Friday, July 16, 2021 9:05 pm
By Yahaya Balogun
“A mind that refuses to read is a potential closet for vices in any society.” – Yahaya Balogun
“A house without books is like a room without windows.” – Henry Ward Beecher.
How do I even start this piece? It’s frustrating and exhaustively incomprehensible to write about Africa cum Nigeria if you are not a consistent and impassioned writer. It’s inexhaustible to keep writing about a country or continent you dearly loved. But, as a passionate writer, if you have a moral mission to see African or Nigerian greatness, you will not shy away from calling out her leadership and ethical problems.
In a nutshell, I had a very resourceful conversation with our lady, whom I have tagged as one of the “women-human-capital of Africa.” Any political discussion you have with mama Nnedinso Ogaziechi is an eye-opener to one’s consciousness and a friendly muse to the national or continental conversation. Without hyperbolic, mama Nnedinso’s self-authenticity can be verified or validated through some of her followers on social media and The Leadership Newspaper–one of the Nigerian daily newspaper outlets.
Sadly, our conversation centered on the current state of anarchy in Southern Africa. The unrepentant looter of a country with a precarious state and future is jailed or imprisoned, and the children of corruption violently go on a rampage to loot the remnants of their dimmed future! Are you kidding me? Who cursed Africa to be a menace (danger) to itself? The answer to a question we may never get soon. Shameful and disgusting!
When the South African no-nonsense woman judge, Justice Sisi Khampepe, dangled her scathing judgment and judicial verdict and sentenced corrupt Jacob Zuma to 15 months in prison for contempt of court was like child play or “play-play.” Finally, finally, the former corrupt President of South Africa was imprisoned for contempt of court. Some of us from the other corrupt climes in Africa heaved a collective sigh of relief for a troubled Africa. But, not yet, Uhuru! Unfortunately, a few days after Jacob Zuma’s face was slammed with the core cell doors of Johannesburg’s penitentiary institution, the children of corruption, went irate. They began to loot (looting is an anachronistic continental language of corruption in Africa) innocent people’s businesses.
Hilariously, the rueful continental dialogue between brilliant mama Nnedinso Ogaziechi and me about the barbaric event in South Africa sadly brought spontaneous hilarious laughter I couldn’t control. Mama Nnedinso Ogaziechi promised to send me one of the comics but thought-provoking pictures coming out of a beleaguered Southern Africa. In recent years, South Africa has become the hub of xenophobic centers and the axis of evil. A few years ago, the heinous crime and xenophobic treatments meted to other African brothers and sisters in South Africa by South African children of corruption are still fresh in our collective memory.
Meanwhile, while other businesses were being looted, the only company that survived the poverty-stricken children of corruption was, alas, the bookshops. Yes! All Bookstores near Johannesburg were reportedly spared from looting. In Africa, all good things are (im)morally considered except for poverty of mind. The mind is a terrible thing to waste. So when a nation or continent is faced with a crucial moment of history, the responsible stakeholders are quick to be thoughtful. Also, when they’re being browbeating by the accounts of history, they take stocks of their misdeeds. Africa seems an exception to the rule!
Unfortunately, that’s not the case with the African leaders and their children of corruption. As one of the US social crusaders and civil rights activist, Malcolm X, once said: “if you want to hide something (important) from a (corrupt) black man, put it in a book (form),” you will achieve your Machiavellian motives with ease. Africa is a menace to itself. A terrible mind that refuses to read is a potential closet for immoral activities and vices in society. We are losing our reading culture and values in Africa.
With great optimism, even though the plague of woes is besetting Africa, it’s reassuring that Africa remains the hub of great things to come in the future if the leadership problems are solved. One day, African minds will mutate to rediscover themselves and become the giant among the superpowers in the world. As succinctly posited by mama Nnedinso Ogaziechi in our rueful conversation, LEADERSHIP is the leading African problem. African political and religious followership has symbiotically corded with its sociopath leadership. It’s a revolving cycle of numerous African miseries. The pertinent and sad aching questions in one’s mind are:
• How did African people share the same abysmal DNA or gnomes of human barbarians?
• Why is African countries still the epicenter of awful news?
• Why do we continue to blame the brutish Brutish for our decades of woes after Apartheid and colonialism have ended in Africa?
• Why do African leaders see today’s history as bunk when tomorrow is not too far?
• why are African people fixated on deliberate ignorance and selfishness when evident that their children’s future is being mortgaged?
• Is Africa doomed to failure forever?
These are nagging questions, and amongst others that are begging for honest answers from all of us.
South Africa has now joined the axis of evil. Africa has become a continent booming with deliberate ignorance and selfishness. When the two giants of Africa (Nigeria and South Africa) are entangled in the inglorious roads or paths to betrayal, the rest of Africa must brace up to redefine the ways forward.
Moreover, as an incurable optimist, this writer still believes that the continent of Africa can still drill her path; dig herself out of the hole to recoup, or rediscover herself. Time is not timeless for those who plan ahead of time. But time is bunk to those who deliberately destroy their own future. Today, Africa leaders must wake up and begin to reason and process the ugly events of yesterday to guarantee the tomorrow of their children–and the future of the next generations to come.
Yahaya Balogun writes from Arizona, the United States of America.