Author: Segun Akinfenwa
AFRICA EMANCIPATION FROM CORRUPT LEADERS: IT IS NOT ABOUT THE GODS
Africa with the population of over 1.3 billion people vastly sitting on 30,065,000 square kilometres land mass accounts for the second most populous continent in the world and number one in term of land mass covering 20.3% of the total land area on earth is undoubtedly endowed with great resources and potentials in both minerals and manpower. However, like biblical Moab, the continent has never been turned from vessel to vessel, therefore her taste remains in her, and her potentials remains just what it is – potentials.
Despite her large population and vast land mass which should ordinarily stand as strength, Mother Africa, ironically is home to most countries with downtrodden and poorest people on the planet, a continent ravaged by all kinds of communicable diseases, high poverty level, poor health care system, poor education system, and other menace that damn the souls of her men, steal away the pride of her women and incapacitate the strength of her youths. These damning conditions are largely responsible for high crime rate and increasing terrorism among her youths, a problem that has forced many on a very dangerous journey of emancipation through the desert and Mediterranean Sea en-route Europe in search of hope and greener pasture, an adventure that has cut short the lives of many in their prime.
All these problems can be traced to one factor which is bad leadership. Many believe that with abundant resources that abound on African soil, the continent shouldn’t have any business going cap in hands to the West for aids, but with the wanton exhibition of corruption, do-or-die politics, greed and selfishness from the people in her leadership position since her total freedom from colonialism, it is an undisputable fact that Africa has been lacking in leaders who can judiciously manage her endowments for the betterment and development of her people, hence, her backwardness and underdevelopment when compared to other continents on the planet.
In a bid to find the cause and solution to the problem of bad leadership in the continent, many analysts and observers have opined that among other things, foreign religions (majorly Christianity and Islam) are chiefly the bane of Africa underdevelopment and progress. They are of the view that using these religion materials (Bible and Quran) to swear in the public office holders makes them swear to an oath they don’t bother to comply with thereafter due to ‘impotency’ of these holy books when compared to local gods and deities.
In Nigeria, for instance, several people, ranging from socialists, academicians and public affair commentators have thrown their weight behind the idea. In an interview with one of the country’s finest actors, Pete Edochie, on why the public office holders are so corrupt, the legendary actor said African leaders are full of deceit and as such, smaller gods should be used to swear them into office rather than the Bible. In his words, “State officials who swear with the Bible become more corrupt when they are in office. God forgives easily, so these officials do not take the oath serious whenever they hold the Bible to swear. But the smaller gods are not merciful like the Almighty God who created heaven and earth. They should swear with gods so that it will put fear in these corrupt leaders to distance themselves from corruption.” Daily Post, February 21, 2017.
While many people agree with this assertion, the question is how can the smaller gods do for a people what they think the Almighty God cannot do? Again, is it really about gods or God? To answer this question, a quick look into what Africa traditional beliefs and worship of gods in precolonial era would be of help. Among several African traditional religions, the gods were said to be very potent when it comes to oath swearing, hence, the fear and respect for any oath or covenant entered into with the gods as witnesses. After an oath had been sworn, whoever disrespect the oath and acted contrary to the agreement, would either die a tragic death or suffer an incurable ailment depending the agreement binding the oath.
However, juxtaposing the purported potency of the gods and the way Africa faired economically and humanitarianly in those days, one pertinent question would be, did the gods do well enough to protect the people or advanced their cause? If history is anything to go by, one will be constrained to answer the question in a negative. The involvement of African kings and elites in selling their subjects to slavery, the usage of innocent people as human sacrifice to appease the gods for the mess and misbehaviours of the cream-de-la-cream of the society, the banishment of fellow humans especially the less privileges in the society into the forbidden forests with the agreement and under the watchful eyes of the gods, I dare say, the gods cannot be totally said to be caring and reliable, and it won’t be out of place to have misgivings over the efficiency and efficacy of the claimed potency and fairness of these gods.
From all that transpired in the ancient Africa, it will be very difficult to convince those who are of the view that gods have never been fair, kind or helpful. It will not be far from the truth either to conclude that, gods are helpless, useless and powerless without men, gods have no minds of their own, they are insensitive, irrational and illogical. They do the will of men- the will of the initiates they get their instructions from men, they travel the directions designed for them by men, they strike whom men want them to strike, they preserve whom men want them to preserve, they curse whom men send them to curse.
By the way, where were the gods when the kings, the emperors and the rulers of this world held sway and wantonly determined the destinies of their subjects? Where were gods when the non-initiates were subjected to be mere footstools for the initiates and treated as they so wished? Where were the gods when the children of the non-initiates were being made to pay for the sins and crimes of the initiates’ offspring? Where were gods when by fiat and prejudice only the children of the less privileges were been segregated and rejected as cast out? Where were gods when some prided themselves with the title of ‘freeborn’ while many were regarded as slaves who were born to serve the freeborn? Where were gods when the newborn twins were been thrown into forbidden forests just for vultures to feed on their innocent bodies, souls and spirits? Where were gods when through ignorance, wickedness and malice some pregnant women were been banished to the forbidden forests just because the society deemed their pregnancy to be omen for bad luck?
If Bible and Quran are replaced with the gods in swearing in the politicians today, that will still not guarantee good governance. Inasmuch the swearing in is going to be conducted by priests who are humans, the politicians would continue in their nepotism, kleptomaniac and corruption only to later go back to bribe the priests who would help them to appease the gods to keep mum while the stealing continue and the sufferings linger.
In human history, never has gods or God been totally responsible for the experience people pass through, never has God or gods decide wholly the destiny of any nation, people or race. Never has God or gods being so magnanimous as to rain down blessings and fortunes upon a people without them (the people) doing their own bit. In the entire history of human race, there had never been a time that any people were emancipated from oppression and slavery without them rising to the occasion and challenging the power that be to ask for their freedom. It has always been about the people, it has always been about how persistent they are in holding their leaders accountable, it has always been how daring they are in confronting their fears, it has always been how determined they are in taking the fight to their oppressors and demand what is rightly theirs.
Even from the Bible stories, we can see how daring the Israelites were challenging Pharaoh through their leader Moses, and how determined they were even when they were in between death and life at the Red Sea. Wait a minute, if we all agree that God is Supreme, greater than the gods, the man, the power and principalities, why then do we think these gods with far lesser attributes would come and do what we think God cannot do for us? Why do we think the gods would bring faster and better judgments and liberate us? If we think God cannot save us from this oppression, why do we now believe that the gods have some magic wands to deliver us? Why on earth do we think the gods have ever been fair in their judgments?
The continents and the countries we look unto are progressing because of their resilience in challenging their leaders to do the right thing, their continuous involvement in choosing and questioning their leaders is what has earned them their place as respected and prosperous in the comity of nations. So dear Africa, your emancipation is not in the hands of gods, look within, awake the sleeping giant within and bring up the firework needed to choose, criticize and challenge your leaders to do the right thing, don’t stop until they comply, for the gods are not to blame if we fail to effect the change we so desire and need. It is not about gods, it is our responsibility and duty.
(AFRICA EMANCIPATION FROM CORRUPT LEADERS: IT IS NOT ABOUT THE GODS is one of the outstanding articles of a creation of Mathsthoughtbook.com called Thinking For You Series.)
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