Nigeria, Africa, Corruption

This is the second in the series. I apologise for the delay,  because I know you all have waited expectantly for this.  My hands were engaged in a lot,  but here we are. 

Africa has remained a shadow of itself in the comity of nations, and this bothers pundits and concerned humans all over the world.  Several reasons  have been adduced as causal to this stunted growth and absence of development in the continent.  The first piece dealt with the theories of W. W. Rostow and W.  Rodney, each of whom championed MODERNISATION and DEPENDENCY theories,  respectively. My anchoring on the former - MODERNISATION - neither makes it more acceptable nor relegates the latter to the background of attempts to understand the cause of economic growth and development; rather,  I dwelt on modernisation theory because it better explains the African problem.  Today,  however,  we shall go a step further in our attempt to perform surgical operation on our vexatiously retrogressive continent by taking a drawn look at African leaders.  Who are those that have occupied leadership seats in Africa? What has happened to the resources in these countries, since the preponderance of natural resources in Africa is not in doubt? In what way,  exactly,  has corruption stifled growth and development in Africa? Where has the money realized by harnessing African resources gone? How will the restoration of Biafra Republic in Africa stem the ugly tide?  What is that unique and distinct attribute that this new Republic in the offing brings to the table? These are some of the knotty issues this episode sets out to evaluate.  Sit tight as I mentally drive you. 

In Africa,  what we have always had are people who aspire for power for selfish reasons.  Endemic corruption in Africa has become an institution most people are willing to attend. Seeing how dramatic the rise to wealth and power by leaders in Africa has become - a quintessence of intractable corruption - others work very hard to have their own fair share of the NATIONAL CAKE.  

In the last episode,  I disagreed with those dependency theorists that think the relationship between the CORE (the West) and the PERIPHERY (the Third World) is injurious to the latter, since raw materials flow from them to their betters without proportionate recompense.  This is not true, since money in billions and trillions are exchanged for these African resources, not forgetting the Western expertise needed to harness the resources.  

The African problem, I reiterate,  is indigenous and self-caused. In what follows,  I shall divulge some typically corrupt African leaders who connived to overthrow their predecessors only to end up as enemies fighting over spoils in other countries.  African leaders work together because of certain interest, to wit: to loot.  Democracy on the continent is actually an institutionalisation of LOOTOCRACY - an assembly of lootocrats in the guise of politics whose latent intent is to enrich themselves, their families, and loyal friends. 

President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and President Paul Kagame of Rwanda were best of friends, since the services of Kagame was employed by Museveni in his bid to overthrow his predecessor,  President Milton Obote. Kagame,  a Rwandan Tutsi on exile, worked as Chief of Staff to the Ugandan rebel, Museveni and, together, they defeated the Ugandan Army.  Once in power as President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni assisted his ally,  Paul Kagame,  overthrow the Hutu Government in Rwanda.  

A new problem emerged: the Hutus that Kagama had caused to flee Rwanda had found a home in Zaire under the protection of a Hutu lover,  President Mobutu Sese Seko.  The palpable fear was that these ostracized Hutus could return for their pound of flesh, hence the need to overthrow their protectorate.  Thus, the Ugandan President, Museveni,  and his friend,  the Rwandan President, Kagame, gave their financial and military support to a Zairean rebel,  Laurent Kabila whose superior ammunition overpowered that of Mobutu Sese Seko's, causing the latter to flee Zaire. The resources in DR of Congo became the common interest of Rwanda and Uganda. Sensing that President Kabila had become obstinate, the duo of Museveni and Kagame sponsored another rebel that overthrew him.  

Do you see the kind of leaders we have in Africa?  They start off as rebels who work together to unseat their predecessors for personal gains,  not love for the people. These lootocrats,  having come to the reins of power,  continue to fuel crises in continguous countries, as long as their are resources to massage their penchant for looting.  Do you know that Presidents Museveni and Kagame are on war paths because of disgreement over the spoils in DR of Congo?  This feud between erstwhile allies is causing their countries so much money and military manpower. Unnecessary wars are being fought in Africa. Greed is responsible for most of the crises that have affected the economies of Africa.  Museveni and Kagame continue to talk tough over the resources in DR of Congo.  It is our hope that the international communities will wade in and broker peace between them.  

Presidents Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea and Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia were friends-at-arms who worked together to overthrow the Marxist dictator,  Mengistu Haile Mariam from Ethiopia.  Isaias became President of Eritrea while Meles took over the reins of power in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia). Both men continued to sponsor crises in neighbouring countries,  where they have vested interest. Today,  however,  they have become estranged friends,  as they are at daggers drawn. Meles of Ethiopia is not happy with Isaias because of the latter's independent stance on issues. The real problem here is that both countries are channeling huge resources to the looming war in lieu of attending to the problem of drought. 

