The attitude and political behavior of African leaders in power is something that should be of concern to all of us. At every opportunity Africans bemoan their fate and like to say all the time that we are not respected. It has become a song and to the best of my knowledge we have been on this song in the over 50 years some of the countries in the Black world became independent. Some of us grew up to meet this song and it has refused to cease. This song is not a sweet one and the pleasant thing is that we all seem to agree that it is a song not worth singing, yet we do not have the courage to put it aside. The question is why? The answer is simple: we as a collective have refused to sit down and do the needful. We don’t like reasoning and this has proved to be very costly. We keep churning out leaders who in most part are not different from the uncritical population who take them to power. If we applied a little rationalization to what we do, certainly things would have been different with us especially on the very important subject of leadership.
If the Black Race had found answers to the leadership question, definitely things would have been better and some of the things the Blackman goes through would not be, or better still not be at the level we have them today. The Blackman wants respect; he knows about the concept of respect and naturally desires it because it is good. Try as much as he has done, respect has been elusive. Not finding it, frustration has set in. Anger, confusion and bickering have become his lot; black people are angry against themselves and against the developed world. They know they are angry but the subject of anger they can’t tell; only few critical minds understand what is happening; it is this few that know it is about low quality leadership, poor and misdirected governance and massive under development which are always a major fallout of poor governance. It is difficult to say at what point low quality leadership began to plague the Black world. We have read stories suggesting the Blackman had rich civilization before the White man came into his territory but the question remains: did his ability to contribute to world civilization die with the coming of white adventurers?
It could well have been so and facts available seem to support it. The invasion of Black African territories for instance, would not have recorded the level of success it became without the active connivance of African leaders and elders. They loved romance with foreign intruders. They appreciated their lifestyle and warmed up to it very easily. Black leaders wanted articles as cheap as alcoholic drinks and tobacco to instigate inter-communal war from where they captured their brothers and sisters whom they sold as slaves. At some point black leadership sat in passive collaboration as outside forces restructured and redefined their society, carving out countries without regard to homogeneity and population, and action the invaders never contemplated for their home territories. Today, Africa is still suffering the effects of those reckless actions.
If we had a sense of history, our attitude to life would be different and our perspectives to development would be far reasoning. Unfortunately, it is not so. Rather than we walk right, we are steady, with empty minds waiting for others to fill it. And they are filling it, remolding us in the image they want to see us. It is not a good picture at all and the helpless ordinary Blacks know what they see is not the true image of who they were meant to be. The other day a young African in the Prof. Patrice Lumumba Facebook site had this to say: “So one country in Europe invited leaders of 54 countries in Africa to a meeting in his country and they went. Africa is dead.” Some of us read that and cried .We wept for Africa. Before Russia called them out, Japan and even India had taken their turn in what some have dubbed new struggle for economic partition of Africa.
What is there is that time has come when Black African people should take another look at themselves and ask very critical questions. They should ask why in modern civilization Black Africans have been on the receiving end of exploitation and maltreatment. Is the fault in our stars or is something wrong with our worldview and approach to serious issues of life? The truth we must tell ourselves is that our salvation does not rest in our leaders junketing from one forum to another; we will find rest when they learn to stay home, generate ideas and run with them. They talk of foreign investors and have made it be the all-kind-of-answer to our challenges but the truth is foreigners have never developed a foreign country. Sustainable transformation flows from within. If it were otherwise, Black countries rich in mineral resources would have been at par – development wise – with the rest of the Western world.
The mantra of foreign investor has been there and all we got from it is the stunted growth that has become our lot. A friend made the picture clear when he wrote the following: “Russia to build rail tracks for Nigeria. China to build roads and bridges for Nigeria; India to import rolling stock to Nigeria and help with its ICT development; Germany to build new power plant in Nigeria; UNDP to provide grants to Nigerian farmers and improved seedlings; Bill and Melinda Gates to provide malaria vaccines for Nigeria; Turkey to build factory in Nigeria; England to build oil terminals in the Niger Delta; What is NIGERIA doing for itself?” One family to help Nigeria? Big question! TERRIBLE!
In that question is the answer. African leaders must know they have to stand on their own to make sense. We see that in the attitude of developed countries. Economic freedom pushed the American struggle for independence. African leaders must wake up and more importantly they must begin to act in ways that bring respect to them and dignity to their people.