Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of the Muslim Ummah of South West Nigeria (MUSWEN), Prof. Dawud Noibi, on Friday, appealed to Muslims across Yorubaland, to get registered in the ongoing continuous voter’s registration exercise by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) before it ends on August 17. Speaking during a press…
Now, let us illustrate this Arab scientific-cultural failure. Take the following: America, in what historians may latter call her Silicon Valley Golden Years, auctioned out the greatest wealth creator and creating machines in history. All that was asked for were your brains and the freedom to imagine things. You didn’t even need to visit America to win a sweepstake. To illustrate this, an Israeli, Shvat Shaked stayed put in Israel and cashed out on America. And this was in the hundreds of millions of dollars. That is, literally all the world gathered in America, real time or online, cashing out in billions.
Boy, all the world had entry visa, but … But the demographics of what happened is instructive. Well, this is more so to myself and my household as black people. What happened was this. In all the Silicon Valley bazaars, still ongoing, all kinds of cultural and ethnic groups, Chinese, Vietnamese, Koreans, Israelis, Jews, fools, Iranians, Russians, etc, all came to and or about America penniless. And they left or stayed back as billionaires. Only blacks and Arabs missed out on this free-for-all wealth gifting bazaar in history. Missed out?
Yes. I don’t know of any Arab and or black billionaire who cashed in and cashed out a billionaire on the bazaar. The greatest blacks I know of made a penny or two in some sales and marketing, non-technical, non-mathematical shops. The rest of the money – the real bazaar – was in the technical aspects – the software creators, the code writers. And all that was needed was pen, paper and top brains. Yet, the Arabs and the blacks failed out on this. I stand to be corrected.
But let nobody tell me of Steve Jobs. The matter is not of genes. We speak of man as a cultural being not an ethnic robot. We are not equipped to comment on genetics. We are not saying that blacks or Arabs are genetically inferior. They may or may not be. It is just that we are not competent to so comment. But the demographics we speak of is almost self-evident.
In our estimation, it is this failure of Arab participation in science and mathematics, as emblematized in their absence in Silicon Valley, that did the Arabs in. The catch is that the present world we are in comes with no new spatial/population frontiers. The frontiers are the frontiers of the mind. And the mind is best manned and given direction by mathematics, the mathematical sciences. Not poetry, not religion. And the last two are all the Arabs have. Just like blacks, the Arabs are losing out of the vehicles of modernity, for driving modernity – mathematics and technology. It is this flight from the path of modernity that drives the “post Ms Ahmed/Cairo” Arabs and congregations into hijabism, into ultra-religious conservatisms. At least, if you failed on earth, you labour to secure any imaginary paradise, seems to be their pitch.
But the important points here are as follows: The Arabs in this strategic retreat for paradise are not being pious. No, it is a game. They are in it, retreating into paradise, for the hunt of power, power on earth. And unlike what John McHugo said, it is not just regional power. The grand design is to use up religionism first to congregate regionally and next charge for global dominance. That is, the dominance they missed in the marketplace, in the faculty halls, in the sports arenas, they want to finagle via the prayer mats and hijabisms. It is an Arab thing deploying religion and not a religion deploying the Arabs. Why poor blacks should be involved at all in this is what we don’t just know.
But what is our own in it? That is where the real point lies. Our failures are myriad and as follows. First, Africans/blacks are the only people who never invented a major religion. Or innovated one. All segmental geographies of the human society, each invented brand new religions or innovated foreign legacy grafts. The list: the Middle East is already notorious for inventing religions, Zoroastrianism, Islam, Christianity and Judaism. The Chinese/Indians did Buddhism, Taoism, etc. The West innovated Judaism into Christianity and further into Pentecostalism. The new testament for instance borrowed heavily from the Greek form. St. Luke writes like an Aristotlean. And there are no antecedents of that style in Jewish literary traditions a priori.
It is only in Black Africa that we are afraid to invent the new, that is bold, or to innovate the ingestion that is in us. But the point does not end there. The real issue is that no civilization, no prosperity, has been able to stand save it invented its own religions, or innovated an ingested or invaded heritage religion. We have dealt with much of this in our books and interested parties may reach out for Economists as Assassins and Nigeria the Unreported Genocide.
To summarize on this, no country, which does not invent its own religions or innovates heritage religions can develop economically or even existentially. This is an iron lore. Thus, our cowardice to reinvent the religions and other axial sciences are actually our economic, and not just epistemic, doom. In other words, the trouble with Nigeria has nothing to do with the Ony-Eze Achebe myth of leadership. The trouble with Nigeria is in our failure to invent, to use our brains. It is right to say that the Nigerian scholar has failed Nigeria more disastrously than the Nigerian leader.
Now, let us bring the tale of Ms Ahmed into context. The implication of this hijab brouhaha is historically as follows. When the head of the Arab world, Egypt, okayed the hijab as a non-orthodoxy, our Nigerian Muslim population followed. Those were in the salad and growing-up days of Ahmed. Next, when the leader of the emergent Arab power, Saudi Arabia, turns up and re/interprets the orthodox unto illiberal hijabing, Nigeria’s Muslim population queues up – mindlessly following the Arabs?
The point is simple, we have not shown any capacity to think things through, to show and possess epistemic independence, freedom of thought. If we had formed our own religions and or innovated on its foreign axialities, we won’t be in the deep shit of follow-follow, no-open eyes. What is happening ala hijab is just similar to our kids wearing torn jeans or sagging their smelly arses out just because Americans do it. It is a copier mentality we have. It is just that the hijabing is copying of the religious, Arabist kind.
Now, a point has to be made clear. It is that we are not for or against a Nigerian Muslim girl wearing or not wearing hijab. But what we are against is the mindless slavery of the black man – cognitive and epistemic slavery. It is this knowledge slavery, not leadership, that holds us down writhing in humiliation and shame. And this, under the sun of Africa. It is this slavery that accounts for blacks being hawked as animal-chattels throughout Libya and much of the same Arab world. The Arabs know or believe it, blacks don’t have the brains. And they may not be wrong. If we had, why are we worshiping their own gods? Can’t we forge and bake out our own gods and scriptures at home, under the flailing African sun, they wonder? Boy, if you have the brains, it will show. So, if you are down in economics as a people, as a nation, please check your faculties and brains, not your leadership cadres.
One last word. I once was discussing with a leading thinker. He happened to be Yoruba, an otunba. I told him that toe-to-toe, pound-for-pound, the Yoruba are the most economically advanced of the three big ethnic nations in Nigeria. But the truth of this is not in the usual economic data and statistics. On the usual economic meters, the eagle feather may go to the Igbo.
However, on aggregate sums, the Igbo are likely to have the least total sum. [A Dangote may be richer than a dozen Igbo big money boys]. But the velocity of currency/cash and spread of riches ensure that the Igbo are top predators in this matter. But on aggregate wealth the North tops the league followed by the Yoruba, in our back-of-the envelope calculations.
But when it comes to the prospect of real economic takeoff, none comes near the Yoruba. And the non-economic data of this economic development is as follows: the Yoruba are the only group who have exhibited genius to innovate or ingested foreign heritage religions. However inchoately, they are the only group to have so done. And the key example is in Celestial and Cherubim and Seraphim churches. Their founders had the presence of mind, the cognitive independence, to tinker with that which invaded them. The outcome is Cherubim and Seraphim and Celestial churches, with headquarters that is their Mecca, Medina, Rome, etc. in Yorubaland, Nigeria.