Date Published: 10/28/09
Africa and the Joy of Nationhood: A Clarion Call By Akubue Henry
Decades have long passed yet Africans still wallow in the memories of colonization. The devastating effect of colonization dwindled the development of Africa due to the export of both human and material resources needed to achieve development in Africa.
Western world see Africa as a continent without any meaningful contribution to global growth. Hence, after the Second World War, United States embarked on a marshal plan to develop the devastated Europe leaving Africa to its fate. From the abinitio, the relationship between the West and Africa is of a feudal resemblance.
Therefore, the whole jamboree about the need to develop Africa by the West is a total fiasco meant only to prey on the continent’s resources. There is often the feeling of disgust and hatred towards African agenda; a continent of inherently inferior and savaged people only meant to be exploited other than explored.
As bad as their thoughts may be towards Africa, Pliny a Roman Philosopher is of the opinion that “ex Africa simper all quid novi” (There is always something new out of Africa). Despite the potentials and possibilities that abound in the continent, the antics of the West hinder its full utilisation.
Undoubtedly, the western antics have always come to lime light through the cooperation of Africa especially her leaders. African is a nation imbued with strong leadership potentials however it is most unfortunate that this important trait is far from being fully harnessed. Africa is viewed in this wise as a NATION due to one relevant semblance; BAD LEADERSHIP. Sad as it is, most of the leaders in Africa have over time turned themselves into vultures feeding on the cadaver of their citizens. Usurping of the country’s wealth to the detriment of the masses has become the stock in trade of most African leaders. For every looting that takes place within the continent, there is an element of western influence in whose countries these loots are held in trust for the corrupt leaders.
We will not deny the fact that the west champions the campaign against corruption but are paradoxically the beneficiaries of such corrupt practices. Most of the ill acquired wealth which is stashed in western financial institutions has a replicate value on their economy. The succor provided by Swiss bank and other of such banks to these selfish African leaders serves as a comfortable nest for laying their ill gotten wealth.
Pertinently, leadership has to do with good stewardship. However, African leaders have been used to plunge the continent into further hardship and poverty. Therefore leadership deficiency has over time become a thorn on the flesh of Africans.
Unworthy of note is the economic tie between Africa and the West. It is ironic that Africans are still dependent on the west for their economic growth and development after many years of colonialism. Aids, loans and unequal economic ties between Africa and the West pose more dangers than benefits to Africans. There is a fundamental problem with development aid. It leads to dependence, thus leading to subtle subjugation of the receiving country to the lender. Flocking of the African market with western commodities creates an unhealthy rivalry with the home made ones. A developed western economy, flocking the developing or under developed African economy with their goods does nothing but inflate the dependency ratio of the continent on foreign goods. It is our onus as Africans to be diplomatic with most of the trade pact we sign with the west, as juicy as they may appear on the surface, have some subterranean adverse outcomes.
One of the detrimental aspects is the conversion of the continent into a dumping ground for most of the wastes produced in the western countries as can be seen in Cote d voire and Somalia, often with health hazards associated with them. In Somalia, the sea which is one of their greatest resources especially for sea food has been contaminated with the dump of nuclear waste.Also, Cote d’voire has its own side of the sad story where hundreds of tons of toxic waste were illegally dumped and has posed a serious health hazard.
More so, foreign aids and loans will not in any way lead the continent out of poverty. In this regard, the Rwandan president Paul Kegame; in German tabloid, Handelsblatt said that,
The Europe and American relations with Africa had not helped to develop the continent. Rather, the continent needs real partnerships with foreigners who have the know-how and capital, who would share same with local companies. I would wish the western world invests in Africa rather than give development aid. We are not ignorant of the fact that there is need for aid - however it should be used to allow trade and build up companies."
Another aspect of our Africa’s nationhood where the west exerts its power and influence is in our education. Education is a veritable tool towards a people’s development but should be embellished properly with native content. African acquired a form of education that does not reflect the reality of the time, thus making our youth cultural albinos. Africa need to embibe a form of education with an African content, which duly reflect the realities of the time. Asians have learnt to embed the Asian content in their education hence are beginning to reap the benefits. The form of education in Africa glorifies the Western ideals, values and views thereby deempahsising the African spirit with its values.
The first step towards actualizing our development is by building self confidence through our education. This will further replicate itself in growth and development of the continent. As true Africans, we need to embrace just like David Diop the African spirit of Africa, My Africa.
Rightly said by President Barrack Obama; the development of Africa lies with Africans. Several other clarion calls have been made by Africans who believe in the African course ranging from the likes of Nkwame Nkrumah, Dr.Nnamdi Azikiwe, Bob Marley, Marcus Garvey, and Martin Luther to contemporary icons like Lucky Dube, Gani Fanwehenmi, and Femi Kuti who have fought bravely to liberate Africa from the shackles of post-colonial westernism.
All things being equal, our resources should be leverage for the development of the nation and not to be exploited for serving the West.
Therefore there is a clarion call for us to unify and fight the tsunami of bad leadership rocking the continent or rather nation to a stand still and liberate ourselves from the shackles of modern day slavery. If all hands be on deck, Africa will enjoy the joy of nationhood.