It has been like a Christmas song being played every year, yet fades away after the moment of celebration with no lasting result or impact beyond the euphoria of the moment. This has been the tale of the leadership journey in many African countries. We know that the problem of Africa has always been leadership, yet we suffer from the dearth of good leadership every time, ranging from the desire of certain African “leaders” to retain power for life with zero impact; to tales by moonlight of good plans being the cacophony of display during electoral process leading to the same bunch of recycled leaders who are either clueless about governance or simply are not fit to govern.
Worse still is the lackadaisical attitude of our people towards political subjects either flowing from the deep wells of religious myth, illiteracy or complete apathy. No one has cursed Africa, but our mindset has been configured for dogmatism, indoctrination and sheer acceptances of things without deep analysis. Little wonder, we have the best of brains in almost all industry, yet the worst of roads. It is a shame that in 2020, African communities are still struggling with portable water while the rulers of the world economy have moved to developing electric cars and 5G technologies.
Is it not disturbing that Africa that cannot boast of developing 1G has suddenly turned into becoming a gymnastic analyst of the spiritual dimensions of the 5G and an impending Armageddon. Who cursed Africa?
Sell a bread to an African man and call it rice, he will still tell you ,thank you.
The Russian President, Vladimir Putin once said that Artificial intelligence is the future of mankind but in Africa, the home of native sense cannot even boast of common sense. We have had perennial suffering from corruption, indoctrination, tainted estimation of class and society that is raving our continent. Apart from the fact that our leaders are now jokes and looters; it is an insult that they ruin the country without any sense of remorse or repentance. How can you explain a system where a snake can swallow 36 million naira belonging to the public or the sudden disappearance of vehicles containing public cash? It was simply said to have “vanished”. How convenient for us?
We have never been prepared for crises because we have always had reactive, not proactive leaders. The future belongs to leaders who can position their people for global relevance, not some local champions enriching themselves with public funds. The only seats Africa gets in world affairs and economy are those at the back; hopefully waiting for the crumbs that will fall from their ‘masters’. We have potential humans and resources but when they are not utilized, they become non essential disposables tissue meant to be trashed. What a pity!
If you cannot lead yourself, you cannot lead orders. If Africa cannot show in-house leadership, we can’t get a seat at the real table. Remember that position is not the same as relevance. There are Africans at the world table but they don’t determine the real issues.
Africa cannot position itself for global relevance without maintaining a sense of local impact, discipline and accountability. Our own regional court gave an order for the release of a former National Security Adviser in Nigeria, that order was treated like tissue paper, worthless with no effect.
In fact, the President cited a law for the kangaroo removal of the ex Chief Justice of Nigeria, yet learned minds clapped for him forgetting that, that was the beginning of the end to the independence of the Judiciary. Yet, the world was watching how we turned a political system into a game of gains and loss, opposition persecution, glorified ego-centrism and absolute lack of vision.
It would interest you to know that Cameroon’s President Paul Biya once spent three weeks in La Baule, France, at a cost of $40,000 per day and later spent two months at the Hotel Intercontinental in Geneva in the name of vacation. In reality, many of our leaders are temporary leaders, always disappearing from their home countries to foreign countries on “medical vacation”.
Africa is being driven in exotic cars by drivers who did not attend driving school.
No matter how beautiful the car is, it will end in premium tears and avoidable catastrophe because it was just a time bomb waiting to explode. The ineptitude in leadership has shown us that giving foreign aid to a dead brain will do no good as the problem of Africa is not charity but leadership.
How do you explain the situation in Equatorial guinea where we have Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo who is Africa’s longest serving ruler. He has ruled Equatorial Guinea, a tiny, oil-rich West African country, since August 1979 when he overthrew his uncle, Francisco Macías Nguema, in a bloody coup d’état. Equatorial Guinea is one of the continent’s largest producers of oil and has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world, but this doesn’t necessarily translate into wealth or true happiness for the people. In fact, the United Nation rates it that 80 percent of the children do not have access to quality education yet the son of the ruler lives a luxurious lifestyle all over the place.
Is this position not similar, if not the same with many African countries where the leaders live in Affluence, yet poverty fills the land. Like Poc Umeh said that they are “Ambassadors of poverty”.
We can only fix Africa if we fix leadership in Africa. The future of Africa lies in true leadership. Else, Africa will be edged out of the scheme of things and left to beg for bread.
LEADERSHIP FOR AFRICA
The future for Africa lies in true leadership. That is the way to position a continent for global relevance.
This is the time for African countries to set aside differences and work together towards strengthening, positioning and projecting Africa to the world.
However, you cannot give what you do not have. Until Africa fixes herself, the world will never take us seriously enough to earn not just a positional seat at the table, but a seat with relevance.
