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Trends, future outlook of Africa’s leadership, development

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Africa constitutes roughly oneseventh of the human population, but controls only 3.09% (2014) of global trade and economy. The United States, with 5% of world population accounted for 22% of world’s GDP in 2015; while China, with a population figure comparable to that of Africa, accounted for 15% of total global GDP in 2014. Africa and Asia started from broadly the same development pedestal in the 1960s. Today, much of Asia has done away with absolute poverty, while on the African continent, the camp of the absolute poor continues to widen.

There is direct relationship between Africa’s unenviable place on the development trajectory, and the type of leadership prevalent on the continent. Leadership speaks to the ability to motivate. It is the art of exacting from ordinary people, extraordinary performance. It is about mobilisation of people and materials, in the right mix, in the accomplishment of organisational goals, at minimal cost. It speaks to management of change – a transition process, directed at moving people towards greater effectiveness and efficiency (Mimiko, 2012a).

Its core elements are visioning; courage; knowledge; passion; selflessness; and integrity. If any of these is lacking, hardly would you be able to have leadership in the right mix. Leadership impacts substantially on the fortunes of organisations, making it the most important variable in organisational success.

What is usually lost on people given to macro conceptions of leadership, however, is the tendency at marginalizing the ordinary layers of leadership while focusing wholesale on top political leaders.

It is not often appreciated that leadership office exists in different layers, and at all levels. Ultimately, the good of society is predicated upon how each of the several leaders (technically everyone) in a collective applies themselves to the task of leadership. In spite of pockets of good governance and credible efforts at engendering economic development in a few countries on the continent, Africa’s development situation remains precarious.

The general picture is of crisis of governance and development, the basis of which goes back several centuries. Indeed, any robust explication of the nature of colonialism, which ravaged the African continent for at least a century, cannot but come to the conclusion that it remains a critical variable in Africa’s post-colonial experience.

Making this point does not constitute an attempt to absolve subsequent generations of Africans of blame in the governance and development crisis that their continent is. Rather, it is to call attention to the fact that when a people is subjected to the most damning form of exploitation and abuse ever seen in history – 400 years of slave trade, and 100 years of colonialism, it is not unimaginable that the era following these experiences would still be largely shaped by them.

There is no amount of frustration with the present that can justify a denial of the structural impact of those years on Africa’s present situation. Scholars like Ayitteh (1992), and Diamond (1982), have noted the singleminded commitment of African leaders to rent seeking as the basis of the non-performance of the continent. In disputation of the corruption narrative, however, Jeffrey Sachs (2005: 356)) argues that the damaging impact of corruption notwithstanding, it plays only a small part in explaining Africa’s inability to deliver on development.

For him, the development crisis in Africa is a function of the continent’s ‘economic isolation,’ bypassed, as it were, by ‘the forces of globalization;’ ‘omnipresence of disease and death’ (Ibid: 194); and a situation in which ‘geography (too) conspired with economics to give (the continent) a particularly weak hand’ (Ibid: 208).

So for him, an infusion of massive official development assistance (ODA) into Africa constitutes, in the context of market reform, and fairer global trade practices, the surest route to development. In contradistinction to the geography hypothesis is the averment represented by the work of Acemoglu and Robinson (2012), who argue that the existence of extractive political and economic institutions in Africa is the primary basis of its inability to do away with poverty.

These institutions thrive on exclusion of a preponderance of the population from the economic and political processes of a nation; and are directed at ripping the gains of whatever economic engagements they tolerate off the hands of those involved therewith.

In addition, extractive political institutions limit political power, and access to the privileges they confer, to a very limited circle of people united by blood, or ideology, or one or more of the several socially constructed identities. Extractive political and economic institutions reinforce each other; and reproduce poverty and alienation rather than prosperity and inclusiveness.

The debate on the nature of the forces responsible for the development crisis in Africa can go on ad infinitum. It suffices, therefore, to anchor this on the note that fundamental to the leadership and development crises in Africa is the nature of the state that grew out of colonialism.

