business. We shall not get into school economics here; we are at the present interested in economic philosophy.)

In capitalist markets, Adam Smith tells us, and experience verifies his claim, people pursue their self interests. The blind forces of the market compel both buyer and seller to behave in such a manner that without intending to be of service to each other they end up being of service to each other. Business men are not motivated to help the consumer but they must, nevertheless, do so if they are to sell to him, make profits and stay in business. Consider Microsoft’s Bill Gates. As a capitalist seller, he wants to sell his computer operating software. He is a selfish man. If he could, he would sell his windows operating system $1000 each. But in the nature of the capitalist market, the consumer wants to buy that operating system as cheaply as he could, say $80. Now what? Bill Gates tries to accommodate the consumer or else he will not sell his goods. The forces of demand and supply interact and determine the eventual price (about $100).

One must, however, comment that this apparent equilibrium price seems a result of Bill Gates astute marketing skills. The man is a marketing genius. Apparently, he managed to keep out other producers of the type of software he sells. If other manufacturers of similar software could produce similar products and come into the market and sell them, it is conceivable for the price of that product to come down to $10 or less. (I think that ten dollars is going to be the eventual price of Windows. This would make a laptop computer no more than $100 in price. That way, poor Nigerians could buy them, as they should. Any one without access to computers is deprived of access to the information superhighway.)

Compare and contrast what happens in a capitalist marker, where selfishness rules, and what happens in a communist market, where supposedly altruism rules. Marx had talked sweet talk of “from each according to his abilities and to each according to his needs”. In pursuit of that utopia, communist governments set up central planning committees to plan how goods and services are to be produced and utilized in their polity. They decided, up front, how many medical doctors they want and train them, how many cars they want and produce them.

The human mind is so fallible that no amount of planning takes into consideration all the exigencies there is. By the time the central planning committee had planned for ten doctors and those doctors are minted, may be what is now needed is twenty or ten doctors? By the time that the planned number of cars are produced, may be the population has increased so that there is not enough cars around? No one can anticipate all possible contingencies that can intervene between planning and the realities of the market.

This was what happened in Russia. It literally took five years for a Russian worker’s turn to reach the end of the list before he could buy a car, or rent an apartment. He stood on line for four hours a day trying to buy the world’s most tasteless bread. Soviet economics not only was inefficient but produced the worst quality goods. The very communist leaders who indulged in central planning came to the West to buy high quality goods and services. Indeed, the moment the Soviet Union fell, Russians abandoned their shoddy goods and services and bought well made Western products.

Russian factories closed down, for the shoddy goods they were producing could not compete with the top of the line goods now coming in from Western Europe. In fact, Western business men had to buy the unproductive Russian factories and modernize them to get them to produce buyable goods.


No one operating from the perspective of reason thinks that communism, socialism and other such nonsense are useful alternatives to the capitalist economy. Be that as it may, capitalism is not an unmitigated gift. As we all know, when people compete, there will be winners and losers. If you get a dozen boys and place them on their marks and asks them to get set and go, the fact is that some will win and others will lose.

In a competitive capitalist market, there will be winners and there will be losers. We see the winners in America making millions of dollars, yearly. We see losers in America making less than ten thousand dollars, yearly. We see this very clearly in New Orleans, Louisiana, where black folks did not even have access to transportation hence could not get out of hurricane Katrina’s way. Some of them died because of this fact.

Obviously, human conscience cannot tolerate this type of situation where some live in multi million dollar mansions and many live in the shacks of inner city New Orleans. So what to do? The economy must deviate from Adam Smith’s and David Ricardo’s classical laissez faire economics and find ways to give some handouts to the losers of society.

In much of the Western world, we now have social and economic safety nets for those unable to make it in the highly competitive capitalist economy. We have old age pensions for those whose savings are not enough to provide them with income when they retire from work. We have unemployment payments that help unemployed people as they look for jobs. We even have welfare money for those who are too poor and for some reasons are unable to work.

Capitalist economies must find ways to help the losers in competition for the allocation of goods and services. This helping of the losers is actually not a sentimental proposition. If the losers are not helped, being capable of antisocial behaviors, they could steal and or even kill the winners. If a polity does not help the poor, the poor could organize and make life difficult for the winners in society.

A callous government is bound to be deposed by society’s losers. Imagine the youngster with limited education that nevertheless can join the military and train to go kill for his country. Now if upon discharge from the military he is unable to find a job, because he lacks skills to compete in the work place, what do you do with him? Allow him to roam the streets unemployed? If you do, how about his skills at killing, what prevents him from killing you?

America recruits high school kids who are hardly able to read and write and trains them in its military. They go kill for Uncle Sam. Then they come home and find that they do not have the skills to compete with Asians kids in the economy. They remain unemployed. Many of them commit crimes. Rational leaders make money available for these folks to go learn employable skills. After the Second World War, the Korean War, and Vietnam War, America made funds available for GIs to go obtain market skills.

We now live in a very complex environment were everything is connected to everything else. Primitive capitalism cannot be allowed to operate unchecked. We know that if a factory emits pollutants into the air that we all could die from the poison it is feeding us. Therefore, we all are invested in what the factory puts into the air. We want manufacturers regulated.

We live in regulated capitalist economy. This is the way it should be, for if what A does affects B, B is invested in making sure that A does it in such a manner that he is not negatively affected.

If a pharmaceutical company produces and sells medications that make children to be born without arms (thalidomide), society is interested in making sure that it produces less harmful medications. Hence we regulate the pharmaceutical companies and make sure that the medications they sell are tested and ascertained to do what they claim to do and are not dangerous to the public’s health.


Capitalist economies tend to go through periods of inflation (high prices), depression (low prices) and many things in-between. These economies have boom and burst cycles. Depressions can hit the economy so that manufacturers are unable to sell their goods because the price people are willing to pay for them are too low. At such low prices the producers would not be able to cover their manufacturing costs hence would go out of business. When producers are unable to sell and close shop they lay off workers.

Depression means high unemployment. The depression of 1929 produced over 25% unemployment in the American economy. The multiplier effect of this high number of unemployed is intolerable for the rest of the economy. Unemployed persons are not able to pay their rents and mortgages and the owners of those houses would have less money to repair them. Unemployed persons do not have money to buy from stores and stores lay off workers and close shop. Unemployed persons have no money to save at local banks and banks close shop. Simply stated, during depression the economy collapses.

So what to do about it? Allow the economy to go through its cycles and eventually correct itself? That was the view of laisez faire economists and President Hoover during the great depression. Unfortunately, in the meantime folks were suffering and shuffling from one city to another seeking jobs and food. It would seem callous to tolerate that kind of human suffering.

Let it be said, however, that if let alone that eventually capitalist economies tend to correct themselves. Without the New Deal policies of FDR, the American economy would have eventually rebounded. It may have taken longer, nevertheless the economy would have smoothed itself out, and it always does.

John Maynard Keynes came up with a methodology to intervene in the capitalist economy when its cycles seem to produce intolerable sufferings for the people. He suggested that governments engage in Taxation policies, fiscal policies and monetary policies. Let me briefly explain these measures.

Taxation means taking money from citizens. The money the individual pays in taxes he does not have available to spend as he sees fit. If the economy is in recession, small depression, the government could reduce taxes for citizens. This results in their having more money to spend. They spend that money and, hopefully, it stimulates the economy, increases demand and increased demand leads to increased supply of goods and services and resultant vibrant economy.

Conversely, when there is inflation, high prices, government could increase taxes. This would result in less money available to people to spend. They would buy less and would haggle for lower prices before they bought goods and services. The result would be lower prices of goods and services. Lower prices would reduce inflationary trends in the economy.

Governments use taxation policies to accomplish many goals, including encouraging producers to spend money on new equipment so as to improve productivity. Arthur Lafer suggested that if Taxes are cut, especially for producers, that they would have money available to improve their businesses, hence generate employment. This supply side economics is derided by liberals who point out that all that producers did with their tax cuts was use that money to buy luxury cars, Yachts and mansions. May be. Luxury goods are manufactured and sold hence increase economic activities. Supply side economics has not been proven as the parody liberals make of it.

Governments do engage in fiscal policies. By this is meant that they attempt to stimulate depressed economies by spending money that they may not have. They may borrow money from those who have them (via selling bonds) and using that money to engage in public spending that, hopefully, increases the level of economic activity. Government may build roads, bridges, tunnels, rail roads and so on. These public projects would stimulate the local economy where they are built. The multiplier effect, now of the positive variety, kicks in and improves the economy. If people are employed building roads, they have money to spend. They buy goods and services and pay their rents. That means that those providing those types of services would be in business. The economy takes off.

Governments do engage in monetary policies. This entails having the central banks increase or decrease their prime interest rates (the interest they charge commercial banks and businesses that borrow from them). Low interest rates means that commercial banks can borrow more money and have more money to lend to businesses and to individuals. Businesses borrow at lower rates and improve their business activities.

Conversely, if the economy is experiencing inflation, central banks could raise the prime interest rates. This means that borrowing becomes expensive and people stop buying some of the frivolous things they ordinarily would like to buy. People need food, clothing and shelter. Many of the other things they buy are luxuries that they could do without. When there is money crunch they would not, for example, buy Rolls Royce cars, perhaps, Volkswagens or even bicycles would do.

These days, practically all governments intervene in the economy and regulate it. No governments lets the economy operate by itself without some helping hands. The United States government, as I write, owes over eight trillion dollars it borrowed from those who had that money (mostly Asians). Americans used that money to meet their financial obligations.

Governments borrow money via selling bonds. (Private businesses obtain money via selling stocks.) In the long run, say thirty years, they have to repay the principal sums that they borrowed. In the short run, they pay annual interests on the money they borrowed (say 5%...what is 5% of eight trillion dollars? The US government pays billions of dollars annually for its debt finance. At the rate it is going, it is only a matter of time and the economy collapses. Asian countries cannot go on forever supporting American workers and paying for the American government to fight wars that it does not have money to fund; when governments are unable to repay their debts, they may ask to refinance them or to be forgiven them, as the Nigerian government is currently negotiating with the World Bank, IMF and its European groups of lenders).


Nigeria’s economy is at the primitive levels of capitalist development. We might say that Nigeria is where Britain was in the mid 1700s when it was beginning the industrialization process, and that she is where the USA and Germany were in the 1830s when they began to industrialize.

The Nigerian economy is like what Karl Marx described in his Der Capital, primitive capital accumulation stage of development.

Factories are beginning to be built in Nigeria but working conditions are very poor. Folks thank their God that they obtain any kind of job at all and do not complain about their working conditions. We must remember that in the United States it was not long ago that folks worked 14 hour days in inhumane conditions. Children, as young as twelve, were worked in America’s coal mines for twelve hours a day; those children inhaled coal dust into their lungs and died early of assorted lung diseases. The American life span at the beginning of the twentieth century was 42 years (about today’s Nigeria life span). It was only in the 1930s that America began to improve the working conditions of the people; prior to the Wagner Act, the American workers condition was akin to third world countries current conditions.

The relevant point is that we should not be too harsh on the Nigeria for; after all, it is only beginning taking the first baby steps up the industrialization ladder, steps that the West had already taken. Nigeria cannot run before it can walk, it has to go through the steps Western countries did to become industrialized and developed. (Stalin tried to bypass those necessary steps through brutal means.)


The Nigerian economy is moving from subsistence economy to money economy. This further compounds the country’s problems. Until the twentieth, the country did not have a monetary economy. Folks, more or less, engaged in bartering of goods and services.

(Even the trading with European slave buyers was not done with currency but with other goods. The slave buyer would give Nigerians, say, alcohol in exchange for Nigerian slaves. Not long ago, digging in my village, folks saw empty bottles of expensive French wines, manufactured in the eighteenth century. Apparently, our folks sold their brothers for French wine. They also sold their people for guns, clothes, swords and other knick knack.)

In traditional Nigerian societies, folks produced their farm products, took them to their local markets and exchanged them for products they needed. This economic system is called bartering. This was largely what obtained in Nigeria until the nineteenth century. At some point in the nineteenth century, folks used cowry shells as means of exchange but those not withstanding Nigeria was not a monetary economy until the British came on the scene in 1914.

This is not the place to write Nigeria’s economic history. Suffice it to say that the British aimed at stopping slavery trade in Nigeria and encouraged Nigerians to sell palm oil, Palm kernel, groundnuts, cotton etc instead of selling themselves. The Royal Niger Company bought these slave replacement goods from Nigerians and sold to Nigerians British products like soaps, clothes, knives etc. Later, during the colonial era, the British began to mine minerals, such as tin at Joss and coal at Enugu, and to buy cash crops like cocoa and coffee.

The British colonial administration set up marketing boards that essentially bought the products of Nigeria’s farmers (such as palm oil, cocoa, groundnuts, etc) and sold those in Britain and other parts of the world. Those Marketing Boards generated quite a bit of revenue for Nigeria, so much so that at independence, Nigeria actually had trade surpluses and was able to feed itself through its local produce. (Now, Nigeria sells oil and uses that money to import food and cannot feed itself through its local farm produces.)

Nigeria gained her independence in 1960. Since then, haphazard efforts have been made to diversify the economy, from selling mostly farm and mined products to manufactured products.

During the post 1973 oil boom (as a result of the OPEC oil embargo that led to increased oil prices and making of profits) Nigeria made half hearted efforts to begin the processes of industrialization.

Arrangements were made with Western and East European countries to establish factories in Nigeria. Peugeot motor company and Volkswagen cars, for example, began to assemble their cars in Nigeria. Indeed, an effort was made to establish an iron and steal industry in Nigeria. (Apparently, Western countries refused to build this mill and Russia agreed to do so. Russian technology, relative to Western technology, is backwards. The Mill’s products could not compete with the more efficient Western iron and steal. The Mill closed shop. At present, efforts are made to resurrect it by having Indians manage it.)

Nigeria made efforts to start all sorts of industries: oil refineries were built, pharmaceutical factories were built, textile factories were built etc.

Unfortunately, as long as Nigeria had quick access to oil revenue it did not see any need to develop good work habits. Oil money funds the various governments in Nigeria (up to 80%). The infant industries were allowed to die. Nigerians build a factory with much fanfare and a few years later it closes its doors. Nigerians build things but they do not maintain them.

Just about every thing built in Nigeria has broken down. We build airports and seem unable to maintain them and in a few months they breakdown. The toilets in the fancy airports are not useable a few months after the airports are opened. The country is a giant mess.

This giant mess calls for persons with managerial skills and who are dedicated to work and productivity to come in and fix things. Unless Nigeria figures out a way to change her present devil may care attitude towards work and productivity, when the oil money runs dry, as it is bound to, someday, Nigeria becomes another failed African country. When that happens, millions of Nigerians will try to leave the country and come to the West. In the West, they do menial jobs and, for all intents and purposes, are no different from those African slaves that came to America during slave times.

Like most third world countries, upon independence, Nigeria embraced the moribund theories of socialism and planned aspects of her economy. Five year plans were made to build this and to build that. The government established what it called Parastatals, government corporations that supposedly were expected to operate on business lines and make profits. Examples are the Nigerian electrical power corporation, the Nigerian railway corporation, the Nigerian telephone corporation, the Nigerian airways corporation, and the Nigerian coal corporation.

These so-called corporations not only do not make profit but depend on getting government subsidy to stay afloat. They provide the worst services known to man. The Nigerian electricity corporation manages to provide Lagosians with only a few hours of electricity on a typical day. Light comes and goes at any time so that you cannot count on continuous electrify. (Imagine what this means to manufacturers in lost revenue.)

To get access to what electricity there is one has to bribe public officials. Do you want to have electricity and water in your house? You have to pay a certain amount of bribe to the respective authorities. Even then you still would not count on having the water and electricity.

The saddest part of corruption in Nigeria is that the people drink from streams and ingest assorted germs and die early death. When villagers levy themselves and collect money and go to government agencies to come build wells or pipe born waters for them, they have to bribe these agencies’ officials that sometimes it takes years before they could get their wells built. In the meantime, the villages keep dying from the impure water they drink.

Does this unacceptable situation bother Nigerian public officials? Do Nigerian public officials have conscience or are they antisocial persons lacking in guilt and remorse? The fact that Nigerians do not feel concerned enough to build wells and give their people pipe born water and electricity and have to take bribes from those who collected money to build their own wells makes them inhumane. As I have pointed out elsewhere, the same spirit that led Nigerians to sell their brothers and sisters into slavery is still operating in contemporary Nigerians.

These people are evil persons. There is no other way to put it. Beating around the bush is a waste of time. People who are not committed enough to help their own people are worse than savages.

During the heydays of romance with socialism, the Nigerian government undertook many projects. Those subsequently died. These days, the government is trying to revive those projects. At the present it is selling off its boondoggles to private businesses. Nigeria recently privatized its electricity corporation. The idea is to see if a private company would give Nigerians electricity for a whole day without the power going out. We shall see.

As I pointed out elsewhere, Nigerians, indeed Africans, seem to have a sickness of the soul. Their sickness began when they sold their people into slavery. They sold their people and do not feel guilty from doing so. To the present, all that they do is blame the white man for buying their people. It is always the white man’s fault.

True, white persons should not have bought African slaves and should not have abused Africans in the Americas. But that is beside the point. When one points two accusatory fingers at other people, three point right back at one. Africans are, at least, 75% responsible for the evil of slavery. They must accept that responsibility and seek ways to make amends to African Americans.

We must ask African Americans to forgive us our past evil behavior. This apology must be followed with some kind of financial restitution, say giving 1% of Nigeria/Africa’s annual GDP to African Americans, for a generation, 35 years.

Sinners must make amend for their sins, otherwise they cannot change. Africans must make amends for their evil past and resolve to become good persons.

I do not believe that any thing will work out well for Africans until they apologize for slavery. It is when they do so that they can then resolve to care for their people.

At present, Nigerian leaders are nothing more than slave traders still selling their brothers to the highest European bidder. They make profits and live well while their brothers starve. They are beneath contempt. They are despicable, really. No wonder many sensitive Nigerians run away from Nigerians and do not want anything to do with Nigerians. Who wants to relate to corrupt persons, to criminals, to hard hearted persons who throw lavish parties for the few haves, while the many are sleeping in shacks in the shanty towns of Lagos?

These people do not deserve other persons respect. At any rate, few persons respects them. Despite adorning their bodies with ridiculous Indian manufactured lace/ clothes, they are still seen as nothing. They are nothing. Literally, they are nothing.

No serious economic thinker outside Nigeria even knows that Nigeria exists. When world economic calculations are made, Nigeria is not part of the equation. The Nigerian economy is nothing to be reckoned with.

