Suddenly, Nigeria has become the toast of the world community. Various countries in both the Western and Eastern world, such as the United States of America, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, China, etc., are now competing among themselves on who should outdo each other in doing business with the most populous country in Africa.
Within the past six months, the leaders of these countries had held talks with our President on the exchange of goods and services. The scenario resembled what happened during the scramble for Africa when West European countries competed among themselves for the colonization of the continent.
Colonization is of various types. It could be physical, it could be mental or spiritual, and it could as well be by way of trade relations.
Physical colonization happened in the 18th and 19th centuries when the imperial countries of Western Europe physically occupied most countries of Africa, imposed their political and economic systems on the people, their culture and religion, while at the same time plundering and expropriating their resources.
Mental or spiritual colonization is the disorientation or emptying of the African mind and filling it with the European thought system, European culture, European religion, European lifestyle, language, music, dress code, etc. Its other name is cultural imperialism.
Lastly, trade or economic colonization involves the pillaging, the plundering and the expropriation of the resources of Africa through dubious trade agreements between the countries of the northern hemisphere and the African states, usually designed to favour European trading organizations and their American counterparts.
Even after the European colonialists had physically left the African soil some five or six decades ago, these two latter types of colonization still persist, thus justifying Karl Marx’s assertion that social or cultural relations always lag behind the material production.
In April 2018, President Muhammadu Buhari travelled to the United States of America to meet with President Donald Trump. They drank tea together and later signed a bilateral trade agreement. We all rejoiced and hailed our President that he had become the first African President to be received at the White House by the new American President. That was before we were corrected that the Egyptian President was there before him. We suckled.
In June 2018, French President, Emmanuel Macron, came to Nigeria. He told us that he was visiting Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s Afrika Shrine in Lagos. Later, he travelled to Abuja, the nation’s capital, to meet with our President. The two Presidents also held trade talks and signed bilateral agreements. We clapped.
In August, British Prime Minister, Theresa May, equally came calling. But first, she visited South Africa to inquire about the British ship carrying arms en route to Nigeria but was intercepted and detained in that country. It was in South Africa that Theresa May learned that Nigeria was harbouring most extreme poor people in the world, and she said so. She then proceeded to Nigeria and held trade talks with our President and later signed a trade agreement with him. We hailed it.
Two days later, German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, equally came calling and also signed a trade agreement with President Muhammadu Buhari. We concurred.
Not to be outdone, our President decided to make his own move. He travelled to China, with some members of his family, state governors and ministers. They spent almost one week in that country, eating, winning and drinking. Before they came back to Nigeria, their bags were full of borrowed Chinese money. We gave them thumbs up.
Now, we begin to ask: why were all these trade agreements? Why has Nigeria suddenly become the cynosure of the eyes of the world community? Why has the world community developed so much interest in Nigeria that every country now wants to do business with her? What products do Nigeria actually produce that has become so important to the world community?
Nigeria is the producer of basic raw materials or primary products like cocoa, cotton, rubber, cassava, palm kernel and palm oil, timber, cashew nuts, ground nuts, as well as minerals such as crude oil, uranium, gold, coal, tin, iron ore, columbite, etc.
These primary products are exported to Europe, the United States of America, China, Japan, etc., and sold at give away prices to various manufacturing companies there. Then, they are processed in these factories, packaged and exported back to Nigeria and sold to the people at very high prices. None of these countries was prepared to assist Nigeria set up her own manufacturing companies where these raw materials could be processed because that would be empowering the country and making it stand on its own.
A barrel of crude oil which Nigeria produces, for instance, is currently sold at about $70. When it is however processed and brought back to the country as either diesel, petrol, kerosene, etc, it is sold at five times higher the price of crude oil. Why therefore would these Western developed countries assist Nigeria to build enough refineries in the country that would Nigeria stop importing oil from them? It would not happen.
Moreover, with the massive devaluation of the nation’s currency, the Naira, Nigeria’s products have now become too cheap that foreign entrepreneurs are taking the advantage to buy them. That’s why all these countries are rushing in and struggling to enter into a trade agreement with Nigeria.
What then does Nigeria get in return? President Buhari travelled to America to ask for warplanes to help defeat Boko Haram. The United Kingdom loaded their ship with arms heading to Nigeria but was intercepted in South Africa. France is also assisting with arms to fight the insurgency, etc.
But who arms these insurgents? Specifically, where does Boko Haram get its own arms? That is to say, who arms Boko Haram? Are they not the same people who equally supply us warplanes, who sell arms to us with the money they gave us from the raw materials they buy from us?
In other words, the White people are doing business with us. They gave arms to our own people and ask them to fight us. They gave arms to us and ask us to fight our own people. Head or tail we lose.