Nigeria 2011: Chances for an African Renaissance. Interview with ARP Chairman, Yahaya Ezemoo Ndu
1/16/2011 1:27:46 PM -
Nigeria is Africa's heart and largest country; at the same time, it seems to be the continent's gravitational centre, the anti-colonial locomotive, and the laboratory of new considerations about Africa's identity, cultural integrity, and educational rehabilitation. Home to the African Renaissance Party, Nigeria features fresh approaches to African historiography, in full refutation of the colonial falsehood that instigated so many conflicts throughout the continent by means of introduction of fake names, false ideologies, and fallacious state-imposed doctrines.
Yahaya Ezemoo Ndu is the chairman of the African Renaissance Party (ARP), and was a candidate in Nigeria's presidential elections in 2003. Visionary and politician, intellectual and activist, Mr. Yahaya Ndu is member of the National Committee of the African Unification Front (AUF), and spearheaded many initiatives aiming at eliminating colonially-imposed tyranny, military dictatorship, cultural alienation, socio-behavioural disintegration, historical denigration, and identity confusion from Africa.
Struggling in the first line of the front against fallacious, colonialist historiography, neo-colonialist involvement, policies and practices, Mr. Yahaya Ndu defends the cause of reparations for Africa. He is therefore the most suitable person to describe Nigeria's and Africa's chances for a better future.
I am today honoured to publish a first part of the interview that Mr. Yahaya Ezemoo Ndu accorded recently to me; in forthcoming articles, I will complete the series.
1, Would you acquaint our readers with your family and educational background?
My father, Chief Pius Chidobi Ndu, was an Igbo; my mother is also Igbo and both are from Oghe, in Ezeagu local government area, at the state of Enugu.
My father was a traditional ruler, a prominent businessman, and a political figure. Part of his political career involved his tenure as a senator in Nigeria's first republic.
I was born in Jos, the capital of the Plateau state of Nigeria, a rather cosmopolitan place where my father had settled at the time, and lived a long part of his life.
I started schooling at St. Theresa's Primary School, Jos. At the outbreak of hostilities in Nigeria in 1966/1967, my family moved to Igboland and I continued my primary education in Enugu, the capital of eastern Nigeria. After the end of the war, I commenced my secondary education at the College of the Immaculate Conception, and thence to Christ High School in Abor, which is located in Enugu state as well.
Thereafter I obtained admission into the Faculty of Law at the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), where I read Law.
It was during the course of my academic studies that it became increasingly evident to me that schooling was literally disturbing my education, and that in the process, instead of acquiring real access into real Knowledge, I was merely feeding myself with a manner of Western education, which was especially designed to ensure that I would remain in a state of mental, intellectual and spiritual dependency.
2. Would you highlight your political career's milestones?
I must have been about seven years old, when one day as I returned from the school (St. Theresa's primary school, Jos) and greeted my father who happened to be discussing with another man. I was then asked to shake hands with that person, and on that very moment my father introduced that man to me:
- Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe!
That man became later the first president of Nigeria, and his name was always synonymous with politics. From that very moment, I started taking more than a passing interest in politics.
My father being an active politician and a prominent traditional ruler, our house was naturally a beehive of political activities; as a matter of fact, I was a boisterous child was always in the midst of the masses of people that were ever present in our house.
My political career advanced progressively, and I do not recall any particular milestones as such to speak about. Conclusive part of my political thoughts and considerations turned out to be the conviction that Nigeria in its integrity and Africa in its entirety needed a complete redirection. I subsequently decided to devote my life to this task, especially after I came to know in minute details the evildoings perpetrated by the colonials against the highly educated, profoundly humane, and genuinely pacific King Jaja of Opobo (1821-1891); the colonial treachery, the shocking story of King Jaja's kidnapping by the English government, and his tragic and most undeserved end in captivity overwhelmed my political thought, determined my political stance, and contextualized my African identity.
Organization for Democracy in Africa (ODA)
"Today Africa's democratic deficit is more significant than its financial deficit"-Julius Nyerere.
Haven shamefully and painfully watched as Africa, our motherland, was apparently terminally engaged in violent confrontations of various proportions with its poor self over the past four decades.
The thoroughness, the ruthlessness and the ferocity of these confrontations, which spanned the whole length and breadth of the continent, from Cape Town to Cairo and from Monrovia to Mogadishu, have often terrified and even dumbfounded the international community.
In May 1994, I gathered several colleagues, companions and activists in a meeting at Enugu in Eastern Nigeria, whereby we all decided to set up the Organization for Democracy in Africa (ODA) with the following aims and objectives:
I. Ensuring and monitoring probity and accountability in the administration of African states
II. Complementing the activities of other progressive regional and sub-regional African organizations committed to the unification, democratization and development of the African states
III. Identifying the colonially-instigated disputes in Africa, and exposing them to the international community
IV. Preventing ethnic, religious, racial, political or cultural disputes from escalating into wars or violent confrontations throughout Africa
African Revolutionary Movement (ARM)
On the 1st of October 2000, at the Abuja Cultural Center, I launched the African Revolutionary Movement (ARM) and at a later date, I - along with my colleagues - applied to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in order to register ARM as a political party. However, INEC refused to register us, claiming that the term 'revolutionary' in the party name was unacceptable to the commission, and that in addition, the abbreviation ARM was equally unacceptable. We therefore had to change the name to African Renaissance Party (ARP), which was finally registered in 2002.