African leaders have sought to sustain and consolidate this after independence for its depredatory essence. This they do, in the service of the new, local ruling elites, and their foreign collaborators.

The state thrives on power centralization, exclusion, and acute cronyism. It lacks autonomy, hegemony, and capacity. It reinforces the shortage on the continent, of leadership commitment, a pro-people and prodevelopment organising philosophy that provides the basis for state action (ideology). In this context, the state remains largely moribund, and the central task of delivering development, which it is supposed to play, becomes practically impossible to accomplish.

Thus, ‘rather than being developmental like its Asian counterpart, the African state (remains) predatory’ (Mimiko, 1998: 162-177); and a huge force in the demobilization of the African population, and their inability to lead the development initiative. Using the three levels of analysis theoretical schema in foreign policy analysis as a guide, the paper notes that outside of the operating environment presented by the state and system levels, it is the precipitating cause (the trigger factor), at the individual level, that gives direction to a country.

The individual level of analysis is, to all intents and purposes, the domain of decision. It is the decisions taken, or the choices made, by leaders who are empowered to sign off on one of several options before them on any issue, and at any time that, when implemented, constitutes the behaviour of a state.

This is what is subsequently reacted to by other stakeholders at the system level. It is thus obvious that what becomes of a state is a function of the choices made by individual leaders – how rational, well-thought-out, altruistic, and evidence-based – such choices are.

This speaks to the concept of capacity; which at the less formal level, equates the ability to get things done; knowing what needs to be done, and the gravitas to make that which is to be done, done.

In the more formal sense, as it is applicable to operations of state apparatuses, capacity equates, ‘the possession of effective policy tools and sufficient power to carry out economic policy’ (Kumar, et. al., 1995, cited in Mimiko, 1997). Capacity collapse (or gap) is clearly evident among a good number of African leaders (Mimiko, 2011).

It is a more fundamental element than corruption, and virtually all the other array of causes accounting for, and sustaining the development crisis on the continent

TO BE CONTINUED TOMORROW

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Carabao Cup final: Aguero, Aubameyang in marksmen showdown

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     …De Bruyne, Ozil also go head-to-head

 

Arsenal and Man City will continue their rivalry as they battle for the Caraboa Cup on Sunday at the famous Wembley Stadium but much focus will be on the striking war between City’s Sergio Aguero and Gunners’ new recruit, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. While Aguero has been one of the most prominent players in the league owing to his awesome goal-scoring record since joining the Sky Blues in 2011, Aubameyang is seen as Arsenal messiah for goal scoring.

The Citizens’ point-man seems to be well-focused for this tie such that he decided to let go a Wigan fan over an on-pitch bust-up as the Argentine claimed the supporter spat at, tried to punch and verbally abused him in the shock loss to Wigan at the DW Stadium on Monday.

Since joining from Borrusuia Dortmund just before the close of the January transfer window, Gunners faithful have found a new wave of optimism that their search for a pointman in the mold of club legend Thierry Henry is over.

The Gabonese striker showed Arsenal fans and a glimpse of what he would be bringing to the table as he scored a brilliant goal in the 5-1 whitewash of Everton some few weeks ago; although he was slightly offside from the move.

He was to be at the receiving end of a poor call exactly a week later when his goal against Tottenham was ruled offside but the replay showed he was level with the Spurs’ last defender. In recent time, Arsenal, to some extent, have been masters of Cup football as they defeated Man City and Chelsea on their way to winning of the FA Cup last season.

The win over Chelsea, whom they also defeated to win the Community Shield, was their third success in four years in the FA Cup and they will be eager to keep up their good record of late at Wembley. Another head-to-head war is expected in the midfield between Kevin De Bruyne and Mezut Ozil.

