The excerpts reread aspects American constitutional history in a fresh new light. The implications are that African and other emergent states may come to knowledge on how best to construct organic, stable and self-sustaining ships of state.
It is assumed that such organic and stable ships of state are priori conditions for economic and other developments.
America: Zoning to Un-zone
Why are smiles so noiseless? It’s because they are boundless and therefore are self-contained.
America is the most-zoned, most power zoned and most dynamically zoned country in the world and the first such country to studiedly do so. It is the fact of being the first to so do that makes America the greatest conscious constructor of political systems in modern times. And for records, we believe with Ian Stewart, that the first major creator of a system is thus the greatest in that system.
America is also the country that is consciously composited. To build and fix America as a system there were formal, apparently un-coerced debates by several stakeholders. America, knowing of the diversity of [European] peoples constituting her, sought to manufacture a smooth working solution, not an abrasive, perhaps agitated, suspensions of peoples. America is the first nation to get a written, that is a conscious constitution. America, to the extent it is possible, is the first manmade country. The first line of their constitution is in part a testimonial. “We the people….”
But there is a caveat. The success of America is first and above all in its internal structures and dynamical compositions. And these dynamical features often are hugely unseen by the naked eyes. This fact deceives the many observers into believing that America is made on its outside or on the eye-level expressions of its internality, on what is easily visible to the staring eyes. Many Nigerian commentators and observers seem unable to look into the internal or organic architectures of America to come up to what they may copy. Therefore, the failures of American copycat nations, like post-Murtala Mohammed Nigeria, owe more to the failure of [Nigerian] scholarship. This failure of Nigerian scholarship expresses itself in their inability to discern the living soul of America and deconstruct it’s beyond eye-levels structures. It is the duty of scholars, not Caesars, to understand fully all that lie beneath the skin and more.
The point is that this funding structure and soul of America is not an American specific thing. This Americanness as it were, is evident in all works of genius. A country by its dynamical and compositional parts, and not just its inertial numbers and geography, amounts to a work of art and not just a technological artifice. That is to say, how a country designs and constructs the scattering and distribution of powers in its space is an artwork as well as a technological formulation. Art in the sense that if it gets right, it is scalable, it is fungible, fecund, and given to newer growths and developments. And technological, in the sense that it serves immediate and largely defined needs. Hence, the dynamics, studiedly or otherwise, instituted in the running of an emirate, Oba or Ofo na Ogu, democratic, dictatorial, systems is as important as anything else in the system.
The important point in all this is that there is an artfulness in all art that cannot be copied. Whether it is America or Things Fall Apart, no [exact] copies of these can be made by third parties. If you asked why the reason is simple.
It is generally agreed that great poetry is not translatable. The key word is great, not just poetry. Insightfully, poetry is defined as what is lost in translation. The quotation was “improved” from the original by Robert Frost’ It reads:
I could define poetry this way: it is that which is lost out of both prose and verse in translation.
So, whether in prose or in verse, what is lost is the inimitable poetic essence, or that, whose DNA cannot, as it were, be copied. Ironically, to pre-empt ourselves it can be improved.
As if to emphasise it best, a German American theorist, Hannah Arendt, has a rewarding insight on the matter.
She writes: His kind of perfection [greatness] is very rare; we find it in some of the greatest of Goethe’s poems, and it must exist in most of Pushkin’s works because their hallmark is that they are untranslatable. The moment poems [works] of this kind are wrenched from their original abode, they disappear in a cloud of banality.
We feel prompted by her words that it [greatness] must exist in most of Pushkin’s works, because their hallmark is that they are untranslatable.
It is in that sense that genius and or the produce of genius can also be said to be what is lost and must be lost in translation, or what is lost in transferring the essences of genius, from one medium to another. That is, to copy or translate America or American artwork and implant it under the African sun, say Nigeria, you are in the thick of a translation procedure, or it’s equivalent. And it does not matter if you are aware of this or not. That is, taking one art form from one medium, say America, and turning it into another, say Nigeria, is all translation is about.
However, there is a saving grace or gait, but strait is that gate that admits. That strait passage is only open to you if you innovate. Admittance is strictly by innovation. You must innovate the copied DNA or the model, to translate her, or to transplant her from one medium to another.
In fact, innovation is the only evidence you have to prove you understand the genius and its productions, and models at all. Therefore, if you cannot innovate genius, then you have not understood genius, or any of its products, productions, and expressions.
A typical Nigerian example of this universal Americanness as it were, is the earlier mentioned Things Fall Apart by Professor Chinua Achebe. The novel is so deceitfully simple that to call it a work of genius is almost a scandal. Yet it is. It is a work of the highest human order, almost divine. Now, try to deconstruct what makes Things Fall Apart fall together, and you yourself may next fall asunder. Not even Achebe confesses to knowing it all, the all of the makings and genius of Things Fall Apart. Anyway, Thomas Mann, an Achebe rank German writer, said so of his own masterpiece, The Magic Mountain.
I consider it a mistake that the author himself is the best judge of his work. He may be that while he is still at work on it and living in it. But once done, it tends to be something he has got rid of, something foreign to him; others as time goes on, will know more and better about it than he. They can often remind him of things in it that he may have forgotten or – indeed – never quite knew. One always needs to be reminded; one is by no means always in possession of one’s whole self.
Even more cognately, John Dunn a British professor of political science, hints of the fact of authors or creators being less seized of their creations than outsiders.
Alexis de Tocqueville while explaining the Americans [creators of Presidentialism] not merely to his fellow countrymen and European contemporaries but also to themselves….
Thus one may say in justice that while America as a creation of their Founding Fathers, by making the bits and pieces of componential America fall and hang together, there are other issues. One of those issues is the fact of a man or a group of men missing out on the full understanding of their own creations. That is, not even Americans know in finality why or what makes America great. It is thus a never finished and finishing inquiry. Thus, each copier-scholar or extrapolation of the American model must interpret and innovate America after his own genius or he totally fails. Americans cannot make you a copy of America: they do not even know what it fully is. In the same manner, Achebe cannot teach or instruct you on how to make your own Things Fall Apart fall together. He himself does not fully know how he made one or how another man can go about it.
To pre-empt ourselves again, it can be said as follows. The American Founding Fathers’ genius of ballasting its new ship of state must rank as one of the greatest feats of political engineering in history. America just like Things Fall Apart looks almost guilelessly put together. Looking back one can say of America as Professor Niyi Osundare says of Achebe:
But, yes, looking at the style and pattern, Americans did something with the [construction of a state], which we didn’t know was possible.
What is it that America actually did? A great part of it must be in their engineering construction of their [then] new state. They did by so ballasting of a ship of state, to be not just sea or cruise velocity worthy. What America did was to construct a ship of state that would be storm or tragedy armoured and worthy. And they were so guileless at it that the average curious observer seems not to see what concessions – the ballasting – were made.
In practical terms what are those innovations? How can we itemise and deconstruct them as to understand America enough, so we could imaginatively copy, sorry improve her? It is only by innovating or improving an artwork that you can copy her.
Lest we be misunderstood, then the following:
 There are no doubts there are great translations. But to so be, those great translations are considered great works of art on their own selves too. You cannot translate or copy greatness. That much is beyond man. You may only transmute, not Xerox greatness. And it may be harmless to remind ourselves that, Dara Lind, in Vox, 20th June 2016, writes: ”Gregory Rabassa… is perhaps best known for his work with Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who called Rabassa’s translation of One Hundred Years of Solitude better than the Spanish original.”
 The crudity of all [faithful] translations is suggested by this. To one original of great beauty, there will be an endless stream of competent and not so translations. This run of translations it might be well to remark is just in the attempt to approach and capture the elusive essence of the index beauty. For instance, the already severally [English] translated Don Quixote has just got a brand new translation in English.
