Monday, April 29, 2013
Mankind has always wanted more. Mankind has always wanted speed. Many innovations in the history of human existence have been indicative of mankind’s subliminal/overt craving for ease and wealth creation. Many innovations have changed the course of history; the steam engine, electric bulb, electricity, radioactivity, polymer, telephone and the internet. The introduction of GSM, internet and many information technology tools have changed business models, organizational communication and created great companies, offering business as well as social services. Mobile phones and devices give the advantage of portability and convenience for movement. They offer the same speed desk devices such as the PC offer, maybe better in some cases. Globalization would not have a better ally than mobile devices, because they are the last in the race and lineage for offspring’s for human communication. Anything that would be created after smart phone's, feature phones and advanced feature phones would also be mobile and that’s the idea-making life easy and portable for mankind. The import of the pervasiveness and functionality of mobile phones is that services and businesses would be created and optimized around them. Mobile payments, internet banking, social networking and other emerging industries are customized along mobile lines to avert big bang disruption. The world currently has 6.8 billion mobile phones in a world of 7billion people. This implies a penetration of 128% in the developed world and 89% in developing countries according to ITU. The penetration of mobile phones in Nigeria according to the regulatory body for telecoms-NCC puts the figure at 78.8%. The NCC informs that a good number of Nigerians own more than one mobile phone. The leading network MTN has 45m subscribers, Airtel of India- 25m, Etisalat- 15m and indigenous Globacom- 28m.Many firms’ asides having regular websites now have mobile sites dedicated to serve mobile phone users. According to research, 69% of Nigerians access the internet through mobile phones. What business decision should this inform? I think advertising decisions. Many people spend at least 2hours on the internet and if most of them access through their phones, then brand managers and government in cases of e-governance should create strategically a mobile advertising budget to cater for this latest insights on mobile usage and pervasiveness. To ignore the potent regime of mobile advertising is to prepare for a loss of branding war. There are networks that have done well in Africa in mobile advertising in Africa. Inmobi and Twinpine have productive footprints in this area, but I hear Inmobi has left, leaving Twinpine. Globally, over 130 mobile money initiatives have been deployed. About 80% of that is in Africa. 31% off Kenya’s GDP moved through mobile money platforms. Total African mobile transfers are expected to exceed $200billion by 2015, accounting for approximately 18% for Africa’s GDP. Is the future mobile or not? The most notable of mobile innovation is in Kenya with their M-Pesa and M-Shwari. The smartphone industry in Nigeria is now worth 245bn dollars , that’s different from the regular mobile phones. The lifes of people now revolves around their mobile devices. Mobile devices have become a vital organ in humans, particularly people in Africa, since they had to leap frog other means of communication and embrace the mobile fad. Mobile devices such as tablets, Blackberry, Android, Nexus etc. have become things people build their emotions around and the means through which they conduct their lives. This calls for some computer mediated communication research. Lastly, the fundamental premise for this piece is to note that anything that is pervasive and makes life easy for mankind carries the day. The mobile devices are just the perfect fit for this description and the future of mankind would be determined by them. The future is mobile.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Trade between China and Africa was worth over $200billion in 2012. That is a good figure between both trading blocks. However, the terms of engagement as well as the macroeconomic dynamics of the relationship between Africa and China needs to be explored. The nature of value exchange between both blocks has taken the dimension of exchange of minerals and crude oil with infrastructure largely. There is also the platform of flooding our market with Chinese mass produce goods. This evidently has an effect on informal sectors, hence micro-economic activity of the average African citizen, especially in places like Nigeria where the regulatory environment seems to favour the Asian business engagement. Manufacturing which has always been in a state of coma is enjoying accelerated death owing to this. According to Lamido Sanusi, Nigeria's CBN governor, "the decline of African manufacturing from 12.8 per cent to 10.5 per cent of regional Gross Domestic Product (GDP), according to the United Nations." Sanusi has warned against the mode of engagement as a catalyst of redefined mode of colonialism. Colonialism was simply using of political control to make colonies resource efficient, transporting the resources abroad and producing goods in overseas manufacturing firms for consumption in the