Ditch victim mentality, blaming colonialism
Tuesday May 23 2023
After the coronation of King Charles III, one performance stood out for me — the Nigerian superstar, Tiwa Savage. It was a moment of immense pride to witness her name in the spotlight, captivating the world. Tiwa’s stellar performance showcased her remarkable talent, poise, and composure. Every aspect of her performance, including the iconic green dress — symbolic of Nigeria’s colour — left an indelible impression. It is an unforgettable moment widely discussed in Nigerian mainstream and social media.
What makes this performance intriguing is the division it has created. Opinions are split between those who appreciate Tiwa and her performance, and those opposing it.
Detractors argue that she should not have performed at the coronation, considering the atrocities committed by the colonial establishment against her people and our ancestors. They say these are the very individuals who exploited and sold us into slavery, as well as those responsible for the nation’s turmoil. While these arguments may be rooted in some degree of historical fact, interpretation can be subjective.
Let’s simplify this. Africa has the largest membership in the Commonwealth. Despite our grievances about those who wronged us, we still answer and show up when they call. Why? Because we rely on their aid and support. If we are going to talk about pride, it should be all-round and not selective.
The embassies of the colonial nations on the continent are brimming with individuals applying for visas to visit and/or settle in these countries. And as some argue against Tiwa’s presence, thousands desperately seek to secure visas to go to these nations. Why yearn to visit the lands of our ancestors’ oppressors?
Truth is, we inflict more harm upon ourselves than any harm caused by colonialism. It has been over 60 years since our independence and must take responsibility and move forward, rather than continually dwelling on past grievances.
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In examining the socio-economic landscape of Nigeria, it becomes increasingly apparent that our self-imposed transgressions have inflicted far greater harm than the historical era of colonialism. I do not seek to absolve colonialists of their actions, but from fact, it is time to confront the unvarnished truth.
How can super wealthy African leaders – among the wealthiest people on Earth preside over some of the poorest nations on the planet? It is more confounding to witness our leaders beseech the international community for financial assistance while parading opulence. How can we not see this? What critical piece of the puzzle are we missing here?
Continually laying blame solely on the colonialists for our predicament is an exercise in futility. It is imperative we reassess our mindset and discard the inclination to assign blame externally. With someone to blame, we evade accountability and remain in denial – as we have done these past six decades.
To bring about meaningful change in Africa, we must transcend this collective mindset. Our retrogressive thinking, the blame game we incessantly engage in, and our acceptance of mediocrity are the crux of our challenges. Let us align our minds with our resources. Let us get over our appetite for things we do not produce and let production and conversion of raw materials (including human resources) from one form to another be at the centre of our thought processes.
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One disconcerting truth: Nigerian leaders, both military and political, have embezzled an astounding $600 billion from our nation since gaining independence. This amount eclipses all the aid and loans procured by the country, exacerbating its downward spiral. It is crucial to acknowledge that this reprehensible act was not perpetrated by external forces but by our very own hands.
So, to accuse Tiwa Savage of not being patriotic because she attended and gave a stellar performance at the coronation is an argument rooted in ignorance.
Wale Akinyemi is the founder of The Street University; Email: [email protected]