Every one knows that only oil keeps things afloat in Nigeria and as soon as the West discovers alternatives to oil, Nigeria becomes another failed African state, a basket case.

We cannot give up on Nigeria. It is because one has not given up that one does ones best to reach out to Nigerians and see whether they can be rescued from the hell they assigned themselves. We must do what we can to develop managerial skills in Nigerians and encourage them to become ethical and moral persons. When this happens, Nigerians would begin to manage their country’s economy as they ought to do, professionally.


In this lecture, I have, hopefully, delineated the salient characteristics of the capitalist political economy.

Nigeria has no choice but to develop a mixed economy. It behooves all Nigerians to understand how this economy works.

Not all of us can become experts on the capitalist economy. My goal is very limited, to enable folks to understand the basic nature of the economy. If folks are interested in advanced understanding of the economy they should go seek such knowledge out.

Ozodi Thomas Osuji

October 8, 2005

Lecture 6 is on October 10: Interest groups politics in Nigeria/the politics of ethnic groups

Posted by Administrator at 10:11 PM | Comments (1)

October 08, 2005

Ozodi Osuji Lectures on Nigeria's Politics #4: Nigeria and Political Ideologies

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. (Seatle, Washington) --- An ideology is not a science. It is a belief system. An ideology is composed of ideas of how some people think that their world ought to be. It is based on a value system and has no basis in empirical reality. An ideology is like a religion that individuals embrace as true and it enables them to organize and make sense of their world. It is by no means objective in the sense that its postulations can be verified in a controlled scientific experiment.

The scientific methodological approach to phenomena requires that a thesis or proposition be verifiable and replicable in a controlled experiment. Any school child can walk into his Chemistry Laboratory, mix two elements, oxygen and hydrogen, apply heat and obtain water. This is a fact and is replicable anywhere in the world. That is science. This is not empty debate as to what is true or not, but acceptance of self evident facts. Political ideologies are not science, they are based on beliefs.

In the extant world, there are many ideologies but the main ones are: communism, socialism, capitalism, fascism, corporatism, mercantilism, liberalism and conservatism. I will briefly explain these competing ideologies, with particular reference to communism.

Communism came into being as a reaction to primitive capitalism. If you recall, the industrial revolution began in Britain around 1746. By this is meant the system of bringing many workers together to work in a factory rather than have them work in their own shops as crafts men. Men and women were brought together and fitted to the world of machines and thereby optimized the advantages of large scale economies.

This process began in the Midlands of Britain (Birmingham and Manchester). Men with money built factories and hired workers to work in them. The factory owners had a tendency to work their employees several hours a day. It was reported that some worked their employees for up to sixteen or more hours a day, six days a week. Moreover, they did not pay them well. The working conditions were very poor. The average factory worker died before he or she reached age forty. Simply stated, factory workers lived in squalor.

Naturally, men of goodwill decried the apparent exploitation of the emergent factory workers. These persons agitated for improved working conditions for the workers. Literary persons like Charles Dickens wrote about the appalling living conditions of the urban proletariats of England. Those of a more activist frame of mind took to the streets protesting against what they saw as the exploitation of the workers. In time, these bleeding hearted, do good persons were called utopian communists. They comprised of men like Charles Fourier and Joseph Proudhon in France and Robert Owen in Britain. (Owen eventually migrated to America and started a commune in Indiana. In his commune, he gave his workers some say so in the management of their work. His commune fell.)

Industrialization began in Germany around the same time it began in America, in the 1830s. Karl Marx, a middle class German Jew, studied Hegel’s’ philosophy. It should be recalled that Hegel (see Phenomenology of Spirit/Mind) was motivated to have a strong German state. Hegel was a German nationalist who decried the divisions he saw in his father land, divisions that made the country easy prey to the well organized nations of France, Russia, Austria and England. He was in the same mode as Niccolo Machiavelli when the later wrote the Prince. Machiavelli had urged the Duke of Florence to, if necessary, use guile and force to unify Italy, so as to prevent her from been subjugated by foreign powers (France, Austria and Spain).

Hegel argued that history is characterized by the march of ideas, and that the ultimate idea is the nation-state (the united volk). The nation-state, as he saw it, is the culmination of historical development. What this German nationalist was really trying to accomplish was for a German prince to use guile and or force to unify the several kingdoms that constituted the Germany of his time. Hegel was telling the prince that dares to take up this challenge that he would be in accord with the forces of history; that, in effect, history would approve his behavior.

Ultimately, this was exactly what Otto Von Bismarck did for his Kaiser Wilhelm of Prussia: use guile and iron fist to unify Germany by 1870. Bismarck immediately attacked Louis Napoleon’s France and humiliated her. This was Germany’s coming out party. Germany joined the big boys’ league, the great powers of Europe. Since Germany had not participated in the scramble for foreign colonies, Bismarck called for a conference at Berlin (1882-84) to extract some colonies from the other European powers who at this time ruled the world. At that conference, the modern map of Africa was drawn. Germany was given Togoland, Cameroon, Tangayika, Burundi, South-West Africa (where it proceeded to massacre the various African tribes, especially the Heroros.)

Karl Marx, a Christianized Jew studied Hegelian philosophy. He completed his doctoral dissertation but, as a Jew in anti Semitic Germany, found it near impossible to obtain a teaching job at a German university. Unable to secure a job with what he studied, he tried his hands are journalism. For a while, he worked as a reporter for a New York City, USA newspaper. Marx failed at journalism and turned his attention to social activism.

In time, Marx joined forces with Frederick Engel, a German whose father owned factories. The clever Marx had Engel support him financially. Marx subsequently embarked on writing pamphlets and tracks opinionating on every subject under the sun. He fancied himself an expert on political economy even though he did not study economics.

The failed revolution of 1848 gave the opportunistic Marx an opportunity to give a self serving interpretation to what was essentially a failed attempt by German nationalists to persuade the rulers of Germany to unify during their conference in Frankfurt. The Princes of Germany used force to disperse the agitators for a unified Germany. The clever Marx saw the failure of the revolution as an opportunity to call for workers of the world to unify and overthrow their so-called oppressors. Thus, he penned the infamous track, Communist Manifesto. In it, he argued that the workers were oppressed by the factory owners, the bourgeoisie, and called on them to expropriate the expropriators. Marx argued that the workers oppression could only end if they took possession of the means of production and managed it by themselves.

Apparently, this utopian/idealist dreamer forgot that it takes a different type of mental outlook to be an entrepreneur.

Business skills are acquired, indeed are a culture that you either have, or you do not. If you give workers businesses to run you have essentially sentenced such businesses to death. It takes a few persons who understand how to run things to do so, not idle talking socialists. One of the reasons why African Americans are going nowhere is their lack of entrepreneurial skills. Asians come to America with business skills and in a few years take over the shops in the black community while the brothers talk communism. See the writings of Thomas Sowell.

As a result of his increasing agitations against the powers that were in Germany, Marx was driven out of Germany. He made a brief stop in France, but fearing that the long arms of German authorities could easily reach him in France, he sought to put a great distance between him and them by fleeing to Britain. He settled at London. He made the London Library his second home. Engel was left the responsibility of feeding him.

Marx wrote unreadable dissertations on such topics as “capital accumulation’ “Labor added value” and such high sounding but irrelevant subjects. It was in London that Marx produced his seminal work, Der Capital. In it, he claimed that he stood Hegel, his old mentor, on his head.

How so? Whereas Hegel argued that the rise of the nation-state was the goal of history (see the treaty of Westphalia, 1648, the end of the religious wards and the rise of the modern nation-state), Marx argued that communism, his workers paradise, was the goal of history. He employed the Hegelian notion of thesis, antithesis and synthesis (dialectical materialism, he called it) to make his case. As he saw it, society began in primitive communalism, where all people co-owned all property. This is not an empirical fact, just the product of Marx’s imagination. That imaginary but pristine world gave way to what Marx called slave society. In the later, a few used the many to secure pleasure for themselves and generally to enrich themselves. Slave society, in turn, gave way to feudal society where aristocrats used the semi slave serfs to procure good living for themselves while the serfs toiled in the fields for them. The later, in turn, gave way to what Marx called the bourgeoisie class (middle class).

In each of these social orders, the implicit contradictions in it, Marx contends, led to conflicts. Thesis, what is, the accepted social order, was challenged by its opposite, antithesis. The ruling elements were resented by those they ruled and both parties fought each other. The result is a synthesis of the warring parties in a new social order.

The new society, synthesis, in turn, produced its own paradox and contradictions and the two struggled until a new synthesis was formed. Ultimately, there emerged the bourgeois class whose contradictions would lead to the rise of the workers paradise, ala Marx. It should be observed that according to the world invented by Marx, each of these succeeding social orders was an improvement on preceding ones, hence to be encouraged. The Bourgeoisie was advancement on the aristocrats who rule Europe. As Marx saw it, where the Bourgeoisie had not come into being, they were to be encouraged to do so, for they were a necessary precondition for the rise of the proletariat class.

Russia was not industrialized and was composed of Bowyers and their peasant servants. It was not until 1862 that slavery was ended in Russia. In this regard, Marx did not expect Russians to initiate the communist revolution. He had expected the workers revolution to first occur in England, where the industrial revolution began. Some observers have, indeed, argued that Marx was probably a racist; that he imbibed the Germanic race’s tendency to look down on the Slavic race and looked down on the Slavic population of Eastern Europe and did not expect any thing good to come out of them?

Marx implied that once the workers overthrew the bourgeois class, the factory owners, that there would no longer be conflicts in society, and that the struggle for a different social order would end.

(This Marxian fantasy reminds one of Francis Fakuyama’ fantasy upon the end of Soviet Communism; Fakuyama thought that the emergence of America as the sole superpower meant the end of history; that there would be no more struggles for power and America and what she represented would not be challenged by rival ideologies and last forever and forever. He had not reckoned with the rise of ethnicity and what Samuel Huntington called the clash of civilizations; America is presently knocked around by emergent China.)

How is the triumph of communism to end history? Marx believed that economic inequality in society would be eliminated. He believed strongly in economic determinism of everything else. His pseudo science, dialectic materialism, was supposed to account for every thing in history. (That fantasy did not take into consideration the more powerful idea of ethnicity; communists talk of class but men do not go to war for class but for their nations; see what happened in eastern Europe, the emergence of ethnic struggles. Yugoslavia, Czchokoslavia, USSR etc all fell prey to ethnic power struggles. In Nigeria and other parts of Africa ethnicity rules.)

In Marx’s fantasy land, property and wealth would be shared equally: “from each according to his abilities and to each given his needs”. Marx waxed so sentimental that one wonders what planet he came from. As he saw, it people are so good that they would work and share their wealth. That is correct; a Bill Gates would put in sixteen hour work days and share his resultant wealth with socialists who probably work less than six hour days. (Charles Darwin, a more realistic thinker told us that life is characterized by struggle where the fittest survived and the weak died off. Herbert Spencer reinforced that realistic view by showing us how the robber barons of North America used skill and guile to build great industrial empires. Social Darwinism is the truth that no one wants to talk about. See Edward Wilson, on Social biology and Selfish Genes.)

The productive elements of society, in Marx’s fantasy world, would support the lazy elements who run around calling themselves radicals while doing nothing to contribute to what Adam Smith called the wealth of nations. Marx wrote poetry, not hard nosed science of human nature. Indeed, he visualized a scenario where people worked very minimally, but, instead, read poetry, contemplated flowers and the sunset and somehow still had their food. This is a never- never land; the stuff of fiction. This man was a dreamer, a neurotic idealist living in the world of fantasy, not the real world where man has to work for his daily bread. (The good book, the Bible tells us that man has to earn his bread by the sweat of his labors and that children are born through women’s labor pain. This remains reality and no wishful thinking by a confused socialist would wish it away.)

To the political realist, Marx wrote pure nonsense. In my opinion, Marx is not different from a foolish child talking utopian gabled gook. Read Thomas Moore’s Utopia and you have read Marx’s convoluted rubbish. In the real world, people have to work hard and the most competitive elements of society generate more wealth than lazy socialists.

Communism, Marxism, or whatever it is called, means the sharing of wealth and the public ownership of the means of production. Marx visualized a situation where the workers spontaneously rose up and took over the factories where they worked.

Marx was so foolish that he did not even reckon with human tendency to fear. Those who study leadership know that the run of the mill human being is ruled by fear. He is afraid of harm and death. If you have credible means of coercion and are unafraid to punish, even kill a few persons, the masses will tow your line. Human beings are cowards, through and through. They talk loud but if you shoot and kill a few of them, as any leader that truly wants to accomplish serious objectives must do, people will panic, run and eventually obey you. Hitler knew this fact and did not hesitate killing those who opposed him.

Marx did not recognize that his angelic workers are governed by fear and cannot mount a credible revolution. It always takes the fearless type, the heroic character, the type willing to die for what they believe in to organize and lead the so-called workers of the world.

The masses are too afraid to accomplish Marx’s utopian goal. So, V.I. Lenin, a tough Russian, proposed to form a communist political party and use it as a vanguard to organize the masses. His idea was to use the political party, an elite group of dedicated revolutionaries, to bring about the communist revolution that Marx had expected the workers to bring about by themselves. As Lenin saw it, if you left the workers alone, the most that they can develop is what he called trade union consciousness, but would never see that the imperialists were oppressing them. In America, the transnational corporations exploit the rest of the world and give illiterate American workers middle class living standards hence buy their loyalty and support in oppressing the rest of the world. How can an American factory worker who cannot read or write his name but drives a Hummer see himself as oppressed by the ruling classes? He is more likely to fancy himself special, even a superior white racist. (Generally, American university graduates cannot compete with High school graduates in Asia. That is how broken the educational system in America is. The situation is even worse among African Americans; their high school graduates often cannot fill out job application forms.)

Lenin imagined that in time that the party would give power to the masses and wither away. Seventy four years later (1917-1991) the Bolshevik party was still ruling Russia on behalf of the masses, the masses that are forever thought not ready to govern themselves.

Lenin and his coconspirators formed the Bolshevik party. I do not have the time and space to document the history of the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks. Suffice it to say that these criminals took advantage of the sufferings brought about by the First World War to take over power in Russia. These amoral criminals proceeded to murder the Czar and established the reign of terror in what became the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, USSR.

(Communists tend to be amoral and antisocial personalities; they tend to lack well developed moral conscience and do not feel remorse for their hurtful activities. As Dostoyevsky observed in Brothers Karamazov, if you take away God from social discourse, as socialists do, every behavior becomes permissible. Socialists, in Nietzsche’s terms, see God as dead and give themselves the permission to do whatever they want.)

Lenin died in 1924, and his lieutenants, Stalin and Trotsky, battled it out for power and control. Over time, the cold blooded murderer and thief, Stalin won the battle for power. Trotsky ran to Mexico where he was eventually axed to death by Stalin’s agents.

The paranoid personality called Stalin imagined that there were people everywhere out to kill him and killed them before they could kill him. This monster killed more people than Adolf Hitler did. In the 1930s alone, Stalin liquidated the kulaks, small farmers, the Russian military officer class and any one else who could challenge his paranoid rule. He established a totalitarian, authoritarian, dictatorial, monolithic and terrorist state. He instilled fear into every person’s mind and used intimidation and death to get the people to obey his criminal rule.

Communism is the ideology that workers ought to own the means to production. How exactly are workers supposed to do so? In a typical work place, there are differences in the level of information available to the workers. Engineers know more than assembly line workers. Managers know more than engineers and so on. So how can this motley of different information units own and manage their means of production?

In the real world, those who know more will always tell those who know less what to do. Joseph Schumpeter made this point so well that one does not need to repeat it here. There can never be equality in the work place, as long as different workers possess different levels of information. Those who understand business and public finance will always tell those who don’t what to do with their money. This is so in capitalist and socialist economies. Accountants are needed in all economies.

Industrial democracy or participatory democracy is a wish of the wisp. If we need to build bridges we need to listen to the opinions of civil engineers, not the idle opinions of foolish socialist. We are entering a highly scientific and technological world, a world that will increasingly be ruled by technocrats, those with technical skills, not idle talking socialists.


Socialism, as opposed to communism is construed as the acceptance that workers could come to political power through democratic means, rather than seize power through violent uprising, as Marx and Lenin wanted. In reality, socialism is disguised dictatorship. Wherever these criminals come to power, society not only becomes less productive, but people are killed. These murderers take away the incentive for people to work hard by taking people’s hard earned income and giving it to the lazy bums that call themselves the leaders of socialist societies. (They do not even help the workers on whose behalf they talk shop. Russian communist leaders sent their children to the best schools in the land and lived in Dachas while the average Russian lived like a third world person and stood in line for four hours a day to buy a loaf of bread.)

Wherever there is central planning where a few bureaucrats propose to determine how the economy should work disaster occurs. As Adam Smith tells us, the forces of the market are always the best way to allocate resources in society. Where there is demand, supply follows and that way, resources are allocated to where they are needed.

Men do evil when they propose to do well but do well when they pursue their self interests. This is because in pursuing their self interests they must produce what other rational self interest seeking persons would buy, thus, willy-nilly, the blind forces of the capitalist market makes sure that every person’s self interests are served.

The last paragraph segues to the free enterprise economy. I will be very brief here for we shall devote our next lecture to capitalist political economy. The free enterprise ideology is embodied in Adam Smith’s political economy (Wealth of Nations). The forces of the market work to distribute goods and services to where they are demanded.

Prior to the free enterprise economic system was the mercantilist system. Here, the state looked after its interests in domestic and international trade. It tried to stifle the development of industries in other countries so as to make those countries dependent on its own industries. Britain, for example, tried to prevent America from becoming industrialized. In doing so, it hoped to keep America a market for its industries. Britain also tried to prevent America from trading/buying goods from other countries, even if those goods could be bought cheaper. This system obviously was not good for Americans and largely contributed to their resentment of Britain hence the war of 1776. (Milton Freidman has a wonderful book on America’s economic history, from colonial times to Alexander Hamilton’s management of the initial post revolutionary economy, to America’s industrialization efforts and so on. This book is a must read for all students of the American economy.)

Mercantilism is inefficient and leads to poverty. Free competition leads to efficiency in the production of goods and services. If you produced your goods and or services cheaply, you sold them at a lower price and made profits. The buyer is a rational person and would always prefer cheaper to higher priced goods and services. Therefore, the person who produces inefficiently hence has higher production costs and must sell high would be pushed out of the market by the cheap producing person. Thus, in a free enterprise system, all producers seek ways to reduce their cost of production, increase efficiency and the result is cheaper goods and services, and more efficient allocation of goods and services in the economy.

