The title of this article is a localized or rather indigenized version of Walter Rodney’s classic ‘’how Europe underdeveloped Africa’’ written in the 1972 in an effort to explain Africa’s’ continuous deprivation and the role colonialism, nay the world capitalist system has to play in it.
This article draws from Rodney’s knowledge of the concept of development and tries to put it side by side with what is attainable in our own state.
According to Walter Rodney ‘’Development implies an increasing capacity to regulate both internal and external relationships’’.
If this definition is anything to go by, Cross River State is the most underdeveloped state in the whole of the South-South geo-political zone, as our bargaining power and position in the comity of states is as low as the sagged breast of a 90 year old mother.
This was evident with the way and manner we sheepishly and ’yessirly’ handed not just the Bakkassi peninsula for on-ward transfer to the Cameroon but our attitude and satisfaction with the same order that has betrayed us.
Our underdevelopment is characterized by the emphasis and priority we had placed on the lost oil wells over the lost peninsula. Our cry over money lost rather than lives destroyed. That is a consequence of our underdevelopment.
Development in human society, according to Walter Rodney at the individual level ‘’implies increased skill and capacity, greater freedom, creativity, self-discipline, responsibility and material well-being’’ encouraged and promoted by the government. It is the role of government to stimulate economic activities by encouraging the growth of SME’s.
The Cross River state government underdeveloped the state by placing more emphasis on Foreign Direct Investment over and above investments by indigenes, even going as far as traveling abroad cap-in-hand begging for investment from foreign companies even granting them tax reliefs or concessions while at the same time killing local industry with a plethora of taxes, spiced with different nomenclatures necessary for the sustenance and maintenance of the over bloated lifestyle of the ruling elites.
The state is being underdeveloped by members of the ruling elite who after satisfying their kleptomaniac urges are bereft of ideas on how to reinvest this stolen money.
The only way this ruling class knows how to spend our commonwealth is to take girls who will easily pass for their granddaughters to shopping sprees in Dubai, Paris and when short of funds Cape Town and Jo’burg. Those with little sense are to be seen building hotels and nightclubs.
Cross River state is continuously being underdeveloped by the deliberate attempt by the upper class using the ‘executive committee of the ruling class’ to keep the citizens as politically uninformed as possible.
The government thrives on the ignorance of the masses to continue its wanton stealing and misrepresentation.
There is a parasitic relation between the continuance of an order and the ignorance of the people, and that is being exploited in our state with the ruling elite feeding fat on the ignorance of the ‘proles’.
This is evident by the arms and ammunitions the ruling elite push to the common man so as to return him to the position of affluence. This act defies the logic that ‘’the proletariat can only enjoy a period of relative peace when the bourgeois fight themselves” as these weapons are used to maim and kill those who are under the yoke of the ruling elite.
Therefore if the state (the oppressed that is) is to be free from this shackle, and upturn years of continuous government deliberate underdevelopment, the masses should be ready to accept their disadvantaged position and begin to stand up and protect what is rightfully theirs.
The oppressed should understand that the ruling elites, those in position of power will not willingly give up that position without putting up a fight.
The ‘proles’ have to equip themselves with relevant political education and follow developmental events in other states. It is necessary that we question actions and demand answers, let us do away with our ‘sidon-look’ attitude and begin to be like other states who no longer play ‘bread and butter’ politics and are better for it.
Ogar Monday is a a CrossRiverWatch reporter and student of Political Science in the University of Calabar.
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