Tuesday, 10 February 2009

The Return of Walter Rodney

If a picture ever spoke a thousand words, then I guess the image above has been nattering away for quite some time now. I do not want to lead anyone into any conclusions, but I guess that would have been a futile exercise, as everything you can see in this Kodak moment speaks for itself.

As the primitive quest for wealth acquisition sullies the land of our forefathers, Nigerians, unlike any other people in the world seem to be suffering from a severe case of historical amnesia. We seem determined to recreate a time when we bowed and scraped to a fair-skinned 'master' race, whom we connived to decorate with baseless awe.

The recent advent of the Chinese to our shores have left us divided into two camps; those who believe it is a good thing and those who do not. Granted, if we cannot develop our own infrastructure to guarantee our people a reasonable level of existence, we might as well bring someone else in to have a go. The issue here though, is whether the so-called imported experts are actually helping the local economy and spreading the proceeds around.

Having lived for over two decades in the West, I have observed a disturbing trend amongst the Chinese communities, when it comes to their economic relationship with their Black neighbours. I am open to correction here, but can anyone tell me when they have ever seen Chinese consumers patronising Black businesses. Okay, I know our businesses are not as widespread or even as robust as theirs, but believe me when I tell you that the non-patronage of our businesses is a conscious cultural behaviour. Most might baulk at this, and I am aware it is a hard pill to swallow, but I seriously doubt if Chinese people even see us as human.

Our economic soirees with them will only end in pain, as they will always extract more out of us than we out of them. It is no coincidence that when the Chinese do business with you in far-flung Africa, they bring every item under the sun with them, even the water they drink! They refuse to engage the local community and always ensure they suck the host environment dry! It's just like when you visit one of their restaurants, where you go in and are treated with clinical, but distant service, spend a lot of money and you find yourself starving a few hours later.

I have never felt comfort with the way Nigerian administrators run our country, but that discomfort is severely extended when we take an already malnourished country and put it's resources in the hands of bloodsuckers. Yes, my language is harsh and my logic untested, but I am guided by pure human instinct. Afterall, no matter how propsperous Nigeria becomes and no matter how many contracts the Chinese decide to give us in their country (as unforeseeable as this might seem), I cannot see a day when the image above will be reversed.It is time for us to shed our 'colonial complex' and fully comprehend that there is a good reason why Asians are adept in the business of 'takeaways'.

My fervent prayer is that we collectively realise our precarious situation before it is too late. Otherwise, our children's generation will have their own classic; 'How China underdeveloped Africa'.

A word is enough for the wise......


  1. Yes o! I think we must be twins. My sentiments exactly. No one wins against the Chinese. More articles pls.

  2. Refreshing and so true, keep writing.... !

  3. Ade, Greece

    Couldn't agree more. I made a similar comment to some friends on my last trip to Nigeria.

    Yes we are "suffering from a severe case of historical amnesia"

  4. I must disagree the generalisation of the chinese in London or elsewhere in the west for being racist. First, most chinese in London or UK are from Hong Kong. Second, PRC came to the aid of many newly independent African countries which were later overthrown by generals recieving their orders from London, Paris and Washington. Lastly, China has not murdered millions in Africa inorder to pillage the countries of it natural resources.