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Published On: Thu, Aug 27th, 2020

The shame of the African continent

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By Richard Olanrewaju Odusanya

Africa has the richest natural resources that also form raw materials for the industries responsible for the growth of the developed world yet we are poor and stagnant in development. Poverty in Africa is the root cause of number of unpleasant factors. The leading causes are corruption and poor governance, limited employment opportunities, poor infrastructure, and poor resources usage.
Poverty can be fought in the presence of strong institution and equitable distribution of resources. However, in Africa programs designed to fight poverty are not fully implemented because the funds end in the hands of corrupt individuals, because those in authority have failed to apprehend the corrupt individuals because of the policy of rewarding friends and punishing foes. Any leadership that operates under this policy lacks patriotism. This creates imbalance in society and leads to more poverty because you end up with a few Influential and powerful individuals oppressing the poor whom are the majority.
There are two main shame in Africa which the African leaders have Normalised are Nepotism and culture of Failed Elections.
1. Nepotism: This bane is only rampant in Africa because of several values and mentality upheld by most families. Ethnicity, religion and tribalism sentiments are all factors that instigate favouritism. Africans hold in high respect the norms and values to the point that they affect a leaders decision making process. All existing wrongdoings in our beloved rich continent is primarily poor leadership.
Many people in Africa do not have trust in their leaders, this because most Africans leaders put their personal interests than anything else. It’s obvious that their selfish interest are not to the benefit of the public they serve. These ills have made so many people including fellow Africans to think of the continent as a place where nothing good can come from.
Corruption, nepotism, egotism and abuse of power are the major characteristics of African leaders. Poor political leadership and bad governance is Africans greatest barrier to social and economic development.
2. Culture of Failed Elections: It is a known fact that elections have meaning only in a democratic context because it leads to choice of decisions makers by the majority of citizens; but the greatest problem of Africa particularly in Nigeria democracy has been the issue of credible elections.
In last decade, there were elections in Zambia, Nigeria, Togo, Benin, Burundi and Burkina faso among others. The outcome of all the elections didn’t meet international standards for electoral integrity on civil and genuine elections with free voting procedures reflecting the will of people.
Electoral manipulation is most widespread in countries with high levels of poverty and high economic inequality. Violence is a tool of manipulation that distorts the quality of any elections. Choices in election also requires the absence of election frauds and malpractice. Credibility and acceptance of results are important. The conduct of an election with an internationally acceptable standards has remained a major challenge to the democratic process in Nigeria as much as it all over Africa.

Election in Nigeria as become a do or die affair, as propagated by the former president Olusegun Obasanjo, in the run up to the 2007 general elections in Nigeria, at the campaign rally in his hometown Abeokuta; he categorically demanded that the upcoming election is “a do or die affairs.” The demonstration of craziness that late music icon Fela Kuti sang about is still relevant to the current situation of Nigeria of today. His 1989 album “Beast of No Nation” talks about the many unusual happenings in the country and how the citizens all behave like crazy people. It touches political, economic, social matters and also talks about the silence of the Nigeria people against government oppression and brutality while speaking up against apartheid in nation like south Africa.
According to Fela all these could only happen in a crazy world. His songs remains relevant today as the same hypocrisy and silence in the face of government injustice is still the order of the day in our beloved country and continent as a whole. Fela Kuti’s song “confusion break bone” in 1990 talks about confusions that abides in the country and lack of proper organisation. The country is still in a permanent state of disorderliness and disunity as nothing has changed. The government still gets away with being corrupt and unjust, and the innocent man still gets punished for petty crimes committed.
Our woes stems from poor leadership, religion or Ethnicity and one is certain to kill Nigeria if we are not careful. The coup in Mali is looking more peaceful than the coming Edo and Ondo election between APC, PDP and other opposition parties. As September approaches, we can already see signs of what both parties (APC and PDP) are capable of. The violence being witnessed is a growing concern, with heightened security challenges for the people of the state.
We have witnessed an unprecedented level of verbal and physical attacks on the Governor of Edo State, His Excellency Governor Godwin Obaseki, his Deputy, and their supporters. The incoming elections isn’t about the trust in the votes of the people but political parties competitive strength in votes buying and rigging. Both political parties are very aware of the gulliblity of most of the voters and they know that some Nigerians voters are worse than Esau who hungrily sold his birth right for a pot of porridge.
The government has weaponized ignorance poverty, and hardship against the depraved citizens. They know that some Nigerians youth for just five thousand naira only will help snatch a ballot box and kill for them on election day. Would you thank someone who beheaded you and decided to buy you a cap or an elaborate headgear? Even if you wanted to, you can’t because being beheaded is as good as being dead.
The aforementioned is exactly what is happening here. Nigerian politicians killed it’s people with the poisons of bad policies — their pretentious “good gestures” isn’t different from offering a medicine after death. The situation is irredeemable. What the masses needs isn’t the pretence of the politicians but a revolutionary overdose that can awaken the dead consciousness of esteem, courage and that radical drive to stand up to this politicians and get rid of their shenanigan for good.
I hope nobody gets permanently deformed or killed due to political violence been orchestrated by two former friends in the oncoming Edo elections. It’s going to be most painful when after the election they someday see Adams Oshiomole and Governor Godwin Obeski dancing and partying together why some are now deformed or not even lucky to witness their reunion. Nigerians (youths especially) don’t be a sacrifice on the alter of political on the alter of political disagreement.
Chief Obafemi AWOLOWO GCFR, is no doubt the Father of Nigeria’s politics and democracy. His legacies and standard of his political strategy is incomparable and haven’t been matched by any Nigeria politician. His mission for the Nigerian masses to reduce the gap between the rich and the poor was denied by the greedy enemies of Nigerians who find solace in bribery, corruption and rigging of elections. Nemesis is now coming upon them.
There was no crude oil in the western region when Pa Awo was premier but he succeeded by using money made from agricultural products such as Cocoa, Rubber, Kola nuts, Cashew nuts, Palm products and Timber etc to build and establish state of the earth infrastructures, basic amenities and industrialization among others. The great unforgettable projects he sited are as follows:
Cocoa House, Ibadan — The first tallest building in Africa.
NTA and Radio Nigeria, Ibadan which were the first Television and Radio stations in Nigeria.
Premier University now University of Ibadan is the first university in Nigeria.
Liberty Stadium, Ibadan is the first stadium in Nigeria.
Coca Research Institute, Ibadan.
Building of public primary and secondary schools.
Declaration and Enforcement of Free Education and Free Health Care.
Construction of all major roads in the western region.
Plantation of agricultural products on all the states of the region and many more.
Again “Africa biggest problem is it leadership shortfalls and we the people accepts the status quo.” And until we wake up and understand that our problems are created by those leaders we trust to offer solutions but are enriching themselves, nothing will change for this great continent.

Richard Olanrewaju Odusanya is the Convener, AFRICA CONVENANT RESCUE INITIATIVE (ACRI).

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