The figures has been released, the projection has been made of a future I want to be part of. What
future is that if you ask me? It is the future of the home of originality, the black race, my Africa,
your Africa. I do not know how much you value this part of the world, but to me, it is a never
dying continent filled with people who are yet to discover the endowments bestowed upon them.
I was at a meeting on June 15, 2017 for the organization where I currently undergo my graduate
internship program, and at the end of it, the anchor reminded us not to forget that tomorrow
(June 16th) will be another day the Organization of African Union (now African Union) has set
aside to celebrate the African child. Could you believe that was the first time I took note of that?
The questions that popped on my mind at first were „what happened for the world to be
celebrating the African child? How many of my fellow youths are aware even with our access to
the internet that a day is marked every year to celebrate them? With the help of internet
connection on my phone, I dug up the past to read why there is a day as the International Day of
the African child and I read that in 1976, thousands of the Soweto school children stood together
and marched, protesting the poor level of quality education and demanding their right to be
taught in their native language. For the record, hundreds were recorded killed while more than a
thousand were injured.
In Haile Selassie’s words, “an awareness of our past is essential to the establishment of our
personality and our identity as Africans”, seeing a picture of how the African descendants were �treated in movies like the Roots, Jango Unchained, Twelve years a slave, and many others, made
me appreciate what I have in me; the survival spirit which made our history unique. Looking at
the Africa that I grew up in, the continent I proudly represent, I grieve for her daily knowing
fully well that the current situations we find ourselves in is as a result of bad leadership and
followership in all the over fifty countries that make up the continent. The land of my heritage
has turned to federations managed with charitable donations, international aids, never-ending
loans from international organizations (the interests they attract alone kills dreams), dumping
ground for inferior goods, economic, socio-cultural and political apparatus that does not fit in to
our systems in Africa, and so on. Our visionless, power drunk old men have blindly traded our
worth for some pots of porridge from the west. I will not put much of the blame on the advanced
countries because they are trying to be smart, and promoting their national interests is the most
important thing to them. I will blame our leaders who took over from the first generation of
leaders that won independence for countries through their struggles that we are now enjoying,
down to the twenty-first century politicians whose thirst and hunger for power knows no bound.
The trend of politicians that we have, I do not think understands what vision is, talk less of
building bridges in place of wide gaps which is their area of expertise. They work towards
limiting the dividends of democracy that we ought to enjoy by defining what our rights are, what
kind of education we should have (their children excluded, of course there is money to fly them
overseas to go study), making us understand that there is nothing called “wealth of nations” but
rather “national cake” and only the privileged can access it.
Our opportunist leaders (like I love to call them) have succeeded in bringing the sentiment of
morality into the political affairs, and these have robbed us the guts of questioning their
irresponsible actions and policies. Social services like stable electricity, qualitative education, �adequate security, full and paying employment, good housing and health-care system and others
are largely enjoyed in proportion to what your pocket can get, and yet we keep quiet and do
nothing. Imagine we having leaders who travel to the advanced countries for more of pleasure
than national interest matters and yet see stable electricity supply which help in putting things in
place, then they come back and see nothing wrong with how people here in Africa power their
houses and businesses with generators (just imagine the noise pollution and the smoke your
neighbor’s own produces and its effect to your body). If they develop slight headache, fracture or
sickness, to them, overseas hospitals are where the best medical practitioners are situated and not
in Africa. Using my country Nigeria as an example of what is being experienced on a daily basis
in other African countries, I can categorically say we have chauvinistic, nonchalant and sleeping
leaders that do not care about the people that gave them the power.
To the youth of Africa, the glory and strength of her, are we not like those before us? Those who
only solve the problems faced in their countries with mere words and palliative measures. Those
who before they gained positions into the corridors of power were oppositions to the government
of the day then, and after gaining power and authority saw the opposition as people that needs to
be crushed. Those who fixed the toothless anti-graft agencies with teeth to bite those that are not
on the same page with them, thereby turning their deaf ears and blurry looking eyes to the voices
calling for the prosecution of certain corrupt individuals because they are theirs. Or those who
betrayed the integrity in their names for forging signatures, inflating budgets figures because
they believed it will not put money in their accounts, command needed respects for them or buy
them great assets. Some of us the youths are scared if our generation will not be worse than those
before us. The political culture and socialization we inherited from those before us is full of
stains and dents. There is this common saying that “the voice of the people is the voice of God”, �and with the look of things in our societies, I tend to disagree. Maybe those that came up with his
phrase were studying about Plato’s philosophy of the „essential world‟. The voice of God cannot
be equated with the voice of corrupt people.
We have been beating the drum for more of youth participation in governance, but the truth is,
how many of us now can govern his or her life successfully talk less of a state? How many of us
now can adequately preside over his responsibilities as a man and woman in his or her personal
life before being faced with the task of becoming the president of his or her African countries?
How many of us have solutions to the problems faced in our individual countries? How many are
aware of the Sustainable Development Goals, seventeen of them to be achieved in 2030? Have
you asked why is it that the voting system in your country is not flexible so that you can vote in
any locality you find yourself during elections (I think our leaders are scared because such
flexibility will affect their political calculations)? African youths are active on the internet but
are we making good use of the information and ideas that will make us a better person for the
future? With the number of internet users in Africa being recorded as 353,121,578 as at 31st
March 2017 by the Internet World Stats, how developed have we been with the resources found
in the world of others?
It pains me when I see Africans on social media platforms arguing about the African country
with the best “jollof rice”, can you imagine? Or is it how these platforms have turned to only
picture sharing avenue and not for ideas and vital information. The kind of fire that burns inside
of me can boil water at 100° when i read news on blog sites of how young Africans goes to club
houses to compete for the highest spender over some bottles of wine, strippers and beer, thereby
wasting millions daily. Like the renowned African American rapper Shawn Carter “Jay Z” said in
one of his rap songs, „you want to know what is more important than throwing money away in �the strip club, credit‟. Learning from Jim Rohn words “discipline is the bridge between goals and
accomplishment”, if Aliko Dangote, the richest black man had wasted his energy, time and
money the way most of us do, I bet most of our parents and siblings will be out of jobs today.
To those of us that believe so much in humanity, at that moment when we stopped fighting for
her, at that moment come the end of everything. Let us be the rain that washes away the mistakes
made by those before us, though we will commit mistakes in the course of writing good histories
(no one is above that), what will distinguish ours from theirs is the courage to never run away
from the errors committed and always thinking of ways to write the wrongs. Let us lay the legacy
that leadership is beyond occupying positions. The truth is, people will follow you because you
are occupying the position, but the better truth is, will they follow you after you leave that
position? That is when true leadership starts. The sands in the hour glass of time are dropping
and a lot still needs to be achieved for a better tomorrow. What kind of history are you writing to
save the fast coming tomorrow? Poverty is a tourist that stays where nothing productive is