African Renaissance Party Chairman Yahaya Ndu, Nigeria, India, Brazil, China, Africa and the UN
1/16/2011 1:31:21 PM -
In three earlier articles titled "Nigeria 2011: Chances for an African Renaissance. Interview with ARP Chairman, Yahaya Ezemoo Ndu", "ARP Chairman Yahaya Ndu: African Renaissance to Redress Criminally Instituted African Borderlines", and "Chairman Yahaya Ndu Confident Nigeria and Africa Can Rise to Prominence Again", I published the first three parts of an interview with Mr. Yahaya Ezemoo Ndu, Chairman of the African Renaissance Party (ARP), who was a candidate in Nigeria's presidential elections in 2003.
Visionary and politician, intellectual and activist, Chairman 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, Chairman Yahaya Ndu defends the cause of reparations for Africa. His interview bears witness to new theoretical and intellectual trends that emerge in Nigeria, to prevail throughout Africa and thus herald a great future for the entire Black Continent.
Today, I publish the fourth part of the interview, and in a forthcoming article, I will complete the series.
16. You make Tourism a great concern and a key dimension of your economic policy. Tourism is identified worldwide as a key tool for westernization and propaganda of North America and Western European culture. How will you maintain a balance between Tourism and cultural Renaissance?
Yahaya Ezemoo Ndu - Yes indeed, we at the African Renaissance Party make Tourism a key dimension of our economic policy and good reasons. We are confident that, though modern tourism has been used by Western powers for westernization and propaganda of North America, we are capable of using tourism to promote our economic interests and to reeducate the world as regards the otherwise ignored African contributions to Human Civilization.
Tourism is the fastest growing industry in the world and the greatest generator of employments. Now, Nigeria has a very serious sociopolitical problem, that of unemployment, and that's why I believe that we can use tourism to provide our people with millions of jobs, be they short or long term.
Furthermore, cultural and historical tourism attracts more and more people all over the world, and in this field, Africa has a clear comparative advantage as the world is yet to discover the real Africa, as well as the African contribution to World Civilization. Going into this will benefit Nigeria and Africa is various ways.
The problem of maintaining balance between tourism and cultural renaissance will simply not arise because cultural renaissance will be the focus of our tourism development.
17. According to FAO statistics, between 1963 and 1990, Nigeria's self sufficiency was reduced dramatically practically in oils (207% to 102%) and milk (80% to 69%).What measures do you plan to take in order to boost Nigeria's agricultural production and ensure the country's self sufficiency?
Yahaya Ezemoo Ndu - The first thing we need to do is to understand what has historically led to the scenario that you have rightly depicted. When we attempt to do this, we find that, in the 1960s, Nigeria was not only operating a federal system of government but also agriculture was given priority attention in all the zones of the country. Today, the governmental attention has shifted to crude oil exports and the sharing of the revenues ensuing from trade. Secondly, in the 1960s, the people were at the center of all government policies, but now the Nigerian military have engaged in a war in the Niger Delta, mowing down citizens to clear the way for Nigerian Oil exploration by foreign companies. They even go up to declaring boldly that no amount of civilian casualties will deter the said operations.
So honestly, and to my mind, one does need to look far to see the cause of the discrepancy that your question has highlighted.
As to the measures that we plan to take to boost Nigeria's agricultural production and thus ensure the country's self sufficiency, we will seek to return the nation to a federal system of government with a strengthened dimension of fiscal federalism, and I believe that the federal administrations will thus be inspired to take agricultural production and socioeconomic development seriously.
Furthermore, we will orient our engineers and technology experts toward large scale mechanized farm production, as we do not believe in importation. By manufacturing agricultural tractors and other mechanized implements locally, we shall become fully self sufficient in agriculture.
In addition, we will provide adequate funding and land for businessmen willing genuinely to invest in agriculture at all levels and go back to the era of farm settlements of the yesteryears.
Finally, let me say that our target is not merely to make Nigeria agriculturally sufficient but Africa's food basket; agriculture is a major concern for us, and this is the reason we plan on entering into a highly contextualized partnership with diverse African and Black governments worldwide. Our ultimate target is to maximize comparative advantages in all cases.
18. What would be the basic axes of your Health policies?
Yahaya Ezemoo Ndu - The African Renaissance Party is committed to provide Nigerians with self-sufficiency in healthcare, and we do not see why the best medical doctors in the world cannot be African.
We have a very particular interest in preserving, reassessing and reorganizing the sector of traditional medicine; we intend to compel our traditional medical practitioners to put heads together with pharmaceutical firms and experts to ensure more than adequate production of medicine. We are bound to providing hospitals and external centers with the necessary infrastructure and totally modernize the existing facilities. Furthermore, we will do our best to improve security and work conditions in a way to offer incentives to Nigerian Diaspora doctors to either come back or alternatively complement us through telemedicine. However, our focus shall be more on preventive than curative medicine, and we will carry out extensive work for sanitization infrastructure, demonstrating at the same time a particular interest in making healthy nutrition accessible to and valued by all.
