The British are plausibly the wisest European peoples and possibly the wisest of all nations in our modern era. The grounds to canvass this are as overwhelming as they are convincing. If, for instance, wisdom is in the production and propagation of high culture, no modern European nation comes a close second to the British. Yes, the Germans will muscle in, given any roll of honour, but it is only in mathematics that they have made the Brits almost look like underachieved cousins. Riemann, Hilbert, Leibniz, Grothendieck, Cantor, Gauss, Euler, supreme mathematical minds, are all of German ancestry. If you add to this the tally of countries/times under German intellectual dominion, like Holland, Germanic Eastern Europe, the numbers are like a sweepstake.
However, the venerable Brits, with immortal Newton, will make a not-too-distant second. But if it is in the aggregate field of the primary sciences of physics, Newton, economics, Smith, history, Butterfield, philosophy, Locke, literature, Shakespeare, religion, the Wesley brothers, biology, Darwin, chemistry, Priestley, and even empire building, Rhodes, no other European country comes a close second to Britain. And perhaps no modern nation does, not even America.
The fact of this is well established in the reality that the English and their legacy dominions, the so-called Club of Five, are the world’s most dominant powers today. The powers and influences of America, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, all British heritage nations, and Britain itself, pooled together, are unmatched by any competitor axis in history. And that English is the world’s only ‘universal’ language is essentially the ‘invention’ of the British. They achieved it as a political and cultural superpower, what in modern terms is called the projection of soft powers.
But it is in the area of ‘practical things,’ of constructing a consensus for a common community, that the British attract our interest. In this it is clear the Brits have outclassed all European and indeed all other regional hegemony in the attitudes of articulating a concert of powers.
One fact alone is a verification of the unsurpassed British genius for liberal engagement in intra-community powers. In the last 500 years, for instance, Britain has never sought to pacify or imperialise any of its European cousin nations. One may argue that the wisdom was imposed on it by the limitations of geography, but that is unlikely. It is unlikely, because of the counterpart example of Japan. Japan, like Britain, is an island nation. Nevertheless, Japan embarked on imperial manoeuvres to erect the “Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Zone” under its dominion. Therefore, we can conclude that it was a studied choice of the British not to seek dominion within Europe. Europe, for the Brits, was one cultural home. And one does not play politics with home or at home.
That is while the Germans and the French sought to pacify all Europe under their thumb; Britain avoided imperial temptations within Europe. This is despite the fact that, at the height of the industrial revolution, Britain was the preeminent hegemony, not only in Europe but also in the wider world, and at the time of the German and French adventures, none of them had this edge. Yet, the British held back and insisted Europe must be a fair ground for kings and queens, not a playground for any one emperor or thug, even if he were to be British.
What led to this British pan-European insight must be a rare cultural self-enlightenment. It led the Brits to the knowledge that a man cannot imperialise or pacify his cultural equals or superiors, and even if he tried it never paid him. It was wisdom without parallel in history, inasmuch as this correspondent knows. The later evolution of this British formulation is what led to the founding and stabilisation of Western/European liberalism. And this liberalism, of co-prosperity and, more importantly, co-equality, is the only way to build a viable consensus among a mosaic of peoples. It is thus meet that the Spanish thinker, Ortega, saluted this liberalism as the greatest generosity of our modern age. Of course, Hitler and Napoleon’s illiberal gambits ritually ended in fiasco, both for their nations and the rest of Europe.
Now, gentlemen, we have to speak plainly. Does it make any sense that the North and the South-West would ever contemplate that it will pay them to imperialise at home others who are their cultural equals or even superiors and in attempting to do that make Nigeria developable?
Yet, from the civil war to date, there is little else the North and the South-West have done than to structure Nigeria into their dependency. That is, immediately after they allegedly won the war, they began a political restructuring to rob and rape the South-East and the South-South. The North and the South-West made themselves overlords, the so-called G2 Security Council/overlords of Nigeria.
And the evidence abounds, even as once in a while there are cracks within the G2 coalition. And suddenly the present All Progressives Congress government is possibly the most virulent mutation of the G2 hegemony and rape over the rest of Nigeria. A rank insider confesses so at least. We quote: ‘’For example, since the advent of the Fourth Republic and owing to the reality of structural marginalisation and political amputation arising from the civil war and hegemonic politics, there is no evidence that a military general or political figure of commensurate stature from either the South-South or the South-East has ever taken part in the oligarchic deliberations, which precede the foisting of a ruler on the whole country.’’ (The Obasanjo Formula Revisited, by Tatalo Alamu: September 04, 2016.)
