Prayer zone for a better, empowering, inspiring, promoting, prospering, progressing and more successful life through Christ Jesus

Posts tagged ‘Tanzania’

No Right To Force The Legalization Of Same-Sex Union By Hannatu Musawa.


 

Hannatu Musawa
Columnist:

Hannatu Musawa

The signing of the Same-sex Prohibition Act by President Jonathan on January 7 2014, elicited negative reactions from Western countries such as the US, member countries of the European Union and Canada. They have consistently mounted pressure on the federal government over the president’s signing of the Same-Sex Prohibition Act 2014, claiming that the law is a violation of the fundamental human rights of Nigerians with same sex orientation.

Notably, the law does not only criminalize same-sex marriage, it also makes public displays of affection and even socializing in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and inter-sex community illegal. The US ambassador to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle threatened that his country would scale down its support for HIV/AIDS and anti-malaria programs in response to government’s position on the gay rights issue. The Vanguard also reported that they learnt the US is committing “substantial” resources to fund the emergence of gay clubs and advocacy groups in Nigeria. The Canadian government canceled a planned state visit by President Jonathan scheduled for next month. The Canadian government’s action is believed to be that country’s reaction to the president’s assenting to the bill, which has so far enjoyed popular support in Nigeria.

Since 2011, certain Western countries have been considering and implementing laws that limit or prohibit general budget support to countries that restrict the rights of homosexuals. Regardless of this, many African countries have continued to refuse pressure to legalize homosexual practices. Many African leaders feel that gay rights are against Africa’s culture and religious value systems and believe that they have the sovereign right to reject what is seen as an imposition by Western nations that attempts to affect national sentiments via aid. While I vehemently disagree with the laws that impose the death penalty on those who come out as homosexuals, the reality is that same sex acts are illegal in about 38 African countries and actual enforcement varies widely and punishment ranges from prison sentences to the Draconian sentence of the death penalty.

In Mauritania, Sudan and Nigeria, homosexuality is a serious punishable crime. In Uganda, Tanzania and Sierra Leone, offenders can receive life imprisonment for homosexual acts. South Africa’s constitution is the most liberal towards gays and lesbians within the continent, with a constitution that guarantees gay and lesbian rights and legal same sex marriage. However, even there, gay rights have been described as an “exclusive privilege of the whites and well-heeled, a small but high-profile subset.”

The raucousness from Western nations that has been accompanying the banning of same sex unions in some parts of Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia has risen to a crescendo. And in their bid to ram the freedom of same sex unions down the throat of more traditional and conservative nations, the west has discarded high-minded rhetoric for bullying tactics dressed in the guise of human rights mantras. The result? Hypocrisy has taken center stage as the preferred response of the west in their bid to redefine the limits of marriage, privacy and religious freedom in some African, Eastern European and Asian countries.

The hypocrisy of the west regarding their stance on the banning of same sex unions is most apparent when considered next to the position taken on polygamy under western laws. In most western nations, the practice of polygamy is not only frowned upon but has been criminalized. The hypocrisy and bully politics of the west in regards to the banning of same sex unions occurs when Western countries pass laws that limits the boundaries of marriage, privacy and religious freedom in line with their value system while they employ strategies and tactics to intimidate, harass, undermine, threaten and abuse other countries for doing the same.

In the case of Reynolds vs. United States, the American courts declined accepting polygamy as a legitimate religious practice, dismissing it as “almost exclusively a feature of the life of Asiatic and African people.” While that particular case is very old, in later decisions, American courts have declared polygamy to be “a blot on our civilization” and compared it to human sacrifice and “a return to barbarism.”

In all the countries that have banned homosexual unions, traditions and religion defines the issue and because most countries have varying values of which they adhere to and are guided by, none should have a right to impose their value system on another. Not only is the practice of polygamy one of the common threads between Christians, Jews and Muslims, studies have found polygamy present in 78% of the world’s cultures. In the same way that countries that accept polygamy have no right to force western nations to legalize polygamy, western nations have no right to impose same sex unions on the countries that ban it.