Here then are some of the mechanics of America that is beyond the eye-levels genius.
First, there is a framework to it all. It is that American Founding Fathers came to their task with an understanding that what works is the genius of contribution, not the genius of consumption or genius for copying. As Mother A’Endu says, the only copy that may be made of a work of genius is in innovating her.
That is, for a borrowed system to work, it must be an innovation of its to-be-copied models. In other words, a copy, a model, translated verbatim cannot and does not work in the new medium. This is – in a critical part – because no work exists wholly and entirely in its own world, that is in a medium free milieu. In other words, the only genius works, the genius to innovate and contribute, first if only a new milieu or medium.
In summary, the American wonder is in habitat, the construction of a new living county or as the Europeans called it, “a New World.” What happened in and with America is a little like Things Fall Apart: we repeat. We have to devote closer attention to it to sense it fully. Let us start with these observations:
In America I am told, they are evolving a superman from all nations under the sun. I would prefer to see him for myself, before passing any opinion on this result of the melting pot.
From marriages of mixed races, no Superman is going to emerge. I have a relation who is a doctor in America. He tells me many things of this melting pot [solvent population or equivalent. Author’s]. From it, the super criminal would certainly emerge but nothing else.
[There is always some real danger in realising genius]. All the above says is summarised pithily in this. Europe will never be like America, because as Margaret Thatcher puts it,
Europe is a product of history; America is a product of philosophy.
Philosophy is the science of learning and unbundling reality to its finest precisions. In its ceaseless inquiries, philosophy gives hope that man may come to the definition of the very essence of his realities or aspects of it. If he achieves that, it follows that he can manipulate existential reality, as physicists’ atoms or neutrons. Therefore, philosophy is the Physics of human relations and is thus no less practical.
Philosophy is in a word, the strategy made higher, and finer, and forever so; and scholars – Confucius, Nietzsche, and the rest of the cognitive generals – lead the charge. This intellectual charge is not the province of megaphones, masters of ceremonies, and masters of public presentations.
Our suspicion is that these masters of public presentations are in the end overtrading. They, sensing that Nigerian is under-supplied with genius, scheme to be passed off as geniuses themselves. Practically, Philosophy as Human Physics can be said to be in the science of being better learned than your master, that is History. In other words, the philosopher takes the history, of junk, sweat, or waste, and extracts the gold and wealth that are trapped or hidden in them.
The scale-up from History to Philosophy or wanting to manufacture a new man has to be understood in a certain context too. Historically, the Americans pioneered the science of transistor and electronics studies and manufacture. The same Americans had one manufacturing and quality guru, Dr. W. Edwards Deming.
Now, what does transistor science and Deming have in common?
Americans simply dumped the two as junk, or practically so.
The Japanese saw through it and discovered that it was gold, and via that insight dusted the world in electronics and in quality science as a manufacturing tool. Corporate successes and brand names like Sony and Toyota are testaments to the insights of the Japanese.
The Japanese really did not borrow the idea from America. All they did was to convert an American heap of putative rubbish into gold or world corporate dominance. What they took, not borrowed, was not an idea tested and working in America. What they took were American ideas or ideals, which the Americans themselves dashed out to the dustmen. It was a case of waste-to-wealth, so that is an innovation. This is important. To repeat the only genius, here in the guise of innovation, works. Every copy is obsolete, every copy is lifeless, is dead.
The fact of taking from rubbish and transfiguring into wealth is a form of creative contribution and not just consumption. It is all in the positive Midas touch of turning waste to gold or wealth.
The greater point, perhaps not widely known, is that this style creation is what Americans themselves did under broader existential covers. They did it with liberationist and political ideas that were founded in Europe. It so happened that Europeans of those days dumped these ideas as worse than toxic junk.
The fact of this is revealed in the work of Ortega y Gasset, a European historian, and thinker. We can benefit from his book, The Revolt of the Masses because it circles and returns to the matter several times.
And [the idea of nascent innovation] refers not only to the technique of material objects but, more important, to that of laws and society. In XV111th Century, certain minority groups discovered that every human being, by the mere fact of birth, and without requiring any special qualification whatsoever, possessed certain fundamental political rights, the so-called rights of man and the citizen; and further that, strictly speaking, these rights, common to all, are the only ones that exist.
The sovereignty of the unqualified individual or of the human being as such, generically, has now passed from being a juridical idea or ideal to be a psychological state inherent in the average person.
The “people” – as it was then called – had learned that they were sovereign, but they did not believe it.
And a further coincidence, still more curious, is this: when this psychological condition of the ordinary man appeared in Europe, when the level of his existence rose, the tone and manners of European life in all orders suddenly took on a new appearance which caused many people to say: ‘Europe is becoming Americanised.
The point Ortega is making is that America took from Europe, ideas and ideals that Europeans generated but never believed, in fact, Europeans themselves declared these ideas and ideals to be junk or waste. The miracle is that America turned that into wealth and greatness, just like Japan later did with American pioneered but discarded scientific ideas. It is the same trade: it is only that the Japanese waste-to-wealth innovation took place on a more restricted arc of the business of making a penny. America’s was a 360 degrees run. They used up European junk to institute a state that would today make America the richest country in the world. And just as Japan flooded irritated America with its Toyotas, Sony transistor radios, etc., it is well to recognise that Europeans were complaining of being Americanised. The Japanese-American equivalent is the trade quotas and wars etc. imposed on Japanese transistor and other products.
It is unfortunate that many people taking lessons on the history of the United States discount this “unseen” reality. In other words, America took the waste and made it gold, yet no parties, especially the Nigerian copier-fake geniuses recognise this. That is why, while Presidentialism works productively in America, it reincarnates as pure pestilence in Nigeria.
The first thing that drove the founding of America was the spirit of innovation or of ”going waste to gold”, not to copy. That is to say, that if we are playing to be like Americans, our duty is not to copy the present state of America; our duty is to innovate that American heritage we wish to copy.
Of course, the fact of this innovative spirit is not apparent in the finished work that is America: of course, it is not their duty to make your copying them any easier for you. Perhaps, it is not out of place to deem that many Nigerian observers do not bother to pierce through the veneer of America and Americanisms. In error, they take present stable America as an eternal and ever-existing model. It is not. America was experimentation that became at its nascent hour, as the founders ventured into new and uncharted territories and frontiers. That venturing and sense of experimentation is a key part of America, of any work of genius, of any work that is not a copy. [Copies, as we have repeated, do not work.] What works is genius and innovation. In addition, a key part of this working nature of innovation is in the energy and push from a sense of experimentation or a sense that we are at the frontiers and could lose it all. Without this sense of danger of experimentation, “you are in a copy; you are not in a dynamics.” The author of these words gives us a hint:
”From marriages of mixed races, no superman is going to emerge…. From it, the super criminal would certainly emerge but nothing else.”
It is this experimentation of the new, that turns out to be the good news because that is the driving essence of being American, and that is just as it is of Things Fall Apart or any other work of genius. To repeat: dynamic America is a work of genius, a work of experimentation, or a work of bringing new ideas to form and reality. This is against inertial America, which runs on stable democracy.
More on zoning to un-zone
The next most important American invention is the Senate as a representative body and this is based on equality of states, not numbers of states’ or geographic populations.
So what about it?
America was originally a British settlement colony. Though she later gained independence, America’s operative constitution, itself an innovation, took effect from 1789 even if she had to fight for independence with her colonial master. When she won, the American people decided how to be Americans and how to run themselves as a people in the form, largely discovered by, but discarded by Europe and Europeans.
To achieve that, one of the specific American features was the invention of the Senate as a bicameral house. The following anecdote from John F. Kennedy gets the drift.
