Monday, July 10, 2017

Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - IF YOU LOVE NIGERIA, SAY SO

Yinka,

A couple of points by way of a response:


1. You state that "a propaganda war is being waged against the country's survival" and then you imply that the country has to be defended against these people you describe as propagandists. I couldn't disagree more. My disagreement is multifaceted. You seem to believe that there is something intrinsically worthy of being defended in the nation-state. Unlike you, I'm not such a believer in the nation-state as an inherently valuable political commodity. You say "propagandists" are waging a war against Nigeria's survival. To which I say, so what--assuming that this is even true. If the nation-state is so fragile as to collapse because of what you describe as the "propaganda" of some of its citizens then it is not a worthy political configuration to begin with and is definitely not worth defending. Besides, with all the resources and apparatuses of counter propaganda, surveillance, and informational warfare available to the Nigerian state, does it need you and I to defend it or ensure its survival against "propagandists"? I am obviously not as invested in the idea of the nation-state as you are, not only because of its recency as a unit of political organization but also because of its deployment in many places as instruments of oppression and as a way to deny people their legitimate rights to self-determination. There is absolutely nothing sacrosanct or intrinsically praise-worthy about the Nigerian nation-state or any other nation-state for that matter. The nation-state is an empty sign, having no meaning of its own outside its human relational content. It is the relationships that people within its territorial borders forge among themselves and the benefits they derive therefrom that give it meaning. Outside of these relational benefits, the nation-state is an empty, haughty, jealous entity that tyrannically stifles alternative and rival political imaginations. A nation-state is only as valuable as the investments people make in it and the benefits they derive from it. If people no longer find it useful as a vessel for achieving their aspirations or no longer find the human associations that it engenders useful, what good is that nation-state and why is it worth defending, especially if by "defending" it you're challenging the legitimate rights of citizens to imagine their political futures elsewhere? This idea of defending the nation against internal enemies (you call them propagandists) is as dangerous as I've ever heard. It is a recipe for tyranny, oppression, and the silencing of oppositional and centrifugal agitations.

2. The people you call propagandists against the Nigerian nation are far from that in my opinion. They are agitators, whose grievances and centrifugal and separatist agitations are legitimate in a democracy and are legalized by all known international legal precepts governing the right to self-determination. To label or rename them propagandists against the country or as people who are attacking the country's survival is to delegitimize and even criminalize them. Why is the country's survival more important to you than the rights and aspirations of the peoples who constitute it? A state that is afraid of dissent and alternative political imaginations is an inherently weak state that is probably better off dissolving. What you're advancing is the stuff of fascism and dictatorship. When you imply that we have to defend the nation against the attack of propagandists, you are casting the agitators as external to the country, as internal enemies. You are Othering them. What is your locus standi for doing that? Other than expressing their discontent and dissatisfaction with the union and aspiring to control their own destinies either as separate nations or as autonomous units within the nation, what crime have they committed? Dissent and agitations should be welcomed in a democracy and in a nation state. They're a useful gauge of how functional and dysfunctional the union is or has become. Besides, history has shown that hostility to such agitations only makes them worse because they go underground, fester, and emerge in bigger, more disruptive forms. I appreciate people who acknowledge the dysfunctional union and make rational arguments about 1) how the dysfunction should be addressed, and 2) the benefits of preserving the union in a more equitable and acceptable way. Soyinka just put out an essay in Newsweek, in which he celebrates the centrifugal agitations as reflecting the ills of a mortally diseased union and then pivots to make the case for Nigeria's continuity as a reconstructed federated union. He does so without demonizing or criminalizing those who want out or who imagine their political futures outside of Nigeria. He says essentially that the grievances can be addressed with honesty and good faith and that the benefits of staying in some form of negotiated union outweighs the benefits of striking out one one's own. I agree. This is a far more empathetic and rational response to agitations than criminalizing them as attacks on the country's survival, as "propaganda against the country's survival." It is also definitely more rational than empty patriotic declarations. 

