Monday, July 10, 2017

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

Please I need further clarification on the issues you raised in your article. Please read below:


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.

2.      My disagreement is multifaceted. 


Sir, what do you disagree with? Is it the fact that a propaganda war is being waged, or the country should not be defended?  Are you saying that a propagada war is not being waged or that we should not defend our country against it if it is true?


4.       You seem to believe that there is something intrinsically worthy of being defended in the nation-state.


Sir, are you talking about all nation-states or Nigeria in particular? Are you saying that no nation-state should be defended against any form of aggression, external or internal? That is, the collection of people you defined later in this article should not defend themselves against any form of aggresion?


6.      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.

7.     If propagandists are waging war against Nigeria, and you say so what? Are you saying that Nigerians should not defend thenselves even if it is true that a propagandist's war is being waged against them? Or are you saying that there is nothing like a propagandist's war. Since you in particular are not a believer in the nation state as a political commodity, are you saying that the rest of us should then take your belief system as a matter of faith?


9.       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.

10.  I was thinking the main reason why you want to defend something really is because of its fragility and that you are trying to defend it against all forms of enemies so it can be strong. Appareently you see it otherwise. A chick is not worthy of being defended against the kite by its mother because, you know, if if cannot defend itself, it should not exist in the first place


12.    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"?

13.  I was thinking it is you and me (and 180 million others) that make up what we call the Nigerian state? But you say Nigeria, which is you and me do not need us to defend itself. And your reason is because we (you and I and 180 million others) do not need to defend ourdelves in order to ensure its survival against the propagandists  


15.     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.

16.  Are there places where the nation-state are not defined as instruments of oppresion, or is this a necessary requirement of the existenc of a nation-state a possibility th. Is there a posibility that a nation-state mey work towards a more perfect union pr is this just a mirage?


18.     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.

19.  Apparently then the nation-state has some meaning: it is the relationships that people within ITS borders forge among themselves AND the BENEFITS therefrom  - your words. The Nigeria nation-state, therefore has these intentions for its existence and that IS the reason why we, who believe in it are trying to defend it from PROPAGANDIST'S AND BIAFRANISTS.


21.     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.

22.  A nation state IS as valuable as the INVESTMENTS people make in it and the benefits they derive from it – CORRECT.


24.     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,

25.  I presume you are talking about Nigeria here. What evidence do you have to come to this conclusion? The propaganda of the Biafranists or the daily give and ttake that go on among ALL Nigerians?


27.    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.

Are you implying that a nation-state cannot have internal enemies or that a nation-state should not defend itself against it? Any defense against thieves, robbers, bribe takers, terrorists, propagandists are supposed to be seen as a recipe for tyranny?


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.

And therefore we who have a different opinion about our country should just give them a free pass?


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.

I thought if you declared that you you want to tear a nation or anything apart, you are an enmy of that country. Is there any other definition for enmity?

They sure are not expressing love for Nigeria.


 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.

Most Nigerians probably agree with Soyinka but that is not the intention of the Biafranists. They are sworn enemies of the cintinues existence of Nigeria. You cannot possibly be rooting for them

On Thursday, July 6, 2017 at 2:43:38 PM UTC+1, Kayode J. Fakinlede wrote:

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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