Should Nigerians not blame colonialists for designing their social woes?

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Programming is an indispensable activity in manufacturing phones, laptops and other electronic gadgets. It involves designing patterns and writing coded instructions that determine the functions, behaviours and responses of electronic gadgets. After programming, the programmer does not need to be physically present to control the phone’s (gadget) responses. The phone just responds according to the predetermined order designed by the programmer, until it is reprogrammed. So, instead of lamenting on behaviours of fabricated entities (even social orders), users focus on designing better orders suiting their needs.


People’s behaviours and reactions in a society are influenced by their particular social structure and social order. This social structure influences how people think, react, relate with one another and environment, govern and sustain themselves. Different societies are cautious in organizing their social-structure in order to produce desired effects of collaborative and progressive societies. Without carefully organizing societies for peaceful collaboration and productivity, the people will continue to clash in their struggle for survival. But when a society is carefully organized with an informed consent from component communities, they collaborate peacefully for progress.


Nigeria was formed by a forceful amalgamation of several unconsented ethnic groups (250+), who have co-existed unwillingly for fifty-seven years. Nigerians have never agreed – or been given the chance to agree – what Nigeria is. Nigeria has experienced a civil war and several crises like other African countries. “These wars diminished in number after the turn of the millennium, but their chief cause – the lack of common nationhood – remains. Africa’s nation states were formed by foreigners, lines drawn by Europeans on maps of places they had often never been to. They carved out territories, cut up kingdoms and societies of which they had little idea…” African countries lack a common conception of nationhood.


Hence, Nigeria was formed, structured and programmed by colonialists using brute force to obtain cooperation and raw materials. Today, Nigerians wonder why many Nigerians remain hungry and desperate despite the abundant human and mineral resources. They wonder why Nigeria only exports crude resources, instead of using its young population for producing and exporting finished goods. They resort to blaming one another, ‘leaders’, followers, tribes and communities, while neglecting the conditioning effects of the programmed structure. Yet, without designing better social structures, new leaders end up having same or worse effects than the old ones.


Many non-Nigerians and even Nigerians insist that Nigerians should stop blaming colonial masters for the socio-political decay in Nigeria. They say that colonialists are not responsible for the mass-looting committed by indigenous politicians from all parts of Nigeria. They insist that the blame on colonialists has been repeated severally that it has become stale. Yet, their inability to address the colonialists’ foundational role in the present national predicament has not taken away the truth-value of the claim.


Blame does not solve any problem; however, denying the root-causes of the problem will not solve the problem either. As programmers do not need physical presence to control gadgets they design, colonialists do not need physical presence to control social structures they created. A structure that destabilized the people’s indigenous institutions for self-governance and productivity, forcing them to choose between sponsored party candidates. A structure that takes away people’s rights to their lands and mineral resources, arbitrarily replacing their socio-economic autonomies with an alien political unification. A political structure that muddles up the productive distinctions of different peoples in a cacophony of a neo-colonial/exploitative conformism.


Despite designing a leaking social structure for obtaining raw materials, colonialists would not have succeeded without some local cooperation. Hence, saying that the colonial masters are demons will not solve any problem. Though their brutal approach is condemnable, they were/are fighting to sustain the supply of resources they need for survival. They may have achieved better collaboration using more human approaches that respect the lives and autonomy of the people. Even presently, they can still contribute to developing organic social structures that stem from the customs and productivity of the people.


When machines fail to produce the intended effects for designing them, manufacturers recall the machines for re-designing and re-programming. Solving the problem created by the forceful imposition of an alien social structure requires free consent from the component communities. First, the ethnic communities have to decide on the purpose and approach for their collaboration within Nigeria. The process of designing a better social-structure has to begin from the ethnic communities upwards, not from the federal downwards. Pyramids are built from bottom upwards, and not from top downwards.


Yes, it is better for Nigerians to stop blaming and start fixing their country.