Published On: Tue, Jul 3rd, 2018

Needed to lead Africans to dignity land

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By Farouk Martins Aresa

It is not history; Africans must give space to Africans to excel. Many African leaders cared more about dignity of the black race for economic and social survival. Someone is needed right now to manage and channel endowed brains to greatness and respect for Africans no matter where they are. Dignity of Africans means economic, social and world respect. Make No mistake on it, no black man will be respected until leaders rise up and get Africans out their sorry mess.
The Africans trade more with outsiders than they do with one another, yet they are closer in geography than to other countries they individually trade with. It is not because they get better or fairer deals outside the Continent, yet most countries claim it is based on needs.
If the youths at home remain oppressed or complacent to the point of no action, there will be a war or intellect, ideologies and political power between them and the youths born outside the Continent of Africa. It may not be different to what happened in the Jewish State of Israel but let us hope it will be different to that of Liberia. Nigeria, Ghana, Congo and now S. Africa caved.
Outsiders chose and melted these African leaders on demand. Consequences of fights between returned freed slaves and natives unfolded in Liberia in our lifetime, it was not pretty. Nigerian soldiers played major role in restoring hope there. The same hope is lacking in Nigeria today.
Liberia case is that of returned slaves’ superiority complex to the home natives. They had some advantages like education, support of American and European governments and currency with economy power to dominate the Country. It is doubtful if the new generations of Africans from outside can repeat such in Africa today. But do not be surprise if they come with dedication and sense of belonging to Africa, morals that are dying or dead amongst African leaders and youths.
In Israel, Diaspora Jews have managed to share political power with other Jews on a symbiosis basis. Most of the economic contributions still come from outside of Israel through influence of the Diaspora Jews. Jewish children and grandchildren still volunteer to be inducted into the Army even when they have never been to Israel, while some religious bodies, though armed with extreme political views at home, claim exception.
Unlike Israel, Africans have undisputed Continent that flow in milk and honey but the children run away from all these goodies to sojourn in another promised lands. It gets worse; leaders take the incomes from their milk and honey and pour them into others promised land. While African children in Diaspora ask what is there for them in in their parents’ Continent.
Many Nigerians are so disillusioned, like other Africans, with the Nigeria’s lack of leadership. It has earned the nickname: the sleeping giant. However, each time someone assumes leadership in Nigeria and swears to set it right in the first six months, Nigerians cut him down.
The first person that got tired of lack of leadership was Ezeogwu but he was betrayed by his followers that turned his mission into selective surgery. Rawlings may have learned from that and other coups because he had many backup coups in case the one he led failed. It probably cured Ghana of some of its corruption but Rawlings was too young to lead Africa or be taken seriously by other African head of states. Indeed, they feared his influence on their countries.
Ironsi took over from Nzeogwu and declared a unitary system in order to match Nigeria into shape and cure any mistrust Ezeogwu coup might have caused. He was either not trusted by his killers or unprepared. So he never had time to clean up. Those that knew Ironsi, vouched for his professionalism as a military compatriot. Politics was a different game and he displayed naiveté that was later obvious in later military governments plunging Nigeria into predicted darkness.
Murtala Mohammed was another born-again African that gave up all his loot from old bad days and dedicated his life to changing Nigeria. Professor Ohabamu never believed he was a sinner that became born-again saint and constantly challenged him in court until he was assassinated in Dimka coup. Whether Danjuma is still wondering how Dimka escaped Babangida’s net is now history but a promising head of state was murdered to prevent cleaning up of corruption.
Buhari/Idiagbon era, if it had continued could have changed Africa. People were so scared of transgressions; you could send a little boy to the market like the old Songhai or Mali Empire without fear of cheating. We paid that price but never realized the benefit for long.
Africa could have benefited from such discipline because many countries would point to Nigeria as the country of law and order and demand same infectious character like burning conscience pervading Africa (Arab Spring). It was too much to bear and many silently complained that such drastic discipline without due process was un-African and too subjected to abuse.
Guess who seized on those and brought Buhari/Idiagbon down? Babangida.
Nigeria has never recovered; no, Africa has never recovered from lack of leadership. Leadership does not have to come from the biggest country, it can come from the smallest, even Lesotho.
Aresa is a public commentator, and can be reached via email: faroukomartins@aim.com

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