Tag: development

15 Jul 2016

Ending The Cycle of Madness: Reexamining The Third Option

I voted President Buhari in the last election. But no, it wasn’t because I thought he could change anything; I have never seen him as anything but a living and breathing disaster. I voted for him because I overrated the ability of Nigerians to think and reason correctly.

My thought was that if President Buhari failed (as I knew he would), Nigerians would sit, think, and consider a “third option”. That was what birthed my THIRD OPTION crusade. I wrote then that the problems of this country are systemic and will never be solved by mere electoral gimmicks and reforms, but by a revolutionary third force.

As at that time, PDP had ruled. A Yoruba man had been President. A southerner had been President. My thought was that if a northerner and a product of the merger became President and failed too like the ones who came before him, Nigerians would see that Nigeria’s problems surpass an APC, PDP, North, South thing and unite to birth a third option that will painstakingly erode the old order, end this current shitstem that glorifies looters and celebrates lawless leaders and establish a new order where illegality and the madness that characterised the old shitstem can no longer thrive. But I was wrong.

We don’t think. It is said that when a man is pushed to the wall, he will turn back and fight. Not Nigerians. We will bang our head against that wall and keep bleeding instead of turning back to fight. We don’t think. Baba Fela was right to have described us all as zombies. We have handed over our brains to political and religious leaders.

Look, Nigeria has bigger problems than Buhari, APC, PDP or the north. We are suffering from systemic failures resulting from a system that harbours countless social contradictions. You don’t patch up systemic failures this pronounced; you either rise to end the system or continue in the four-year electoral delusion, hoping things would change only to discover that they won’t.

Come 2019, President Buhari will either be reelected or somebody else will become President. We will restart the cycle of hope and right before our eyes see it dashed like before. We will come on Facebook and our blogs and write beautiful grammar about how we have been let down and how we have to wait till 2023. We will console ourselves with: “Your voters card is your power. If he fails, we will remove him too.” But we lie.

How many failures do we have to witness before we become old and grey and leave a horrible country for our children? It is delusional to think that any real power lies in that voters card. The real power lies in our ability to think and take unpopular steps.

Our search for sanity in the midst of these chaos will yield no fruit until this shitstem is torn down. Until then, we will continue to elect the same folks under different party names. Party names will change. Slogans will change. Emblems will change. Portfolios will change. But what will remain constant is the suffering and groaning of the ordinary people.

The children of the ordinary people will continue to get crumbs and continue to be offered 23, 000 naira jobs for 2 years while the children of the illegal beneficiaries of this shitstem will continue to get backdoor appointments to CBN, FIRS, etc. Ordinary people have no future under this shitstem. Their only hope for a better life lies in the struggle for a new system where merit, equality, freedom are more than mere words on paper.

We must end this cycle of madness. It has gone on for too long. Some people have been singing “e go better” since 1960. E never better o. Some people have been voting since 1960, chanting slogans, “HOPE xxx”, “TRANSFORMATION XYZ”, “CHANGE ABC”. But nothing has changed. Nothing has been transformed. When will we wake up to see the insanity that we have embraced for far too long? When are we going to open our eyes to see the hopelessness of our hope? There is no future for ordinary people under this shitstem; their only shot at a better tomorrow is to end this shitstem.

As long as this shitstem lives, the dreams of ordinary people will remain buried. The death of this shitstem is the only force capable of rolling away the stone from the mouth of the tombstone where their dreams and aspirations lie buried. This cycle of madness has gone on for long enough; the time to end it is now.

29 Apr 2016

A Review of Dambisa Moyo’s Dead Aid, by Semiu A. Akanmu

Aid, “a sum total of both concessional loans and grants”, from donors – mainly Western, to African countries has “hampered, stifled and retarded Africa’s development” is the thesis of Dambisa’s Dead Aid.  It is a tightly-argued book, combative, deep, factual, and above all, problem-solving.

Dead Aid – a 187-page, 2-part, and 10-chapter book – is an army on its own in the ranks of anti-aid dependency model for African development. It attacks the moralist and the liberal developmental narrative of Africa’s needs of aid to fight its plague of diseases, build its social and physical infrastructure, and alleviate the poverty of its people. Contrary to that, Dambisa argues, aid kills economic growth, stifles African entrepreneurship, promotes corruption, encourages coup and leadership despondency, and plagues African countries to more socioeconomic crisis.

“Sub-Saharan Africa remains the poorest region in the world with an average per capita income of roughly $1 a day…  Life expectancy has stagnated, adult literacy has plummeted, diseases ranging from bilharzia to cholera are on the rise, the income inequality is worrisome, political instability is raging”, she laments, and asks rhetorically, “Why is it that Africa, alone among the continents of the world seems to be locked into cycle of dysfunction? Why is it that out of all continents of the world, Africa seems unable to convincingly get its foot on the economic ladder?”  “The answer has its roots in aid,” she posits.

Dead Aid draws on a historical background to explain the rationale behind the constitution of aid development, and what would later translate to three organisations: The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (known as World Bank), International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the International Trade Organisation. It explains that, even though the concept helped in reconstructing Europe after the World War II, same cannot be said of Africa because: (a) no institutional framework, (b) no transparency and accountability, (c) no exit plan for aid injection, and more pathetic (d) not really meant for African development.