colonies. The Chinese are doing it in a redefined manner that I like to call business modernity. It doesn't involve political coercion. It just requires engagement through provision of funds for infrastructural development and hedging against risks associated with such development and drawing huge mineral resources for further production of export goods in their country, which make their way to other parts of the world and Africa particularly. They made available a credit line of $20billion available for Africa, alongside other initiatives and partnerships. It is worse for Africa, because many countries have comatose manufacturing sectors, and the model of consumption of Chinese export goods further makes the manufacturing sector susceptible to decline, because of the inability to compete with Chine se firms that have scale, energy, supported by a technocracy and also has ambition. The dialectics offered by western representatives such as Hillary Clinton "a model of sustainable partnership that adds value, rather than extracts it" from Africa. Unlike other countries, "America will stand up for democracy and universal human rights even when it might be easier to look the other way and keep the resources flowing." and David Cameron," believe the model of authoritarian capitalism [in China] we are seeing will fall short in the long term. ‘When people get economically richer they make legitimate demands for political freedoms to match their economic freedoms. This model is unable to respond. These statements are significant and unnecessary concomitantly. Significant because it brings the business modernity to the consciousness of Africa's sleeping intellectuals and dormant administrators in local development institutions. It is unnecessary because African leaders seem to even lack the fundamental will , which is the political will to get things right on the economic and wealth creating front. A phenomenal profligacy censured by corruption has led to an economic situation where over 400billion dollars has been stolen from Nigeria since crude oil has been discovered in 1978 according to Oby Ezekwesili, former World Bank chief and $851billion between 1970's and 2000's according to Global Financial Integrity. The argument by the west is not a generous one, its an economic one. it originates from trying to recover their slack, where China had gained by engaging the will bankruptcy of African leaders. China just built the headquarters of the African union. The west have enjoyed this sort of thing in the past and it help their fortunes in great bounds. I bet they want to feel how China is feeling now. Africa is growing owing to the commodities boom, the population of Africa comprises of young people who would according to Mckinsey have a deep pocket of $1.8trillion to spend from by 2030. The west need not act like they love us, China needs no further patronage. Its our leaders we should call to account. We youths particularly should get involved in foreign policy-in policy making generally. We need to stand up, so that the many years of slavery and colonial rule and the redefined business modernity won't further reduce the optimum we can get by being economically responsible and proactive. China is engaging Africa, the west is apprehensive. What are African's doing? They are not aware and their leaders are not proactive enough. We must do something. Colonialism or business modernity are just the same.
Friday, January 4, 2013
Bill Clinton once marvelled at how Japan, a country that produces no steel, manages to churn out a great deal of durable and competitive steel based products. We all wonder how countries like Malaysia and Thailand in East-Asia are recording so much success without a huge reserve of resources driving their economy. We must also not suffer in amnesia or forget the Asian Tigers like Singapore and Taiwan. It may be shocking to discover that in the 70’s the USA economy was about 4.9trillion dollars, but today it’s over 15 trillion dollars. One thing that we need to account for is what the major economic activity was in the different periods. The 4.9trilllion period was dominated by exchange of goods, the 15 trillion dollars period was dominated by exchange of goods and services, but services accounted for most of the growth. The core of this text is to provoke the question as to what accounted for the success of this various nations without huge reservoir of natural resources or failure of its employment? It’s called knowledge, yes knowledge. In an era that in increasingly globalized, where countries are involved in international trade and financial markets are intertwined, a country’s investment in telecommunications, education, innovation and appropriate economic incentives gives it the competitive advantage. Many countries have moved from the resource based economy to the knowledge based. It seems to me that the primary reason for human existence is to be productive, to be innovative and create wealth, not to depend on nature’s reservoir. Though I don’t agree with much developmental rhetoric peddling of the fear that crude oil reserves would dry, I believe we need to harness knowledge, innovate disruptively and reap economic benefits like countries such as India. India derives 42 percent of its revenue from selling