ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes


Home  ChickenBones Store (Books, DVDs, Music, and more)



Before Oil the citizens had a sense that they were the producers of the wealth

of the country and therefore believed that government must be accountable to them.

As a tax based economy it was vulnerable to protests and popular pressures

                                                                                                                                                            President Obasanjo of Nigeria



Nigeria: The "Greatest Nation"? 

The "Hope of Africa"? The "Hope of the Black Race"?

A Thursday Postcard by Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem


Nigerians like seeing themselves as the “greatest nation,” “hope of Africa,” and “hope of the Black race.” It is more a declaration of intent or deification of potential, than a statement of fact. It is a triumph of hope that defies unpalatable reality. Somehow the country never quite manages to live up to its own self-proclamations but however tired and tested “the sleeping giant” and her inexhaustibly hopeful peoples they continue to dream that one day, one day, the country will, a la Martin Luther King Jr.'s exasperated dream about America “live up to the true meaning of its creed!” For now in all intent and purposes, the country and the peoples' dreams remain an enduring “great notion!”

Over the years it has been a compelling wonder to many pundits, sympathetic and unsympathetic observers, why the country continues to stand and weather all kinds of foretold collapse and imminent catastrophe. It is neither at war nor is it at peace. And at the moment it is not a military regime and it cannot be described as a democracy without huge qualifications either.

It should not be difficult to understand what makes the country tick. The political economy is built around “the Black Gold” (OIL). For as long as it continues to flow the country will be kept together by hook or crook. The rancour, bitterness and acute value placed on political power is to enable the various competing cliques and sub-cliques within the political and military elite to get more and more of the proceeds from oil for their own class and self-aggrandizement. 

Both by nature's selection and deliberate political engineering Oil remains essentially a resource that is predominantly found in areas occupied by National minorities.

The logic of Nigeria's center-centric Federalism is simple: What cannot be claimed as the exclusive monopoly of the Big Three (i.e. Hausa-Fulani, Yoruba, and Igbo political elites) belongs to everybody. But what belongs to them individually is theirs. That is why the country operated a more balanced federalism in the immediate post independence period with powerful regions controlled by the three dominant groups, which were dependent on agricultural commodities. As Oil gained in importance and became the main source of national revenues the near confederal consensus gave way to a virtual unitary state.

This process was aided and abetted by prolonged military rule.

No military can function without a clearly defined command structure and commandism. Thus you have the current situation where the center continues to divide and rule unchallenged by breaking the country into more states. And at state level every village will, with time and oil still flowing, become a local government. The theory is that government will be closer to people at the local level the smaller the unit of administration. But in practice this has not been the case. 

And there are many reasons. The main one has to be the fact that none of these mushrooming layers of administration can sustain itself through taxation or production from the people they serve. They are distributive units for Oil money.

Before Oil the citizens had a sense that they were the producers of the wealth of the country and therefore believed that government must be accountable to them. As a tax based economy it was vulnerable to protests and popular pressures. That is why the colonial period and Nigeria's first republic were full of tax riots and popular actions by dominated classes. With Oil not even those from whose land and shores the black gold is pouring out have major contribution to its production.

In a situation where majority of the people are not directly involved in the production of the wealth of the country how can they expect accountability? In a country where the notion of “tax payers money” has been rendered meaningless outside of the comparatively small population of civil servants, declining workers in industry and manufacture and others in formal employment whose taxes are deducted at source (against their wishes), the democratic demand that proclaims “no taxation without representation” is rendered, as lawyers will say, “superfluous.”

Who are these taxpayers who want representation? Consequently simple democratic demands have become privileges dispensed by the governing elite as and when they please. Democracy becomes a hollow shell to legitimize oligarchic politics of greed and naked opportunism. No wonder the leadership have contempt for its people and acts so in the most brazen way. Otherwise how can one explain why an allegedly democratically elected President could sit idly by pleading “deregulation,” “market forces” and “liberalization” and increase the price of fuel on the eve of Nigeria's (In)dependence anniversary as the government did last October ?

