Dependency theorists need to visit Nigeria to take a hard look at not just the power relations between the North and South of the country but also at the mindset of the people concerned. Dependency theory talks of metropoles and satellites; the metropoles or metropolitan countries control the means of production and the production process while the satellites are usually producers of raw materials, which are exported raw to the metropolitan or industrialised countries, without adding value; the metropoles then turn the raw materials into finished products.
Whereas the satellite or dependent countries are made to sell their raw materials at give-away prices, which are determined and fixed by the industrialised countries, the industrialised countries on the other hand sell their finished products at exorbitant prices which, in this case, are also fixed by them. So, they determine at what price they buy the raw materials of the dependent or poor countries and also determine the price they sell their own finished goods to the same poor or dependent countries. This unequal exchange or relationship is at the roots of the wealth of the rich, industrialised countries as well as the poverty and impoverishment of the poor, dependent countries.
And for as long as these unequal and oppressive relations persist, the rich countries will get richer while the poor countries will get poorer. To make matters worse, the ruling class in the poor countries loot the little that comes to their countries and repatriate this wealth, again, to the developed countries to hide it away. So, the pittance that should have been committed to development at home is also lost to capital flight. So head or tail the people of the dependent countries lose while the metropoles gain on both ends. This is the major reason why the poor countries are poor while the rich countries are rich. The poor or dependent countries remain transfixed at the level of producers of raw materials; only the handful that have managed to climb the ladder to become industrialised nations have been able to escape the poverty trap, such countries as the Asian Tigers and Brazil while countries like Nigeria remain poor despite its potentials. We remain a “potentially” great country but will never be great until we exit being producers of raw materials and consumers of finished goods. We are an importer nation and spend virtually all of the dollars earned as rents from the production of crude oil (which is not even mined by us but by the industrialised nations) to import all manner of finished goods from abroad, including petroleum products. Not only are the leaders of the satellite countries not minded to put an end to this unequal relationship because they are lazy to engage in the hard and arduous task required; they are too selfish to see the need to pull their people from under the jackboot of poverty; and are too unpatriotic to bother about the place of their country in the Sun, as it were, those of them who have a different mindset and try to change the system are also often viciously resisted and silenced through compromise or outright elimination by the metropolitan countries.
Translate this to the political scene of this country and you see how the South is not only dependent on the North but how the North mindlessly oppresses and ruthlessly silences the South. The North is the metropole/controller while the South is the disadvantaged and dependent section. Whereas the resources of the country are in the South (e.g. oil, gas, VAT, the sea ports), it is the North that controls the management of these resources and their sharing. It takes the lion share while it gives peanuts to the South. At no other time has this been made more blatant and obvious than under the present administration of Muhammadu Buhari. What anyone should expect is that the South will be minded to throw off this oppressive yoke; especially now that the figures are adding up on their behalf. According to some latest figures, whose source was said to be Wikipedia, the population of the four major ethnic groups in the country is as follows: Yoruba, 40 million; Igbo, 34 million; Hausa, 24.5 million; and Fulani, 7.6 million. When you add the other ethnic groups in the South, like the Ijaw, Edo, Itshekiri, and you realise that much of the Middle Belt as of today is estranged from the core North, there is no way the core North can have its way in 2019 if the South does not give it a free ride. Why should the two leading parties in the country cede their presidential candidate to the North and why should Obasanjo’s third force be said to also be so minded? This is the time for the South to call the bluff of the North and put its leaders in their rightful place. This is the most appropriate time for the North or Arewa to be made to eat the humble pie. This is the time to turn the metropole/dependant relationship on its head. The three zones in the South coming together, plus the Middle Belt, will deliver the presidency without any recourse to the North. Why, then, should anyone be interested in Arewa’s deceit that it is now interested in consultation or dialogue or consensus? Why is it now that they talking once more of restructuring? We should never negotiate with them, but should shut them out completely from the country’s power equation. We have the numbers but I do not know if we have the guts. The anger in the land is much but I do not know if we are not lazy but are ready to work hard to make real CHANGE happen. Arewa is at its most vulnerable point ever but I do not know if we love the South enough; if we truly hate the horrendous criminalities that the North has visited on us; if we are not mere pretenders and runners after filthy lucre and lovers of personal aggrandisement – if we are not but are decent and respectable people, no Northerner, least of all Fulani, should be allowed by us to rule this country in 2019. In fact, with the atrocities of Buhari and his fellow Fulani, no Fulani should ever again rule this country. We can make it happen if we believe in it and work at it with single-mindedness of purpose.
Thanks immensely for your column (but) could you please allow me mend the title of one of your articles to read “Treating corruption with deodorants”? The platonic truth is that corruption under the Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government has reached an alarming state and it is only time that would vindicate Nigerians. – Nick A. Chibunna, Owerri-based journalist.
God bless you for your fearless opinion. Because of you, I will buy New Telegraph for one dollar – Barr. Ibe.
Cow-meat boycott is a good weapon but how many consumers know of the campaign? – 0807552888.
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