Corporatism is a form of mercantilism. An excellent example is Japan and Nazi Germany. Here, the state and industry colludes and work hand in hand to target industries to be developed and pours money into them. The goal is be able to out compete other countries. Usually, corporative states resort to dumping their goods in other economies and in so doing control the market. Japan did this and used to have favorable balance of trade Vis a Vis the USA. Corporatism generally goes hand in hand with fascist governments.

In fascism, there is a belief that most people are idiotic and do not know what is good for them. One person or a group of persons (Oligarchs) assume to know what is good for the people. He/they seize the government and proceed to superimpose their ideas of how things ought to be on the nation. Usually, fascists believe in strong nations and wars and see individuals as mere appendages to the state. People are to be used at wars for the greater glory of the nation. Nazis n Germany and Fascists in Italy saw their subjects as existing for the good of the state. The fuehrer prince, Hitler, decided to go to war and people were coerced and used to accomplish the goals of the state. (Communists like Stalin did the same; they transformed the masses into instruments for accomplishing their communism dreams; they, too, had no respect for the individual’s right; indeed, they killed the individual if in their psychotic judgment he was not useful to their course.)

Liberals and conservatives are the dominant political ideologies in the extant Western world. They are the mainstream and accepted political ideologies in Western Europe and North America.

Liberals believe that the state could be used for good, to serve the masses interests. They crave big government and want to tax the rich and use that money to provide services for the poor. The negative side of liberalism is that they want to use the power of the state to impose their views on how society ought to be on the people. In today’s America and much of the Western world, liberals and their lesbian feminists and homosexual perverts would like to utilize the state to impose their depraved life styles on the good Christian people. They think that they know what is good for the people. They see religious people as simpletons who believe in superstitions written in scriptures. They discount the Bible and think that they know what is good for all people and what is good for them is to shove homosexuality down their throats. In fact, a liberal superintendent of the New York school district, without consulting parents, who, to his mind, know not what is good for them, went ahead and printed books telling students that it is normal for two lesbian women to raise children. These people are normalizing deviancy and soon will force people to embrace their bestiality as healthy life styles.

If liberals are allowed to run amuck they would take away the people’s civil liberties and civil rights and initiate the rule of perverts and pedophiles. They would impose their godless conception of society on all of society. And we all know where that leads: decline of the empire. Rome declined when homosexual criminals imposed their defiance of nature on society. These animals that defy nature and insist on doing the incredible always contract diseases, Aids being the least of them. These folks have a death wish, their godless lives lead to existential depression and they want to take all members of society with them in their self destructive life styles.

Conservatives are in favor of limited government. (See the writings of John Locke, Edmund Burke, and John Stuart Mill etc.) They fear big governments and believe that big governments invariably lead to tyranny. Big government means large bureaucracies. We know that bureaucracies tend to attract brain dead persons. These unproductive elements of society would like to tell people how to live their lives. Ten bureaucrats who cannot change a light bulb would like to tell the productive elements of society how to produce goods and services. Where these despicable persons rule productivity dies. (See Max Weber’s writing on the nature of the bureaucracy.) Conservatives want free enterprise economy. Conservatives want people to have God in their lives. They understand that without God morality would breakdown. An amoral society is an anarchic society, a Hobessian world where all is at war with each other and the result is life becoming nasty, brutish and short. (Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan.)

Society generally swings from the left to the right of the political spectrum and right to left. As long as centrists and moderates rule we seem safe. But when right wing, or left wing ideologues take over control of society, disaster strikes.


I believe that I have given us a summary of the various political ideologies competing for people’s allegiance. These ideologies seem to exist in every polity. Wherever you go in the world, you can plot people on this ideological spectrum. Some people are on the left and some are on the right, but a preponderance of the people tend to be in the center of the ideological continuum (hence centrist, moderates).

The average human being is not a socialist or a fascist, left wing or right wing, the opposite ends of the ideological spectrum but a mix of both. Most politicians address the centrist individual for they know that that is where the votes are.

Nigeria and most African countries are not characterized by ideological politics. Whereas there are a few campus radicals, there really are no well defined socialists or fascists in Nigeria. Indeed, there are no well defined liberals and conservatives in Nigeria.

Most Nigerians are still at what Abraham Maslow would consider the lower levels in his hierarchy of needs schema. Maslow has five levels on his hierarchy of needs: from lower to top: physiological, safety, self esteem, social esteem, and self actualization. As Maslow sees it, human beings have to meet their lower order needs before they can aspire after higher ones; they have to have food, clothes and shelter before they worry about safety, then after that self esteem and social respect and finally a desire to actualize their innate potentials. As long as people are hungry, they tend to concentrate on seeking ways to obtain their food. Those who are hungry have little or no time to worry about ideological politics. Ideological politics is for well fed professional middle class persons.

With less than one percent of her population as truly middle class, Nigerians are at Maslow’s lower levels in the hierarchy of needs. They, therefore, don’t tend to worry much about ideological politics. They just want to obtain their food, clothes and house and be able to pay their children’s school fees.

Nigerians will vote for any politician who promises them the means to meet their material needs. Though many Nigerian politicians do not, in fact, deliver on their promises to the masses, but as long as they have money to bribe key persons who can deliver the votes, they tend to be elected into political offices.

Nigeria’s tribal nature confounds its politics. People are most likely to vote for persons from their ethnic groups than for others. They seldom worry about political candidates ideological affiliations. What seems to matter most to them is a candidate’s ethnic affiliation.

Igbos will likely vote for Igbo candidates even if those candidates stand for nothing, other than steal from the national treasury and give some crumbs to their fellow towns men, not to all Igbos. The same goes for Hausas and Yorubas. What we have in Nigeria is the politics of ethnic groups, not ideological politics.

For our present purposes, there is little ideological politics in Nigeria. True, on college campuses, well fed children of the middle class make noises about poorly understood Marxism, nevertheless, they are preoccupied with figuring out ways to secure jobs. They know that the chances are slim that they would secure good jobs. Nigeria is awash with unemployed college graduates. The struggle is to secure a job and keep it. Nigerians keep quiet just so that they keep their jobs.

Whereas there is little or no ideological politics taking place in Nigeria, Nigerians being human beings still fall into the above outlined ideological states. The individual Nigerian, therefore, ought to know what his political ideology is and, hopefully, obtain a more detailed education in it. My goal in this lecture is to summarize the various ideologies, not to provide detailed education on them. We cannot do that in the one hour time frame we set for each of the twenty lectures in this series.



As John Maynard Keynes demonstrated, the capitalist economy has built in boom and burst cycles. There are periods of inflation, depression and recession. To prevent these from occurring, we now manage the capitalist economy. We use many instruments to regulate and guide the economy: Taxation, monetary policy and fiscal policy. Briefly, taxation is used to increase or reduce the quantity of money in circulation; government spending is used to stimulate stagnant economies or cool down over heated ones; the central bank’s raising or lowering of prime interest rates are used to reduce or increase the level of money in circulation hence curb inflation and or reduce depression etc.

We do regulate what the private sector does, such as employ the Environment Protection Agency to decide on acceptable levels of emission factories are permitted to emit into the air. What we have is a regulated capitalist economy, not lassie faire economy. This mixed economy seems the best that we can do.

In my judgment, Nigeria and African countries ought to embrace mixed economies. There really is no better alternative. The alternatives of socialism and communism are unproductive and lead to dead ends. Socialism does not lead to increased productivity anywhere it has been practiced. What it does is give authority to power hungry folks. These monsters proceed to enslave every body in society. They cannot be permitted to tell us, free men and women, what to do with our lives.

A mixed economy, not unmitigated capitalism, is the right solution to Africa’s economic problems. I believe that every person has a right to free medical health and free education, from elementary to technical colleges and universities. I believe that public utilities like electricity, water, transportation, and so on ought to be publicly subsidized. But beyond these select areas of the economy, I believe that the state should hands off the economy. Let the individual swim or sink. (Of course, we should provide him a few safety nets, but not too much, so as not to discourage his competitive spirit. Unemployment payments and Old age pension are good safety net for folks. Old age pension should begin at age 70. Nobody, repeat, nobody should be paid welfare money. That nonsense is what encourages defiant, unruly women to destroy monogamous marriages and have children out of wedlock.)

There is competition in nature. A few will win and many will lose, such is life, cest la vie. In sports, not all of us will be Tiger Wood or Michael Johnson. In academics, not all students have the intellect to be outstanding students, no matter what we may wish. Intelligence is a product of the interaction of our inherited genetic make ups and our social environments. All we can do is provide every child with equal opportunity to compete but not equal outcomes.

We ought to live with reality without harkening to the empty promises of socialism, communism, Marxism and other such yesteryears ideas.

Ozodi Thomas Osuji

October 7, 2005

Lecture 5, on October 9, is on capitalist political economy.

Posted by Administrator at 07:23 PM | Comments (0)

October 07, 2005

Nigerians Living in Fear in China

by Osita Chiagorom and Richard Offo (Changchun, China) --- I want to comment on the continous detention of Nigerians in China as a result of the prohibition of visa extention on the Nigeria passport. Most of the people detained are innocent Nigerians. Their crime is that they have expired visas because their visas could not be extended like those of other foreigners in China.

As a result of this issue, most Nigerians are intimidated and are living in fear. A lot of people have used this opportunity to oppress and dupe Nigerians because they know that we cannot report to the police.

There are many cases where employers refused to pay us our salaries because they know that we cannot report to the authorities. They tell us to do our worst. Reporting to the police means detention and deportation.

Even, some of our business partners are not left out. On the 15th of September, a Nigerian, Mr. Innocent Nwosu was detained and will soon be deported.

His crime was that he opened a saloon with a Chinese lady a day before this incident. He was arrested because his Visa expired. The incident took place in the City of Changchun, Jilin province, northeast of China.

His Chinese partner is still at large and this is very suspicious because the woman assured him of her protection. We suspect that the woman set him up so that she can take over the business.

For over a week, a local Chinese newspaper reported this incident on the front page almost on a daily basis, creating an unpleasant atmosphere for Nigerians here.

Nigerians in China are neither criminals, drug pushers nor dupes. They are just hard working Nigerians who are unfortunate victims of visa prohibition of the Chinese government on Nigerians.

It is known that the problem facing Nigerians in China today is because of visa prohibition on persons with Nigerian passports. A lot of rumours have circulated on this issue. It is very unfortunate that the Nigerian embassy is yet to clarify why our visas are not extended.

Last year,we were at the Nigerian embassy and discussed with the Consular officer, Mr.Usman. He did not give us a good or specific clarification. He just told us that the Chinese Government has denied that there is a visa prohibition on Nigerians.

He said that the visa prohibition allegation is not official. Well, every person knows that there is a visa restriction on the Nigerian passport. The Chinese know and other foreigners know too. This is very shameful and disgraceful.

One of the rumours has it that it is because we recognised Taiwan. But one wonders why Taiwan's main ally, the USA is not given the same treatment.

Also, there is a rumour that it is because of the crimes committed by some Nigerians here but it is clear that this is not so because Nigerians are not the only ones committing crimes in China. Most sophiscated crimes here are commited by citizens of western and middle east countries.

There is a rumour which seems to be true. We got an information since september 2003, that was 2 years ago, that soon there will be a visa restriction on Nigerians and nationals of five other countries in China.

The other countries as said to be Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The rumour has it that these countries together with Nigeria are classified as TERRORIST countries by the government in China. To us, this is the only "rumour" that so far sounds real. nitialy, we did not take it serious but by beginning of 2004, our visas became very difficult to extend.

Today, it is worst because almost 9 out of every 10 Nigerian in China has an expired visa !!!. One wonders why Nigeria should be among the list of "terrorist" countries.

Today, many Nigerians in China are scared to death of being recognised as being from "NIRILIYAA" [Nigeria]. Many prefer to claim other nationalities like the USA, South Africa, Jamaica, Ghana, Cuba, Bahamas, etc.

Last week, a Nigerian in Beijing suprisingly warned me seriously to stop addressing him as a Nigerian. When we came here 3 years ago, we were very proud of our nationality. But today, we take deep breath before we introduce ourselves as Nigerians.

The other major problem which has hindered our progress here is the so called people that represent us here - the so-called "Nigerian Embassy."

As far as we are concerned, we don't have an embassy here. If the embassy had taken adequate actions, we would not have been blacklisted. They have avoided confronting the Chinese government on this issue.

The recent suprising arrest, illegal detention, and deportation of Mr Okechukwu Uche the leader of the Nigerian community in Guangzhou finally confirmed our long term distrust on the Nigerian Embassy.

Mr Uche suffered for something that the Embassy was supposed to handle. He was deported after 3 months of illegal detention because he challenged the authorities about their discriminatory attitudes towards Nigerians.

This is Mr. Uche's story:

It started in August when I was elected as the Nigerian community leader in China. We discovered that the authorities of Guangzhou, a Chinese city, had increased the fee for renewal of the resident permit, which did not apply to other countries.

I pointed out the ill-treatment to them, explaining that Nigerian government had been trying to build a good relationship with the Chinese government. We contacted the Nigerian Embassy in China and lodged the complaint. The embassy assured us that they would intervene in the issue. We explained our situation to him. Four of the immigration officials threatened me that they would reduce my resident permit, which is usually one year. They told me that they did not give me visa to do Nigerian community job. And true to their promise, they reduced my visa from one year to one month. The Nigerian Embassy intervened, but the Chinese authorities did not reply the embassy.

After that month, they came to arrest me, stating that my visa had expired. They put me into detention and for the past three months, I was there. They only allowed me to make five minutes call to my wife to tell her to get ready that they are deporting me with my family

Well, we can see that from Mr Uche"s ordeal that this has become very serious. It is because we "have no embassy" so Mr Uche took it upon himself to fight for his people and suffered dearly for it.

We are aware that China is presently being awarded contracts that runs into billions of dollars in Nigeria, like the comunication, oil, and satelite contracts.

There are thousands of Chinese living and doing business in Nigeria. They are not facing discrimination. The number of Chinese in Nigeria surpasses the number of Nigerians in China by almost ratio of 10 to 1.

If they are gaining so much in Nigeria why can"t they respect us in their country and extend our visas.

Today, many innocent Nigerians are being detained and are wasting away because of expired visas, and hundreds of others are in danger of being detained. China is a very good country and the people are nice. We believe that our visa problem is something that our embassy did not handle very well like other countries who have good diplomatic relationships with China.

It is not late. I believe that this issue can be resolved diplomatically if our representatives really know how to do their job.




Posted by Administrator at 02:43 PM | Comments (5)

Osuji Lectures #3: Nigeria's Political Socialization

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. (Seatle, Washington) --- CULTURE: Yesterday, we talked about political culture. Today, we shall talk about political socialization. The two, culture and socialization tend to go together and, indeed, in some textbooks are often treated as one subject. Human beings are socialized to their groups’ cultures.

Socialization is the purview of several disciplines including psychology, sociology, psychoanalysis and political psychology. Every human group has a culture, an accepted pattern of behaviors that they have found useful in their efforts to adapt to their world and try to give those patterns of behaviors to their children.

Culture is neither good nor bad but is that which enables a group to survive the challenges of their world. It is time tested mechanisms for coping with the exigencies thrown up by a particular environment.

One culture is not better than another for what enables one people to survive in one environment may not enable another to survive elsewhere.

This is a critical point and needs stressing. What, for example, enables those living in the cold sub artic world may not enable those living in the hot tropical world to adapt to their world. The behavior patterns developed by Europeans in their efforts to adapt to their world may not be adaptive to what the tropical environment requires. Consider: it takes clothing to adapt to the cold north. Without wearing clothes human beings would simply die off in Scandinavia. Furthermore, it takes well insulated housing to survive in the cold north. In the tropics neither clothing nor brick castles are required to adapt to the hot environment. As a matter of fact, it would seem inappropriate to wear three piece suits in Nigeria and or to live in brick houses.

When people from Europe came into contact with people in Africa, in the tropics, what struck them was how scantily dressed Africans were and how they lived in grass huts. They extrapolated from this observation and concluded that Africans were primitive. To them, Africans lacked ability to develop science and technology. The Europeans fancied themselves smarter than Africans because they were clothed in elaborate attire and lived in castles.

Now if we approached the situation with our thinking hats on, we would reach different conclusions. It is adaptive to hot climates for people to be semi nude and for them to live in grass houses. It is not rational to wear elaborate clothing in the tropics or to live in Versailles like palaces in the tropics. As a matter of fact, it seems down right foolish to do in Africa what is adaptive in Europe.

Please notice that during the summer months in Europe, that folks go practically nude. The beaches of Spain and Portugal witness less clothed persons than the Massai and other seeming nude Africans.

If Europeans had lived in Africa, they would have had exactly the same culture that Africans have, including being scantily clothed and live in grass houses. By the same token, if Africans had lived in Europe they would have developed the same culture Europeans have. Actually Africans already lived in Europe and developed the culture Europeans have. Europeans, as well as all human beings are Africans; they are emigrated from Africa.

The environment determines how people adapt to it. Culture is that which adapts to the realities of the environment and not an abstract phenomenon. You do what your world asks of you to do to survive in it, not what you think that you should do, but what you have to do.

Every culture adapts to the realities of its physical and social environment. It is because cultures are mechanisms that adapted to the realities of specific environments that we cannot judge one culture as better, as or worse than other cultures. We have to study each culture on its own terms and, in so far that we are to judge it, evaluate to what extent it enables its people to adapt to their world.

This realization of the specificity of culture, in academia, gave rise to the idea of multi-culturalism. We now know that all cultures are adaptations to specific worlds and are not good or bad and ought to be studied on their own terms.

Human beings come from diverse cultural backgrounds. To understand why they do what they do you have to understand the cultures that they come from. You have to study each and every human group’s culture to understand why its members do what they do. You cannot expect persons from one culture to behave like persons from other cultures. In fact, it is silly to expect a person from cold Alaska to behave in the same manner as a person from Mediterranean California.

As in most things human beings do, however, there is always a danger of taking good things to the absurd. The idea of cultural relativism can be so carried to its logical conclusion that we rationalize foolishness. Consider. In some cultures there was really little or no respect for women. Women were second class citizens. Women were to be seen and not heard from. In India, girls were married off as young as age twelve; indeed, when a man died it was often expected for his widow to be burned in her husband’s funeral pyre. This was Hindu culture. If the idea of cultural relativism is carried to its logical conclusion, it follows that Indians ought to be marrying off their ten year old girls to 60 year old pedophiles from Arabia (it was recently reported in the press that rich Arab men came to India to find young brides) and burning their widows?

Culture is not a static phenomenon. Culture is always dynamic and is always changing. Groups of human beings are always finding better ways of adapting to their environments. What was considered adaptive yesterday could be improved today.

