African Poverty As Failure Of Leadership


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African Poverty As Failure Of Leadership*




Emmanuel Franklyne Ogbunwezeh



May 3, 2006




This paper is not an exoneration of Western Imperialism, and neo-colonial sabotage of many African economies, which is one of the great factors that have crippled African development over the decades. But a critique of the timorous leadership that has not only allowed African to be exploited as a chessboard of global geopolitical wolves, but also collaborated in the enterprise of wrecking Africa. Joseph Stiglitz and Jeffrey Sachs remain some of the Washington suckled technocrats, who boldly proclaimed the truth of what people like Chinweizu, Noam Chomsky and others have been hammering on, as regards the West’s relationship with Africa. Sachs summarized Western collaboration and hypocrisy beautifully thus: “The Outside world has pat answers for Africa’s prolonged crisis. Everything comes back, again and again, to corruption and misrule. Western officials, including the countless “missions” of IMF and World Bank to African countries, argue that Africa simply needs to behave itself better, to allow market forces to operate without interference by corrupt rulers…(But) Western governments enforced draconian budget policies on Africa during the 1980s and 1990s. The IMF and World Bank virtually ran the economic policies of the debt-ridden continent, recommending regimens of budgetary belt tightening known technically as structural adjustment programs. These programs had little scientific merit and produced even fewer results. By the start of the twenty-first century, Africa was poorer than during the 1960s, when the IMF and World Bank arrived on the African scene, with disease, population growth and environmental degradation spiralling out of control. When it comes to charges of bad governance, the West should be a bit more circumspect. Little surpasses the Western world in the cruelty and depredations that it has long imposed on Africa. Three centuries of slave trade, from around 1500 to early 1800s, were followed by a century of brutal colonial rule. Far from lifting Africa economically, the colonial era left Africa bereft of educated citizens and leaders, basic infrastructure, and public health facilities. The borders of the newly independent states followed the arbitrary lines of the former empires, dividing ethnic groups, ecosystems, watersheds, and resource deposits in arbitrary ways. As soon as the colonial period ended, Africa became a pawn in the cold war. Western cold warriors, and operatives in the CIA and counterpart agencies in Europe opposed African leaders who preached nationalism, sought aid from the Western union, or demanded better terms on Western investments in African minerals and energy deposits.. and so on[i]


1.       Departure                                


Why does Africa recycle underdevelopment and Africanize global poverty? The 2005 World Development Indicators indicate that global poverty is being Africanized. That is to say, world poverty is moving southwards, and is being consolidated in Africa south of the Saharan. While other regions are experiencing growth in their GDPs, and other development indicators, Africa seems to be plunging into the nether-region of underdevelopment and despair.[ii]


Why has Africa consistently failed to engineer an escape from poverty? Why is Africa a cauldron of conflict, wars and death? Why is Africa entertaining a forlorn, dysfunctional, and conflict-ridden conglomeration of failed states in her geopolity? Why does Africa sustain the last frontiers of hunger, ignorance and disease? And why has she failed woefully to contrive a roadmap to a more prosperous existence for her teeming population? These questions have been ancient, and yet so new. Although the echoes and attempted responses to these questions have spanned both modern sociological history, and contemporary economic theory, it clamours with persistence and urgency in our time. Even though the African predicament has attended so many ideological debates of economic, socio-political, philosophical, and sociological nature, the situation is still deplorable without an end in sight. Although many of the attempts and blueprints fashioned for its resolution have been interdisciplinary endeavours, the African predicament seems to have defied solution.


The reaction to the “poverty question” in Africa has been diverse, various and varied. Some of the analysis, and postulations have been insightfully erudite; some others eccentrically theoretic; and some others stinking with prefabricated prejudices of racist and pseudo-scientific hue.  From the arrant and dialectical racism of Hegelian Afro-phobic anthropology[iii] through to Chinweizu’s historical disquisition of the imperialistic and neo-colonial power subterfuge[iv]; From Joseph Stiglitz’s discontent with the engines of modern globalization, through to Jeffrey Sachs’ economics of poverty elimination[v]; From John Perkins’ Confessions of an Economic Hit man,  to Amartya Sen’s Development as Freedom; From the bio-geographical slant of Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs and Steel, as well as Collapse to other numerous  corporatocratic, geo-strategic analysis issuing from the Washington econo-technocrats, Africa has always been on the surgical table of disquisition.


Although, there exists no credible mono-factoral explanation to the African predicament[vi], the calculus of Africa’s pain may not be solely due to the tectonic formation, or geographic accidents, which constructed the map of Africa in the shape of a huge, geographic question mark. Her persistent state of dysfunction may be a hangover of its colonial history, but bad leadership essays daily to make colonialism a lame excuse and a wooden apology for the grotesque incompetence of visionless leadership. But wait a second: Could Africans be really justified today, in accusing colonialism for their state of underdevelopment, after about over four decades of independence? Granted that colonial exploitation made many African nations a conglomeration of federated grievances; and that neo-colonial exploitative power-play propped up Kleptocratic dictators and underwrote their oppressive indiscretions against their own peoples; how could a country like Nigeria, that has earned over $400 billion from her oil resources since its discovery in 1956, fritter this wealth in conspicuous thievery, squander mania, etc., justifiably turn around to accuse colonialism for her poverty? How could Mugabe’s Zimbabwe validly accuse colonialism for the self-inflicted ruin he has brought to Zimbabwe due to his sit-tight leadership? Could Mr. Mobutu Sesse Seko accuse colonialism for his thievery, or could Idi Amin accuse colonialism for his vampiric butchery of his own people?


Geography, colonialism, and internal social dynamics have all been fingered to have conspired in various degrees, to compromise Africa’s realisation of her full potentials. Lending credence to this, Jeffrey Sachs was of the view that “Africa’s development crisis reflected the interactions of history, geography, domestic policies, and geopolitics”[vii]. But one of the greatest plagues that have sabotaged Africa’s hopes and rendered her future a fractured fairy dream, is the blight of Kleptocratic and incompetent leadership. Development will not just happen if we get the politics right, but it is an important factor, since it functions as the co-ordinator of all other variables. Credible governance structures will be prudent in managing the other variables towards development. It is only credible governance that would commence rewriting African experience, bearing the past in mind, with the aim of making the future better for Africans and black people everywhere. We are of the belief that if the structures of governance are not fixed, irresponsible governance will continue to scuttle Africa’s dreams and prospects. Somalia has finally imploded as a failed State. The scars of leadership orchestrated devastation still litter Liberia, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Congo, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Côte d’Ivoire, Northern Uganda and other African forgotten frontiers of conflict. Our stand here is that Africa must get her leadership right, if development is to berth on her shores.


