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Blame not colonialism, but the colonized – Part 2

By Ogheneochuko E. Arodovwe
29 September 2022   |   2:42 am
The Roman Empire also fell, like all others before it. Then sprang up new empires: British Empire, French Empire, German Empire, etc. They also looked for new people to oppress and colonise.

[FILES] Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II waits to read the Queen’s Speech on the The Sovereign’s Throne in the House of Lords chamber,(Photo by Chris Jackson / POOL / AFP)

Continued from yesterday

The Roman Empire also fell, like all others before it. Then sprang up new empires: British Empire, French Empire, German Empire, etc. They also looked for new people to oppress and colonise.

 
They went to the Americas and to Africa. The Niger Area became a British colony. Like they have been treated during their time of enslavement, the British imposed their language (English), they renamed us, amalgamated us, looted our artifacts, devised a curriculum that would help us become good secretaries, catechists, and interpreters, rather than good engineers and inventors!

Through the language they imposed, we learned to read and write, studied foreign arts, western medicine, Architecture, Literature, etc. Soon, we saw ourselves as equal to our teachers. We challenged them, and we won! In 1960, they had no choice but to let us go.

But there is a but! Africans refused or were unable, to do what others had done before them, which is unbundling colonial frameworks, retrieving suppressed languages, etc. They retained the languages of their departed oppressors, they did not translate literary works to their respective indigenous languages, and they did not outlaw the artificial boundaries that were created for the administrative convenience of the foreigners.

Instead, the new identity “Nigerian” was retained. Even the victims began to sermonize that Nigeria was God’s creation! ditto for Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, Sudan etc. They failed to return the respective territories to their original owners: Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa, Urhobo etc.

And because Africans refused to do what others had done, they became stagnated, stuck and hemmed in. They were condemned to endless wars, corrupt governments, unpatriotic citizenry, confusion and crass underdevelopment.

Africans deliberately chose the worship of colonial boundaries created by departed colonial masters. This is a deliberate, unforced error. Unable or unwilling to take the revolutionary turn to restructure their societies in ways that would lead to the emergence of authentic nation states as we see in Europe, with some having a population of just over 200,000; they then take the easier option of blaming their erstwhile colonisers for their woes.

The people of Nigeria specifically, blame the British Monarchy and the late Queen Elizabeth II for their problems of underdevelopment. But colonialism is not to blame; the English Empire, French Empire, Chinese Empire etc. are not to blame for anyone’s present predicament.

Everyone has at one time or the other been a victim of colonialism, and had been treated just the same way Africans lament to have been treated. The only difference is that immediately following their freedom from decolonization, all colonial frameworks were pulled down, the topmost of which is the re-drawing of maps in such a way that cultural and political ones coincide.

After colonialism, no one who does not share the same linguistic tongue with you is permitted to exist with you under the same political state, except as a foreigner! That’s the formula operative in Europe and prosperous regions of the world. Even the idea of an American English, an American S.I. unit and so on are all attempts by the American English men to distinguish themselves from their erstwhile English colonisers.

And so the blame should more appropriately be on the die-hard advocates and champions of these foreign-imposed colonial boundaries. The Apostles of One-Nigeria, One-Ghana, One-Kenya, etc.

The blame for Africa’s underdevelopment must be on those who still fail to understand the significance of breaking down colonial frameworks, redrawing maps, translating literary works to indigenous languages, of using the mother tongue as a medium of instruction, restructuring intelligently according to proven principles of global historical development, etc.

Colonialism is therefore not to blame; failing to undo colonial frameworks is to blame for Africa’s woes!
Farewell and peaceful rest to Queen Elizabeth II.

Concluded
Arodovwe wrote in from Warri, Delta State.