By IKE NELIAKU
Africa Leadership: Upturning the Lynch Theory, From Slavery to Liberty (II)
14. The MCIA died because the president’s image was jeopardized and without weighing the implication on the continent, changed its leadership, which failed and became irretrievable until the ministry became defunct. Because I played a key role in all the activities in both ministries, each time I remember the fate of MCIA and its implication on Africa today it reminds me that indeed, the trouble with us is leadership on which everything rises and falls. This brings me to the next issue of leadership selection.
Leadership Selection or Recruitment Process
15. My observation is that many heads of government are not familiar with more than 50% of those recruited to work with them. This is influenced by mainly three reasons – i. the concept of democracy places representational obligation in which the leader is expected to accept nominations from various stakeholders who helped in his/her elections; ii. The leader is very limited in knowledge of competent personnel; iii. The aides have a clever way of showing up with candidates and technically conspiring to arm-twist the leader in obliging their requests. On an occasion an African president has been heard complaining that he didn’t know most members of his cabinet nor could he question their capabilities, since they were products of interests. When leaders are not prepared, but just put their to ‘hold forth’ for some interest the disastrous outcome can be foretold, as his/her loyalty is neither the country, the Union, nor the citizens.
16. The way leaders emerge in the continent is also responsible for the quality of such leadership. Many times leaders in the continent are surrogates, manipulated into office to punish erstwhile leaders for ‘offences’ or stubbornness. I am sure that by now many of are no longer under any illusions that a combined force of the Obama administration and David Cameron took president Goodluck Jonathan out of office due to his refusal to endorse the LGBT movement and other sundry interests. The same conspiracy funded Boko Haram and used the Chibok girls as a bargaining chip to incite the nation against him. President Jonathan obviously had his issues like many leaders do, such issues may have been ignored and treated as commonplace leadership errors if president Jonathan accepted to be the good boy of the globalist conspirators. Ambassador James Entwistle, was deployed in the last quarter of 2013 for that assignment and left in 2016 after his mission was completed. His experience on Africa and ‘trouble’ nations recommends him for the assignment he classically accomplished. Other nations he had served and the years he served there would inform his specialization in the United States diplomatic service. It is in this context that Africans should see the challenge and heavy hands of external centrifugal forces in destablising the continent, with the support base of their internal colluding factors within the continent.
17. The Chinese-American Conundrum
In his article last week, titled “Spying on China, The Incoming Class Captain”, Tim Akano had drawn attention to the raging battle between China and the United States of America, and wondered the place of Africa on the matter. I have also read other comments and opinions on the matter. If it were possible, I would have said that Africa should be non-aligned and use the opportunity to put its house in order. Unfortunately, international relations and politics are deeper than that. If nations in Africa prefer to keep aloof, they would have been drawn into the field before realising it. For those advocating for China, it would have been up to it, given the need for balance of power and the navigator in between. Unfortunately, for China its activities and commencement of new wave of cultural, economic and potential political imperialism so far on the continent, puts a big question mark on genuineness of its intention. America you can predict, but China you cannot. In my opinion, I would go with a Donald Trump for Africa than a Bullish China under the present dispensation. Beyond concerns, based on my understanding of international power dynamics, the skill still rests with America under Trump. When push comes to shove, it is not an America under Trump that will blink first.
Can Africa Still Cast the Die?
18.The essence of raising this platform is to recommend what needs to be done for Africa to shine out of this situation. First, I am not expecting any magic. Fortunately, magic is never a requirement in diplomacy and international politics. As we are today, Africa is not any ready to take on any contest, physically, psychologically, technically. Spiritually? May be. However, I am optimistic that today is still early, if we chose to start. However, the tentacles are long and intestines too stringed that we must put together a deliberate long term strategic plan of action; a hundred metres solution dash will not work!
The essential of such plan of action should include:
i. Communicating our Opposition
I have spent sometime in the past to monitor and assess the communication, body language and soundbite coming out of Africa. I must admit that many times I find some of our leaders communicating in very unsure and lousy manner both in content and disposition. Yet, communication is key in any engagement beginning with our tone, message, body language, etc. African leaders and persons of influence should henceforth change their communication. We must not continue to give our opponents the impression that we are saddled with resolving issues of hunger. Having the right communication mindset is key in engaging. The West understands very well, hence the messages they send about Africa, the pictures they show the movies they produce, are all part of the narratives deployed to deepen the psychology of a failed people on us and our people. We should design and embrace a new model of communication at all levels. It is the time for a new communication paradigm for Africans. I was thoroughly embarrassed when the movie ‘Wakanda’ was produced. Some smart businessperson came up with a concept of a whole black movie primarily framed and made to capture a substantial African market as a business venture; Africans swallowed the bait hook, line and sinker almost celebrating it with dance troops while the makers were smiling to the bank.