To conclude, I think that you and I have radically different views on the nation-state. Perhaps being a historian who knows that the nation-state is a very recent unit of political organization, I just do not see it as you do. As a result, I believe that nation-states, whatever their contemporary usefulness, should not exist outside the volition of those who constitute them. If at any point in time some people want out, they should have that freedom, even if they want to jettison the nation-state idea entirely. What was made can be unmade. I simply do not think that the nation-state should be defended against its own citizens who are complaining legitimately that it is not working for them, for whatever reason, and/or who want to set up something different. In fact one of the draconian provisions of the Nigerian constitution is that it does not allow for referendums on alternative sovereignties. In that regard, it is an archaic constitution that is out of tune with post-world War II international legal principles on self-determination. If you allow people the right to seek to leave the union, the effect is that they will almost never exercise it, and even if they do either outcome would be perfectly fine. Quebec and Scotland voted but alas they chose to stay in their respective unions and to settle for ameliorative fixes that address their grievances. Referendum, the second most-feared word in Nigeria's political lexicon next to secession, does not automatically translate to separation. But if you don't constitutionally provide for it, the cry of "forced union" will continue to fuel separatist agitations. The problem is separatism is partly a self-inflicted injury.

On Mon, Jul 10, 2017 at 12:10 PM, Olayinka Agbetuyi <yagbetuyi@hotmail.com> wrote:
Moses:

I would start from where you concluded:

Solving the source of centrifugal tendencies is in this instance the cause of declaration of patriotism:

This in semiotics discourse is Roland Barthes answer of erecting a myth as a counter point to demolish another myth.  A propaganda war is being waged against the countrys survival (propaganda and its effect was a central part of my first graduate studies.) 

Standing aloof in elitist self righteousness would not do since the success of that propaganda offensive will inevitably affect you as the Nazi propaganda offensive affected the whole German citizenry.

I have revisited critically Kens quote which you shied away from because of its literalism because the context in which a dictum was originally used indicates its effectiveness in other scenarios:  

There clearly would be contexts in which patriotism would not be the last refuge of the scoundrel as in when Britain had to take a last stand against Hitler and as in when Obasanjo asked Soyinka to bear a message to Victor Banjo that he swore an oath to defend Lagos and that over his dead body would Banjo march his  'Libration' troops successfully to capture Lagos.

Yes, I know northerners fairly as well as you do and I know they are quite as emotional as you portray them and want to see their own ALWAYS participating at the highest level of governance to reassure them they are not being short changed by the ways of westernization by southerners who they admit understand the ways more than they do ( these realities were behind my triumviral presidency formulation after June 12 1993.  Shehu Y' Ardua arguably the closest to IBB among those jostling for power then said Aare Abiola knew he, Shehu, worked for him for June 12. He then offered the give away that a key part of the North was not represented in the prospective government, implying that was why he supported IBBs annulment.  

Abiola had Kingibe from the rival undefeated part of the North -the Kanuri- as his running mate over the North West 
home of the pre-eminent Caliphate. Hence the subsequent 6 zone rotation put in place)

Yes I have noted in the past few weeks that the first electoral victory by Jonathan was attended by riots in the North. If Jonathan won a second term then he would rule for 10 yrs instead of the 8 constitutionally approved.  The North would not stand for that. It would be seen as a calculated attempt to impose westernization pell mell on the North.  Note that as from the time of the nations founders the issue has not been whether the North westernizes or not but how soon and how quickly.

This above explains what you noticed in the patriotic swings of your northern interlocutors whom I have no doubt you reported accurately.  It is again a question of patriotism, which nation?  A nation is the agglomeration of peoples and their distinctive ways. All of this (despite cynisism by detractors) buttresses the Freudian theory of libidinal ties between leader and led as propounded for the commander in chief and his troops.