For a government that came about as a result of Nigerians' undiminished desire for a government of their choosing the Obasanjo regime has frittered away all the good will and it is today compared poorly with the sadistic regime of Abacha. It is a false comparison but that this is a popular view tells us more about the depth of despair that the country has sunk to than Nigerians' love for autocratic rule. Is the President listening and does his government care? Do the people expect them to? On the evidence of a recent trip to the country it was not difficult to gauge the dangerous indifference from both the government and the people.

It is a paradox that while Nigerians desire serious and focused government the administration of General Obasanjo seem to wallow in the market illusion that it is deregulatiing. The claptrap about deregulation is becoming a recipe for chaos. Lawlessness and derogation of government's minimal responsibility to guarantee human security for its peoples.

"Forward Ever Backward never" Kwame Nkrumah

Source: THURSDAY POST CARD NOVEMBER 6 2003 / posted 8/22/03


Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem

Tajudeen has been General Secretary of the global Pan African Movement since 1994 and is resident in Uganda and London. Tajudeen is Nigerian by origin. He was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford where he gained his D.Phil in political science. He was a founder member of the Africa Resource and Information Bureau, London, and has been at the centre of numerous initiatives to promote peace and democracy in Africa. Tajudeen writes and lectures on Africa for several journals and universities. He is Chairperson of the Centre for Democratic Development and the Pan African Development Education and Advocacy Programme.

*   *   *   *   *

Contemporary African Immigrants to The United States  / African immigration to the United States

African Aid breeds African dependency

*   *   *   *   *


Speaking Truth to Power: Selected Pan-African Postcards

By Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem (Author)

 Salim Ahmed Salim (Preface), Horace Campbell (Foreword)

Dr Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem's untimely death on African Liberation Day 2009 stunned the Pan-African world. This selection of his Pan-African postcards, written between 2003 and 2009, demonstrates the brilliant wordsmith he was, his steadfast commitment to Pan-Africanism, and his determination to speak truth to power. He was a discerning analyst of developments in the global and Pan-African world and a vociferous believer in the potential of Africa and African people; he wrote his weekly postcards for over a decade. This book demonstrates Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem's ability to express complex ideas in an engaging manner. The Pan-African philosophy on diverse but intersecting themes presented in this book offers a legacy of his political, social, and cultural thought.

Represented here are his fundamental respect for the capabilities, potential and contribution of women in transforming Africa; penetrating truths directed at African politicians and their conduct; and deliberations on the institutional progress towards African union. He reflects on culture and emphasises the commonalities of African people.

Also represented are his denunciations of international financial institutions, the G8 and NGOs in Africa, with incisive analysis of imperialism's manifestations and impact on the lives of African people, and his passion for eliminating poverty in Africa. His personality bounces off the page—one can almost hear the passion of his voice, 'Don't Agonise! Organise!'

Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem (1961-2009) was a Rhodes scholar and obtained his D. Phil in Politics from Oxford University. In 1990 he became Coordinator of the Africa Research and Information Bureau and the founding editor of Africa World Review. He co-founded and led Justice Africa's work, becoming its Executive Director in 2004, and combined this with his role as General Secretary of the Pan-African Movement. He was chair of the Centre for Democracy and Development and of the Pan-African Development Education and Advocacy Programme in Uganda and became the UN Millennium Development Campaign's Deputy Director in 2006.

*   *   *   *   *

African RenaissanceKwame Nkrumah, Kenyatta, and the Old Order / God Save His Majesty  

For Kwame Nkrumah  Night of the Giants /   The Legend of the Saifs  /  Interview with Yambo Ouologuem   

Yambo  Bio & Review     African Renaissance (Journal)

The Slave Ship

By Marcus Rediker

The State of African Education  / Attack On Africans Writing Their Own History Part 1 of 7

Dr Asa Hilliard III speaks on the assault of academia on Africans writing and accounting for their own history.

Dr Hilliard is A teacher, psychologist, and historian.

