Sunday, 28 May 2023

My Grandfather Floris Simmons: A Botanist in the Making

My grandfather Floris Simmons in his later years. (The journal is Agricultural News, Volume X, No. 231, Page 75. Published March 4, 1911).

This is a copy of a report on the examination performance in agricultural school of my maternal grandfather Floris Simmons in a 1911 edition of Agricultural News.

Agricultural News was a fortnightly review of the Imperial Department of Agriculture for the British West Indies.

The young Floris was a pupil at St. Vincent Agricultural School located on the Island-Colony of Saint Vincent in the British West Indies.

His result in the half-yearly examination was reported by the examiner to have been "the best" among the senior boys.

In 1916, he obtained a second class certificate following an Examination in Practical Agriculture held under the auspices of the Imperial Department of Agriculture.

After training as a botanist he was appointed as the Foreman at the Experiment Station of the Department of Agriculture, a post which he held for many years. 

He held additional responsibilities. 

For instance, a Report on the Agricultural Department, St. Vincent in 1919 recorded that when the Assistant Agricultural Superintendent was partially seconded to carry out research work in connection with cotton under the auspices of the British Department for Scientific and Industrial Research, and under the direction of the Imperial Commissioner of Agriculture for the West Indies, my grandfather was appointed to "undertake travelling instruction duties in addition to his own".

A 1943 report published by the Saint Vincent Department of Agriculture records him as serving as the Agricultural Assistant in Carriacou, the Grenadine Island on which my Mother was born. 

He later entered politics and in 1956 was elected as Chairman of the district council of Bequia, the island of his birth.

A few years ago, the present prime minister of Saint Vincent, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, referred to my grandfather as one of the "political icons" of the island-nation. 

Pa Floris was one of the "Eight Army of Liberation" of the island of Saint Vincent. He and the others were members of the Saint Vincent Labour Party which is often described as the "political arm of the St. Vincent Working Men’s Cooperative Association (WMA)".

© Adeyinka Makinde (2023).

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.

Publication of a Book on Counterinsurgency By the Serving Nigerian Chief of Army Staff

This is a book which I would like to read and formally review.

I was notified by an e-mail circular from Adonis & Abbey publishers who have published a book on counterinsurgency by the serving Nigerian Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Faruk Yahaya.

I don't want to pre-judge Lt. General Yahaya's work but I would have appreciated something more in the book description which gives an idea of what personal ideas and philosophies he has on the conception and implementation of a national counterinsurgency (COIN) effort.

It would also be interesting to find out, given the length of the Islamist insurrection of the "Boko Haram" and "Islamic State West Africa Province" terror groups (as well as ethnic-related insurgencies in the Niger-Delta and other national regions), whether the Nigerian Armed forces have developed a "national style" and a resulting "strategic culture" related to dealing with insurgent forces in a low-intensity conflict.

In other words, one would want to know whether Lt. General Yahaya is shaping an overarching counterinsurgency doctrine which is specific to the circumstances in which the Nigerian military have found themselves. This would be based on factors such as organisational discipline, national mentality, the geographical features of the arena of battle, the ideological inclination of the insurgents, their objectives, their capabilities and so on.

What lessons has he learned from his own experiences, as well as the counterinsurgency experiences of other nations involved in asymmetric or unconventional warfare?

Military history is replete with army officers who have emerged as influential theoreticians in the area of counterinsurgency warfare. The Frenchmen Roger Trinquier and David Galula, and the Britons Robert Thompson and Frank Kitson stand out as examples of officers whose experiences of fighting guerrillas in the waning days of empire were turned into academic tomes and practical training manuals. 

The activity of waging irregular warfare has also been apt at producing unconventional but intriguing figures whose campaigns have provided ideas which have been developed on by subsequent generations of officers. The British officer Orde Wingate comes to mind as indeed does the American Edward Lansdale, a pioneer in psychological warfare who wrote the manuals used by U.S. special forces when training at Fort Bragg.

