Some weeks ago, in this column, I wrote a piece titled “Africa, the Dark Continent,” followed by “No Accountability, No Nation-building” and last week I wrote “Good Africans are Going with No Replacement In Sight” the last being a tribute to the late Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Mpilo Tutu.
These three articles have generated numerous conversations, debates and messages from all over the country and beyond. It appears that, for most of my readers, there is a consensus over the failed state syndrome of the entire continent. It is believed that the state of the continent is because the Big Brother, Nigeria, that had been expected to lead the continent many decades ago, failed in its responsibility as far back as in the 1960s and now is at the bottom of the pit waiting to be dragged out.
I will be taking quotes from the three articles but, before I do, I must emphasise the fact that almost all the countries that colonized Africa have all become one union known as the European Union and have all become members of the emerging nations. They took everything from the continent for their own development, they took gold and diamond, oil and gas and different types of minerals that we didn’t know of and they took slaves for the labour needed to build the union that we all answer to. The meagre resources they left behind have now become more of a curse that we continue to fight ourselves over.
With the vision of those patriots that started building the nation gone, those of us that came after them started our own missions that have taken the continent to the bottom of the pit. In Nigeria, patriots like Sir Ahmadu Bello, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe and Chief Obafemi Awolowo all left with no replacement. In Ghana, we had Dr. Kwama Nkrumah and Kofi Annan. In East Africa, we had Julius Nyerere and Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia. We must also not forget Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu of South Africa. Also, we had Gamal Abdel Nasser of North Africa.
Remembering these leaders and their vision for Africa, I have taken a close study of the present political leaders and their students. In all these countries, the results I am getting look very gloomy and pitiful, therefore, it didn’t come to me as a surprise when I read a study that concluded that some Africans would rather have the colonial masters back. Being the 21 century, the union will only come back to salvage their interests and investments, since they most likely will not want to be drawn into building nations again; instead, it will be on how to get the continent to pay their huge debts before the continent goes down completely with wars, conflicts and corruption.
I will now take clips from the three articles that I mentioned, to refresh the memories of my readers and also for the benefit of those that did not read the published ones.
Starting with the tribute to Desmond Tutu, I wrote: “With Desmond Tutu gone, South Africa and indeed the world finds itself not quite rudderless or leaderless, but without the beautiful ones who were ready to give everything for everyone. The contrast between those times of sacrifice and glory, and today’s far from reputable political realities can certainly appear disheartening. We are forced to stop and ask if the beautiful ones are really no more. The ‘good Africans’ are leaving the continent, leaving only the bad and ugly now facing a bleak future with unimaginable consequences all over.”
Then in the article titled “Africa, the Dark Continent,” I wrote: “Africans have been part of the development of the United States of America, politically, scientifically and romantically. We also gave the world Nelson Mandela, a man who exuded statesmanship, nobility and integrity, considering that he was first seen as a terrorist and imprisoned but now revered by all with a day set aside in his honour. Mandela remains the only man in the whole world that is being remembered and honoured by the whole world. There is so much in the continent that has not been touched and can be harnessed but this must be done by Africans themselves, nobody will do it for us; if they offer to, it will come at the cost of carting most of what is harnessed away in the process.”
Then the article of December 23, 2021, titled “No Accountability, No Nation-building,” I wrote: “If we must rebuild the country once more, we must begin by holding those that have mismanaged our resources accountable, instead of honouring them by naming monuments and streets after them. In the last few decades, we have continuously looked like a failed state but we must not allow that to happen because we have the resources to rebuild again, to rebuild well and constructively.”
Recounting all these and repeating those passages that were written not so long ago is because we have missed the way so many times and have learnt nothing from the mistakes of the past. It is now time to wash our feet once more before taking further steps, wash our hands before dipping them into what belongs to the development of the state and clear our heads before charting a new direction that will take our nations to the new land, the land that was the dreams of our founding and fighting fathers.
We must, therefore, not allow their spirit to place further curses on us. I hate to think that those who currently lead in Africa and those aspiring to lead have not been reading my column, which started four years ago, because I started blowing whistles some 25 years ago and most of the crisis we have on our lands had been predicted long ago.
I cannot help but keep repeating my warnings as we have continued to repeat the same mistakes that led us to the bottom of the pit.