Nigerian House Negroes And Their Late “Massa”, Abba Kyari – A Reflection By Chris Obiekwe

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If you have not done so, please take time to watch a 1960s video of Malcolm X explaining the difference in mindset between the house negro and the field negro in a typical slaveholding plantation in America. It’s on YouTube.
I guarantee many of us will increase our respective levels of common sense after watching it…and digesting the lessons inherent.
When the master is sick, the house negro says “Massa, we sick”. The house negro sees himself as the extension of his master. He has no sense of self-worth, self-responsibility and self-value.
He lives in the master’s house or close by. He eats good food in the master’s house and wears relatively good clothes. He is fiercely loyal to his master to the detriment of his life & freedom. He loves his master and is willing to kill his own to protect his master.
The field negro is the one who bears the brunt of working in the cotton fields from morning till night. He’s poorly fed, poorly clothed, always whipped and brutalized. He feels and understands the wickedness and evil of his enduring oppression.
So when the field negro tells the house negro to join in an escape plan to secure freedom, the house negro always decline. He prefers being a “comfortable” slave to being a free man.
Many house slaves don’t even realize they are slaves! Harriet Tubman said so.
In the light of the demise of Abba Kyari or the “Massa” and consequent reactions from various persons, let’s take the lesson from Malcolm X’s parable to Nigeria and see how it fits.
In a country of 200 million people, an unelected official is appointed the Chief of Staff which is essentially the secretary or personal assistant to the President.
This CoS appoints himself into the board of NNPC.
This CoS appoints his daughter as a director managing the nation’s sovereign wealth fund.
This CoS usurps power and directs all ministers to pass through him before reaching Buhari.
This CoS relegates the office of the elected VP to nothing.
This CoS hijacks the power of “commander in chief of armed forces” to preside over a meeting of national security chieftains causing the NSA to cry out in alarm.
It is same unprecedented greedy grab for power and control of the nation’s resources that finally nails the CoS when he usurped the responsibilities of a minister and travelled to Germany to negotiate electricity power deals for Nigeria.
No need going further to list all the transgressions which continued even in his death…ranging from the release of his infected body for a public burial to hundreds of people violating social distancing and lockdown directives.
However, the few transgressions (out of many) I listed are the exact definition of official corruption and abuse of power in government. Such blatant acts of official corruption are sheer evil and inhibits the growth of any nation.
And all responsible citizens have a duty to condemn it because evil must be condemned irrespective of who commits it.
I have spent a good amount of time reading various comments and posts about this man’s death and I can’t help reading from people whose mindset fit exactly the type described by Malcolm X as house negroes.
Yes, we have folks who exactly fit Malcom X’s house negro character in Nigeria. And they are everywhere – in the south and in the North. These people are usually those who benefit from the crumbs from the master’s table…or who hope to benefit in future…or who are simply so stupid not to understand how a responsible government should be run.
They understand or feel that open support for the Northern cabal as led by late Abba Kyari means juicy contracts, good career prospects, secure job positions, promotions, favours, etc…
They don’t care about the corruption going on.
They don’t mind that one man and his family have cornered relevant positions controlling billions of dollars of our national wealth.
They don’t mind if hospitals are not equipped and schools are dilapidated.
They don’t care if brothers are killed or their wives and mothers are raped by rampaging herdsmen, while security forces fail to act.
What else characterize the house negroes?
These are the people singing the praise of late Abba Kyari despite all the malfeasance he was involved in.
The house negroes are those praising his “loyalty” to Buhari as if loyalty to one man is far more important than loyalty to a nation of 200m people even when exploited to commit the most brutal form of nepotism and tribalism ever witnessed in Nigeria.
The house negroes are the ones praising him for working seven days a week as if that is wonderful achievement even if it is geared towards bribery and corruption.
The house negroes are the ones praising him for attending schools in UK as if attending the white man’s university is tantamount to having the “perfect” character and education. Talk about inferiority complex at work.
In retrospect, the house negro is the one that also says “ohh don’t say anything bad about our late massa…it is unchristian-like, ungodly and unholy.”
Well, for me, I will conclude this piece by saying this – “either you condemn evil or…you do us a favour by simply shutting up, house negro.”

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