As a sovereign nation, Nigeria has a right to ban same sex unions in the same way the west has banned polygamy. Indeed the anti-gay legislation is a reaffirmation of core Nigerian values, as the Nigerian society is, to a great extent, based on respect for traditions and religion. The leadership in Nigeria has taken a position on a practice that is alien to its culture and its religious and traditional institutions. The public relations officer of the northern Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) stated that Christians and their counterparts in other religions have unanimously expressed gratitude to the president and National Assembly for passing the Anti Same-Sex Marriage law, despite opposition from Europe and the US. Similarly, the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN), Lagos State, commended the president for signing the bill into law. The group applauded the president for standing his ground, despite pressure to reject the anti-gay bill by some international organizations and foreign countries.

In line with traditions that don’t prohibit same sex unions, neither of the two dominant religions of the world supports homosexuality. In the scriptures, marriage is a sacred contract between a man and a woman that cannot be redefined and it is the cornerstone of family life. In the Bible, passages in the book of Leviticus prohibit homosexuality. Chapter 18:22 states, “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” Similarly, chapter 20:13 also states, “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” Jews and Christians have historically interpreted these two verses as the clear prohibition of homosexual acts. Furthermore, the story of Sodom and Gomorrah has historically been interpreted as condemning homosexual acts.

In Islam, the traditional schools of Islamic law based on Qur’anic verses and hadith consider homosexual acts a punishable crime and a sin. The Qur’an cites the story of the “people of Lot” (also known as the people of Sodom and Gomorrah), destroyed by the wrath of God, because they engaged in “lustful” carnal acts between men. The Qur’an contains seven references to the people of Lot; 7:80-84, 11:77-83, 21:74, 22:43, 26:165-175, 27:56-59 and 29:27-33, and their destruction by Allah is associated explicitly with their sexual practices.

In 2012, the Nigerian parliament approved a bill banning same sex marriage despite threats from the US and UK that they would consider withholding aid if the country didn’t recognize gay rights. Curiously though in the US, 17 states out of 50 (less than half) have endorsed same-sex practices and others reject its legality. This means that even in the US, not all its citizens are in support of same-sex practices.

Nigeria and the countries that have banned same sex unions have cultures that are clear and intact and they have a right to rededicate themselves to their traditional values. Same-sex marriage is inconsistent with Nigerian values of procreation and the belief in the continuity of family and clan. And in that vein, Nigeria has a right to fashion its laws in accordance with its values and traditions.

It increasingly seems that the Western countries’ mandate is to coerce African states to institutionalize behavior systems that they frown upon or deem illegal. There is the urgent need for these African states and the Nigerian leadership not to be dependent on foreign assistance for governance. Nigeria and the continent should use its net worth to dismantle the entrenched dependence syndrome and to also say no, no matter how many times they are accused of not adhering to the value system of the West. Aid given with strings attached is not worth it. Nigeria should not lose its moral and spiritual integrity for the sake of aid.

Just like with polygamists in Western countries, a day of social acceptance is unlikely to come for homosexuals in Nigeria and most African and Asian countries. It is unlikely that any law will be passed in Nigeria where the act of same sex marriage will be legalized. No matter, the rights of every nation to infuse its value system into its laws should not be based on the views of other nations, but on each nations individual principle.

Despite one’s view on the subject matter, there is no doubt that Nigeria has a right to enact laws that are reflective of its traditions and religious values and norms. No country has a right to dictate another countries laws that defines the boundaries of marriage, privacy and religious freedom. Thus, just as Nigeria has no right to harass America, Canada or any other nation to enforce and adopt polygamy and other traditional practices into their statutes, these nations also have no right to harass Nigeria to adopt laws that legalize homosexuality. The more the West continues to malign Nigeria for passing laws that prohibit certain modern western value systems, while they hold onto laws that disallow traditional practices acceptable in Nigeria, their hue and cry over human rights becomes a little more than hype and they become much more than hypocrites. May each country be free to preserve the value systems they wish to be defined by and adopt the laws of which they wish to be governed.