So for me, it is of utmost importance that the Nigerian military officer class visibly produces profound thinkers who are able to set down foundational precepts and ideas which establish identifiable doctrines as relate to land, sea and airpower, as well as to the specific efforts aimed at defeating insurgent groups.


LT. Gen Faruk Yahaya | Counter Terrorism & Counter Insurgency Theory Meets Practice | Adonis & Abbey Publishers


I was published on one of Adonis & Abbey’s journals back in 2005 and 2006. One was a reflection on the state of Nigerian boxing and the other two were chapter excerpts from my biography on a Nigerian world boxing champion which is titled "Dick Tiger: The Life and Times of a Boxing Immortal", published by Word Association, Tarentum, PA (2005).

© Adeyinka Makinde (2023).

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.

Monday, 22 May 2023

The End of United States Neoliberal Foreign Policy Will Not Be The Panacea To Economic Underdevelopment In The Global South

‘For communities around the world, especially in the global south, it’s been clear for decades that the neoliberal “Washington Consensus,” which emerged in the 1980s and focused on deregulation, privatization, austerity, and trade liberalization, was a predatory and destructive model.’

Foreign Policy Magazine, May 18, 2023.

The aforementioned passage from an article penned by Matthew Duss and Ganesh Sitaranam titled “Joe Biden and Jake Sullivan Have Declared That the Era of Neoliberal U.S. Foreign Policy Is Over” encapsulates what many discerning geopolitical and economic analysts have consistently asserted over the decades.

But even if the words of the present serving United States president and his national security advisor do come to pass, the idea that the demise of the neoliberal agenda would inexorably bring an end to capitalistic opportunism, economic exploitation and the quest for global hegemony is open to serious doubt.

The advent of the neoliberal age can be traced to the appointment of Paul Volcker as Chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve in 1979, and the coming to power of U.S. President Ronald Reagan and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher respectively in 1981 and 1979.

Prior to the introduction under the neoliberal order of economic "shock treatments" typified by the "Structural Adjustment Programmes" implemented in the 1980s, the Bretton Woods institutions were amenable to the Keynesian economic method and worked with aspiring socialist states such as Tanzania then under Julius Nyerere using a model that could be referred to as "development economics".

The defects in Nyerere's Ujamaa economic plan notwithstanding, the raison d'etre of the Western global economic order, which is predicated on usury, is decidedly to achieve a permanent state of indebtedness among client nations. John Perkin's Confessions of an Economic Hitman, which was published in 2004, is a suitable reference point on that issue.

Therefore if it can be assumed with a great deal of certainty that a change in the method by which the United States conducts its foreign trade relations with other nations will not significantly change the fortunes of the nations of the Global South, it is all the more important to instil the idea among the political and intellectual classes of the “Global South”, particular those on the minerally rich African continent, that economic prosperity and self-sufficiency will come about only when these nations embark on serious, long-term national projects aimed at industrialising their economies.

They must eschew the culture of dependency which inevitably comes from the institutionalising of foreign aid and neocolonial arrangements such as has characterised the relationship between France and its ex-colonies in Francophone Africa.

They must realise that they can only transform their nations from consumer-orientated economies to productive, self-sufficient ones by embarking on national industrialisation projects.

Instead of borrowing from Western or Chinese financial institutions, they must focus on efforts geared towards raising capital within their own borders in order to invest in the creation of heavy industry and the modernisation of their agricultural sectors.

The objective of industrialisation cannot be a piecemeal one or a substandard type such as what critics have derisively referred to as the "peasant-is-king" mentality typified by the failed policies of Ujamaa socialism.

Failure on the part of their policymakers to conceptualise and implement this economic vision will only ensure that whatever the economic models employed by the West or China to engage with African states, they will remain an appendage to the global economic system.

It would be remiss not to add that developing an industrial base would correspondingly provide such nations with the capacity to develop their militaries in a way which would make them less susceptible to the intervention of powerful industrialised nations. It is clear that the neoliberal agenda has been imposed on them not only through the threat of economic reprisals, but also by military intervention; in this regard, the U.S. arm of economic enforcers headed by the "shadow CIA" or "privatised CIA" which is an amalgam of the miscellaneous subsidiary organisations of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) who use NGOs to foment so-called “colour revolutions". Bodies modelled on the "Open Society" foundation have appeared to work hand-in-glove with regime change operations in eastern Europe and elsewhere.

Yet, in many ways the “colour revolution” is not much of an innovation, but more of a modification of an enduring modus operandi of imperialist powers. For today, while NATO and the CIA function as enforcers-in-chief of American corporate and financial interests, it is merely a continuum of the old CIA policies established under Allen Dulles. Under Dulles, the overthrows of Mohamed Mossadegh in Iran and Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala, and after Dulles, the overthrow of Salvador Allende in Chile, had the undercurrent of the establishing or re-establishing America's corporate interests.

Before the creation of the CIA, Major General Smedley Butler, a U.S. marine who participated in American interventions in places such as Cuba, the Philippines and China, acknowledged that he had spent most of his time being a “high-class muscleman for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers.”

And before the rise of the U.S. hegemon, its predecessor Anglo-Saxon empire, had its commercial and trading interest enforced not only by the army of the East India Company, but on many occasions by the Royal Navy which was tasked to serve as a Leviathan Monster such as occurred during the Don Pacifico Affair.

It is of course tempting to see Biden and Sullivan’s declaration of a shift from neoliberal foreign policy as an attempt to assuage the resentment of those countries of the Global South who have found the Chinese model of economic relations to be preferable to the U.S.-led Western model.

But regardless of the models offered by Western and the germinating Eurasian bloc, it is imperative that the leaders of the nations of the Global South think about industrialising their nations in order to resist the sort of “predatory and destructive” interactions which have led to their continued exploitation and contributed to the retardation of the development of their economies.

© Adeyinka Makinde (2023).

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.

Wednesday, 17 May 2023

CrossTalk | "NATO's illusions" | Broadcast on RT on Wednesday, May 17th, 2023

I was part of a panel on RT’s flagship programme CrossTalk on which the topic was “NATO’s Illusions”.


"NATO’s approach towards Ukraine is full of contradictions. We are told a win for Russia is a defeat for the west. But Ukraine is not a member of the military alliance. We are told NATO is not part of the conflict. But it has been supporting Kiev militarily since 2014. NATO says it wants Russia to be defeated but says nothing about peace."

CrossTalking with Garland Nixon, Anthony Webber, and Adeyinka Makinde.

It was recorded on Tuesday, May 16th, 2023 and broadcast the following day.


. Rumble

. Odysee

© RT (2023).

Prelude to my appearance on RT's CrossTalk: My thoughts on a range of issues relating to the conflict in Ukraine

Notes made prior to my appearance on RT's flagship programme CrossTalk which is hosted by Peter Lavelle.

Q.  Just what exactly is NATO’s goal in this proxy war against Russia? 

NATO's goal appears to be in the words of U.S. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin “to see Russia weakened”, or, as it has been termed, a “bleed Russia” strategy.

However, NATO conduct is predicated on an overarching desire to bring about regime change in Moscow which facilitates the coming to power of a leader who will surrender Russia’s sovereignty.

The present proxy war provides an avenue for the hybrid war which has been ongoing for decades, that is, military, economic and informational.

Thus, NATO’s military aid ensures that Russia continues to be threatened both directly and indirectly. Ideally, Russia will be forced to expend its resources to the point of exhaustion so that it is forced into what would be seen as an ignoble retreat as occurred in the Soviet-Afghan War during which the West gave aid to foreign and domestic mujahideen.

NATO also serves as the enforcer of America’s economic interests. The military contractors are not the only ones to profit, the involvement of Black Rock investment as a purported vehicle of future national reconstruction is an avenue through which U.S. commercial interests are catered to.

And on the information front it provides the optics for painting the Ukrainians as “heroic” and the Russians as “bestial” and “incompetent”. It is a suitable vehicle to “smash Putin” to use the words of the former Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennet.

Q. NATO says it is not part of the conflict and does not want Russia to escalate. At the same time, long-range missiles are being sent to Ukraine. Isn’t that NATO escalating?

Objectively speaking, the introduction of Britain's long-range "Storm Shadow" missiles represents an escalation since it is a weapon which would inject an increased capability to the Ukrainian armed forces not previously at their disposal.

Also, given the presumed sophistication of such a missile and the amount and level of specialist training that would be required to be given to Ukrainian military personnel, it not unreasonably invites the conjecture that British military personnel would be required to operate such missiles.

Assurances purportedly given by Kiev to London that they will not be used to target mainland Russia are meaningless given previous Ukrainian attacks inside Russia.

Q. Agree or disagree: NATO has no interest in a negotiated end to the conflict and Russia has no reason to trust the west. 


Thus far all mechanisms set up to ensure peace have been evidently frustrated by NATO states. Starting with the Minsk Agreement which former German Chancellor Angela Merkel and former French President Francois Hollande have admitted was only entered into to "buy time" to build up the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was responsible for flying into Kiev to dissuade President Volodymr Zelensky from accepting a peace formula after the Russian intervention in 2022 and former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennet is also on record as having his efforts to serve as a mediator blocked by Western powers.

It is difficult to see how the Russian government can trust the West since relations have been littered with one broken promise after the other beginning with the pledge decades ago not to expand NATO "an inch" eastwards in return for enabling German reunification within NATO.

Q. Do Kiev’s western backers actually care all that much about Ukraine and Ukrainians? 

On the evidence no.

The belligerent neoconservative-driven foreign policy agenda which has fuelled U.S. foreign policy for decades, and which appears to have permeated the thinking of EU states, appears impervious to the idea of seeking diplomatic solutions. The result has been catastrophic in terms of the depopulation of Ukraine, the deaths of hundreds of thousands of members of its armed forces and the certain dismemberment of the Ukrainian state.

The part played by the political and military leaders of Poland in facilitating war over peace is regrettable and brings to mind the famous words of Roman Dmowski, the Polish nationalist, who said that there were many among his countrymen who "hate Russia more than they love Poland".

It appears that the neoconservative logic is now firmly impressed on the minds of Ukraine's European backers. Twenty years ago, Robert Kagan had argued in his book Of Paradise and Power: America and Europe in the New World Order that "Americans are from Mars and Europe is from Venus". Alas, being co-opted into that logic is causing economic distress to European economies and even greater distress to Ukraine.

I don't quote former U.S. President Donald Trump often, but he absolutely nailed it when asked by a CNN interviewer the rather asinine question as to which side he would prefer to see win or lose in the conflict. His response that he wanted to end the conflict and prevent more people from dying was the correct one. 

The attitude among Western leaders and the Western mainstream media that Ukraine must win or that Russia must bleed or to use the words of Naftali Bennett using the war as a means of continuing "to smash Putin" will only lead to the suffering and degradation of Ukraine and Ukrainians.

Q. Agree or disagree: There will be no lasting peace in Europe until the west recognizes Russia’s security interests. 


Beginning in the aftermath of the ending of the ideological Cold War between the United States and the U.S.S.R., the need for an innovated security architecture for the European continent was a pressing one. It could have developed out of the framework of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (O.S.C.E.) and might have included an economic dimension centred on measures aimed at integrating the German economy with that of Russia; a development of Ostpolitik.

A continuing proactive policy on the part of the West of seeking to force Russia to surrender its sovereignty is a recipe for continuing conflict. The basis of peaceful co-existence between Russia and the West ought to be predicated on trade and Ukrainian neutrality. Neutrality would not merely serve Russia's interests; it would have contributed to a new raison d'etre for Ukraine which could have plotted a national destiny much in the manner as Austria and Finland did after the Second World War.

Europe also needs to recognise that its own security needs are not being met by slavishly following U.S. foreign policy which appears to be the ultimate determining factor. What is needed are European leaders of stronger fibre who can push back at the excesses of American policy as the likes of Charles de Gaulle and Helmut Schmidt were able to do during the Cold War. If such leaders were to emerge, this would arguably lead to the security interests of Europe and Russia being met.

© Adeyinka Makinde (2023).

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England. He has an interest in Global Security issues.

Tuesday, 16 May 2023

Nigerian Navy Condolence Visit to the family of the late Captain James Rawe

Captain Aminu Mai, the Deputy Defence Advisor to the Nigerian High Commission, London (left), and Mr. Timothy Rawe.

It is extremely pleasing to report that on Thursday, May 11th 2023, the Nigerian Navy paid an official Condolence Visit to the family of the Late Captain James Rawe who served in both the Royal Navy and the Nigerian Navy.

The Naval Defence Advisor to the Nigerian High Commission in the United Kingdom presented sympathy flowers and read out a letter of condolence written by the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral A.Z. Gambo.

It was a welcome gesture and a fitting tribute to the memory of Captain Rawe who played a significant role in developing the Nigerian Navy in both war and peace.

Captain Rawe passed away last month at the age of 97.

Links to photographs

. Facebook

. Twitter


Captain James Rawe - Obituary

© Adeyinka Makinde (2023).

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.

Saturday, 13 May 2023

Aare Ona Kankanfo: The Seniormost Military Leader of the Oyo Empire

Statue imagining the likeness of Kokoro Gangan, the first Aare Ona Kankanfo of the ancient Oyo Empire. Kokoro Gangan hailed from Iwoye-Ketu, Yewaland (i.e. Egbado) where the statue was unveiled.

The office and title of Aare Ona Kakanfo was created by Alaafin Ajagbo, who reigned during the 1600s. Aare Ona Kakanfo translates to "Field Marshal" or "Generalissimo" of the armies of the Alaafin. The Alaafin was the ruler of the medieval Yoruba empire of Oyo.

Ajagbo is recorded as having created a hierarchy of ranks which encompassed an officer class (70) and a non-commissioned class of warriors (54). Other designated ranks of the field commanders of Oyo's armies originating from Ajagbo's organisational innovations include the Bashorun, Balogun, Jagun, Agba-Akin, Akogun, Olorogun, Oluogun and Aare Ago.

The installation of the Kakanfo involves making 201 incisions, tiny cuts known as gbere, with a razor which begin at the forehead and extend backwards to the waist. The process is completed by crowning him with a specially designed cap made of red feathers of a parrot's tail known as Ojijiko. He is also adorned with an apron of leopard’s skin, and leopard skin to sit on always, the Asiso or pigtail and the king’s invincible staff.

Originally, once he was installed, the Aare Ona Kakanfo went to live in a different part of the empire as the tradition was that Alaafin and Aare Ona Kakanfo were not to live in the same town.

The Aare Ona Kakanfo was charged with the responsibility for waging war when ordered to do so by the Alaafin. The penalty of failure was to forfeit his life.

Three Aare Ona Kakanfos participated in wars which profoundly affected the history of the Yoruba people:

. Afonja of Ilorin

The grandson of Laderin, the founder of Ilorin, Afonja, who was the sixth Kakanfo, built up an army composed of "Jamas", runaway slaves from Yorubaland who were mainly of Hausa-Muslim origin (they included Baribas, Nupes and Fulanis). 

Over time, Afonja lost control of the Jamas who joined forces with Alimi, a Fulani cleric, in the jihadist expansion that was a continuum of the holy wars promulgated by Sheik Usman Dan Fodio. Afonja was assassinated (circa 1824) and Ilorin came under Fulani rule.

The Fulani emirate of Ilorin proceeded southward until defeated at Oshogbo by Yoruba forces led by the city state of Ibadan.

. Kurunmi of Ijaye

Ijaye Orile, the western palatinate of the Yoruba, expanded enormously in the time following the collapse of the power of Oyo in the face of jihadist expansion. This was fuelled by the southern migration of Yorubas who in Ijaye engaged in weaving cloth and in agriculture.

Henry Townsend, a missionary of the Christian Missionary Society (CMS), estimated the population to have been around 40,000 (a figure accepted due to the high degree of urbanization among the Yoruba). Townsend praised the arrangement and level streets of the town and was particularly impressed by the “spacious marketplace in the centre of the town … the best I have seen in Africa, not excluding Sierra Leone.”

Between 1830 and 1861, Ijaye under Kurunmi grew to rival the power of Ibadan and Abeokuta, the bastion of the Egbas. But straddled between these two great powers he was forced through circumstances to choose one over the other. Perhaps stimulated by the commercial competition with Ibadan over the control and taxation of caravans heading north to the River Niger and south to the Atlantic coast, he opted for an alliance with the Egbas. 

The political and economic rivalry led to open conflict in 1860. Kurunmi’s refusal to recognise Alaafin Atiba's successor in 1859 led to war against the forces of Oyo and Ibadan a decision which ultimately resulted in his overthrow. Kurunmi’s forces, including those of his allies, the Egba, were decimated and it led to the destruction and abandonment of Ijaye Orile whose inhabitants migrated to other parts of Yorubaland. Kurunmi's ending in 1861 is shrouded in mystery: He either died in battle or committed suicide.

The demise of Ijaye Orile led to the emergence of Ibadan as the strongest power in Yorubaland.

. Obadoke Latoosa of Ibadan

At the helm of the state of Ibadan which supplanted the waning power of Oyo, Latoosa prosecuted the Kiriji Wars, a series of civil wars designed to consolidate the hegemony of Ibadan. He is also claimed to have instigated a reformation of the treatment of slaves. He died in 1885, committing suicide after losing the support of the generals under his command.

Latoosa was the twelfth and last Aare Ona Kakanfo to fight as a military commander. The British colonial authorities abolished the role. It was later revived and exists today as a ceremonial title. 

The modern era Kakanfos have been:

. Samuel Ladoke Akintola, a politician during the First Republic of Nigeria, who was assassinated in January 1966.

. Moshood Kashimawo Abiola, a business magnate who died in July 1998 soon after his release from imprisonment under the military regime of General Sani Abacha.

. Ganiyu Adams, the present Aare Ona Kakanfo, was awarded the title by the late Alaafin Lamidi Adeyemi III in 2017.

© Adeyinka Makinde (2023).

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.

Tuesday, 2 May 2023

Aftermath of my lecture to the Naval War College Nigeria

Sunday, April 30th, 2023: Receiving an official plaque sent to me by the Commandant of the Naval War College Nigeria, Rear Admiral S.A. Akinwande following my recent lecture to participants on NWC 7 which was titled "Campaigns of the Nigerian Civil War: The Bonny Landing".

The subject-matter of the lecture covered part of the module on Naval History.

I am grateful to Rear Admiral Ayo Olugbode (pictured) for bringing it to London while en route to the continent on naval business.

The plaque sent to me by the Commandant of the Naval War College Nigeria, Rear Admiral S.A. Akinwande, following my lecture to participants on the Naval Warfare Course.


Script for Lecture presentation of “Naval Campaigns of the Nigerian Civil War: The Bonny Landing” to the participants of Naval War College (NWC) 7 on the Naval Warfare Course at the Naval War College Nigeria, Calabar on Wednesday, April 26th, 2023.

© Adeyinka Makinde (2023).