GUEST Columnist by Prof R. A. Ipinyomi
The world history consists of a sequence of eras. The boundaries between these eras may be difficult to recognize before they end. For example, in Africa we may be able to recognize the pre-colonial era, the colonial era, the struggle for Africa independence era, etc. However the democratic and military eras in Africa are interwoven, and even the prevailing eras are not clear cut . Nevertheless the expectation of the Africans on the streets remains constant and simply searching for an era available daily bread, an era of increased prosperity and widespread peace. It can be said that Africans have not had a significant amount of prosperity and peace despite the abounding natural and human resources.
This may explain why African youths are in fraustration and in deep anger with their respective governments. They are confronted daily with mounting and growing economic crisis, large scale unemployment, very low and yet unpaid wages. This has led people to come out from the rural areas into already over crowded cities across the country. Others risk it all, going through the dangerous desert and the rough seas, hoping to run away to become slaves or prostitutes in other land. Whilst the youths are unemployed, the politicians are living in extreme affluence and in limousines, buying properties all over the world. Politics itself has become the first victim of the poor governance leading to unimaginable socioeconomic inequalities. It is being alleged that to compete for any elective position, the candidate must register with a cult, mafia, cabal and the demons. It is not democracy here anymore but “who can mobilize the most thugs”, using arms and cash. There is almost 100% stay away from polling stations at any election, except the few voters mobilized financially or otherwise. Turn out for any election hovering around 30% only. We cannot assess public opinion on any national issue independently. It is also being alleged that the politicians are the creators of Boko Haram, fuel scarcity, and all religious and political unrest as measures of popularity. Creating chaos and disorderly atmosphere is politics to the politicians.
As we peep to the new year, a new era with possible new players and new programmes, it is expected that new candidates would be the hope of the public. We are currently back to the dark ages in African governance. Take for example, the recent change of hands in Zimbabwe that could be analysed as same guerilla comrades fearing a possible female dictator. Or the present situation in Nigeria, which is simply arrangements of leadership amongst the same mafia since the First Republic. The circumstance requires a set of new vibriant leaders that understand today’s African problems and those that can plan for the future, not those yesteryear obsolete ideas. Those who failed yesterday examination are more likely to fail today’s computer based examination. Corruption is multidimensional. It is not just stealing and extortion from the public but also encompasses failiure to lead people above the poverty line, ineptitude government.
This is where globalization, world politics, new world order and powers come in for leaders who bearly qualified to be local government chairmen, that are now heads of state or senators because their mafia factions can fight to install him. Democracy is dynamic and prevailing era dictates the class and type of leadership, and how the game is played. Whereas Nigeria is yearning for development through democracy the players in Nigeria democracy are stuffing their personal pockets with naira notes as their only priority. The game has to change in 2018 and henceforth. Economic activities in most communities in Nigeria in 2017 stood at a stand still, zero or negative movement.
Perhaps Africans need to collectively fight one more war to end all wars against poverty, slavery, brain drain and poor gorvance as a new African order. It is not an assignment for the international community but only Africans can deliver their people once and for all by installing good programmes and great candidates in politics. As long as we continue to operate the old way and recycling politicians, dead ones or alive, we shouldn’t expect new results.
In Africa’s own interest there is the urgency to recognize that the world is becoming less safe and different from the past aspirations. The president of America for instance, President Donald Trump, has been frank enough telling world leaders to look inward. He said indirectly that he was going for deglobalisation and treating America and her interests only, or at least first. President Trump is backing out of globalisation, climatic change, Middle East peace talks between Palestine and the State of Israel. At the same time he is increasing military budgets and defence spending. In the UK the Brexit is another great sign of deglobalisation. One only needs to listen to the British Prime minister Theresa May. She is bent on honouring British public opinion by pursuing Brexit to the end. We are yet to calculate the net gains but we already know that Brexit would be unhealthy to globalization. Therefore any African leaders taking comfort looting national treasuries are doing so to support foreign governments rather than even their children.
Hence as we commence a new year it may be an opportunity for our leaders to open up developments in all their respective rural areas. The initiatives are boundless depending on the local communities. This may go to religious and community leaders building institutions too expensive for the tithe payers in their congregations to train their wards. Africans and our rural communities require low but enduring developmental skills and sciences. However and until we re – oriente, and re – educate our leaderships they are going to see politics only as “a war field for personal cash enrichment” rather than a “social engineering for community development and human organisation”. From hence African policy should be based on service to human nature and it’s environmental development.
Prof. R. A. Ipinyomi is of the University of Ilorin