By Jimanze Ego-Alowes
ABUJA (Sundiata Post) But let nobody tell me of Steve Jobs. The matter is not of genes. We speak of man as a cultural being not an ethnic robot. We are not equipped to comment on genetics. That is we are not saying that blacks or Arabs are genetically inferior. They may or may not be. It is just that we are not competent to so comment. But the demographics we speak of is almost self-evident.
In our estimation, it is this failure of Arab participation in science and mathematics as emblematized in their absence in Silicon Valley that did the Arabs in. The catch is that the present world we are in comes with no new spatial/population frontiers. The frontiers are the frontiers of the mind. And the mind is best manned and given direction by mathematics, the mathematical sciences. Not, poetry, not religion. And the last two are all the Arabs have. Just like blacks, the Arabs are losing out of the vehicles of modernity, for driving modernity – that is mathematics and technology. It is this flight from the path, off modernity, that drives the ”post Ms Ahmed/Cairo” Arabs and congregations into hijabism, into ultra religious conservatisms. At least if you failed on earth you labour to secure paradise, seems to be their pitch.
But the important points here are as follows. The Arabs in this strategic retreat for paradise are not being pious. No, it is a game. they are in it, retreating into paradise for the hunt of power, and power on earth. And unlike what By John McHugo said, it is not just regional power. The grand design is to use up religionism first to congregate regionally and next charge for global dominance. That is a dominance they missed in the market place, in the faculty halls, in the sports arenas, they want to finagle via the prayer mats and hijabisms. It is an Arab thing deploying religions and not a religion deploying the Arabs. Why poor blacks should be involved at all in this is what we don’t just know.
But what is our own in it? That is where the real point lies. Our failures are myriad and as follows. First Africa/black is the only peoples who never invented a major religion. Or innovated one. All segmental geographies of the human society, each invented brand new religions or innovated foreign legacy grafts. The list: the Middle East is already notorious for inventing religions – Zoroastrianism, Islam, Christianity and Judaism. The Chinese/Indians did Buddhism, Taoism etc. The West innovated Judaism into Christianity and further into Pentecostalism. [The new testament for instance borrowed heavily from the Greek form. St Luke writes like an Aristotlean. And there are no antecedents of that style in Jewish literary traditions a priori].
It is only in black Africa that we are afraid to invent the new, that is bold, or to innovate the ingestion that is in us. But the point does not end there. The real issue is that no civilization, no prosperity, has been able to stand save it invented its own religions, or innovated an ingested or invader heritage religion. We have dealt with much of this in our books and interested parties may reach out for Economists as Assassins and Nigeria the Unreported Genocide.
To summarize on this, no countries which does not invent its own religions or innovates heritage religions can develop economically or even existentially. This is an iron lore. Thus our cowardice to reinvent the religions and other axial sciences are actually our economic and not just epistemic doom. In other words the trouble with Nigeria has nothing to do with the Ony-Eze Achebe myth of leadership. The trouble with Nigeria is in our failure to invent, to use our brains. That is it is right to say that the Nigerian scholar has failed Nigeria more disastrously than the Nigerian leader.
Now let us bring the tale of Ms Ahmed in context. The implication of this hijab brouhaha is historically as follows. When the head of the Arab world, Egypt, okayed the hijab as a non-orthodoxy, our Nigerian Muslim population followed. Those were in the salad and growing up days of Ahmed. Next, when the leaders of the emergent Arab power, Saudi Arabia, turns up and re/interprets the orthodox unto illiberal hijabing, Nigeria’s Muslim population queues up – mindlessly following the Arabs?
The point is simple, we have not shown any capacity to think things through, to show and possess epistemic independence, freedom of thought. If we had formed our own religions and or innovated on its foreign axialities, we won’t be in the deep shit of follow-follow, no-open eyes. What is happening ala hijab is just similar to our kids wearing torn jeans or sagging their smelly arses out just because Americans do it. It is a copier mentality we have. It is just that the hijabing is copying of the religious kind.
Now a point has to be made clear. It is that we are not for or against a Nigerian Muslim girl wearing or not wearing hijab. But what we are against is the mindless slavery of the black man – cognitive and epistemic slavery. It is this knowledge slavery, not leadership, that holds us down writhing in humiliation and shame under the sun of Africa. It is this slavery that accounts for blacks been hawked as animal-chattels throughout Libya and much of the Arab world. The Arabs know or believe it, blacks don’t have the brains. And they may not be wrong. If we had why are we worshiping their own gods? Can’t we forge and bake out our own gods and scriptures at home, under the flailing African sun? Boy if you have the brains it will show. So if you are down in economics as a people, as a nation, please check your faculties and brains, not your leadership cadres.
One last word. I once was discussing with a leading thinker. He happens to be Yoruba and an otunba. I told him that toe to toe, pound for pound, the Yoruba are the most economically advanced of the 3 big ethnic nations in Nigeria. But the truth of this is not in the usual economic data and statistics. On the usual economic meters, the eagle feather may go to the Igbo.
