EGBA FORTRESS OF ABEOKUTA — Freedom has become an idea. Even an illusion. The reality of which has long escaped the consciousness of the African mind. Chiefly, the word, like most English words or its dialects in the French (Liberté), or the Spanish (Libertard), or the Portuguese (Liberdade), mean nothing to most of us. They neither conjure the same sentiment as the Yoruba Ominira, the Twi Fawohodi, the Gbe Ablɔɖe, nor do they ring the same bells of urgency.
Not anymore. Freedom, the substance of it, has become as ideological as a Voodoo ritual drum in Savanna, Georgia, USA.
Even at the Egba Fortress of Abeokuta, such a drum might be seen by the initiated – the so-called elite in society. However, freedom escapes them too. What is to say about the freedoms of a man who is President of Nigeria, when the food he eats is bought with money whose printing can only be sanctioned by the printers of the US Dollar who live on Jekyll Island, down a 95 highway south of Savanna, Georgia?
Ghana, like Nigeria, does not print her own money. Neither does she manufacture weapons that her military desperately needs to protect her territory. So, what is freedom when Nigeria must export oil, and Ghana her gold, to receive the go ahead to print money in some proportion of her export? How come with the same gold, Ghana cannot, or is not allowed to use it as payment for the tarring of the kekedike-mor (dirt road) to Murugu?
If caught unawares in an attack, Ghana must make a call to Washington DC, to Paris, to London, in order to obtain a supply of weapons to defend her own territory? Look at Nigeria. Without American weapons – which the Yankees threatened not to supply unless Mr. Buhari won the presidential elections – Boko Haram will be running wilder. As if this notorious bunch of fatuous dolts haven’t caused enough trouble.
But imagine. Let me bring this home. Imagine oh, if the Traditional Militia in Kala Balge, who resisted Boko Haram by grabbing their machetes, swords, shields and knives and killed some 200 Haram Boys in 2014 had to sell Kola nuts to France, receive the foreign exchange and then use that money to buy machetes, swords and knives from France?
Better, let me put this in some proper historical perspective. What if Yaa Asantewaa of Asante fame, had to sell gold, obtain foreign money, in order to obtain the right to print Asante money in proportion to Asante foreign reserves to purchase food, clothing, weapons and equipment for her own Battalions before they could march and fight a marauding bunch of sinister advancing British and a vacuous hand of African mercenaries?
Imagine the specter of such addleheadedness in 1909! So, how come we cannot, with our oil and gold, or even without it, build a GH47 attack-rifle manufacturing plant in Gushiago? What sort of freedom in a nation is devoid of the right to do what is necessary to ensure our territorial integrity and sovereignty?
How can any nation of Men, and Women, call themselves independent, and for that matter free when they neither print their own money nor have the means to defend their nation against any kind of aggression. Even a manufacturing plant for kafugbe (the hunting rifle) cannot be built in Ghana without American permission.
Recounting the story of Yaa Asantewaa a little over a hundred years ago, when she led her Asante armies against the British and a bunch of useful idiotic African mercenaries, is poignant. It is said that the British canons won that war. Asante may have lost to the canons. But Yaa Asantewaa won. One thing holds true: She, like many of her warrior predecessors in Dahomey, will not stand today for what our insensate leaders allow others to dictate in our nations. This was the African way, after all.
As stoups of a colonial regime in Africa, our leaders are so unprepared to deal with the policies and nuances of neo-colonial cunning – Ayevu policies. Since independence, none had had the adequate training, neither in the traditional royal temples of old nor the new schools that colonialists had built for them, to smack down the pharisaism of snide western ideology. The only training our leaders have had is the propensity to indulge the fancies of the mafia that rules from Washington DC, Paris or London. These louts together have launched what we must come to term the neo-colonial regimes of Africa.
So, it is fascinating that decades after the 1909 war, Ghana will come to accept a monetary policy in which she has no right, unlike her ancestors, to print her own money, nor the right to manufacture her own weapons to defend her-gaddamned-self in a time of war. Look at Nigeria. Boko Haram is killing every day. I can’t imagine this sorry state of affairs in old Benin.
What men. What nation. What independent nation. What bunch of pusillanimous men? We don’t print our own money and we don’t manufacture our own guns?
The last century for Africa seems to have ended the last kingdoms we could have mustered against a marauding bunch of a very special breed of invaders. But more, and perhaps most devastating, it marked the beginning of the emasculation of our men, the raping of our women, the looting of our lands and the hypocrisy of those otiose cowards who dared real men like Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah to build their own Medical Schools in Ghana.
What century will the 2000s hold for the African and his home. Would he return to who he was, wielding the power and the right to both live and die at will – his own money and his own gun – or would he remain the catamite of his European f(r)iend – who has hurt all mankind just to save his own?
What man will you be in this century? You, African man, what man will you be?