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Afro-phobia: Defying South Africa, Nigerian geniuses and scammers, by Taju Tijani

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Tongues are clattering. Tails are wagging.  Adrenalin rage is on the boiling point. A ground swell of rising tide of negative opinion is bitterly working against Nigerians from Andalusia to Zimbabwe. And that is for real!! Arguably, today, diaspora Nigerians are the most endangered species on this planet.  Simply put, all eyes are on Nigerians and there is a mysterious global coalition of hostility, suspicion, aggression, and red hot hatred against us. This neurosis of deadpan universal enmity against Nigerians has calcified over time to morph into an ongoing hubris of unrestrained murder, harassment and wanton destruction of properties of Nigerians especially those in the diaspora of ahistorical and forgetting South Africa and its neighbouring countries.
This prehensile hostility; this monstrous rejection, this cold relationship, this generational antagonism, this demonic afro-phobia, this endless hatred, this unrelenting worldwide xenophobia against Nigeria and Nigerians should be seen from two prisms. First, self-inflicted. Secondly, the entrenched hatred epitomises the unhidden and virulent jealousy of Nigerians for their abrasiveness, ability, arrogance, confidence, creativity, high intelligence, panache, perseverance, radiance, visibility and their inimitable achievements in all human endeavours worldwide. Nigerians are over-endowed with these shining attributes and anywhere they go they wear some of these enviable characteristics on their faces. Now let us unbundle that rare humanity called Nigerian.
Nigerians are born into wealth. Their nation has overabundance supply of black gold – crude oil. Nigerians are mysteriously a prideful race whether rich or poor. There is something elegant about Nigerians. Whether in freedom, or in chain, we are quite elegant people.  We are the chosen African race. We have abundant natural resources. We breed like philandering rabbits and populate our space with more children. Our unverified population today is knocking 200 million heaving humanity of black faces. Even albinos!!! Whether to celebrate or cry over the nocturnal over time we spent in copulating with our women, I do not know.
However, Nigeria is a self-harming nation. It has inflicted so many wounds on its dignity, honour and pride so much that we are now seeing the negative harvest in the ongoing annus horribilis unfolding locally and internationally. When Donald Trump called Nigeria a shithole, we recoiled in mad rage and defend our nation with blind emotional patriotism. Is Trump a truth teller, alarmist or plainly racist in his unflattering description of Nigeria or not?
Let us be honest, Trump is…. Yes, you can fill the gap.
All the global insult, rage, dehumanising treatment, rejection and both the afro-phobia and xenophobia against Nigeria is self-inflicted. When Nigeria, a towering giant, becomes a Lilliputian, the right to respect, honour and adulation is lost forever. When a supposedly intelligent people could only manage to create a chaotic, poor, and dysfunctional society, the world will mock that intelligence and reclassify us a laughably stupid people. If a Nigeria that is meant to be seen as a rich nation has been relegated and pulverised into the deepest end of poverty for the majority of its citizens, the world will treat every absconding economic migrant with hostility, brutality and rejection. Our brutal treatment in the hands of afro-phobic South Africans and our mistreatment in the hands of white racists of Europe and America is self-inflicted. We are meant to live like kings and princes. We are meant to be a shining nation of pride for the black race. We are meant to be a marker for excellence, wealth, orderliness and true peace and prosperity but we are the antithesis of these redeeming virtues.
We self-harmed ourselves by our greed, selfishness, warped sense of patriotism, ostentatious lifestyles, wobbly judiciary system, executive excesses, lack of visionary leadership, non-accountability of state looting, too much protection of elites from prosecution, suppression of dissent, suppression of the poor through armed coercion, lack of introspection, tribal impunity, do-or-die politics of cabalism, incompetency and inability to create a functioning society of equity, justice, prosperity, peace, harmony and fair distribution of wealth. Also is the moral decay of any sense of shame among corrupt politicians.
