Ozodi Osuji


         You probably have heard that Nigerians are those breed of people that act in the political arena without political ideology guiding their political behavior. Since their foray into the modern world, beginning in the 1920s Nigerians do not talk of such political ideologies as capitalism, socialism, communism, fascism, mercantilism, corporatism, liberalism, conservatism. 

        In other African countries, such as Ghana and Tanzania the post-independence political leaders came to power on the bandwagon of socialism (Nkrumah and Nyerere’s African socialism) but Nigeria’s first batch of political leaders (Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo and Ahmadu Bello) apparently could not be bothered by political ideas; instead, they were interested in jostling for what ethnic group, Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo would rule the country.

        Rule the country under what political ideology was not their concern; in so far that they had any kind of platform it was on how to get as much money as they could from the national treasury for their respective ethnic groups. If they had to steal it that was fine with them, for at war all behaviors necessary to win it are justified.

      Extant Nigerians have carried on their ancestors’ lack of interest in Western political ideologies; this has given observers the feeling that Nigerians are barbarians who are in politics for their individual selfish gains.

       I propose that what Nigerians do in the world of politics is actually a political ideology; it is chop politics; I chop and you chop politics seems a perfectly legitimate political ideology.

       Who said that the black man cannot produce a political ideology and that he must always be a slave to political ideologies produced by white men?

         Black men in the world’s largest Black Country, Nigeria have evolved a political ideology that is specifically suited for them, chop politics. This is a political ideology fitted for the jungle and its savage inhabitants; who are we to say that it is not as good as other political ideologies?

         In the jungle every animal is unattached and looks after its self-interests; it does whatever serves its self-interests and does not care for other animals’ welfare.

         In Thomas Hobbes (Leviathan) state of nature, in hypothetical pre-social organization each person maximized his interests at the expense of other people and the result was war by all against all and all lived in social insecurity and life was nasty, brutish and short.

        Hobbes depiction of the state of nature describes Nigeria to the T. In Nigeria every man is for his self and no one cares for other persons and the group; the result is that those who can claw their ways to national or state politics and steal as much of the country’s resources as they could do so. With their stolen wealth they hire thugs to protect them and otherwise the people live in general insecurity. Nigeria is a country in name only; it is actually a jungle where the powerful prey on the weak; lawlessness is the order of the day in that jungle.

         Look, every human polity decides on what political ideology to tolerate. The USA tolerates only two political ideologies, conservatism and liberalism. Conservatives hate big government; they want limited government; they want government to provide them with security (via military, police, courts and prisons) and otherwise hands off everything else; they want a protected playing field where white folks screw black folks. Liberals want to use the power of government to give the poor some handouts but not to make them equal partners. These are the two political ideologies that America tolerates; if you step to the others, say, communism you are considered treasonable and a subversive and arrested and jailed.

        Russia has its own accepted political ideologies, oligarchy and plutocracy. Russia is a place where a handful of men have all the wealth and rule the country. If you complain about it you are off to the gulag.  This has always been so whether we are talking about Tsarist days when the Tsar and his noblemen ruled that huge landmass or during Stalin’s so-called communist days when a few so-called communists ruled the land and the rest of the people were peons working for them or now that President for life Putin and his Mother Russia Party stick it any which way they want to Russians. Any Russian who does not like Putin is encouraged to leave and go to the USA. Alaska has Russian villages so Russians are welcome in America; what does Putin care if a few disgruntled trouble makers left the country; his dictatorship is not like the prior ones that discouraged folks from leaving Russia. Leave the land and its huge resources to Putin and his cronies is the new policy.

       Japan has a corporate political ideology where the government and business cooperate to do what is good for Japan Incorporated.  China appears to have ditched Mao’s communism and is increasingly embracing Japan style corporatism with its so-called guided market socialism.

       Fascism is not in vogue except in small political parties, such as Lapin’s nationalist party in France; I doubt that we shall soon see a Nazi or Fascist style government anywhere in Europe.

       The salient point is that each country has a right to pick and choose what political ideology it wants to operate under and, as such, Nigerians have chosen chop political ideology. Who are we to blame them for making the choice they made?

