President Trump’s
alleged invective,
mislabeling African states
and Haiti as sh*thole
countries, merely voices the
attitude of most Westerners
toward the zip code of
Africans. Most Americans
broadminded enough to
travel to Africa, often do
so within the context of
vacationing on a safari, to
see or touch the animals, if
they’re not shooting them.
Most of Africa’s past leaders
have been complicit in
that misrepresentation of
Africa, as they have often
been amenable puppets of
neo-colonialism or subtle
imperialist tendencies.
African leaders, with any
mix of gumption and
spine are often summarily
sabotaged, if not executed—
invariably with the aid of
fellow Black Africans, who
are fifth columnists.
Nigeria’s leaders are
no exception to the rule.
Arguably, Nigeria’s most
admired leader was General
Murtala Muhammed. He
may have been an exception
to the litany of kowtowing
‘rulers’ often propped by
external powers, to serve
non-Nigerian interests.
After the counter-coup of
July 1966, in which Murtala
(as he is fondly called by
Nigerians) had led an
aggrieved contingent of
military officers of northern
Nigerian extraction, some
Western powers persuaded
him to cede leadership of
the government to a man
they picked, and whom it
was believed, was more
pliable than the “brash”
Murtala. Muhammed’s
counter-coup was originally
intended to lead the north of
Nigeria into secession as an
independent nation.
However, the British had
just discovered that the
region of Biafra, which
would be contested in the
ensuing Nigerian Civil War,
was sitting on oil. Should
secession occur, the north
would be impoverished,
and their Igbo “enemies”
would become fabulously
wealthy, because of black
gold. Consequently, the
coupists were advised
to keep Nigeria intact, to
mutually benefit from the
oil proceeds from southern
Although the British choice
and a amenable gentleman,
Lieutenant-Colonel Yakubu
Gowon, became head of
state of Nigeria, in 1975 the
intransigent Murtala would
overthrow him in a bloodless
coup, becoming the newer
leader. Murtala combated
corruption and championed
wealth creation and Nigeria’s
industrialisation. Additionally,
he leveraged Nigeria’s
membership of the oil cartel,
the Organisation of Petroleum
Exporting Countries (OPEC),
to power the nation’s economic
In foreign policy, Murtala
made Nigeria “neutral” by
advancing the “Nigeria first”
policy, while emphasising
the independence of African
states, to buoy the dignity of
Africans. His independence
would cause him to butt
heads with the United States.
In fighting Apartheid South
Africa, Murtala used Nigeria’s
oil money in support of the
African National Congress
(ANC), and in warring Angola,
he supported the Soviet-backed
Popular Movement for the
Liberation of Angola (MPLA).
The Apartheid government of
South Africa and the United
States, supported the rival
National Union for the Total
Independence of Angola
(UNITA) forces led by the
controversial stooge, Jonas
Savimbi. Murtala’s support
strained relations with the
United States, which pressed
for the withdrawal of Cuban
troops and Soviet advisers from
Angola. The civil war in Angola
was one of the most prominent
proxy battles of the Cold War
between the United States
and the Soviet Union. African
leaders were either pawns in
this combustible impasse, or
“neutral” actors, brokering
deals in the interest of their
respective countries, while
asserting their independence
from the superpowers.
On February 13, 1976,
General Murtala Muhammed
was assassinated by Lt.
Colonel Buka Suka Dimka, in
an abortive coup, allegedly
sponsored by foreign powers
that resented the Nigerian
General’s lack of lackey in him.
He was only 37 years old. He
fought for the ascendancy of
independent African states. It
was not palatable to the West,
given its history of subjugating
Africans. Today, there are still
many in the West, who wish
to stand on the grandiosity of
white supremacy. And there
will always be enough African
puppets, too willing to toe the
line, at the expense of African
development and Black lives.
Such was the case with the
young Joseph-Desire Mobutu,
the ambitious Army chief
of staff, of the Democratic
Republic of the Congo. Backed
by Western funding of the
army and motivated by their
desire to have Soviet presence
extirpated from The Congo,
Mobutu orchestrated the
assassination of the defiant,
pan-Africanist prime minister,
Patrice Lumumba. Failing to
secure Western assistance,
in stanching the Belgiansupported
secessionists in
his country, Lumumba was
forced to secure Soviet aid—
which riled the West. Mobutu,
described by TIME as the
“archetypal African dictator,”
eventually embezzled about
$15 billion from his nation’s
coffers. He owed his rise,
to being a lackey to foreign
powers, as he brutally
repressed his countrymen,
among whom he lived, as
a deity. However, foreign
enablers are no excuse to a
military dictator’s oppression
and corruption.
Perhaps, had he lived,
Murtala could have been
Nigeria’s benevolent military
dictator that industrialised
Nigeria, just as the South
Korean military dictator, Park
Chung-hee did for his country,
before his assassination in
1979. Park presided over a
period of rapid economic
growth in South Korea,
described as the “Miracle on
the Han River.”