It again underscores the fact that among the various types of government identified by Montesquiue Nigeria is a democratic despotism unlike the Greek city state democracy.  It should be ruled like Rome with its Western and Eastern Caesars who are primus inter pares NOT like the United States with only one president upholding a large Anglospheric culture (given its historical antecedents) with a diminutive melting pot of other cultures.  Hence triumviral presidency as a prototype of such model.



Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.
-------- Original message --------
From: Moses Ebe Ochonu <meochonu@gmail.com>
Date: 10/07/2017 16:41 (GMT+00:00)
To: USAAfricaDialogue <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com>
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - IF YOU LOVE NIGERIA, SAY SO

Oga Malami,

First of all Idomaland is NOT marginalized "at the center" as you claimed. I assume that you're using the conventional Nigerian definition of marginalization, which rests on federal visibility, appointments, etc. If that assumption is correct then you're way off. Since 1999, Idomaland has been disproportionately visible at the federal level relative to their size (even in Benue we're a minority). Every government since 1999 has had Idoma ministers; the've been service chiefs, presidential advisers, etc. David Mark, an Idoma, was senate president for 8 years. The current government has an Idoma as minister of agriculture, and an Idoma, Air Vice Marshall Morgan, as Chief of Defense Staff. That is not marginalization by Nigeria's definition of the term. As you can see, if I was seduced or susceptible to the Nigerian patriotism rhetoric, which tends to correspond to these shifting indicators of visibility and marginality, I should be singing along with Fakinlede and others about my patriotism. However, as I stated, my aversion to patriotism has nothing to do with these indicators. How I feel about Nigeria is independent of who gets what position or appointment. I am more concerned with structural issues and fundamental questions of Nigeria's lingering dysfunction. Besides, as I stated, I've harbored an intellectual and philosophical disdain for patriotism since my days in graduate school. That was a long time ago. I evolved intellectually into that conviction. As a historian, I know what appeals to patriotic sentiments have done to humanity. Hitler, Mussolini, and others came out of different types of appeals to patriotism.

Also, as a historian, I'm trained to recognize and make sense of patterns. This is very useful especially since, as historians, we deal with the longue duree, the long term. We interpret the present in light of the past. I gave several examples from several regions, including mine, of shifts in patriotic sentiments, sometimes dramatic ones, that correspond to the region's dwindling or rising socioeconomic and political fortunes within the union. You have not faulted that analysis. No one on this thread has. I may be wrong about individual's motives but not about groups.' 

Let me even go ahead and add another dramatic example. As you know, my primary research constituency is Northern Nigeria, especially Hausaphone Northern Nigeria, where you come from. As a result of this interest and my upbringing in Hausaphone Northern Nigeria, my social and intellectual circle is dominated by Hausa people, broadly defined, as is my social media community. This gives me daily access to the Northern and Hausa political mind (this is problematic I know, but I'm taking liberties here). In the period leading to the 2015 elections, one of the most shocking things I encountered is the number of Hausa-Fulani Northerners, long stereotyped in Northern Nigerian political discourse as people invested in one Nigeria and adamantly opposed to separatism, who were saying openly on my social media feed and even in a few private conversations that they had lost faith in Nigeria and wanted the country to break. Most of them were and still are supporters of Buhari, who was a candidate at that time. Then, most expert projections indicated that Jonathan, by legal or crooked means, would wrangle a second term. Many of these people were saying that they no longer believed in Nigeria, that in fact all that the Hausa people get out of Nigeria was poverty and insult and that they wanted a separate country where they would be free from being blamed for Nigeria's problems without seeing much benefit. They were fierce separatists. Fast forward to 2016 and 2017. These same interlocutors, barely two years after Buhari became president, have become the biggest advocates of patriotism and Nigeria's nationalist pride. They consistently wax patriotic when commenting on Biafra, Niger Delta, and other centrifugal agitations. I am simultaneously amused and enlightened by this dramatic shift. In two years, Northern separatists who wanted out of Nigeria had somehow rediscovered the beauty and benefits of one Nigeria, of patriotism and loyalty to country. You don't need a rocket scientist to tell you that their separatist agitation had been informed by their sense that power and the ability to distribute the national cake had been denied the North, and that their rediscovery of patriotism is a function of Buhari's ascendancy to the presidency.