Article Written by Hannatu Musawa

I invite you to:

Follow me on Twitter- @hanneymusawa

Visit my Website- www.hannatumusawa.com

Like my Facebook- www.facebook.com/hannatu.musawa

Text (SMS Only): 08116759753

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Nigeria’s Retrogressive Anti-Gay Law By Abiodun Ladepo.


By Abiodun Ladepo

This past Wednesday, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan elevated crassness and primitiveness to the highest level imaginable by signing into law a bill banning homosexuality in Nigeria.  I deliberately crafted the previous sentence so unambiguously.  He did not just ban homosexual marriage; he banned homosexuality as a whole!  Perhaps if the law had only stopped at “persons who enter into a same-sex marriage contract or civil union commit an offence and are each liable on conviction to a term of 14 years in prison,” one might not feel so much outrage.  But it went on to state that “any person who registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies and organizations or directly or indirectly makes public show of same-sex amorous relationship in Nigeria commits an offence and shall each be liable on conviction to a term of 10 years in prison”!  In essence, only heterosexuals are allowed to hold hands in public, sit on each other’s lap, hump each other while dancing in clubs or kiss publicly.  What, in the name of God, just happened to Nigeria?

Let me state upfront that I am a Straight (heterosexual) guy who is happily married to a beautiful woman.  So, this write-up is not about me or my sexual preference.  It is about Nigeria’s lack of originality and lack of creative instincts.  We the people, along with our leaders, fail to do the deep thinking, the due diligence, in many respects that will take our country farther and more quickly than we have hitherto done.  Lethargy is irredeemably ingrained in our psyche.  Otherwise, how does being openly gay draw our country back?  We already have thousands of gay people in our midst!  How does their gayness prevent those of us who are not gay from going about our businesses?

This law assumes that the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community just arrived in Nigeria yesterday.  No, the LGBT has been with us since, at least, when I was a young boy over 50 years ago.  I recall growing up in (yes) Zaria, Kaduna State, of all places, and going to watch evening dances of members of the LGBT.  We used to call them “Dandaudu.”  We, the kids, used to marvel at their public display of amorous acts.  This was in the early 60s.  They were not hidden behind the walls of any clubs in the middle of the night; they danced in open spaces and in early evenings.  I have also personally witnessed “Dandaudus” doing their dances in Bukuru, Jos, Bauchi and Maiduguri in the 70s.  And if you lived in the hostel during your secondary school years, don’t tell me that you did not catch a few of your guy friends “doing it.”  I have heard from some of my secondary school female friends of the sexual trysts that went on in their hostel.  Let’s not even talk about what happens in the dorms of our universities.  So, why are we just now finding out that their presence in our midst is anathema and antithetical to our moral fiber?

Reuben Abati, that formerly celebrated anti-bad government champion, who is now a turncoat and who I now detest with so much passion, defended the law with the pedestrian argument that since 90 percent of Nigerians were opposed to same-sex marriage, “…the law is in line with our cultural and religious beliefs.”   Ninety percent?  First, how did we come up with that percentage?  When did we poll the country to ascertain that 90 percent of our people oppose same-sex marriage?  And even if they do, what right does the majority have to trample on the basic right of the minority – the fundamental human right to freedom of association?  What right does the majority have to deprive the minority of having sex with whomever it wants as long as it is consensual?  The worst that the Nigerian government should have been able to do should have been the denial of official recognition of such a union. But to criminalize it is akin to despotism, especially in a democratic dispensation.

And by the way, since when has this government or any past Nigerian government taken a decision in favor of an issue perceived to have received the support of the majority of Nigerians?  Don’t 90 percent of our people support the removal or Stella Oduah as Aviation minister, Diezani Madueke as Petroleum minister and Reuben Abati as adviser?  Don’t 90 percent of our people support the banning of government officials, especially the President, from seeking medical attention abroad until our medical facilities and personnel are of the same standard as those they use when they go abroad?  Don’t 90 percent of our people support the supply of 24/7 uninterrupted electricity to all corners of Nigeria?  Don’t 90 percent of our people support the revamping, rejuvenating and reinvigorating of the EFCC so it can better fight corruption?  Don’t 90 percent of our people support a massive overhaul of our educational infrastructures from elementary all the way to university systems?  Don’t 90 percent of our people oppose the blocking of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway by mega-churches and mega-mosques?  Have our lawmakers crafted any laws that criminalize the failure by government to do the things mentioned above?  No.  But these nosey people are eager to get into the bedrooms of Nigerians.