2.      The Agonies of a Continent:


Africa is a continent caught in contradictions. This continent that evokes Eden in its pristine simplicity as is evident in her flora and fauna; at the same time echoes the out backs of hell in the senseless poverty, hopeless ignorance and annoying disease that constitute the furniture of daily existence there. Capturing Africa’s magnetic ability to attract perilous opposites, TIME Magazine once bore in its pages, the following unpalatable facts:


Africa has a genius for extremes, for the beginning and the end. It seems simultaneously connected to some memory of Eden and to some foretaste of apocalypse. Nowhere is day vivid or night darker. Nowhere are forests more luxuriant. Nowhere is there a continent more miserable.[viii]


The Magazine was not finished. For in her views, “Africa-Sub-Saharan Africa at least—has begun to look like an immense illustration of chaos theory”. This was because much of the continent has turned into a battleground of contending dooms: AIDS and overpopulation, poverty, starvation, illiteracy, corruption, social breakdown, vanishing resources, overcrowded cities, drought, war, and the homelessness of war’s refugees[ix]. With its exasperation on low fuel limits, TIME taxied to a conclusion: Africa has become the basket case of the planet, the “Third World of the Third World”, a vast continent in free fall[x]


Although there are other more ancient and more ominous verdicts returned on Africa, and her conditions, it is important to note that TIME passed this editorial verdict on Africa, some Thirteen years ago. One then would not be extending the boundaries of common sense, to expect some improvement northwards of this gloomy verdict, more than a decade later. But even today, at the very sunrise of 2006, the situation has assumed a hopeless dimension, and has continued to worsen and defy reason. In 2003, Oxfam; a British Charity, after its analysis minced no words in their damning reports. For Oxfam, Africa was then at a crossroads. This was because, despite the development efforts of the past two decades, Africans are getting poorer. Over 300 million people live on less than US$1 dollar per day. Life expectancy is 48 years and falling. Twenty-eight million people are living with HIV/AIDS, and 40 per cent of children are out of school.[xi]  Many United Nations Development and regional studies within the same time frame arrived at the same conclusions[xii]. The Blair’s Commission report, in its overview upon which it based a case for action, canvassed among the reasons why Africa cannot wait, as the fact that “African poverty and stagnation remains the greatest tragedy of our time”[xiii] Although Vila-Artadi, Elsa and Sala-i-Martin, Francesco Xavier reached this same conclusion earlier in 2003,[xiv] Jeffrey Sachs not only reconfirmed these findings in his 2005 book, The End of Poverty, but went further to  contend passionately that this situation of “extreme poverty can be ended not in the time of our grandchildren, but in our time”, if we resolve to make the choices that will lead in us that direction[xv].


Fast-forward to 2006. Juxtapose the 2003 Oxfam statistics with the World Development Indicators published by the World Bank for 2005, one sees that the situation is advancing southwards of the positive scale. In 2003, life expectancy in Africa was 48 years. But in 2005, it is 46 years[xvi]; slipping farther south by 2 years average. Compared with Europe and Central Asia with life a expectancy of 68 or with East Asia and Pacific region with life expectancy at 70 years or with 71 for Latin America and 63 for South Asia, then one sees the gulf, which separates Africa from other regions of the world.


In terms of resources and endowments, Africa is blessed with all the resources that make for greatness; human, material and ecological. This continent harbours over 40 per cent of the world’s potential hydro-electric power supply; the bulk of the world’s diamond and chromium; 30 per cent of the Uranium ; 50 per cent of the world’s gold; 90 per cent of its cobalt; 50 per cent of its phosphates; 40 per cent of its Platinum; 7.5 per cent of its coal; 8 per cent of its known petroleum reserves; 12 per cent of its natural gas; 3 per cent of its iron ore; 64 per cent of the world’s Manganese, 13 percent of its copper, vast Bauxite, nickel and lead resources[xvii] and millions upon millions of untilled farmlands.


A continent so well endowed has actually no business with poverty. But the ideal is millions of light years shy of the reality. African history has been one sad story ever since. This continent has won most of the negative superlatives available on the human developmental index. She maintains the unenviable position as the least developed section of the globe. Over 98% of her countries bear the inglorious classification of the world known as “Third” She maintains an eminent presence in the courts of Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPCs). In fact, over and above the prejudiced and fabricated hyperboles of Western media, Africa remains a metaphor for poverty and underdevelopment.


Today the continent hosts poverty, and is littered with failed states[xviii]. Many of these States are in various stages of decay and certain implosion. The CIA in a 2005 Security forecast warned that Nigeria is in danger of collapsing within 15 years. Juxtapose this picture with that of Somalia; a country at the horn of Africa, which is now a certified failed State that has turned into a breeding ground for terrorists and pirates, one then sees a thumbnail portrait of the situation in most of Africa. Zimbabwe is still in the clutch of a self-digesting government that has lost all reasons to be in power. Conflict still engulfs the ironically named Democratic Republic of Congo. Thousands are still massacred daily in Sudan, while Darfur has become a synonym for government sponsored massacre of its own people. Niger Republic still loses thousands of her children and women to death, consequent on the drought that is still ravaging the land. Conducting a universally acceptable election is still a mission impossible for many African nations, as Liberia has most recently evidenced. Sit-tight leadership and the scheming thereto, is still abundant, as the Eyadema dynasty is still well emplaced in the politics of Togo, while Obasanjo of Nigeria is scheming to amend the constitution to accommodate a rogue third term for himself and his cronies. Socio-economic instability, conflict, HIV/AIDs, despotic democratic caricatures, all join the brew to make Africa a cocktail of poverty and underdevelopment.


With all these loads burdening her, Africa cannot but suffer an Instability Syndrome that is immune to every attempt at solution. Poverty is being consolidated at all levels. The hangovers of historical tragedies join modern buccaneering leadership to consolidate the predicament today. And to this end, Africa hosts and continues to churn out the largest number of conflict and disaster induced refugees, and immigrants seeking to emigrate out of the continent due to socio-economic distress, political dislocation and conflict.


Statistics available indicates that among the 53 countries in Africa, one can easily find a needle in a haystack than find a single socio-economic or geopolitical success. Sub-Saharan African countries are among the poorest nations on earth, aggregating and leading as the region with the largest proportion of people living below $1 a day. And this number is in fact expected to rise from 313 million in 2001 to 340 million people by 2015. This, the report alludes to among other things, Africa’s high dependence on commodity exports and the fact that she is still experiencing political and economic instability. HIV prevalence is at 7.2% and is increasing. Over 24,000 thousand people die every day due to malaria and other preventable diseases. Africa records 171 under 5 mortality death-rates to every 1,000 live births.


In the face of these facts, the question then is: How do we arrest this unrestrained slide into poverty and underdevelopment? How do we reposition Africa on the path to sustainable development? We believe that the above questions can begin to be answered by the emplacement of good governance and structures that sustains and nourishes accountability in governance, in Africa.


Let us see why!


3.       Government: Some theoretic Considerations

Government is the shortest distance between social sanity and anarchy. It is the bulwark invented by man to defuse his uncanny genius in contriving his collective self destruction. To this end, it has remained the safest synthesis in the social dialectics between chaotic capability to assuredly self-destruct, and man’s ontologic craving to escape extinction, or what Baruch de Spinoza identified as “conatus essendi”.