ii. Ready for a Fight
In Africa, nobody tells a wise person to get out of the sun. If someone remains in the sun, then what is holding him is bigger than him. Africa must quit going about crying and understand that the default character and disposition of the strong is to step on the neck of the weak. Therefore, we must come to the point of making up our minds to engage in this fight. I don’t see more than 5 (may be even 3) of the current African leaders being in a position to fight. In fact, the rest, if they have their way, will ask to let sleeping dogs lie. My elders say that when we always allow sleeping dogs lie, how will you know the ones with rabies, with belly ache, etc. it is time to wake up all the dogs so we can know the ones that can bark, the ones that can fight, those that can provide security and those that can eat the bone hung on their necks. We must come to the conclusion today, that the only option left for us is to fight our way through, to get our backs off the wall. The only way the tortoise ever defeated the elephant was by running under him, deploying his skill, and engaging in his tricks and noise making all at the same time, until the elephant was worn out and surrendered to tortoise. Many of our leaders are already compromised, with hands tied to their back they are not in a position to fight for the Union. It is safer to avoid them for now and treat them as part of enemy action. We should concentrate on the younger generation who understand the issues at stake. Fortunately, many of them are sufficiently angry and ready to engage. This will have upscale and downscale dimensions.
iii. Reorientation at Three Levels
Intellectual capacity, and mindset of the depraved, would constitute part of the essential tools for Africa to engage. I am thrilled that Africans are not in short supply of appropriate manpower required to engage, if they find genuineness of purpose. To this end, we will have to design our own content and reject some of the existing educational curricular aimed at making us indolent. We need to re-jig, re-inspire, and re-engage those with fresh firepower and firewall. We need a new mindset for our people and One Africa Initiative (OAI) is in a position to commit and lead this action. I will advocate for a one-nation-ready approach. Everybody does not wake up at the same time. Accordingly, the orientation, when designed should be at three levels – Youths and young adults; Civil Society; and African Union. Part of the approach will be to start with nations ready to engage at any of the levels. The message will have to be developed appropriately to fit the intended target. We should begin our own pro-Africa messaging, with content that defines who we are, what we stand for, what we can no longer tolerate and accept. We should create, design and send out our messages as a way of checkmating and calling our governments to order, bringing down the activities of internal colliding structures of the imperialists, and warning our exploiters that their game is nearing a terminal point. The same way Willy Lynch programmed the slaves, we should reprogram ourselves and de-program our programmers.
iv. The Diaspora Frontier
Africa has a strong and untapped diaspora presence all over the world. We need a collaborative partnership between forces at home and in the diaspora. How do we deploy our children who have studied abroad to make sure their trainings are not lost to their host countries? A carefully designed strategic action is key in pursuing this in a way that will engender trust and confidence.
V.Education for Character, Strength and Development
So far, the education policy we inherited from colonial era developed us to have knowledge to pass exams but not information to seek development and ask questions.
We will require a new educational policy that is pro-Africa, and designed specifically to address our needs. There has been a remarkable improvement in course contents and curriculum in private schools but public schools require to be reinvented given that more citizens are there.
vi. Debt Burden and Aid Mentality
The Word of God says that a debtor is a servant to the lender. Therefore, so long as we run to foreign nations, especially China to borrow money under spurious terms and circumstances, our standing and national assets will remain threatened. Sometimes, these loans are obtained under clandestine arrangements, with information hidden from the public, such that in most cases terms and conditions are not subjected to rigorous evaluation and assessment. Although an acceptable economic policy, borrowing may not be that terrible but the purpose, deployment and obligation could be a major impediment on the integrity, future and national security of the affected nation.
vii. Refining Africa’s Reputational Identity
It is a given that reputation, like integrity, is a core asset and should never be allowed to be in red. We have to find a way, to deliberately start doing things differently on a sustainable system. This should be at home level and in the diaspora. For now, Africa is perceived as the weak and dark continent, yet we produce the wealth that make others strong. It is our resources that develop the West. Moving forward, every action we take on the points above, and from other sources, should be geared towards refining and redefining the reputation of Africa. Reputation brings honour and confers respect.
19. Fellow compatriots and friends, may we go back to where we started this paper. Willie Lynch speech of 1712, defines for us the extent slavery and slavery mentality were designed to destroy the psyche, disrupt the personality, and obliterate the dignity of a people, for many generations. Even Lynch envisaged that whatever has a beginning must also of a necessity have an end. If his diabolism was programmed for 300 years from 1712 it means we are already late to freedom by 8 years. It is therefore out of place to keep saying that the end is by the corner for Africa. We should now do what we have to do, in partnership with other individuals and organisations that share our objectives. We have to change the narrative, posture, and stature of Africa. The reality is that a lot is required to do the work; even getting it off the ground is a herculean task. But we have to do it, and do it excellently, anyhow. If it is an idea whose time has come, then there shall certainly be a will and a way that no man can stop. With God ALL things are possible.
20. Africans, Africa needs us. Let’s get to work!
* Ike Neliaku, Ph.D, fnipr, fapra, ficmc, fimc, Executive Secretary Nigerian Prize for Leadership
(Paper Presented to One Africa Initiative (OAI), Friday April 24, 2020)