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« Potomac Mansions: Finance Minister Explodes | Main | Gen. Yakubu Gowon in Conversation with Pini Jason, Part I »

October 17, 2005

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 October 17, 2005 05:14 AM


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