Africa as a continent has been “through a lot.” Its people suffered from slavery—the Arab Slavery as well as the TransAtlantic Slave Trade. After slavery was abolished by the United States Congress in the late 19th century, European superpowers of the time (mainly Great Britain and France) came to Africa and colonized it. It was a conquest that was won with blood. During the colonial era, colonial administrators were the lord of all territories even though the indigenous peoples recognized their traditional kings and chiefs.
One of the default acts carried out by these colonial masters was the transfer of resources from African kingdoms to Europe. Of course, it was not until recently that museums in the West started returning artifacts deemed to have been stolen from Africa to the continent. However, since the colonial administrators left the continent and granted different geographical expressions their freedom (known as independence), there has been an uproar against a new form of colonialism which is indirect and only benefits the few who are the African elite.
Major Gen. Ochai said Nigeria must lead other countries in the fight.
According to Britannica, neo-colonialism is broadly understood as a further development of capitalism that enables capitalist powers (both nations and corporations) to dominate subject nations through the operations of international capitalism rather than by means of direct rule. It is simply the control of less-developed countries through indirect means. First used to mean the continuing dependence of former colonies on foreign countries, it now applies to places where the power of developed countries was used to produce a colonial-like exploitation.
It is based on this that the Commandant of the Nigeria Defence Academy (NDA), Major General John Ochai, said that Nigeria must lead other countries to resist neo-colonialism from developed countries. Mr. Ochai said that Nigeria, as the “undisputed Big Brother in Africa,” must lead other African countries against the new scramble for Africa by Saudi Arabia and other countries, some of whom colonized African countries in the past. Some of these countries include the United States, China, Russia and France.
How can Nigeria lead others with its very many internal issues?
He delivered a lecture on Nigerian leadership role in the global competition for Africa at the 11th leadership lecture series organised by the Centre For The Study of Leadership And Complex Military Operations (CSLCMO) of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA). There, he made known that the new scramble, which amounts to neo-colonialism, is not only being carried out single-handedly by those countries but through multinational companies, big tech companies, grants and aid to African countries. He noted that the $46-billion Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) from the US to Africa also counts as a form of neo-colonialism as American businesses benefit from it. China-funded infrastructure, aid and loans that have flooded the continent are also an attempt to have African countries to China’s side in the face of competition with other developed countries scrambling for Africa.
But how can Nigeria take the lead against this menace without first addressing its internal challenges and putting the country in order? Nigeria cannot create an atmosphere where other African countries can join in the fight if the government is still battling corruption, political instability and even lack of goodwill from neighbouring countries. Although Nigeria has always been referred to as the “Giant of Africa,” recent indices have shown that the country is fast losing this status. First, Nigeria is one of the most impoverished countries on the continent with a per-capita income of $2,184; this is concerning when compared to the United States with a per-capita income of $76,398, according to the World Bank. Yet, Nigerian politics spend taxpayers’ money with reckless abandon.
Working against anti neo-colonialists in Niger Republic?
Arguably, one can say that Nigeria actively worked in the last few months with developed countries and big multinational companies against the anti neo-colonialists in Niger Republic. Since the military took over in Niger Republic, ECOWAS officials have not been happy about it, saying that it was a trampling of democracy and rule of law. However, the military junta were unequivocal about issuing a directive to the French forces in the country to leave. Nigeria being the backbone of ECOWAS militarily was, in essence, working so that France would still have a foothold in the country. A few months ago, Nigerian forces were set to invade Niger before the military exercise was called off. All of these make one wonder if the fight against neo-colonialism would yield a tangible result anytime soon.