This is further evidence of my theory of these ebbs and flows of patriotic and centrifugal sentiments and how they correspond to the vagaries of politics.

My reference to "crude literalism" is a general reference to trends I've noticed in recent time on the listserv, not to the participants on this thread or their contributions. But I think that the reaction to the quote posted by Ken (patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel) vindicates me in my earlier caution, in my fear that the quote was a prime candidate for a crudely literalist interpretation.

Finally, I wish I could claim the credit you're extending to me, that of having discouraged potential patriotic declarations from other members of the list. I'm flattered but I am not that persuasive, my friend. I think that, like me, most folks are and should be suspicious of loud patriotic invocation and tend to scrutinize its motive, timing, and objective. In fact I suspect that you yourself haven't joined the chorus precisely because of your own intellectual trepidation about such vulgar displays of patriotism sentiments. Finally, I think that most people would rather confront and solve the causes of centrifugal and separatist agitations than respond to them with ineffectual, escapist declarations of their patriotism.

On Mon, Jul 10, 2017 at 8:07 AM, 'Malami buba' via USA Africa Dialogue Series <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com> wrote:
Dear Moses, 
Isn't it also 'crude literalism' to assume that Kayode & co. are being patriotic because (Yoruba) Osinbanjo is the Ag. president? (Unless you know more about these individuals beyond their Yoruba names!) We're so much more than our given names? I mean, it is the case that we answer/turn to tens of names throughout our lives, indicating the various social roles we play as citizens, parents, partners, teachers, learners, enthusiasts, and so on.  

I'm also thinking of Oluwatoyin Adepoju, for instance, whose name 'appears' to have closer affinity to the Yoruba than his Edo ethnicity.  Would it be justified to pin his herdsmen teleology just on his name (or even his Edo origin)? Nor would it be fair to the Idoma, I think, conversely, to assume that your deep suspicion of effusive patriotism is a reflection of Idomaland's marginalsiation at the centre. 

Perhaps, your intervention right at the outset of the patriotism thread may have even steered the argument back to the 'Nigeria stinks' default position, thereby shutting down the possibility of non-Yoruba names to 'come out'. Perhaps. Who knows!

Malami


On 9 Jul 2017, at 21:08, Moses Ebe Ochonu <meochonu@gmail.com> wrote:

Well, Ken, I resisted throwing that famous quote into my post because I didn't want people to take it literally as an insult on their persons I've observed a trend of crude literalism on this listserv lately.

On Sun, Jul 9, 2017 at 5:28 AM, Kenneth Harrow <harrow@msu.edu> wrote:
"Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel"—samuel johnson

If you love your country, don't say so. Just do good things for it. (sort of john kennedy)
Ken

Kenneth Harrow

Dept of English and Film Studies

Michigan State University

619 Red Cedar Rd

East Lansing, MI 48824

517-803-8839

harrow@msu.edu

http://www.english.msu.edu/people/faculty/kenneth-harrow/


From: usaafricadialogue <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com> on behalf of "meochonu@gmail.com" <meochonu@gmail.com>
Reply-To: usaafricadialogue <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com>
Date: Sunday, 9 July 2017 at 01:17

To: usaafricadialogue <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com>
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - IF YOU LOVE NIGERIA, SAY SO

Yinka,

The absence of unanimity in Southwestern politics in the post-June 12 period does not vitiate my point. What I was referencing is the elite political consensus of the Southwest, the dominant political consensus of the post-June 12 period. By the way, the Southwest successfully leveraged that separatist  agitation (SNC, OPC, and Oduduwa Republic advocacy)  to ensure that a Yoruba person became president in 1999, with the two major parties both conceding their presidential tickets to Yoruba men--Obasanjo and Falae. 