of services to other countries. This is possible because of the presence of human capital quality there. Many American countries have outsourced filing of taxes, Human resources functions, software development and customer care service to India! In an increasingly globalized world, the phenomenon of Average, according to Friedman is over! Malaysia for palm-oil seedlings from Nigeria and today they are the largest producer and exporter of the product. Israel a small nation of 7 million people is phenomenal with innovation and export of services. Many information technology firms like Intel, microchip producers and Google; search engine giants have recorded major breakthroughs in the Israel outfits. The Google suggest was developed in Israel, a country constantly at war. Back home in Africa, many professional jobs are outsourced to South-Africa, Ghana and Togo and Benin even provides artisans for Nigeria’s local industry which lacks the requisite skills and knowledge to get even menial jobs done. Nigeria, through its Federal Government outsources jobs worth 960billion naira to neighbouring foreigners and the likes. What is NOTAP and the other agencies doing? We still import software to the tune of 1billion dollars yearly according to the National ICT Policy draft, trust me that is fair.I guess the figure is larger. From the points made heretofore it is apparent that there is a huge gap in our creation, production and distribution of knowledge. This is what the knowledge economy is all about, creating knowledge just like power and distributing for economic gains. It is interesting to note that the government has this within its frame of thinking as the need to become a knowledge economy is included in the Vision 2020 document and the Vision for the National ICT Policy draft is to become a knowledge based economy. The problem with this is that the seriousness is not aggressive. South-Korea has a ministry for knowledge economy, South Africa has a document for knowledge economy policy and Malaysia has one. The Chinese have theirs also. Our knowledge economy policy should not be lost in another policy. Besides, Oil and Gas has PIB and knowledge economy has greater potentials that Oil and Gas if properly worked. The pillars of the knowledge economy are: i) Education ii) Innovation iii) ICT iv) Economic Incentives. This was developed by the World Bank. Our education system no doubt needs a serious overhaul, with rapid improvements in curriculum to meet present day challenges. We need to revive vocational centre and encourage private innovation. Thomas Friedman in his book: Lexus and the Olive Tree espouses that transportation encouraged economic growth in past centuries with construction of huge railway lines and creation of retail cars for mass market. Today, telecommunications with miniaturization, computerization, fibre-optics, GSM and the internet in place, opportunities abound for people to interact and conduct business worldwide. The mystery of capital is such that opportunity and time creates it and telecommunication advancement just ensures that borders are almost non-existent and people can now endow other areas with their knowledge. Innovations in other ICT areas such as broadband, fibre-optics increase in micro-processor power-Moore’s law and software development must be encouraged in Nigeria. We need research facilities that would be manned by our cream of professionals and academics. General Electric has a facility in India that is staffed with over 1,800 people, a quarter of this have PhD’s. Yet our private institutions are enjoying the services of just 40 percent of lecturers with PhD’s. We need to wake up. We don’t have a purposeful innovation system. The other countries I have highlighted do. Israel’s innovation system is driven by a military-civil complex. The military facilitates most of the growth in terms of innovation. The same is to be said of the world powers. Most of the innovations in manufacturing, finance, management and particularly operations research for producing war equipment were created during the Second World War. What role is our military playing asides maintaining peace in neighbouring African countries? What has happened to our agricultural research institutes? IITA has fared better than them. What about our lecturers and professors? Something revolutionary needs to be done. Economic Incentives come in the form of research grants, technology development grant, protectionism, access to credit and favourable fiscal , legal and other policy frameworks. However, the most important economic incentive is national marketing of local innovations. What is the essence when local innovations suffer from the popularity of Chinese products and other American innovations. Finally, it is important to bear the facts mentioned in mind for calling our leaders to the table of accountability. Labour and natural resources used to ensure adequate welfare and sustainability. Today knowledge does that better, not because it has never been there but because the world is now hyper-globalized and you are a citizen trying to compete with an Indian, Chinese, American, British, Portuguese. The knowledge economy is real and it would be delusional to depend on bottles of crude oil for spiritual and welfarist satisfaction.