De Bruyne has been one of the most prominent players for Pep Guardiola’s team this season and the Belgian’s relentless consistency has seen him in the running for the player of the season. Apart from scoring vital goals, he also has the vision to set up the likes of Aguero and Raheem Sterling and his one-touch football is second to none.

Ozil, on his part can, also initiate moves that could break the resistance of the expensively-assembled City rear guard. And with assist specialist Henrikh Mkhitaryan roving in the midfield, if the German find his right element, his supplies to the likes of AUbameyang and Danny Welbeck may see Arsenal enjoying another bragging right of another cup success in England.

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If in doubt, please quit!

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A major trust of news reporting in journalism is: “if in doubt, leave out or drop the story.” In my days as a News Editor, whenever a reporter couldn’t substantiate his facts, I will drop the news item. It is a norm that conforms to the best professional practices. Integrity and truth are the hallmark of media practice but with the advent of social and online media, those valued ethics seem to have been practically jettisoned. And the consequences of such professional delinquency daily stare us in the face, regrettably though.

This same ethos applies to those planning their conjugal affairs on a sandy soil of anxiety, doubt and uncertainty. If betrothed lovers are frequently experiencing rancour, threats of breakup and relating to each other with mutual suspicion and fear, they don’t need a soothsayer or a prophet to tell them that they are not compatible. Many of those in desperate mood to remain in troubled relationships are women.

Reasons adduced for their tenacity usually centre around fear of the unknown, age, social class, low selfesteem, economic factor, religious affinity and beauty among others. Some of them prefer to go into ‘trial’ marriage and fail than let go their abusive partner.

The reckless decision they often make is to blindly walk down the aisle with partners they can’t have peace and desired happy matrimony with. A 31-year-old woman would not let go off her fiancé of two years despite her frustration and constant abuse in the relationship.

Twice she had called it quit but she reconciled on both occasions without her boyfriend showing any sign of remorse. Devising a way to end regular disputes, she moved into his apartment unannounced thinking perhaps they would understand themselves better by living together. Her boyfriend’s response was to bring another woman home for the weekend. Yet, she stayed on, weeping, begging for his love. They eventually got married and it only lasted for nine months! She packed out with seven months pregnancy when she almost lost her life due constant battering.

A young man is currently battling with high blood pressure arising from constant cases of cheating, insults, threats to quit the relationship and coping with hardline rules of his fiancée. His reason for hanging on with this woman is her beauty. He said he would rather learn to endure than let her go.

“All my friends envy me because of her beauty,” he said. More than thrice, he had caught her pant down with other men. She cheats a lot. She insults him at will and set rules for him as condition to remain in the relationship. As you read this article, they are planning to wed in a couple of months’ time. Should we then ascribe these kinds of relationship to genuine love?

If yes, then, love is truly blind! It shows love can blindfold lovers when they are engrossed in it. In most cases, the love charm usually have a vice-hold on one of the partners. When blinded in love, they usually act blighted. Consequently, the traits of such desperate, confused and helpless partners are to:

• Defend weaknesses, character flaws that would eventually shred the union.

• Get fixated and unreasonably enslaved to their partners by trying to please, satisfy, compromise and sacrifice to tag along; forgetting that once they beg or manage to go into marriage, they need to keep begging and managing to remain married for the rest of their life.

• They are afraid of the unknown. Attitudes they won’t tolerate ordinarily or naturally would become their choice just to remain in relationship.

• They accommodate those things to feel “fulfilled” among their peers even when eventual failure looms large in the horizon.

• They often ignore every counsel that is not in tandem with their sentiments, interests and expectations.

• They often learn their lessons at a time the situation is beyond remedy. They calmly live with the scars because it was their choice. There are three levels of marriage:

• Marriage contracted in fear – desperation, low self-esteem, age consideration and social class

• Marriage contracted in reluctance – family and peers pressure, abstract considerations, marrying partners not wholly convinced or satisfied with many things about.

