I am tired of what being African seems to mean. And this is not about what the West or Asians say. It is about what I have observed, from Boko Haram, to basket case civil wars, begging cap in hand for aid and economies that can be threatened by withdrawal of the said aid or that nosedives simply because the world doesn’t want our rocks or its extracts any longer. So in the past few weeks, my mind has been churning up a series of whys and whens.
When will Africa stop being the baby of the world? Why are we the ones who still find it so easy to descend to the lowest levels and kill ourselves in the most violent of manners over a few rocks? Why do we always seem to look for a reason to violently kill one another? Why are we the ones who must destroy every potential that we have and then rant and rave about how foreigners do not help us to clean up the mess that we make as if they have an obligation to do so. We have grown with an entitlement mentality as if we are the only ones that were colonized or exploited by our colonialists, when the rest of the colonized world has or is in the process of shaking off the memories and even becoming bigger than their colonizers. Why must it be us that cannot keep our internal peace and depend on French or English or American or Chinese to send their own citizens to come and die in our own lands to bring peace? We are the only set of people who have vast resources and cannot by virtue of our resources even be considered mildly important in the shaping of things in the world beyond securing how to extract these resources. Why are we plagued with mediocre big manism in our governments? Why does it seem the continent is gliding along rudderless and directionless, without a strong vision? How did we get from strong visionaries like Nkrumah, Nyere, Sankara and Lumumba to where we have the lackluster men and women in power now? Don’t we as a continent want more than being the basket case, the aid destination, the crutches-needing handicapped part of the world? Why do we befuddle ourselves with irrelevant Africa Rising conferences totally disconnected from the hard work our reality requires us to do? There is almost no African nation that refines what is extracted from within its soils. We are on a short aid-strengthened leash. Why are we still one of the places where education teaches people to be a little above colonial clerks without equipping them with the practical skills to solve the immediate problems in the society? Even the telling of our stories is dependent on non-Africans publishing and spreading them, yet we harp on and complain about the single story these people project.
The world owes us nothing and will hand nothing to us. As long as we allow ourselves to take the placebo pills of macro growth, reeling out figures that could as well be from the air without real development and impact on our people, we just might remain the eagle that never flew.
A FEW OTHER THOUGHTS
Lagos State Government and the FOI Bill
The government of a said progressive state allegedly took a 90Million USD World Bank loan for rehabilitating the sorry state of public secondary schools in the state. When asked to give account of how this money was spent by SERAP, reports have it that not only did the state refuse to give this account, it also blatantly stood by its refusal to domesticate the Freedom of Information Act. I recall that the FOI act was one which the then Action Congress, now a part of APC, to which the Lagos State Government belongs, was very vocal about. It makes one wonder what we will see when the light finally shines on the very opaque Lagos State Government finances. I however can say that one hasn’t observed much improvement in the public secondary schools in Lagos.
The Armed Robbery Problem in the South West
Nigeria is facing serious security issues. In the North, there’s the Boko Haram crisis. In North Central, repeated clashes between herdsmen and farmers is the issue. In the South East and South South, kidnapping is rife. I’ve spoken to many smug South Westerners who like to say the region is the only one without such issues. But a trip out of the cocoon called Lagos tells one that this is an illusion. The fear of violent armed robbery is the overriding fear in the South West but unlike the other regions, it majorly goes unreported. In many areas, bank branches have been shut down due to the rapacity of these robbers. Many of these robbers are better armed than the police in the areas they operate. The state governors need to sit up and tackle this issue before it escalates even further into full blown orgy of violence. The guns that are use for robbery today will be turned on citizens during elections.
Tunde Leye @tundeleye is a fiction writer. He believes that the stories written form a priceless resource that is the basis of society, all the other arts (film, music, theatre, visual arts) and hence he is committed to telling stories out of Africa that show it as it was, is, and is going to be.
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