There is no region of Nigeria that has enjoyed political unanimity in terms of its position on and in the union at any time. There were and still are dissenting voices in the Niger Delta, who never favored the oil militancy. Not everyone in Igboland is in favor of Biafra and some are heavily invested in the Abuja-centered politics of Nigeria. Not everyone in the Middle Belt bought into Joseph Tarka and co's Middle Belt political agenda. Not everyone in the North was a follower of Ahmadu Bello. There was PRP, just as Awoism had its dissenters in the Southwest, etc, etc. But at any point in Nigeria's postcolonial history, you can discern where a particular people or region stand, the prevailing dominant political sentiment, and the consensus of its political elite. There is no question that in the post-June 12 period, patriotic sentiment was in short supply in the Southwest and disillusionment with the Nigerian union was at an all time high there. Today, the story is dramatically different, with you and at least three other Yoruba people gleefully and, in my opinion, smugly performing your patriotism on this thread in response to the original post by Fakinlede. I consider the entire exercise a bit vulgar and disturbing. My scholarly sensibilities condition me to be suspicious of such displays. I speak for myself alone.

Anyway, let's not argue about irrelevant details. My point about the ebbs and flows of patriotic sentiments corresponding to people's relationship to, role in, or marginalization from the federal government at any point in time remains. Even Biafra agitation, while vibrant during the Jonathan period, reached a new crescendo in correspondence to the undisguised contempt with which Buhari (not Osinbajo) has treated the Igbo, their aspirations, and their interests. It is not an accident that all of you engaging in incestuously embarrassing declarations of patriotism on this thread are Yoruba people, whose ethnic unit are on the ascendancy in this government and whose ethnic kin is the acting president. I could give other examples from different parts parts of the country to illustrate my point about patriotism in Nigeria being a relative strategic, self-interested, and Machiavellian enterprise.

Two last things. My overarching point is not even about the ideological and prebendal underpinning of effusive expressions of patriotism. Rather it is about how aggressive patriotism of the type being exhibited here is a dangerous phenomenon because it excludes (thanks Ken) and provides comfort and succor to powerful people who hide behind patriotic rhetoric to perpetrate evil, avoid doing what they should, defend incompetence, ignore problems and legitimate agitations, get away with oppression, and divide people. 

I've been writing against the dangers of hyper-patriotic and pretentious patriotism that papers over the problems and deficits of the union for at least fifteen years. I could refer you to essays I published about fifteen years ago critiquing this woolly notion of patriotism. Besides, it was Wole Soyinka who said a tiger needs not declare its tigritude. I believe that wisdom applies to patriotism.

Finally, how can your response to the proliferation of centrifugal agitations in response to the malignant dysfunction of the union and to legitimate aspirations for structural reforms of the status quo be to simply declare your patriotism? How is that the answer? Is that not escapist?

On Fri, Jul 7, 2017 at 5:48 PM, Olayinka Agbetuyi <yagbetuyi@hotmail.com> wrote:
Nigeria has many ills those of us you want to shut up also criticize the ills but also celebrate the efforts of the likes of you.

We analyze why leaders turn the country into a 'zoo' and continuously search for ways to turn it back into a non zoo like it was in the 70s. Giving up cannot be the answer; tearing up the country equally isnt as it prolongs the recovery of the severed parts that will start from the scratch.

America and western nations have their ills too.



Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.


-------- Original message --------
From: 'Eligius Ihewulezi' via USA Africa Dialogue Series <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com>
Date: 07/07/2017 23:26 (GMT+00:00)
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - IF YOU LOVE NIGERIA, SAY SO

Boxbe This message is eligible for Automatic Cleanup! (usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com) Add cleanup rule | More info
My friend shot-up you do not know what you are saying. Nigeria is a zoo and not a country. You guys over in  America do not know what is going on in Nigeria simply because you find yourselves in America where leaders even if corrupt, control their excesses and think better of their subjects. 

