By Chinedu Ezeocha, for The Ezeocha Post
Updated 10:51 PM CT, Wed March 11, 2015
“Put $50,000 in the right hands in this country and you can test battery acid on people as skin lotion.”
The 2005 movie The Constant Gardener details how European pharmaceutical companies exploit ignorant African populations, not only as guinea pigs to test the efficacy of their new drugs, but most importantly, the movie details how they (the pharmaceutical companies), under the pretense of providing vaccination for some seasonal sickness in their target country, deliberately infect naïve populations in that country with communicable diseases. Diseases that they invented in their laboratories for the sole purpose of making the target population sick. Once an epidemic-level status for the sickness they afflicted the people with is achieved, just as we saw in the Ebola outbreak in Liberia in 2014, the movie details how the pharmaceutical companies through their fifth columnists in the federal government(s) of their target country(ies), forces the hand of the government(s) to purchase from them (the pharmaceutical companies) the already-made antidote for the epidemic. And once that is achieved, walaaaa, their bank accounts grows fatter to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. Corporate profiteering. But more accurately, greed.
Greed is the sole reason Africa is still underdeveloped.
The take away from The Constant Gardener is something that most people who are enlightened and in the know are pretty much aware of. Namely:
- Europe haven’t ceased from exploiting Africa and its resources even though the colonial days are over.
- Europe in the past used sheer brutality to loot Africa, but contemporarily their governments are using covert agents such as the British Council, Department for International Development (DFID), and Agence Française de Développement (AFD) to achieve this looting. Their corporations on the other hand seeks out the greedy and the unpatriotic among Africa’s lot and seduce them with money, weaponry, and the promise of power into partnering with them to impoverish their respective countries.
- European countries and corporations will kill anything and everything standing on their way, including their own citizens, if need be, in their single-minded objective of constant exploitation of Africa. The horrific murder of Mr. and Mrs. Quayle, a diplomat and his international activist wife in the movie buttresses this very fact.
I strongly recommend The Constant Gardener to all my readers. You can stream it on Netflix. You can watch it on Amazon Prime. And you can also watch it at so many other online movie streaming sites. It is as educating as it is true.
Now, of all of the 54 fully-recognized and the 2 partially-recognized African nations, none is a colony of a foreign country. All 56 of them are independent states. Which means that they are all self-governed. Irrespective of whether they are governed by monarchs, despots, or by democratically elected leaders, they all are at the very least governed by the people of the land and not by foreigners. And even though the “government of the people by the people and for the people” mantra does not apply to all 56 African states, you are rest assured that “by the people” part of that mantra applies to all of them. They are all independent and self-governed.
Hold your thought.
Independence means “not subject to control by others.” That’s as succinct as it can be.
Moving forward, almost all the nations in Africa, with the exception of Ethiopia, were colonized by Europe. And at different times in their history, each of these African nations fought and won their independence from their European oppressors.
Statesmen in each of these individual African countries that fought for their independence believed that they were capable of governing themselves. They believed they had, not only both the mental and intellectual capacities to fashion out sound policies and programs that can advance their respective countries, but also that they can actually implement those policies successfully for nation-building. They believed they were as competent as the colonialist civil and structural engineers in the building of bridges and rails. They believed they were as good as the colonialists in mining. They believed they can be as civil as the colonialist in having a great debate for national good within the democratic system of government. And most of all, they believed they were patriots and loved their respective countries exceedingly, and that when they gain their independence, that they will develop their countries better than whatever developmental plan their European dictators had in stock for them. Their love for their country and their strong desires for self-governance inspired their fight for their respective country’s independence. And they got it.
And so are they all, all independent and self-governing countries.
The youngest state in Africa is Namibia, which gained independence from apartheid South Africa in 1990. A child born in 1990 is 25 years old in 2015. And at the age of 25, any U.S. citizen can represent his or her constituency as a congressman or a congresswoman in the U.S. Congress. And that comes with a huge responsibility. Suffice it to say that at the age of 25, globally, a man is expected to have the mental capacity to distinguish between right and wrong, and between what is good for himself and what is self-destructive. Irrespective of what a man, any man, has suffered in the past, granted free will and full control of his resources, if that man want to be the best that he can ever be in life and work towards that goal, he can be that which he wanted to be. And that applies to every nation on earth, including all African nations. Why then Africa remained underdeveloped and still in a state of squander, even when the youngest nation in Africa has been free and in full control of its national resources for the past 25 years is a question that mesmerizes common sense.