Thomas Jefferson objected to George Washington because the Constitutional Convention had agreed to the founding of the Senate. He said, “Why is a Senate necessary?” And as you know, according to the story, Washington said, “Why do I pour my coffee in a cup? To cool it. So we need the Senate.
A more clear-headed account from USA Online goes like this:
The delegates finally reached agreement on a new constitution on Sept. 17, 1787. The document they produced has often been called a work of genius. The authors worked out a system of government that satisfied the opposing views of the people of the 1780s. At the same time, they created a system of government flexible enough to continue in its basic form to the present day.
The constitution provided for a two-house legislature – a House of Representatives and a Senate. Representation in the House was based on the population in order to satisfy the large states. all the states received equal representation in the Senate, which pleased the small states….
The Constitution provided for three branches of government: the executive, headed by the president; the legislature made up of the two houses of Congress; and the judiciary or federal court system. The creators of the constitution provided for a system of checks and balances among the three branches of government. Each branch received powers and duties that ensured that the other branches would not have too much power.
Then the US Senate website provides the following information.
To balance power between the large and small states, the Constitution’s framers agreed that states would be represented equally in the Senate and in proportion to their populations in the House. Further preserving the authority of individual states, they provided that state legislatures would elect senators. To guarantee senators’ independence from short-term political pressures, the framers designed a six-year Senate term, three times as long as that of popularly elected members of the House of Representatives. Madison reasoned that longer terms would provide stability. “If it is not a firm body,” he concluded, “the other branch being more numerous, and coming immediately from the people, will overwhelm it.” Responding to fears that a six-year Senate term would produce an unreachable aristocracy in the Senate, the framers specified that one-third of the members’ terms would expire every two years, leaving two-thirds of the members in office. This combined the principles of continuity and rotation in office.
The questions are what can we make out of all these?
First, the Americans are people who have beneficiated themselves in the inalienable right that they are equal. Now, they were embarked on a procedure that as it was undermined that very logic.
The fact of it is simple. By the rite of equality of states [no matter their variant populations] and not persons, it follows that the Americans purposely assigned greater weight to citizens of smaller states in the Senate than they did to fellow citizens whose only known sins are that they are from the large population states. Why? It is because Americans understood the difference between the inertial and the dynamical. Americans granted absolute or decisive weight to dynamical balance than to inertial numbers. That is, it is supremely important to them as constructors of the ship of state to create a balanced, internally self-saving, storm and ocean-worthy vehicle. Therefore, for the Founding Fathers, it was better to create an all voyages worthy vehicle than a huge and impressive behemoth that like the Titanic would sink on its maiden journeys or shortly after that.
Meanwhile, we should all remember that the Senate is the higher and privileged house. What this suggests is that America’s Founding Fathers had a well-deserved fetish for balance, buoyancies, and dynamic interactions geared towards the United States in solution, rather than massed numbers of states or persons contending as in a suspension.
On the geo-balancing of states?
America was not whole and entire a creation of their British colonial extraction citizens; that is the inertial fact. The dynamic fact is that many Europeans sailed to America to build the melting pot [Repeat: to build the melting pot]. Therefore, they went with a purpose, to forge a new man as it were. A new habitat necessarily invents or evolves a new being.
However, as is usual, there was a pattern to that migration, and though there were no restrictions, human nature dictated the patterns of movement. That is to say, generally, peoples from one common cultural, geo-cultural, or geo-zonal area, like the Germans, the Dutch, and the French, etc., tended to congregate together in separate states. Hence, the several regions and states of America bore the imprimatur of the areas [German, Dutch, and France] from which its immigrants were dominant. That is, one can exaggerate and say there were in the beginning at those crucial times of authoring the constitution, what one may call German American and Dutch American towns, regions, states, etc. Or one can say that the states were so dominated by dedicated populations. The fact of this is borne out even by latter-day demographics.
The Business Insider reports that:
Today, the majority of German-Americans can be found in the non-coastal states, with the largest number in Maricopa County, Arizona. Today, the largest concentration of Italian-Americans can be found in Suffolk County, New York.
The above report is not exotic. It is a natural demographic movement. It is just that as people emigrate, they follow the trail of earlier footfalls or boots on the ground [And this is noticeable everywhere]. In Lagos for instance, the first post-civil war Igbo settlement was essentially Ajegunle. Ajegunle was the nucleus or hub from which the Igbo radiated all over. Until today, there is still something of the Igbo dominant or sub-dominant presence in Ajegunle [And it makes a lot of sense]. A man that journeys into a new or strange land needs a brother or a familiar voice to lean on to help guide his own footfalls. That is how best to explore the land. That ready brother is an older hand or leg at the game. As this positive circle reinforces itself, soon a region is having a dominant population from one given immigrant group. When it is a virgin land like America was, it means that the new and immigrant population will have no host population to adulterate them, and the best was to cluster together. The entry hints of something of this tendency.
For instance a related Wikipedia entry on the settlement up to 1790 reads:
Seeking religious freedom in the New World, one hundred English Pilgrims established a small settlement near Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620. Tens of thousands of English Puritans arrived, mostly from the East Anglian parts of England [Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex], as well as Kent and East Sussex., and settled in Boston, Massachusetts and adjacent areas from around 1629 to 1640 to create a land dedicated to their religion.
The Dutch, primarily driven by the United East Indian Company, first established settlements along the Hudson River in New York starting about 1626. Wealthy Dutch patroons set up large landed estates along the Hudson River and brought in farmers who became renters. Others established rich trading posts to trade with Native Americans and started cities such as New Amsterdam [now New York City] and Albany, New York. After the British took over and renamed the colony New York, Germans [from the Palatinate], and Yankees [from New England] began arriving.
Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware formed the middle colonies. Pennsylvania was settled by Quakers from Britain, followed by Ulster-Scots [Northern Ireland] on the frontier and numerous German Protestant sects, including the German Palatines. The earlier colony of New Sweden had small settlements on the lower Delaware River, with immigrants of Swedes and Finns. These colonies were absorbed by 1676.
The colonial frontier was mainly settled from about 1717 to 1775. These were mostly Presbyterian settlers from North England borderlands, Scotland, and Ulster, fleeing hard times and religious persecution.
The mostly agricultural Southern English colonies initially had very high death rates for new settlers due to malaria, yellow fever, and other diseases as well as skirmishes with Native Americans. Despite this, a steady flow of new settlers, mostly from Central England and the London area, kept up population growth.
While the thirteen colonies differentiated in how they were settled and by whom, they had many commonalities. [Let us emphasis it: While the thirteen colonies differentiated, repeat were differentiated, in how they were settled and by whom, they had many commonalities.] Nearly all were settled and financed by privately organized British settlers or families using free enterprise without any significant English Royal or Parliamentary government support or input.
Population in 1790: The following were the countries of origin for new arrivals to the United States before 1790…. The ancestry of the 3.9 million population in 1790 has been estimated by various sources by sampling last names from the 1790 census and assigning them a country of origin. The Irish in the 1790 census were mostly Scotch-Irish. The French were primarily Huguenots.
Of the total white population of just under 3.2 million in 1790, 85% was of British ancestry [60% English, 4.3% Welsh, 5.4% Scots, Irish [South] 5.8% Scots-Irish 10.5%]. Germans were 9%, Dutch 3.4%, French 2.1% and Swedish.25%; blacks made up 19.3% or 762,000 [The American Revolution, Colin Bonwick, 1991, p. 254]. The overwhelming majority of Southern Irish were Protestant as there were only 60,000 Catholics in the USA in 1790, 1.6% of the population.
[1790 it is well to note was just after the constitution was signed. So the population that signed the constitution did so for all practical purpose of the same distribution.]