Culture change is generally accelerated when different cultures come together. When different cultures meet, they learn from each other how each does the same thing and both diffuse to one another and learn.

In fact, those groups of human beings that were cut off from interaction with other groups tended to remain stagnant relative to those groups that came into contact with different groups and learned from them. Progressive groups are generally those groups that are frequently coming into contact with other groups, learning from them and making changes. Trading people are generally more progressive people for they are in touch with different groups and learn from them and improve on their own cultures.

Cosmopolitan groups as the Jews are who they are because they are literally everywhere in the world and learning from every group.

Isolated groups, those cut off from the larger world, tend to be characterized by the presence of yesterday’s science and technology.

Within Africa, those groups that eschew commingling with the outside world, such as the Pygmies of the Ituru forest of the Congo, the Massai of Kenya, the Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert, the Dinka of Sudan etc tend to retain their cultures but are generally living in a world that others consider appropriate in the twenty first century. They live in the past, not the present world. Like the dodo bird that did not adapt to its changed environments, these African groups are probably headed towards extinction. At present, they are museum pieces for Western anthropologists to study and understand how human beings everywhere lived ten thousand years ago (not how they live today).

African groups that embraced cultural dynamism, even though they came into contact with Europeans in less than a hundred years ago, are now found all over the world. The Igbos came into active contact with Europeans around the beginning of the twentieth century and are today found in the best universities of the world. This is because of their acceptance of change as a necessity. You do not sit around trying to maintain your past; you let your past go and accept the present and future. Nostalgia for the past is a waste of time for the past is gone forever. The present is all there is, the future is a hope.


Human beings are cultural animals. They have no choice to be cultural or not, they have to be; they have to figure out ways to adapt to their world and pass those ways to their children. Every human group passes to their children what they believe would enable them adapt to their world. The means of passing culture from one generation to another is called socialization.

Those children who are properly raised internalizes their group’s culture and behave accordingly. Normal adults are normal to the extent that they have incorporated the norms of their group and exhibit them in their behaviors.

Norms are accepted patterns of behavior. Behavior is normal because the group approves it as such. Behavior is abnormal because a group of human beings say that it is so. Generally, human groups judge behavior that enables them to survive as normal and those that lead to their demise as abnormal. Normalcy or deviancy is a social construct; it is a society that defines what is normal and what is not.

Heterosexuality enables people to procreate children, replace themselves and survive. Homosexuality does not lead to procreation and, in fact, it leads to contracting all sorts of viral and bacterial diseases. Thus, in most human societies, homosexuality is defined as defiant sexual behaviors.

(Today, radical feminists are bent on deconstructing extant culture because men constructed it, patriarchy, and these radical deconstructionists want every thing done by men to go; they want to reconstruct society in women’s image. They want to impose their death courting behaviors on society. They want to do it through political correctness, through censoring speech that does not agree with their views of reality. These nihilists now have the right to define the abnormal as normal; they normalize deviancy and, indeed, make normalcy deviancy. Generally, these groups are oppositional defiant with high dose of antisocial traits. Without modern medicine homosexuals would self destroy; it is medications that kill the germs that they contract every time they engage in their unhygienic sexual behaviors. Just about every lesbian has Herpes of the mouth. Gay men are filled with innumerable diseases the least of which is HIV. These behaviors are a product of godlessness and reflect existential depression. These people are on a fast track to self destruction and like all sadists would like to drag the rest of society with them)

Every human group socializes its young into internalizing its culture. It hopes that if it succeeds that its offspring would do what enables it to survive. If a group’s norms are maladaptive to the requirements of the present environment and it socializes its children to interiorize that culture, and they do so and exhibit it in their behaviors, they would die off. Consider alcoholics. If they habituate their children with alcoholism, the children become both physiologically and psychologically addicted to alcohol at a very early age. Such children destroy their bodies with alcohol and die young. American Indians are essentially self destroying through this means. The reservations are cesspools of alcoholism where twelve year old children are already drunks.

Whereas, in the main, culture enables a people to survive, dysfunctional and pathological cultures hasten people’s death.

Every year, some human groups die off. Currently there are many endangered groups in Africa. If history remains constant, in five hundred years, some of these groups would have become extinct. They would die off because of their inability to do what adapts to the changing environment we all live on. Unless, of course, we help these people to become realistic and embrace change, they might become dinosaurs. Dinkas, Massai, Twa, and Bushmen seem on a fast track to extinction.

(Many American Indian tribes die out every year; at the rate they are disappearing, it is doubtful that they would be around in the next few hundred years. What is left of them would disappear into other people’s gene pools.)

Children are very vulnerable. Children under age 12 would literally die if adults do not take care of them.

Children know that they rely on adults to survive. Therefore, children strive to please their parents and guardians and do what they are told to do. Except with the exception of a few oppositional defiant and or conduct disordered children (the five percent of the population that go on to become criminals and fill our jails and prisons), most children learn what their significant others ask them to learn.

As Sigmund Freud and his Psychoanalysts see it, the normal child, by age six, has begun developing what they call the superego. The superego is the repository of social values, beliefs and norms. The normal child internalizes his society’s dos and don’ts and that becomes his superego, his conscience telling him to do certain things and not others; indeed, punishing him when he does not behave as his society approves. (The normal child, person feels guilty, remorse, if he does not behave as his group asks him to behave; the anti social child does not feel guilt upon doping bad things; in fact, beginning in childhood he seems to enjoy doing bad things; hurting other people apparently satisfies his sadistic trait.)

As Freud sees it, we are born with what he calls ID, raw instincts to do as we like. Freud believes that we have instinct to seek food, sex (pleasure) and aggression. The average male would like to have sex with all the women around him. But society tells him to restrict his sexual behavior to one woman. He feels frustrated but nevertheless must abide by social rules or he is punished.

Freud believes that another part of the psyche, the EGO balances the drives of the ID and the punitive SUPEREGO. Thus, in our heads are id, ego and superego. These three forces are said to be at war in our psyche, thinking, and minds.

The normal person balances them; the neurotic tends to have over blown superego, to the extent that he is paralyzed by guilt feeling from the smallest wrong doing, he even feels guilty for being alive, the neurotic is the over socialized child.

On the other hand, is the child who is under socialized; he has raw id and a weak superego. This is the child most likely to steal. He is generally from chaotic families, from dysfunctional families, from poor families, from the ghettos, from backgrounds where no body supervises him and he grows up feeling that every behavior is permissible. He engages in antisocial behaviors, is arrested and locked up at Juvenile detention centers, usually at around age fourteen. Thereafter, his life is in and out of jails.

Sociologists emphasize the social forces that enhance learning or deter it. For example, children from middle class homes tend to learn appropriate behaviors, whereas children from poor homes seldom do so. Sociologists look at the economic and social forces responsible for this differential learning.

Developmental psychologists, those psychologists who specialize in child development, tell us that the first six years of a child’s life is the most critical. If a child has not learned appropriate social behaviors by age twelve, they tell us that it is often too late to help him. Personality, the individual’s habitual pattern of responding to his environment, is formed by age twelve. People are generally at age 70 who they were at age 13, the onset of adolescence. It takes trauma to the brain and or conversion to religion for people to really change their personalities.

Aware that we need to work hard to socialize children before it is too late, most human societies try their best to get their children to internalize their norms. Most societies know that if there is a failure in getting a child to be normal by age twelve that it may be too late to rectify the situation. Very few persons bother trying to change adults.

All human beings intervene to help children learn appropriate behaviors, for they know that they are still amenable to change but ignore adults, for they know that it is too late to try changing adults. (If you see a ten year old boy drinking beer you want to stop him from doing so; but if you see a forty year old man drinking, you say, oh well, he has a right to destroy his liver and brains with alcohol and leave him alone.)

The normal human being internalizes his group’s norms and his group’s culture. He behaves appropriately; what is appropriate is defined by the group. (The oppositional defiant child, who is in a power struggle with society, immediately asks you: “who defines what’s appropriate and who gave him the right to do so?” He defies what any one tells him is appropriate. The antisocial child goes further than the ODD child and shows his defiance of social rules by stealing what society asks him not to steal. )


The agents of socialization are families, peer groups, schools, churches, work places and associations the individual voluntarily join.

Every human child is born by a woman and is (usually) raised in families. Each family is a social unit and socializes children to behave in a certain manner. Children are positively reinforced, rewarded when they behave as their parents asked them to. Reward could be simply being hugged, praised, given something etc. A child is rewarded when he does as asked and punished when he does not. Punishment could mean being ignored, whipped, told to go take a time out, go to ones room, not getting the toy one wants etc.

The family’s system of rewards and punishments generally suffices to produce a normal child. However, underlying it all is love. If a child is loved he would do anything to please the parents, he would do what they ask him to do. But if a child feels not loved by his parents he would refuse to do what they ask him to do. In families where love is lacking antisocial children are often produced.

The peer group is the second most important socialization agent. Human beings, beginning in childhood, want to be liked and accepted by their peer groups. A child would emotionally shrivel up if his cohorts reject him. In fact, teenagers would do any thing to get their peers to accept them. Even saying that one does not care whether others like one or not is really the desperate effort of a person who feels rejected to tell himself that he does not care; it is like a scared child whistling in the dark, pretending to be bold.

Children crave other children’s approval. If the peer group is reasonably law and order oriented and approve appropriate behaviors in its members, this helps a child to learn appropriate behaviors. Boy’s scouts and similar groups are positive social groups.

Unfortunate children who were raised in crime infested neighborhoods are early in life exposed to antisocial behaviors. They see youth gangs roaming around instead of being at school or reading their books; they see these street toughs as powerful young persons, as role models to be admired and want to be like them. They join them and those become their surrogate families and socialize them into criminal activities.

Gang members approve the child when he steals, curse people and generally uses bad language. They tell them that it is being tough to use four letter worlds. In fact some of these children have so limited a vocabulary that all they know are the curse words that they spill out. The child exposed to this tragedy does as other children do: imitate his peers, except that what he is imitating to get his peers attention might lead him to trouble. Sadly, some of his peers might be the first to end his life, put a bullet in his head.

Next to peer groups are schools in socializing children. In just about everywhere in the world, it is now mandatory for all children to be at school from age six onwards. Those from good families are seldom out of school until their mid twenties when they obtain terminal professional degrees (PhD, MD, JD, and MBA). It seems that childhood is now prolonged and extended to age 28, when the professional to be is usually done with formal education (informal education continues for life).

Schools teach the three Rs, as well as appropriate social behaviors. Schools teach acceptance of the group’s political culture.

In America, for example, by the time a child is done with high school he has literally been programmed to go out there and kill for America. America’s schools are nothing but boot camps for indoctrinating children to serve the empire. Very little learning is actually taking place in these schools.

Every society attempts to get its children to accept its political culture. You are taught about the political system and told what your civic duties are. In Britain, you are taught to respect the Queen and other aristocrats, to keep quiet when your superiors talk etc. In Japan, you are taught to respect your family and when called upon, to die for the emperor and nation. In Nigeria, you are left to fend for yourself; you quickly learn that nobody cares for you and do not care for any one else but yourself. Nigerians indifference to their children is mind bugling. How exactly do they expect their children to work for the good of the nation, do they care? What we have here is really foolishness. You have to care for your young if you want them to support the polity.

Churches teach particular approaches to phenomena. Christians teach about Jesus Christ and see him as their conduit to God. Muslims teach about Mohammed and see him as the seal of the prophets. Hindus teach about Krishna and see him as God incarnated in human form, the ideal human being. Buddhists teach about the Buddha and the need to transcend ones ego. There are all kinds of religions out there. They are all instruments of socialization; they civilize human beings.

A human being who does not belong to a religion is often the most dangerous human being on earth. Socialists, communists and atheists who believe that there is no God easily steal and kill and rationalize their behavior. As Dostoyevsky observed in his novel, Brothers Karamazov, if there is no God, no absolute morality, all behaviors are permissible.

Adult conservative thinkers know that if there were no religions that we would have to invent one. Machiavelli is right in saying that if there is no God we have to invent one and socialize the masses into believing in him. It is the fear of God’s punishment that keeps the masses in line, obeying the laws of the land.

It is irrelevant to argue whether God is a social construct and our projection. We do not know for sure that God does not, in fact, exist. What we do know for fact is that man is capable of heinous crimes and that we must seek every means possible to civilize him and make him respect the lives of other people.

The work place is a means of socialization. To get and retain a job you must constantly please your bosses and coworkers. If your behavior is inappropriate you are fired. If you are sacked, you do not have money to buy the necessities of living. To be able to meet your material needs you need a job and to have a job you strive to do as your bosses ask you to do. The work place is a means of socializing people, making sure that they behave appropriately. A man who has no job is a dangerous man for he could engage in anti social behaviors. We must, therefore, provide all citizens with jobs.

(The rulers of Nigeria are an interesting bunch. They do not strive to provide young Nigerians with jobs. They do not care. We know that a person is most likely to become a criminal between the ages of fourteen and twenty four. Thus, rational societies either keep these age groups in school or at work. If you leave them roaming the streets, as they do in Nigeria, what do you expect? Guess? They may engage in criminal activities. This has nothing to do with race; it is a world wide phenomenon. If this is so, how come we do not provide our young people with schooling and work? We are self centered and care only for our selves? Okay. Those young persons are increasingly urban and not rural persons bound by tribal taboos; they are increasingly emancipated from religions induced fear of God. They are increasingly having access to guns. Guess who they will use those weapons on? Guess again? They would use them on the adults that ignored their welfare. If we do not care for our young, why should they preserve our life? Please do not talk about God punishing them for their criminal activities for you your self is evil for not helping our young persons. If our leaders do not care for our young, our young will eventually harm or kill them. They are better dead, anyway.)

The final agent of socialization is the associations’ people join. If the individual joins groups, participates in their activities and obeys their rules, he is most likely to learn to play by the rules of the game. For example, those Nigerians who participate in naija politics learn to play by its rules. They are less likely to engage in shady business (419). It is always those persons who avoid others, who hide and do their evil in the dark. These types of Nigerians are responsible for screwing Americans. I am talking about credit card racketeers.


The above description of the phenomenon is applicable everywhere in the world.

Every culture tries to socialize its children into accepting its specific politics and political ideology (we shall deal with political ideology next week). People every where get their children to accept their politics.

Children whose parents are conservatives are socialized to be conservatives; those whose parents are liberals, by osmosis, imbibe their parent’s liberal ideology. As adults people behave like their parents did, politically.

Let us briefly look at the main Nigerian groups. Igbos are republican democrats. They trend to socialize their children to accept their political ideology. Igbo children are told that they are on their own and must work for what they want out of life. They are discouraged from depending on other people to help them. Therefore, they tend to belong to conservative parties. (In America, such as the Republican Party in America; in Europe such as the British Conservative party and the German Christian Democratic party).

Hausas are Muslims. They believe that it is their duty to care for their unfortunate brothers and sisters. Rich Hausas give generously to the unfortunate around them. This generous attitude to life naturally disposes them to become liberals. Thus, Hausas are more likely to be found in American Democratic type parties. As we shall see when we talk of political ideologies, liberals want to use government to improve the lives of the poor. Those who care for the poor will naturally want big government and use it to help their brothers.

Yorubas are the most cosmopolitan Nigerians; they are exposed to the competing ideologies and different Yorubas choose differently. Thus, you are likely to find genuine Yoruba socialists, capitalists and any other belief on the ideological spectrum.

All societies socialize their people to accept certain politics and behave as such. It is when people behave as their group expects of them that their polity survive. In America, for example, the system socializes people to support a republican- capitalist-democracy. If you support that system, the system rewards you. If not, the system punishes you. The system’s gatekeepers have their watchful eyes on every body. If you are known to be against the system, you might as well leave the country. You are simply not going to obtain a good job in God’s own country if you are a known communist. The velvet dictator keeps trouble makers out of the avenues where they could make trouble and do damage. You may be allowed to run around the ghetto and talk socialism but the moment you actually try to do something about it, off you go to jail. Campus socialist talk is permitted but to, in fact, be a socialist revolutionary and try to implant Marxian ideology is repressed.

To obtain a good job, your background is carefully scrutinized, including having an FBI check done on you. Simply stated, the establishment keeps out trouble makers and keeps in system supportive fellows.

Nor is this an American phenomenon. All countries do the same thing. The rulers of Nigeria keep out any one likely to make trouble for them. They certainly would not give jobs to a person who insists on not giving bribes. And if you manage to secure a good job in Nigeria and refuse to play their corruption game, the powers that be would not invite you to their inner sanctum, where policies are made. You would be ostracized and marginalized.

Every political system socializes its citizens to endorse it. Fascistic political systems like Hitler’s Nazi Germany consciously went about indoctrinating every child into accepting its ideology and punishing those who refused to buy into the system. In more refined societies like the USA, the system does not resort to brutal indoctrination of children but does it more subtly. School children begin the day by singing allegiance to the political system. If you write papers that indicate that you support the system you are rewarded, if opposed to the system you are made an outsider. Communistic Russia and Maoist China, like fascists, overtly indoctrinated the people into their ideology.

This is just the ways it is. The business of science is to study reality as it is, and not necessarily to change it. The question is not whether what political systems do is good or bad; science merely tells you about what they do. It is up to you to decide what you do with that information.

It does not matter whether a system is communist, socialist, capitalist or Christian; they are all indoctrinating their citizens. To know what is going on is to be wiser. Some one is always trying to get you to accept their world view. All you can do is clarify what your own world view is. Know what your politics is. As long as you are genuinely convinced that your politics is the correct one no one should rebuke you. You cannot ask a human being not to be truthfully to his honest beliefs.

In this light, if socialism or capitalism makes sense to you, go for it. But do not go for it to please your peer groups, to get them to like and approve you. Go for your conviction.


Nigerian political leaders, like political leaders everywhere in the world, attempt to socialize their children into their politics.

Each ethnic group, overtly or covertly, tell its young people that they ought to place their ethnic group’s interests ahead of the nation’s interests.

Nigeria is a sick polity and needs healing. It does not need to die. I personally like to live in a multi ethnic society. I do not like to live in a mono ethnic society. I believe that we learn most when we are exposed to people from different backgrounds. Diversity is the spice of life. We must keep Nigeria one but seek ways to make her a healthier polity. We must socialize our children to work for an all Nigerians serving government.

Ozodi Thomas Osuji

October 6, 2005

Lecture 4 will be on Nigeria’s Political Ideologies, on October 10.

Posted by Administrator at 02:39 AM | Comments (0)

October 06, 2005

Osuji Lectures #2: Nigeria's Political Culture

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. (Seatle, Washington) --- Wherever human beings are found, they not only live in groups but have collective patterns of behaviors. Human beings everywhere develop collective approaches to phenomena.

