Femi Falana, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN has said that he is deep concern over the level at which Africa is moving backwards, stressing that Africa would have to save itself from imperialism and neo-colonization by having a united front to challenge the West.
Falana, who is also a human rights activist made this call while delivering his keynote address at a programme organized by Correct Connect Africa Foundation, CCAF in commemoration of Africa Memorial Day, AMD in Lagos.
This year’s AMD, themed ‘Routes of no Return,’ points where slaves in Africa were exported to the West which was expected to serve as a reminder of the African past and a hope for a better future, Falana, who recalled that US President, Joe Biden when he summoned African leaders to Washington, arguing that having such kind of Heads of State who were ready to go cap in hands to the West would not augur well for a continent that would play a leading role in the global community.
The human rights lawyer said, “For me when you think about the past, it is going to be difficult to chart a course for Africa because of the kind of rulers we have.
“I wondered why Nigeria had been relegated, the country was no longer part of the world movement and Nigeria is not part of the world movement today. What is the world movement? It is a new movement to ‘de-dollarize’ the world economy.
“A group of nations called the BRIC (representing Brazil, Russia, India and China), we are not part of it, it is a shame that Nigeria is not part of them. The agenda is to have a new international currency to challenge the US dollar’s dominance. Why should I sell my oil and collects dollar? Why should we have to be chasing dollars in our own country?
“If you want to save Africa, we must get Africa to trade in our own currency. We must study the books to get Africa working,” he stated.
According to him, in the case of former Ghanaian Head of State, Kwame Nkrumah, he recalled that the ex-leader had advocated for a common currency for Africa, saying the West condemned him and labelled him as being too ambitious.
stressing that Africa would have to save itself from imperialism and neo-colonization by having a united front to challenge the West.
“We should save our country from neo-colonization and imperialism, especially Nigeria because of our status in the comity of nations. We need to study our society and know why we are where we are. Let’s wake up from our slumber and develop our country and continent,” human rights activist said.
On his part, Rev. Fr. Anthony Aleakwe Odior, the General Coordinator of the CCAF, in his welcome address disclosed that the Foundation organizes an annual Africa Memorial Day as a way of retracing Africans’ past and forging a new and better front in the comity of nations, noting that Africa is still in this quagmire because of the constant betrayals she has suffered and continues to face.
According to him, “Statistics show that about 12.5 million, 15 million, or even as high as 20 million people, depending on the source you want to stand by, were uprooted from Africa into slavery in the Americas and Europe.
“When they got to their destination, the majority were deployed to work in the plantations, in hard inhuman conditions.
“According to Ottobah Cogoano, in his book, ‘Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evil of Slavery’, On the Plantations, “I and other slaves were again subject to the whims and cruelty of others. Slaves discovered eating sugar cane are cruelly lashed, or struck over the face, to knock their teeth out” (p.126). Other slaves have their teeth pulled out, to deter others, and to prevent them from eating any cane even before they ever work in the fields (p. 126).
“I believe we don’t want to ever encounter such treatment and dehumanizing conditions. I don’t think anyone with a sane mind would want to knowingly and freely desire such an inimical and deplorable state of being. Hence the theme of this year’s AMD Routes of No Return.
“The Routes of No Return is a call to national, continental, and diasporan consciousness, the awareness of our shared brotherhood, and sisterhood as African people. The Ubuntu philosophy is our natural habitat. I am because we are and we are because I am. Let us go back to retrieve these aspects of our social-cultural and spiritual identity so that we can move towards the African Renaissance.
“The African Renaissance is not achievable if we are still wallowing in tribalism, back-bitting, betrayals etc. Talking about betrayers, there is an unhappy account Cugoano cited in his already mentioned book, “Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evil of Slavery,” he said.
Fr Odior, on quoting Cugoano’s book, said: “The slaves agree that death is “more preferable than life; a plan was concerted amongst us, that we might burn and blow up the ship, and to perish all together in the flames: but we were betrayed by one of our countrywomen, who slept with some of the headmen of the ship, for it was common for the filthy dirty sailors to take the African women and lie upon their bodies; but the men were chained and pent up in holes” (p. 124).”
“Quite frankly, Africa is still in this quagmire, this swamp because of the constant betrayals she has suffered and continues to face. This was brilliantly captured and articulated by the Zimbabwean freedom rights activist, Benjamin Burombo when he said, “Each time I want to fight for African rights, I use only one hand because the other hand is busy trying to keep away Africans, who are fighting me.” However, hope is our name. There is hope for the Africa of our dreams.
“Let us all be inspired and driven to keep and honour the memory of our brave ancestors whose blood of courage, resilience, and triumph flows in our veins! A noble way to honour them is to live worthy of their struggles. Neglecting to heed this call is making a mockery of their struggles for the good of all,” he said.
By Benprince Ezeh
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