That is to say, American states were not administrative units; they were as at the time of the authorship of that constitution living units/spaces or agglomeration of specific dominant ethnics, national or sub-national peoples [And these peoples are large of similar immigrations’ backgrounds]. Thus, in most of the individual states, the dominant hub or solvent population was from one of the then few emigrating countries. Essentially, they were the Germans, the Dutch and the English, and perhaps some French numbers. We are keeping it simple by discounting the blacks whose history is specific and does not add to or subtract from our positions. Blacks in those days did not have the votes.
That is, twelve [nominally thirteen] signatory American states were not mere geographical boundaries, enclosing numbers of people. The states were each a conglomeration of dominance by the key nationalities or sub-nationalities or peoples, who felt themselves so [And these were essentially the British, the Germans and the Dutch – we repeat].
It may then be safe to say the following.
The British/United Kingdom heritage colonials’ component of emergent America stood at 60% as they had a sub population of the total states taken together. However, it is clear that to help build America, they gave up on the right or privilege of counting heads, a procedure that would have given them unfettered majority [60% Senate] dominance. They gave up on the right of counting heads because that would have destroyed or undermined a [prospectively great and mighty] shared future. As history has witnessed, it is a future of boundless potentials realised. They rather went for an arrangement that required that they shed electoral weights and donate those weights to the other ethnics, who, roughly, constituted 40% of the population. This sleight of making 40 %= 60% is one of the greatest constructional feats in human history, and it is very important, despite it being largely un-narrated. It is to pre-empt ourselves, one of the greatest insurance premiums, ever paid by man or group.
To simplify, the American Founding Fathers conceded things to save and empower themselves and their futures. As Ortega rhapsodised, they became generous [but not quite]. We hold that the American Founding Fathers were imaginatively self-serving or better still, all-serving. [The only way to serve yourself most times is to serve all. “There is never victory for one. There can only be a victory for all,” says Mother A’Endu]. Insightfully, their share in and or of this “all” is still the greatest. In other words, they invested a cent today to share in a forever-growing stream of dollars tomorrow.
That American genius arrangement may thus be characterized as follows.
The American Founding Fathers in constructing their new ship of state, took to ballasting the weak in numbers, so that all the numbers may be the strongest they could be, severally and collectively. This rite of rationally constructing a ship of state that is storms-weathering is unparalleled as much as we know, before America. Therefore, if America works, it is due to concessions, insurance premiums against unpredictable futures. And the strength in numbers of them did this by co-sharing with the weak as co-equals. That is, to bring in the weak in numbers, the dominant British extraction colonials elected or agreed to tend towards consensus rather than towards mere democratic numerical count. Granting each state unit, regardless of population, common senatorial equality, was a form or muted form of consensus voting. In engineering terms, it is a form of ballasting the parts to save the whole [we repeat].
It will serve well to recall that this generosity of the American Founding Fathers even extended to other newcomer states who wanted to join the then thirteen-member union. They were each and separately not to suffer any handicaps for so joining. It is in part, the same line of anti-monarchist sense of the largeness of heart. It canvasses and captures the sacrifices that the Igbo demand, because “echi ebuka”, the future is the biggest farmland and harvest. In other words, let us not be greedy over the smallness of today because tomorrow is the biggest harvest.
To summarize: What happened is by default, following nature rather than articulation. The colonies that were to bind together as the new American nation would have had on the average and by default, about 60% of the founding states bearing dominant English/United Kingdom heritage/descent population majorities. And the rest 40% would have been dominated on average, separately, by any of the other founding sub-nations: the Germans, the Dutch, the French etc. This is on the basis of the sub-nations, by default or reflexively, gathering together, more or less, to the same geographical space, which happened to be states. And the 60:40% states dominances ratio is rational, since the movements were not guided. They were largely random. Thus the averages are as figures suggest likely to be.
In other words, we can say as follows. The concessions of equality of states in the senate is more a concession to a [dominant] people inhabiting a space, which happens to be or is designated a state. It is not a concession made to a space, some geography, say a state, inhabited by peoples. That is American Founding Fathers, worked with [human] nature as is, as it manifests, even while wanting to transform her. That is while they wanted the French, German, English etc. to be fully and only Americans, they had to start with the tacit fact that they are coming from somewhere. That is rather than abolish the facts of life, they worked on and with it. And were thus able to transfigure strangers into a common brotherhood. The fact of this is important as we shall see later.
We are using the word default carefully. As Gordon S. Wood, American professor of History has enlightened us in his The Purpose of The Past,
… four other states – New Jersey, New York, Vermont, and South Carolina – wrote into their constitutions specific plans for periodic adjustments of their representation, so that, as the New York constitution stated, it ”shall forever remain proportionate and adequate.” In another chapter he continues… ”the making of the Constitution by describing it as the consequence of pragmatic politics….
There are these points to note. 1. The matter of scalable representation was not unknown to the authors of the American constitution. 2. Some states had it, so it so qualifies for national consideration and adoption. 3. But it was not adopted. 4. We attribute it more to pragmatic politics, of small states/sub-nationalities insisting and the others, the big/states/sub-nationalities, conceding, that all be granted equality in the Senate. 5. This highlights the importance the small states/sub-nationalities took of their difference as a people coming into the melting pot. That is they came into the ethnic melting pot as ethnics and negotiated first as such. So their becoming Americans was only after their sub-ethnic nationalisms or tribalisms as it were.
6. It also highlights the importance of representative politicians working out constitutions on their own. This is against, there being directed by gun totting putschists. Putschists confuse being armed with being geniuses. And there is no greater tragedy of this than present-day Nigeria as she ”whines and dies” under the curse of coup makers, from Gowon to Abdulsalami.
Companies are seeded and founded entrepreneurially. When they have become corporations they are then administered bureaucratically.
To fully understand the American genius, it is necessary to understand first the difference between architecting, constructing, or founding a state, in contradistinction to administering a state or any system. One can say it is the difference between being a king and being born a prince. The two are not one even when they sit upon one throne.
This appears to be where Nigeria and especially her scholars get it completely wrong. Construction is not administration. The first lore of the construction is that artifices, systems, and technologies by logic must be constructed at levels that are higher than the levels at which they are to be operated. To give an example, the level of intuition and genius at which a motorcar is manufactured is higher than the level of alertness with which it is to be driven or chauffeured. In other words, to construct a democratic institution, say a nation; it must be constructed at levels higher than the levels of operating and administering a democracy. That is if such a nation wants it democratic.
Therefore, while a democratic order may be run with simple or 2/3 majority, the construction of that democratic order must run on a higher order, say consensus. In other words, if you built a country or any artifice democratically or at a given level you cannot run it democratically or at that given level. It can only be run and maintained on lower levels. As it is said, any genius who constructs a system only geniuses may operate has constructed a monstrosity. Inspirations must operate and be operated at higher levels than its products, than its use and utility.
This is the unstated drama in all great constructions including Christianity. Christ sacrificed his life – a higher life – that we may live our ordinary lives. And Achebe tells a story of the man that Okonkwo threw in a fight, which the old man agreed was one of the fiercest since the founder of their town engaged a spirit of the wild for seven days and seven nights. That founder engaged in that epic fight and won, so that the Umuofians may individually not do so again. Of course, it would be absurd if the paterfamilias founded an Umuofia was to be an Umuofian amounted to one fighting with the spirits of the wild with every breath of his life. Therefore, in religion, in life and in art, the higher order of imagine-nation must create the lower order or artifice of use, of utility.
Thus, Achebe teaches us of similar sacrifices in the making of constitution and not just of running of a state. He writes:
They said that when the six villages first came together they offered the priesthood of Ulu to the weakest among them to ensure that none in the alliance became too powerful.
