By Mohammed Ali
” Mr. Chairman, Africa has come of age. it is no longer under the orbit of any extra-continental power. It should no longer take orders from any country no matter how POWERFUL. Gone are the days when Africa will ever bow to the threats of any so-called Superpower again….! ”
That was late General Murtala Ramat Muhammed during his last extra-ordinary meeting of O.A.U Heads of Government in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on January 11th, 1776. Exactly one month after that ” Powerful Speech “, he was ambushed and gunned-down in cold-blood, on Friday morning (Black Friday ), of February 13th, 1976, on his way to work at then Doden Barracks, Lagos. He was then only 38 years old (1938-1976).
If the late Nigerian leader were to resurrect from his grave today, God ! What with how the continent he had so much dream to be a force to reckon with among the committee of advanced and strong nations, but today has become worse than how he left it. What with all the conflicts, socio- economic degradation and humanitarian crisis that are now the lot and or symbolic to this once giant in the sun, but now a shadow of itself, with its people emasculated and subjected to all forms of misrule, rarely experienced anywhere in the developed world. No thanks to the continent’s unpatriotic and clueless leaders, who only lead and live for their sake alone, hence merely believe in the god of gain.
To say that late Murtala would be utterly disappointed with the way his dreamt ” would ” has stooped so low, torn apart by all the odds against humanity, would be an understatement. He would discover to his chagrin that the African dweller has become a confused ‘mammal’ without a head— true leaders to champion his cause.
African leaders today, are mere surrogates, dancing to the tune of their so-called super masters, who control them as they wish because of their over- dependence on the shoulders of these super ‘ monsters ‘. At any given situation, they dash abroad, cups in hands knees aground and once wishes are granted, they rush home fast to continue with their highfalutin life- style, deceiving their masses with sweet nothing, and ipso facto, depressing them the more, inflicting more hardships and sorrows on them. If perhaps there is any ‘ gain ‘, it is the king-size accumulated debts they make hay with and leave behind as their only ” legacy ” for their totally neautrilised citizens and other up-coming blood suckers who will be too happy to continue where their predecessors had stopped the bite.
Late Thomas Sankara (1949-1987), Burkina faso’s strong man, once averred that, ” he who feeds you controls you “. This was after he resisted all persuations to barrow dollars from abroad with which to ” develope ” his country. To some of his adversaries and other visionless African leaders, Sankara’s sermon was just a lyrical sentiment only good for his likes, hence were not comfortable with such a spoil sports modern day ” leftist ” and so had to be silenced. And so it was.
Sankara as a visionary, though young he was, like late General Murtala Muhammed, had nursed the ambition to revolutionize Africa so much that on the long run, the continent would be at par, or even ahead of the so-called Super Powers of this world. But sadly enough, both men fell victims to the treacherous and evil machinasations of some pretentious demagogues, who felt unsafe with the duo’s ideology of ” toil hard to achieve self goals, and Africa will forever stand on its own “.
No. To such greedy ” honey on a platter ” visionless leaders, that kind of ideology is a threat and is a stone wall to their totalitarian domination of their hapless subjects. Both Murtala and Sankara shared the same dream about Africa and coincidentally, both leaders were of the same age at their death — 38 years: (Murtala 1938– 1976), (Sankara 1949–1987 ).
Of couse, once upon a time, there was an Africa that was the envy of the world, with patriotic leaders who fought incorruptibly to turn things around. Then, Africans were proud not only of their continent but even their colour as well. Remember Samuel Aggry : ” I am proud of my colour. He who is not proud of his colour, is not fit to live. Only the BEST is good for Africa “. That was in time past. Africa today, is not the dream of those leaders of yore. Only the best is good for Africa, says Aggrey.
Today, Africa unlike other advanced continents, is ” librated ” by all kinds of problems, run by leaders who have subjugated their citizens deep down, turning them into wild animals of the stone-age era and to the pleasure of the so called Super Powers, continue killing themselves with all the display of jungle barbarism in bold shame, while the Super Powers continue raking billions in arms deal, encouraging the escalation of the blood-curdling experiences. Ironically, on the other hand, they cry ” Africa is great “. Great in what way? Great in endless blood bath, humanitarian crisis, insecurity, poverty, hunger, diseases, illiteracy, corruption, unemployment, oppression, poor leadership or socio-economic problems? Great indeed. But these attributes are the ‘ greatest ‘ of the issues African leaders should put heads together to confront and eradicate once and for all, else the continent will continue to wear that old toga of the ” Dark continent “.
Only recently, the Developing Eight Organization For Economic Cooperation ( D-8 ), celebrated its Silver Jubilee with glee, as if there is anything to joy about with the current degradation of Africa, unlike the other advanced continents. The D- 8 comprising Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey, with membership spread across Africa, Asia and Europe, is aimed at fostering economic cooperation among member continents. But there is a snag. For 25 years of it’s existence, D-8 as far as I am concerned, has not walked its talk as expected. The African question has continued to deteriorated, a la a few other continents, the worst been Africa anyway.
Perhaps, the D-8 is blind to the frightening conflicts, wars and gangatuan socio- economic and political problems bedevilling its member countries, notably African nations. It is not a matter of coincidence but deliberate that most Heads of State and Government in some of these continents, merely shrug and turn a blind eye to all these avoidable anti-citizen conditions, without coming together to solve them. Fostering economic cooperation for the umpteenth time, is yet to make any impact on those it is tergeted at, because for example, the African dweller is still grapling with how to survive and be free from not only poverty but humanitarian conflicts and crisis of all kinds.
Nigeria like its other sister nations within the D-8, is tasting its own dose of the wrong side of visionless leadership which today, has made its citizens ‘slaves’ in their own country, crammed in IDP camps all over. DAILY TRUST NEWSPAPER in its Editorial of June 17, 2022, noted while making reference to the millions of Africans who have been forced to become refugees IDPS in their countries with thousands scattered across the continent, thus ” …….. the paradox of this dire situation is that, Africa has all that is required to make the continent prosperous and its citizens lead a comfortable life. It is our belief however, that the deplorable situation in Africa is self-inflicted, largely due to bad governance which has resulted in negative indices in all facets of human development “. One may not agree less.
The paper also made observation on the humanitarian conflicts across Africa and the ” so many unnecessary wars with some lasting for decades, which made millions of its people to be internally displaced or become refugees in other countries “. The Edition also paid attention to the future of Africa and Africans: ” We want to reiterate that Africans must take charge of their destiny. No one will do it for us “. True talk isn’t it ?
African destiny lies in the hands of Africans. Long overdue.
African leaders should seek the full backing of other sister continents within the D-8, rub minds and assist one another economically, socially and, well, politically, for without the political will, all efforts will turn to naught. And where necessary, member countries within the African Union ( AU ), should join hands militarily and provide full support to countries under internal humanitarian crisis, e.g insurgency. No country should refuse this call, because it may be the backlash of a country or even a continent today, and no one knows where the axe will descend next.
So, hightime African countries put aside envy and embrace one another to bring and end once and for all, these retrogressive problems so that the continent may at last be the epicentre of peace, unity and progress and her citizens free from that age-long bondage of poverty and sufferings.
Until that day and all these achieved, Africa will continue to stagger aimlessly, or a step forward and three backward, and, it’s dream of becoming of age will continue to be a far cry. Of course, if nothing tangible and urgently too, is done to address these avoidable problems, the journey ahead from all indications, is too long and, may God forbid, very dark.