A new book is about to be brought to the reading public. Or perhaps to put it better, a new idea is soon to be officially parachuted down and unveiled to Nigerians. Dr Jimanze Ego-Alowes has just come up with what must amount to an incontrovertibly groundbreaking, if controversial work. With the paradoxical title, Minorities as Competitive Overlords, the book challenges old certainties as much as it offers new vistas.
In a sense the book is a work of history, but it is a new form of history, composite history, a cross of the political, economic and legal histories. It is a historical inquiry whose development the author says was influenced by the British philosopher Whitehead. To put it in the words of the author, this style history is the history that will bear the tales that will be true in all reference systems. He calls it, his invention para-history.
So the great task of this history is to forage for those vitalities that standard historical reportages ‘dutifully’ miss. To quote the book: “Now it is not essential that American historians and or philosophers know some of these things. In fact they do not need to know. It is the duty of the provincial, who is about to inquire and adapt the metropolitan civilization and ways, to study and unravel all what it is that makes America… that the Americans would not and oftentimes cannot know. This is what we call para-history. Alfred Whitehead, mathematician and one of the finest historical minds first pointed out the troubling but exact insight to us”.
This para-history is literally the big tool the author deploys to probe into the nature of reality in a number of disciplines. The para-history is the big tool. It can be devolved into other daughter tools that may next be used to excavate astonishing new concepts, in economics and the place of minorities in competitive environments.
The book’s economic thesis, and one might as well remark, that it is probably the first such thesis in the world, is that in a variant competitor size economy, the minority parties or persons, have a dedicated belt of the economy where they will always beat and dust off the majorities to the competition. This belt of the economy Jimanze names the brace sector. That is in all brace sector economies, the majorities will find themselves ironically as the competitive underdogs. To delineate the brace sector, the author makes innovation in economic classifications. The result is of course the brace categorization and its complementary other side, constitutive sector.
The author gives examples of the brace economies, as media, banking, entertainment, including humor and comedy business. In the author’s well argued thesis these are the sectors that help bind variant peoples, communities or institutions together. And it is the minorities, the supposedly weaker parties that possess the economies of efficiency in that sector. The truth of the day is that the minorities of the South-South control or own about 70% of banking and major media assets, yet they constitute a mere 12% plus, of the population.
Of course even the blind knows that the South-South minorities control or own the top three of the 6-odd national dailies: Vanguard, ThisDay, The Guardian, leaving the majorities to glean up the Sun, Punch, and Daily Trust. And of course again they dominate the commercial electronic media assets, almost exclusively, via AIT, Channels, Silverbird, ITV; yet these people are a minuscule 12%.
According to the author, this situation of minority dominance is not an aberration or an anomaly, but follows an economic law which has hitherto not been discovered and now discovered by him. To put it simply this is a major epistemic event, an intellectual big bang of sorts. Perhaps we should be glad that one of us has invented a theory by which the world may come to live by.
But the question is did he do that? The consensus of opinion is that he did, without one party dissenting. According to Chijama Ogbu, former Group Business Editor of Punch newspapers; it is a wonderful piece of work that establishes a thesis that is startlingly new. Continuing he asserts that it is a ground breaking stuff that extends the frontiers of knowledge. For Dr. Boniface Chizea the work is uncommon, thought provoking, as it is enthralling and fundamental. In fact Chizea goes on to confess that some of the assertions in the book had the effect on him as that of coming into a sudden awareness and realization of some facts regarding the existential realities of Nigeria. Perhaps there is no greater tribute to be paid a scholar than this, that his conjectures open our eyes anew, that we come into increased or sudden awareness.
Odia Ofeimum, poet and polemicist weighs in that the book re-interprets the Nigerian media in a mode that challenges existing theories… and Ofeimum declares, ‘it demands to be read on its own terms’.
For Dr. Douglas Anele, a philosophy lecturer at the University of Lagos, the author has initiated a revolution on the common view held about the minority population. For him the author upturned the table and demonstrated how the minorities can deploy their numbers deficits into competitive advantage.
In a chat the author was quick to acknowledge the fact that the book ‘will empower the minorities, not because it is an inspirational work or a literary steroid. It will empower the minorities because it is a new truth. And nations are as rich as the new truths they found and exploit. But the work, especially the new taxonomy or categorization of factors is rather fundamental, and works at the level of society or all competitive environments. Its full spectrum understanding will help more than perhaps any other thing, to power our economic development. But that will come in the follow up works that accrue from the insight. The immediate point is this is the best time to be a minority’, he concluded. Perhaps this may be a most important liberation tool handed over to the minorities, since Adaka Boro hit the creeks.
Of the word brace the author remarked that he started using it, before the South-South BRACE Commission popularized it. If there be a point to it he said, they borrowed if off us.
And then this bonanza follows. The author and his publishers, The Stone Press, are so cocksure of the author’s thesis to say they are offering US$5,000.00 each, to the first two persons who can falsify the thesis. There is only a caveat, the parties, each, must wager US$3,000.00 of their own to the contest.
Yes dynamites come in many sizes and guises. This apparently has come under the cover of a book, named Minorities as Competitive Overlords. It will be officially presented, or perhaps ‘exploded’ to the Nigerian public in Lagos, Abuja and Enugu from the 5th September. Frontline politician, scholar and former ace journalist, Senator Osita Izunaso will chair the Abuja presentation.
The author is a well known public intellectual. He also keeps a well received column in the Daily Sun newspapers.
Seth Ebitimi is a Lagos based arts editor.