The Niger Delta people of West Africa use an infamous Pidgin English phrase, ?Shine Your Eyes Ohh.? ?A quick examination of the aforesaid phraseology might connote the mere opening of the eyes to view ones immediate surroundings. However there is a deeper meaning that warns about using cognition to avoid potential hazards and pitfalls. In other words shinning your eyes is not limited to the sense of sight but involves our entire sensory systems. African Youths need to heed this message and rise up to the momentous task of changing Africa in the present and for the future generations. We cannot keep on looking for our messiahs from the West, East, and Middle-East. The reality is that these entities all have their own narrow and often espoused interests that are the antithesis to the development of Africa. More importantly the African Youths need to revolt against our corrupt and scavenger-like rulers who have persistently shown their contempt for their fellow Africans.
Zimbabwe in southern Africa is a prime example of the woefully imposition of autocracy on the African people and by extension, the African Youths. While Robert Mugabe rants about the antics of the European colonial masters and how they exploited Africa, our present reality is that their escapade does not obfuscate the contemporary atrocities of Mugabe and his henchmen and women.? The irony of an 88year old former liberation leader assuming the mantle of an internal colonialist is disconcerting at best and criminal at worst. Mr. Mugabe has ruled as either Prime Minister or President since 1980 for a total of 32years. Despite trying to exonerate himself from the problems of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe the ?president for life? and his inner circle have hounded critics and laid the country to waste.
Uganda in east Africa has a mirage of peace and economic development but also suffers from despotism in the likeness of Yoweri Museveni. The same man who altered these earth-shattering words ?The people of Africa, the people of Uganda, are entitled to a democratic government. It is not a favour from any regime. The sovereign people must be the public, not the government? in 1986 has used political dissonance and other machinations to hold on to power since then. Museveni has used all the usual suspects in his ploy to remain a dictator extraordinaire. He has fostered strife among the different tribes in Uganda, exploited instability in east Africa, and gleefully and/or halfheartedly (please decide) joined the war on terrorism against Al-Shabaab in Somalia. But Yoweri Museveni is not shabby about using his golden trump cards to hedge his rule. His administration has excelled in exploiting the insecurities from the Lord?s Resistant Army led by Joseph Kony whom he has managed to coexist with since 1986 and the existence of Ugandan homosexuals who must be exterminated like yesterday.
Ethiopia the cathedral/headquarters of our African Union does not have that much good tiding to write home about. Meles Zenawi has evolved strategically from president in 1991-95 to prime minister in 1995 to present. Zenawi is a maestro at camouflage which is exemplified by his simultaneous friendships with China and the United States all the while incarcerating thousands of his own people and forcing many into exile. It could be said that Vladimir Putin of Russia is a student of Meles Zenawi who is two years younger and on his way to decimating all his political opposition. Sadly, Zenawi who has been in power for 21years is also more of a maverick than Senator John McCain the republican presidential candidate in 2008. He seems to be on the first half of his ghastly exploits in Addis Ababa.
Nigeria the so-called giant of Africa is in a state of paralysis due to the cabals that are hell-bent on having their way or burning the damn county to ashes if they cannot prevail. These criminals with political portfolios are adept at using the various skill sets at their disposal, including the dummying of our youths through insufficient education, distractions, and religious terrorism. The situation in Nigeria, the most populous nation in West Africa and Africa is confounded and compounded by the ineffectiveness of the Goodluck Jonathan?s regime. For example the leader of the president?s (Peoples Democratic Party PDP) party Youth Wing is an octogenarian who most people speculate is almost 90years. Nigerians are presented and represented with/by political rulers that have stolen millions and billions of nairas and dollars with protection from law enforcement officers. The Jonathan government appears to be in slumber on the wheels of governance while terrorism is traded as the most important commodity in the western African Sahara from Mali to Niger and to northern Nigeria.
However, we would be remiss to not identify one of the recent examples of how Youthful proactive and progressive actions have yield glowing changes. In Senegal, a country also on the west coast of Africa, another octogenarian President Abdoulaye Wade 86year was able to circumvent the constitution but not the resolve of the Youths. When we shine our eyes on Senegal which happens to be a majority Muslim country we see how the Youths arose to demand and grab the required changes. They put their lives on the line with the realization that life it worth more living in dignity, communality, and self actualization than in perennial servitude to either local and/or foreign powers. All over the World, Africa and in the African Diaspora our Youths are experiencing resurgence. There are African renaissance in education, entertainment, and other agencies which must be applied equitably in the economic and political spheres. It is time for us to put our comforts and selfishness aside to purse the promise of the wealthiest continent in the world for our people. When will we get off the sidelines and refute our apathy, spectatorship, and cynicism to demand transparent structural changes?
??????????????????????????????????? Nnamdi F. Akwada MSW, BA is a Social Justice Activist??? ???