Saturday, December 29, 2012
If history does anything, it nags. Every historical account provokes opinions and creates new public spheres. The variety of direction can be appreciated with various account of any phenomena or event. The same dynamics is not divorced from Chinua Achebe’s “There Was a Country”. The book is widely accepted in Nigeria, but on impulsive ethnic and tribal outrage. The book no doubt betrays Achebe’s sentiment about the economic and material Hercules of his Igbo group, but it accounts for much more than that. He holds that the Igbo’s dominated government services and the economic landscape of the nation. For that reason they were suspect and usually disdained, a fact which can be confirmed by a northern conjecture nurtured by the late Sardauna himself, Sir Ahmadu Bello who in a video described the Igbo’s as rats who like to take over everything. I watched this video personally on You-Tube. There Was a Country can be referred to as the Renaissance book of Nigeria’s history. Every country has defining moments that serve as pivots from which the older and future generations look at for introspection and subliminal admonishments. For USA it’s their fight for independence in 1776 and the civil war prosecuted by Abraham Lincoln. Today the Gettysburg address by Lincoln is still recorded as one of the best speeches ever made. That address is beyond speaking, it’s beyond record keeping. It represents a social contract for reference and action to stay under a union for American citizens. For China it’s the Cultural Revolution orchestrated by Mao. Germany had Hitler moments. For Nigeria, the defining moment which always threatens or calls for unity of this nation is the BIAFRA WAR, prosecuted by two fine military officers, one loved by the Oxford elite and intelligentsia, the other a Sandhurst fine man, loved by the British royals- Ojukwu and Gowon respectively. For a long time, there have been different insights and accounts into the war. There also has been a lack of itch to write and produce this account for it to resonate in the minds of every Nigerian citizen for didactic purposes. Achebe has surely endeavoured to fill this void. Achebe begins with the pre-colonial on the left hand and the colonial on the right. He recounts how the British imperialism infiltrated our religious clime and how he a son of a catechist tried to understand the conflict between old traditions and dogmatic infallibles of Christianity. He also portrays the level of scholarship and ambition of his own family as typical construct of educational aspiration. Achebe relives what his perception on the role of the artist is in society. He argues for a participation in politics and active citizenship. He also stokes the charge for any generation to endeavour to explore the role it should play in society. Perhaps Achebe’s role has traversed generational shifts and he happens to have migrated from one generation to the other- the colonial generation and the post-colonial. There was a country’s plot was a protest to the humanitarian misdeed against the Igbo’s during the war. Most importantly, underlying this protest was a valid negotiation that goes back and forth and operational within the present for tribal/ethnic existence. The pogroms by the muslim north after the first military coup executed by Major Nzeogwu, Ifeajuna and the likes served as preludes to the war. Achebe’s book evidenced the ease with which various ethnic groups could easily gather to take defence and retaliate, as in the case of the Muslim/Hausa-Fulani north dealing Aguiyi-Ironsi to death and the other adjoin ethnic groups like Efik, Ibibio, Ijaws having distrusts against the Biafra campaign and usually betraying strategies of the Biafran’s . All these beg the question of our existence as a Nation and the often silenced or ignoring themes such as True Federalism, review of the 1914 amalgamation and amplified ones on North-South rotational presidency. Achebe didn’t fail to report his educational exploits, his performance in the University College entry exams which led to an award of a scholarship for him. Achebe also accounts for members of the golden generation with whom he was probably privileged to school with. They are Gamaliel Onosode, Christopher Okigbo, whom he regards as the best poet of his time, Grace Alele Williams etc. He was elitist in his structure of his report in terms of the account of his personal life. There Was A Country can be dubbed to be an autobiography of Achebe and some his war trials, except that, he was privileged and had privileged friends. He probably didn’t have friends who found it difficult to climb the ladder of educational and professional upliftment. He probably never had a friend who was a trader. There also seems to be a conflicting dialectic about who really organized the coup Nzeogwu and Ifeajuna seemed to differ on who the true hero was. Ifeajuna handed a manuscript to Achebe which was never published. Achebe regrets this till date. The war was bloody of course and several countries took different sides. Britain stood by Nigeria and countries like Tanzania, Ivory Coast and France supported Biafra. Julius Nyerere was the first to announce his support for the Biafra cause. France had a rivalry policy of disintegrating British economic post-colonial hold and cultural hold also. Thus, Ivory Coast under Houphet Boigny perpetuated that policy by supporting Biafra. Achebe records several aids being blocked by Nigeria. There were records 30,000 children, women and men massacred by Ibrahim Haruna during the war. It’s a surprise that Haruna has agreed to this publicly without remorse. He has also not been charged for war crimes, perhaps that would be retro-active. The Biafran army soaked the pressure from all fronts and employed the best use of propaganda during the period. People like Wole Soyinka who tried to facilitate a truce were jailed. One of the most disappointing moments was when Nnamdi Azikiwe withdrew support for Biafra owing to disagreements with Ojukwu and his style of not not listening adequately. Ojukwu according to Achebe didn’t consult widely before declaring war. The Aburi Accord was not implemented and this led to further hostilities between both side. Achebe’s account was not short for the admiration of Zik and his influence and inspiring leadership. Zik till date can be regarded as the most detribalized amongst the early leaders of Nigeria. Achebe had said of Tafawa Balewa to be lukewarm, Sardauna to hold back to pursue the Northernization policy on Awolowo to plot to decimate the Igbo people who he considered to be a threat to the advancement of his people-Yoruba. This has been the centrepiece for discussion in this book and has attracted repudiation from eminent Yorubas and commentators. Many have labelled Achebe has an insatiable tribalist. I disagree, because everywhere its survival of the fittest. Americans, Jews, Europeans are all negotiating their existence through the block of identity. Achebe feels wronged, because his people have been wrong and the man is entitled to his own opinion. That was his opinion of Awolowo. Besides didn’t Awolowo trump the ethnic card against Nnamdi Azikiwe in the western region? It’s all about the dialectics of politics. Chinua Achebe should be given credit for shedding light on our historical recluse. He has exposed historical gaps and has provoked the needful which is a fervent and passionate discussion of the past with the roles of various actors. Achebe has also called for many patriotic and pragmatic efforts to help Nigeria. Indeed “There Was A Country” and there is still a country called Nigeria. What we need is serious people and responsible leadership. There Was a Country and the Igbo’s are still a part of it. Long live Nigeria.
