Two weeks ago, on a Wednesday afternoon as I was sitting idly on the sofa in my room, after eating my lunch (in french we say dejéuner). I decided to surf the internet to kill the boredom, roaming from one social media platform to another. While I was scrolling through my feeds on Facebook I came across a picture with a quote on it. The quote was a Turkish proverb which reads as follows
"The forest was shrinking but the trees kept on voting for the axe, for the axe was clever and convinced the trees that because his handle was made of wood; he was one of them."
As I finished reading this thought-provoking adage, plethora of thoughts filled my subconsciousness. As I began to muse on it I precipitously realized how the proverb completely depict the current political situation in many African countries especially Nigeria
African leaders for decades have continually incite the masses to vote them into public offices solely on the basis of ethnicity and religion.
Just like the wicked axe in the proverb that was convincing the trees that he was one them, Nigerian leaders have continually told the masses when it is time for electioneering that they are part and parcel of them because they practice the same religion or from the same tribe or both.
These egregious leaders never campaign on how they can they bring human and infrastructural development to the local government, states, or the nation. Most of these leaders have nothing to show afters years in government and have turned Africa to a land where poverty is abound, despite the abundant mineral resources, fertile lands, population and wonderful climate we have.
Africa's ruling class have made sure that majority of the masses remain in backwardness so that they can continue to cling to power.
For instance, in the Northern part of Nigeria the elite have neglected the masses and have kept many uneducated. The region has the highest number of out-of-school children in the country and it is lacking compare to other part of the country in terms of social amenities. This is intentional done to keep the masses from developing so they(the elite class) can continue to rule over the land.
These leaders make sure that aspirants who have good intentions for the states and country never get chance to get to power. They thwart their efforts and continually tell the masses not to vote for them because they do not practice a particular religion or they are not from a particular ethnic tribe. These gullible and largely uneducated masses continue to believe this repeated deception
As a lover of history, anytime I refresh myself about the history of Nigeria, I wonder why leaders like Chief Obafemi Awolowo didn't get the chance to rule this country despite his impressive achievement as the Premier of the Western region. He was the first leader in Nigeria perhaps in Africa to introduce free Education to every child regardless of their family status. He built liberty stadium and one was of the best in Africa at its time (now the stadium is nothing to talk about due to years of neglect by successive administrations), he built the Cocoa house the then tallest building in Africa. He also built the first television station in Africa, something that South Africa never had despite the thousands of white people living there. He boosted the agricultural sector of the region, he did all this solely on the money generated from cocoa and other agricultural product.
No wonder General Gowon made him the minister of finance, because he was very prudent economically.
The continent of Africa needs more selfless leaders like; Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Nelson Mandela, Patrick Lulumba, but not leaders who want to continue ruling forever with nothing to show for it like Robert Mugabe.
If Africa's masses especially Nigerians do not stop voting on the bias of ethnicity and religion, the continent will continue to wallow in abject proverty while leaders continue to enrich themselves and squander resources like the axe
Here are two quotes by the great statesman Chief Obafemi Awolowo
"I do not want the children of my drivers to be drivers to my children, neither do I want the children of my cooks to be cooks to my children, nevertheless I want free Education for all"
"The pursuit of wealth is not a bad thing in itself because without the food and comforts, which wealth provides, life will be penurious and drab. But always remember that any wealth accumulated on selfish basis, at the expense of the state in defiance of social justice helps to create a disorganised society in which everybody will eat everybody, and no one can be safe"