The absence of good leadership is litany in honour of anarchy. Men of all times and climes have busied themselves with the issues of good governance. Plato’s Republic, laying a systematic basis for good governance, proclaimed that all hopes is lost for the State, unless philosophers become kings or kings become philosophers. This for him meant that the best element of the society; the thinking elements, the wise elements, or the lovers of wisdom should be in power, and rule the state. This is because power without wisdom corrupts and invites social problems. Prior to Plato, the Jews appropriated this wisdom, when their sacred literature made Solomon, who had been chosen as king to ask Yahweh not for riches or fame, but for wisdom to rule the people with right judgement. Their prophetic theologies[xix] went further to consolidate this position, by anointing the coming Christ of Yahweh, who is to be born to take up the government upon his shoulders. Hebrew metaphors of the Sheep and shepherd were all literary devices, which catered to the craving for good governance nursed by the Jews. For the Jews, the Christ of God is coming to rule with the sceptre of justice. To that end, “His name shall be called wonderful counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting father and Prince of peace”[xx]. And when he comes, he will sack the hirelings, who shepherd the flock of Yahweh for sordid money; who feed on the flock without feeding the flock. And the flock of Yahweh will in joy invoke the Lord as their Shepherd. And they will want for nothing more[xxi]  For the Flock substitute the people of Israel. For hirelings, substitute bad leaders. And for the Christ or anointed one substitute the good leader.


Good governance equally occupied the attention of Aristotle. Aristotle added a new twist to the search for good and stable governance that caters to the welfare of the citizens. After identifying man as a political animal, Aristotle went further to subordinate all other practical sciences, which regulate conduct to Politeia. “Of all the practical sciences which regulates conduct, the chief to which all others are subordinate is politics; the science which governs the complete human life of men living together in a self-sufficient community, city or state”[xxii]. For him, the raison d’ętre of Politeia[xxiii] (politics) is eudemonia (well-being) of the citizens. In his Ethics, Aristotle raised up eudemonia as that for which not only politeia is set up, but for that which everything is done. Thomas Aquinas equally took this up in his Summa. But not until Thomas Hobbes did we see the urgency and necessity of good governance, based on the fear of violent death, which anarchy holds in abundance. In fact Hobbes’ Leviathan painted a surreal picture of the social jungle, which the absence of government comprises. Somalia has borne him out.


The concept of good governance, the absence of which we believe under girds African poverty is that well articulated by David Moloney[xxiv]. Here, government is understood as a stool with three legs – “political leadership, government institutions and capacity, and strong engaged civil society. Good governance requires all of these three legs. It means developing a representative and participatory democracy with an accountable government, as well as an active and informed civil society. It means developing effective public machinery and institutions and their capacity. It means strengthening the rule of law, respect for human rights, a fair and transparent judiciary, universal access to justice, forums for complaints, appeal and redress and enforcement of property rights. Good governance does mean responsible economic management”. But it means all of these other things as well. And this integral concept of governance is what Africa lacks both in terms and in fact.


 The absence of these concept and structures of governance in Africa conduced to the rise of a host of unvarnished scoundrels, who occupied the epicentres of power in Africa. They have in the course of contemporary African history, succeeded in running Africa aground in the sandbanks of poverty.


4.      Some Reactions to the Predicament!

The African predicament has attracted the good, the bad and the ugly, like a cadaver attracts various shades of actors and scavengers. Reactions to African poverty have inspired beautiful homilies, erudite position papers, edifying editorials, documentaries and newspaper articles, as well as brilliant thesis and first-class dissertations in many faculties across almost all the universities on earth. It has attracted the genuine activists as well as the Lords of Poverty[xxv], who have converted Charity into a multi-billion Dollar cottage industry, to feed private greed on public generosity. It has also spawned uncountable national and international policy programmes and movements.


On the local level we have had programmes like Operation Feed the Nation (OFN), Better Life for Rural Women, Green Revolution, Mass Mobilization for Social Development (Mamser), War Against Indiscipline and corruption, Structural Adjustment Programme, SEED, NAPEP, NEEDS etc, in Nigeria. On the African regional platform, OAU, organization for African Unity metamorphosed into AU; African Union, with a view to translating into an Economic Union modelled after the European Union. NEPAD, The United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and the Blair’s Commission on Africa, to mention but a few, were all designed as reactions to counter African poverty. Jubilee2000, Live 8, DATA, Make-Poverty-History, Odious Debts, etc are some of the movements, which sprouted in reaction to the African situation; and sought, like some journalists wrongly described it, to “morally blackmail” world leaders into taking a second look on Africa, pursuant to their obligation to our common humanity. But the extent of their success is so far yet to been seen. 


Africa lost the 20th century to poverty and underdevelopment that questions such as “Can she claim the 21st” has risen both as a title[xxvi] and a question. In view of the nagging condition of need and poverty, many are beginning to view the map of Africa as a huge question mark. This is in the light of the fact that the chronicles of African history as well as her contemporary situation constitutes as it were, a real, monstrous question mark of frightening, and scandalous proportion to any sane mind[xxvii]. This situation is most painful in these times, when the world is awash with wealth on a scale, which have never been seen before in human history[xxviii]


Articulating the potencies of our time, and why African poverty remains unacceptable, Prof. Amartya Sen, in his Opus magnificus; Development as Freedom, succinctly observed that we live in a world of unprecedented opulence, of a kind that would have been hard even to imagine a century or two ago. Aligned to this, were other remarkable changes beyond the economic sphere. The twentieth century has established democratic and participatory governance as the pre-eminent model of political organization. Concepts of human rights and political liberty are in our time a fundamental part of the prevailing rhetoric. Life expectancy has increased as people live much longer, on the average than ever before. All these are coupled to the amazing fact of our fluid interconnectedness borne on the wings of technological advancement. The microchips omnipotence and the information superhighway, availed us by inventions and discoveries in computer technology and allied sciences, has bridged the distances, and made our world a global village there to benefit those with the infrastructures to tap into its infinite possibilities. Commerce, communication, interactive ideals and ideas are now peddled by the push of a button or the flick of a switch[xxix].  This is the glorious part of human life today, which accentuates and renders the deprivation entertained in Africa, a scandalous, toxic and unacceptable option.


The desire to ameliorate this situation is therefore the inspiration propelling this reaction. It issues from our belief that Africans must drive their own development. In as much as we recognize that no single factor can essay to explain the African predicament, it behoves Africans themselves to seek and craft home grown solutions to their problems, which must be based on sound analysis untainted by hypocrisy and unjustifiable passing of bucks to all other factors, save their own contributions to their predicament.


To this end, what we must do to end this situation, and lead Africa on the primal rungs of development, leads to the inescapable question: What is the cause of African Poverty? This query is rendered relevant by our belief that our destiny will always lie in our hands. Africans to this end must look in the mirror and see how much Africans have contributed in dealing Africa a bad card. From that pedestal, getting our house in order will sound as the strongest base to launch our escape from poverty. After all: Charity must begin at home.