Friday, December 21, 2012
It’s good to be back, my muse contacted me that I have been forgiven, albeit with a condition. The condition was derived from a sentiment and truth, through an observation of global social landscapes. The sentiment is that being fat, chubby, big as a woman is never culturally wrong. What is true is that we are being mediatised to believe that slim does it for women and that it’s the ideal. The method I would employ in my analysis is gotten from my age long belief that nothing truly exists, everything is created. Its borne out of my suspicion of truth and my admiration of lies. It’s a sociological perspective I don’t want to bore anyone with. Back to the issues we; readers and writers are gathered to digest. If we remember and if we reflect, there was and confusingly is a love for women with “big stuffs”. Men relished big women and in the fashion of the Igbos, the George wrapper can only be fitting if a woman had big buttocks and a sizeable frame. This was the social order in terms of how the female sex was projected, constructed and consumed. One morning we woke up and realized that the tastes of men had changed and switched to slim women. Interesting as it is, it became even appealing to women also. These days everyone, movie producers, music makers, health professionals, everyone in society on a global plane lends credence to the art and science of weight loss and the art of admiration of women who keep to size and who manage to lose weight. This aspect of our culture has gained much prominence, especially in a country like Nigeria where woman has been constructed as Lepa or Orobo, with the former receiving more admiration and the latter socially relegated and social outcasts. It is so bad that many big/fat women try all sorts of defence like calling themselves chubby and giving other descriptions that I call sub-constructions. Some just give up and contribute to the gym business and other diet and weight loss schemes. For the avoidance of doubt and relation with reality, I am not supporting unhealthy living. My defence and narrative protest against negative social constructions of fat women is based on the following beliefs, call it conspiracy theories. If we look critically, weight loss industry is a big one. It includes the materials used for sit-ups, thread mills, gyms, certain food categories, and even the apparel and clothing industry itself. T he point is this, the argument against fat/chubby/big women is more of an economic than health one. Capitalists rule through propaganda and tweaking of societal values. They communicate subtly through various means that are conscious or sub-conscious. When you go to the market and hardly find your size and your slim friend has a variety of choices to make, that is a sub-conscious communication that you should adjust your waistline. Then when everyone begins to scold you based on your weight without concrete medical facts other than the one that uninformed people tell them, then that’s a conscious one that has been designed to be so. My analysis stems and progresses this way; its more convenient and cost effective for a capitalist to produce clothes at a particular size for the market, he needs not make use of large quantity of materials because everyone is fat, all that he needs to do is make most for people in a particular range and few for the big ones. Then media seeds are sown by communication through various platforms that being big is bad. They select slim actors and actresses. They use people that are extra slim in modelling competitions that the whole world sees. Then they use a slim “figure 8” in beauty pageants. I fat/big women have responded with their own pageants, shops and magazines. You see events such big and bold. Does that say something about protest and re-affirmation of personhood? The” lose weight industry” is a big one that thrives on media messages against big/fat people, especially women. You may start to wonder whether the media has such powers. The media has more than that. Dependency theory posits that people depend on the media to make sense of their existence. The funny part is that you see slim housewives and their disgust and pro-weight loss advice for big/fat women. They usually advice that such women lose weight else their husbands would look out for a slim woman. The ironical thing is that the husbands of slim women look out for the fat/big women. Sorry that’s based on my inference through local investigations. Finally, I advocate for a certain level of media literacy and close observation and investigation of sources of cultural change. We woke up one morning and slim women became the leading socially constructed elements of official sexuality. We need media literacy and not jump on bandwagons without probing.
