The Spy who “Loved” Nigeria

By Ahmed Yahaya Joe

Sir Hanns Vischer

As they say; “An Englishman’s home is his castle.” Sir Hanns Vischer, was an agent of His Majesty’s Secret Intelligence Service in Nigeria. He was referred to as “Dan Hausa” due to his mastery of the Hausa language which he helped in standardizing. He was also prolific in Arabic, Fulfulde and Kanuri in addition to Greek, French and German. Based in Kano from 1907 to 1919, his cover was head of the Education Department.

Gidan Dan Hausa, now a national monument was his official residence. The building had being in existence for about a hundred years before Kano was conquered by the British in 1903. It had previously served as the base of the overseer of the royal farming plantation outside the ancient city walls known as Rumada. Vischer rebuilt it from scratch making improvements in 1907.

The spymaster first came to Nigeria in 1901 and was based in Lokoja before he was reassigned to Maiduguri in 1903. By 1906, he crossed the Sahara Desert. He recounted his journey in a 1911 book entitled; “Across the Sahara from Tripoli to Borno” Another book he wrote is; “Rules for Hausa Spelling” printed in 1912.
Kano was crucial to the British in two aspects. First, in creating an elite that would oppose national independence. Second, it was a crucial cross roads in monitoring Francophone territories and the German colony of Kamerun.

According the historian, Dr. Yusuf Bala Usman;
“The Hausa-speaking people, not only do they have dialects, which were barely mutually intelligible, but they have no tradition of a common origin.” Hausa as spoken and written today was therefore a British project. Vischer was one of the arrow heads.

Vischer’s residence also served as a school for sons of emirs from all over the North. With his wife who joined him in 1912, the couple moulded the young aristocrats teaching them how to read and write in English and Ajami (Arabic in Roman script) The school started with 30 pupils in 1909. Their hostel was within the Nasarawa palace of Kano emirate nearby.

Enrollment increased to over 200 princes by 1913 from the 11 provinces of the Northern Protectorate. It produced the first Western educated elites in the North that eventually became the first members of the House of Chiefs and Assembly both in Kaduna. Vischer’s school relocated becoming Katsina College in 1921, which is now Barewa College in Zaria.

The Vischers had two children at Gidan Dan Hausa. Their photographs including that of their house maid still adorn the main living room of the historic house to date.

The British did not come to the colonial contours of what became Nigeria for sightseeing – they came to plunder.
To pull that off they needed to apply “divide et impera” – divide and rule. They ensured no level of national consciousness could develop eventually preparing us for national independence without economic freedom.

The likes of Sir Vischer were instrumental to Pax Britannica. Such people are described as “capax imperii” – capable of ruling an empire by understanding and study of languages;
“One had only to watch him in his daily avocations in those early days to realize how completely at home he was with every class of society—whether he was engaged in grave deliberations with emirs, viziers and other high personages of the ruling hierarchy, or whether he was chaffing the hucksters at the market stalls as he rode through Kano city. No less revealing was it to see him in his own home pick up a native drum and, squatting on the floor, croon local Hausa songs to his own accompaniment. So inimitably did he do it that, if he had been hidden behind a screen, one would have said that an African musician had been engaged to entertain his guests”

At Gidan Dan Hausa, Vischer reorganized traditional Hausa building materials of “Tubali” and “Azara” by creatively using “Chafe” for plaster and “Makuba” for relieve motifs retaining “Zankwaye” (the horns at the top) and “Dakali” (the horizontal platform at the base)
Vischer used local labor sourced within the ancient city of Kano from “Unguwan Gini”

The original inhabitants of Kano are the “Abagawa” of the Nok Civilization. The “Wangara” from present-day Mali conquered and incorporated Kano into the Songhai Empire. Eventually the Habe held sway before the Hausanization process that followed the formation of the Sokoto Caliphate.

It has been the southern entrepôt of the Trans Saharan trade for millennia. Arabs and Tuaregs have been part of Kano’s mosaic for centuries.

It provided the perfect cover for Sir Hanns Vischer, a spymaster par excellence according to Nigel West in; Historical Dictionary of World War I Intelligence (2014)

Can they beat Trump?

By Ahmed Yahaya Joe

Can a Biden/Harris ticket beat President Donald Trump?

On the surface this is a winning team. However, in America democracy it is all about the Deep State. That is why during the 2016 presidential elections despite her 65.8 million votes, Hilary Clinton could not enter the White House. Rather Donald J. Trump and his 62.9 million votes is now the current chief tenant.
So what happened? The United States Electoral College voted him in that is what. Trump got 304 votes of college electors while Clinton got 227 – end of story.

“The Electoral College is a body of electors established by the United States Constitution, which forms every four years for the sole purpose of electing the president and vice president of the United States. The Electoral College consists of 538 electors, and an absolute majority of at least 270 electoral votes is required to win the election……The number of each state’s electors is equal to the sum of the state’s membership in the Senate and House of Representatives; currently there are 100 senators and 435 representatives.”