19. What would be the basic axes of your Education policies?
Yahaya Ezemoo Ndu - We intend to promote functional and practical education; we will emphasize on technical education infrastructure. We will benefit from our Biafra experience. We support free but ultra productive education at all levels, drawing from our millennia long African educational tradition. We intend to carry out a proper mental emancipation of the schoolchildren, the pupils and the students because we want the African youth to have faith in their abilities. We will implement an educational system that will instill in all the students' minds and hearts the concept that all people are born equal irrespective of race, ethnic origin, and ancestry. In other words, we will rid the African peoples of the complex of inferiority. Education throughout the Renascent Africa will make people real and integral Human Beings.
20. Where does African Renaissance party stand with respect to the former colonial powers and the demanded reparations for Africa? What do you expect in this regard?
Yahaya Ezemoo Ndu - First of all, in 2003, the African Renaissance Party tried all within its powers to convene a World Summit on Reparations for Africa which was scheduled to take place at Kinston, Jamaica. The event could not take place as planned and the party had to settle with sponsoring an African Reparations Bill at the National Assembly of Nigeria.
The Bill was used to direct Nigeria and Africa to refocus on the unfinished business of forcing the Western colonial nations to pay reparations for social dislocations, forcible enslavement, looting of treasures and artifacts, destruction and desecration of cities, empires, and civilizations - or to put it in two words for centuries of rapacious economic exploitation of Black African people.
The truth is that the poverty inhibiting Black and African economies is traceable to the atrocities occurred to them during the processes of colonization and imperialism. In acknowledgement of the fact that if no extra and considerable funds are injected into these economies, such countries shall remain impoverished and beggarly for the foreseeable future, the reparations demanded offer a minimal expression of regret for the tremendous damages caused. It is therefore imperative that a practical and pragmatic initiative be put in place to address the historically bestowed legacy of structural impoverishment.
Second, to be honest with you, we expect diverse responses to the demand for reparations, oscillating from apologies to financial recompense, return of artifacts, subsidies for reconstruction works, and redress of colonial historiography, which means a complete and unbiased re-writing of African History.
21. What are Nigeria's best partners worldwide, and how do you view China, India, and Brazil in the global scene?
Yahaya Ezemoo Ndu - Our best partners are the Blacks of Brazil, India, and China. The truth is that all sensible governments are primarily concerned with the promotion and protection of their interests and the welfare of their citizens. Consequently, their relationship with other nations is determined by the evaluation of equitable, beneficial interaction. This is true for China. This is true for India, and also for Brazil. None of them is altruistic, and therefore Nigeria and the rest of Africa must bear this in mind at all times.
I am personally skeptical about the term 'development partner'; actually, I have not seen it work anywhere at all. All the developed and industrialized nations deployed their own efforts to strengthen their economies. Consequently, all nations seeking development must first look inwards, toward their own institutions and citizens, and then outwards, e.g. to any other nations. This is not to say that governments or peoples of diverse nations cannot collaborate; I would like merely to warn that all participants in any such collaboration must be clear eyed at all times.
As far as India is concerned, I would like to add the following: India is gearing up to serve the powerful UN Security Council as a non-permanent member, after a gap of 19 years, with a fresh outlook on several international issues, especially Human Rights. India will return to the Security Council on January 1, 2011 for a 2-year period along with South Africa, Columbia, Germany, and Portugal.
With respect to Brazil, I want also to add a few words. I happened to read a statement recently made by Ambassador Antonio Patriota, the man chosen to succeed Foreign Affairs Minister of Brazil, Celso Amorim, in the administration of newly elected President Dilma Rousseff, in which he said that Brazil, India and South Africa have become "unavoidable partners" in the global decision making process, and I said to myself:
"Indeed the world makes way to the nations that know where they are going"; I subsequently lamented the place of Nigeria in the whole scheme.
22. How do you view China's increased presence in the African continent?
Yahaya Ezemoo Ndu - It is common knowledge that, as global demands for energy continue to rise, the major players, like the United States, the European Union (EU), and Japan, are facing a new competition in the race to secure long-term energy supplies: China. As its economy booms, China is intent on getting the resources needed to sustain its rapid growth. Beijing is taking its quest to lock down sources of Oil and other necessary raw materials across the globe. As part of this effort, China has turned to Africa, an Oil producing source whose risks and challenges have often caused it to be overlooked economically.
The Africans must control their own destinies, and their leaders must ensure that the poor and hungry will also enjoy the advantages that can flow from the exploitation of the natural resources that their countries have been endowed with.
Wikileaks leaked US cables demonstrating that several African governments like dealing with China. But they shouldn't forget that China's interest in Africa is driven by foreign policy and economic objectives.
China has been investing in Africa for decades, but the quantity and commitment of China's investment has risen in proportion with its newfound economic strength.
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.