5.      Genesis of our Apocalypse

 African predicament is not new story. It is an ancient tale, taking up new complex plots, as Africa accrues historical debris, on the march of her social evolution. Africa has been a victim of her historical experiences, as well as the complex hangovers and legacies of that experience. Biogeography, as eruditely argued by Professor Diamond, may have dealt Africa a bad card, as to concentrate the advantage of the evolution of germs, guns and steel in the hands of her conquerors[xxx] But despite these bio-geographical disadvantages, and the  unfavourable evolutionary trajectory it engenders; societies as Professor Diamond later realised, chooses through their actions or inaction to collapse, and invite its own extinction, or to succeed[xxxi] In this regard, it is almost always human actions or inactions that essay to impose a historical burden or answer the Hamletian Question for every society.


In the case of Africa, this human element is seen in the variety of forces that affected or moulded her history and experience. Lydia Polgreen summarized the roots of Africa’s present burden: Africa was a land carved for a colonial feast. For her, “it is a truism of Africa that the borders bequeathed by white colonial powers, drawn in the 19th-century scramble for Africa at the convenience of London, Paris and Brussels, became the Blackman’s burden”. And if the inherited colonial- nation state has been the Blackman’s burden, it has also been the African despot’s best friend, a powerful tool when wielded by crafty hands. In fact, the excesses of African dictators, from Mobutu Sesse Seko to Robert Mugabe, from Sani Abacha to Charles Taylor, were enabled, to a greater or lesser degree, by the inherent conflicts created by artificial state boundaries that allowed a powerful central government to play tribal, ethnic and religious groups against one another[xxxii]. Aligned to that, colonialism destroyed some African cultural values and structures that would have conduced to the emergence of accountability in governance. This is well depicted by the fact that until now as Ali Mazrui argued, “Africa has borrowed Western tastes without Western skills, Western consumption patterns without Western production techniques, urbanization without industrialization, secularization (erosion of religion) without scientification.”[xxxiii]


Colonialism may have invented Africa[xxxiv] and constructed the trajectory of her socio-political evolution. But at it’s end, a rogue cabal of African elements hijacked power across the length and breadth of the continent; and pursuant to an avaricious agenda that met at the intersections of neo-colonialism and self-centred Machiavellian realpolitik, went on to loot the continent into submission; eviscerating the dreams of her young, disembowelling the aspirations of her ancestors and embezzling the future of her posterity.


As I have argued severally[xxxv], colonialism compromised the trajectory of African socio-economic, geopolitical and even cultural evolution no doubt. And it represents a major pillar supporting the African predicament, when one considers its long, hidden tele-guidance of African destiny, which echoed strongly in neo-colonial waves during the cold war. Today, it daily loses validity as an exonerating punch bag for African failures. As African leadership continues to acquit itself terribly, colonialism no longer suffices as an excuse. As one African leadership after another fails in its primary responsibilities, reason and commonsense withdraws some of its patronage and validity from colonialism, as a major scaffold of blame for Africa’s retrogress, since some other ex-colonies and colonized countries like India have continued to record and post rampaging advances in development.


Though the question here is not where the rains started to beat Africa, but why Africa has failed to get herself an umbrella, after all these decades of standing in the rain; we must establish the origin of the exploitative trajectory that has continued to this day, before we could then condemn the stupidity of not fashioning an escape from this predicament all these years; and/or recommend our vision for a new dawn. We do this neither to exonerate the torch bearers of this developmental anomie, nor their camp followers, but to establish the origin of our woes.


At the dying days of colonialism, independence was looked upon with a lot of hope by Africans. But scarcely have the post-independence African leadership settled down, than they shed themselves of their skins. The chameleonic opportunism hidden under the cloak of freedom fighting came home for what it is.


Many of the freedom fighters that won independence were idolized and revered as heroes. But many of them were hopeless political amateurs. Those who had vision were most times schemed out of the power equations, by the departing colonial masters, who had neo-colonial plans. And those with more of brawn than brains were imposed or helped to the seat of power, where they sat to abuse, misuse, and confuse power. Scarcely had they arrived than corruption, ethnic bickering, visionless squandermania, and mismanagement arose to brew a cocktail of unease and discontent across Africa. Many of the freshly baked and newly independent polities became supercharged; ripe for implosion.


It took military coups, born of frustrations and neo-colonial manoeuvrings, to sound the first knell that all is not well with the leadership and inherited colonial power structure. This hammered the first nail into Africa’s political coffin. Slyvanus Olympio was toppled in Togo, to open the floodgates of military coups, forceful take-over of power, and sit-tight juntas across Africa. Chairman Mao Tse Tung’s dictum took flesh and incarnated in Africa. Power commenced, and continued flowing from the barrels of guns, wielded by illiterate and semi-literate soldiers. The soldiers advertised zeal, and brandished messianic visions. These were later to prove, empty and bloated recklessness. Some countries became embroiled in internecine conflagration. Katanga and Biafra arose as tragic indictments to the polygamous marriage between neo-imperialism, reckless military messianism and rudderless leadership. These failures not only consumed some of its architects, it demanded and exacted payment in blood and lives of millions of innocent Africans. In Katanga, international forces fought over ideology and natural resources. Congolese diamond, copper and Uranium replaced rubber as the new commodity, over which international forces were ready, willing and zealous to spill African blood. In Biafra, they fought over oil and a preservation of a neo-colonial vassalship: All by proxy. Africans were armed to kill Africans, to satisfy the narrow insularities of international profit, and insipidity of visionless leadership. Mobutu aligned with neo-colonial forces in Congo, to murder Lumumba and enthrone a neo-colonial-friendly dictatorship, which continued and consolidated the despoliation and impoverishment of that country, which was inaugurated by King Leopold II, the Butcher of Congo[xxxvi].


Can history ever forgive or forget the ghost of Leopold II, and other colonial traditions of plunder and extermination written in generous brush-strokes across the face of Africa. Leopold II, the butcher of Congo, rapaciously plundered the Congo in a bestial orgy of violence, decimation and inhumanity. Over 15 million Congolese were killed by this butcher, whose avaricious desire for a colony defied all reasonable bounds. On Congo’s eastern flanks, the acts of Heinrich Goering; the father of the notorious Nazi Reichkommissar Hermann Goering in Africa, which was replicated a generation later by his son Hermann in Nazi Germany, leads one guessing if the tendency to commit genocide is genetic, or could be inherited. As the founding Reichkommissar of the former German colony of South-West Africa, which became Nambia; this guy led Germany’s 1904 war of extermination against the Hereros, in what is considered one of the most vicious attacks by European colonialists on Africans. That these historical scandals shaped African socio-politics, and continue to reverberate in African life and experience today is not in doubt. Up till today, for instance, the political situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo remains unstable, arguably a legacy of Leopold’s regime and of decades of Belgium’s colonial rule that followed. Corruption and violence appears to be entrenched. Cases of rape, torture, executions and cannibalism were widely reported. The international rescue committee estimates that 4.7 million people have died through famine and warfare since 1997. Leopold II remains “one of the most notorious degenerates of 19th century Europe, and the perpetrator of unnumbered atrocities within the Congo Free States. Leopold was a hypocrite and a liar of monumental proportions. He barely made it into the 20th century, but deserves to be listed as one of its worst killers. Mobutu, Idi Amin, Sani Abacha, etc., all had a forefather in this arrant thief and butcher.