The priesthood was a privilege that need not belong the minor-numbers powers, but the stronger ones came to a consensus to award and bestow it upon them. Despite being counterintuitive, it works. It is a wonderful way to pay a premium today against tomorrow’s hazards. Its purpose counter-intuitively again is to strengthen the sacrificial strong or better strengthen the whole.
If the priesthood of Ulu is one folktale amongst many, here is a real-life report, typical, of the higher inspiration and concentration required to create, in contrast to the lowlier ones required to operate or access any given manufacturer. And this is whether it is of ideas or more concrete artifacts. The piece from The Last Time, a delectable history, by Verlyn Klinkenborg, an American
With immense effort, the Manhattan Project had converted a natural mystery, one of those matters on which nature is so tacit, into a set of numbers and diagrams that could be copied as easily as an industrial recipe for cream of mushroom soup.
With immense effort we create… and as easily as copying the industrial recipe, we operate. This is an iron lore.
On the Insurance of the Ships of State and other vehicles.
Importantly, there is the economics of inclusion or of consensus seeking. And it is in the matter and economies of insurance. Insurance is a necessary expense for all businesses as going concerns. Its purpose is to help the entrepreneur hedge against unforeseen risks. The point in issue is that if these risks are not guesstimated and insured – if the entrepreneur only sees business as of Sunday seven times a week – he may be wiped out if an unexpected disaster calls. To protect himself, he has to pay a premium now. Insurance premiums are schedules of little payments, which an entrepreneur-insurer makes now, against the unforeseen. That is, he pays it now, today, that his ship of business is on a cruise velocity. This is against the possible storms or wreckage of business and those of life, tomorrow. It is this little premium payment that allow him to survive the storms of tomorrow if they ever happen.
In constructing or promoting a business or indeed any venture, entrepreneurial wisdom demands that we make room for a future riddled with disasters. In other words, in fashioning and constructing the ship of a state, the Founding Fathers must so construct the ship that it is not only ocean-worthy but storm and disaster survival worthy. The only way – okay the best way – to achieve that is at the levels of designing and building of the ships of state, not at the levels or points of the accidents occurring. At that point, it may be just too late.
Therefore, the concession made by the “big lenders or big numbers” to the “small lenders or small numbers” in order to be one for all and all for one, is the insurance premium they pay for the unity of crews and captain and storm-dynamic, storm or sea-worthy vehicle. In the instance of a country, it is the ship of state. If the ship of state had been constructed otherwise – that is wholly entrepreneurially, without insurance hedges – its voyages would be bound in shallows and miseries. Why? There are no blue-waters or blue ocean richness worthy of sail that is calm from Nwaonuala to Oshimiri Nnu, from A to Z.
That is to say that the concession to consensus, the self-sacrificing of the “big numbers or elders” or the majors on behalf of the whole, is just like insurance premiums. This is what makes the American political enterprise sustainable. It then makes sense why Bill Clinton would say, “There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured with what is right in America.” The point is America is so insured because the founders were generous enough to themselves and others to make America one for all and all for one. That construction is essential, what gave America a shot at greatness, and Americans luckily harvested it. Therefore, if America is a superpower, it is because of her construction. Habitat, Mother A’Endu says, “is destiny.”
The greater point is that America would not have been a candidate for greatness but for these front-end premium payments. All thanks to America’s political architects, designers, and constructors.
Men as technological designers [a state is a technology that is a tool towards achieving goals] need a certain generosity towards one another in the guise of wooing and helping the weak or the weaker numbers among us to become one with us. It pays us better, especially over the medium and long terms, and this is particularly so for the dominant percentiles. Charity does not make us poorer. It makes us all more human, one humankind. We are safer and richer for it, and more sustainably so.
This is the arithmetic – okay the commercial interest – or explanation of it. Ortega again gives it a princely if not hyperbolic spin. He claims partly but not wholly in truth:
Liberalism – it is well to recall this today – is the supreme form of generosity; it is the right, which the majority concedes to minorities and hence it is the noblest cry that has ever resounded in this planet. It announces the determination to share existence with the enemy; more than that, an enemy that is weak.
The truth is that it is a clear-eyed “commercial” style engagement when charity is geared towards the greater good of the whole. Ultimately, the big ender players eventually benefit because they would get the bigger share in the new and improved whole. In the end, their small sacrifice guarantees them an alliance that is like Catholic marriage; and with that, they can now seize the day and go for gold.
Note that this is not a peculiarly American thing: it is a universal order. All modern states must be so constructed to hold; otherwise, what you have is an empire, and empires are built to disintegrate. A recent scenario is the Soviet Union. The dissolution of the Soviet Union would be a surprise only to those who did not know that the Soviet Union was an empire telling itself the lie that it is a state.
To summarise, America is zoned [ballasted] at the levels of constituent building and compositions. The idea is that America may be run as smoothly and as democratically as can be, and this creatively so. In the words of Dr. K. O. Mbadiwe, America is zoned to un-zone. That is, it was zoned in its designs and constructions so that it may be un-zoned in its running and administrations. It was zoned at levels of construction at which the factor expressions of that zoning will not be apparent in the finished work. It was so zoned at this level of construction that after that, it has never really mattered from whence an America president came. So long as he is one of us, he is for all of us. The zoning and insurance premiums paid ensures these and more. And the fact of that is why and how America is stable, is progressive while Nigeria is not and not about to be.
Perhaps we are self-fooled by the fact of Americans being like Eko, is all for show. But that would be self-powered deceit. Like Eko, there is a myth in the dance that is America. Let us not go after apparitions and grab only the bones.
The takeaway, we repeat, is that Americans or the inventors of Xerox are a great innovative people. Therefore, no copier-man should be deceived by the many copies and copiers Americans make. Americans are the original people. From jeans to Apple to neo-imperialism, Americans made them all. Americans invented neo-imperialism as a formal policy because they did not want the burden of direct costs or viceroys. Therefore, they set up Harvard Business School and the likes, and Harvard wonks via tele-imperialisms would run your countries from the safety and innocence of being and remaining Yankees. The British, we may remember, got involved and sullied. Iraq is but that is an American aberration essentially. It is un-American.
Anyway, the only way to dynamically copy America is to be an original people and to begin to invent things, including our constitution. The only way to copy America is not to be a copy of America.
Lest we forget, a key part of this innovativeness is the gift of sighting that which would work but has never worked and seizing same to work for you. That is, to pick up other people’s front office junk and turn the same to gold by your backyards. You can be sure that when you are about to so do, many would think you are nuts and laugh at you.
One American sharpie, Eugene O’Neill says it cleverly:
What, – this place was nothing but fields of stones. Folks laughed when I took it. They couldn’t know what I knew. When you can make corn sprout out of stones, God [development/innovation/genius] is living in you!
The moral of this discourse is that if you cannot understand a problem at the levels of her molecules, her elementals, you are not a big ideas thinker. You are merely a tinkerer, a professional, and as a tinkerer, you are no good at designing basic or axial systems. And lack of ability to design cannot be compensated by the ability to copy. Nigerians ronu!
What then is to be done?
Nigerians do not know the cost of genius: they think oratory will do. Nigerians do not know the cost of genius: they think tightrope walking will do.
–Mother A’Endu [adapted]
To resolve the Nigerian development question would be to teach and instruct the present Nigerian leadership-Intellectual-Media Industrial Complex that first, they do not have the brains they presume they do and second, the “lack the leadership” they are agitated about is non-existent.