The brewing conflict between Eritrea and Ethiopia in the face of their national challenge confirms how detached African leaders are from the plight of the led.  Can any sentient being blame this on the West? It is a truism that these selfish wars are fought with the intent to loot the country, since security votes are not accountable. Wars are staged like movies by African leaders whose real reason is to fatten their purses.

The wealth in Africa leaves Africa through the arrangements of Africa's deprave leaders.  In 1999, the Econonist estimated that African leaders had stowed the whopping sum of $20bn in Swiss bank accounts. President Arap Daniel Moi of Kenya left office after having moved over $1bn to the West. The late Sani Abacha,  Nigerian dictator, ensured that $15m was wired to overseas account everyday in the 90s. Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire pushed out over $10bn amidst hardship in the country.

When Robert Mugabe became President in Zimbabwe,  the economy of Zimbabwe was robust and promising.  Today, however, after many years in power, the country has become a shadow of herself, with Mugabe and his family and cronies as the ones having reasons to smile. The Massachusetts University researchers revealed that over $187bn took to flight from 30 sub-Saharan African countries from 1970 to 1996. 

Those who attribute the African problem to dictatorship tend to miss a salient point: an informed and purpose-driven dictator performs much better than a bureaucratic democracy.  Furthermore,  dictatorship is not peculiar to Africa, since China,  Russia, and Italy have all had their fair share of experience.

China is run by different dictatorial regimes put in place by Chairman Mao and his band of revolutionaries. The unprecedented economic growth and development that have dotted China's years of dictatorial administration proves that dictatorship is not the problem with Africa. Stalin of Russia and Mussolini of Italy are two other informed and purpose-driven dictators that left indelible footprints in the sand of time.  Russia and Italy are what they are today because of the inputs of these informed dictators.

Africa's grip on dictatorship as the cause of its underdevelopment is unfounded.  Our lootocrats send our money overseas and expect our economies to improve?  Such wishful thinking is for nitwits.  Neither colonialism nor dictatorship is our problem.

The least colonized African  country,  Ethiopia (1936 -1941) remains second to Liberia as one of the poorest countries on the continent.  The shocking revelation above is an attestation to the fact that colonialism is not the problem.  The problem is corrupt leaders.  

A critical look at the Gross National Product (GNP) of Africa nations in comparison with their resources shows an explicable disconnect.  One wonders why countries in Africa, countries which natural resources fetch them intimidating foreign currencies still have very low GNP.  

Ethiopia - $600 GNP
Eritrea - $1000 GNP
Liberia - too poor to have GNP, a very shameful thing!
Namibia - $5,369 GNP much of which goes to the 6% white
Zimbabwe - $2, 470 GNP
Angola - $1000 GNP, despite its huge natural  resources
*Nigeria - $1000 GNP, despite making over $500bn from oil,  since 1970. Shameful and painful!  
Botswana - $1000 GNP,  despite the abundance of diamond.  Shameful! 
Zaire - $731 GNP,  the same country from which Mobutu Sese Seko wired $10bn.  Lord have mercy! 

The GNP of South Africa,  a country that fought apartheid for many years, is so encouraging that she competes with some developed countries.  This notion itself shows that conflict cannot be the reason for Africa's problem.  South Africa is therefore a model for Africans,  but we should not forget that there are a lot of white people in this country.  How then can a predominantly black African nation surmount the African problem? Namibia that has an encouraging GNP has a large of chunk of it going to her white populace,  which constitutes just 6% of the population.  What is the fundamental problem with the black African nations? Who will bell the cat?  How will Biafra Republic escape this black challenge? The third and final episode in the series will demystify Biafra, her system of government,  and the hope in her for the black world. 

Africa is poor,  not because of colonialism or crises,  because ne'er every African leader clamours for and rises to power in his bid to enrich himself and secure the future of his own family and friends.  Endemic corruption is the reason why Africa has always had LOOTOCRATS as leaders.  Democracy in Africa is, at best,  an orchestra where lootocrats perform on end.  The Africanisation of democracy has bred corruption untold, and it is my submission that Biafra will put a stop to this malfeasance. I shall elaborate on this when I treat the final episode.  As a clincher, Africans are the cause  of Africa's problems.  Only Africans can remove the continent from the debased economy level it occupies.  

Further readings
Stanley C. Igwe,  HOW AFRICA UNDERDEVELOPED AFRICA (Port Harcourt: Professional Printers & Publishers,  2010), pp. 11-29. 

Russell Idatoru Bluejack is a thinker,  revolutionary writer,  university tutor, and socio-economic and political analyst that writes from Port Harcourt.  
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