Part Two of Three:
Government corruption has been an ongoing problem during the years since Nigerian independence. Shehu Shagari was the first democratically elected president of Nigeria since the country became independent in 1960. His administration, which lasted from 1979 until 1983, was plagued by corruption. Their activities eventually resulted in an investigation into Shagari’s questionable finances. Interestingly, several federal buildings that he was associated with burned down before the accounts they stored could be thoroughly investigated.
Ibrahim Babangida, who took over the country’s military rule after almost two years under Muhammadu Buhari, took it one step further than Shehu. He was labeled “the body that legalized corruption,” accused of hiding the money Nigeria received due to the Gulf War, estimated at $12.4 billion. On June 12, 1993, he annulled the results of Nigeria’s first successful election, keeping himself in power for another two months and culminating in yet another military coup. Under his leadership, “he routinely disbursed vehicles and cash gifts to people to earn loyalty, and the discipline of the military force eroded.” General Babangida was known to offer “government privatization initiatives to reward friends and cronies, which eventually gave rise to the current class of nouveau riche in Nigeria. From banking to oil and import licenses, IBB used these favors to raise cash for himself and his family and is regarded as one of the richest ex-rulers.”
Nearly every American president in history has been accused of some form of corruption. I am not suggesting that we are entirely immune to those problems. But knowing that it is a persistent problem everywhere if we blacks in America had a black-owned nation, do we honestly think we could be free from corruption? Would an African-American leadership prevent all these problems while also embracing individuals who might be shamed for different opinions?
The first black Republican in the Arizona legislature, Walter Blackman, called Black Lives Matter a “terrorist organization.” He attacked the character of George Floyd, posting the video of Floyd and saying, “I DO NOT support George Floyd, and I refuse to see him as a martyr. But I hope his family receives justice Nigerian Raises Questions.”
Ben Carson, an African-American retired brain surgeon, sought the Republican nomination for President of the United States in 2016. He found notoriety after giving a speech at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast. He criticized the policies of President Barack Obama, who some said didn’t care enough about African people. Carson stood next to the president and first lady at a prayer breakfast and felt it was the time to criticize their policies Nigerian Raises Questions.
Black Americans do not suffer from the disturbed mindset of corrupt Nigerian government leaders and religious figures in all fairness. But it’s not too tricky, looking at a particular party in American politics, to visualize an all-black American government ruling as fiercely as Nigeria’s leaders and threatening significant consequences for speaking poorly about their country. Citizens in Nigeria face harsh consequences should they violate any rules against speaking poorly about specific high-ranking people in Nigerian society. Are we utterly immune from that same mindset?
Omoyele Sowore, a Nigerian activist and journalist who started the Sahara Reporters website, was detained after investigating alleged corruption among state officials. Authors Muthoki Mumo and Jonathan Rozen wrote, “CPJ has documented repeated efforts over recent months to intimidate the paper’s staff and take the website offline. While CPJ continues to investigate Sowore’s case, information available indicates Sowore’s August arrest was connected to his organization of nationwide protests calling for improved governance under the slogan #RevolutionNow.” Last week, the Nigerian Army arrested Lance Corporal Harrison Friday to make what looked like a humane gesture, asking his colleagues to be mindful not to attack #EndSARS protesters.
American blacks are free to express their thoughts, unlike Nigerians. But those who are not “pro-black” often face scrutiny and psychological isolation. This can make people feel like their real thoughts are imprisoned, leading to psychological distress. In Samara Lynn’s article for ABC, she quotes E.W. Bishop, a conservative, lawyer, and minister, as saying, “The greatest danger for Black men in America is not a police officer, not somebody in a blue uniform, by any stretch of the imagination–it doesn’t even compare. The greatest danger for a Black man in America today is another Black man.” Our culture has cracks, and we need to recognize that we do not always treat each other as well as we would like to believe we do Nigerian Raises Questions.
Nigerians have limited options outside of putting their money into black-owned businesses. While black Americans have the freedom to do the same, it’s a matter of choice. However, author Rodney Brooks says that it is changing significantly due to COVID-19. “The stress of the virus, added to years of systematic racism and economic disparities, has Black businesses reeling.”
The reality is, there’s no evidence that systematic racism has hurt black business. Outside of surveys in which black Americans are asked whether they frequent black owed businesses, where has it been documented that black people support other black businesses? And when they respond that they are doing so, many of us who open business experience challenges like barbershop owners. All you have to do is make a few little mistakes, and the customer might jump ship because there are plenty of other options.