In the early hours of Saturday, May 26, 2018, I woke up from my six hours rest and I picked up my mobile phone, which was as usual accessible, just by the left-hand side of my bedside furniture, I went on directly to my Facebook App and I found the parody “This is Nigeria” a music video by Falz (Folarin Falana) shared by a Facebook page I follow- The African Archive, although I had seen Childish Gambino’s (Donald Glover) “This is America.” On seeing a cover of this video in the Nigerian narrative, I was quite amused, I loved it! I loved it but I still felt Falz did not do justice to the imagery and visual representation; despite this observation, Falz did a great job, however, some people still feel the video is an abuse of their religion, in short, lots of reactions followed the release of this video.
At the beginning of the video “This is Nigeria” there was a radio broadcast by a male speaker saying (I sensed it was Falz’s, though I am not sure), “. . . We operate a predictory neo-colonial capitalist economy, which is founded on fraud and exploitation and therefore, we are bound to have corruption.” I listened to these words repeatedly, and the question on my mind was, “Are we really practicing a democratic system or a neo-colonial capitalist system of government like Mr. Folarin notes?” Though, the words in the radio broadcast were just a restatement of what I think Nigeria’s system of government is, a neo-liberal structure.
In a democratic state the power is to the people and not to the elitist sect, and likewise, there is an equal distribution of the means of production. In a neo-colonial capitalist state, citizens are been ruled by capitalism, globalization and the imperialism instinct. Nigeria in its neo-colonial capitalist sense sees everything foreign as right, as a result, we have many people who desire shoes and bags from Europe or America and not Aba made bags (I am similarly guilty of this, but what is the reason for this? Probably a story for another day). This colonial mentality has affected industrialization in Nigeria.
On the economic purview, we have always needed the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or World Bank to give us reports on how our economy is growing before we can decide what structure fits us. United Nations and World Health Organisation (WHO) are neo-colonial structures that we have made to decide our fate on health, education and on our economic structure. Judith Blau and Louis Edgar Esparza noted that “WTO (World Trade Organisation), the IMF [UN, WHO] and the WB have pursued policies that have adversely affected Third World countries by increasing poverty, slowing growth rates, spurring labor migration, swelling urban slums, and concentrating wealth in the hands of the few.” Our submission to these so-called agents of globalization has made us subjected to foreign aids and loans that stunt our economic strength. We wallow in debt and they make us live at their mercy.
When a nation’s wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few we say capitalism exists in such a country or a state, like we have in Nigeria there is an imbalance in the distribution of wealth. According to the Vanguard’s 2016, 112 million of 167 million Nigerians are below the poverty level. From these figures, we can suggest that 55 million remaining population comprise the elite and the middle-class. This is non-arguably an extreme inequality, in this structure, a lot of corrupt practices are bound to happen which is the situation in Nigeria today, where some sects have the chunk of wealth that belongs to others. We have our rich men take stolen funds to Europe, America and some parts of Asia to save and also to set up businesses. Likewise, the pained civil servants and law enforcement agencies of the nation want to replicate the act; and so we have parastatals funds stolen and used for self-gains by the directors, the police force and the army officials often expect tips from motorists. Also, this is the cause of the ethnic violence we have today in Nigeria, some ethnics feel they are not getting a dividend of the nation’s wealth.
We are in a disguised democratic state, and Falz is calling our attention to this structure that is plundering our growth, so be alert!
Judith, Blau and Jonathan, Edgar Esparza. Human Rights. (New York: Routledge), 2016, 20.
Photo Credit: Japantimes