our new colonial masters

see this link for pictures and more info from BBC.
Earlier in the semester, our school's African student group hosted the former Nigerian Minister of Transport (under OBJ) and now Foreign Minister, Chief Ojo Maduekwe. Of course, I attended, since it is one of the very few African events on campus that addresses concerns of the Giant of Africa (Nigeria), but I came in expecting to be disappointed. I mean, to find out that the former Minister of Transport was an Igbo man, and yet the condition of southeastern roads are some of the worst in the country and such has a devastating impact on the economy of the East (seeing that we heavily rely on the trading industry which itself relies on the ability to transport goods from one place to the other)...I know, I know, one Nigeria. Forgive me if I indulge in some Igbocentricity - I can't help it.

Anyway but I digress. Beyond giving a speech full of "big big grammar" (as one fellow student put it) and very little, if any substance one of the sound bites I picked up from his speech was his recounting of an interaction with an American colleague who asked him of what he thinks of his "new colonial masters," that is, the Chinese.

Hitherto, my thoughts in regards to Chinese covert plans to take over the world, one Mattel doll at a time (please I don't really mean that...) have largely been limited to the US, in regards to the influx of foreign imports which drives down the costs of American-made products. This did not really disturb me in that it I was short-sighted and thought of the benefits to me - cheaper underwear. However, I am now beginning to see the danger of such increased Chinese presence on the African continent (I mean, c'mon now, look at Darfur).

I really don't mean to the bash a particular group of people, for I consider myself to be pro-people, but the increased involvement of China in Nigeria and beyond worries me. Firstly, China's human rights records and treatment of its own laborers is nothing to write home about. One could imagine what could happen in a situation with African workers who's governments could easily be bought over with a couple million euros (according to supermodel Gisele Buendchan and Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the dollar is no longer relevant beyond American shores) several abuses of workers rights could occur. This is not to say our current (US) colonial master is more humane, but at least they try to adhere to some type of checks and balances...umm scrap that, I almost forgot about the prelude the Iraq war.

Second concern is the unfair competition with African made goods. Already, Ghana has complained of the Chinese hurting their signature kente cloth trade. With Nigerian private businesses thriving, post-military rule, it would be necessary that there are some limits set in place by the government to protect its indigenous businesses from Chinese products infiltrating th market.

Well, let me stop here before I start to sound like the Nigerian version of Lou Dobbs - man that guy annoys me.

4 comments:

  1. Jeremy said...:

    what did the guy think about the comment about the new colonial masters?

  1. nneoma said...:

    oh yes, I forgot to add the response. the major complaint of the American was that China may take over the Nigerian market that the US used to hold exclusively. So basically Maduekwe's response was that if Americans had paid more attention to Nigeria (in terms of offering sweeter deals/offers), they wouldn't have to worry about China. In essence, Nigeria is for the highest bidder; and Maduekwe's advice to the audience was that America needs to step up its game. Personally, I think it is sad that Maduekwe, in his short-sightedness, could not see the danger in perpetuating this idea that Nigeria is up for sale to any major foreign power. I am of the belief that Nigeria, one could be a major (independent) player in the global economy rather than whoring itself to the likes of the US and China. The question now is whether or not the prostitute will have the courage to reform her ways...

  1. Uk said...:

    wow nne am loving ur blog
    wld come back for more and we need to talk
    i am rushing to class and cannot pour out my soul..lol
    and ..i don't think u shud be worried about Ojo
    i shud have warned u if i knew he was coming to speak

    uk

  1. nneoma said...:

    thanks Uk for the kind compliments....yes, we do need to catch up. And I was warned about the Maduekwe talk, and even, I knew that it was going to annoy me more than inspire. Sometimes, though, I feel as if I am supposed to attend the "Nigerian" events/talks, since there are so few, relatively, on-campus. We have had some really bad speakers lately, especially - I must admit - the Igbo ones...