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Nigerian Democracy Spawn High Tech Vision

Started by Baruti M. Kamau, August 23, 2003, 04:46:12 PM

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Baruti M. Kamau

In the June 7, 1997 edition of Barutiwa Weekly News (Issue 4, Volume 1), I composed an editorial entitled "Nigeria The Next Super Power." In that editorial, I discussed and argued the view that Nigerian democracy can not, will not and should not manifest as a carbon copy of American democracy. I listed a long tradition in supporting this position from General Ibrahim Babangida to the late General Sani Abacha. Also I stated my anticipation on Nigeria's fourth republic debuting in 1998.

Six years later following detainment under Abacha's military regime and enjoying his 2nd term in office (though he served a previous term in the 1970s as a military administrator) Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigeria's civilian president with strong connections to the military, is leading Nigeria into the space age. Last month, Nigeria announced it will be sending its first satellite into orbit as a central paradigm in its strategy to enhance its telecommunications industry and information technology infrastructure.

According to Obasanjo Nigeria's space program is intended "to make use of what space research has already established in areas such as remote sensing, weather forecasting and satellite communication." Nigeria's science and technology minister, Professor Turner Isoun added: "The basic element of our policy on space management is to exploit space technology to solve our socio-economic problems. We are not into space for space exploration and we are not planning to go to Mars or Jupiter. We are trying to exploit space technology for remote sensing and broadcasting."

Local critics of Nigeria's space program is mounting. They argue that Nigeria should focus on solving its socio-economic problems. While the administration counter attack that it's space program will help to solve many of the problems the country is facing such as mineral exploitation, pipeline monitoring, monitoring of environment, monitoring of country's boundary and identifying underground water resources that could provide clean water to rural populations.

It is widely believed in many Western and non-Western circles (including China) that a space program will significantly aid any country in developing its communications infrastructure and thus lead to improved standard of living.

In 1997, I wrote an editorial "Cleave to the Black" where I stated, "As Black America run away from themselves, in all of its complexities, Black Africa is on the move. Recently, Nigeria announced the manufacturing and mass production of an African car. This is great news for the Black world. Previous to Nigeria's example, the Japanese and the Koreans were the only non-White people to manufacture and mass-produce their own car. Now Nigeria has stepped up to show the world the Black man's genius. Nigeria is an all Black country ruled by a Black president. Nigeria is the United States second source for crude oil. And Nigeria is a member of OPEC. This should be news to most Black Americans, since the majority of our people still erroneously believe that the 'great White man' rule in Africa and that there is no paradise on earth for the Black man. Well the various Black countries in Black Africa are proving you wrong. CLEAVE TO THE BLACK."

IN 2003, I still hold this position. Nigeria continue to show its intention to emerge as the world's Black super power, while Black America's leadership is lacking and has fallen to a complete stand still. Nigeria's move into the space age demonstrates vision, competence and belief in itself. Nigeria's strength will open doors of opportunities not only for Nigerians but Black people everywhere.

We are looking forward to the successful launch of NigerSat-1 on September 28, 2003.