Human beings ask existential questions like: who are we, why are we here and what are we doing here? They individually and collectively respond to those questions. Their individual and collective responses to those ontological and epistemological questions become part of their religious and philosophical culture.

Human beings live on a tough physical environment. Their physical environment does not give them their food and other means of survival. They have to struggle to obtain their food, clothes and shelter. Nature does not provide them with free food. Manna does not fall from heaven; once, it was claimed to have fallen from heaven but those who ate it died before they reached the Promised Land they were heading towards. Human beings survive through the sweat of their brow.

In their efforts to extract sustenance from their impersonal physical environment, they develop some working understanding of how the physical environment works. This understanding of how the physical environment works is called science and the approaches to adapting to the environment is called technology. Every human group has a scientific and technological culture.

Science and technology may be rudimentary in primitive societies but they do exist in them, nevertheless. They have to exist in them for human beings are distinguished from other animals by their scientific and technological nature. The best that our closest animal relatives, Chimpanzees, can do is employ sticks to ferret out ants from anthills; it is because of this primitive technology that they are said to be closer to human beings in evolution; indeed, Chimpanzees are, genetically, 97% the same as human beings.

Human beings ask why questions (science) and device techniques (how questions) to adapt to their world. The answers to their why and how questions constitutes their scientific and technological culture.

Human beings live in groups, society. They tend to have interpersonal and social conflicts. Wherever human beings live, they have issues with one another. Sometimes these issues lead to wars. Human beings, since the dawn of history, have always had wars (and probably will always have wars?).

Because they have interpersonal and social differences, human beings everywhere seek ways to get along with each others. They develop patterns of behaviors that enable them to reduce conflicts and increase social harmony. Over time, all human groups developed norms of accepted behaviors.

Norm is that behavior which is socially accepted (which, hopefully, contributes to social harmony). Some norms are mere socially accepted mores, whereas others are codified as rules of group behavior. Where societies are highly developed, rules of behaviors tend to be further codified as laws (enacted in constitutions or enacted by legislatures).

There are several kinds of laws: written and unwritten, common, constitutional, statutory, administrative, criminal, contracts, torts, equity, family, admiralty law and so on. For our present purposes, the salient point is that all human societies have legal cultures that attempt to make sure that people get along with each other and punish those who transgress the laws, those who negatively affect other persons.

Culture is an omnibus term. It is global and inclusive of everything human beings do that enables them to adapt to their world. Whatever enables people to survive on planet earth is part of their culture. In this light, culture is that behavior that enables a group to adapt to its physical and social world and enables it to survive. There are many things that enable people to survive, including religion, philosophy, science, technology, laws etc. This means that the term culture is all encompassing, too broad to be useful in social analysis.

Nevertheless, during the late 19th and 20th centuries, a field of study that specifically studied culture emerged in the academic horizon. It was called Ethnography or cultural anthropology. Cultural anthropologists descended on what they called primitive societies in Africa, Asia and Latin America and studied everything done in those societies under the rubric of culture.

The societies studied by cultural anthropologists were preliterate and did not have bodies of written literature about their approaches to phenomena. As the racist historian, Trevor Roper said, Africa does not have written culture and, as such, is the purview of anthropologists, meaning that what is known about them is written by Western anthropologists rather than by their own scholars. In effect, Trevor Roper was saying that Anthropologists study primitive societies whereas historians study civilized societies.

Western cultural anthropologists wrote about primitive societies (which in generous times they called traditional societies). Essentially, they told us about their religions, philosophies, science, technology and social institutions.

Whereas in the West itself specific disciplines studied each aspect of what anthropologists told us about primitive societies, in African countries anthropologists were know it all and told us all about those societies. Thus, whereas in the West we had theologians writing about their people’s religions, philosophers writing about their people’s systems of wisdom, physical scientists writing about physics, chemistry, biology and mathematics, historians writing about their people’s history, economists writing about their countries economic performances, in Africa, a single white boy who studied anthropology wrote about everything about the society he studied. Thus, for example, if he studied Igbo society, as Ottenberg of the University of Washington, Seattle did, he became an acclaimed expert on everything Igbo.

Anthropologists knew so much that, in fact, they knew nothing about the societies they supposedly studied. How could they know something about those societies? Consider: these so-called anthropologists were usually graduate students who were required to go do one year of field studies in primitive societies. They then came back and wrote about their findings and are awarded the doctorate degree. Subsequently, they obtained teaching positions at Western universities. Only one year of stay in Africa made these persons experts on every thing African! Of course, they knew next to nothing about African cultures. Reading the material written by these so-called experts on Africa is actually a waste of time; most of them simply did not know what they were talking about.

Consider complex Yoruba religious practices. It would take a life time of studies to begin to understand these practices. But a white boy would spend a year of field studies at Ile-Ife, return to his university at Berkeley, California, writes a book on Yoruba culture, and inclusive of Yoruba religion and such a book would be considered an authority on everything Yoruba. These foreign experts reduced people’s complex lives and practices to the parameters of their infant discipline.

By the 1950s, political science had emerged from philosophy as a separate field of study. The field began to build its own body of literature. It looked into cultural anthropology and borrowed the concept of culture from it. However, it recognized that culture is inclusive of everything a group of human beings do and that to study culture per se is to study everything the people did to adapt to their environment. The term culture is too broad and had to be divided up into several areas: thus, there is religious culture, farming culture, child rearing culture, schooling culture, medical culture, and culture for everything else a group of people do.

Political scientists zeroed in on a group’s political culture, that is, on how each group of human beings governed themselves. Political culture is those aspects of culture that relate to a group’s political behavior. It answers such questions as: how do these people govern themselves? How do they select their leaders? How do they train their leaders; indeed, how do they train every member to behave politically?

Human beings live in human polities (polity is a fancy name for organized society). They have conflicts. They have mechanisms for resolving their conflicts before they end up shooting each other in their efforts at conflict resolution.

Every known human society practices politics. Politics is the effort to govern a group of human beings, to make the laws that govern them (legislation) and execute those laws (executive organ of government), adjudicate conflicts on the bases of laid down laws (judiciary) and implement the laws and policies made by the governing bodies (bureaucracy).

Every society has a specific manner of going about its politics; its legislating, executing, adjudicating and implementing of laws. Every society trains its people to practice politics in a certain manner (Political socialization).

The sum of political practices of a group is its political culture. Societies differ in their political cultures.

In the early 1960s, emergent political scientists like Gabriel Almond, Verber and James Coleman (one of my mentors at the University of California) spanned the globe studying different society’s political cultures. The body of literature they produced now constitute the corpus of political culture. These political scientists would go to a country and, instead of studying its global culture limited their studies to an aspect of it, its political behavior. (The field later gave rise to comparative politics.)

Essentially, political scientists learned from anthropologists and recognized the shortcoming of a single anthropologist becoming an expert on every thing about a people. Perhaps, it is possible to be an expert on a small segment of a people’s culture but not all of it. No one can fully understand Yoruba religions much less all of Yoruba culture. Political scientists delimited themselves to studying political culture, rather than the entirety of a people’s culture. This is a wise decision; their studies, though reductive and stereotyping tend to be more useful than anthropological reductionism.

The political scientists who studied political culture really did not add much to our understanding of politics, but gave us insights into psychological and sociological aspects of politics. Thus, for example, in the Civil Culture, we learn something about the psychological and sociological behaviors of those they studied. We learned that Americans are individualistic in their general psychological make up, as well as in their attitude to politics and that they pursue liberty, equality, democracy and civic duty and individual responsibility. . This is a stereotype of Americans, of course, for there are Americans who are not individualistic, who are, in fact, every bit as collectivistic as so-called un-individuated primitive persons in Africa. But let us humor political scientists and talk as if there are group characters.

In this stereotypical light, Americans individualistic political culture is characterized by expectation that their governments do certain things for them but not everything. They have limited government and do not expect their rulers to become surrogate parents who take good care of them. They want to take care of themselves. They do not want their government to tell them what to do. They do not want their government to tell them what type of religion they should practice, what kind of school they should attend, whether they should carry guns or not. Simply stated, Americans are said to be individualistic and want their government to only do those things that the individual cannot do for himself and leave the individual to do for himself what he can do for himself.

Generally, people need to organize to defend themselves, to fight wars. Thus, individualistic Americans accept that it is a proper function for their government to provide them with national security. They are willing to pay for a strong military and for internal security measures (such as a strong police, judicial and penal systems). But beyond these accepted roles for government, Americans do not want to pay for their government to perform other functions. They do not think that it is the function of government to engage in social engineering that changes peoples behaviors. They do not think that it is the proper function of government to provide their people with education, (it took pulling of teeth for America to provide K through 12 grade education for free to its citizens; in fact, some die hard conservatives still believe that the government should butt out of education and leave it in private hands; these people send their children to private schools, for they do not liberal public school teachers telling young minds, as they want to do, that homosexuality, abortion on demand, free sex, out of wedlock bearing of children and so on, is okay; a government that provides everything for every body is a government that tells everybody what to do; beware of big governments, conservatives wail) medical health insurance, welfare money etc. Simply stated, the American political culture defines certain roles for the government and the individual. Study of American political culture shows these dynamics, the push and pull of government’s efforts to do certain things and citizens opposition to it. For example, the conservative government of George Bush would like to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wide Life Reserve in Alaska, but liberals and their environmental lobby oppose such drilling. The result is standstill. This is American government at work, no dictatorial government telling the people what to do. Should government over step the line drawn for it, Thomas Jefferson tells the people that they should form a posse and chase the now criminals out of office. (A government is legitimate to the extent that it operates within laws.) As conservative Americans would have it, citizens ought to keep their guns so that they can, at any moment, form a militia and chase out their leaders from office, should they go beyond what they are required to do. Liberals, on the other hand, always wanting to expand the role of government, do not want citizens to posses governs, they want to pass legislation taking guns away from the people, and should they succeed, it is goodbye to freedoms and welcome to the dictatorship of do-gooders. Soviet type monolithic totalitarianism hovers around liberal policies, conservatives say.

A study of Japanese political culture shows a different set of approaches to politics. The Japanese, as well as the Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and related Asians, were socialized to what is roughly called the Confucian culture. Confucius lived about 2500 years ago, and laid down acceptable behaviors for the people. Asians, by and large, behave in accordance with Confucian norms.

Among other things, Confucius demands respect for authority, particularly the authority of the head of the family and the head of the state, the emperor of China, the emperor of Japan etc. Thus, Asians were brought up to see their lives as meant to serve their families and emperors. A Japanese man would literally die from shame should he be unable to provide for his family (he may commit suicide should he loose social face from inability to provide for his family). He is brought up to lay down his life for his emperor. A Japanese soldier would literally do whatever his leaders asked him to do, including flying suicide planes into American war ships (Kamikaze) and in the process die. He dare not disobey what authority told him to do. This makes Japanese society authoritarian and well ordered.

Compare and contrast the Japanese to Nigerians lack of devotion to serving their nation, Nigerians interest is in serving only their individual bellies hence corruption in Nigeria. The Japanese lives to serve his society and would literally jump into fire and stay there and die should his leaders ask him to do so. His culture would reject him should he place his life ahead of the society’s goals. (It is said that a finger that sticks out is harmed down in Japan).

Oriental cultures tended to train for social conformism. People were rigorously brought up to adhere to Confucian rules of etiquette and disobeying them brought swift social punishment.

Asians contact with other cultures, particularly with the West has changed much of Asian cultures; nowadays, they seldom commit suicide, hara-kiri, when they loose social face. Nevertheless, it is a useful assertion, albeit it over simplistic, to state that whereas the West is individualistic that the Orient is group Oriented. We are talking about group stereotypes here, not necessarily reality.

Political scientists studied the various European countries political cultures. The British tend to be somewhat similar to Americans in their civic culture, with the exception that they tend to serve their king or queen and will die fighting for the king and England. (Americans will die fighting for republican democracy and freedom to be individualistic.)

The Italian tends to be exuberant in his behavior and tends to be lackadaisical about following orders and routines. It took Mussolini all he could to make Italian trains run on time…Italian are back to running on Italian time, that is, late. This lackadaisicalness is reflected in Italian government. The Italian government is not a serious force to be reckoned with. The Italian military, for example, is a joke as far as disciplined fighting is concerned. Fire a gun into the air and these so-called soldiers surrender in mass.

One the other hand, is the iron disciplined German military that will obey their officers command and keep coming at the enemy, even as the enemy keeps mowing them down. The exploits of the German army at the Western Front, during the First World War, at Verdun, is a study in military disciple. Nigerians ought to study German military discipline and see if they could discipline their unruly military. Germans carry their individual and military discipline to their government. The trains run on time in Germany. If a train is scheduled to be there at 1PM it is bound to be there at 1PM. This is a well ordered polity for you. The government performs what it is expected to perform. The German government works because it reflects a German culture that is disciplined and obeys the laws.

The Russian government, unlike the German government, traditionally is chaotic; it reflects a chaotic Russian culture. Russia is almost always unprepared for anything and is almost always caught off Guard. Adolf Hitler wrote a book, Mein Kampf, in 1925, delineating his plan to kill ALL Russians and take over their land. He believed that they were subhuman beings and unintelligent. At the same time, 1923, the American Congress passed a law preventing Russians from immigrating to America because they were allegedly unintelligent. Despite these hand writings on the wall, Russia did not prepare for war with the West. It behaved as Hitler said that she would behave: unprepared to fight hence easily defeated.

In 1941, Hitler launched operation Barbarossa and literally walked, unopposed, to the outskirts of Moscow. At that point, Russians gave up their Vodka and realized that Hitler meant business and was about to wipe them off from the surface of the earth. Where he conquered, Hitler killed off the Slavs. He killed 25 million of them and was bent on killing off the rest of them. Russians finally got out of the fumes of alcohol and discarded communism and rallied around mother Russia’s flag. They fought and died like men. The retaking of Stalingrad was their finest hour during the war. They gradually pushed the Huns back to Berlin and eventually defeated them.

Russians seem disorganized and are always taken by surprise but in the teeth of time always manage to fight back and defeat their enemies. Napoleon over ran Moscow with little difficulty but mother Russia fought back and extracted its freedom from the lion’s teeth.

It does not take much political precocity to recognize that a disciplined army, today, could easily defeat Russia. However, at that juncture, Russians would stop being bloody drunks and fight like driven monsters and chase the invading army out of their country, even if it means for all Russians to die at the battle field. It would be nice if Russians were disciplined and not have to regain their freedom in the last moments. If America attacked Russia, she probably could easily defeat her, but Russians. If their history holds constant, would come back and probably defeat America? Do not toy with Russians, they may be drunk and foolish but when push comes to shove they know what to do and do it well. Russians are semi Asiatic and semi European. They are difficult for a Western scholar to understand. Consider their seeming preference for Oriental dictatorships but at the same time quaffing under such yoke, whereas the oriental is fatalistic and adjusts to his murderous dictatorial leaders. Iraqis are currently yearning for a murderous Saddam Hussein type to rule them.

Political scientists studied various people’s political cultures and showed us how those cultures affect their practice of politics. We know that Germans have a disciplined culture and that that is carried over to their government, that the Russians are chaotic and that that is carried over their government, that the Italians are lackadaisical and that that is carried over their government, that the English are extremely tactful and cunning and while giving you the impression of being friendly towards you are scheming to cut your throat. The Englishman looks gentle and civilized but in fact is the most blood thirsty human being on earth. John Bull looks after Albion’s interests and no other persons interests; that the Americans are playful but have their eyes on the almighty dollar, profit, and will also cut your throat to make a dollar; that the Nipponese (Japanese) are disciplined and will fight to death for their country and that this is carried over to a disciplined government in Tokyo.


Now that you, hopefully, have a general understanding of what political culture is, let us see what it is like in Nigeria. In our introductory lecture, we alluded to how Nigeria came into being and the fact that she is composed of many tribes, aka ethnic groups. Let us pick up from where we stopped. Nigeria is a conglomeration of several tribes, some as different from each other as night is from day.

Given the many ethnic groups in Nigeria, it is impossible to talk about a unified Nigerian political culture.

From what we know about human history, it would probably take at least a thousand years of common experience for the disparate groups in Nigeria to develop a unified perception of phenomena. What we have in Nigeria are particularistic, not universalistic approach to phenomena. This cultural diversity is the bane of Nigeria’s politics.

Were the rulers of Nigeria serious leaders of men, the first order of business they would have undertaken would have been seeking ways to encourage the development of a unified culture. For example, they would have being encouraging Nigerians to marry out side their tribal groups. This would commingle the people’s cultures and bring about some needed uniformity. Other means of generating common culture include forcing all Nigerians to serve in the military and while in the military be stationed in areas other than their tribal areas. Attending the same schools also helps to reduce tribal identification.

Instead of doing what must be done to create a sense of nationhood, the self indulgent leaders of Nigeria increase ethnic identification. And if they continue stressing their tribal roots they would go the way of the Balkans (Yugoslavia) and devolve into their separate ways and become banana republics. If Nigeria breaks up, each of the emergent little countries would become the play thing of big powers like the United States and China. It is in our African self interests to have large geographic republics. Preserving Nigeria is a must, though we need to figure out a way to structure the Federation along realistic lines.

At present, there is no unified Nigeria political culture. What exists are different group’s political cultures. I will spend some time talking about these tribe’s political cultures.

The Hausas are said to be the largest ethnic group in Nigeria. (Please note the tentative nature of that statement; it is because Nigeria’s census figures are not reliable; like everything else in Nigeria, census are rigged, inflating figures for certain tribes, so as to give them the right to rule the Kleptocracy.)

Hausa is really not a tribe. Hausa is a language. The language evolved from the commingling of Arabic and African languages. In essence, Hausa is a Creole language, sort of like Pidgin English. The language is a mixture of several African tribes’ languages and Arabic. It is spoken not only in Nigeria but in other Sahel African countries, such as Niger, Chad, Mali, Upper Volta, Ghana, northern Cameroons, even Senegal and Gambia.

In the context of Nigeria, many of the tribes living in Northern Nigeria, while retaining their indigenous tribal languages, speak Hausa language. Hausa language and Islam is what gives these apparently different peoples a common identity. Apart from their common language and religion, the man from Sokoto is different from the man from Kano or Bornu, Nupe etc.

Hausa people have had almost a thousand years of exposure to Islam and, therefore, share the culture of Islam. They worship Allah, in a certain manner, looking towards Mecca for their religious guidance. (Mohammed was a shrewd politician and had all his followers bow to Mecca while praying; he also had them chant their prayers in Arabic; the idea was to get them beholden to the rulers of Mecca; whoever controls the politics of Mecca controls Muslims around the world; at present, it is the Wahabis and the progeny of King Saud that rule the Holy Land and consequently rule the Islamic world; the Shiites seem not to accept the leadership of the Wahabis who are Sunnis.)

