We Were Better Before They Came – By Ogbeide ifaluyi-Isibor

It is quite a long piece and I do not expect many of my friends to read it to the finish, those who do may not agree with me in-toto but these are some thoughts I have had for a while about the African continent and why i think we have continued to remain in the Wilderness for so long and I thought to share these thoughts with you.

Ogbeide Ifaluyi-isibor

I would term this post “we were better before they came” and I think I won’t be wrong in my line of argument.

I have wondered why Africa is called the dark continent or the black continent. Is it because of our brown skin or our black hair? Is it because black is associated with everything bad or negative or is it just a reflection of the myopia of those who have conjured these names just to suppress their own ignorance about Africa?

The Sun shines the brightest in Africa, human civilization started in Africa, Africans had built for themselves Kingdoms of great splendour even before the caucasians could identify themselves,Africa has always been the food that sustains the world and so,if Africa is called the black continent for dumb reasons, they are what they are; dumb reasons.

There has been a myth told by the white man for several centuries and the myth is that Africa is poor,that’s perhaps the greatest myth ever sold or told to man.

Africa is not poor,she is truly the richest continent in all the world and the world knows it. That is why throughout the ages,the world has always come to Africa to sustain them. Africa never needed the world but the world always needed Africa and it has remained so till this day. There is no argument that Africans built the world and her great cities and Africans are still doing so till today.it however appears that Africans have not been able to build Africa and I will address that later in the post.

I have severally blamed the poor situation of the African continent on poor leadership and there’s no doubt about that. It is true that Africans are poor even as Africa is very rich. It is true that we have been unable to manage ourselves and our resources into prosperity, it is true that corruption has left us at the bottom of the totem pole, it is true that indiscipline has eaten deep into the fabric of our society, it is true that many of us behave like monkeys. It is true that 50+ years after,we have not been able to find our feet and feed ourselves. It is true! But that is purely true when we fall for the danger of the single story that we have heard especially from the white man. Alot of things are going wrong but some things are going right…..that’s however not the crux of matter this post wants to address.

Have we really ever asked or wondered what happened to our history? Why is our history not taught to us? Why is our history not taught abroad? Why is what we have left of our past deliberately driven into extinction? Why is our true story not being told by us or by them? Even when it is being told superficially, why is it being told to us by those who don’t know us?

When world leaders visit Africa or their messengers visit our Presidents,they are always quick to blame us or tell us they think we should do to get up,many are oblivious of the foundations on which we stand and are asking us to run when our legs were stolen by them. The greatest injustice ever known to man was perpetrated against the Africans and she has remained …….the dark scar in the conscience of humanity as propounded by Former British prime minister Tony Blair.

We have heard/read about the Berlin Convention of 1884 and how Africa was shared and parceled out to form colonies, how boundaries were created where they never really existed, how brothers were geographically separated from themselves and their identities completely erased.
We were one Africa before then,we had several different kingdoms and cultures but we were the same people. We had to give up our tradition, give up our brotherhood, give up our language and even give up our god because we were told that all we had was bad and all the white man was bringing was good.

It started with slavery and when slavery had lost its shine and sheen it was time to go into the continent to change the people and set them up against themselves because if the Africans were left to unite, they would be unstoppable and will be indestructible and unless they said to themselves that unless we put a system in place to degrade them and utterly destroy them, the Africans will surpass them and defeat them in the future. They needed to disorganize Africa in an organized way.

Its been 135 years since then and the Educated ones are amongst us will argue that we should “move on” that cannot continue to remain in the past,we cannot continue to lament about slavery, we cannot continue to cry over colonization and they are right but my thoughts are that even with our education, we are still ignorant of the resultant effects of colonization and the fact that Africa is still under the yoke of colonization.
They may argue that its been over 50years of independence but unaware that Africa is really not independent today. Our independence was stolen when they came to steal and as long as we still have places like Nigeria, Djibouti, Mali, Togo, Democratic republic of Congo and all other African countries created to be a destroyed people, we cannot stop talking about it, we cannot stop sermonizing about it, we cannot stop theorizing about it.
Tell him that because of colonization, 14 African countries colonized by France have continued to pay colonial taxes to the tune of $500billion to the French every year for almost 50 years.
Tell him that these 14 “independent” countries are compelled to domicile 85% of their foreign reserves with the France central bank under the control of the Finance minister. Tell him that these monies are invested in the French economy and the proceeds accrue to the French government.
Tell him that these 14 countries are only allowed to BORROW 25% of their money on loan every year and pay interests on the monies borrowed.
Tell him that these countries have French military bases stationed there,their armies trained by the French, their currencies printed in France and they are banned from allowing companies from other nations access to their resources.
How on Earth do we ever expect these 14 African nations to progress? and yet we think that we should “move on” and stop talking about colonization? If the world does not pressure France to let go,these 14 small countries struggling to feed and cater for her people will still gift France $500billion every year.