This is because everything depends on brains, and we have not distinguished ourselves here – at least not in the sciences and in having a scientific mindset. Anyway, if you feel so bad at this calling out, the name just one such great scientific mind you know who is Nigerian. Or just get about doing the easiest thing; make a ground-breaking discovery in science or in any logical disciplines yourself. It is still yet morning on invention or originality day. In other words, nothing is preventing you – age, education … nothing – from making a discovery in the primary sciences. If you are an intellectual, and you doubt this, then prove yourself right. Discoveries in and the founding of new religions, not leaders, are what drove Europe, Asia, and the rest to greatness.
Leaders only come in to lead not just men, but the foundational discoveries and technological implications of the sentient beings. Trump, for instance, goes around with the nuclear football. Nigerians would soon – we are told – have the technology to make pencils, while other world leaders are carrying about and managing ”football briefcases.” Well, you cannot become a powerful Caesar save you have a football briefcase or its equivalents, in the economy, in technology, in religions, etc. to carry. This is an iron lore.
In all, just do it. Go and invent an idea. It does not cost a kobo. Do not hide in your whining. Just invent and prove the New Nigeria as gifted as the best in the world.
Let us give practical guides. To achieve self-sustaining political stability, which by the way is the first law of economic development, as per the Americans, the organic equivalent is as follows. Nigeria has to be cut into 6/8/ or “n” zones of political habitats that are living and or civilisational spaces, or the closest approximations to those. That is they should approximate “existing” political or cultural zones or habitats. Attempts should not be made to turn artificially credited borders into operational cleverness, as a soldier from certain sections of the country has done. It will not work, and it has never worked.
After the delineation of zones, Nigeria will be bifurcated into a broad North and South. The following should then happen. The South and the North should each be assigned with the same representative weights at the Senate. However, within the North and the South, the major sub-nations, should each, be assigned with the same representative weights as the minority sub-nation groups.
To illustrate concretely: The North and the South are each allotted 12 senatorial seats, say. In the South, the Igbo and the Yoruba or the best approximations of their zones, will each get 4 seats. The South-South, with reputedly less population than either of the Igbo and Yoruba zones, will also get 4 seats. [Why the best approximations of their zones? It is because there will always be overlaps. And it happened also with the American founding colonies. It is human all too human.]
Of course the same or similar bespoke allocations will be made into the North. The defining module is that the Hausa-Fulani or the best approximations of them will have the same senatorial representation as to the North’s minority sub-nations.
The point is this. The minorities will weigh in as much as the majority sub-nations at the Senate. The House of Representatives will reflect the numerical strength of every sub-nation and or states.
Immediately this political ballasting is achieved, Nigeria’s political stability would be guaranteed for the next 1250 years and more. Of course, there would be other powers or assets to match, but let us not get pinned down on that here. It is only after this big theme engineering or ballasting is done that we may join President Bill Clinton. And that is in saying there is nothing wrong with Nigeria that cannot be made right with what is right with Nigeria. Only then and never before.
The other equally important point is to state this. That the men who chaired the assemblies etc. that authored the Nigerian constitutions, on the instructions of the military juntas, have no real or contributory understanding of American history or constitutionalism. The best they have is a consumptive reading of American history or constitutionalism. And it is for their failure as scholars, not the curse of leadership, that we suffer as much as the damned in hell. Never before in history, we can say of those who authored our constitution, have so few ruined the high destiny of so many by so much ignorance. If they had understood American history and constitutionalism right and ordered a working Nigeria, there would have been less bloodshed and more development.
We thus must come to the sad but inalienable conclusion that those who wrote the Nigerian [post-civil war] constitutions do not have the brains. Nigeria is essentially a failure of habitat, a failure of constitutional composition. That is Nigeria is a failure of brain functions, not leadership misalignments.
To composite, you require genius not certificates, not sheepskins. The point is acknowledged that the authors and the promoters of Nigerian constitutions may all have Harvard and Harvard style sheepskins. However, the outcomes of their works are proof enough that they do not have the brains. It is brains – not certificates – that work. A good brain is higher than the certificate it possesses. Nigerian brains operate at the levels of their certificates and no more. If you refute this, prove it wrong by making a fundamental contribution to your and or any disciplines, especially in the logical disciplines. Constitutions and habitat constructions are largely logical, not just artistic enterprises.
Those who chorus that the Nigerian national failures are failures of leadership lack more brains. Take the matter of population percentiles and hubs and solvents for instance. How does one expect a Buhari or an Obasanjo to know these things, except if they are told? Are they geniuses? If they were geniuses, they would not want to soil their hands begging for votes, to rule over a province. How dare they? If they were geniuses, each alone with more dignity, and never begging man or god, would be able to make greater contributions to humanity.
Therefore, the rite of founding even the nature of the present habitat, which a potentate rules over, is a duty of scholarship, of genius. And if a Buhari can also found it, why then am I then a scholar?
Perhaps it is important we state as follows. America is an index modern state. America is the first modern free state. Before America, there was strictly speaking no states. All there was, were empires, shifting boundaries, unstable borders, and allegiances. And wars. Even America itself was a frontier shifting nation for a historical while. However, America was the first consciously created state. It was later to be followed by the decolonized states of Africa and the rest of the world.
The hidden point is that these wars and shifting boundaries were politics or negotiations by other means. That is to say these wars, sometimes famously lasting 100 years, etc., were tools of fixing Europe and much of the world, under sustainable hubs or boundaries. The moral of America is that the internal wars and revolutions that plagued Europe can be abolished by carefully architecting the ship of state. No modern state is better built than in America. And this is in the fact of their being the first to so build or articulate it. All others including the United Arab Emirates are ”evolutionary” advancements of the index, of America.
The fact of this shifting frontiers and boundaries in old Europe is caught by an Israeli historian, Yuval Noah Harari. In Sapiens, he puts it graphically:
Consider a resident of Berlin, born in 1900 and living to a ripe old age of one hundred. She spent her childhood in the Hohenzollern Empire of Wilhelm 11; her adult years in the Weimar Republic, the Nazi Third Reich and Communist East Germany; and she died a citizen of a democratic and reunified Germany.
One can comment as follows. It is not for nothing that the two great blights of modern Europe, Napoleon, and Hitler, were of shifting or no definitive nationalities. For instance, Hitler was born an Austrian and Napoleon only became French due to swinging boundary lines.
Now, a key part of the resolution of the European crisis is the founding of the modern state. And this followed there/distribution of peoples largely according to their native or civilizational habitats and not just value-neutral spatial entities. Peoples were not just cut up as if they were inanimate things, say heaps of rubbish or stones. Peoples were not just cut up as [by] boundaries and geographies. There was history, that is shared civilization and shared humanity, to it. Here is a fact that seems to escape our internalization. It is that: A nation is not a people bounded by geography. A nation is a people dynamically bound together, largely in search of civilization.
The other point, however, is that Europeans/Westerners actually cut up Africa and perhaps other colonial possessions geographically, not historically, not civilizationally. The example of the arbitrariness of the Korean 38th parallel is justly notorious.
But America was founded consciously. So it benefited from the history and experiments and foolishness of Europe. To give an example, part of why Spinoza and Locke canvassed for the separation of state and religion was as a tool to stop religious wars ravaging Europe and the world. But pure inertia never let Europe get about the separation. It was Americans that first ran away with the idea. Today the fact of separating religions from the state is an all Western virtue, at least in de-facto terms. Perhaps we need to acknowledge that there are ”vestigial stumps”. A good example is the rite of the Queen of England being a titular head of both the Anglican Church and the State.
So it can be said that all post-American states that failed, failed because of the blockheadedness, of their scholars. These scholars failed to molecularly study, learn and seize the lessons of America, the rest of the world and the lessons thereof. America is the first great modern state and therefore the greatest. America as a nation and a people have generated a working model. The rest is to possess her. And possession of models is a task of scholarly illumination. It is not an act of leadership drama. Nothing here, it must be stated, is an apologia for American barbarisms in their genocidal wiping out the indigenous Red Indians.