 Nigerian leaders visit America and enjoy what other leaders have achieved but when they go back home they become monsters without control of their greed. Why did you come to America in the first place? Is it not because you have no hope in that zoo? Do not blame those who say the truth about Nigeria. If what they are saying will help to bring about the change you are dreaming of, well and good.


On Friday, 7 July 2017, 22:06, Olayinka Agbetuyi <yagbetuyi@hotmail.com> wrote:


Fair enough.



Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.


-------- Original message --------
From: Kenneth Harrow <harrow@msu.edu>
Date: 07/07/2017 18:48 (GMT+00:00)
To: usaafricadialogue <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com>
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - IF YOU LOVE NIGERIA, SAY SO

Boxbe This message is eligible for Automatic Cleanup! (harrow@msu.edu) Add cleanup rule | More info
Thanks, olayinka, a lovely answer.
I agree with it, but as a dream that we must struggle to accomplish. The other side of the dream, the fear and hatred side, turns against others, as we have seen since forever. The ghanaians chased out, how many years ago? Was it 40? The ivoirians chasing out the burkinabe, and so many others. The s africans chasing out the nigerians. The americans—ohhh, don't let's start with whom they chased out, and what trump campaigned on. American first, deutschland uber alles, the italia that was roma, and on and on. The japanese chasing out the koreans.
If we could leave to don our hats of love for homeland without turning the cap around into brexit, into get out of my own, I am with you. I will agree this is our goal, to learn how to motivate the group without building on expulsions of the scapegoat. Unfortunately, my jewish heritage has been one of 2000 years of being expelled, so it is very hard to learn the new mantra of loving oneself without mocking the goys
ken
Kenneth Harrow
Dept of English and Film Studies
Michigan State University
619 Red Cedar Rd
East Lansing, MI 48824

From: usaafricadialogue <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com> on behalf of Olayinka Agbetuyi <yagbetuyi@hotmail.com>
Reply-To: usaafricadialogue <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com>
Date: Friday, 7 July 2017 at 15:34
To: usaafricadialogue <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com>
Cc: Olayinka Agbetuyi <yagbetuyi@hotmail.com>
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - IF YOU LOVE NIGERIA, SAY SO

Ken:

You CAN be "us" and "them" at the same time psychoanalytically as you have correctly argued in the past with respect to the multiple identities that most of us normatively assume in various contexts in which our other identities are willfully suppressed into periods of latency until the moments of their cathection arrive, and the relevant identity is then emphasized for the moment.

What the proponents of 'I love Nigeria' are saying is that psychoanalytically the depressive nature of 'Nothing good in Nigeria' becomes too overwhelming on those who otherwise think Nigeria cant be so bad that it had no redeeming features that even they by herd instinct can lose faith in their own beliefs.

This can be deleterious for nation building as it promotes from the stand point of group psychoanalysis a national lethargy that proves a self fulfilling prophecy (precisely the goal of the naysayers.)

The response of the national affirmers is what I would describe as the incantatory effect of self affirmation which is valid for ALL climes.



.



Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.


-------- Original message --------
From: Kenneth Harrow <harrow@msu.edu>
Date: 07/07/2017 13:05 (GMT+00:00)
To: usaafricadialogue <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com>
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - IF YOU LOVE NIGERIA, SAY SO

Boxbe This message is eligible for Automatic Cleanup! (harrow@msu.edu) Add cleanup rule | More info
Dear all
I've already expressed my opposition to the nation-state on this list before, but I had still a couple of thoughts to share, some of which are broadly in agreement with moses, some of which oppose the ardent expressions of love for country.
Perhaps it is different to love one's own country in the ways ayo expressed or baba m expresses for his little piece of england.
I think of love of country as a brainwashing to which we, as children, were subject in ballparks, with the national anthem, and especially schools, where we said the pledge of allegiance, had the u.s. Flag in our classrooms, and sang the national anthem. In our best folk music we sang of loving america from east to west, this land is your land, this land is my land, from california to the new york highlands, etc.
Songs, flags, being american, hot dogs, world war to save the world for democracy, etc.
You can make up the same list of englishness as michael did. You can even vote on it. Vote for brexit; vote for trump; for le pen. All the nationalist jingoists of the world.

