Transitions in Africa: The Two Sides of the Story

This months elections occurred in two African countries, Ghana and the Gambia. On Dec 1, 2016, Gambia went to the polls in which, unexpectedly, opposition candidate Adama Barrow defeated long-term incumbent Yahya Jammeh. Ghana followed up on Dec 7. Here also the leader of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), the main opposition party, Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo defeated the incumbent president John Mahama, in what can be described as a landslide, looking at how close elections have been in Ghana over the past 20 years or so.

The post elections developments in the two countries though are different. In Gambia, Mr. Jammeh alleges widespread voter fraud and is calling for another fresh elections, in line with how politics is done in many African countries. In Ghana, President Mahama has called to congratulate Nana Addo and has promised to assist in a peaceful transition and his support for the incoming president to move the country forward.

These are the two faces of Africa. Maybe in the years to come, the Ghana story will be the norm but for now, we will be leaving with the two sides.

While the western media makes so much about events such as happening in the Gambia, there are many examples of the Ghana standard, and that deserve the same amount of media coverage.

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Abolishing “Constitutional Racism” and Single Citizenship in Liberia, By Ernest S. Maximore

What Value System Being Diluted?

Article 27(b) of the Liberia Constitution read thus: “In order to preserve, foster and maintain the positive Liberian culture, values and character, only persons who are Negroes or of Negro descent shall qualify by birth or by naturalization to be citizens of Liberia.”

In a layman, plain, simple and strict interpretation, when you are not a Negro or Negro decent, you cannot or will not be able to help and/or preserve, foster and maintain the positive Liberian culture, values and character. Liberian Government is simply saying to hell  to any other races and the rapid global and mutual cultural transmission and osmosis! They do not have any cultural goodies that worth emulation and enabling Liberia attaining any of those valuable distinctiveness. Liberia is independent and its sovereignty and cultural values should not be ruined, degenerated and infused by the immoderation and unrestrained lifestyle and other unwarranted foreign manipulations, control and dominance that come with multi-race.

Those could be fear factors Liberian constitutional writers probably had, but are those fears reasonable in this day and age to the extent of constitutionally alienating another race? Where is the moral ground to condemn Hitler, who physically alienated, dehumanized and nearly eliminated the Jews from the surface of the earth? Oh, this comparison is unmatched-probably so, this is constitutional   alienation, but is this not indirectly humiliating the entire white race? Be the judge.

Are there measurable or visible Liberian cultural value, customs, lifestyle, social and economic traditions that are inseparable from the Western lifestyle, particularly the United States of America? All the original founders, presidents and elites of Liberia boast of being from America.

Putting it truly, Liberia is a copycat, “step son”, “grand son” of Uncle Sam, America. Everything from political and apolitical is almost-nearly practically carbon copy from America, although misguidedly implemented.

From Liberia’s Pledge of Allegiance (only the name “Liberia” is different),three-color Liberian flag-red, white and blue, with Stars and Stripes, to holiday celebration, including Christmas, Easter, New Year, and Thanksgiving, are all copycats of the United States of America customs and value system. American fashion, style, design, haircuts, voice and accent mimicking are also inclusive and domineering in Liberia.

One wonders, what else is there in Liberia to “preserve” and uphold from non-Negro? Even what is thought to be a unique Liberian custom “snapshape” handshake originated from the United States of America. Alan Hufman describes this handshake in his book, “Mississippi in Africa; The Saga of Prospects Hill Plantation and their Legacy in Liberia Today” as a “combination of every other handshake in the world, with a twist, the traditional grasp, then something like a soul-shake with a finger snap off of the other man’s index finger at the end.”

The Irony of the Already Implicit Reality

Here are the ironies. In the book, “Liberia-America Footprint in Africa, Making the Cultural, Social and Political Connection,” Jesse Mongrue writes that ten Liberian presidents were born in the [“white men”] country, United States of America, one was born in Barbados, the Caribbean, and another born in Freetown, Sierra Leone, making it the total of 12 Liberian presidents born outside of Liberia. This further exposes the contradiction  of Liberia all “Negro” citizenship status. Continue reading “Abolishing “Constitutional Racism” and Single Citizenship in Liberia, By Ernest S. Maximore”

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Paucity of Women Participation in Nigeria Politics, by Adrian Joe