Dambisa listed the supporting proofs (Marshall plan, IDA graduates, with conditionalities, and a micro-macro paradox) of aid proponents, and dismantled each with potent empirical evidences and logical counter-explanation. She enumerated how “culture of dependency” naturally kills creativity, its casual effect on corruption because freebies are normally recklessly spent, and civil war. She lamented the civil society’s commodification of poverty to ensure tap of grants continues flowing, the inflationary effect of aid, among others.

What stand Dead Aid out are its alternative provisions. It strongly suggests viable and result-oriented routes that can be taken instead of the aid-dependency developmental model. It elicited capital market, foreign direct investment (FDI), trade, micro-financing and lending, remittances, and savings – with respective systematic planning and application. It, however, does not suggest an instantaneous shutoff of aid door. Rather, a planned phasing-out timeline is suggested so that African countries can explore and implement other dependable options. Likewise, it supports humanitarian aid which is occasionally meant as relief in times of natural disaster and epidemic.

What remains a debatable hypothesis, in the absence of empirical evidences, is whether aid moderates/correlates economic retrogression or causes it. Dambisa, knowing the strength of such assertions, tactically avoids it. However, she made veiled attribution of that when she writes “…where private capital trumps aid every time is on the question of governance”, “Good governance trumps all”, and  “…in a world of good governance, which will naturally emerge in the absence of the glut of aid…” What the above portends is that, good governance causes economic development, and it naturally exists in the absence of aid. We can rewrite it, as a pseudo-conceptual model, that: Aid (antecedent) leads to bad governance (mediator), then leads to economic retrogression.

Even though the question of what measures “bad governance” is open-ended, one is tempted to agree with the hypothesised linkage between aid, bad governance, and economic retrogression. In all African countries, South Africa and Botswana are most economically viable, according to Dambisa, and they took a non-aid-dependency developmental model.

Citation(s): Moyo, Dambisa. Dead aid : why aid is not working and how there is a better way for Africa. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009, 188 p.

15 Feb 2016

Culture and African Development: Recasting the Dice of Africa’s Future

Africa, the Dark Continent of Conrad, has for long been a victim of civilization. The legacies of colonization have sharply brought down her much cherished culture. Culture is the totality of man.

Many scholars have concluded that colonization brought nothing to Africa than slavery and loose of consciousness.  Walter Rodney expresses this in his book How European Underdeveloped Africa.  He listed many instances to include the economy and political life in Africa.

With a sharp contradiction, Albert sees Europe in Africa as a privilege for Africa to develop.  Africans could have developed better than where she currently is today. He blamed African leaders as the problem of development. Both scholars are right in their explanations and perspectives to the coins of colonization.

But I will like the Africans themselves to answer this question: What is the secret of Chinese development? Why have the Africans failed to develop? Walter-Rodney_How

The colonizers were religiously motivated to deliver the African countries from their leaders. This was one of the reasons for colonialism. Till today, the richest groups of people in Africa are the religious leaders. They use the church money on their names and families to build universities that their one-thousandths members cannot afford. The largest private universities in Africa are located in Nigeria. These universities are owned by Muslims and Christian leaders. These universities hardly give scholarship to their poor members who lived by hunger to pay tithes and offering. The colonizers gave out scholarships up till now to Africans while these leaders want to build heaven on earth with the gain of their worshiping centers. The irony is that while the Africans with scholarship will prefer to stay back rather than coming down to be polluted by the system of underdevelopment, the African religious leaders have successfully created their own religion that the poor Africans will worship through them.

Development is embedded in culture. African traditional leaders are nobody in the face of development. They are the neglected institutions. Colonial masters at first made use of the traditional leaders to purify the culture of the Africans.  These African leaders misused these opportunities and increased the yoke on the shoulders of their people. Yokes of physical slavery, extortion and power exaggerations brought a re-think of African traditional institution.

Ekeh (1975) felt that Africa’s ‘common men’ politicians planned to take over the sacred seat. They fought and did so through, and with, propaganda. The traditional institution lost the seats of powers to new African elites who found themselves and terribly in the shoes of traditional leaders. The traditional African culture had suddenly become a mere form of  cover picture of lion and lioness of a nursery kid. African traditional institutions were corrupt, fought for the sovereignty enjoyed by them before colonization. They refused to believe that democracy simply means lay down the sovereignty for general purposes.

African [leaders] elite tenure of African development is the second colonization. Here, Rodney was right that colonization was evil. But Rodney will be wrong to associate this to the white folks. Africans at this stage took ransom of other Africans. Sudan resolved to pre-colonial concept feudalism. South Sudan became the slaves for the north Sudan. In Nigeria, corruption brought unforeseen segregation. There are the poor, those who worked as slaves in different government and private parastatals, and the rich who also work in these places. The rich have access to the resources of the nation.  They steal and assist their foreign partners-in-crime to accelerated stinking wealthiness.   They made laws to chain the poor; they are always justified by the judicial arms of government. Rodney refuses to see the underdevelopment of Africa from the irresponsible leadership posture and lack of meaningful vision on the part of African rulers and people. Obama made it clear in his visit to Ghana in 2014 that African will only be developed by the Africans. It is a waste of time and resources to conclude that Europeans alone underdeveloped Africa.

African culture refused to develop Africa because of this development-mute of African leaders’ positions. China was a colony of the British but managed to emerge a developed country, her language and products, law are China-centered. Africa development is being hampered by Africans.


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