The Coup in Togo engendered a domino effect. One African government after the other fell to the blazing and speaking ends of military guns. Nkrumah was sacked in Ghana, and exiled. Tafawa Balewa was forced to kick the bucket in Nigeria. Gamel Nasser shot his way to power in Egypt. Mengistu Haile Mariam kicked out the monarchy of Haile Selassie. Amin kicked out Obote in Uganda. At a time, the Organization of African Unity became a collage of military tyrants, with a few sprinkling of their civilian counterparts. Coups and countercoups became the norm instead of the exception across Africa. This persisted from the early sixties to the late 80s. During this time, Africa descended into hell. No significant social development was recorded. The infinitesimal gains and the impetus that came with independence were frittered in the squabbling for power between the civilian politicians and their khaki-clad counterparts armed to the teeth. African economies were run aground to assuage the tastes of avaricious kleptocrats.


Many people were really immunized to the crass descent into hellish existence in Africa. But as statistics gradually became flesh, and streamed into our living rooms, via satellite and cable television, the whole world became invited to witness Africa as a disaster capital. Drought and starvation in Ethiopia, perennial war, genocide and ethnic cleansing in Sudan, Slavery, child and women trafficking, child soldiers drugged into an amputation spree in Liberia and Sierra Leone, genocide in Rwanda, unchecked rampage of desertification, all arrested and held our attention hostage.


In the early 1980s for instance, the decadent Nigerian economy, which have been looted into submission by military bandits, really started caving in. The civilian administrators continued on the looting spree, until there was almost nothing left to loot. They had to introduce an Austerity Measure designed by the Creditor clubs, not to pay off, or service the country’s debts, but to refinance and re-float their looting enterprise. Shagari presided over in puerility, while Umaru Dikko advertised embezzlement as art of governance. The Kaduna Mafia of lecherous power brokers and profiteers rose at this time, on this social humus. It did not take long for the crack to really floor the nation. Inefficiency and indiscipline in public space reigned supreme. Sony Okonsuns; a popular musician parodied the national decadence in music: “Which way Nigeria? He asked. Chinua Achebe, the tallest African in the house of literature, indicted the politicians for the ills bedevilling Nigeria at that moment. The Trouble with Nigeria was leadership, he wrote. All entreaties of these visionaries fell on deaf ears, as the politicians continued looting the country. The nation was on a collision course. The middle class that stimulates and shoulders the burden of development in other climes were frustrated out of emigrating out of Nigeria in droves, at this time. Brain drain arrived to join the rot. At the height of this pervasive impunity, the military struck again to kick out Shagari and his cronies.


The rest of the story is well known. Nigeria swung from maradonic gangsterism of Ibrahim Babangida to the arrant thievery of Sanni Abacha. Plunder was the game. And both were first class thieves.


6.      It is not rocket Science or Brain surgery; it is Leadership!

The driver of Africa’s problem TODAY is leadership. Africa’s failure to escape from poverty, after over four decades of independence, and over $400 billion Dollars Development aid, is squarely the failure of leadership[xxxvii]. To state it without rhetorics or embroideries: the major trouble with Africa today is that felons, who should be inhabiting maximum security prison yards, are the ones occupying the seats of power; residing in the government houses across Africa; masquerading as leaders. In our clime felons are leaders. Crooked quacks, who in civilized climes, should be banished to the infernal realms of collective disdain, are canonised as saints in our political amphitheatres. Africa is marooned aground in the sandbanks of underdevelopment because African thugs and touts exchanged their primeval jungle playgrounds for our citadels of power. And they have been at the helm of affairs almost since independence shamelessly celebrating monumental idiocy, grotesque incompetence and the kind of visionless kleptomania unparalleled in the history of governance.


These leaders, as time continued to show, consult a myopic calculus that profits personal avarice, while their charges suffered irredeemable dereliction. Their governments have been capital disservice to their peoples. This calculus is impregnated with the narrow insularities of self and sectional short-term interest, which foreclosed every possibility of a plan for development of the African people, or improvement in the standard of living and well-being of the citizens. It was like the colonial political calculus that was predicated on exploitation.



The only difference lies in the fact that where the colonial masters consulted imperial interests, African leaders substituted it with primeval interests of egocentric and avaricious dimensions. Micheal Chege, on May 9th 2002, while testifying before the United States House of Representatives Committee on Financial Service reiterated as follows:

Bad national governance—and dictatorship is the worst form of it—is now the acknowledged tap root of mass poverty and political instability in the developing world. Dictators achieve that infamy by exposing those they rule to a double jeopardy. By denying those they  tyrannize their inalienable rights, such as free speech, access to a free press, freedom of worship and freedom of association, they confine the public’s mind to a stifling inward-looking provincialism that drives out the vigorous debate their complex problems cry out for. By denying those they tyrannized their rights, they also banish them from freedom to explore on the basis of free enterprise, novel and legitimate ways towards individual prosperity—the most convenient path out of mass poverty known to us so far. That double jeopardy is compounded when despots steal funds from their own people—either by raiding the national treasury or by demanding commissions and bribes in large commercial transactions—secretly banking the ill-gotten gains abroad. By stealing from poor economies, Third World dictators not only deny their countries vital savings and investments, they also perpetuate a culture of perverse policy-making that leads to more poverty and more political discontent. That in turn calls for more repression, more pay-offs for political turncoats, more torture chambers, and yet more multi-million rip-offs by the management of the dictatorships to finance all that. Dictatorial theft, bad policies and poverty reinforce each other in a vicious cycle.[xxxviii]


In fact, the vaulting selfishness of many African leaders will constitute an interesting research area for Development psychologists. I am afraid that a psychoanalytical study of many African leaders will definitely discover a fundamental irreconciliation of the elementary oral/anal Freudian stages of psychosexual development, where primeval selfishness is all that matters to a child. The brazenness with which many African leaders deploys State’s resources in service to their avarice and personal fiefdoms and estates, can only be explained by a fixation at this stage of psychological development. And that this situation is so pervasive in almost all levels of African politics, is really frightening, and attests to the dysfunctional bastardization and corrosive erosion of African social mores and traditional values.


Many African countries are imprisoned by a Kleptocratic realpolitik, amply sustained by a mixture of elitist avarice and civic timidity of the masses. This is the situation which licensed political bandits to hold the state to ransom across Africa. Nigeria is a classic example of this. Some apt examples will essay to buttress our points here.