Saturday, January 21, 2012
The recent deadlock between the federal government and organized labour, the inefficient allocation of resources and endemic corruption in Nigeria is symptomatic of one thing-Little presence of consciousness on the part of Nigerian citizens. These things didn’t happen overnight, they are a product of many years of deliberate and undelibrate ignorance. It’s reminding of the danger in Longe’s farm, Longe was actually the threat. The grassroots through their ignorance have become their own problem. Many years of indulgence with the political class has cut the political class away from social reality. The people slept on their rights, the political class slept on their duty. One day they say is for the thief, another for the owner. The people of this nation are now awake and are asking questions they ought to have asked since 1999.11years travelled and would never return. It took the removal of fuel subsidy for the owners of this country to ask the occupants of the exalted position to give account of their stewardship. They have asked for this through the series of concurrent protests across the federation. They are actively occupying their own country; the mob is asserting its divine machismo.
The government has through the coordinating minister of the economy Ngozi Okonjo Iweala (NOI),craved the indugence of Nigerians not to imitate Greece in future sufferings and my question is,what more can we suffer?Its only the modern economy that favours multinationals and elites that is thriving, the informal and traditional sectors are not doing well. People are already suffering, Greece is better. Nigerians must occupy the injustice that has romanced them for over 11years.They must no longer brook corruption. They must occupy with accountability and constant probing.Anniko Briggs said we must not only occupy Jonathan, we must occupy the state governors, they are getting so much, yet they are not creating wealth, in the words of Prof. Pat Utomi.Many may not get the point. The point is that the state governors are responsible for our current fuel subsidy woes and many are not aware. They blame Jonathan solely. That’s the sociology of a unitary government in practise. If the roads are bad, or health facilities are not functioning we blame the federal government. The local governments in Nigeria got 7billion naira in 2010; that’s the budget of Rwanda, Togo, and Burkina-Faso and together, they are supposed to stimulate community development and generate wealth, but in the corner of the eyes, state governors invented the state-local joint account, thereby the governors disburse and hold the local councils to ransom. The governors also have a strong hold on the state independent electoral commissions. This way the aspiring chairmen cannot readily express their free and goodwill in serving the local masses. The federal government is a culprit, the governors are greater culprits; the sociology of a unitary government favours and covers their political misdemeanours. Around the world, local governance brings governance to the people; a good product would be readily accessible to you, if the production plant or means of distribution is efficient. How would I know if you are bleeding, if I am not close to you? How would you be a good parent if your child is in United Kingdom and you are in Nigeria? It’s difficult, you would agree. Governance is far from the people, Abuja is not close to Lagos, except through phone calls.
If we are interested in good governance, if we crave for optimal allocation of our resources, we must embrace true federalism. True federalism would ensure that states control their resources. We can also call I fiscal federalism. It’s beyond the economics, beyond the politics. True federalism is sociological in true function. It would ensure that blames go to the right quarters; it would reduce the grand scale sycophancy and rent seeking we have in Abuja. People would find it easy and straight forward to demand accountability. Can protesters easily walk to Abuja.Alausa is not far, if its Lagos.Imo citizens would ask questions from Owerri with convenience. Our eyes would be on these governors who blame Jonathan readily. They shared money from the excess crude account and said they could not pay the minimum wage. They then asked for subsidy removal. Let this government devolve from a unitary one to true and fiscal federalism and let’s see what the governors would do with resources in their various states? It is obvious federal government is not efficient. The federal government should attend to issues of foreign policy, security and monetary policy. The state and local governments should be allowed to ensure rapid development. The sociology of true federalism would then be in force. Citizens of this country can them blame the right people, at the right place, at the right time.
