Today’s discourse will attempt to highlight something very important which we in the Black world don’t consider vital, yet it is crucial in the development of any society. It is the class character of the ruling elite. The ruling class of every society has peculiar things that tickle their fancy and they are ready to give everything for it. They subscribe to a set out code of conduct and take great pains to replicate these character traits in successive generations.
To the ordinary eye this is no big issue, after all as humans we are not expected to share similarities in preferences and overall conduct. Many will say environmental factors alone make uniformity in behaviour impossible. Yet, the truth remains that economic and power pursuits alter a group’s value system, especially those of the ruling class. Their places of origin and beliefs may be different but acquisition of gains has a way of bonding them into a formidable unit. Now if for the ruling class the character traits turn out progressive, what it means is the society in question will experience rapid progress and sustainable development in the short while. If on the contrary the newly acquired norms turn out to border more on the negative. It is a signpost to possible stagnation which will graduate to retrogression and end up in a huge disaster.
Why is this revelation important? I gave the first point earlier in the piece, when I pointed to the fact the character of the leadership will always affect development, either for good or for bad. The other would be the hidden fact that the world of imperialism uses the knowledge of the character make up of the ruling class to their utmost advantage. They deploy it to keep us perpetually underdeveloped so we remain suppliers of raw materials, even for the raw materials we hardly have enough indigenous input. When developed nations organise all the seminars and induction courses in their home countries, which many of us feel very elated to attend often at huge cost to our economic health, not many know that the intention is never to make us see the light as ought to be the cas. Rather, it is to understand us better, find out what thrills us and how it could be deployed in the most creative manner to make us have sense of progress when in actual fact everything is on reverse gear.
This contraption explains exactly why we have crude oil for instance and in over 60 years of exploration and marketing we have only but nominal roles that we play. We can’t for explore for crude on our own, we always need foreign expertise which we pay for in foreign exchange that is very scarce and would always remain inadequate since we have failed to transform into a productive society. Foreign companies tell us the production figures and unit cost of crude oil explored in our soil; they do the marketing. Invariably between them and their home governments they have a way of determining the cost at which they purchase the crude which usually would be under priced, then the finished product is exported back and sold to us at very exorbitant price called in western economic terms “international market pricing.”
Now because the world of imperialism knows we are unproductive, drawing from the class character of the ruling class which is often careless and uncritical, they rub in the message that we lack competence to do many essential things by ourselves. A lie told repeatedly over time becomes “truth” and philosophy of state administration. So to make up for goods we must import from them the result is to include shrinking of the economic space, factory closures, job losses and spiraling unemployment figures. Also the cost of goods are priced far well above what the majority of citizens can pay.
Every year prices must go very high because the exchange rate dynamics must always alter in favour of those who produce. The worst thing is that these forces of imperialism make us place less emphasis on self-sufficiency. So instead of talking about refining crude in the country, our leaders would rather prefer to import refined products irrespective of what the cost is and what the effect or damage could be on our foreign reserves.
Why do we see terrible processes, and all they do to us and still keep the system. The answer is simple: ruling class conspiracy and crass collaboration. Member of our leadership class are not nationalists in philosophy and orientation, they are what political scholars describe as “comprado bourgeoisies,” that in simple terms connotes men and women with solid linkage in international metropolitan centres. This is not sounding rude, we have a class that grew up with awful sense of deprivation, now grown up and privileged to be in public spaces the first urge is usually to regain lost grounds. The starting point is to want to be like be like their contemporaries in the western world. If only we had statistics of Nigerians who depart our shores every night for no useful economic travels or what has been lost to medical tourism then it would be very clear to us what burden the reckless indulgences of our unproductive elite class has imposed on the development of our society. Visionlessness and corruption has its root in character make up of the group.
For this class it is about power and raw exploitation, nothing more as in everything the trait gradually dovetails into pillaging of our common patrimony. Exact reason corruption is systemic add to that private initiative, without fundamental pillars. When capitalism has to run without free, qualitative education, civil rights and rule of law what often results is what is popularly known as “crass capitalism”, one that produces what has become known to some citizens as “idle rich people.” It leaves with human settlement very much akin to that of animal kingdom, where stronger animals eat up the lesser ones for food. Our ruling class not idelogical at all so the vacuum is filled by all manner of prescriptions dished to them from world business capitals. They must take them or be tactically shut off from those places. Some of feel a tinge of disgrace when we hear developed countries tell our leaders “if you misbehave we blacklist you and your family from entry to our country.” What could be more demeaning to a people and a race? Victims don’t care because of the mentality they wear.
Since their bread is not buttered by materials from their home country, their subscription to higher standards and principles is non-existent. They become like wind vane tossed around by winds of fortune. If the price or personal gains to be made from any endeavor are high and reasonable by their estimation they switch allegiance or double speak without caring a hood . The other day Mallam El Rufai, Governor of Kaduna state, a very plural state was on Arise television lamenting what mismanagement of our diversity has done on development, he agreed inclusiveness is ideal but quickly added that even though he knows he doesn’t practice it. Indeed he doesn’t; in a deeply divided setting between two major faiths, Christianity and Islam he took a moslem as Deputy and yet expected the enclave to be peaceful. Of course it hadn’t been. He is there pontificating on possible solutions when actually he is the major solution.
The same way former governor of Niger State broke ranks with the caucus of his party, the People’s Democratic Party, to go announce that the presidential seat has been rezoned to the North, same region that is about finishing two tenures of eight years. He does that with all seriousness not minding the consequences such a move could have for peace, stability and progress of the land. Where there is a bonding, and elite character is right and very positive, such attitude won’t be contemplated let alone undertaken. Rancorous elite behavior is worse where everything is seen from the acquisitive and private motive model. Elite poor character has done us in and needs to be changed. The earlier the better.