Our dependable sources reveal that Alamu is a pseudonym used by a respected professor, who is Yoruba. Put in threadbare words, what Prof. Alamu is saying is that the South-West and the North have, since the genocidal war they precipitated and won, reshaped Nigeria in an attempt to turn the South-South and South-East into their tributary zones.
But one wonders, shouldn’t it have been clear to the South-West and the North that they cannot imperialise the South-South and the South-East, certainly not to their own partisan good? That the Zen-like insight of the British, that you can’t imperialise your cultural co-equals to anybody’s benefits, also applies to them too? That their very gambit to be Nigeria’s overlords has by the logic of it dismissed Nigeria from greatness and development?
That is why any party discussing Nigerian development under this present structure is, to use Emir of Kano Sanusi’s word, idiotic. With this current arrangement, Nigeria is not developable and that is final. To speak even more plainly, neither the South-West nor the North has the capacity to develop itself severally or themselves jointly. Maybe they have the potential, but the fact is that they have not demonstrated the capacity. And what you can’t demonstrate, you don’t have capacity for. It is just like we have the potential to be richer than Dangote, but here we are, still poorer than Aliko Dangote. So, what we have is potential, not capacity, to be richer than Dangote. And for the South-West and the North, as well as for poor us, it is not for lack of trying either to be self-developed or for us to be richer than Dangote.
And this incapacity of the North and the SouthWest to develop even themselves has been shown severally. For example, in the 50 long years since the civil war that the South-West and the North tried to impose their G2 hegemony, they have covered no milestones jointly or severally, even for themselves. And this is despite all the other people’s oil wells that they cornered for themselves. In fact, all the heritage and the legacy institutions that the British left us, including first-class educational systems and the country itself, which the North and the SouthWest ran, are in ruins. They couldn’t even maintain, not to speak of building, institutions. These things have to be said even if this correspondent has to be assassinated.
Contrast the failure of the G2 (Awolowo and Gowon) civil war winners with their American counterparts. It took the Americans less than 45 years after their civil war to self-develop, become a superpower and industrialise the whole world, or at least the parts that opened up to them. But what have the North and the South-West been doing with Nigeria? Carry go up, bring come down; carry go down, bring come up, wasting everybody’s time. And this is over a matter in which enlightened Europeans have shown it is bound to fail.
So the North and the South-West as their own son and professor counsels must retreat from their errors and the insanity of wanting to imperialise their cultural equals or even superiors. Unlike the British neither the North nor the South-West can claim to have produced the equal of a Newton, a Keynes or invented new physics or theory of economics; or even founded a new religion, which comes so cheap and easy! So, what is their basis for wanting to imperialise others? This is something the Germans who have brains and accomplishments to show for it, couldn’t do. Imperialism is not just about political banditry or the seizing of other people’s oil wells, etc., imperialism is even more importantly a soft-power expedition, which must be the cultural equivalent of going to the moon. If your scholars are empty headed, your politicians can’t imperialize, they will become thugs, agberos.
Now, we have to speak more plainly. We are not one people. We are only one country, for now. And that is why Gowon, Africa’s most prolific mass murderer, butchered two million Igbo. We must, therefore, as a matter of life and death, radically devolve the centre. The point is clear: Oil is not richer than groundnuts. The difference is in genius. If you have genius but no natural resources, you will be richer than the communities that have all the resources and are blockheads. That is the story and moral of Japan and the Asian Tigers. Unless the thesis of the South-West and the North is that oil or mineral resources are pricier than Nigerian brains? So, if the North and the South-West have brains like the Taiwanese and the Japanese, let them return the oil, whole and entire, to the Niger Delta and let us have peace, while they, the North and the South-West, keep their brains. We are not one people. We are only one country and that should be sufficient unto us.
If APC doesn’t appreciate this, then we will enter into a long and arsenic night and, like Europe, will emerge a heap of our own ashes. And maybe the Chinese or Russians will then inherit us. And that is justice. Ahiazuwa.