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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Why Africa cannot produce leaders of substance.

This was an assignment.

For about six decades Africa has been plagued by disease, war and gross underdevelopment. African leaders have been blamed for this problem and all efforts by the west and the east to solve this problem have been ignored. African leaders have problems therefore Africa has problems.
   Akin Ogunsanya thinks Africa cannot produce leaders of substance because Africa’s value system is in a mess. I think Akin is right. Last week Wednesday, We all watched the four possible outcomes of Nigeria. At the beginning of the video, the camera zoomed in to the wall of a house and on it was written “Do not play football in this compound”. A few seconds later, the camera zooms out and we see a couple of children playing football. Also, Last week at my key skills class I said corruption starts from the little things we take for granted like queuing up in line and most of the class laughed at it saying queuing up in line has nothing to do with the corrupt and selfish attitude of African leaders. What we do not realize is that if as 15, 16 and 17 year olds we decide not to queue up in line, we do not obey order and unconsciously our brain perceives order as not queuing up line. Well if we don’t queue up in line at 17, we won’t queue up in line at 18 when it’s time to vote, we won’t see anything wrong in running the traffic light when we’re 30 because after all we’re already late for work.
  We constantly ask ourselves when this problems started and why our leaders are so evil. Reading folklore and history of our tribes shows us that we had great culture as most of our stories teach us morals. Do not be greedy, Do not steal, Do not covet amongst others but then looking back at history, we remember a time when foreigners came and our kings and chiefs sold their people for mirrors, gunpowder and money. Today the Egbas of Ogun State are regarded with respect because they seem to be the only people who fought against the foreigners for 18 years.
   Yes the human nature is greedy but isn’t this human nature also kind, loving and forgiving. In exception to other African leaders, we have Nelson Mandela who after spending years fighting apartheid became South Africa’s president and changed South Africa unto the greater good. The question is did Mandela not also have a history of betraying chiefs and colonialism? In 2009, The Mo Ibrahim Award for excellent leadership in Africa had no winner because the awarding panel could not find any leader of substance. Not Yar’Adua who despite a kidney failure remains president. Not Eyadema whose late father was president for more than 20 years. Not Biya who is planning a third term in government. Not Obasanjo now a UN envoy who after 2 terms in office and billions of dollars stolen still wanted to amend the constitution to allow himself a 3rd term. Not the South African president who recently married another wife for himself. Note: His first wife is still alive.
   In the middle of 2009, Nigeria’s public tertiary institutions were faced with a national strike as the lecturers lamented the irresponsibility of the Federal Government not paying their salaries. At the end of the 3rd week of the strike, the leaders of the National Association of Nigerian Students presented an award to President Yar’Adua and his Vice President for excellent leadership. I’m sorry but if you still think corruption doesn’t start with not queuing up in line; you’ll have to think again. 

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