*   *   *   *   *'s 25 Best Selling Books



#1 - Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark
#2 - Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree
#3 - Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane
#4 - Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper
#5 - Stackin' Paper 2 Genesis' Payback by Joy King
#6 - Thug Lovin' (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark
#7 - When I Get Where I'm Going by Cheryl Robinson
#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 - Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 - Don't Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 - For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 - Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 - Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 - Purple Panties: An Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 - Stackin' Paper by Joy King

#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 - The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 - Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter


#1 - Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
#2 - Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
#6 - Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey
#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

*   *   *   *   *

Greenback Planet: How the Dollar Conquered

the World and Threatened Civilization as We Know It

By H. W. Brands

In Greenback Planet, acclaimed historian H. W. Brands charts the dollar's astonishing rise to become the world's principal currency. Telling the story with the verve of a novelist, he recounts key episodes in U.S. monetary history, from the Civil War debate over fiat money (greenbacks) to the recent worldwide financial crisis. Brands explores the dollar's changing relations to gold and silver and to other currencies and cogently explains how America's economic might made the dollar the fundamental standard of value in world finance. He vividly describes the 1869 Black Friday attempt to corner the gold market, banker J. P. Morgan's bailout of the U.S. treasury, the creation of the Federal Reserve, and President Franklin Roosevelt's handling of the bank panic of 1933. Brands shows how lessons learned (and not learned) in the Great Depression have influenced subsequent U.S. monetary policy, and how the dollar's dominance helped transform economies in countries ranging from Germany and Japan after World War II to Russia and China today. He concludes with a sobering dissection of the 2008 world financial debacle, which exposed the power--and the enormous risks--of the dollar's worldwide reign.  The Economy

*   *   *   *   *

Debt: The First 5,000 Years

By David Graeber

Before there was money, there was debt. Every economics textbook says the same thing: Money was invented to replace onerous and complicated barter systems—to relieve ancient people from having to haul their goods to market. The problem with this version of history? There’s not a shred of evidence to support it. Here anthropologist David Graeber presents a stunning reversal of conventional wisdom. He shows that for more than 5,000 years, since the beginnings of the first agrarian empires, humans have used elaborate credit systems to buy and sell goods—that is, long before the invention of coins or cash. It is in this era, Graeber argues, that we also first encounter a society divided into debtors and creditors.  Graeber shows that arguments about debt and debt forgiveness have been at the center of political debates from Italy to China, as well as sparking innumerable insurrections. He also brilliantly demonstrates that the language of the ancient works of law and religion (words like “guilt,” “sin,” and “redemption”) derive in large part from ancient debates about debt, and shape even our most basic ideas of right and wrong. We are still fighting these battles today without knowing it. Debt: The First 5,000 Years is a fascinating chronicle of this little known history—as well as how it has defined human history, and what it means for the credit crisis of the present day and the future of our economy.   Economist Glenn Loury  /Criminalizing a Race

*   *   *   *   *

The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

*   *   *   *   *

Ancient African Nations

*   *   *   *   *

If you like this page consider making a donation

online through PayPal

*   *   *   *   *

Negro Digest / Black World

Browse all issues

1950        1960        1965        1970        1975        1980        1985        1990        1995        2000 ____ 2005        


*   *   *   *   *

The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

*   *   *   *   *

The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

*   *   *   *   *

*   *   *   *   *

ChickenBones Store (Books, DVDs, Music, and more)



update 13 April 2012




Home    The African World  Ugochukwu Ejinkeonye Table   Uche Nworah Table  

Related files: The Inauguration of Illegitimacy  Scaffolds of Primitive Corruption   Roguery Incorporated   Nigeria The Greatest Nation  Nigerian Elections 2007   Deposing Charles Taylor   Where Ghana Went Right  

Tarzan Can Not Return to Africa (A-B-C-D)    Wright's Ghana in the 1950s    Miriam in Ghana  Pilgrimage  to Ghana    Randolph Visits Ghana  Right to Abode  Banning Chinua Achebe in Kenya  

Okonkwo's Curse  U. S. Role in Congo Genocide   Africa My Motherland (Not)  Sanctions on Zimbabwe   Profound Evil in the Congo  Rwanda Crisis Could Expose U. S. Role in Congo