This is the siren we beam across the world. This is what the whole world currently know about Nigeria. This is the carrion we daily feed the world and like hungry lions, they are feasting on all our aberrations and damning us with various stereotypes that accord with their fancies.  Nigeria, by its bad gene and bad behaviour and attitude, has shamelessly continued to prompt the racist trope that Africans are naturally prone to chaos, stealing, corruption, venality and mismanagement. So when the Chinese, Ghanaians, Indonesians, Libyans, Malaysians, Moroccans, Saudis and South Africans treat us like animals and with the vilest of savagery, they are responding to what we project to the outside world – a chaotic, dysfunctional, poor, corrupt, inept and clueless nation pretending to be rich, big and smart but very inconsequential socially, morally, economically and politically.
Our new status as a poor country has decapitated our once thunderous voice as Africa’s leading nation. Our poverty and corruption have shrunk our moral voice across the African continent and the world. So whatever we are now reaping from Andalucía to Zimbabwe was what we have sown inside Nigeria’s 59 years of disastrous political and economic experimentation. South Africa’s brutal manhandling of Nigerians is made possible because the South African nation knows our leaders are stone cold, deaf and dumb and will do nothing. We are now a powerless nation – we lost our power to inept and indecisive leadership. We live in a failed state of our own making. Thank God for the Nigerian students and ordinary people who rose up to say enough is enough, Nigeria would have turned yet another humiliating cheek and look the other way and allowed a documented savagery of 11 years against Nigerians go unchallenged. This is one crux of the matter – we are the architects of our own misfortune.
On the other hand, we draw hatred and hostility globally by that strange mix of nobility and villain in every Nigerian. In the diaspora of Africa, Europe and America, Nigerians are the leaders in any index of achievement.  We are Africa’s geniuses and its enviable over-achievers. In medicine, law, academia, civil service, business, pastoral ministration, restaurant and creative industry, Nigerians are massively well represented in the diaspora. Once a Nigerian leaves that limiting and creativity-suffocating space called Nigeria, the Nigerian spirit in the diaspora will hunt down all attainable honours. Globally, our achievements, laurels and successes become instant source of enraging envy and mad jealousy. Worse, we announce our presence with loud siren of big cars, big homes, big talk and Gucci wears. Nigerians with foreign passports want to act more American and European than the American and European owners of such passports. There is no room for any subdued pretence and humility with the humanity called Nigerian. These set of Nigerian achievers are the nobilities by any standard and deserve our respect and pride if we can overlook their loutish and arrogant carriage in any gathering.
We equally have the villains. The mad, bad, rebellious and utterly desperate Nigerians who daily walk a tight rope of crime, fraud and drug peddling abroad. US recently closed down a $64million dollar cyber scam – an audacious heist run by Nigerians. UK also is littered with Nigerian fraudsters from pastors to lay men.
Nigerian crime is becoming the normative paradigm of media consumption where editors are too glad to ridicule our reputation before an audience that is forever sceptical of our questionable wealth and braggadocio.
Law enforcements in the diaspora have all reached frustration point at the consistency of Nigeria’s crime – an aberration that is fast ossifying any grace and respect we have left.  Each scam is finding ready persuasion in the imagination of the scammer – he must build a big house, have fleet of big cars back home in a Nigerian society of clamorous egotism that demands us to be successful at all costs. Our politicians contribute immensely to this bad behaviour. Our politicians live like rock stars – massive homes, massive salaries, stupendous privileges, endless flow of champagne and private jets. Davido, WizKid, Olamide, Alhaji Teckno, Kunle Gold, Nollywood and Yorubahood stars all operate from the same script and sing the praises of money and more money. Either by crook or hook you are meant to be rich in that torn and conflicted society called Nigeria. So these set of Nigerians are victims of the lying language of money and will do anything to get rich or go to jail or die trying.
In conclusion, all hands must be on deck to save the image of Nigeria and Nigerians. The South African afro-phobia is a seismic moment to look inward and dredge the depth of hatred, hostility and rejection Nigerians naturally draw in the diaspora. Nigeria phobia is turning into a neurosis in the global space. Our politicians must be exemplars of financial, social, moral and political integrity. Nigerians of whatever variant – nobility or villain – are products of their social conditioning. It is time to be good ambassadors of decorum, dignity, humility, integrity, social grace, temperate and law abiding citizens anywhere we take the Nigerian spirit to, be it Johannesburg, Accra, Abidjan, Banjul, Berlin, Dubai, London, New York, Paris, Rome and Rio. The Eagle Online
tajutijani@hotmail.com.

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