By Don Jaide – June 28, 2009
Mr. Harold Smith was a colonial officer posted to duty in Africa. He served in many African countries including Nigeria. As an insider in the British colonial system, Mr. Smith has a lot of interesting views and ideas to provide. Here Rasta Livewire presents excerpts of his views and accounts of colonial socio-political malfeasace of the imperialist, racists, and so-called colonists:
Oxfordian lies on Africa
“Not only is Africa denigrated by the carefully nurtured fairy tale fashioned for the most part in Oxford, but with skill and cunning the British image is carefully burnished and enhanced. When did Britain itself become a democracy, if it has yet achieved that state? With universal male suffrage in 1884 or when all women got the vote in 1928? Britain’s democratic traditions are of more recent origin than most are aware. When the British removed themselves from Nigeria in 1960 (though in truth they did not really surrender power to the African people) there was not even universal suffrage, as only a minority of the country’s women – those in the South – were entitled to vote.
As for tribalism, that well-worn cliché of colonial histories, the pre-colonial societies found in Nigeria were quite sophisticated and could be seen as city states or nations. And it is the British who have been at war with rebellious Irish tribes for centuries. Can any savagery in Africa equal the Belsens of civilised Western Europe? And the tribal skirmishes, often quoted as an excuse for the British armed occupation, pale to insignificance beside the massive bloody conflicts between the European powers. I refer of course to the two Great Wars of 1914-1918 and 1939-1945.”
British Perenial Involvment with Rigging of Nigerian Elections:
“When I suggest that the British Government meddled with the democratic elections in Nigeria, I write as an authority. I was chosen by his Excellency the Governor General, Sir James Robertson, to spearhead a covert operation to interfere with the elections. The laws of Nigeria were a sham and largely window-dressing to conceal, not mirror, the reality of where power lay. I drafted some of those laws.
I look at that in the light of the recent outcry about Nigeria’s allegedly rigged elections, and I think cheating and dishonesty are a question of perspective, and that in this regard, while I do not wish to be seen as excusing corruption in any way, our greatest critics live in enormous glass mansions.”
The Blindness of Nigerian Socio-Political Critiques
“Unfortunately most of the early scholarly works on Nigeria did not choose to raise the curtain to see what was happening backstage, so that all too often the analysis is curiously superficial and lacking in bite or significance. Of course, academics or others who were seeking to teach or work in Nigeria, not only before but after Independence, would need to be very careful not to bite the hand of their colonial masters if they were not to be branded unreliable or unsound.”
Source: Rasta Livewire