Once more Nigeria is napping as Brexit offers us the chance to demand reparations

By Ayo Akinfe

(1) As the UK ponders over what kind of future she is going to have in the 22nd century, it is unfortunate that African nations are fast asleep during this Brexit debate and are not making the most of it for their own good. Many Britons want to leave the EU because they think that by doing so they will return to the glorious Rule Britannia era when their country ruled the oceans and colonised two thirds of the world. Clearly that is not going to happen but alas, it is not a crime to be delusional

(2) If Britain leaves the EU without a deal as is probable, she will quickly need to enter into trade deals with other nations to fill the void. For instance, most of Europe’s cocoa is stored in Amsterdam, so to get supplies devoid of high tariffs, Theresa May might need to visit Nigeria. Likewise, GlaxoSmithKline may need to look for markets in Lagos to sell its pharmaceuticals as EU duty rates will make selling on the continent unprofitable. Our government should insist, however, that there can only be deals with these firms on the condition that all of these companies open plants in Nigeria with the employment of 1,000 the very bare minimum allowed

(3) There are also bound to be a lot of redundancies in the UK post-Brexit as companies like Nissan and Toyota shut down their British plants and move to Europe for access to the common market. We should be wooing these firms to come and set up shop in Nigeria. I actually think Babajide Sanwoolu should be leading the charge. He should dedicate his new Lekki Industrial Estate to the Brexit fallout. At the moment, 95% of all foreign direct investment in Nigeria goes to Lagos, so Mr Sanwoolu has to take charge of the situation

(4) In his negotiations with the British, Mr Sanwoolu should remind them that they never paid Nigeria reparations for slavery, colonial conquest or the large number of her service men and women who died fighting for the British Empire in the two world wars. In the US for instance, it was estimated that the most economically sound estimate of reparations to former slaves should be between $5.9trn and $14.2trn. This was never paid but in our case, the British never even conceded they owed us anything. I think Brexit offers us this opportunity to make such a claim

(5) Given that Britain wants to relive its glorious past, I think we should remind them of their ugly sins gone by as well. They were the prime movers behind the trans-Atlantic Slave Trade for which about 20m Africans were plucked from their homeland. Is it not ironic that a nation that built itself up moving millions of people from one part of the world to another suddenly hates immigration?

(6) I must confess my blood boils when I listen to black Brexiteers. These Uncle Tom’s are the worst type of house negroes to have ever set foot on the planet. Do they not know that these UKIP-voting xenophobes who hate Eastern Europeans, hate them even more? As happened in Nazi Germany, you deal with those you despise one by one. Communists, trade unionists, Jews, Slaves and all non-Aryans. By the time the concentration camp is built, there will be room for everyone. Once the Eastern Europeans are gone, it will be time to change Brexit into Blackexit

(7) I have long argued that the World Economic Forum (Wef) should impose foreign direct investment targets on industrialised nations if it is genuine about helping Africa grow. Unless the Wef can get African economies to grow by double digit figures, all this noise about assisting the continent is patronising hot air. What will give the large economies like Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt, Ethiopia and DR Congo 10% year-on-year annual GDP growth rates over the next decade. Anything short of this is just big big grammar

(8) As is always the case, Africans are silent when the rest of the world is seizing opportunities that are there for the taking. After World War Two, countries like the US, Argentina, Australia and Brazil snapped up some of the finest German brains. Some even pardoned ex-Nazis because of what they brought to the table. Nigeria should be hovering around the UK like a vulture now, ready to feed on any post-Brexit no deal carcass. Sadly, we are once again fast asleep

(9) Were we an alert nation, when Gadaffi’s regime fell, we would have granted citizenship to all those engineers who built irrigation works in the Sahara Desert and got them to construct hydroelectric power plants, water works and irrigation dams across Nigeria. Likewise, we should have snapped up some of Jordan’s port exports when their troubles started to help us fix Apapa and build others along the coast. Do you know that Jordan’s port of Aqaba was ranked as being the Best Container Terminal in the Middle East by Lloyd's List? Compare it with our embarrassing nonsense at Apapa

(10) As the UK keeps tying itself up in knots, we should seize the opportunity by offering her a way out. As the saying goes: “He who the gods want to destroy, they first make mad.” Nigeria should offer the UK an exit from her Brexit madness by reminding her that she has some obligations from her past to meet. We all know that any cash given to Nigeria’s rulers will disappear so these reparations should be paid in the form of infrastructural investments, the location of manufacturing capacity and a massive skills transfer programme. We have an annual infrastructural deficit of $100bn and simply need to find a way to raise that cash!