By Tony Afejuku
|President Muhammadu Buhari. PHOTO: TWITTER/NIGERIAGOV|
I have just re-read Jimanze Ego-Alowes’ Minorities as competitive overlords, a book that has several perspectives on the power and exploits of the minorities of Southern Nigeria. I initially read the book in its primitive form, that is, in its pre-publishing form as a manuscript. Then I said my little say to the author, who used an excerpt of it as a quotable aspect of its blurb. In fact, I should state that the excerpt appeared as the leading subject of its blurb: “Jimanze is certainly a master of the art of the essay, the writing that is mind-arresting. Jimanze’s mind is as powerful as the powerful media. His arresting intellect says so.” This 2013 book of the Stone Press entered my pleasurable mind recently. Or should I say that it re-entered my pleasurable perspective recently? But if the answer is yes, this question must follow it: Why?
I was thinking of the Nigerian condition at the present time and of the place, the real place, of the minorities in this country which seemingly tolerates only the shenanigans of President Buhari’s people. Or should I say the real place of the minorities in this country in which President Buhari encourages and tolerates only the shenanigans of his people who are messing up the polity in every sense of the term? As a minoritist, whose people are being thoroughly cheated, marginalized and discriminated against left, right and centre despite our abundant wealth and resources, Jimanze Ego-Alowes’ Minorities as competitive overlords invited (re-invited?) me to eat and re-eat it to quash my pain and despair.
This piece is not embarking on an attempt to review the book that is in one breadth economics and in another sociological philosophy or philosophical sociology or social philosophy that draws a great deal from historical knowledge that tends to demonstrate the author’s literary standing which he does not loudly proclaim because he respects academic and artistic humility. Of course, some readers may see it as a book that is usefully useful to a moneybag of a transporter or a moneybag of a banker or the deviant and social rebel well captured in the writer’s over all engagement with the existential problems and realities of our country. The three parts book centres, in Part One, on “Why and how Nigerian media moguls… are all from the South-South Minority” (Chapter 1); “How and Why the Warri Dons Dominate the Comedy Business” (Chapter 2); “Is there then a Power Market Too?” (Chapter 4); “South-South Braced for Competitive Dominance?” (Chapter 5) and in Chapter 6 we have “As the Drums Beat and Summon the Tribes to a New Bloodbath.” Although Parts Two and Three are fascinating, Part One was particularly invigorating to my mind in view of the recent #End SARS protests that have come and gone, but not really and truly gone despite threats here and there from begging quarters all the time what we witnessed lasted. Of course the hoodlums imported by those who imported them caused mayhem everywhere, which should not have happened, what were, were successfully and decently what were. The dominant media of our South-South denizens played a highly significantly role, collectively speaking, in highlighting what the rightly courageous #EndSARS young and youthful activists engaged and partook in as dance activists in the streets. The Guardian, Vanguard, ThisDay, Daily Independent, all print media and AIT and Channels, Silver Bird and Arise Television, which belong to the electronic media as we well know, were all magnificent in their reports and comprehensive highlights of the anti-establishment sights and sounds that were let loose, as some other non-South-South media also were.
Did the #EndSARS activists read Minorities as competitive overlords even feebly before embarking on what they embarked on? I will also ask the same question and direct it at the media houses cited and named. Did the journalists and media barons and proprietors and lords read the book that pre-captured what we have just witnessed in our country? Let me quote from Minorities…:
“The critical point is that the media are deployed by Chinese and other governments to prompt citizens to be loyal and law abiding rather than being protesters at the barricades, factories, etc., and not at the picketing lines.
We may all remark quite correctly that without the internet, the Arab Spring, so called, would not have been possible. The internet opened the vistas and thus the people’s eyes to the state of their own very existence, something that was hitherto denied them by the control of the media by interested parties sympathetic to sitting tyrannies. Immediately control slipped beyond the hands of their dictators and tyrants a new order was demanded or put in place.” (8)
Well spoken, Dr. Jimanze Ego-Alowes. With what we have witnessed things can never be the same again in Nigeria. More importantly, our South-South minorities cannot be said to be minorities after all so long as they are duly recognized as competitive overlords in the open space of Nigerian media and journalism (and elsewhere as well articulated in Minorities) to the chagrin of the tyrannical majorities. Clearly, the South-South minorities are more than the chaud-froid of Nigeria never to be consumed at will by those who have been consuming and licking them. Their outfits can never ever be used again to do the dirty jobs of tyrannical Nigerian rulers who are not in any way leaders of the people, young and old. Dr. Jimanze Ego-Alowes – publisher, author, economist and newspaper columnist – is Igbo of Imo State origin, but he knows very well the power and astuteness of South-South minorities in every enterprise and venture they embark on – despite the red jealousy boiling in the hearts of some Arewa people. I must quote our author finally:
“How do you justify the fact that most of the banks are owned by the people from the South-South?
“How do you justify the situation where most of the media houses are owned by people from the South-South? You think they are the hardest workers?” (70)
Dr. Jimanze Ego-Alowes was simply quoting a statement issued by the Arewa Consultative Forum, a hard Northern pro-establishment forum. But he would have none it. I don’t wish to quote his frank remark on this score. But it is enough to state that he is objective enough in his support of our South-South barons and minorities who no more are ready to play the role of despicable errand boys and girls to be used as pawns in Project Nigeriana. Every Nigerian deserves to read the thoughtful author. I have not in any way tried to over-read or under-read the mind of our fabulous author.
The rest is silence – meanwhile.
Afejuku can be reached via 08055213059.
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