Look at Ghana,Togo and Cote d’ ivoire….exactly the same people with same culture and tradition but separated by giving them different colonial masters to give them different colonial languages to give them different identities and destroy their future.

In Zambia, you are speaking English,you move a few miles to Angola and you are to speak Portuguese, you cross over to the Democratic republic of Congo and you are to speak French and a few miles into Equitorial Guinea and you are to speak Portuguese. Even a small country like Cameroon, they gave half to the French and half to the English to colonize and that otherwise peaceful nation has never known peace since then and the division goes on and on to this day.
How evil!
Go read about what France did to the “Francophone” countries and you’ll see why we cannot stop talking about colonization.

Look at our very own Nigeria, destroyed by amalgamating 2 different people(in culture and tradition) merging them together by force and you and i know how the story has been since.
This story is the same all over the continent, that’s why we have continued to fight wars and endured decades of conflict because when we are made to fight over our resources, the white man has the opportunity to give us guns to fight and steal our resources as we focus on killing each other.
The Democratic republic of Congo is the wealthiest country on earth with resources under her belly estimated to amount to over $30trillion but the DRC is one of the poorest countries today and she will never stop fighting her wars because in her villages and cities there is a constant siphon of her resources,chief of which is Coltan which is a major component of electronic devices especially Mobile phones. The world will have no more mobile phones if there is peace in the DRC and the people take ownership of their natural resources.
Name any African country in conflict and I’ll tell you the resource that’s fueling the conflict and why the conflict will not end. The same reason why coups were frequent in Africa just after the colonizers pretended to leave. Any leader who didn’t obey them was executed and leaders of these African nations are still being boxed today.

Thousands of Africans die as they try to cross the Mediterranean in an attempt to migrate to Europe and we are pressuring them to stop,pressuring them to die where they are instead of dying while trying to get a better life. If France can keep stealing from them,why should France not allow them come to share in the prosperity of their wealth. How can they have jobs and infrastructure in their countries when they pay colonial taxes in billions of dollars to France till this day.

We will not stop talking about our history because our inabilities of today are directly proportional to the sad tales of our history of yesterday and the direct and indirect actions of the thieves that stole us blind.

While we continue to lament and speak up,the truth also is that we must also organize because we have become culpable too by our actions post Colonization. We are a resilient people committed to survive and we meander through our difficulties and energize ourselves to prosper but to achieve that,Africa has to unite and renegotiate as one block.
It makes absolutely no sense for little country like Togo to pretend to go into bilateral relations with the USA or China,there can never be anything meaningfully bilateral in such Union. What we have called bilateral trade has been simple raid and not trade.

The Europeans understand this and formed the EU and negotiate with others from that standpoint, the African Union must re-strategize and let’s start negotiating as regions first and then as one block. Instead of Ghana(with a population of about 30 million people) striking a deal with the USA( with a population of about 360million people), let the ECOWAS(with a population of about 360 million) strike the deal with the USA instead.

For us Africans, giving up is never going to be an option, we must continue to put pressure on our ourselves and our government to deliver and act better, we must continue to stand up, speak up and speak out against those who stole our independence and self sustainability to let go of what does not belong to them.

Those of our brethren in the diaspora must not think of themselves more highly than they should and curse us out at every opportunity for not being able to compete with the west and europe after only 50 years of trying to find ourselves.
We are all in these together and our overall focus must be to better our motherland.

Studies have shown that there are more Ghanian doctors in New York than there are in Ghana. Those of us who have acquired knowledge abroad must take what we have acquired back home and help our brothers and sisters at home. Africa will only be developed by Africans.

Thank you for reading!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *