Tuesday 5 February 2008

Nigeria sets no good examples for Africa

That Cliché about African Leadership

What is happening in Africa today bothers me a lot because it all concerns leadership – poor leadership, rotten leadership, leadership acquired by violence and corruption, leadership held onto without offering good governance, idiotic leadership and sprinklings of good leadership.

Very few countries in Africa can boast good leadership, there is hope, but what does surround us now is chaos.

For instance, today, Darfur in Sudan still represents an intractable problem of genocide that is quickly fading from urgent action; the completely botched elections in Kenya has caused so much unrest, violent displacement and killings that it might slip out of the control of the political leaders, Zimbabwe has registered an inflation rate (150,000%) that makes the mind boggle and rebels are trying to unseat a government in Chad.

Africans adrift in Africa

The result of this is Africans are refugees in their own Africa, displaced because of policies implemented by fellow Africans who want power and give no respite to their people – savagery, murder, hunger and displacement becomes the lot of the masses whilst the middle-classes and the rising prosperous classes are completely oblivious or indifferent of those problems in the slums, villages and the hinterland.

However, I only have to go back to my blogs in April 2007 where I lamented the issues around the Nigerian election to see why Africans are unlikely to have African solutions for African problems.

Africans silent to African suffering

The issue in Darfur never became a crisis until others outside the continent decided they could not stand for such large-scale suffering, Africans are still dragging their feet on the matter.

The elections in Kenya were most definitely flawed as the head of the electoral commission eventually said he was not sure of who won. African leaders then welcomed the imposed president who “stole” the elections whilst he left his country behind burning.

The entrenched eternal incumbency of Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe should have come to an end with the people of the country being able to choose who would lead their country out of the morass it is in, but for the appeasement of African leaders that continues to make a bad situation worse.

It would take the threat and actions of the French army in Chad to keep a democratic dictator, Idriss Deby who has done nothing for his country in all his years in power that others who think they can do the job better have to resort to arms to unseat him.

Where is the country?

The question is, where is the African country with the authority, clout, gravitas and respect that can speak up for the downtrodden masses and exert the kind of influence to ensure things are done right in the “Dark” continent, such we can all be seen in the light as enlightened, emancipated and in control, able to solve our problems with confidence?

Step forward – Nigeria? The Giant of Africa in size offers none of this ability, its institutions are still mired in corruption, its elections are flawed that it cannot condemn the ones in Kenya, its leadership skirts illegitimacy so it can say nothing to Sudan, Zimbabwe or Chad.

In all that has been happening in the last few weeks, we have heard not one squeak from the Heart of Africa because it has a bad heart.

The insignificance of the giant

We have the biggest sporting event going on in Africa and the grand populace of 130 million could not produce a team that could survive the first stage of eliminations.

This is result of our polity not realising the example we should be setting for Africa so that things can be done right and if done wrongly, we can be a model for correction.

Unfortunately, South Africa cannot step into the breach because they have not been able to raise the expectations of their people beyond subsistence; they would end up with a leader very much in the mould of the many that gives Africa a very bad name.

Africa can only begin to solve its own problems when we deal with each other honestly, truthfully, fairly, justly and with mutual respect based on leadership and governance that eschews corruption and nepotism, that embraces transparency and begins to tackle with vigour the problems that affect Africa and Africans.

There is hope for Africa, but in the meantime, it would require a lot more international intervention and scrutiny to ensure what we are doing is well beyond reproach and within globally acceptable standards before we are respectfully left to maturely seek African solutions to African problems.

PS: This was written to highlight the frustration of a fellow Nigerian about his country not being able to address African issues with boldness because we have set bad examples and lost the moral authority that could be projected with our greatness in Africa.

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