In the late 1970s, Nigeria was awash with petrodollars. The Arab-Israeli conflict and the embargo on oil placed by the Arab states raised the oil prices in the world market. That was a boom for revenue generation in Nigeria. This was so stupendous that the then Nigerian military head of state; Yakubu Gowon boasted in short-sightedness, that Nigeria’s problems were not how to make money, but how to spend it. With this imbecilic philosophy as a policy of governance, Nigeria under Gowon commenced one of the most senseless squandermanic enterprises that African history has ever witnessed. Corruption was ushered in amid pomp and senile pageantry into governance. And with this whistle blown on graft, elitist greed was canonized. From that moment, Nigeria was hijacked and unwittingly sanctioned the embezzlement of her future by a horde of military buccaneers. Gowon was sacked by Murtala Mohammed for muting plans to perpetuate himself in office. This he did by defaulting on his promise to hand over in 1975. Murtala may have tried to salvage some sanity from the puerility advertised by Gowon’s administrative indiscretions. But his meeting with the business ends of Dimka’s guns in a putsch gone awry ended that short burst of courageous action. Obasanjo sat astride Murtala’s misfortune, and governed Nigeria like a drunken sailor would. The rest could be gleaned from history books. He steamed aimlessly on, squandering the nation’s wealth in white elephant projects, until he handed over to another round of civilian pirates. Shehu Shagari was at the head of this crowd. With Shagari running the government by proxy for Umaru Dikko and a faceless cabal of Mafian dons from the Northern establishment, Nigeria went from bad to terrible. By the time, the civilians were shoved aside on the 31st of December, 1983; Umaru Dikko had   stolen enough from the Nigerian people to fund a life of sinful ease in exile. Buhari was draconian in his policies. He muzzled the press and showed his fangs to dissent. But history will forever judge his as a benevolent dictatorship compared to those that came after him.


Nigeria continued its journey to hell, when Babangida came to power. This guy was a prodigious wrecker. IBB as he was known was a liar of first eminence, who shamelessly consulted Machiavellian manipulative somersaults, as his policy of governance. His achievement while in power was a litany of negatives. Under his watch corruption was liberalized in governance. Lies and dissimulation were elevated to the fine art of statecraft. He wrecked the Nigerian economy implementing a scientifically suspect, World Bank prescribed Structural adjustment program, which equally afforded him the smokescreen to loot Nigeria blind. Nigerians under him suffered unprecedented hardship, while he created a lot of directorate to settle his otherwise, would be opponents. His government became a government of settlement, where under shady names, national and public utilities were auctioned off to his empire under the ruse of privatization[xxxix] IBB bought supporter to his rape of Nigeria with fat pay checks.


Under him, defence and policy budgets enjoyed precedence over education, health care and agriculture, as to intimidate opponents into silence. He bungled the Nigerian economy, embezzled its political future, by derailing a transition to democracy which cost over 30 billion  dollars. At the end of the day, he stepped aside and repositioned the country for further pillage by his partner in crime Sanni Abacha. Abacha was a stupendous crook[xl] While Nigeria GDP per capita was $319 dollars; Abacha stole over $5billion dollars from the Nigeria coffers[xli] Nigeria is yet to recover from his arrant consultation of plunder. He ranks among the pre-eminent people that stole Nigeria into poverty. When he died atop prostitutes in Abuja in 1998, it brought a twist to the Nigerian debacle.


The fact is: Nigerian past rulers from Independence in 1960 to the return of civilian rule in 1999, among themselves jointly stole or mismanaged 220 billion Pounds Sterling. This according to London’s Daily Telegraph, amounted to over 300years of British aid to Africa, and is the equivalent of 6 Marshall Plans.[xlii] To that end today, over 75% of the population live in abject poverty, despite the fact that Nigeria is the 7th largest exporter of crude oil in the world. Bad leadership created and consolidated a rent-seeking mono-economy, with oil as its mainstay. This lack of diversification created a social situation where as minute as 1% of the population cradle over 80% of the wealth, while the majority are left with insignificant crumbs that fell off the table of this moneyed elite.


Many would think that under a civilian or democratic leadership, Nigerians will correct and avert the mistakes of the past. But as facts has continued to prove, it remains a tall dream, as no rational explanation has ever sufficed for the brazen misapplication of funds, and misplacement of priorities represented by Obasanjo administration’s construction of a new National Stadium at Abuja, at the whooping cost of at least $347 million dollars, as a part of the All African games in 2003. This huge project which is simply nothing but a prestige project was replete with the usual wastage, and deep-rooted corrupt kickbacks. This amount was about the same amount budgeted for recurrent expenditure on education in 2001, and twice the amount of money that Nigeria spent on her health in 2003. This is not all; the Obasanjo’s government cannot offer an economically sensible reason, both strategic and tactical why Nigeria, a country writhing in deepening poverty purchased a $35 billion dollar worth of military hardware from China, in 2005. This was approved by the Federal executive council, while many Nigerians are tenants of garbage dumps competing with avian scavengers for space and superiority. One wonders why Obasanjo and his king’s men never realised that what Nigeria needed at that moment, was not military technology from China, but placing the minimum capability for dignified living within the reach of every Nigerian, quite oblivious of status and station.


If the Nigerian example is sad, wait till you acquaint yourself of other African examples!


In Uganda, Idi Amin Dada was himself the proof that Africa was not spared the reign of scoundrels, whose rascality knew no bounds. Amin was an intellectual Lilliputian, who believed he was close to a god, and who consequent upon that illusion, wrote himself into disrepute, that no amount of historical revisionism would ever renovate his dilapidated memory. Amin turned Uganda into an abattoir. Bitten by the bugs of omnipotence, he went on a rampage celebrating his madness. He made an extraordinary effort to assume, represent and advertise primitive buffoonery. He was a mentally deranged nincompoop, at the clutches of syphilitic neurosis. He comported himself as if his head was merely of ornamental import. The only beings that will ever miss Amin were the crocodiles of the River Nile, which enjoyed marathon meals off human flesh, courtesy of Amin. Amin’s brutality serviced the hunger of these beasts with the bodies of his fellow countrymen. He killed for fun, with brutal relish unparalleled since the imperial debaucheries of King Leopold II of Belgium. For Amin, state building was opponent-hunting. To that end, the Nile drank pints of human blood, as Uganda saw red at the hands of an eminent debauchee.


In Congo, Mobutu Sesse Seko held court as the god of kleptocracy. Mobutu was an extraordinary thief. He remains a class act in redirecting state’s resources to his private estate and fiefdom. Every attempt to find a redeeming outlet for Mobutu crashes into insurmountable layers of guilt. No logic or reason agreed to rehabilitate or rescue his congenital roguery. This guy nursed a hyper-galloping avarice, which is primitive, brutal and deadly. He hunted and eviscerated opposition like Cheetah hunts for prey. He atrociously preyed on his people, like only a sadist would, with the brutal relish exclusively reserved for cannibals. He succeeds not only in wrecking his country for good measure, but abandoned it as a hopeless basket case of wasted opportunities, pain, poverty and conflict. Mobutu remains an embarrassment to good sense. Sitting astride one of the most endowed lands on the earth surface, Mobutu made sure that his country would know nothing but poverty, conflict and war in decades to come. With an estimated $5 billion dollars in stolen credit, at his death in 1997, Mobutu ranks as an eternal tragedy, as well as a vulgar insult to accountability in governance.


