A gift to African countries on her 50 years independence anniversary. One thing that President Obama, singer Whitney Houston and late Rt. Honorable Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe have in common is the appreciation and admiration of youths. The first President of Nigeria, Dr. Azikiwe in his political campaigns referred to young people as “Future leaders.” By this he recognized that tomorrow belongs to the youths and they should be help to realize their God-given potentials and talents.
Whitney Houston, the Grammy winner singer, in one of music albums sang, “Children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way, show them all the beauty they possess.” President Obama practical zed it by inviting young African leaders to the White House on the dawn of celebration of 50 years anniversary of independence of 17 African countries. Many observers and editorials in the pages of African newspapers saw it as a snubbed on the current African leaders.
These observers and editors were reading the tea leaves upside down. The Obama’s administration has a bigger fish to fry than wasting time on calculating on how to make African leaders depressed or make their French wine gathering less festive.
Let’s make an intelligent guess; Africa is surely not moving forward compare to the rest of the continents and everybody including Stevie Wonder can see it. Therefore most of the problems embedded and occurring in Africa is self infected by the ruling class. The intelligent thing to do is to make sure that ineffectiveness, self-hatred, intellectual laziness and lethargy associated with the current leaders are not passing down to the up and coming generation.
African leaders in exception of few have demonstrated that they are not willing to tackle problems confronting their continent. Many of them may talk the good talk but they are not ready ‘to roll’ and do the right thing for their people. We have few pragmatic leaders but not the critical mass to make the difference in the continent with regards to the level of poverty, diseases, hopelessness and apathy.
New York Times writes, “President convened a forum this week to celebrate the 50th anniversaries of 17 African nations, but he did not invite a single African leader to help him do so. Was this, as the African news media and independent commentators see it, an expression of distaste for abusive rulers? Was it an extension of Mr. Obama’s own conviction – already enunciated – that bad government is at the heart of the continent’s woes and that “Africa doesn’t need strongmen, it needs strong institutions”? “
Africa rich in natural resources continue to be the poorest, lest productive and disease-ridden continent. Our African leaders are standing by the side corner, partying and throwing away precious time on unproductive and unsustainable ventures. Apart from few productive African leaders there was no justification for inviting rest of the leaders whose propensity are to overlook their responsibilities. If you cannot teach old dogs new tricks you might as well start with the puppies.
In the forum in the White House, “When asked about President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Mr. Obama told the young people at the forum, “I’ll be honest with you – I’m heartbroken when I see what’s happened in Zimbabwe. I think Mugabe is an example of a leader who came in as a liberation fighter and – I’m just going to be very blunt – I do not see him serving his people well. And the abuse, the human rights abuses, the violence that’s been perpetrated against opposition leaders I think is terrible.”
President Obama would have added that Africans have the greatest responsibilities of developing their continent. The point of being independent is to demonstrate to yourself and to others that you are free and liberated. Freedom comes with responsibility anything short of that is mockery of freedom.