Power is fluid. The world is revolving. It is not enough for Africa to boast of oil which is gradually losing relevance in the international market because of bio alternatives, development of electric cars in China, excess storage by the countries in demand. Price of crude keeps falling in the market. Hence, the hope of Africa being an oil rich continent is gradually fading because of our over reliance/dependence on crude oil.
The danger here is simple; no demand for oil in the international market, increased poverty in Africa.
A look at the world index has revealed that Africa is the seat of world’s poverty. According to the World Population review 2020, the ten poorest countries in Africa are; Somalia, Central African Republic, Burundi, Liberia, Niger, Malawi, Mozambique, Eritrea, South Sudan, Madagascar. We should also add that five out of these countries made it to top five poorest countries in the world.
The figures become scarier even as the world bank declares that Africa may have 90 percent of the world’s poorest countries by 2030. These figures came before the global shutdown caused by covid-19 which has again shown the unpreparedness of Africa to combat a major pandemic, and indeed any other major outbreak that could threaten the lives of the people bearing in mind the protection of lives is a key role of government.
In a shameful statement credited to a top government official in Nigeria, decrying the state of poor health facilities and the covid-19 being an eyeopener about the terrible state of Nigeria’s health care, has shown that our leaders are indeed clueless about both governance and state of the affairs in their own country. If this is not a sorry case, then tell me what is?
Globally, before covid-19 crept into the world, the statistics released by the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that 50% of children under five that die of pneumonia, diarrhoea, measles, HIV, tuberculosis and malaria are in Africa.
That’s how bad it was already for Africa before covid-19. If a Continent by 2020 is still struggling with battling malaria, then you should rather not agree with me that such continent is ready for a major pandemic. On the positive, kudos to the likes of Rwanda for having the most sought after healthcare system in Africa. However, this is one country of the 54 countries in Africa.
This points to one thing; healthcare system in Africa can be fixed but we have leaders who lack the political will to do so because the rule of power is that the bourgeoisie will always thrive in the misery of the proletariat. This has so little to do with systems in a way because if placed for instance, the Nigerian current president, to head the US economy, we know the likely results already.
People drive systems to work and it is no different in the African context. Billions have been donated and allocated by African governments to fight covid-19. I applaud this in all sincerity but who is talking about the revamp of the entire healthcare system post covid-19. The virus has shown us the rot in the system, we can either fix it or choose to ignore it. We know not what covid-20 will bring.
This is not so much of a shocker; the mean salary of a Doctor in the United States is $294,000 while it is about $46,000 dollars for their counterparts in Cameroon. No wonder the best of brains in Africa will prefer to leave for greener pastures. Who then will fix the health care system in Africa? Take note that a US senator earns about $174,000 per annum which is less than the salary of a Doctor. The situation is otherwise in Africa as our leaders feel entitled to fat salaries they are even ashamed of declaring publicly with no sense of accountability.
POST COVID- 19
Trust me, a new world is emerging, the power game will come with new set of rules. Players that will sit at the table will be those with economic power and technological relevance.
The systems of the world respond to power, not number. The Chinese dominated empire will seek to break the long reign of dollars.
At the height of the current pandemic, the world seeks for solution and it has no place for the weak. International lobbying for relief materials, hijacking of materials, hoarding of ventilators are clues of what is to play out at the international level after this crises.
Africa must be ready to establish a new order to feature in the future that is opening for the world.
Every country will be more concerned about territory integrity, border restrictions, technological advancement, research for virology projects etc.
While the known world will be fast advancing at a geometric rate, Africa will be thinking of the gains of the pandemic. Before the sound of the bell, we would have lost relevance and our currency being devalued again and again.
This can be avoided.
A leader inspires hope and confidence in the people.
Africa must be prepared and ready to rejig every sector of the economy.
Funds should be released for fixing the educational and health sector while we reboots the economy.
In fact, Africa needs to come together and present a united front at the global scale. In any event, we are better together than divided. If we fixed Africa through purposeful leadership, we will take our place in the scheme of world players and not just spectators.
We only need one thing; the will to make it happen. Where is a will, there is a way. We can change the narrative here by learning from our experiences from covid-19.
It has to be Africa to the world. No single African nation can boast of being a top player in the international scheme of Politics but together a continent, we can achieve more.
Every free trade agreement in Africa should be enforced. Ease of movement among African countries will ensure cross sharing of ideas to improve the continent. We will no longer be a continent that is bad simply because we are black. Yes, we are black but we do great things and we can do greater things together.
It will take every collective efforts to make it happen and Africa will be strategically positioned for global relevance.
Kuforiji Adedamola Victor
Victor is a legal practitioner and leadership consultant based in Lagos, Nigeria.
He can be reached via email; firstname.lastname@example.org