You can make up the same list of nigerianness as well, and I can understand, can love, can want to be there, can share the beers and laughter, and sing along with abiola and all the yoruba mates. Why not why not?
If you can't answer that question, why not, you are lost in the haze of nationalist piety that confounds one need we have for belonging and identity, with values per se that hide their costs, their exclusions, and their histories.
michael's english waters, so still, so beautiful at night—conrad wrote best about that river that wound from the nighttime thames to the congo. Same river, same powers, same empires, from rome to British. Most of all, most of all—I'll say this three times—most of all, same idea of us and them. 
"we" got california, its "redwood forests" we sing about, in woody guthrie's song that pete seeger made "ours", but we had to take them from the mexicans, the spanish, the conquistadores, etc.
There is no "we" without non-"we"—they. no us without them.
So let's all learn to love each other, and forget that the price of that love is to exclude from our love "them," since what kind of love would it be if we loved everyone. We couldn't defend "our" nigeria without contesting those cameroonian claims to "our" oil lands in the southwest. Or you name it. Name the beers, the fruits the songs of love which are ours.
I agree with all those loves, including negritude. I understand why we have to defend ourselves, and love ourselves.
But we can't do that without first "knowing" who "we" are, and you can't be "us" and "them" at the same time.
Too bad for them

that's human, I suppose. It is normal. When michael talks about taking back the english water from europe, I wonder where the ship windrush comes in???
I wonder where the wanderers from africa and the caribbean come in. I wonder where the largest minority in england, now, the polish come in?
And those poles, those poles, who are just dying to keep out the muslims, where do they come in? They love it in england; when I ask, how do you feel about muslim refugees being barred from poland, do you know what they say? Poland is a catholic country, they say. 
Nice for poland to be a catholic country, especially after the poles, along with the germans, wiped out 3 million jews, so as to clean out the non-catholics.

Why do you love nigeria? I know the answer, because I love it too. 
But you can't love a country without being willing to consider the price of that love, and the inculcation of patriotism in us as children as serving a national interest that cannot be constructed without exclusions of those not in the nation.

Last words on this topic: the free market has destroyed africa's fishing industry, but not without the collusion of powerful interests. When we can solve that problem, without simply trying to reassert national sovereignty, we will be ready to take on the tasks of love of country and survival in an age of neoliberal globalization. As it is, it won't do to say "I love nigeria" as if that were an answer.

ken
Kenneth Harrow
Dept of English and Film Studies
Michigan State University
619 Red Cedar Rd
East Lansing, MI 48824

From: usaafricadialogue <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com> on behalf of "meochonu@gmail.com" <meochonu@gmail.com>
Reply-To: usaafricadialogue <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com>
Date: Thursday, 6 July 2017 at 22:02
To: usaafricadialogue <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com>
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - IF YOU LOVE NIGERIA, SAY SO

I am deeply suspicious any effusive profession of patriotism. It is usually calculated, self-interested, and strategic. It is also episodic. Most of those professing love of country today are from the Southwestern and Northern parts of the country. Only three years ago, Northerners, especially people from the so-called core North, were denouncing the union and openly saying they would be fine with the country dividing. Some of them even threatened to tear the union apart if power did not "return" to the North--and by north they did not mean my kind of north. The sentiment in the Southwest at that time was hardly different although it was expressed in less vehement and militant terms. I need not even go back to the post-June 12 period when separatist sentiment was at an all time high in the Southwest and when the Southwestern political elite and intelligentsia scoffed at any invocation of patriotism. This is a long winded way of saying that patriotism is often directly proportional to how one perceives the union in relation to one's (or one's group's) interest at any particular time. These vulgar assertions of patriotism despite the country descending into centrifugal funk is also strategic. In my opinion, true patriots do not need to make noise about their patriotism. It will show through their actions, especially through the CONSISTENCY of their public advocacy, political ideology, and empathy.