by Adrian Joe 

Women are the salt of the world, so the Bible says. They are also the mothers of the world, they are created by God to help men and take good care of their families. A critical look at the institutions that help in running and functioning of the state one would begin to wonder and ask the question that: why did women feature insufficiently in key political post and political institutions?, why are they insufficient in holding those offices? Are they not well educated or do they just lack the requisite to get or apply for those offices or they are been incarcerated by poverty or they ignorantly refuse to take profound impact in participating in politics? Is the problem caused by our cultural legacy of our dear country that men are supposedly superior to women? The answers to these framed questions make the core analysis of our discussion.
Since the end of the Fourth Conference on Gender and Development in 1995, held in Beijing, following similar previous conferences in Mexico (1975), Copenhagen (1980), Nairobi (1985), strenuous efforts have been consciously up in place to maximize the development of gender equality in political affairs and International representation by women. To buttress this point, Article 8 of the United Nation laid emphasis on the need for gender mainstreaming and development at all level of political participation and representation. As for Nigeria, a country that got her independent in 1960 has a very low women participation in all branches of government. This is not to say that women have not been working in all these branches of government in Nigeria, but it’s obvious that their representation is very low in holding key political post. During the struggle for self-determination a number of women political activist erupt such as Mrs Magaret Ekpo (a women’s right activist and a social mobilizer), Mrs Janet Mokelu and Mrs Young were all prominent members of the Eastern House of Assembly. There were also political activists such as, the late Mrs Olufunmilayo Ransome Kuti of the Western region and Hajia Gambo Sawaba of the Northern region.
With this, one can easily conclude that women participation in pre-independence era was quiet impressive despite the fact that men dominated the entire liberation struggle mentioned above. Yet women still scramble to participate and eventually got involved. However, there was a dramatic change to women’s participation in politics during Babangida’s regime. This manifested when his wife Maryam Babangida institutionalized the office of the First lady in 1987. She became the first lady to hold such political post and then launch the “Better Life for Rural Women” program. Since then, the office of the First lady has been assigned to the wife of the President up to date, though the office is not constitutionally recognized. Other women who impart in Nigeria politics include the Harvard University scholar and economist Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala who saved the nation’s record of billions of naira. Patricia Olubunmi Etteh also impacted in politics before she got involved in the corruption scandal involving her renovation of her official residence in 2007. Another woman active in Nigeria politics is Princess Stella Odua who was the disposed Minister of Aviation. Others include Mrs Obi Ezekwesili who is the chairman of Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI) and Professor Dora Akunyili. Moreover, with the explanation above one begins to ask what led to the paucity of women’s representation in Nigeria politics of today despite the fact that they have impacted in politics. There are many factors that led to this, but I am going to expatiate on three of them.

Continue reading “Paucity of Women Participation in Nigeria Politics, by Adrian Joe”

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BEYOND THE 2015 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, by Yinka Ogunlana

By Yinka Ogunlana

Elections! Elections!! Elections!!! On the 28th March, 2015 Nigeria once again witnessed another wrestle of power in her political space, but this time, it was the battle of the fittest as the people’s choice determined the winner.

Many Nigerians became enthusiastic about the election process as some attended rallies, some stayed glued to their television set, some to their radio set, some to the newspapers and some even surfed the internet rigorously to stay turned with political events such as campaigns, rallies, conferences and news of political actors such as their decamp, comments, speeches among others.

Of a truth, the election was never as heated compared to what the electorates and even the politicians used to experience. However, we heard promises upon promises, several manifestos among other good will messages from different political parties. Though it’s not a surprise because many Nigerian politicians have always been desperate to either retain power or assume power. Politically, speaking, this is what ought to be as political parties are meant to keep the nation politically alive and active, though we cannot over-emphasize the fact that many of these political parties in their quest for power have bridged the rules guiding the game of polities as molestation, threat, blackmail, political violence and assassination of political opponents has gradually become a norm in our current political dispensation, most especially during the pre-election exercises of the 2015 general election. Continue reading “BEYOND THE 2015 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, by Yinka Ogunlana”

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Stealing Is Not Corruption: Why Nigeria Is a Case Study in Absurdity (Part Two)

 By Darasimi Oshodi

In my last post, I started giving reasons why I think Nigeria is a case study in absurdity. The first reason I gave was the way our politicians change parties without caution. They even seem to get a kick out of their actions. I cited the examples of Nuhu Ribadu, Atiku Abubakar, Femi Fani-Kayode, Rotimi Amaechi and many others. I mentioned the governor of Ondo State, Olusegun Mimiko and likened him to Nicolas Anelka due to the way he has been hopping from one party to another. And to justify this name I gave him, the governor last week decamped again. He has returned to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). In a related development, former governor of Plateau State, Joshua Dariye has revealed he is also returning to PDP. With the rate at which defections are taking place now in Nigeria, it seems the political transfer window is now open and the political clubs with the biggest offers are likely to sign on new players for the 2015 political season. Didn’t our president go for medicals in Germany recently? I am not insinuating that he wants to transfer to another political club but maybe his current club wants to be sure of his fitness in order to avoid a very costly mistake it made some seasons, sorry, years, ago when it fielded an obviously physically unfit person as its presidential candidate.

In this post I will be exemplifying another phenomenon which makes our country a case study in absurdity. A senior friend had suggested that instead of ‘absurdity’ in the title of the last post I should have used ‘wrong norm’. His argument was that I can only call a situation ‘absurd’ if I can provide counterfactual evidences. He posited that what we have in Nigeria is the acceptance of wrong norms. That is, we have come to acknowledge the wrong norms as right. So anyone who attempts to observe the right norms will be seen as the abnormal person. But I am sticking to ‘absurd’ in the title of this post because it’s a continuation of the last post. So my second reason for saying Nigeria is a case study in absurdity is because in Nigeria we celebrate questionable characters, corruption and criminality. I present below instances to substantiate my assertion. Continue reading “Stealing Is Not Corruption: Why Nigeria Is a Case Study in Absurdity (Part Two)”

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