In Central African Republic, Jean Bedel Bokassa was simply a political nitwit. He was an eminent knave, whose rascality in power borders on senility. He conducted himself like a moron in power. His only achievement in office was his wastage of his country’s resources aping the monarchical anachronism of Bourbon France. Bokassa’s wastage confounds all expectations. He excelled in doing prodigious mischief to his country. Central African Republic basks in opulent poverty today, all thanks to this man. He was among the first to publish his obscene self-deification. Words are notoriously inadequate to stigmatize such stupidities. Bokassa spent 20% of his country GNP; $20 million dollars to crown himself “emperor”, to prove that like France, black Africa can produce emperors[xliii]


Daniel Arap Moi ran a dictatorship in Kenya from 1978 to 2003. This guy presided over the destruction of what many saw as Africa’s economic showcase in the 1960s and 70s. Moi was credited with salting away over $3 billion dollars of his people’s money in foreign bank accounts. In the famous Goldberg scandal, the Moi’s regime made away with an estimated $1 billion dollars-an equivalent of 12% of the country’s GDP[xliv]; at that time setting off a spiral inflation, ruined agricultural sector, derelict public utilities, and repositioning Kenya to take a hike into retrogression.


Need we cite the current example of King Mswati of Swaziland? This guy is still busy impoverishing his country with his avaricious tastes and debauched inclinations. One really wonders what this man generously endowed with solomonic libido devoid of its wisdom, is doing at the thresholds of the 21st century, patronizing glorified paedophilia and abusing young women in the name of tradition. He is still royally “abducting virgins and buying the costliest of luxury cars and planes, instead of concentrating on nation building. In January 2004, he asked parliament to give him $15 million dollars to construct new palaces for his wives[xlv]. Not to be outdone in unnecessary squandering of resources, BBC online in January 2003 reported his bid to purchase a $45 million Dollar private jet from the Canadian plane maker, Bombardier, in disregard of IMF’s warning against that, and when a quarter of his subjects risked starvation. Add these to the fact that nearly half of the country’s adult population are thought to be infected with the HIV/AIDS virus[xlvi]. In April of 2004, 10,000 guests of his celebrated his 36th birthday at an event estimated to have cost $600,000 dollars. And in December of the same year, he bought a $500,000 dollar luxury car. Contrast this with the fact that Swaziland’s unemployment rate stands at 40%, while almost 70% of the country’s one-million population live on average daily income of $1dollar or less. And the fact that about one third of all Swaziland’s people rely on food aid for survival[xlvii], then you will see while the country will always hover very much below the poverty line for the majority, while the elitist power brokers would continue to bask in sickening and obscene opulence.


As late as July 20th 2005, 34 year old Teodorin Nguema Obiang; the son of the president of the Oil rich Equatorial Guinea, was reported as embarking on a spending safari in Cape Town, South Africa: lavishing millions on cars, house renovations, hotel accommodation and entertainment. In less than one week, he blew close to R10 million on three luxury cars and millions more on other luxuries. This same guy incidentally happens to be the minister of forestry, environment and housing in the government of his father. That is not all there is to it. He owns a stake in a logging company, which reportedly has a multi-million Rand turnover. Teodoro the report continued is the owner of the only government approved private radio station in Equatorial Guinea, Radio Asonga, which runs Television Asonga, owned by his father, and owns the hip-hop record label TNO (for Teodoro Nguema Obiang) Records. It is understood that while in Cape Town Teodorin spent an estimated R7-million on two Bentley Mulliner, at MG Rover Cape Town, as well as R3.2-million on a 2005 6-litre Lamborghini at Bloomsbury in Buitengracht Street. His architects are also reliably understood to be starting shortly with multimillion Rand renovations to his properties 35 Klaassens Road, Bishopscourt, which he bought last for a reported R26-million Rand, and 76 Fourth Beach, Clifton, bought for R23.5-million. He burnt R15, 000 on French Champagne in one night. This same guy is reported to have homes in Paris, London, and Los Angeles, where he has fleets of Bentleys and Lamborghinis, and is often seen at glitzy parties in Rio de Janeiro, Los Angeles, London and Paris.


Against the backdrop of all these, much of the country is stuck in poverty. The people of Equatorial Guinea have to survive on a dollar a day, although their president has more than $600 million frozen at Riggs Bank in Washington by United States Federal authorities, following FBI investigations. This guy is the designated successor to his ailing father, who is suffering from prostrate cancer, much to the chagrin of his uncles and extended family who occupy key positions in the government, including his brother Gabriel, who negotiates the multi-billion Rand oil deals.


With governments such as these headed by avaricious dynasties, the people of oil-rich Equatorial Guinea, in particular and Africa in general will easily push the camel through the eye of a needle than see their living conditions improve any time soon. 


7. Way out of the Labyrinth!


A massive and multi-prong attack on the African predicament is the only way out. But whichever blueprint for Africa development must be led and directed by a credible leadership. This is why the leadership and governance structures in Africa needs to be reformed and remodelled, not only to suit the African situation, but also to be a self-regulating mechanism that would stifle the emergence of despotic or Kleptocratic leadership that has till today remained the albatross of Africa’s development.


The Peer review mechanism of political leadership prescribed by the NEPAD document is really an excellent guidepost in this regard. But guideposts like laws are meaningless unless backed by relevant sanctions. Without a structure to implement this mechanism, many African leaders will always wean themselves of reason and treat their countries as personal fiefdoms and estates, quite independent of other African countries or regional, or sub-regional instruments it ratified, when it conduced to its short-sightedness to do so.


Over and above these, International donors should hold their aid up against a benchmark of good governance and the respect for the rule of law. The international community should equally adopt a non-tolerant attitude to the forceful take over of power anywhere in Africa. This requires concerted efforts on all fronts. The United Nations should adopt a protocol outlawing coup d’etats and making it a crime against humanity, to which there exists no statute of limitation.


Education of the citizenry across the continent is a condition sine qua non for the rise, sustenance and nourishment of good and responsible governance in Africa. This issues from the fact, as I have argued elsewhere[xlviii] that “There can be no responsible governance in Africa, save for among other things, the checks and balances of an enlightened society, which only obtains in an educated modern political set up. This enlightenment is a buffer, which enables the society to engulf and jettison any scheme whether conceptual or actual, which threatens its collective existence or welfare”. To this end, a massive, and functional civic education of the masses of Africa will in the long-term, essay to raise the enlightened environment that will be the waterloo of irresponsible governance.





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·         This paper was presented at the Afrikan Wissenschaft Tag, organized by the African Development Initiative, Frankfurt am Main, on the 22nd October, 2005


[i] See: Jeffrey Sachs, The End of Poverty. (London: Penguin Books, 2005)Pp.188-209


[ii] The World Bank. Development Statistics and Data., accessed on the 24th of February 2006.