I find this homophobic inclination that is so rampant in our country as yet another example of religious zealotry and self-righteousness that have been the bane of our society.  Everybody is stampeding and trampling each other today in their quest to out-do one another as they condemn homosexuality.  But we will find out one day – tomorrow maybe –  just as we have found out in Europe and America that even family members of influential government officials can be (and are indeed) gay!  In fact, we will soon find out that membership in the LGBT community cuts across all spectra of our society – from the ranks of elected politicians, to traditional rulers, military officers, police officers, teachers, technocrats, pastors, imams, babalawos, traders and what not.  And what are we going to do when we find out that one of these influential people whom we had thought was heterosexual was indeed bisexual?  Would we throw OBJ or IBB or GEJ or Mama Iyabo or Dame Patience or any of their children into 14 years of prison terms if any of them turns out to be gay? What would we do when we discover that Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye or his wife, Folu do engage in homosexual acts (with other partners, of course)?  What about Sheik Muhammad Yahaya Sanni and his many wives?  Are we going to give them immunity against prosecution?

This is why I stated earlier that our leaders did not subject this law to a rigorous and intellectual discuss before allowing their emotion, religion and communal bandwagon mentality to overtake their sense of reason.  Before the bill was adopted by the Senate in 2011, a few Nigerian members of the LGBT community, supported by some civil rights activists, appeared before the Senate to argue against enacting such a law.  The lawmakers and religious zealots in the chambers of the Senate booed and heckled these gay folks till they cried and left in disgrace.  Among the booing and heckling crowd were men who maintain two, three, four or more wives – wives who are subjugated, mentally and are physically abused.  Among this crowd were women who cheat on their husbands with their pastors and imams to the extent of making babies out-of-wedlock while their husbands thought the babies were theirs.  These people, in my opinion, lack the moral right to tell a gay man or woman whom to love and whom to cavort with in public.

Believe me, gays are the least of Nigeria’s problems.  Graft in high places, greed in high places, hired assassination, kidnapping, murder, armed robbery, neglect of rural areas, neglect of urban areas, lack of functioning basic amenities like electricity, water, hospitals, education, transportation, youth unemployment – all take precedence over what my neighbor is doing in his/her bedroom.  I am ashamed that my leaders do not see this.

And I get it. I get the fact that Nigeria is a deeply religious country.  Even if I wonder how truly religious we are when we watch our religious leaders steal from the religious houses and sexually abuse the laity; even if I sometimes wonder why our religious leaders live in obscene opulence while they watch their followers wallow in abject poverty, I still get the fact that Nigeria is a deeply religious country.  It is the reason why an issue such as gay rights should have been thoroughly debated intellectually.  I hope the passing of this primitive and retrogressive law begins the rigorous discussion of how we allow members of the LGBT to bask in their rightful sense of belonging.  We should lead Namibia, Botswana, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, Angola, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, South Sudan, Cameroon, Togo, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leon, Guinea, Senegal, Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia out of the comity of nations still wedded to the archaic tradition of segregating their own people on the basis of sexual preferences.

We should join South Africa, Zaire, Congo, Gabon, Central African Republic, Chad, Niger, Mali (yes, Chad, Niger and Mali), Burkina Faso, Benin Republic, Cote D’Ivoire and Guinea Bissau in the comity of nations that embrace the diversity of their people’s sexual preferences and have legislated to protect the rights of their LGBT people.

By Abiodun Ladepo

Los Angeles, California, USA

Oluyole2@yahoo.com

 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

Sweden ranked first for treatment of elderly in UN report.


Elderly Swedish people at an exercise class (file image)The report said Sweden was the best country at supporting and helping its elderly population

Sweden is the best place in the world to be old and Afghanistan the worst, according to a UN-backed global study.