Saturday, January 7, 2012
Generations have come and gone, legacies have been left; good or bad.Today,in Nigeria, like every African country, the problem of bad leadership has left citizens despondent, whether they are conscious of it or not. This piece is a reflection from the thoughts of George Ayitteh, a Ghanaian economist, who is also the founder of Free Africa Foundation. It was at a conference put together by TED, with the theme as marketplace. He opened his speech by asking “Do you think that African leaders would put this type of conference together”. If they decide to do, they would ask for foreign aid. He further explained that Africa’s begging bowl is leaking. He produced facts that Africa loses 148billion dollars annually to corruption, 80 billion to capital flight. For a continent that used to export food; Africa now imports 20billion dollars worth of food. Foreign aid according to him is not bad, but sometimes could be like the blind leading the clueless.
Ayitteh averred that the Cheetahs are the only ones who can save Africa, the cheetahs according to Ayitteh is a new breed of Africans who understand what accountability and democracy means. The salvation of Africa rests on the backs of these Africans. These Cheetahs brook no corruption; they understand how to turn things around. This is against the Hippos-early postcolonial African leaders who led Africa from independence to further dependence on foreign aid whose begging bowl is perpetually leaking. These leaders led Africa into Swiss bank socialism-A form of governance where money of the people ends up in private names in Swiss banks. They can’t reform the system because they benefit from the rot! He recalled how he asked colleagues on an internet forum to name 20 good African leaders from independence. People were only able to come up with 15, Idi Amin of Uganda inclusive. This obviously is a far cry for a continent of 54 countries, with over 204 leaders from independence that has been let loose from the shackles of colonialism for over 5 decades.
The Ghanaian economist explained that pre-colonial Africans despised tyranny and that was why societies like the Igbo, Somali, and Kikuyu were organized in tribes with no central leader. In the Asante kingdom, the leader was surrounded by councils upon councils. In Oyo Empire, democracy was existent with the Alaafin of Oyo, put in checks by the Oyomesi, led by the Bashorun; the Oyomesi was also put in check by the Sango, Esu and Ogboni cults.
There was a form of capitalism in existence, as Timbuktu was noted to be a large marketplace like wise other areas in Africa. The Hippos, instead of going back to pre-colonial Africa, in order to recreate society embraced the aberration of Swiss bank socialism. Ayitteh brandished them with different adjectives such as; an assortment of military fufu heads, crocodile liberators, vampire elites, Swiss bank socialists.
LESSONS FOR NIGERIA
The salvation of Africa cannot be divorced from Nigeria, considering her foreign policy thrust on Africa which has been followed by magnanimity and a great contribution to building of enduring African institutions such as the AU and ECOWAS.The role of Nigeria in the anti-apartheid movement cannot be underscored. With countries like Botswana, South-Africa and Ghana thriving in their democracies, Nigeria obviously has a lot to do. This is the time of the Cheetahs. The time of those who want to occupy Nigeria with the recent and fraudulent removal of subsidy. It is time to wrest Nigeria from the hands of the Hippos. Enough is Enough! They claim our economy would suffer, if government keeps subsidizing fuel. What happens if government keeps subsidizing political office holders with VP Sambo getting 45milllion naira for newspapers in 2012 alone, Patience Jonathan collecting billions to build a complex; when the constitution does not even recognize her role? Would our future be better when Jonathan feeds 1billion in 2012 and many Nigerians go to sleep without food or garri in their stomach? Its obvious that Nigeria has become a a Vampire state, where the leaders share the wealth with their cronies and kinsmen, leaving every other person to suffer. In many cases according to George Ayitteh, the leader is the chief bandit. The buck stops on Jonathan’s table, he should be blamed. What happens when the cabal has been pardoned, when Dimeji Bankole’s case has no head, where Akala and Gbenga Daniel are smiling with their stolen billions and the weight of the law has not fallen upon them? If we can’t trust them with little, how can we trust them with more? According to Fela Durotoye, does more money make one prudent? Would a rotten brain function, after a nice hair cut? Nigerian youths, enough is enough. We must occupy.
The onus falls on the Cheetahs to get themselves involved in creative capitalism; social business. From there we can start showing the Hippos in our society that the Cheetahs who brook no nonsense are in town. Let the Hippos face justice, Let the Cheetahs prevail. Occupy Nigeria!
Cheetah Onikoyi Babatope Falade
ARE YOU A CHEETAH OR HIPPO IN THE MAKING?
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