Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

Whispering Drums With Maigani

by Musa Ibrahim

The making of a people (2)

(see Part 1)

They left Egypt with trepidation and despair mingled with some form of hope, were lifted to the heights of great joy on arrival in Israel or Zion and were plunged into a black abyss again during Hitler's anti-semitic holocaust. It is said that a man who suffers more learns more because each day brings in new wisdom and experience. After Hitler was finally overpowered by his wicked deeds and confined to eternal damnation, lessons were learnt, decisions taken and minds made.

Shunning God, the children of Israel decided the time has come for them to start fighting their own little wars by themselves. Unaided by their erstwhile benefactor, and instead of forgiving and redeeming as the Good God would have them do, they became hardened, ambitious, adventurous and blood- thirsty and went looking for scapegoats. The ideal of Zionism, once geared towards heaven assumed a new dimension and became equated with expansionism, terrorism and apartheid.

They embarked on the annexation and balkanization of Arab lands and territories. From the Sinai to the Golden Heights and the West Bank, Israel bullied its way through, often mercilessly and with ruthless abandon. Today, the race is no longer an embittered race, it is an embattled race, struggling, no longer as pariahs or historical scapegoats but as a race bent on seeking to right the wrongs of history and asserting itself, but with God no longer at their every beck and call.

Today, it is these people scattered all over the world that are in control of major financial institutions, using this as a leverage to hold political balances of power. That is the most fascinating aspect in the life of the children of Israel. They used suffering as a yardstick from which to develop.

Like the Israelites, the African race has been victimized by racism and militarism and have also known the hurt and pain of racial subjugation and rejection. Colonised and made hewers of wood and drawers of water, the people were eventually released from the shackles of bondage and misery but there have been no visible change in their lives to this day. Always on the defensive and blaming all their personal short-comings and inadequacies on the imaginary and non-existent 'imperialists', colonialist' or on the 'international conspiracy' syndrome, the conditions of the African race have continued to deteriorate downhill at a gallop. With sit-tight leaders and military dictators plundering the human and material resources of the continent as if they were private properties, almost all African nations have become beggar nations waiting for crumbs to fall from the 'master's' table. Unlike the Israelites, the African race is still toying with the urgent need to regroup, to redeem each other and to use the experiences of history to develop and prosper.

Nigeria, the self-acclaimed 'Giant of Africa' is unwilling to set the example, preferring rhetoric and an abiding faith in sterile institutions that have long outlived their usefulness. Considering the re-emerging role of traditional rulers in the affairs of government in Nigeria today, one would think the world is developing retroactively. It is incredible to think that opportunistic people such as Nigeria's traditional leaders are now being used as govern- ment emissaries to 'discuss technical and agricultural cooperation' with other nations.. Over the years, Nigerians and in fact, all of Africa, have refused to admit that solutions to all their perennial problems lie within themselves and not from without.

In as much as I believe Africa has a lot to learn from the experiences and achievements of Israel, I still hold that Nigeria's two traditional rulers had no business going there to discuss any- thing on behalf of Nigeria, for the mere fact that they lack competence to discuss anything on behalf of the people. Besides, the problem of the country is the people's misplaced priorities and the lack of understand- ing that traditional rulers like the military, have no further political role to play in a fast moving, fast develop- ing twentieth century Nigeria. Rather than be a part of the solution, the military and the institution of traditional leadership are a part of the problem.

Wilmot: A Luta Continua

Because of the ill-wind blowing across Africa, its people are increasingly moving out in large and alarming numbers. And once out, it becomes difficult for some to make up their minds to go back. But since one cannot stay in another person's country over a certain period of time without proper documentation, Africans have developed ingenious ways and methods of becoming a part and parcel of the society they have moved to. One of these methods which has become a speciality of students is to marry one of 'neo- the local girls. In America, marrying an American girl is a royal road to the precious acquisition of an everlasting meal ticket called the 'Green Card'.

When Dr Patrick F. Wilmot decided to marry Makki his former student at the Department of sociology, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria, it was not because he was looking for a 'Green Card' to enable him stay permanently in Nigeria to enjoy the goodies in the 'oil-rich' country. When he writes and speaks his mind about some of the problems confronting Africa, he is not doing that to seek for favours from anybody. He is only exercising his rights as an individual to express an opinion.

Since Wilmot decided to wear an academic/intellectual gaberdine in Zaria, he has been totally uncompromising in his views and abhorrence of the apartheid system of government in South Africa. In the five books he has written, one of them, "Apartheid and African Liberation" is an intimate and frank exposition of the realities of the dastardly form of government that is the lot of blacks in South Africa. It is in the book that Wilmot completely established his knowledge of the intricacies and defaults of the system, making him an undisputed expert in analysis of apartheid in the whole continent of Africa.

Thus it is that I was completely panic stricken with the pangs of disbelief when Dr Wilmot was prevented from participating in the recently concluded World Conference on Apartheid held in Lagos, Nigeria. Knowing Wilmot and knowing that decree 4 exists in Nigeria, I can bet Wilmot's contribution was going to embarrass some government officials up there. Whatever, the truth was suppressed and just as the abortive attempt to 'crate' him out of the country some- time ago, I believe the ban on Wilmot is a temporary setback. For come rain, come sunshine, come zombies, truth always prevails at the end, and so to comrade Wilmot, I say, A Luta Continua!

talking drums 1984-09-03 arrests and tension in Liberia - WAEC's leakage problems