The Global AgeWatch Index examined the quality of life of the elderly in 91 countries.

It warns that many countries do not have adequate support in place for their ageing populations.

By 2050, older people will outnumber children under 15 for the first time, with most of the elderly in developing countries, it said.

Continue reading the main story

Elderly care: How countries rank

  • Sweden, Norway and Germany headed the list
  • Britain was rated 13th, one place behind Ireland
  • Afghanistan, Tanzania and Pakistan ranked lowest

Source: Global AgeWatch Index

The Global AgeWatch Index was complied by the UN Population Fund and advocacy group HelpAge International, and released to mark the UN’s Day of Older Persons.

Researchers used 13 different indicators – including income and employment, health provision, education, and environment – in what they said was the first study of kind to be conducted on a global scale.

The study’s authors say countries across the world face an ongoing challenge from the rapidly ageing global population.

“The continual exclusion of ageing from national and global agendas is one of the biggest obstacles to meeting the needs of the world’s ageing population,” says Silvia Stefanoni, the interim chief executive of HelpAge International.

“By giving us a better understanding of the quality of life of women and men as they age, this new index can help us focus our attention on where things are going well and where we have to make improvements.”

While Sweden came top, and Afghanistan was placed last, the top 20 was dominated by countries from Western Europe and North America, along with Japan, Australia and Chile.

Wealth was not the only factor considered, and countries such as Sri Lanka, Bolivia and Mauritius were ranked above several richer nations.

Some large fast-developing countries fared worse than others, with Russia (78), India (73) and Turkey (70) receiving a low rank, while Brazil (31) and China (35) were regarded more favourably by the researchers.

Source: BBC NEWS.

Clinton Staffer Killed in Kenya Shooting.


A pregnant staff member of the Clinton Global Initiative and her architect boyfriend were among the fatalities in Saturday’s shooting rampage at a shopping mall in Nairobi, it has been revealed.

The Clinton family said it was stunned when they found out that 33-year-old Elif Yavuz, a senior vaccines researcher based in Tanzania, and Ross Langdon, the father of her unborn child, were among the dozens killed after armed Islamic militants stormed the upscale mall.

Story continues below video.

 

“We were shocked and terribly saddened to learn of the death of Elif Yavuz in the senseless attacks in Nairobi,” former President Bill Clinton and his family said in a statement.

“Elif devoted her life to helping others, particularly people in developing countries suffering from malaria and HIV/AIDS. Elif was brilliant, dedicated, and deeply admired by her colleagues, who will miss her terribly.”

Clinton also shared his sorrow over the deaths in an interview with “CBS This Morning” Tuesday.

“I saw her just a couple weeks ago when I was there,” he said. “She was nine months pregnant, just a couple of weeks away from delivery. So she and her baby’s father were walking in that mall in Nairobi, because she wanted to have the baby in Kenya. She thought that would be best. And they were both killed.”

Yavus, a native of the Netherlands, joined the Clinton Foundation after receiving a graduate degree from Harvard.

“Elif committed her career and her life to helping those in need, said Julio Frenk, Dean of Harvard’s School of Public Health in a statement.

“Her compassion was an inspiration to everyone she touched at HSPH and the broader global community in which she lived and worked. She will be deeply missed by all who knew her.”

Langdon, a 33-year-old architect, held dual Australian and British citizenship. He grew up in Tasmania and settled in London.

Related Stories:
Kenyan Officials: Americans, British Woman Led Terrorists in Mall Siege
Foundation Renamed for All Three Clintons

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Lisa Barron

Obama Ambassador Nominee Faces Questions on IRS Scandal.


President Barack Obama’s pick for ambassador to Tanzania was among the small circle of White House aides who were privy to the impending IRS scandal and plotted strategy about how to manage its public disclosure.

According to Fox News, Mark Childress, deputy White House chief of staff, was chosen by Obama for the top diplomatic post for his “dedicated” service, having held top positions in the Justice and Health and Human Services departments.