African Renaissance Party (ARP)
In 2003, I contested for the Presidency of Republic, in Nigeria's presidential elections, under the African Renaissance Party.
3, How did you feel personally your Igbo identity, and at what age were you conscious that you belong to your ethnic religious group?
As I said, I was born in Jos, northern Nigeria. I was ten years old, when the Nigerian / Biafran civil broke out in 1967; as a matter of fact, my parents had to run to the eastern part of Nigeria. It was indeed at that time that the idea dawned upon me that I was an Igbo and an eastern Nigerian.
At the time, there was a general pogrom in northern Nigeria against the Igbos and the Igbos were being massacred in hundreds of thousands throughout northern Nigeria in one of the most thorough but less publicized genocides in the History of the Mankind.
Now, Igbos are predominately Christian and followers of traditional religions, and very few of them are Muslims. In fact, I never came across an Igbo Muslim until my adolescent years.
You don't need to have a Ph.D. in Astrophysics to know that the Igbos are the most marginalized people of Nigeria. This fact is quite paradoxical because among all the peoples of Nigeria none believes in unified Nigeria as much as the Igbos do.
First of all, you can find Igbos residing all over Nigeria, even in the most remote areas. Secondly, you can easily notice that wherever an Igbo resides, he really invests his property. No other people or ethno-religious group in Nigeria shares this typical trait. Thirdly, throughout Nigeria, the Igbos constitute the 2nd largest group, being second only to the indigenous population as per region.
Yet, the Igbos are still so grossly marginalized that their region (Nigeria's southeast part) is the zone of poverty and underdevelopment par excellence.
Endowment Fund for the Center for Igbo Studies
The Igbo nation features a home-grown democratic sociopolitical system, which goes back to Igbo Pre-history and at the same time testifies to the most advanced concepts of humane and civilized social order that must have been unique in the Antiquity.
The reason why an Igbo can never grovel and roll on the ground before a fellow human being, no matter how highly placed that human being may or might be, is that every Igbo man knows without any shred of doubt that he is a king. This belief and practice is not common to all Africans, you must note.
The actual center of the habitable world is a location marked in all the ancient maps of the world as "Median"; this is a cartographical term meaning 'a location situated in the middle'. That place is 'Median Biafra', the only place to be marked under this name in the world map. Biafra is located in the South Eastern Region of Nigeria; Biafra had once included the Delta region, the Cameroon Border States, and the fringes of the Niger-Benue confluence.
4, How did you feel personally your identity of Nigerian citizen, and what is Nigeria's role in Africa according to your political vision?
I see Nigeria as the firstborn of Africa in every sense of the word, and like all firstborns in African cultural and traditional understandings, it behooves Nigeria to take good care of the rest of Africa. This means that Nigeria must lead by example; it implies that Nigeria must be a model state and must get her acts together so to say. In that wise, and going by all available indices, Nigeria is a failure.
I also believe that it is Nigeria's responsibility to become a super-state strong enough to take adequate care of the rest of Africa and the Black World. When one looks at the crisis bedeviling the Black World and takes into consideration the fact that Black people are not able to take care of themselves and their brothers, one draws the conclusion that Nigeria has abdicated from her position and declined her responsibilities. This is my own reckoning. For instance, the predicament confronting the Black People of Haiti today demonstrates - amongst others - the failure of Nigeria.
Nigeria should become a super-state capable enough to protect the interests of the Black World. Nigeria should be strong enough to be entrusted veto power in the UN Security Council. Nigeria should be an industrialized nation manufacturing her own cars, airplanes, etc. Nigeria should be a net exporter of all types of high technological products. Nigeria should be the very strongest nation on Earth to ensure that no people are persecuted in today's world and no race discrimination takes place.
It is the direct responsibility of Nigeria to bring about the unification of the Black World, just as it is the responsibility of a family's firstborn to ensure the togetherness.
One learns from Prof. Catherine Acholonu-Olumba that "the wicked and inhuman fate to which the Black race has been confined through the ages was consciously and deliberately plotted'; and that 'seeds of enmity were meticulously sowed among Black Africans who had been used as instruments of division, racism, tribalism, injustice and enthronement of falsehood over truth and wisdom'. This wound has remained with Africans, especially Nigerians, who are some of the most gifted men and women in the world but remained prostrate due to tribalism and nepotism; these negative elements have been so deeply ingrained that only a surgical incision of a powerful dose of hard truth could effect the desired changes.
I also select the following excerpts:
"It is no accident that the Niger/ Benue confluence is located in the land of Nigeria, the most populous Black African nation; a country and a people marked out from the twilight of time to be the cradle of African Renaissance".
"That distinguishing cultural phenomenon known all over the world as Black African culture is Nigerian in origin".
About The Author: Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis - is Orientalist, Assyriologist, Egyptologist, Iranologist, Islamologist, Historian and Political Scientist. Dr. Megalommatis, 52, is the author of 12 books, dozens of scholarly articles, hundreds of encyclopedia entries, and thousands of articles. He speaks, reads and writes more than 15, modern and ancient, languages.