Many African leaders and their lazy supporters seek refuge in colonialism as the reason why Africa remains in Dark Age in order to shove away responsibility for the backwardness of their respective countries from their incompetent, nepotistic, and visionless leaders. But the United States was colonized by the same barbaric Brits that colonized most of West African states. Yet the United States has been the world’s sole superpower since the end of WWII. China, which now boasts of the largest economy in the world, was colonized too. Actually in China there is a phrase, the ‘Century of Humiliation’ which refers to a period in China’s history between 1839 and 1949 when Western powers and Japan divided China into spheres of influences and plundered the country. Yet China, for all its humiliation and shame, managed to become, well, the China we have all come to know as a world power. Therefore if America and the China, despite internal political rancor, can fashion out a common national project and implement pragmatic policies and programs to achieve, not just national development, but global dominance, Nigeria with the plethora of human capital and economic resources at its disposal can do the same. Tiny Ghana can equal equally tiny Japan in economic and social development. Cameroon can do well economically as Denmark is doing, and Zimbabwe, yes, Zimbabwe can return to its enviable past as the food basket of Africa if Robert Mugabe, an ace that has long turned into a menace, can step aside for young and smart leaders to take over the leadership reins of that great country.
Yet that is not happening.
A typical African occupying a position of public trust will amass public funds for selfish use, sit on the success and progress of his neighbor, and impoverish the rest of his people so that he can stand out and be worshipped as the only rich person among the lot. He want to drive into his village in a fleet of cars and have the villagers troop out en masse to acknowledge his arrival and prostrate at his feet. They love to feel powerful. They love to be worshipped. They get their orgasm from undeserved public adoration.
That is why a Nigerian leader can come to America and gape in awe at the amazing architectural works in New York, experience the awesome feeling of driving through the Houston road networks, watch every and any television show he wishes to watch without any interruption to his power supply, and speak freely and feel as secure as America can guarantee. Yet when returns home, even though he has the resources to import and replicate the infrastructural developments he sees in America in Nigeria, he chooses not to. Why? Because he feels entitled. He believes that the availability of the necessities of life to Americans which are made possible by American leaders by the judicial use of America’s wealth somehow is not supposed to be available for Nigerians even though Nigeria’s wealth put to good use by its leaders can make those basic necessities of life available to Nigerians too. To him, if those necessities of life are available to all Nigerians, how will you distinguish between the rich and the poor? Who will be able to prostrate before him again should everyone have access to means of livelihood? The idea of himself riding on the same subway system with all manner of people and no one giving a fuck about who he is, is a dream no Nigerian politician will see come true. No matter what.
A typical African politician will have fierce opposition to the idea of electricity provided by public utility companies illuminating the house of a common man in equal manner as it is illuminating his house. To him, if the house of a common man should be electrified as his is, how then do you know that he is a rich guy? How do you distinguish between the rich and the poor? True story, a wealthy businessman and politician from my home state of Imo State in Nigeria during a community driven project to raise tax money for rural electrification project in our local community came out in the open and vowed that over his dead body will he see electricity lighten the house of a poor man as it is lighting his. Very true story.
And that is why in Nigeria, the so-called giant of Africa, for the past 54 years of its independence, one cannot boast of a stable nationwide power supply that lasts for a 24-hour period. Not even for a single day for. For the past 54 years. And that is a national embarrassment!
A typical Nigerian politician is fixated with greed, suffers from chronic status obsession, and is unpatriotic. These are common knowledge. With the epileptic power supply in Nigeria, European electricity-generator manufacturing companies saw a market for their products. And with a happy combination of the fact that Nigeria’s private sector needs their products since the government has failed in its duty of infrastructural development, coupled with the greed and unpatriotism of Nigerian politicians, the Europeans not only flooded Nigeria with their products, but they secured a future for their businesses in Nigeria by seeking out greedy and unpatriotic elements in government who are willing to play ball, and who in exchange for money and a promise of family vacations in Europe, has long been sabotaging every effort for a stable power supply in Nigeria in order to maintain a market for their European patrons.
According to GBI Research, a global research firm, the electricity generator market in Nigeria as at 2011 is worth ₦71.55 billion ($450 million) and is projected to reach ₦ 151.16 billion ($950.7 million) by 2020.
Nigeria is a cash based society. And those are real time capital flight from Nigeria to develop Europe. Money that could have stayed in Nigeria and be utilized for national development but money that grew wings and took flight to Europe anyways because of the greed of Nigerians in positions of power.
I used to wear a shirt made by PNB Nation. On the tag of the shirt was the quote, “The true wealth of a nation does not lie in its silver and gold, but in the uprightness of its sons, in their willingness to learn, and in their desire to build a nation that the citizens can be proud to call their own.”
This statement couldn’t be truer for Japan, a tiny island nation that cannot boast of any significant natural resources comparable to any sub-Saharan African country, but which nevertheless boasts the 3rd largest economy in the world by nominal GDP.
Yet this statement is a far-fetch for most African nations.
The fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo is about control of cassiterite deposits, a major ore of tin, which is used by IT companies for the manufacturing of computer hardware. Not too long ago, it is the highest traded metal in the London Stock Exchange. Different rebel leaders and their groups want to plunge these cassiterite deposits and sell it to their European patrons at insignificant prices compared to internationally traded prices for the metal. Just for selfish gains rather than national good. They sell these metals at cheap prices to European companies and then the little money they got from the sales, they will return it to these Europeans in exchange for weaponry to kill their fellow countrymen. Who is deceiving who? All in the name of self-aggrandizement rather than national unity and commitment to national development.
Robert Mugabe went and seized lands from white Zimbabweans who before then were cultivating the lands and churning out produce that not only fed Zimbabweans, but turned Zimbabwe into the food basket of Africa. He took lands from white farmers who were cultivating the lands and gave it to black Zimbabweans who had no desire or the technology wherewithal to cultivate the lands. By so doing he turned Zimbabwe into a starving nation. What kind of policy is that? If you really want to punish white people for the wrongs their ancestors did, why not tax them more but let Zimbabwe continue to enjoy its plethora of food?
Some Africans, disappointingly young Africans for that matter, in order to justify the snail pace of development in the African continent argue that it took the United States and the rest of the West centuries to develop. But if you consider that the U.S. and the rest of the West had to invent technologies in the process of their development in order to boost their developmental drive, you will appreciate the so-called “long time” it took them to develop. But Africa is not in that position. All the science and technology that is required for every nation on earth to have basic infrastructural backbone to support its economic development has been invented. All that African nations need to do is to simply acquire those technologies and put them in place. And there you go.
When the South African telecommunication company, MTN acquired the license in 2001 to service Nigerians with mobile phone services, Nigeria as a country played no part in installing the infrastructures necessary to have mobile phone services in Nigeria. MTN did. The technology was already in existence. They simply imported it into Nigeria and installed it. In similar manner, if greed at the detriment of national development will allow their leaders, Nigeria can also have uninterrupted power supply. Network of bridges and flyovers can be built across the nation if governors and federal ministers can stop smuggling money meant for national development to Europe for their own private use. The police can be properly equipped to fight crime. And corruption will take a dive while national development will advance.
Someone asked in The Constant Gardener why it is so easy for Europeans to come to a country in Africa and waste lives with reckless abandon and get away with it? An aid worker named Birgit (a character played by Anneke Kim Sarnau) who knows the workings of the continent gave a truthful assessment of the situation when she responded: “Put $50,000 in the right hands and you can test battery acid as skin lotion.”
That is a damning but truthful assessment of the behavior of Africans towards their own. Cheap greed!!!!
It is high time that Africans – old and young, intellectual and politician, rich and poor, entrepreneur and proletariat, in order to salvage Africa from its current dark continent status; for the health of the continent, and for the development of their respective countries – shed greed and pursue goals that can advance their national prosperity, promote the general welfare of their citizenry, and secure the wealth of their lands exclusively for themselves and their posterity. It is high time that President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria and his supporters who have no particular stewardship to give that merits him a second term in office – other than the claim that his opponent who happens to be a Muslim has a Muslim agenda – step up to the plate and solve the nation’s power outage problems or pack his bag and leave Aso Rock. It is high time that all those warlords in Congo DR lay down their arms, free their child soldiers and support their central government and allow the central government to be the only authority to trade with the resources of the state for their national development. And it is high time that Robert Mugabe, a 91-year old man who has been in power since the birth of present day Zimbabwe leave the scene so that young and vibrant people who still have their faculty intact can take over the affairs of that great nation.
Europeans colonized Africa in order to exploit her and are still bent on exploiting Africa because their survival depends on it. There is no Europe without Africa. But it is up to the present day leaders of Africa to have a raincheck, cease betraying their fatherland to please their Europeans patrons, and do good by their respective countries. Because if you guys can be honest with yourselves, you’ll acknowledge that you and your relatives, truth be told, are not treated any different by them when shit gets real. They see and treat us all as monkeys.
If a fellow man should build and equip a decent house where he and his family sleeps, rests, and play in maximum comfort, and upon completion of this decent house, he approached you, his fellow man who has similar responsibilities. When he approached you, he try to convince you that although he has built a decent house for himself and his family, that it is a foolish thing for you to do same. Rather that you should bring the money meant for your building project so that you and him can go and squander it at a bar that he owns. How will you feel about that? Be mindful that your family will be exposed to wintry cold, the harshness of the sun, rainfall, sickness as a result of the above-mentioned, possible attacks by nocturnal animals when it gets dark in the night, and mockery by his kids who live in a decent house because yours does not. And above all, after squandering your family’s wealth with him, you will return to your wretched family and he will return to his maximum comfort.
If a fellow man should propose to you to be this stupid, how will you answer him???
Let the debate continue…