However, in the weeks before the IRS scandal was disclosed, Childress had two discussions with the Treasury on the matter, and talked about possibilities for how to disseminate the news.

None of the scenarios Childress discussed happened, and instead the news broke after Lois Lerner, then the director of the IRS Exempt Organizations division, answered a planted question at an event on May 10.

A White House official told Fox that Childress was not involved in any discussion or decision to plant a question.

But the role he played along with other White House advisers in the run-up to the disclosures became controversial after the press office issued a number of conflicting accounts, and his involvement likely will be the subject of questioning during his Senate confirmation hearings.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Melanie Batley

George W. Bush: Time to Fix ‘Broken’ Immigration System.


Former President George W. Bush said in an interview that the nation’s immigration system was “broken” and needs to treat “people with respect.”

“I think it’s very important to fix a broken system, to treat people with respect, and have confidence in our capacity to assimilate people,” Bush said in a pre-taped interview on ABC’s “This Week.”

Story continues below.

Bush acknowledged that the issue was difficult to solve but that Congress was making progress in writing legislation.

“It’s a very difficult bill to pass, because there’s a lotta moving parts. And the legislative process can be ugly … But it looks like they’re making some progress,” Bush said.

Bush, who appeared on the show with former first lady Laura Bush, said he generally doesn’t like to comment on political issues.

“The only way I can really make news is either criticize the president, which I don’t want to do, criticize my own party or wade in on a controversial issue,” Bush said in the interview taped at Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, near the George W. Bush Institute‘s African First Ladies Summit.

“I’m off the stage,” he said, “unless I’m promoting something I strongly believe in. And I believe that what we’re doing in Africa is incredibly important, and will continue to do so … so long as I’m ambulatory.”

The Bushes were in Tanzania for a forum Mrs. Bush hosted for African first ladies that was also attended by Michelle Obama.

Programs enacted by Bush have helped fight HIV on the continent, and he was asked about critics who say his work there is an attempt to make up for mistakes he made in Iraq or elsewhere.

Bush shook his head vigorously and said, “Let ’em continue to babble.”

The former president said he was frustrated Social Security reform was not passed while he was in office. “I thought the plan I’d laid out on both [immigration and Social Security] was reasonable. But sometimes, it takes time for some of these complex issues to evolve.”

Bush denied he had pushed too hard for democracy in the Middle East.

“What you’re seeing is an evolution,” he said. “Democracies take a while to take root.”

Despite the tumult of the situation, Bush said it is good that people are demanding their rightful place.

“They overthrew a corrupt regime in Tunisia. They were unhappy with leadership that wouldn’t listen to them in Egypt. But a lesson of September 11 is that in order to have long-term security for the United States democracies need to emerge.”

Bush said he is happy President Barack Obama has followed his policies on counter-terrorism. Obama was critical of the Patriot Act and other Bush era policies when he campaigned for the presidency.

“I think the president got into the Oval Office and realized the dangers to the United States,” Bush said, “and he’s acted in a way that he thinks is necessary to protect the country.”

Bush said he doesn’t talk to Obama much.

“He’s busy. And I’m retired.”

Bush applauded the efforts of Laura Bush and Michelle Obama: “I always think it looks really great for our country, for our presidents and first ladies to be together, whatever their parties are. I think it’s a really good example for the world.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Greg Richter

Sonala Olumhense Syndicated (SOS): The Youth Of Nigeria.


Sonala Olumhense Syndicated (SOS)
Columnist:

Sonala Olumhense

I am embarrassed that on his second visit to Africa, United States President Barack Obama again refused to set foot on Nigerian soil.
Those who are in the know say Nigeria campaigned extremely hard to be one of Mr. Obama’s stops. His choice of respectable destinations were Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania.

Actually, he made it all quite clear during his first visit four years ago when he said at the Ghana parliament he favoured responsible, strong and sustainable democratic governments.

