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The Pandemic Of Bad Leadership In Africa

For a continent blessed with great riches, Africa seems to have continued its speedy regression. The African region is blessed with great natural resources; from crude oil in Nigeria to large diamond deposit in Angola and Botswana to gold in South Africa to Nickel and Uranium in Burundi to Iron Ore in Mauritania, not forgetting an abundance of human resources. Africa is home to an estimated 1.2 billion people, with great diversity and ingenuity.


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However, this great continent is plagued with a pandemic of bad leadership. It is very worrying that out of the enormously growing population of Africa, since the watershed of independence, the 1960s, African nations have continued to recycle the same type of political class; leaders who have turned her great blessings of human and natural resources potential into a curse as seen in DR Congo with the Cobalt crisis, leaders that rose from the dust of dictatorship to in turn inflict the same hardship on the people, and also, leaders who have become career politicians, through their sit tight syndrome.

It is also an irony that a continent from which major raw materials are gotten in the production of many groundbreaking international productions does not have a seat at the world decision-making table. Bad leadership has plunged Africa further into the depths of penury.

Since Nigeria gained her independence in 1960, not one citizen; old or young, can categorically point at a past or present leader that has or is making a difference. According to Nelson Mandela,

“YOU know I am not very happy with Nigeria. I have made that very clear on many occasions. Yes, Nigeria stood by us more than any nation, but you let yourselves down, and Africa and the black race very badly. Your leaders have no respect for their people. They believe that their personal interests are the interests of the people. They take people’s resources and turn it into personal wealth. There is a level of poverty in Nigeria that should be unacceptable. I cannot understand why Nigerians are not more angry than they are.”

The issue with Africa was evident, yet again, with the just concluded farce of an election held in Uganda, last week. Once again, Yoweri Museveni was returned as the president, extending his 35 years reign as the leader to 40 years, by the time his current tenure expires.

Corruption and intimidation was the hallmark of the just concluded election in Uganda, both before, during, and after the election. Currently, Bobi Wine, the strongest opposition to Museveni is under siege in his house. Why? Because bad leadership is a pandemic in Africa.


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Despite his bitter loss, Bobi Wine was able to rally the people of Uganda in the quest to defeat a dictator. However, the many opposition parties and candidates did not harness the individual strength into a collective force. They fought the establishment in Uganda separately. It was never going to work.

Museveni is an ancestor, thus, he is well-grounded in the scheme of things when it comes to the hook or crook. It would have served their cause better, had they come together, done their groundwork, and presented a single candidate.

This same issue bedevilled all the perceived better leaders in Nigeria in the 2019 Presidential election. We had a lot of good leaders as candidates and when it mattered most, they all shared their votes. An agreement was reached that one of them be presented under a single umbrella but before it could see the light of day, that agreement was squashed.

One may say, combine all their votes together, it won’t still get up to Atiku’s votes. Yes, that is true. This brings me to my next point. You cannot expect to burst into the scene, 12 months or less to an election and think you’ll win the election. This is a major problem with the so-called alternatives.

The next election in Nigeria is in 2023 and we already know the frontrunning candidates and political parties (APC and PDP) but none from the alternatives.

To beat the establishment in Nigeria:

  1. Make yourself and your organisation to be known by the people, early enough. it is just two years to the next election and it is no longer early but not too late to show face and let the people know what alternatives they have. The people need an alternative to what is at hand but you can’t always only appear every four years. An alternative should be a mainstay in the eyes of the people. However, it is so sad and scary that at the moment, all we have are the same old soldiers.
  2. You do not just start at the top; politics is at the grassroots level. Go down to the grassroots and get yourself known. This is why it will be difficult but not impossible to usurp the establishment in Nigeria. Their umbrella is very vast; they have the attention of the mainstream media, they have social media, they have the local government, they have the state government and every other apparatus of society. Thus, time and strategy are very key. These key areas must be touched. In the last election, the alternatives just had social media and not even their constituencies. Not good enough. If the political spectrum is to be changed in 2023, there needs to be a radical structure in place and the successes of the #EndSARS movement should be tapped into.
  3. Also, there should be a coalition with the aim of ousting the repeatedly failed administrations of PDP and APC. We need a streamlined approach in 2023 and not a repeat of the piecemeal approach of 2019. We cannot defeat the establishment as separate entities but as a group, one group, bereft of our different extractions.
  4. Voter education should be ongoing, as we await the election year. It should not be business as usual. People, especial at the grassroots level, should know what is most important, going into an election. They should be encouraged that religion and ethnicity do not trump the well being of the people of Nigeria. People should be encouraged to do away with political apathy and to get involved. Those who do not have their PVCs and those who will be approaching the voting age should get their PVCs, immediately.

It still looks like a long shot, however, we could lay the building blocks for what is to come even if we do not get what we want in 2023. I believe strongly in the Nigeria project and the events of November 2020 made me believe even stronger in what we can achieve when we have a synergy of purpose.

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Chidozie Prince Ahaneku

I am a poet. I am a moderate thinker who abhors radicalism on every front and believes that most things are relative. I am a social and political critic. I love writing, reading and international politics.

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  1. Pingback: Founder Institute Releases V2 Of The Lagos Ecosystem Canvas • Connect Nigeria

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