[iii] Hegel, the apogee of German and European idealism contended and popularized the dangerous fiction that the Black man lacks a soul and cannot philosophize. This dehumanization of the Blackman among other things, paved the way, and gave ideological impetus to the enslavement of the Black races and to the racial contempt upon which he is held across the world today. It is a pity that the “great” Hegel who never visited Africa in his entire existence, could stoop so low against all rational canons of logic and philosophy to construct such travesty of philosophy, to satisfy prevailing stereotypes of his milieu. This is the kind of prejudices, which although befuddles all rationality, still subsists as a major currency in the interactional and transactional relationship between Africans everywhere and the other races of the world. President Fox of Mexico in 2005, while deploring the situation of Mexican immigrants in America, stated that Mexicans are forced to take up jobs that even Blacks refuse to take. This betrays a mindset that has persisted across the centuries, and which we suspect, has not totally evaporated even in today’s world geo-politics. One would then question why Germany should get a Marshall plan for its reconstruction, after it levied war on her neighbours, while Africa that has been pillaged for centuries by the West, receives charitable showmanship from the same West. One would equally question why Kosovo got an immediate intervention force to forestall the ethnic cleansing being committed there, while Rwanda was abandoned until the Hutus murdered nearly a million Tutsi, while the whole world looked on. One can then see the validity of Chinweizu’s arguments.


[iv] See: Chinweizu. 1978. The West and the Rest of Us. Lagos. Nok Publishers.


[v] See: Jeffrey Sachs. 2005. The End of Poverty. London. Penguin Books.


[vi] Ogbunwezeh, Emmanuel Franklyne. The Scandal of African Poverty. . Accessed on  the 5th of January, 2006


[vii] Sachs, J. 2005. The End of Poverty. London. Penguin Books. p.188


[viii] Time, 7th September, 1992


[ix] Loc. Cit.


[x] Loc. Cit.

[xi] Oxfam International. March, 2003. Briefing Paper 19. p.1


[xii] See the Following Howard, White. & Tony, Killick. 2001. African Poverty at the Millennium. Washington D.C. The World Bank. See also: The World Bank. 2000. Can Africa Claim the 21st Century? Washington D.C. The World Bank


[xiii] Commission for Africa, March 2005. Our Common Interest-The Report of the Commission for Africa, p.77


[xiv] Vila-Artadi, Elsa & Sala-i-Martin Francesco-Xavier, “The Economic Tragedy of the 20th Century: Growth in Africa”.(July 2003) NBER Working Paper No.W9865


[xv] Jeffrey Sachs. 2005. The End of Poverty: How we can make it happen in our lifetime. London. Penguin Books. pp. 2-3


[xvi] World Bank. World Development Indicators 2005. . Accessed on the 5th of January, 2006.


[xvii] Asad, Ismi. The Ravaging of Africa: Western Neo-colonialism fuels wars, plundering of resources.  Accessed on the 5th of January, 2006


[xviii] Ogbunwezeh, Emmanuel Franklyne. Africa: The Ontology of Failed States.     Accessed on the 5th of January, 2006

[xix] See: Isaiah 9:6. Psalm 23:1ff. Is.10:49-11:1ff

[xx] See Is.9:6


[xxi] See: Psalm 23:1ff


[xxii] Armstrong, A.H. An Introduction to Ancient Philosophy.p.99 cited in Nwodo, C.S. Political Stability and Social Well-being in Aristotle’s Political Philosophy: Its relevance to the Nigerian Situation. In Oguejiofor J.O. (ed.) 1998. Africa: Philosophy and Public Affairs. Enugu. Delta


[xxiii] Politeia according to the consensus of Greek scholars and experts is untranslatable. This Greek word says more than one English word can translate. This untranslatable word stands for: the whole social, political, legal and economic structure of the state. In relation to the composition of the Politeia, it “is essentially a collection of people…a body of sound men, united in their acceptance of all the standards, moral and spiritual, intellectual and artistic, which belong to and are prescribed by the constitution by which they live (See Nwodo, C.S. Ibid)


[xxiv] See: David Moloney. Who’s Security? Who’s Rights? Governance and Human Rights in International Co-operation. Canadian Council for International Co-operation.3rd International Conference Report-2004.p.3 accessed on the 1st of August, 2005

[xxv] See: Hancock, Graham. 1981. The Lords of Poverty. London. Macmillan


[xxvi] The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. 2000. Can Africa claim the 21st Century. Washington D.C. The World Bank

[xxvii] See: Ogbunwezeh, Franklyne Emmanuel. 2004. The Scandal of African Poverty: Exploring the factors sustaining the African Predicament. See Accessed on January 5th 2006


[xxviii] Commission for Africa, March 2005. Our Common Interest-The Report of the Commission for Africa, p.17

[xxix] See: Sen, A. Development as Freedom. 1999. London. Oxford University Press. P.xi

[xxx] See: Diamond, Jared. 1997. Guns, Germs and Steel: A short History of Everybody for the Last 13,000 years. London. Vintage Publishers

[xxxi] See: Diamond, Jared. 2005. Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. London. Viking Penguin.

[xxxii] Lydia Polgreen. Letter from Africa: Lands Carved for a Colonial Feast: What of the Borders. Article in the New York Times of February 9, 2005.

[xxxiii] Mazrui, A. Who killed Democracy in Africa? Clues of the Past, Concerns of the Future. Accessed on the 5th of January, 2006


[xxxiv] See. Mudimbe. V. Y. The Invention of Africa.


[xxxv] See: The Scandal of African Poverty.

[xxxvii] See: Chinua Achebe. 1983. The Trouble with Nigeria. Enugu. Fourth Dimension Publishers.

[xxxviii] Micheal Chege. Testimony on the Social and Political Costs of theft of Public Funds by African Dictators. . Accessed on the 5th of January, 2006


[xxxix] See: Arthur Nwankwo. 2001. The Stolen Billions. Enugu. Fourth Dimensions Publishers

[xli] See: Transparency International. Global Corruption Report 2004. p.13

[xliii] See: George Ayittey. Economic Atrophy in Black Africa. Cato Journal. Vol 7, No.1 (Spring/Summer 1987), p.202

[xliv] See: Michael Chege. Op.cit.

[xlv] See: accessed on 5th January, 2005

[xlvi] See: accessed on  5th January, 2005

[xlviii] Cf. accessed on January 5th, 2006





  1. Achebe, Chinua.  The Trouble With Nigeria. (Enugu: Fourth Dimension Publishers, 1983)

  2. Kinoti, George. Hope for Africa. ( Nairobi: AISRED, 1996)


  1. Maier, Karl. This House has Fallen: Nigeria in Crisis (London: Penguin,2000)

  2. Sachs, Jeffrey. The End of Poverty. ( London: Penguin, 2005)

  3. Sen, Amartya. Development as Freedom. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999)

  4. Stiglitz Joseph. Globalization and its Discontents.(London: Penguin, 2002)

  5. Stiglitz Joseph.  The Roaring Nineties. (London: Penguin, 2003)







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