Having admitted that, the point remains that we can learn off the greatness of history. We must go to history not as dustmen to landfills. We must go to history as entrepreneurs in manufacturing hubs. In fact, we are condemned to so do for our own goodness.
But in this matter of construction of modern multi-polar composited nation-states, we hold it that America is a cut-off point. Other states that existed before America were largely historical or evolutionary creations. And they existed largely as accidents and empires, that is of shifting borders. America’s history alone can serve adequately as our cut-off point for consciously formed nations like Nigeria. It is thus genocidal foolishness, to falter after America in the constructions of the ships of state. It is genocidal blockheadedness of scholars not failures of leaders. Leaders are called to know. They are to act.
One concluding point. Sometimes bleeding hearts, proffering their alleged nationalisms, run away from using natural orders or boundaries or delineations of things. In their rabid, if self-serving ignorance, they declare under guns that we are one people. Perhaps this is by the logic of our being one geography, but certainly not in having one historical or civilizational experience. The fact is that before the colonialists, interactions between Nigerian communities, not as separate and next-door entities, but as whole civilizational space or entity, was nonexistent. Truly speaking it was the white man that brought us together. This is history as is, not fiction as we may wish it to be. The white it is that brought us together as one geographical and one political people. It is an inertial fact. We need not mourn it. Ours is to give it the dynamism to serve our purpose. Genius thus calls that we transform ourselves into one national people under one broad civilizational order.
Yet again, in wanting to do that, the example of America is instructive. As we have shown America’s Founding Fathers worked on the natural order and dispersion of the European peoples who turned up to be Americans. No persons or groups had an overarching idea of himself or his sectarian sub-national group. In fact, they were all self-sacrificing, allowing no entrenched interest. For instance of the original 13 colonies, none was to have an advantage over new joiner states. Such is the way to go. It was all in bringing forth and in bargaining out positions, and arriving at common grounds. No party should will it, that its positions are sacred and non-negotiable.
It is perhaps safe to say that the American genius in this was perhaps as Chinese as it could be. Only perhaps that she did not know it. A key Chinese text, Tao Te Ching, advances this axial building and constructional plank:
Know the male, But keep to the female… Hence the greatest cutting, Does not sever….It is the way of heaven to take from what was in excess in order to make good what is deficient. The way of man is otherwise. [And brings ruins. Commentator.]
That is we are advised to be strong, to be focused, but also to be others or other realities accommodating. And most importantly, the fact of this, is for your own best interests, both as individuals and as groups.
In more ordinary terms, if you are to play sustainably as a team, a nation, a stable composite system, it is the giants that should bend backward to accommodate the underlings of the group. Or they, being parts of the unbalanced and non-ballasted team, will lose out in the big league games. Composited teams or nations are not like an international competitive league order. Teams are a cooperative order, one for all and all, especially the giants, for one, for the weak ones. This is unlike in the international competitive order where Thucydides’ iron lore holds: ”The strong do as they will, and the weak suffer what they must.” Out there, you milk the dry to fatten the plum, and the weak live their lives for the strong to prosper… they suffer what they must.
So, in Daoist tolerance as it were, Americans, for instance, gave themselves time, organic time, to become real Americans. They knew livingness cannot be culled out of diktats and decrees. They knew that livingness may only come via sacrifices, via tolerances, especially, of the heroes. That is the heroes, the giants are called to tolerate their weaker team makers, in time, in number, in whatever else, for their own selfish best interests. That is their best or optimal interests, counter-intuitively, lies in the best interests of all.
The fact of this is for instance captured in the wonderful historical record of Verlyn Klinkenborg, in his The Last Fine Time. Writing of Poles who have been under imperial or others-dominances:
There were Poles here who were neither Russians, Austrians, nor Germans, but Poles true and proper for the first time – at least until they began to feel more American than Polish. America is a Poland, they said to each other and in letters home: Chicago is a Poland, Cleveland is a Poland… but a Poland of a kind…
So there is a transition, an organic transition. Having arrived in America, doesn’t make you automatically American, in body and my the soul. It takes time to slough off the old skins and gets on to wearing your new souls. Being is in timing and not just in spacing.
The moral is to warn do-gooders, especially the armed fools, aka coup makers, amidst them, that certain wisdom of Warren Buffet still serves best. ”You can’t produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant.” Or can you cut a nation into pieces to allegedly unite them in one moment? And worse as we have seen, to lock-in electoral advantages for your parts or zones of the nation.
So those who want to force things, those who want to dismiss the history and truth of our coming from different backgrounds, civilizational spaces, and cultural experiences, are living in demonic, if not genocidal, delusion. In fact, it is safe to say that it is the wrong construction of our habitat, our existential habitat, aka constitution, that has helped us bring to ruins our high destiny and our mothers’ funerals. First and above all, they never understood American history or constitution. And thus never copied it. What these Nigerian copiers and copycats and those who sent them, really copied, was their ignorance of all American constitution is. The tragedy of their miscopying or ignorant translations is a big topic of its own. It deserves dedicated exposition. In all, American Founding Fathers did more of all what we have distilled and less of all what Nigerian copycats misappropriated, in their full and patriotic ignorance. In a sense thus, those who authored and or approved the Nigerian constitutions were patriotic fools. Ignorance, alas, is never redeemed by patriotism. Ahiazuwa.
The Dubai mirage: Postscript.
Before America, all political unions or states were constructed after the empire model. That is the minorities and other such weak parties were placed under the Thucydides curse. They were condemned to suffer what they must.
America, however, was the first such arrangement to institutionally protect the weaker ones – via the Senatorial equality of all states without regards to population, etc. That is, America was the first such union in history to distinguish between an empire built to internally self-consume itself, and a nation built to internally self-sustain itself. The collapse of the modern Russian empire is a moral tale.
Even more importantly, American historical generosity towards its own weak and prospective new others propelled a new America. Immigrants poured in and were as welcome – in nearly all cases – as lost brothers. This others or immigrants-invitingness, next triggered a most salutary effect, or overflow, on American psyche*.
For instance, America has the best minority shareholders’ protection corporate laws of all nations. This we conjecture is an obvious overflow from her political sagacity towards minority persons or powers – within her American state. And this ensured, as in perhaps no other nation, the growth of her stock exchanges. Also, Americans openly welcomed others, including the persecutions-fleeing Jews, as if they were long lost, cousins. No other nations came near America in this. The consequences of these two of many others, for instance, accounts in a great measure for the greatness that is America. From Albert Einstein to Levi Strauss, from the New York Stock Exchange to Silicon Valley Venture Capitalists, this idea of playing it together as teammates, of admitting the new comer as an old buddy, has helped make America greater than any competitor nation. That is the real American software at work and play.
So it must amount to unfathomable blockheadedness to design an empire-model union or country, after America. And this despite the example and unmatched successes of America, which her European cousins are copying.
This is the point at which we may come to a certain popular issue with Nigerians. Most times, one reads of fashionably ignorant Nigerians who point to the United Arab Emirates/Dubai as a model, their model for national development. For them, the model of Dubai is in great leadership and that is what Nigeria should copy. Of course, they get the Dubai story so completely wrong it is laughable.
Just like Leo Tolstoy would say because these persons think they know it all, there is not much you can do to educate them otherwise. But we state as follows. Dubai is essentially America under the Arab Desert Sun. To repeat, what works in Dubai is in its Americanisms. It is just that our bleeding-hearts worrywarts are so blinded they can see the logic of Americanism in the Dubai miracle. The fact is, to the extent that Dubai is a miracle is to extend that is to be accounted for by the structures at play and not the parties at work. It is this internal structure or software, that is a minimum condition for the greatness of any modern union. And Dubai got it, after America. The fact is that without that software, no union may come to fruitfulness in modern eras. Simply put the era of empire-like states is passé, and cannot endure the existential habitat that is modernity. Nigerians see Russia and ronu.
