Great Exploitation & Oppression in the Twinkling of an Eye
May 25th, is African Union Day, the annual commemorations of Africa’s independence, freedom and liberation struggle from colonial imperialists. The reinforcement of this liberation was the first union of African countries and the foundation of the regional integration body known as the organisation of the African Unity (OAU) in 1963, which 38 years later, evolved into the African Union (AU). Today, the continental organisation celebrates years of determined efforts for unity among the African people, and socioeconomic freedom from foreign dominion and exploitation. Africa by far the wealthiest and the most beautiful continent on this planet is the most abused, battered, exploited and devalued continent in the world.
The dynamics of oppression and exploitation is continuously at play in Africa. The forces which can stimulate growth, and development in the existing system or structure constitute the forces of the suppression in the system We know of the colonial exploitation and misrule of Africa. The slave trade of over 400 years of unprecedented exploitation and wanton raid of Africa and Africans- we know of over 400 years of inequality in different colours and dimension. We remember the Berlin Conference of over a century years ago when many European powers recklessly explored, divided, conquered and exploited the whole African continent. This was known as “The Scramble for Africa.”
We have since learned how to exploit ourselves, we learned how to hate ourselves, we have learned how to kill ourselves and we continue to be divided. If we remain divided definitely we cannot move forward and of course the exploitation of the imperialist powers continues, so also the slavery ideology that seeks to make us feel inferior and control our thinking processes to ideologically enslave us to accept the false message of their superior race and status. Our minds must be free from mental slavery. Our minds must be liberated. There is no human being on this planet that is made superior or different from any other human being. It is all exploitation and a self-assigned unmerited privilege. We must continue to challenge this aberration. We must never allow our life to be defined by others perception of us.We must never lose our identity and dignity.
It is unspeakable that Africa is still a colony, particularly the so called ‘French Africa’ is still gravely enslaved. While there are exploitation and misrule in postcolonial Africa and various explanations for Africa’s precarious social and economic conditions, can we be courageous enough to free ourselves not only from the colonizers and exploiters but also from our so called African leaders who continue to exploit us in continuation of what their colonial masters taught them. They have wiped out generations of Africans at home and others who continue to flee this beautiful continent to unknown land and destiny because of war and poverty. They have destroyed lives and impoverish their countries and citizens. Some of these so called African leaders have sold their country and birthright to some countries and colonialists out of greed, lack of vision and love for this great continent. They are horrendous criminals who should face justice. Instead we continue to honour the criminals and unworthy and despise the noble.
Home to my country Nigeria as an example. Nigeria is really a very tricky country with about half Muslim and half Christian and religious extremists group that create a lot of violence and terrorist activities. There 250 different ethnic groups, speaking 510 different languages, with a British-drawn border around them then, handed over to the Fulanis by the colonizer in 1960 with a hidden agenda. The Fulanis are mainly herders, expansionist, land grabbers, mostly uneducated, and not the choice for leadership role or any role for that matter yet the colonizer handed power over to them and they held firmly to power in Nigeria. They created ideological, structural, institutional, and cultural constraints for others in the process. It is interesting to note that the Fulani’s ruling ideology of aristocracy, assumption of being a special breed of some sort and the only tribe destined to rule Nigeria is absurd. The use of this notion as an ideology of exploitation and oppression is glaring. Exploitation, pilfering, and oppression has nothing to do with nobility. We know the truth and that is what matters. This ideologically promoted hegemonic form of oppression is apparent at the level of ruling oligarchs in Nigeria as adopted domination while at the level of the other tribes as adopted subordination, which of course is the cause for the continuation of the domination. This ruling oligarchy of Fulanis around the Fulani president in Nigeria do nothing but pilfer from Nigeria and has created the greatest problem for Africa’s largest economy and most populous country. The Fulanis are colonialists in Nigeria, they have enslaved the Hausas and in fact the entire country. They are mostly responsible for the critical condition Nigeria is facing today. My heart bleeds heavily for my beloved country Nigeria.
Discrimination and oppression has been a primary impediment to democratic practice since the very founding of Nigeria. Nigeria is a very great country with great people who must summon the courage to fight for their rights, justice and liberty from oppression and discrimination in a peaceful manner. Nigerians must not allow another civil war again, we must not allow genocide- it can only destroy our country completely. We need a national dialogue based on transparency. The truth- must be told. We must say it as it is. Again without equal rights and justice, we cannot find peace in Nigeria and Africa as a whole for that matter.
A country where half of it’s population are kids 17 and under but with one of the highest rate of out of school children, and graduate unemployment. A country where women are far from being granted their rightful place economically, politically, and socially. A country where a Fulani man who happen to be president openly disrespects women. We all remember that in October 2016, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari claimed his wife’s place was in the “kitchen, the living room and the other room”. We must ensure statements like that never become commonplace in Africa where women face an arduous task of actualizing themselves, economically, politically and socially. The complete empowerment of women ultimately is the achievement of gender parity. Quality education and the economic empowerment of women is the only way for African women to aspire to gender equality. They must have access to education and ensure their economic inclusion in society.
We must all embrace civic courage in Africa by working to create a continent that works for all, promoting true brotherhood and Ubuntu spirit as authentic Africans, creating positive change in ourselves, our communities, our institutions, and our systems.
This would indeed be the true African Union!
– Ayo Ayoola-Amale