Man is itinerant, and mass migration has always been the bane of ancient civilizations and even recent ones. You must have read of the biblical migration of the sons of Israel to Egypt and how they immensely contributed to the latter’s GDP – some even claim the Pyramids were their idea. History would not also forget the Moorish migration to Spain and how they have greatly impacted the socio-cultural atmosphere of Espania today. Though the Moorish occupation was a product of conquest, it was remarkable. Monumental edifices in Spain today are relics of the Moorish occupation.
The most massive migration in world history was the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Over ten million Africans were forcefully removed from their land and taken to the Americas. Words would fail me if I ventured to explain the impact of the drift. Between 1620¬–1640 there was the Great Migration, which saw a mass drift of English Puritans across the Atlantic to the Americas. Need I also remind you of the Great Trek which involved the exodus of Dutch peasants into the South African hinterland?
Reason and time would not permit me to rant on about the fecundity of mass migration in time past. Suffice it to say at this point that that exodus is still a common phenomenon in our present day. There are two types of exodus: The intellectual exodus – otherwise called THE BRAIN DRAIN – and the conventional exodus of lives and properties. Africa has immensely suffered from both. It has been raped by the whole world and left desolate.
A report from 2015 revealed that over one million people crossed the Mediterranean Sea illegally into Europe from the Northern coasts of Africa in search of security and better life. Thousands have lost their lives in this venture. Many buried in the Sahara, and some swallowed by the Mediterranean. Most of these people products of bad, insensitive and cruel governance. When asked, one of the migrants said, “I have no reason to stay in Africa.”
Briefly, let’s examine the massive intellectual exodus. Myopically Africa has permitted a frightening drift of its illustrious sons and daughters to the west. In all works of life you’d see African sons and daughters doing exploits for and in nations without remote or immediate bearings to their nativity. What makes the situation most miserable is the audacious manner with which these persons talk foul of their AFRICANNESS. To these ones the term AFRICANESS is a joke. They listen to Bob Marley and give a wild guffaw. The African system is indeed inadequate, the system doesn’t work. A large chunk of this brain drain happened in the mid 70’s to the late 90’s, when military high-handedness was rife and people had to run to fight another day. During the London 2012 Olympics, I held my breath in consternation as I saw a certain Danielle Alakija representing a country as remote to Africa, or Nigeria, as Fiji.
The African continent runs on the ‘survival’ system. An average African wants to survive, he doesn’t care if there be a Nigerian, Ghanian or African dream, as the case may be. For a better half of the 18th century Europe’s Ideology was subjugation, America’s ideology was liberty and the Asians sought development and industrialisation. The African ideology was simply survival (a need to keep body and soul together, irrespective). Even after ‘independence’ our leaders still roamed the corridors of state houses in Europe and America seeking handouts.
Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, once said, “Afica’s story has been written by others; we need to own our problems and solutions and write our story.”
The west, as some know, is wont to clamping down on African leaders who stand their grounds and do not kowtow to their avarice. Thomas Sankara of Burkina Faso strongly repelled colonial manipulations and was shortlived after he was assassinated by pro-west soldiers. Patrice Lumumba of DRC was usurped and subsequently executed under the watch and backing of the West. A sad tale could also be told of Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana who had a strong anti neocolonial stance and was subsequently assassinated by pro-west soldiers. Muamur Ghadaffi, Mohammed Morsi, just to mention a few, were all victims of this witch hunt.
A corollary to the West’s policy of subjugation is the massive exodus we see across the Mediterranean. With this, one cannot agree less with the classical saying: what goes around comes around. After igniting wars and insurgency in Africa and the Middle East to create stability at home, in a robbing Peter to pay Paul bid, the West now hypocritically cries foul. They are drenched in the pool of xenophobia, seeing the fruits of their avarice knocking and pushing vigorously at their borders.
Lives are being lost daily on the Mediterranean. Africans with naive tendencies mount flimsy boats in search of a non-existent life of bliss in Europe. If the other side of the fence is truly green, then there wouldn’t be a fence at all. Europe is currently in its lowest ebb of economic growth. The EURO zone is currently a grave yard of economic growth, hence it can’t afford to play its hypocritical BIG BROTHER card with the African and Middle East migrants.
Surprising however is the manner with which African leaders have kept mum in regards to these perishing African migrants. Over thirty thousand Africans perished in the Mediterranean last year, ironically this generated more uproar in Europe than in Africa. European leaders had several emergency meetings while African leaders were busy getting second wives or looting treasuries. The African story is a mindset thing; we see no value in ourselves. Africans who could add value to the mother land are scattered around Europe and America washing toilets, wiping asses, engaged in fraud and prostitution. Some weeks back, I walked past the Spanish embassy in Victoria Island, Lagos. The amount of Nigerians I saw by the gate got me wondering how we got here. Some opt to port via the Mediterranean, others by air, to both the end justifies the means, so long they escape THE GOD FORSAKEN LAND.
Why did Africa let Europe cart away millions of Africa’s soul from the continent to the four corners of the wind? How could Europe lord over a continent ten times its size? Why does needy Africa continue to let its wealth meet the needs of those outside its borders and then follow behind with hands outstretched for a loan of the very wealth it let go? How do we arrive at this, that a best leader is the one that knows how to beg for a share of what he’d already given at the price of a broken tool? Where is the future of Africa – Ngugi Wa Thiong’o
And like Mary McLeod Bethune said, ‘The drums of Africa still beat in my heart. They will not let me rest while there is a single Negro boy or girl without a chance to prove his worth.’
Cover design by Akeem Alawoki.