What Americanism did Dubai copy?
First, some details. The United Arab Emiratis are culturally and genetically closer to one another than differing Nigerians ever were. The United Arab Emiratis, one can also conjecture, are closer to one another than Founding Americans were to themselves. The Emiratis are all Arabs, are all Arabic speaking and are Muslims. Yet, they had the good and redeeming sense to allocate supreme representative powers after the manner of America. That is on the basis of equality of regional Emiratis or persons as a group, without regard to the attendant population. In other words, each United Arab Emirate had equal supreme weight as any other, just as the American states senatorially. That is the representation is for each emirate, as it hitherto existed, before their federation. The representation, it is important to restate is not just spatial representations. It is representativeness of the given Emiratis or group of citizens therein. It merely happened as with American peoples/states, that the Emirati people cross-matched the given Emirati space, which is here called Emirates.
Now, according to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Supreme_Council
Council meetings: The Federal Supreme Council meets four times each year and its meetings are often on an informal basis and attend meetings of the Board, consisting of the seven rulers of the emirates of the Federation or those acting in their emirate in the case of their absence. Each has one vote in the Council’s resolutions.
And according to https://www.globalmediainsight.com/blog/uae-population-statistics/
In fact, the distribution of the United Arab Emirates’ population affirms most sharply a matter that needs emphasizing. It is that it is each Emirate Emiratis, not just the Emirate as geography, that is in representation and being represented.
The fact of this is important because of what this Americanism did to nascent America and is doing to Dubai. American existential habitat, aka constitution, is so others-inviting that America is the only country where non-native born American can be anything save being President. There are the American exclusive examples, of Dr. Henry Kissinger and Arnold Schwarzenegger. No other nation can boast of such tolerance as much as this author knows.
Following America but after its own idioms, Dubai is almost visa-free, if one can so say. It is open, even if not to immigration, at least to tourism and a sense of being one huge emporium. That is, Dubai is the free coming together of different peoples. In Dubai, for the so inclined, you can club, dance and sip alcohol or pray to Allah. Perhaps, she is the only such Arab nation. And this is as American as a melting pot metaphor can get in the Arab desert.
By Americanism, we don’t mean American as in and of America. It is used in the sense of Arabic, or better, Indian numerals. Indian mathematical sages were the first to conceive and create the idea of positional notations. The Arabs, or properly the Persians, were the ”first” to copy and ”export it.” The fact is that the Indian numerals wear well in all spaces and counties. It is universal.
Likewise, Americanism is a universal idea and wears just as well across lands and oceans. It is only that it was first founded by the Americans, actually by the Europeans. It is Americans who first took on the bandit’s courage to practice it. Later they exported it, but by default not prompts.
It is safe to state, that if the United Arab Emirates/Dubai peoples like Nigerians didn’t have the ”good humors” to ballast their ship of state, mere sectarianism would have led them low and out. The unseen point being that the cost of an unviable ship of state is not just political, or better, existential instability, but under development.
That is if the United Arab Emirates/Dubai had not forged a viable ship of state, she won’t have turned up the economic miracle it is, no matter the leadership. The point is, the first lore of economic prosperity is its politics, is political. It demands that an organic, that is self-sustaining, not imposed, political order, as a minimum precondition.
The point of it all is this. What sails is the ship of state? If it is not well constructed and ballasted, it cannot sail into the blue oceans, of opportunities, economic, technological and otherwise.
Leadership is important as the captain of a ship of state or ship in the waters. But you can’t sail into the blue waters with dinghies, deluded you have a God-man as a leader. Again, the blue water and storm worthy ship of state must precede the great Captain. Thus, to get your polity or politics right is the first economic or development blueprint. Not leadership. By the way, it is Buddha, not Caesar who has the depth, the brains, to architect and envision a polity instability, a paradisiacal order. Caesar’s lot is to pacify the frontiers, not to stabilize or civilize humanity. He himself is a beast and needs civilization. And there is at least the example of Ashoka the Great. Bringing men to civilization, to enduring orders, is the call of the men who are Caesar’s superiors – the Buddha. They must precede him or you have Caligula. All else is humor. Ahiazuwa.
It is all too likely that the ”Nigerian Its Leadership” junkies will still be arguing that it is the United Arab Emirates leadership that thought up the seminal ideas and fixed things. That is wrong. That is to assume great leaders are manufactories of great ideas, that they have the brains and the solitude. That conjecture, that great leaders are in themselves great factories of [development] ideas, is a myth. First, it makes rubbish of the fact of the existence of Buddha and other scholars. If great leaders can be forging great ideas, then Buddha is superfluous, then the faculty is a waste, a landfill.
Second, it is true such an idea of leaders as mighty forgers of ideas, was canvassed and believed, but that was in pre-historical eras. Today it still is being canvassed, but the world has since come to knowledge it is more of public relations than substance.
Third, the point has to be reiterated that what the Nigerian junkies see in Dubai is not a leadership oasis. It is a mirage, a mirage image of their delusion. Dubai is working desert built on Buddha-quality ideas. Without these Buddha-quality ideas, there would have been no leadership of any merit at all. Dubai would have been as a shithole as Nigeria.
Charles Handy, a British professor, writes in his The Hungry Spirit:
The German economic miracle after the Second World War is usually attributed to the then Minister of Economics and later Chancellor, Ludwig Erhard, but, as Neal Ascherson has revealed, it was the two economic officials who then presided over the joint British and American zones of occupation who were really responsible. Their names were Karl Bode, an American, and E. F. Schumacher, later to become famous as the author of Small is Beautiful…. They … let Erhard claim the credit for the explosion of energy and creativity that followed.
The storyline is Germanic, but the moral is universal. It is just that leaders are Credit Centers. And leaders are often the retainers and remunerators of historians and archivists. But no man should be deceived save he be a fool.
One other moral of the Erhard story is this. Had those two economists not been prophets, had they not envisioned the guides, written the scriptures, penned the revelations, it is certain, Erhard would not have been a great leader, a messiah, the conjurer of the German economic miracle. Erhard would have ended up a failed Caesar, a Caligula. To be great, a leader must follow after the footfalls of a great Buddha. If the prospector Caesar frontends the Buddha, he is bound to fail, a Caligula. Or a Gowon, to bring the tragedy nearer home.
Someone once asked: How come our professors, famous social commentators, lovable fools, bleeding hearts… Harvard-Oxbridge sheepskin bearers, could not sight and harvest this low-hanging American-Dubai revelation?
First, their business models are to profiteer off their own and other peoples’ ignorance, fashionable ignorance. In other words, a great deal of what they do is to make ignorance fashionable amongst Nigerians. Thus, to excavate or spread the new truth amounts to foreclosing on their business propositions of selling the old lies. Second of all, historically, they don’t have the genius to inquire into what they have not been taught. They are geniuses as pupils, as apostles, not as investigators, not as prophets. Third of all, ”sometimes it is the people no one imagines anything of who do things that no one can imagine,” says Alan Turing. That is to say, that sometimes the known names may not even know what the questions are despite their best efforts. It thus follows that we are not and need not be modest about these revelations. Above all, we are not doing it for love of nation, for patriotism. To so do is for scoundrels. We are doing things for the love of problem-solving. Perhaps this is our Biafra or Ofo na Ogu heritage. Ahiazuwa.
* [It is important we remind ourselves that we write of an era when black people were taken as slaves, not citizens. History is a record of what happened and not what should have happened.]
NB: the excerpts have been slightly rewritten and some new materials added.