January 5, 2022

Our development, by force or guile


By Sunny Ikhioya

It is a new year of hope towards a great future for Nigeria and its people. But, are we ready to take the necessary steps that will take us to this glorious future?

Look deeply at all levels of insecurity, economic sabotage and infighting; look deep down, you will find the hands of treachery, of foreign interests in collaboration with mindless Nigerians, some of whom we hail today as superstars.

We have come up with different theories and reasons why the African continent remains backwards in comparison with others, and what we have always refused to acknowledge in all of these things is the total brainwashing of our psyche.

The Western world has set up the templates of equity, freedom and other rights, but when you look beyond the smokescreen, you will see deliberate sabotage from their side.

Unfortunately, our intellectual navigators, researchers and leaders are trying to keep within the standards set by the Western world.

We claim and behave inferior to our counterparts from abroad because of the little grants we receive from them; that is why not one of our international experts will approve any local medications for all of these foreign-grown viruses; they dare not or they will lose their international recognition, which they value the more.

If we do not decide now to find solutions ourselves – whether we die in the process of doing so or not – we will never make progress. Is it not a shame that we are still importing petroleum products?

Why are our experts running away from providing indigenous solutions to these challenges?

It is because the elite are comfortable the way it is now. But, every society is self-regulating; there is an equilibrium beyond which no man can control and this point seems to be lost to the leadership we have in place.

Our higher institutions are just teaching centres; they are supposed to be hubs of creativity, where solutions to peculiar societal problems are developed both in technology, science and diverse fields.

We want to get solutions to African problems, but instead are waiting for foreigners to do it for us. No foreign aid is without conditions; therefore, we must try as much as possible to avoid this route.

Nobody, no nation gets technological transfer on a platter of gold; they are either negotiated, taken by force, guile or outrightly stolen.

A few years ago, Donald Trump, as President of the United States, accused China of technological espionage. It did not start today; the great US of today started in that manner.

I have in my possession a book titled: Big Cotton, written by Stephen Yafa and published in 2005.

It talks about the role cotton played in upping the agrarian revolution, all through the big industrial revolution and modern technological breakthroughs we see these days. I have excerpted a small portion of this book, so that the reader will understand clearly what I am trying to say.

In the preface to the book, the writer made this statement: “I discovered that my hometown came into existence because of an act of enlightenment theft. Francis Cabot Lowell, for whom the city was named after his death, stole all the mechanical designs for the complex textile machinery from intractable English mill barons.

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“When the owners would not let Lowell leave Manchester, England, with a licence to recreate their mills in America, or allow him even to sketch a single drawing, he did the next best thing: Lowell committed the schematics of those intricate spinning machines and power looms to his photographic memory and, with the help of an industrial engineer, built them from scratch back in Massachusetts.”

Every country that wants to achieve technological breakthroughs must do all it can to get it, no matter the obstacles on the way. After the Germans surrendered in the battle of the Second World War, there was a mad scramble for the Jewish scientists trapped in the battle.

The Soviet Republic and the US, were wooing them to their sides; they needed them to help bring their intellectual properties to their sides.

We do not take such things seriously, but the Asian countries have mastered the acts and it is showing in their developments.

We have very well-trained Nigerian professionals all over the world, doing great in their fields of endeavours; the best in the world.

What efforts are we making to benefit from this? While others are reaping bountifully from their wealth of knowledge and experience, what are we doing with ours? There must be a deliberate policy to cultivate these brothers and sisters of ours; we must make the country comfortable and safe for them to come back and contribute their quotas.

We must woo them back, at whatever cost that is required and make them build the home technology.

Our research centres and academic institutions must wake up to their responsibilities and be made to work with focus and targets. Technologically advanced countries deliberately promote policies to advance their causes, as is happening in the United Arab Emirates today.

We must change our education focus towards serving the needs of our society with the firm belief that science knows no religion or ethnicity. Unless we do it ourselves, no super power will do it for us, not even China. All of them are exploiters. In the same book, the author narrated how the Indian cotton manufacturing was deliberately killed by the British imperialists.

He wrote: “…British strut to occupying India’s cotton fields and outlawing Indian manufacture of any cotton fabric from its own raw material. “India’s millions of citizens in the future would have to buy their cotton goods from the British textile mills to which all that cotton would now be shipped.

“England’s export of that same cotton largely subsidised its slave trade: shipped in bulk to West Africa, Indian cotton was battered for slaves, who were then shipped by the British to American plantations in return for sugar, cash, or both.

“In a few short decades India went from a fractious but self-sustaining country to a ward of the state, a beggar at the mercy of Her Imperial Majesty’s mercantile whims…The English……robbed the country of its soul.”

The Indians suffered the same fate, but realised early that their destiny was in their own hands and fought very hard to be where they are today.

We must begin the process of owning our destiny, whether by force or through guile.

Ikhioya wrote via:

Vanguard News Nigeria