Hausa land developed a political structure that is reminiscent of Feudal France and England. It had a Sultan (king) and emirs (big chiefs, English Dukes) and sheiks (small chiefs, sort of Earls) and other minor functionaries.

In 1804, the Fulanis under Othman Dan Fodio took over the control of the Hausa states. The Fulanis rule that empire to the present. The Sokoto Caliphate, its Caliph, the Sultan of Sokoto, its prince (Saduana) and emirs essentially control Hausa land.

Hausa land has a feudal political structure. What this means in real terms is that the people tend to obey their feudal lords. Like the English man, before the bourgeois revolution that threw out the Aristocracy in England and gave leadership to common folks in England, the Hausa man tends to unquestioningly obey his feudal overlord. Indeed, he is very capable of fighting to death for his lord.

On the whole, Hausas tend to make better soldiers than other Nigerians because they formed the habit of obedience to leaders. One needs to be obedient to be a good soldier. ( Igbos make the worst soldiers in Nigeria, but they do not know it. They lack a sense of loyalty to any king or government. They tend to be too questioning of authority. To be a good soldier, you have to accept a role as a cog in a big wheel and not question authority. If Igbos had developed to Feudal level, perhaps they would have had obedience and loyalty and defeated the Nigerians during the civil war? It is difficult to unite Igbos into a coherent fighting force. They need a draconian leader to whip them into a fighting unit, not the present noise making rabble they seem to be. In Anambra state, practically every Tom Dick and Harry challenges the government and thumbs his nose at organized authority and gets away with it. The result is chaos and anarchy. If the Igbos had social discipline a man like Chris Uba who opposes the legitimate government of a state would be cooling his heels in prison.)

If we adopt Marxist analysis (dialectic materialism), societies evolve from primitive individualism to slave states to feudal states, to bourgeois individualism and finally to enlightened communism. Each of these states, according to Marxists, is advancement over others. Igbos were at what one might call pre feudal state. Every Igbo person looks after his self interests and does not have a concept of subjugating his life to the nation. Igbo land did not have a nation state before the white men came to the scene. As Peter Eke delineated, even the idea of Igboness is a post colonial phenomenon. It was during the colonial era, when the Igbos went to other parts of Nigeria and were treated as if they belonged to a common group that they began to see themselves as a unified group. Moreover, their pride and arrogance tended to cause other groups to hate and even persecute them. On several occasions, they were killed in northern Nigeria. These persecutions added to their sense of being a unified people.

But Igbo unity is only skin deep. To the present, there is deep cleavage in Igbo land. The Onitsha man fancies himself superior to the Owerri man and the Owerri man considers the Onitsha not even an Igbo, as an alien, a Bini man masquerading as an Igbo man. It is only to other Nigerians that there seem a unified Igbo. In actual fact, what we have are Igbo clans: Owerri clan, Onitsha clan, Orlu clan, Okigwe clan, Mbaise clan, Ikwere clan, Ika clan, Wawa clan, Umuoahia clan, Ngwa clan etc.

If Biafra had succeeded in separating from Nigeria, Igbo land, I speculate that it would have become like Somalia where, though, the people speak the same language the various clans fight each other. As far as I know, Owerri people do not like Onitsha leadership and would have declared war on the Onitsha dominated Biafra.

It is being in Nigeria and the impact of other tribes that give Igbos their fragile sense of oneness. If they separated from Nigeria and are a nation, their internal cleavage would tear then asunder. This is one other reason why we must preserve the political unit called Nigeria.

With regards to Igbo political culture, it tends to be undisciplined and, if you like the truth: Igbo individualism seem of the undisciplined variety. It is not the type of individualism found among white Americans. White Americans will fight for America and die for America. Igbos fight for their individual selves, not for the whole.

I know that I am essentially attacking Igbo pride, but as a social scientist, I am obligated to state the truth and only the truth and may God help me. Any one who trusts Igbo to help him trusts the wind; the Igbo will place his interests ahead of yours; in fact he will sell you off to the rulers of Nigeria. The Igbo, despite all his talk about Igbo unity, has no well defined sense of social interests. His culture did not socialize him to sacrifice and if necessary die for the group.

This is not just a personal opinion but the universal observation of those who have paid attention to Igbos. The British rulers of Nigeria admired Hausas for they saw them as politically sophisticated and saw Igbos as lacking even the basic rudiments of social organization. In 1929, for example, the British colonial administration tried to tax Igbos so as to be able to fund local government and Igbo women went on a war path.

Question: how on earth do you expect to fund government unless you tax the people? The Igbos were not used to centralized governments and the need for taxation to fund them. To the present, Igbos expect to get from the government but not to fund it. They do not seem to realize that government is a necessary evil that we must have for our security and therefore must tax ourselves to fund it.

If the oil revenue with which the mushroom governments in Nigeria are funded dries up and the people for the first time are compelled to, in fact, fund their governments with their taxes, one expects the silly governments to break apart and chaos to reign everywhere. Of course, anarchy can be prevented if we develop leaders in Nigerian, men who insist that the people pay taxes and throw any one who does not pay at least 20% of his annual income in taxes into jail.

Government is exercise of coercion not child play. Government is using force to get the people to do what ordinarily they would not want to do. Government is not opportunity to satisfy our narcissistic egos desire for social admiration but an opportunity to use power and authority, military, if necessary, to beat the people into behaving socially appropriately The Hausas understand the proper role of government as necessary evil force whereas Igbos tend to see government as opportunity to get another Ozo title, to be very important persons. No, government is a means of shaping up the people, making them become socially interested rather than behaving in only self interested manner.

Yoruba political culture is akin to Hausa political culture. The Yorubas developed feudal states, although not as sophisticated as that of the Hausas. They did not have a Yoruba wide political structure, as the Hausa-Fulani Caliphate did. What obtained in Yoruba land was a situation where each of the Yoruba clans had its own king, Oba, and ruled itself through its centralized political structure: the Oba, his bureaucracy, army and prime minister, the Balogun. They had fairly well organized clan structures at Lagos, Oyo, Ife, Ogbomosho, Abeokuta, Ilorin (before the Fulani Caliphate absorbed it) and so on.

The Yorubas had clan armies and indeed fought each other. This is not the place to talk about the Yoruba wars. What we need to extrapolate from Yoruba political development is that the Yorubas had a more sophisticated approach to government. They learned to obey their Obas and to fight for him and die for him. This is better than to live only for ones self. More importantly, the Yoruba learned to negotiate among the various clans. The Oba of Ife had to negotiate with the Oba of, say Abeokuta, and the result is development of sophisticated diplomatic skills. Of all the Nigerian groups, the Yorubas are, perhaps, the most tactful and diplomatic. They ought to be given priority in selecting Nigeria’s diplomats.

If one is not sentimental, but dispassionate, one would seldom select Igbos for diplomatic jobs. If Igbos are given such positions, given their tendency to pride and tactless talking, they would probably generate conflict for Nigeria.

(There is an Onitsha Igbo chap in Naija politics, an apparent paranoid personality, who thinks it funny to call people names. Every time he opens his uncivilized mouth strings of abusive words flow from it. Apparently, he thinks that this primitive behavior is being tough. If such an uncultured man is given political power, he would stimulate war in a minute. Yet this brother does not seem to recognize how unsuited he is to governance and talk as if he knows all there is to know about politics; it is the familiar case of an empty vessel making a great deal of noise.)

Yoruba political culture is acceptance of law and order and acceptance of properly elected leaders. The Yoruba respects proper authority and will fight illegitimate authority. The Igbo will support any person in power irrespective of how he got to be in power.

The Edos are pretty much like the Hausa and Yorubas in their political development. They had an Oba of Benin. They had developed a feudal social structure that controlled Edoland for over five hundred years. Therefore, the Edos understand the need for obedience to properly constituted authority.

Nigeria has many tribes and each of them has its own culture and a political variant of that culture. Those who are interested in tribal politics can go to each tribe and study their cultures and political culture. I am not invested in tribal politics. I am only interested in Nigerian politics, and, indeed, in Pan African politics. I am a Pan Africanists. Folks like Marcus Garvey, George Padmore, Malcolm X, Kwame Nkrumah, Steve Biko etc are my heroes. Eventually, all of Africa will unite into an African federation, with each ethnic group forming a state in it, but with every effort made to develop a unified African culture that transcends tribal politics.

Nigeria came into being in 1914. That means that it has been in existence for 91 years. All that 91 years has not been for nothing. The various ethnic groups, willy-nilly, are mingling and developing a Pan Nigerian culture. Whether we know it or not, a unified Nigerian political culture is, in fact, emerging, though still incipient. This is good and one hopes that the process could be accelerated.


The ugly side of the emergent Pan Nigerian political culture is the rise of corruption. Nigeria’s politics is such that each tribe seem to enter into national politics with an eye to getting something for its tribal members (each politician first gets something for himself). Nigeria is a free for all arenas for stealing from the national treasury. To be a politician in Nigeria is synonymous with being a criminal. This is unpalatable but there is no other way of putting it. People seem to go into politics in Nigeria to become rich and to become very important persons.

Apparently, no one has told these folks that one ought to go into politics to serve the public good. A good leader is a person who does not care for his personal interests but dedicates his life to serving the public. He may end up poor. But the public love him for what he does for them. When such a leader dies his people cry, in fact, they become depressed.

On the contrary, when Nigerian leaders die, the people feel good riddance; indeed, they spill into the streets jubilating. When Abacha died, Nigerians literally were overwhelmed with joy.

Compare and contrast that with what happened when Kennedy died. Americans, left and right, democrats and conservatives, became literally depressed. The entire country mourned the young president who looked Krushov in the eye (although he was clearly afraid of the noising making, boisterous Russian bear) and the later blinked (1962 Cuban Nuclear show off).

Kennedy, like his fellow Americans, felt humiliated that Russia had beat America to space by putting Yuri Gagarin into orbit and told his people that before the end of this decade (1960s) that America not only would be in space but on the moon. He mobilized resources, capital and human, to accomplish his goals and objectives. That is real leadership at work: setting goals and working towards them like driven men.

When such leaders die the country mourn their passing. But when the cho-chop criminal-leaders of Nigeria die, the people rejoice.

Olusegun Obasanjo bought a private jet for himself and cruises to every corner of the globe, while his people starve. The average Nigerian makes a dollar a day. The average Nigerian eats, pardon my French, shit, while Obasanjo fancies himself an important leader and stays in $2500 dollars a night hotel rooms. Nigeria has developed a political culture of corruption.

Elsewhere, I tried to explain the origin of the culture of corruption in Nigeria. I looked at several causal factors, such as the creation of Warrant chiefs in Alaigbo; this artificial construct was imposed on a people without a history of governance by chiefs and how the so-called chiefs became corrupt. These so called chiefs were among the most corrupt Nigerians.

The Nigerians of yesteryears who sold their people into slavery were corrupt and evil human beings. One hopes that those ancestors of us who sold our brothers into slavery burn in hell forever and ever (assuming that there is hell, they cannot be forgiven their crimes against humanity).

The roots of corruption in Nigeria is very deep. This lecture is not the place for me to look at this phenomenon in detail. Let us just say that Nigeria has a culture of corruption. Nothings gets done in Nigeria without some one bribing someone. The police are nothing but Toll booth agents collecting tolls for their private use.

Clearly, we have to figure out a way to deal with corruption in Nigeria. How about draconian laws? How about arresting any official who misspent a penny and putting him in jail for, at least, twenty years; and while in jail, make him work to feed himself; society should not feed garbage. How about using these criminals to do some dangerous public works? How about chopping off heads of corrupt public officials? Where did our sentimentality about life come from, after all we are a people that sold our brothers into slavery and can hardly be considered a loving people?

During the French revolution, to wash the past away, the nobility were put to the guillotine. Marie Antoinette and her effete husband watered the grass of France liberty with their blood. That is the way it ought to be in Nigeria. Decapitate the heads of all corrupt officials.


Nigeria has multi political cultures. We have alluded to some of those. We have also alluded to the emergent national political culture, albeit it a negative one, the culture of corruption.

Despite her problems, Nigerians must be held together at all costs. The alternative, the various tribes ruling themselves, would be chaos. Our task is to find a way to make Nigeria work, not to destroy her, for she remains Africa’s best hope.

If things are put together in Nigeria, she will be second to none in the world. The intellect locked up in Nigerians is so great that were Nigerians to be given good political leadership, no country in the world, repeat, no country, would out compete them.

Ozodi Thomas Osuji, PhD

If you are a student, read all 20 lectures, read the attached bibliography and responded to the twenty essay questions at the end of the last lecture, you can grade yourself. Give yourself 5 credit hours for the Course: Introduction to Nigerian Politics.

October 5, 2005

Next Lecture: October 7; Topic: Nigeria’s Political Socialization

Posted by Administrator at 01:32 PM | Comments (0)

Why Nigerian Leaders Need to Learn from the Best

by D. Akinsanya Juliuson --- WHY ARE MANY NIGERIAN OFFICIALS LIGHT YEARS AWAY FROM THE TOP LEVEL LEADERS? People like working for those who are secure in themselves and have nothing to prove – the kind of people who get results through others and give them the credit for it. But please forgive me for being honest by saying such leaders are in the minority. More than half of Nigeria’s government officials, be it governors or ministers fail to demonstrate trust, show respect for their teams or even produce results.

It’s sad that we have or are blessed with a president that’s God sent. A president that makes you feel proud of being Nigerian, but unfortunately some people as usual don’t see this as I do. I’m not criticizing, all I’m doing is telling it as it is. Officials are light years away from the top level leaders. I believe leaders build enduring greatness through a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will. And as for what you do with a surfeit of ego once you’ve reached the top, the answer is simple, great leaders channel their ego needs away from themselves and into the larger goal of building a great government, state, nation and or continent. We have many examples of tried and tested leaders of our time. Overt display of personal success do little to motivate the people who are key to the long term health of any government, institution or organisation. Power and money are of course important, but only insofar as they apply to the state as a whole not the individuals running the affairs of it.


Wearing one’s prestige on ones sleeve is deemed slightly vulgar. Officials need ambition, confidence, energy and drive to fuel their progression to the top. But once they’ve got there, what do they do with their attributes? They can’t burn them off, like rocket fuel, so where do they channel them? And just how big can an ego get before it derails its owner and the institution, organisation, state or department as a whole? What seems abundantly clear is that the characteristics that help someone get to the top don’t necessarily equip them for a team or leadership role. For example, ambition is normally a good thing, but many apparently ambitious people are not so much ambitious as competitive, and competitiveness can drive someone to win at any cost. For example, many foreign ambassadors outside Nigeria, believe that naturally, Lagos should be the commercial capital of Africa. The City of London for example is the financial capital of the world and the square mile (City of London) contributes billions of pounds every year. That has got nothing to do with the Prime Minister or The Queen. Now, Is it the responsibility of this or any other president to make Lagos what the international community think it should be? More local governments, or more foreign and local investors? Does it mean Commercial Diplomacy has a role to play here? Even if it does, does the captain of the ship realise this or does it really matter to him?


We are blessed with a president who believes in possibilities. A president that believes in the potential of Nigerians to out-perform themselves consistently. Like I had said several times before, people don’t want to be managed, they want to be led, they want to be inspired to higher levels of excellence and they surely need a leader who is prepared to develop their potential. People respond to a leader that believes that, it is his job to help individuals especially people like you and I develop this believe within ourselves. A leader that can motivate …..Even though our President do believe that an inspired and motivated workforce is essential for any government or business that wants to outperform the competition. It is of paramount importance that our ambassadors and ministers learn how to be positive agents of change. They need to learn how to share their strategy and vision. They need to learn how to tap the inherent worth of task. They need to understand that when a team member operates in a climate that encourages winning, he or she tends to become a high performer himself or herself. They must learn to be inspirational leaders that breaths life, confidence and “can-do” into the government and unlock discretionary effort. Ambassadors work for a nation, the people and a leader. They do their best for a leader. Nigerian ambassadors must appreciate the fact that, earning this extra effort is their leadership challenge. Leadership is not about the theory of leadership. While government have to get smarter at spotting “power-paths”, individuals themselves need greater self awareness in order to manage their darker impulses, and ensure that what started off as an asset doesn’t become a liability. Sometimes pride, ego and sturborness doesn’t manifest itself until you get to the top, reinforced either by success, insecurity or….well, the rest is for you and I to find out.


When people talk about “reality” they usually precede the word with adjective “harsh”. We tend to assume that a reality is something awkward which must be faced with a frown or swallowed through gritted teeth. Some realities are a little like this, but others are wonderful. In Nigeria, we are hiding now from a reality which is far better and brighter than the fantasy we’ve been clinging to. A cavalcade of chaos now seems to be descending on us. Everything is topsy turvy; upside down, back to front or inside out. The cart is trying to pull the horse. The tail is trying to wag the dog. Some fundamental factor in our country needs to be repositioned or given a different order of priority. As soon as we see what’s wrong and start putting it right, the perplexing chain of inexplicable events will cease and satisfactory way forward will be found. Obstacles to progress are being removed. Difficulties are being dissolved. Everything is in a state of flux and many of the people around us are feeling restless. A process of preparation is taking place right now. Soon it will be followed by a significant change in the life of our nation. We might feel apprehensive, but we have no need to worry or feel afraid. If we truly want to see a permanent improvement in our country, we must honour our greatest need. We must refuse to compromise it. I’m talking here to people who are now being an incorrigible martyrs, poor Nigerians. We are spending far too much time putting other people (and their needs) first and then wondering why we feel so lost or ripped off. If we have friends who are good and true, trust me we have wealth beyond measure. Conversely, we can be rich beyond our wildest dreams. Yet, if our psychological relationships are empty and superficial, we will yet be poverty-striken. We must know one thing in life and that is, money can never have power over a true friendship. But a true friendship can have power over money. In this country of ours today, I believe that, together with love and trust we can triumph over the most adverse economic situation. However, there’s an old saying; Blessed are they who have no expectations, for they shall not be disappointed. This must remind us of all the trouble we can get into when our hopes grow out of sync with reality. Some people, though, turn this advice into a philosophy. They become so nervous about feeling let down that they never look forward to any other thing. We shouldn’t give up on our great desire, but we must at the same time not imagine it will be fulfilled in exactly the way we want it to be. Sometimes, when we reach out to help others, we do it more for our own benefit than theirs. Sometimes, too, when we keep ourselves to ourselves and act in a seemingly selfish way, we’re actually doing the best thing for someone else. If appearance can be deceptive, motives can be doubly so. That said, right now, the grass root level people need our help. You and I are in the position to offer it. If we do, it will turn out well for not them but you and I. No matter what, I am so very sure of one thing and that is a better tomorrow. Nigeria will God willing rise again and become a nation no longer deserted, quote me.


We can get whatever we want. It doesn’t necessarily follow though, that we will want what we get. Our world is full of people running round the clock to reach goals and meet targets. Even those of us with more sensible aspirations, get swept away by the tide. We forget that life is for living, and begin to assume that we have come to this world for one purpose only. To shop (That really depends on what). On the other hand though is a strong suggestion that we will do far better if we reach for what we really want, not what we think we ought to go after. Life is not really easy we all know that, but we must also realize that, that’s why it lasts so long. We can rarely travel in a simple straight line because we have such a convoluted course to follow. We have to wrestle with the difference between dreams and realities, intentions and actualities. With the desire to preserve and the desire to destroy. We have to choose between sanity and madness. But first, we have to decide which is which. Not just on the battleground of our inner-selves but through our interaction with every other person we encounter on this planet. It all takes time. But progress still takes place. We shouldn’t feel frustrated in this country. We should feel proud of what we are slowly but surely achieving with the help of God Almighty and the worthy President of this country. Sometimes, life is like riding a bike on which the chain has slipped. You pedal as hard as you can but the possibilities just won’t come to anything. We don’t even bother trying to put that chain back in place. We just put the bike away and walk. That’s just the way it is. We all have times like this. We get over them. We move on. If we wallow in our disappointment and then assume that every effort we make from now on is similarly destined to finish in failure, we can become permanently embittered. This chance that we have now in this country is real. Let’s trust it and seize it in the name of our country and our generation.


For example, our President finds himself wrestling with difficult decisions and feeling as if he’s being put through some kind of trial. He’s keenly aware of certain other people and their propensity to pronounce judgement. He feels the need, either to justify himself or to prove very dramatically, that he’s doing the right thing. The scenery might change, the situation may differ, but the basic storyline is usually much the same. There he is feeling exposed, challenged and more than a little vulnerable. Ah, but there is the big question; Does the president win or does he lose? He wins, of course......But forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us…’so goes the old prayer. Yet it’s debatable how many of us really are so generous towards others. We don’t need to swing to the other extreme and be constantly beating ourselves up about some mistake we have made. But we all ought to remember that none of is perfect. Let’s not waste our present regretting the past or resenting the present. In life we must understand the fact that, no agreement will last if the signatories don’t respect one another. No relationship will survive if the partners can’t communicate. Anyone can get along with anyone else in this world, as long as they are willing to keep talking about their points in common – and tread delicately around the areas where they differ. We all feel a little better when it seems as if we are in control. We all feel uncomfortable when something or someone seems to be in control of us. Control is a funny thing. Sometimes we do have it, but it’d probably be better if we didn’t. Especially when we are not sure that our plan is the best. If we are sure, there’s nothing wrong in pursuing it and we will surely succeed. If there’s doubt, what harm can it do to let things unfold at their own pace and in their own way? Somewhere in our country, a boundary may have been crossed. A rule may have been transgressed. A sense of mistrust may have developed. As far as I am concerned, the solution is, either we patch it properly now, or its fabric will unravel before our eyes.

People are not always very nice to each other. They make harsh judgements and sharp criticisms. They say one thing in public and another in private. They play tricks and set each other traps. They…well, I needn’t go on. The wise men in our country know what I’m talking about. But do we also know, how wonderful some people can be? And how kind, how unselfish, how giving and, how loving? Once upon a time, we couldn’t walk. We couldn’t read. We couldn’t write. We couldn’t add up, talk and or even tie our shoelaces. Very early in our lives we overcame a series of enormous challenges. We human beings have truly Impressive achievements under our belts.. Now er…what precisely is it that we feel we couldn’t do or couldn’t possibly learn to do? One thing that puzzles me is why Nigerians are not always nice to each other. Even the ones who seem polite and friendly can turn out to be secretly nurturing grudges or harboring resentments. The folk who will not criticize you to your face, but will happily do so behind your back are possibly the worst. There are though, a few genuinely nice, kind, honest and nonjudgemental people in this world. The Vice President of Nigeria is lucky enough to know some, he needs to seek their company and he needs to remember that his friends are not necessarily the people who agree with him most. Always remember “Don’t be afraid of the opponents or enemies that attack you, but be extremely careful of friends who flatter you”…. With cheap praise.


Public Diplomacy Practitioner, Specialist Investigator and Honorary Representative

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

October 05, 2005

Science of Thinking, Page 2

Continued from "Science of Thinking," by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. (Seatle, Washington) --- The human self concept says that one is separated from other people, and is self created. It is the individual, you, me, who invented your/my self concept. George Kelly tells us that personality, aka self concept, is a self construct. The human child, building on his biosocial experiences and the experiences of all human beings around him is responsible for inventing his self concept.


As far as I can see, it is me who constructed my self concept. Of course, I built on my inherited biological constitution and my social experience. I made my separated self. So did you. Each of us made his empirical self.

Schucman argues that the empirical self we made for ourselves were made as replacement selves; that we use them to substitute for our real selves. To her, our real self is unified spirit, which she gave a Christian name, Christ, and the Son of God. The son of God is holy, that is, unified with his father and all his brothers. But that unified son of God, that holy self, was replaced with an unholy self, a separated self, the ego self concept. To live on earth is to have an unholy self, a separated ego self. (Whole self, is contracted to holy self; separated self is unholy self.)

The ego is the earthly self, a dream self, a dream figure housed in body. To Schuman, the ego and its body do not exist. As she sees it, space, time and matter are non-existent, and are, at best, dream existent; they exist in dreams, but do not exist in spirit.

Schucman rearticulated the truth found in Hinduism and Buddhism. Her book contains the perennial wisdom of mankind. She christologised Hinduism. She stated the truth and nothing but the truth and God helped her. (I reached the same conclusions as Schucman did before I head about her book and its thesis. I eventually read her book and essentially agree with its thesis.)

The only problem with Schuman’s book is that it is written in Christian language and some of us choose not to do anything with formal religion. Religion tends to compound fear by teaching folks to fear God. Misguided religion teaches its adherents to worship an imaginary, all powerful God. That made up God (it is human beings who invent whatever idea they have of God; God is our individual and social constructs) is used to restrict freedom of thinking.

Religionists try to restrict their thinking to the parameters approved by their religion. Already those who call themselves students of A Course in Miracles try to limit their views to what Schuman said. Indeed, they have already evolved a pope, a chap who scarcely has understood what his mentor wrote but who now has taken it upon himself to approve what folk’s say. This man set himself up to decide whether folk’s interpretation of the Course is in line with what the book teaches or not. This is sad, very sad, indeed.

Religion tends to lead to conformity hence stifle the generation of new ideas and lead to social stasis. Therefore, the individual is best served to be outside the confines of organized religion and think his way to his real self. Thereafter, he should gather with like minded persons to share ideas about their true self. We do that at Science of Thinking Institutes around the world. (We call it institute because it is a school where we learn and teach about the real self and how to think correctly, not a place to propagate useless dogmas.)

The salient point in Schucman’s theological thinking is that she recognized what Buddha before her did, that this world came into being and is sustained by desire and wishes.

We wish to be on earth. We wish to live in separated forms. Matter, space and time enable us to seem to live as separated selves. I am over here, probably thousands of miles apart from you. That distance separating us is space. It takes time for either of us to get to one another. We do not seem joined. We seem to have separated selves. We see ourselves in bodies and bodies give us a sense of boundaries. I am in my body and you are in your body, so we seem separated from each other.

Schucman correctly sees our world as an illusion; she teaches that in reality we are connected to one another, that there is no space and gap between us; that there is no space, time and matter and that to the extent that we see space, time and matter that we are in the world of Illusion. Indeed, seeing, perception, itself is part of the illusion of this world. In unified state, there is no other person to see, there is no seeing in heaven. Heaven is characterized by knowing.

The lady theologian, the best that America has produced, is correct. We are joined. This is a fact, not conjecture. I know so from direct experience, not speculation. However, I am not here to tell you about my experience of union. I am here to help you experience union, so that you would know about it without merely speculating about it. To help you appreciate this truth, consider that at night we dream and see the entire world we see during the day. In our nightly dreams, we see space, time and matter. As long as we are in that world of dreams, it seems external to us. Then we wake up in the morning and that world is nowhere to be seen. We recognize that the dream world was made up by our thinking.

We think in images. Our thinking imaged the world we saw in our dreams and that world is not real.

In our dreams at night, we see mountains and those obstruct our movement pretty much as the mountains we see in our day world obstruct our movements. But when we wake up in the morning we recognize that the mountains that were obstacles to us in our dreams were not there, in fact. The question, then, is whether our day mountains are, in fact, real obstacles? Of course, if they are believed as real, as we believe our dream mountains as real, they act as actual obstacles. But suppose one knows that our day living is also a dream, would the mountains in ones life still obstruct ones activities? Jesus did not see the mountains we see on earth as such. Thus, he could walk through closed doors, for he did not see obstacles. He walked on water because he believed that there was no water where we see water. The man said that with faith we can move mountains, meaning that if we believe in spirit and deny the reality of this world that we can get through where we had hitherto seem mountains and obstacles.

Our day world, Schucman tells us, is also a dream world, this time, a collective dream world. We all share the dream we call our day life. Because it is a shared dream, it seems permanent.

When a dream is shared, it seems to last long. Thus, each of us lives in the world for a hundred years or so, and those one hundred years seems continuous. The world seems to last billions of years because it is shared by human beings, animals, trees and stars, everything.

When each of us dies, he exits the world’s dream. The world no longer exists for him. (Consider the old philosophical saw: if a tree falls and there is no human being around to observe it fall, did a tree fall? Was sound made? George Berkeley, in his Dialogues, suggests that the world may be in our thinking. This is solipsism. Quantum Mechanics- physicists like Schrodinger, Heisenberg, and Pauli suggest that the observer affects what he observes, that the external world may not be independent of our thinking.)


In as much as the wish that led to this world’s seeming existence, the wish for separated self is still there, Schuman says that the individual will be reborn on earth. This is akin to Oriental concept of reincarnation, except that one is merely having different dreams, none of which is real; one is not born in body or die; one merely has dreams in which one seems born in body, in a place called earth and dies and comes back to it.

As Schucman sees it, people come to the world, over and over again, until they recognize that the world is not real, is a dream, and is a response to their wish for separated self. When they give up the desire to have separated self, they return to the awareness of unified self and no longer return to the world of apparent separation. (Buddha called this phenomenon the breaking of the wheel of rebirth. The illuminated person is no longer reborn on earth.)

Schucman and her mentor, Jesus, teach a path to remembering the unified self. Their part is the path of love and forgiveness. They teach that in eternity that we are unified. Union is love. Love is that which glues everything together. God is love. God is unified with all things. The Son of God, in his true essence, is love, for he is joined to all his brothers, to all creation and to creation’s creator, God.

Our world is a place of separation. To separate from union is to attack and seem to split it into fragments. As Schuman sees it, we seem to have attacked, split union into infinite fragments and each of us identifies with a fragment and see other fragments as apart from us. To separate from others is to attack, hence to hate them.

To hate other people is to hate ones self since, in truth, all people are unified with one. To live on earth is to hate ones real self. Out of mutual self hatred we attack and do evil things to one another.

Jesus and Schucman attempts to reverse the nature of the world; they teach love and forgiveness. To forgive is to overlook the empirical world and what is done in it; to see it as dream and ignore the dream. Jesus was killed and overlooked those who killed him and remembered that he is unified with them.

Schucman asks you to overlook those who seem to do evil things to you, for they do it in your dream. If you are a black person and whites discriminate against you, if you are a woman and men rape you etc, Schucman asks you to forgive those people. Why? It is because they have not, in fact, done what you see them do to you. They seem to have done those things in our mutual dream of self attack. They are still as God created them: innocent, holy, sinless and guiltless. So are you despite what you seem to have done on earth, in the dream.

As Schucman sees it, it is when you overlook other people’s apparent evil that you can overlook your own apparent evil; when you forgive other people, you forgive yourself. But as long as you bear grievances against other people’s attacks on you, you must think that what you yourself did in the world is real, that you have committed crimes, and is a sinner.

Believing you a sinner and guilty, you want to be punished, for guilt calls for punishment. You and those who believe in guilt, all people, want to be punished. To separate from God, as we all did, to be on earth, makes us feel like we did something wrong hence feel like we are sinners. To be human is to feel guilty and to expect punishment from the person one sinned against, the person one separated from, God and other people. We all expect God and other people to punish us.

(Christians call the act of separation from God Original Sin, and believe that we are born in sin and live in sin and are punished for our sin. They symbolize this separation in the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Eating the forbidden fruit is metaphor for disobeying God, separating from God, and because of that separation and sin we are punished with suffering and death. The wages of sin, Judaism, the antecedent of Christianity, teaches is death.)

We, as separated egos, invent a God that has nothing better to do with his time than to place us in his hell and satisfy his sadistic nature by watching us burn forever and ever.

But when we forgive others their evils, we forgive our own evils. In doing so, we overcome the world of dreams and awaken in the world of unified spirit, our real home.

Schucman restated the eternal truth in her Christological language. One cannot really add anything better to what she said. The only problem with her methodological approach to awakening to our real self is that it is religious and one is not a religious person. I am a scientist and express the perennial wisdom of mankind in scientific language.

If you like religion, then read Schucman or Hinduism or Buddhism. We are all saying the same things. But if religion makes you angry, as it made me, and then consider my secular representation of what is found in the world’s religions.

Religion is any attempt to reconnect people to their source, to help them remember their true nature. I want to accomplish religious goals through rational thinking.

As I see it, everything is a result of our thinking. I like the word thinking. I do not like the world mind. Mind tends to be deified and reified as if it is a person and worshiped. We say my mind as if mind exists apart from us. Mind is abstraction for the act of thinking.

There is thinking in the universe. The universe is a thinking universe. All things think, in different forms, of course.

We are part of a thinking universe. Everything thinks along with us. As Schucman recognized, we think in images. We see a world that represents our thinking. First, we think and our thinking is simultaneously shown in images. This is a fact, not conjecture. The external world we see is the simultaneous representation of our collective thinking.

When we die, that is, stop thinking in terms of this world, separated thinking, the external world is no longer there for us to see. Of course, we do not die. We merely exit this world and go to other modes of thinking.

Different modes of thinking show us their own different worlds. What folks report seeing in near death experiences is a world produced by that mode of thinking. As long as you choose to believe it as real, it seems real, and, in fact, is as real as our present world. But like our present world, the near death world, what Orientals call the astral world, is a fantasy and a dream and does not last forever.

What, in fact, exists forever is the world of union, the world of God, what Christians call heaven, Hindus call Brahmaloka and Igbos call Elegwe. That world is a world of connected light, a world where everything is joined to everything else, a world where there is no space and gap between people, a world where there are no you and I, no seer and seen, no subject and object, a unified world. That is the real world. It exists and is our real home. We are foreigners in our present world of separation. (Don’t you feel like an alien here? I do.)

Unified state is the only world that is real. All you have to do to find out whether this is true or false is deny our present world, and deny the separated self you have invented for you, and with which you replace the unified self that is your real self.

The condition for experiencing heaven is that you give up the world of perception. If you consider that price too much to pay, well, you are not yet ready to return to your real home and real self. Keep on dreaming. Dreaming is allowed. God does not stop you from dreaming. Indeed, he is in the dream with you and is guiding you.

By all means stay in the journey without a distance, a journey to nowhere. (Everywhere is already in God and you, as part of God, is already in God and can, therefore, go nowhere that you are not already in; there is no place apart from you, so there is no distance to go to.) Like the prodigal son, you are on a journey to see if you can be independent from your father; at first, you seem to succeed, but eventually you learn that you cannot and return to your father and home, unified state. When you return home, heaven will throw a party for you and rejoice, for God’s seeming dead son is resurrected from death, the lost sheep is found. Dream on, my friend, for dreams are permitted. You have the freedom to dream, no one, not even God can prevent you from dreaming. What you are not allowed to do is permanently change your nature; you can dream of separation but you cannot make yourself permanently separated from God. You are always as God created you, unified with him and all creation. All you can do is dream that you are separated from God and your real self, that dream does not alter the reality of our unified spirit self. (Ndi muoso na edu anyi nu uwa.)

It is very difficult to negate this empirical world, to give up ones self concept and self image. As noted, one feels terrorized and, in fact, constructs psychotic and or neurotic self concepts and self images and identifies with those rather than face selflessness. The death of the self, as we know it, is very terrifying.

Western psychology, as superficial as ever, defines psychosis as this or that. But psychosis is really an invention of a more deluded false self and false world when the individual recognizes that his earthly self and world are false.

Insanity is efforts to make our world seem real when it is recognized as not real. To do so, the insane person must vaguely recognize that our world is not real. Thus, insane persons are closer to heaven, to God, more than we tend to realize. Of course, they are not in God, heaven; they are afraid to meet the condition of heaven, God, their real selves: give up their earthly selves.

Neurosis, which I can speak from direct experience, is a product of being closer to God, to the real self and to heaven. The neurotic is aware that our world is unreal. He is aware that his body and ego self is unreal. Because of this vague awareness, he hates and rejects his body and ego. He then uses his thinking to construct an ideal body and ideal ego self for himself and for other people. He aspires after becoming his ideal body and ego and world. His life is motivated by an obsessive compulsive effort to seem his ideal perfect selves.

By age six, I was aware that I hated my body and self. I used my thinking to image a better body and self. At age twelve, a man from my area came back from America and had PhD. My father treated him like he was God. I resolved that he must be very important and wanted to be as important as him, to be respected as my father respect him. Subsequently, I did not relax until I had PhD. Then I realized that that degree did not change me. I still felt as worthless as ever. Still desiring social worth, I sought a high position in society. I worked hard for it. A few years after leaving college, I was the executive director of a mental health agency. Still, I felt as worthless as ever. I then dropped out of the rat race to seek alternatives to social worth. In my late thirties, I immersed myself in the study of Hinduism, Buddhism, new age religions and traditional Christian religions.

Neurosis is a product of the individual’s awareness of his existential worthlessness and valuelessness. This is a correct self assessment. The problem is what one does with that fact.

The neurotic attempts to construct a better self and a better world. He does not succeed.

The psychotic seems to succeed and live in his imaginary ideal world. The neurotic knows that he is still living in his imperfect world and is unhappy with that world and is unhappy with himself. He is Henry Thoreau’s man who lives a life of quiet desperation.