“This is about more than holding elections – it’s also about what happens between them,” he noted. “Repression takes many forms, and too many nations are plagued by problems that condemn their people to poverty. No country is going to create wealth if its leaders exploit the economy to enrich themselves, or police can be bought off by drug traffickers. No business wants to invest in a place where the government skims 20 percent off the top, or the head of the Port Authority is corrupt. No person wants to live in a society where the rule of law gives way to the rule of brutality and bribery. That is not democracy, that is tyranny, and now is the time for it to end.”

He did not, but could also have said:

“No country is going to make progress when its leader asserts he does not give a damn about personal probity, and in effect, about the content of his own character.

“No business wants to invest in a place where the government confers the nation’s highest honours, in broad daylight, upon the most dishonourable thieves or appoints them to high office.

“No self-respecting person wants to live in a society where transparency and accountability may be spelling challenges for the public, but not performance issues for public servants.

“No country is going to make progress when the hallways and lobbies of the executive and the legislature look more like the Main Wing of a maximum security prison than the revered chambers of men and women trusted with power.

“No business wants to invest in a country where Mr. President is afraid to tell the First Lady that she is not Mrs. President; and that the law does not provide public resources in his name for rabble-rousing of her own definition.

“No person wants to live in a society where governors forget they are not visiting sovereigns who come once in a while to pick up cheques, but are supposed to live and work in their States.

“No country is going to make progress when governance is defined as Wednesday morning contract distribution to friends and cronies, and the rest of the week to conspicuous consumption and travel.

“No self-respecting person wants to live in a country where the leadership grades its own performance and brags about how well it is doing.”
Mr. Obama did not say those things, but they were all implied in his call for change in Africa, especially in Nigeria.  Four years later, the danger is not simply that things have worsened; it is that Nigerians are being told they have never had it so good.

Obama did not say those things, but the United States has not fundamentally got around to helping Nigeria, as opposed to the government of Nigeria, either.  While the United Kingdom has taken a proactive legal role in challenging corruption and atrocious governance in Nigeria, the United States does not seem uncomfortable when some of Nigeria’s greatest beneficiaries from bad governance and corruption come shopping.
But Obama did say something especially significant in 2009: The triumph of the future, he said, would be won by the youth.  “You have the power to hold your leaders accountable, and to build institutions that serve the people,” he told them.

He assured African youth they can accomplish a lot if they took responsibility for their future. “It won’t be easy,” he warned.  “It will take time and effort.”

On the part of the US, he said, “What we will do is increase assistance for responsible individuals and institutions, with a focus on supporting good governance – on parliaments, which check abuses of power and ensure that opposition voices are heard; on the rule of law, which ensures the equal administration of justice; on civic participation, so that young people get involved; and on concrete solutions to corruption like forensic accounting, automating services, strengthening hotlines, and protecting whistle-blowers to advance transparency and accountability.”

Four years later, while Nigeria rots, the US has not delivered on this critical promise or outlined how it is to be implemented.  Partly as a result, while countries like Ghana and Tanzania can at least speak in terms of hope, Nigeria is hurtling in the reverse direction, overrun by the most insipid and cynical government in 53 years.

It is no surprise that, with mediocrity on the ascendancy, incompetence a state value and political promises casually ignored, only the greediest investors come to Nigeria.  We guarantee neither life nor limb.  We are committed to neither water nor clean air.  Today’s story is the same as that of yesterday.
It is no surprise that the youth of Nigeria is surviving on crumbs and leftovers, serving as drivers or thugs, or in kidnapping and assorted crime.  Mostly, Nigerian youth is idle, not because it is lazy, but because it lacks opportunity.  Governance is a treasure, just as unemployment does not matter.

But it is not by coincidence that Jessica Matthews, co-inventor of the sOccket, the amazing electricity-generating soccer ball that was presented to Obama in Tanzania last week, is a Nigerian-American.  In Nigeria, she might have been selling “pure water” in traffic, as are thousands of our educationally-orphaned kids.

The lesson is simple: while the US can achieve a lot in other parts of Africa, unless change takes root in Nigeria, change will not come to Africa.  And no change will come to Nigeria unless we liberate and empower its youth.

That is why it is to the youth of Nigeria that SOS is targeted, and dedicated.

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Tag Cloud