However, on aggregate sums the Igbo are likely to have the least total sum. [A Dangote may be richer than a dozen Igbo big money men]. But the velocity of currency/cash and spread of riches, ensure that the Igbo are top predators in this matter. But on aggregate wealth the north tops the league followed by the Yoruba, in our back of envelope calculations.
But when it comes to the prospect of real economic takeoff, none of the other 3 comes near the Yoruba. And the non-economic data of this economic development is as follows; the Yoruba are the only group who have exhibited genius to innovate ingested or foreign heritage religions. However inchoately, they are the only group to have so done. And the key example is in Celestial and Cherubim and Seraphim churches. Their founders had the presence of mind, the cognitive independence, to tinker with that which invaded them. The outcome is Cherubim and Seraphim and Celestial Churches, with headquarters, that is their Mecca, Medina, Rome, etc. in Yoruba land, Nigeria.
For the Hausa, the Islam that came to them is a strand totalitarian. The proselytizers, the Fulani, came as superiors, missioners and higher beings. They saw the natives as coarse entities, certainly lower beings. In fact a key member of the ruling cabal hinted so. In the words of Shehu Malami:
You hold the traditional title Sarkin Sudan Wurno. What does it stand for? The story of my traditional title dates back to the time of Usman dan Fodio. My tribe, the Fulani, when they first came to this part of Africa, were fair-skinned like the white, and we settled among the black. Gradually, there were inter-tribal marriages and our complexion started changing. Sarkin means king and Sudan means black country, So, my title Sarkin Sudan, means king of the land of the black country. It has become normal for public officials to embezzle money –Malami. Punch December 3, 2017.
Now, how and why Malami jumped the queue from looking like Arabs – balarabe – to looking like whites, Caucasians – bature? – is some mystery. I just hope the Fulani are not regretting turning black. Boy things happen.
Anyway, the point is as follows: without cognitive independence no nations can grow an economy. You grow your economy by contributing to, not by copying civilizations or actually, axial knowledge. [The two, civilizations and axial knowledge productions are one]. And one may only contribute if one has independence of mind, not if one is a cognitive slave, unable to innovate, unable to invent.
That is why the greatest economic prophet the Yoruba [and indeed all Nigeria] have produced is not Awolowo or Fowler or Osinbajo etc. These men are proselytizers at best. They are management economists, maintenance economists at their greatest. They are not development economists. Development economists by logic cannot be economists. To develop a system you must be outside that system. Development economists are by this logic supra-economists, or existentialists. Thus, economics is and has to be a fractional output, not whole systems output of theirs. Development is and has to be primed from the outside, not inside. Only scholars can imaginatively step outside and look back. So development is first and above all a scholarship enterprise, not a leadership hunt.
In this sense the game changer economic agents that the Yoruba have produced are Moses Orimolade Tunolase and Samuel Oshoffa. They are fundamentally rewriting the laws, contributing to the new development of men, the new man. They are doing it imperceptibly just as Buddha and the other prophets did. And it is meat to remark that the economic miracle of Japan has its origin in Confucianism/Buddhism as we remarked in our book Economists as Assassins. It was the ingredient of Buddhism that gave the Japanese the idea and fruition of the capitalist developmental state. And only the Confucian/Buddhist belt countries have successfully used this idea. You can’t be a capitalist development state without Buddha, without having absorbed and digested Buddha. That is every religion, every axial knowledge, authors and authorizes its own economic development models. So the ancient existential truth is economically valid as policy: You can’t copy Buddha. You must be your own Buddha. This is the real liberation theology.
The only missing part of this Celestial/Cherubim innovation is that it is more liturgical than theological. But that is no real problem. The gap can be filled up. A Soyinka for instance can be drafted to provision the small-end/big-end difference in theology that will make Celestial/Cherubim a national religion of the Yoruba and a separate religion from all others. If the Yoruba were a nation or a semi-autonomous region and had that, then their economic takeoff would have been mechanized. That is the Yoruba would have been pressing on the acceleration pedals by now. Other ingredients are required but they are minor and can be supplied or bought.
The real tragedy is that the Yoruba [and their other Nigerian counterparts] economists don’t even know this. They are still trapped in all the old and defunct scriptures that they were taught in Harvard and Oxford. They rush home, Tokunbohs, they apply the rules and nothing works and Nigeria dies. Why? Their fathers have not invented Buddha or his equivalents. And that explains the nonsensical dim over hijabism. With brains incapable of development, incapable of invention, of innovation, what else can they do? It is to weep louder than the bereaved, to be more catholic than the pope. And as we write the Vietnamese have concocted a new national religion, Cao Dai. In the next few years they may get to be atop the economic tree. And trust, Nigerian economists will be all over themselves talking of the Vietnamese model. Ignorantly they would see the forests and not the trees, the economic growth but not its origins in Cao Dai et al.
And this takeaway: Arabs are monogamous with ideas and polygamous with wives in the flesh. The Europeans are polygamous with ideas and and monogamous with wives, with the female flesh. And that is all the difference that there is.