Western psychology talks shop about neurosis but do not cure it. I have practiced most of the psychotherapies that purport to heal neurosis: Freudian, Adlerian, Jungian; Fromm, Horney; Ellis rational emotive therapy, Beck’s cognitive behavior therapy, Skinner’s behavior therapy, neuroscience’s medications, and so on and so on. None of these works. They merely address the symptom not the disease itself.

What heals neurosis, as well as other mental disorders, is change of thinking. One must change ones pattern of thinking.

Living is thinking. The universe is a thinking universe. The neurotic must give up desiring to be perfect and ideal on this world’s terms. He must eventually give up his self altogether and accept a different self, a different world, one that is not a product of his separated thinking, but is a product of his unified thinking.


Like this present world, our mutual thinking is responsible for producing what people call heaven. Please note this fact.

Our collective separated thinking produced our present world; our collective unified thinking produced heaven.

To heal your neurosis, psychosis and normalcy is to stop thinking in a separated manner, individualized in neurosis and collectivized in normalcy, but to think in a unified manner.

Go into meditation, stop ego based thinking, tune out this world, exit it and return to the world of union.

Our real thinking, unified thinking, produced heaven…but because that world is unified and knows so, it is permanent, changeless, eternal and immortal…this does not mean that it is static; thinking still goes on in heaven and that thinking adds to heaven; heaven is forever expanding, for our thinking is creating new things that are added to heaven hence expand it. Heaven is perfect peace and happiness. These are facts, not conjectures.


Each psychotherapeutic method is first meant for the person who propounded it, and eventually for those like him. The therapist is a sick person. His sickness is his separation from his real self. If his therapy is any use, it must first heal him. Having healed him, he knows from experience that it is useful and then extends his therapeutic approach to other people.

Alfred Adler was a neurotic. He felt inferior and compensated with superior feeling. His individual psychology helped him reduce but not eliminate his inordinate sense of inferiority. Karen Horney felt worthless and aspired after becoming an ideal woman. She studied medicine, at a time few women were admitted to medical school. But despite becoming a supposedly prestigious medical doctor, she still felt worthless. Her psychoanalysis somewhat helped her reduce her intolerable sense of worthlessness. Unfortunately, she died before she fully understood the Zen Buddhism she was beginning to explore. If she had succeeded, she would have healed her neurosis. Sigmund Freud was a neurotic. His psychoanalysis, apparently, did not heal his neurotic anxiety, for he died a very anxious person suffering from all sorts of phobias. Since his therapy could not heal him, it could not heal pother people.

Skinner and behaviorists were empty vessels making a great deal of noise. True, we do learn a great deal of things. Our whole educational system is based on learning. Nevertheless, it is infantile reductionism to claim that all we are is learned and that you could modify people through classical and operant conditioning. You can practice positive and negative reinforcements all you want; you can not change neurosis until you change the neurotic’s pattern of thinking.

I have scrutinized extant Western psychotherapies, psychological and pharmacological, only cognitive behavior therapies seem useful. Aaron Back’s Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Albert Ellis Rational Emotive Therapy seem useful. Both enable folks to understand their thinking patterns, and where there are bad thinking patterns, help them correct them. Ellis wants to reorient people’s thinking to a more positive and adaptive pattern.

For example, the neurotic bedevils his life with lots of “should not’s” and Ellis helps him to understand that morality is a social construct and that there is nothing wrong with many behaviors per se. If a behavior does not harm other people, Ellis urges you to engage in it. Do not say that you should not engrave in it just because someone said that you should not. Consider sex. There is nothing wrong with it. If two adults consent to have sex, that is their business. What other people think is not relevant. (However, it is always wrong to have sex with children, for they cannot legitimately give their consent. On a personal level, it is wrong to engage in homosexual activity. Homosexuality is a defiant behavior, defiance of natural sexuality; it is based on power struggle, an effort to seem powerful by defying the obvious. However, I am not motivated to crusade against homosexuality; I am just stating what seems self-evident to me. I know that if you oppose homosexuals they will be defiant and doubly engage in their absurd behavior, so one will simply keep quiet over this insane behavior.)

Each psychotherapy is meant for the person who fashioned it and to the extent that it is good must first heal him. Helen Schucman noted that the atonement is first for the atonement worker. It is for the healer to first heal himself before he can pretend ability to heal other people.

What we mostly have in the world are unhealed healers. We see neurotics who have not healed their own neurosis pretend to be therapists and or ministers of God. To be separated from God and his creation is to be sick. To unify with God and his creation is to be healed.

If you are joined with God and all creation, you are healed and can heal those who feel separated from God and people. But until you unify with God and all creation you are an unhealed person and has no business trying to heal any one; you cannot heal any one, any way. All the unhealed therapists and ministers making noises about their ability to heal people are frauds.

Unfortunately, Schucman did not adhere to her own advice and did not heal herself with her spiritual psychotherapy. Clearly, she did not let go of her ego. She continued to live from her ego and, as such, experienced fear. She died an anxious and depressed neurotic woman. Yet, if she had attempted to practice her theology she could have become what she called one of the saviors of the world (what Orientals call an avatar, Buddha vista). It is a pity that she chose to retain her over blown ego and instead of identify with her unified self. In unified self she would have found the peace and joy that eluded her all her life on earth.

I am not really interested in criticizing other persons. I am interested in me and what helps me heal my own neurosis. Science of thinking is first meant for me. If it heals my neurosis, then it can heal other persons’ neurosis.

The question is whether my methodological approach to human beings has healed my anxiety? Am I still a fearful person or have I found freedom from fear?

I have found freedom from fear. Of course, I still have some residual fear. I still live in the ego, I still wish to be a separated self hence am on earth, in the dream of separation. As such, I still feel some fear. Fear is, after all, a means of protecting the separated self.

My approach has healed me and I recommend it to other people. I give to other people what I found useful to me. I give to other people what I have first given to me.

I found Western psychology and psychotherapy useful in a limited sense. I studied Oriental spiritual psychotherapies and found them more useful. I am not an Oriental person. I am me.

What works for other people may not work for me. I am not looking to be any ones disciple for the sake of being a disciple but to seeing what works for me. I am not interested in religious mumbo jumbo. I am interested in what works and helps me overcome my ego and anxiety.

I am not seeking escape from this world and do not want to live in a cave as an enlightened person. I want to be in the world of space, time and matter, but do so with appropriate thinking, thinking that give me and those around me peace and happiness.

Beginning in childhood, at least by age six, I found me and the empirical world imperfect. I found other people and social institutions not good enough. I rejected these so-called realities. I then invented ideal forms of them. I tried to make my ideals replace these so-called realities.

The mental cannot replace the physical. Much as I wished to have a healthy body, my actual body remained weak…a cup of coffee, for example, spoils my whole day, that is how sensitive my body is.

I leant that my fantasy self and fantasy world are not going to come into being. I gave them up.

On the other hand, I still do not like the so-called normal world. I am a very moral person. I do not have conscious awareness of stealing since I became an adult. On the other hand, I see normal persons stealing. The so-called normal person I see out there seems amoral; he seems more like an animal, really. I see normal racists who discriminate against other people. Simply stated, I loathe normal persons and do not want to be like them.

So what to do? I looked into spirituality and through rigorous experimentation found out that there is a different way of thinking that produces peace and happiness.

I came to understand that it was me who tried to make the world I see around me ideal, but that the world itself is not this or that, but is neutral. It was me who made other people seem Ideal.

Let me illustrate this phenomenon. Self hating and self rejecting black persons often think that to be ideal is to be white like. Such neurotic black persons make white persons seem ideal like. Having idealized whites, such blacks want to be like them. Some such neurotic Black men, for example, think that white women are ideal and or are better than black women. It is them that give white women prestige hence desire them.

Since it is one who made what is desired seem desirable, one can also make it not desirable. One can deconstruct ones earlier construction of certain women as ideal persons hence not desire them. The individual gives other things worth and desire them. He can choose to see things as worthless and not desire them. For example, a man may choose to see women as not desirable and not desire them. He withdraws the value he had hitherto given to women. This is what Arthur Schopenhauer did, not see women as even worth a second of his time and women see him as a misogynist, a hater of women.

Feminist women who imagine that all men live to do is desire to have sex with them actually do not realize that sex is a function of desire and that men can choose not to desire women and the very presence of women becomes oppressive to such men.

This is what mystics do. A human being can choose to change his thinking and change his behaviors. He can choose to not have negative, or for that matter positive judgment. He can choose not to experience shame and guilt. (I used to feel shame over sex until a woman told me that she has absolutely no shame over sex. To her, sex is a natural thing, an itch that she satisfies when she wants to; to her, sex is neither good nor bad, but just is; she does not attach morality to her sexuality. She is a realistic woman.)

We must learn to correct our thinking. Science of Mind attempted to accomplish this end but did it from a religious perspective. New thought religions like Unity Church and A Course in miracles try to correct human thinking from a metaphysical perspective. Cognitive behavior therapy attempts to correct people’s thinking from the perspective of reason. I build on these antecedents to produce a science and technology of correct thinking patterns.


Experience has taught me that all that man is, despite his body, is thinking machine. We are always, thinking, conscious of it or not. Even what we call emotions are really products of thinking, thinking that we are not conscious of. Consider the emotions of fear and sex; they would seem outside the realm of thinking, but upon further scrutiny are really produced by thinking. In fear the individual has perceived a threat to his physical and or psychological survival. He has made an evaluation that his life is threatened. He then tells his body to pour out the neuro-chemicals that stimulate his body into behaving in the rapid manner it does in fear, with the goal of making him do what he has to do to survive. Thus, he runs faster or fights more efficiently. The goal is his survival and he survives. This whole response is based on thinking and not feeling. Sex would seem like a purely physical response, but upon closer examination is a result of thinking. It is thinking that desires a particular sex object. A man sees a woman, likes her and thinks of her in a sexual manner. His thinking arouses his body. It is his thinking that aroused his body. If he did not desire sex, he would not have his body aroused. Body responds to thinking.

All of human existence is thinking. Therefore, we must pay attention to our thinking. Where our thinking is disordered, we have mental disorder. (I prefer the term thinking disorder, not chemical imbalance or brain disorder, as neuroscientists, who reduce us to animals, would like us to accept.)

Mental health is thinking health, or ordered thinking. Mental disorder is disordered thinking. Bad thinking leads the body to respond in a certain manner. We then make the mistake of focusing only on what is going on in the body and think that body determined thinking.

Where there is thinking disorder we have to correct it. Corrected thinking patterns are what mental health are all about? In corrected thinking one sees ones self as one with all people and accepts that all people are joined and unified. Corrected thinking means loving every person around one.

When a person loves and forgives all people, he tends to feel lighter. Life becomes a thing of joy. One laughs a lot and is almost always humorous, finding the absurd activities we engage in playful, and not take them too seriously. Laugh, life is not that serious.(My mother used to tell me to laugh. She would sneak behind me and say, Laugh, Tom, laugh, life is not all that bad. I was tense and serious, always wondering what life is all about. She is correct.)

This world is a dream; we ought to make it a happy dream. The world is a drama of our mutual construction; we ought to kick back, have fun seeing the play we wrote enacted before our eyes. What is a play but something meant to entertain?


At night we sleep and dream and the world we see is produced by our thinking. This is obvious enough. What is not always obvious is that our day world is also produced by our thinking.

Unlike night dreams, which are produced by single individuals, our day world is produced by all of us, including all animals, trees, and everything in being. The world is our collective dream. The world represents our collective thinking.

We think and project our thoughts out and see them as the world. The world is the out picturing of our collective thinking.

We deny that we did the thinking that produced the empirical world. Indeed, we see the external events in the world as things happening to us against our will. In reality, the things happening to us are things that we did to our selves, for our thinking produce them.

If another person attacks you, your thinking produced the person attacking you; simultaneously, the person attacking you produced you to be attacked by him; it is a mutual dream, after all.

The issue here is denial. We deny ownership of the events in our world and see ourselves as victims unto whom good and bad things happen to, when, in fact, those things are produced by our thoughts.

In extending, on the other hand, we take ownership for the world we produce. In heaven, we are thinking. Our thinking, this time called creative thinking or extending thinking, produces what we experience. Heaven is not the boring place we tend to think that it is. It is an exciting place. Our minds, unified and working in tandem, as they work in the temporal world, produce the events in heaven.

Unlike on earth where we deny responsibility for what we produced, in heaven, we accept that we produced what we experience.

Heaven is not static. Heaven is always expanding. (Expanding to where, you ask? Our thoughts create where the universe expands to.)

Heaven’s thoughts are unified and, therefore, produce additions to what already exist. Heaven is permanent, changeless and eternal, we merely add to the permanent and what is added becomes part of the permanent universe.

Even our miscorrelations on earth have some good aspects to them. Whatever we invent in this world with love is purified and saved and added to heaven. For example, the good music produced by Bach, Beethoven, Mozart etc are saved and are heard in heaven. Whatever you value in this world, if it is loving, you will experience in heaven.


My father is like me. My grand father is like me. I did not see my great grandfather, but I hear that he was like me. We all lived pained existence. We all rejected our problematic bodies and our world and used our thinking to imagine better bodies, selves and world and pursued them.

My grandfather and father were neurotic. They wanted to become ideal. At all times, they had an ideal self image in their minds and used the standards of that ideal self to judge their real self, to judge their wives and to judge their children.

We, the children, are imperfect and, therefore, could not live up to father’s expectations. He was frustrated with us because we were not angels.

White racists like to say that all black persons are criminals. My father would literal die rather than take a penny that does not belong to him. He would have experienced heart attack if any of his children stole something. He wanted us to be morally perfect.

Of course, we were not morally perfect. At age eight, I remember stealing a few pennies from my grandfather’s room and spending it on candies. However, I felt so ashamed of myself that the very next day I went to confession (we are Catholics) and confessed my sin and was given penance…pick up trash from the Church yard, and return the said amount of money from my allowances. I do not remember engaging in another stealing episode during my childhood.

The point is that my family is motivated to become ideal, perfect persons. In pursuing our ideal self images, we felt uncomfortable with our real selves. We could not live with our imperfect human nature. We lived in fear for if you desire to be perfect, you must experience fear of not being perfect.

Father is a very handsome man. But he felt like he was ugly. I am not too bad looking, either. But I have always seen myself as not good enough. Why? Because I have always posited an ideal self concept and ideal self image and used them to judge my actual self and found it not good enough. Simply stated, we pursue idealism and could not tolerate the real world.

I promised my father that I would study and understand why we lived in fear. I could not relax until I have found the answer. In searching for the answer to our problem, I studied philosophy, psychology, Oriental religions and new age religions. I learnt a lot from all these. But, ultimately, I found the answer by thinking about what works for me, not other people.

I have fulfilled my promise to my father and ancestors. I have found out why we are unhappy. Our self rejection began in heaven. In heaven, all human beings reject the unified self and seek separated self. In heaven, the children of God opposes the will of their father. Their father wills that all things be unified. To be unified, all things must be the same, equal and be in spirit. We sought special-ness, inequality and differences. To seem to gratify our desires, we seem to separate from unified state.

By opposing the will of heaven, everything we made opposes us. Everything in our world opposes every thing else.

We rejected union and on earth must reject every thing we made. Thus, despite seeming handsome we reject our bodies. Despite having good egos, we reject our egos. We seek ideal bodies and ideal egos. In doing so, we live in fear.

My mother is more self accepting than my father. She is, as the world sees these things, a normal woman. Nevertheless, like all human beings, she has her fears and anxieties from desire of separation and rejection of our unified self. On the whole, mother adapted to the world better than father.

Mother was aware of the futility of this world and dealt with it by taking refuge in ceaseless work. She escaped into work and worked fourteen hours a day. She could not stand a moment of idealness. If she had free time, she cooked or cleaned up, but could not be idle. Was she to have idle time, she would be forced to think and in doing so appreciate our human existential nothingness hence feel depressed and unhappy? Work was her way of coping with our meaningless and purposeless world.


This world is not our real home. We are aliens in this world. Our real home is unified spirit.

No one can ever feel at home in a slaughterhouse, this world. We are all yearning for our lost home. We are all depressed by the loss of our loving, unified home.

I love somber music, such as by Bach etc. I found solace in funeral music (This seemed macabre to those around me.) But I know why I found joy in sorrow.

This world was not my home. I feel like an orphan in this world. I am lost in this world. Somber music is symbolic of how I feel in this world.

Celestine Ukwu and Rex Lawson’s sorrowful music appealed to me for they were singing about the human condition, our sense of loss being in an unloving world. (Both men died untimely deaths and returned to their real homes, the homes they missed so much and sang about in their sorrowful songs. My fellow thinkers, I hope that you have found the peace and joy that eluded you in this world.)

I contracted a job to do and have done it. Ancestors, grandfather, Father, I have now understood why you were unhappy in our world.

My goal is to prevent other members of the family from living the tortured existence you did and to help make people happy.

Father I love you and you know it. I know that you love me, too. You are the most loving person in the world and I know it. Despite your criticisms, based on your expectation for us to be perfect, and fear that we would not be perfect, I knew that you love us. You sacrificed your life for us, working fourteen hour days, six days a week, to provide for us. Thank you, my dear fellow man. We love you. Rest well in your heavenly peace, you deserve that peace and joy.

I have done what I contracted to do and when I have spread that message to the world, shown the world how to live in peace and happiness, I will gladly lay down my worthless body and ego and join you in the peace and joy of our father, Chukwu.

Father and mother I love you two. Please forgive me for not being there when you died. I had to do what I had to do, learn about the nature and cause of human suffering and find antidote to it. Until I found the answer, I could not do anything else. My drama is part of the hero’s journey. Until the hero obtains what he is looking for, he can experience no peace and joy. But having found it, his duty is to teach it to the world, as I am now doing. And when his part in awakening God’s sleeping children is done, he leaves the abode of dreams and returns to live among the awake.


When we look at ourselves what we see is body. It would seem that our body determines our thinking. Indeed, neuroscience suggests that thinking is epiphenomenal, that thinking is produced by the configurations of particles, atoms and elements in our brains. That is not true. Thinking is apart from body.

Body is obviously there, we can see it. It is like a car with which we drive from place to place in the world of space, time and matter. But there is a driver. The driver determines what the car does. Nevertheless, the health, or lack of it, of a car affects how it performs. If the car is not well maintained, it would not run well. Therefore, we have to take good care of our cars.

By the same token, we have to take good care of our bodies. Good food and medications are necessary for taking good care of our bodies. We have to study the nature of our bodies. Every human being ought to study the physical sciences, at