The “oil deals” in
contemporary Nigeria,
still reflect an imbalanced
relationship: the exploiter
and his lackey Black allies
versus the disenfranchised
indigenes, which most white
supremacist counterparts are
more comfortable supporting.
They manifest how past
dictators and questionable
“democratically elected”
Nigerian presidents have
mismanaged oil fields, often
parsing off trillions in value
to Western entities, some
of whose presidents may
turn around and denigrate
the African continent as a
“sh*thole”, despite the fact
that they shamelessly get rich
off generous Africa’s bounty
of resources. (It is ironic that
President Trump had once
bragged that his friends make
money from Africa, only to
allegedly turn around and
call Africa—responsible for
enriching many of these mates,
including leaders and owners
of Exxon-Mobil—a sh*thole.)
If Nigeria did not have an
ignoble history of incompetent
leaders, eager to pander to
foreign interests, perhaps
there’d be economic security
in the country. China is now
the largest economy in the
world (a feat it achieved earlier
than the 2025 prognosis). My
friends from China, including
professors, often speak of how
China developed its industries
indigenously, without having
to outsource the brain sector
to the West, which was more
technologically advanced
just three decades ago. One
of my law school friends
from China said, “what is
the big deal in building and
managing industries? You
learn by trial and error, and
then it becomes experience
and intellectual asset for your
own people, at a fraction of the
cost of outsourcing to foreign
Questionable Nigerian
leaders are still outsourcing
everything, thereby declaring
to the whole world that
“Nigerians” don’t have the
brains, to think, and solve
their problems by themselves.
They still appear to crave
the validation from external
elements, and “oyinbo oga”,
to say go on, like they once
declared, “Go on Gowon.”
And John Bull jumped to
attention: “Yes, sir!!!”
Talented youth of Nigeria: it
is time to break away from the
generation that failed us.
Nigeria copied the
presidential system of
government and the written
constitution of America, when
it was crafting its Second
Republic. The presidential
system has been a feature of
our democracy for almost
twenty years. However, it
is quizzical that while, we
copied the American system of
government, given its history
of diversity, like Nigeria’s, our
legal system contradictorily,
apes the British system. Did
Nigeria’s past leaders act
haphazardly? What do you
expect gun-toting rebels to
do—act like rocket scientists?
Speaking of gun-toting
coupists, they should be
prohibited from holding
public office in a democracy.
Considering the U.S.
Constitution serves as a
template for Nigeria’s, it
is pertinent to refer to it.
According to Section 3 of the
Fourteenth Amendment in the
United States Constitution:
Thus, all coup plotters are
barred from elective office.
Going forward, Nigerians
must operate a noble,
judicious, and equitable
constitution that breaks from
the treachery of its previous
military leaders and does not
reward them for their history
of perfidy and affinity with
treason against our beloved
state. General Buhari must
be the last of his kind to hold
office in Nigeria.
Previous military leaders
bolstered bigoted tropes
against Blackness. The image
of the brutish “African rogue
dictator,” who nonetheless is a
pawn of corrupting foreign
powers, persists. The era
of coupists reinforced a
history of calumniatory
stereotypes about Africans.
These rogue dictator
types—in the fashion of the
caricatured Field Marshall
Idi Amin of Uganda—were
often fodder for late-night
American parodies. Their
racist counterparts, who
controlled them or at least
influenced them in their
advisory capacity (those
dictators loved the foreign
advisors, unlike the Chinese,
who had the confidence to
believe in their own people’s
brains), were never similarly
targeted. Instead, President
Trump, whose “friends”
may have been among those,
who once controlled African
dictators, was pilloried as an
African dictator, and not as
a foreigner that controlled
African dictators.
Many foreign entities
stymie Nigeria’s
industrialisation, which
will benefit all Nigerians.
Some would rather enrich
a smattering of millionaires
in a scandalous fashion, so
long as they can keep their
boots on Nigeria’s neck,
and continue to scorch the
average Nigerian’s dignity,
as he wallows with his family
in penury. Conditions are
exerted that perpetuate that
vicious cycle of a benighted
“African darkness” that
has been purveyed for too
long. And then they can
say glibly, “see, even their
‘democratically elected’
leaders have no empathy for
their own people to uplift
them,’” citing the historical
pejorative of the decadence
of Africans, which white
colonisers supposedly came
to eradicate from Africa
in the first place. (But are
these democratically elected
presidents not the same
men, once garbed in uniform
and boots that had served
extra-Nigerian interests?
Although they were never
punished for their crimes
against Nigerians, they
are nonetheless guilty of
them). This is the narrative
past Nigerian leaders have
helped spin. We do not have
the inclination to form a
cult of personality for them,
like Mobutu forced The
Congolese to do for him.
Their time is up.

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