       Are we God and have a right to tell these African brothers what to do with their hard won freedom. Nigerians won independence from Britain without firing a shot; Britain gave them independence on a platter of gold hence they do not know what to do with it; you do not know what to do with what you did not fight for. Britain should have done Nigerians a huge favor and had them fight a protracted war of independence, say, for a minimum of five years. If Nigerians had done so they would have forged a sense of nationalism in the process. 

         Nigerians have a right to practice chop political ideology and accept the fact that they live in a jungle where there is no law and the so-called police, judges and courts are the errand boys of the thugs at Abuja. 

        Who am I to complain about the seeming upside down world that is Nigeria? Me, complain that Nigeria is a lunatic asylum, a bedlam where every corrupt behavior is accepted.

         However, I want you to know one thing: please do not ever come crying to me if you feel screwed by the rulers of the jungle.

        A people sleep on the bed they made; if a people decide that unfettered corruption is the way to go they can do so and take the consequences of their decision.

       Nigerians decided that they will not stand up and fight the thieves that rule them because they are afraid of dying for justice; they are lily livered cowards who run into underground burrows to go hide when the goons squad of the empire of thieves fires into crowds demonstrating against their thievery; well, if the Nigerian brothers do not want to fight for a clean government who is supposed to do it for them, white men? 

      A people get the government they deserve; Nigerians deserve their thieving government.

       Only a people can fight for the type of government they want. As Thomas Paine observed in his book, Common Sense, the tree of liberty is watered with patriots’ blood. Nigerians do not want to fight for anything that human beings consider decent; all they want to do is live and live for what no one quite understands.

        What are Nigerians living for, anyway? They do not contribute anything to science and technology or to any other field human beings value. So, why should the rest of the world care that they are living; living for what?  

          Could you please tell me why the rest of the world should be interested when a Nigerian dies, what has he done for mankind, even for his people? People mourn the death of people who contributed to their welfare; since Nigerians do not contribute to public welfare when they die their death is no more than that of dogs.

       They live just so they pollute the world’s air? Take them out of our faces, the rest of the world says and allow Nigerians to stew in their thieving empire.

       A country where bribery and corruption is elevated to Olympian heights; a country where if you are a thief you are made a chief in your village and the government rewards you with positions of power and authority is a country fit for sub-human beings.

       The fate of sub-human beings is not the concern of human beings. We must therefore leave Nigerians to their unique political ideology and let them take the consequences of living only for their individual selves but never doing anything good for the collective.

       Seriously, can a country become developed if its political ideology is chop politics, a country where it is assumed that God is in his heaven and on earth each person looks after his interests and should not care for other people?

       Can Nigeria become economically developed or would it limp along until there is no more oil revenue for the thieves of Abuja to gather and share and live high on the hog?

       Will the country end with the end of the oil jamboree or would it find other ways to get things done? I will leave you to answer that question. And should a question emanating from political satire be answered?


PS: The idealist posits idealistic and perfectionistic standards for human behaviors; he uses those to judge people in action. He especially uses his fictional ideal standards to judge those in governments and necessarily find what they have done not good enough, for no human being made of flesh and blood can live up to his fictional high standards. He vicariously feels superior to other people because they have not measured up to his ideal standards. The trouble is that not even he can measure up to his perfectionistic standards. Moreover, the idealist does nothing to show that he can even do as well as what mediocre persons have done. The pursuit of ideals is grandiose and a waste of time. President Barack Obama says: perfection is the enemy of the good. This is a clever way for the man to rationalize his publicly perceived mediocre performance in office, for he, in effect, says: don’t compare me to ideals for I am a mere imperfect human being. In that light, we should not judge Nigerians as not doing badly; we should leave them to practice their corruption and not criticize them;  is criticism necessary and if so what standards of excellence should we employ in criticizing folks; and who posits those standards, God; does God exist, and if not why his supposed standards? Shouldn’t we just keep quiet and not criticize each other? The Roman stoic philosopher, Horace said: enjoy today for tomorrow we shall die (Carpe Dien).


Ozodi Osuji

November 24, 2014

Views: 74

Great Benin Bronze


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