Heart of Arts

Niger and Gabon: Points to Ponder

BioDun J. Ogundayo

Pitt-Bradford University of Pittsburgh


  1. France is due a whole lot of Karma. Ivory Coast, Togo, Cameroon, or Congo. Which is next?
  2. Take your pick from the neocolonialist witches’ brew and the Franco-contraption that we call Francophonie, this latter term pretentious, and contemptuous of the layers of African identity and history, and its immoral grafting of French hegemony over Black peoples of the world.
  3. We must be reminded, that after the illustrious Toussaint L’Ouverture and his compatriot Jean-Jacques Dessalines led Haiti’s Black/African slaves to defeat Napoleon’s army in what was then the crown jewel of the French colonial empire (garnering some 20% of Paris’s GDP in the 18th century), France taxed and, like an insatiable vampire, bled Haiti dry right into the 20th century. The French African colonial misadventure already had a blueprint for how to punish Blacks in Africa for daring to be free today, just like their Haitian forebears and kindred spirit.
  4. According to the New York Times (May 20, 2022; updated November 16, 2022):

” Haitians were forced to pay the descendants of their former slave masters, including the Empress of Brazil; the son-in-law of the Russian Emperor Nicholas 1; Germany ‘s last imperial chancellor; and Gaston de Galliffet, the French general known as “the butcher of the Commune.”

  1. From Haiti to Niger, Guinea, Gabon, Burkina Faso, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon,  Equatorial Guinea,etc…: Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. It is déjà vu all over again with a change in geography being the only constant. Across half a millennia!
  2. For those of us who are not aware of the historical parallels, Haiti’s freedom debt financed the Eiffel Tower, Credit Industriel et Commercial and their investors. Even though the noble African Haitians created the world’s first Black sovereign nation–just 28 years after the USA won its independence from King George’s England! The plunder of Haiti by France, and the sucking of Haiti’s treasury, transformed France’s bank into one of Europe’s humongous financial transnational entities.
  3. Just like Niger’s uranium, Francophone Africa’s natural and financial resources sustain France as a developed western nation. With the collusion of African stooges and puppets in the best bespoke French suits and ties fronting as leaders, presidents, and heads of state who regularly massage each other in flowery speeches at the Champs Élysées and Versailles while their African citizens remain mired in disease, darkness and abject penury.
  4. Gabon is a major piece on the chessboard. A member of OPEC, it has oil, gas, versatile forest and rich marine resources, a strategic coastline, and some strategic minerals as its profile states in the western media.
  5. It’s a big piece of the Francophone African dominoes that may be falling very fast and quite soon.
  6. Also Gabon is the first majority Christian former French colony in which only one family has ruled and plundered, for the past half century, just like Togo. The Bongos and the Eyademas. Whether the Gabon putsch is contrived as some sort of French neocolonialist musical chairs as some claim, the cold hard reality is that a new era is here, and la Belle France is now seen as the ugliest and worst villain of white supremacist hegemony in the Black world. No perfume, champagne, or cheese will cover the stench and savagery and predation of Africans within and without the continent.
  7. 11. Gabon’s population is about 11% that of Niger. It’s also much more smaller geographically and much, much, more prosperous than Niger even by jaded western datasets… Yet the Bongo family and their agents have managed to suppress any form of dissent or political challenge to their rule, thereby presenting a veneer of stability to the world.
  8. Which means that, like Togo, the Gabonese terrain and territory are easily accessible and manageable by whoever has armed logistical command and control of media and coercive power to impose their agenda and will. The climate and weather are also factors, compared to those of Sahelian Niger.
  9. Remember also, that Gabon’s longest border is with Nguesso’s Congo, and then with Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea.
  10. Remember also that Russia is already well ensconced in the Central African Republic of Bokassa, via its Wagner Group, which is also well established in hapless Sudan, just northeast of CAR.
  11. Geostrategically, Russia (and the Chinese) seem to be getting the best of the NATO/EUROZONE bloc. Recently.
  12. In short, we should expect that the western media will be, for a while, a tad less focused on the war in Ukraine, which seems to be finding it more challenging to dislodge Russia from its territory/ies… despite overwhelming logistical support from Biden and the EU.
  13. So it seems to have been a great week for psychopathic Putin. He permanently neutralized his major opponent, Wagner Group’s Prigozhin, by vaporizing him in a plane crash.
  14. With the freshly baked Gabon coup, Putin has also expanded Russia’s footprint in Africa, which it’s already being speculated, could become the Africanized version of the geopolitical competition (for strategic resources and influence) between NATO/Eurozone and Russia (and its reluctant or willing allies).
  15. We must be curious to know the background, biographies, and biases of the Gabonese coupists.
  16. Already their initial playbook suggests that they may have (had) contacts with Tchiani’s group in the manner they have rolled out their action. Even though they seem to be part of Ali Bongo’s crew. See my musical chairs hinted at earlier in this piece
  17. 21. Especially in these days of What’sApp, Telegram (created by the Russian brothers Durov, and Wagner Group’s key social media outlet for sharing information and disinformation), and Signal. Internet technologies such as AI, Chat GPT and the cellphone are forever game changers in the roiling new dispensation in Africa and the African diasporas.
  18. For example, the Gabonese announcement mirrors that of the Niger announcement. Ten or twelve military guys presenting as the face(s) of the new regime without hint of who is the leader. Tchiani did not emerge as the de facto and actual leader until around 2 weeks after Bazoum was ousted. The Gabonese coupists also have presented an actual leader within hours. He is also reputed not to be a choir boy.  The Yoruba say that only a thief knows the footprints of another thief on rocky terrain!
  19. 23. There is also the rhetoric of the Gabonese coupists. It seems to be from a template that is clearly Nigérien! Even the official name of the new régime hints at national restoration, transition, “road to happiness” just like Niger’s Tchiani…
  20. 24. Next to consider are the ages of the Gabonese coupists and their ethnic backgrounds, their professional military backgrounds, and ask whether there is a nexus, not similarities, with the Guinea, Mali, and BF leaders. This might educate us on the ideological affinity, or otherwise, of Goïta, Doumbouya, Traoré, Tchiani, and the Gabonese coupists.
  21. One thing is clear: these guys are anti-French francophone Africans, descendants of French colonial subjects. They came of age in the 80s and 90s.
  22. Added to the interesting drama, or conundrum for France, is Algeria’s involvement. It has been unequivocal in its support for her southern, former French colony and Islamic neighbor, Niger. Algeria is the largest member OPEC. It also has one of Africa’s most powerful and seasoned militaries. I hope ECOWAS, Tinubu, and Ouattara know this fact! It is by land area Africa’s largest nation and the world’s number 10 largest nation by land area. In geopolitics size does matter.
  23. Algeria is the one former Francophone former colony that waged a ferocious war to free itself from France.
  24. The great Pan Africanist Frantz Fanon participated in the Algerian war of independence as a member of the Algerian National Liberation Front before he died in the USA at age 36.
  25. We can even wonder whether these men now dismantling the French stranglehold on their nations are inspired by Fanon’s and Nkrumah’s writings. These 2 Africanist intellectuals are the spiritual godparents of the change that has been sweeping the continent since even the Arab Spring of early this century.

Interesting times indeed!


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