On Thu, Jul 6, 2017 at 2:27 PM, Olukayode Soremekun <nikesohe@hotmail.com> wrote:
I DO LOVE MY COUNTRY, NIGERIA.

LONG LIVE NIGERIA!

I DO NOT LISTEN TO THE NAYSAYERS.

Thank you Kayode.

From:usaafricadialogue@ googlegroups.com <usaafricadialogue@ googlegroups.com> on behalf of Kayode J. Fakinlede <jfakinlede@gmail.com>
Sent: Thursday, July 6, 2017 1:41:03 PM
To: USA Africa Dialogue Series
Subject: USA Africa Dialogue Series - IF YOU LOVE NIGERIA, SAY SO
 
In recent months, I have witnessed the most organised and coordinated effort to tear down our country that any person or a group of people can muster. Nigeria, our country, has suddenly transmogrified into a country of confused people who cannot put two and two together, its impending doom and imminent collapse being broadcast every minute on the internet and the print media.
Some months before, I was at a gathering in the United States and, as a lone person out, I had tried to defend our country among some of these naysayers only to find out that I was dangerously outmunbered. "What has Nigeria done for you?; why should I speak well about Nigeria, etc, etc?' These kinds of questions were coming from even new arrivals and from young people who had just received their freshly minted certificates in one university or another in Nigeria and were lucky enough to have been able to secure a visa to America. Of course, I had previously, and several times found myself among groups of Nigerians who would spend the night castigating our country and throwing darts at it. Some even swore never to set eyes on Nigeria for ever.
Ah, Ah!!, I discovered why it is easy for these to put Nigeria down. The light and glare of the country America have blinded them to the reality of where they come from and the sacrifices made by their forebears to get them there. Evidently, much that they see and experience in America magically appeared across the landscape. A little learning, they say is a dangerous thing.
Of course, there is a majority of us, the silent majority, who by reason of our experience know that things do not always go harmonioulsy in God's own country.  In America, in spite of the daily jostling of each individual to get to the top regardless of whose ass is gored, we see the combined efforts of its citizens, irrespective of and in spite of their differences, to continuously improve - emphasis on improve -  the school system, the legal system, the water system, the health provision system, the electricity supply system, roads and bridges, etc.
'Towards a more perfect Union,' Americans often proclaim this as their intention. But when I see the level of acrimony some issues generate within the polity, I often wonder if a perfect union can ever be achieved on earth. But at the end of it all, I realise that the glitter and fluorencence that we foreigners now come to enjoy are the results of years of the acrimonious debates and sacrifices –  emphasis on sacrifices - made by their forebears.
One fact seems to run through the vein of all Americans though, they love their country, warts and all. Every American proclaims this at the roof top every time and before they start the aforementioned acrimonious debates.
Majority of Nigerians are like Americans too. We wake up in the morning, try to take care of our families the best way we can,  get to our individual workplaces to earn a living, send our children to the best schools we can afford, and in general try to earn a living. We also love Nigeria, warts and all. And try our best to work towards a better Nigeria.
But we have let the naysayers hijack the debate. We have allowed them to control the tempo of our discussion. We have given them the megaphone, they are now browbeating us with negative propaganda, and we are cowered by the intensity of their intention.
Let us therefore begin to take to the bulhorn to declare our love for our country Nigeria. Let our positive proclamation drown the organized, cacophony and grandiloquence of the naysayers. They do have a plan and their plan is to tear Nigeria apart. We have a better plan and that better plan is to keep Nigeria one. And we do not have to debate or apologize to anyone for this.
God bless Nigeria
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Listserv moderated by Toyin Falola, University of Texas at Austin
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