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LEADERSHIP: A SICKNESS IN AFRICAN POLITICS


By Segun Samuel

Published  October 28th, 2009


Like most advanced nations, Africans have struggled for a constructive political system that aims at providing total freedom from condemnation and imperialism. However, in spite of the energetic and curious agenda directed towards total liberation of the continent from decadence and impoverishment; it is evidenced that the people of Africa are still undergoing or witnessing various kinds of economic and socio-political crises that arise from bad governance which upon time had jeopardized sustainable development in the region. Besides, in the history of the world advanced nations, Africa has been relegated to the background. At present, the continent is described as a ‘third world nation’ or perhaps she is referred to as ‘developing nation’, though; not on the basis of racial discrimination, but on the structure of her political, economic and technical circumstances. This position is premised on the ground that the people lack modern medical and health facilities. Among other problems identified include: non-challant attitude of government toward the development of science and technology, poor funding of researches, high rate of poverty, diseases and illiteracy, political instability, bad road network, inter-tribal and religious conflict, shortage of skilled personnel in certain key areas, corruption and so on.

It cannot be overemphasized that change is imperative in African politics. It could be observed that in Nigeria for example, things have been getting worse in our economy and politics. Therefore, this demand for change is such which has to do with the attitude of those in government rather than the political policies implemented. In my view, policies are invented by the people to govern their lives, but when it becomes harsh, it should be resisted by the masses through public polls and peaceful demonstration.
Over two decades, it has become a critical puzzle for everyone to reflect on why development in the region is only minute. Here, it could be stressed that the structure of African politics and most political parties have given much room for those in government to have economic advantage at the expense of those they governed. In Nigeria for example, we can easily point to those who have stolen the country’s wealth and went away unpunished. Also witnessed in recent time was the case of electoral fraud, rigging, assault and political upheaval. Besides, at the heart of the above crisis is certain economic policies introduced by the government to sustain their domination and exploitation. The divide between the rich and poor could be clearly seen and this has fueled the violent revolution in the Niger-Delta region. The most outrageous event is one taken by the government in their economy policies such as deregulation, privatization, commercialization etc. In other words, the government sells vital key economic sectors to themselves through the harsh economic policies of capitalism.

Though, this invariably does not mean that capitalism does not have it own advantage rather it meant that this system (privatization of downstream oil sector, local government jobs etc.) does not take into consideration the well being of the people. This condition is based on the fact that the private investors are profit oriented and any attempt to sell our economy to them entails pushing the people into legalized slavery. The implication of this is that the masses are not fully considered in most government deliberation and agendas.

More so, some Africans in Diaspora are not well taken care of. Many Africans had died in foreign countries with or without any critical offences committed. They are punished, detained and condemned to death by foreign government without given them adequate time to appeal for justice. All these crises lie in leadership. Researches have shown that in most crises some African diplomats often condemn their citizens even without taken any serious measure to ascertain what truly happens. Some even fail to intervene as at when due. But unfortunate, most advanced society usually protect the interest of their citizen whether at home or while abroad. This is not the case in Africa and thus it tends to affect the patriotic tendency in the people toward their respective countries.

Hence, it is vital to remark that though most Africans appear free, yet they are in chains. From this, it could be inferred that sustainable development cannot be achieved in the midst of these outrageous predicaments. Nevertheless, the above remarks do nor connote that all those in government in the region are corrupt nor does it meant that they lack the required leadership qualities; rather it is a eye opener that corruption and bad leadership could not lead to any meaningful change. Against this backdrop, I think that conscious effort must be taken to repositioning the continent in its right order. In other words, drastic actions should be taken by all and sundry in tackling the political turmoil which the African nations are exposed to. Suffice it to mention that the problem of leadership is the major contradiction in African politics.

The solution to the problem of bad leadership could only be resolved through conscious effort on the part of the government and the governed. All clauses that give room to exploitation, corruption and domination should be amended in our constitution. In fact, the government should stop compensating their political loyalties with certain key positions that requires expertise, adequate skills and economic technicalities. More so, African leaders should stop paying lip-service to the problem of corruption and poverty alleviation.

In conclusion, for lasting solution to be sustained; the people’s constitution must not only seek to address issue of security, human rights and economic needs at home, it must also strive to take into cognizance those Africans in Diaspora. The people of Africa need to join the rest of the world in their bid to providing security, protecting of human rights, fight against Aids and terrorism. Most importantly, the people should support the government when she has undertaken the task to provide the enabling environment for economic and social development.
 
Samuel Olusegun Steven (Student)
Department of Philosophy
Lagos State University, Ojo.
meetseggsus@yahoo.com  / 08135669061
 

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