Interestingly, there are “Faithless electors” who switch sides or are compelled to do so by the Deep State and its allies and interested parties. But who are these electors in general? The answer to this question is why Kamala Devi Harris is very crucial to Joe Biden’s candidacy. The state of California where she comes from has the highest number of 55. Besides Harris is biracial, her father is from Jamaica and her mother from India. Gender also plays a prominent part in the permutation as women voters are the most consistent in American politics. American men are good in arguing and debating politics but it is women that actually turn out to vote in more numbers per capita.

Deep State is defined as; “A hybrid association of elements of government and parts of top-level finance and industry that is effectively able to govern the United States without reference to the consent of the governed as expressed through the formal political process”

There is also what is known as American Exceptionalism which; “is the theory that the history of the United States is inherently different from that of other nations.” The idea that America has a unique mission to transform the world. Therefore to achieve that only those that can preserve and keep the American national interest should be allowed to occupy the White House. For instance, Obama came into office with the repeated promise to shut down the illegal detentions at Guantanamo Bay but for 8 years he couldn’t. And by negotiating a nuclear peace treaty with Iran he openly defied the Deep State making Mrs. Clinton take the fall.

In the United States no president can go to war with the Deep State and win. Ask John F Kennedy and his brother and Attorney General, Robert F Kennedy who wanted to run for president – they were both assassinated. The Deep State is an extended cabal that cuts across party lines.
It is very important to note that very deeply embedded in the American psyche is the role of the Sheriff that constantly fights off bad guys. That is why Hollywood endlessly promotes the protagonist/antagonist dynamic – always between an “actor” and the “boss” The oxygen of the US economy is the military-industrial complex which cannot survive without conflicts and wars all around the world; “Without war human beings stagnate in comfort and affluence and lose the capacity for great thoughts and feelings, they become cynical and subside into barbarism” – Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821- 1881)

My take on the forthcoming US elections is solely based on stone cold analysis of the 2000 polls “won” by George W Bush by a complete outsider through the pages of; Stupid White Men of Michael Moore (2002) If I had been resident there I am sure I would have felt different and opined otherwise. I am merely a detached student of the dynamics of power. I say this out of respect for my numerous friends and even some relatives in the US. I respect their choices.

Now back to the question; can the Biden-Harris ticket beat that of Trump-Pence? I have my doubts for the following reasons;

1. The opinion polls that Biden is currently leading Trump by 10 points is no different from that of Clinton over Trump in 2016 yet see what played out.

2. America is a deeply racist country and will always remain so because there is an umbilical link between racism and capitalism – one cannot exist without the other. Biden is already 75 years old this means he has no second term ambition. Harris is however 55 which means another Black presidential against the background of all these Black Lives Matter protests in 2024. Even liberal WASPs might gravitate back to White supremacy by default.

3. Joe Biden is not a war monger and he will tax the rich more to pay the poor like bring back Obama Care.

4. The White Anglo-Saxon Protestant segment of America prefer Trump’s sabre rattling on Immigration. Biden will open up the flow. Trump has shut the tap!

5. Biden is a supporter of strict Gun Laws. Trump is not!

6. Masses are masses anywhere in the world – the inability to see the big picture is always the same. The American masses vote in popular elections but it is just a few hundred “electors” that always determine who wins.

7. The ace in every US elections is Israel. Biden has always rooted for Palestine. He will also return to the conference table with Iran and negotiate with China. Trump will not because; “Leaders have always found it useful to have an enemy at their gates distracting the public from their difficulties. Use the rhetoric of war to heighten the stakes” – page 12 of 33 Strategies of War by Robert Greene (2006)

RESPONSIBILITY VERSUS AUTHORITY

obama marley
It is a rare thing to completely trust and to fully exhibit it too. The gratitude for such rarity is expressed inadequately mostly, but rather hypocritically thanked more than enough with all the words that is said or used. The exhibition of this sort of trust is at best unequalled. It puts the object of it in a serious strait, within the dilemma of trusting fully or just a little bit. Where trust has been clearly replaced with hate there is always a sort of lingering discomfort, ushered into the picture. It is one that cannot be fathomed by the victim until it visibly presents itself as something tangibly painful in the heart of its cruel perpetrators.

The conception of masters is mostly that of people who delight and rejoice in inflicting sufferings on their subordinates, not the chubby homely nurses who aid struggling colleagues in soothing their personal pains. This presumption is mainly based on the view of subordinates, who think all their masters’ hard responsibilities over them, with all the advantages their masters have over them, are not necessary ills, but all just utterly cruel bullying. It is obviously quite a subjective opinion not readily accepted or entertained by the masters’ own similarly bias versions.

Nothing educates a teething subordinate like that age old and seemingly overt situation of pure adversity, which would constantly lord over what it presents itself as. The overlaying setting is meant to be at the verge of a deeply sincere feeling of remorseful envy. The subordinates’ perception is utterly bias, as is their masters’, such that the perpetual atmosphere of quieted distrust soils their separate thoughts of one another. It deepens their knowledge of excusable vulgarities with an awareness that was more harmful to each of them than they realized it is.

Inscrutable old issues are rankled with reluctance to simple acceptance for offered educated civility and modern advancement, which is clearly rejoiced in subsequently.