• Marriage contracted in wilful decision – marrying one’s dream partners, desired choice, best friend, feeling satisfied, fulfilled and complementary to her life. It is advisable and wiser to avert awaited marital failure by quitting troubled relationships. As it is often said, “A broken relationship is better than a broken marriage.”

Some are currently regretting their decisions in marriage because of the choices they made. While many of them have tried frantically to make their marriages work; but alas, they couldn’t get it right not due to their own faults, but because they paired with wrong partners.

There are those who might feel heeding a counsel that is against their wish is obviously denying them the right of choice in their personal affairs. I wish to submit that counsel is not a law. There’s no compulsion in it. Counsel is a piece of advice steeped in rich experience and knowledge. My sincere prayer is that may the song: “Had I Known” not be your anthem at last. Amen.

 

Send your responses/private issues to: mikeawe@yahoo.co.uk or 08035304268 (SMS/WhatsApp)

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Tinubu’s uphill task

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“You cannot influence a political party to do right if you stick to it when it does wrong” – John Bengough

 

When a doctor is called in to handle an ailment after the disease has eaten deep into the patients, the task of saving that life would depend only on divine intervention. It does not matter the quality of that doctor or his antecedents in handling such issues in the past.

The challenge of such doctor is analogous to the one being faced by the former Governor of Lagos State, Aswaju Bola Ahmad Tinubu, who was recently appointed the arbitrator and at the same time a reconciliatory officer to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

 

Incidentally, President Muhammadu Buhari who gave Tinubu the gigantic task cannot absolve himself from the problem. In fact, political observers believe that the problem of APC derives largely from the shortcomings of its leader, the President, due to his indifferent approach to political party matters.

 

Going by the analysis of experts, the style of the President in political party management has been underwhelming and clearly falls far below the required standard and this has led to the emergence of all kinds of cliques within the party. Pundits in political matters would always say that there can never be a vacuum in political space. The space President Buhari’s poor political strategy could not fill easily got occupied by pockets of chiefdom.

 

It is largely believed that the foundation of the myriads of APC challenges was long laid when the President at the inception of his administration told all who cared to know that he would not be interested in who emerges as the leaders of the National Assembly but when those he did not want emerged, he led the onslaught against them since June 9th 2015.

 

Political watchers believe that on the issue of National Assembly the hide and seek approach from the President actually helped to fertilize the crisis that eventually engulfed the ruling party.

 

Among those within the party who shared in the President’s obvious bitterness and anger against the leadership of the National Assembly was Tinubu who ostensibly remain embittered because his cronies in the parliament lost out in the scheme. Tinubu then literally supplied the amour with which the National Assembly particularly the Senate was and is still being tormented.

 

The sudden appointment of Tinubu as chief arbiter at this time is therefore curious and raises a number of questions. The appointment is trying to help observers discern the mind of the President on the situation in the party.

 

Could it be that the President after his review of the situation has decided to embrace one of the factions in the party at the detriment of the others? Or is it that Tinubu has been identified as the bigger problem and has to be given the task of confronting the task of removing the heap of refuge he probably helped to assembly?

 

For Tinubu, the view out there on his new job is similar to what happens when a party to a case is appointed to make peace, two things are likely to play out, he buries his own interest and accommodates other people’s interests for peace to reign or he stands on the point of advantage and pushes through his own agenda. Either way Tinubu decides to go it’s not going to be an easy task both for him and the party.

 

That is why it is very germane the verdict of the embattled Comrade APC Senator of Kaduna State, Senator Shehu Sani that APC would be finally ruined if Asiwaju Tinubu fails in his mission to bring peace in the party.

Even though Tinubu is a master in the game of politics and the intrigue therein, he would need the courage of biblical David and the Wisdom of Solomon, David’s son, to figure out an acceptable solution to the APC crisis.

 

Other posers waiting to be unravelled in Tinubu’s assignment is whether the National Chairman of APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun who has spent the last three years of his political life eulogizing President Buhari would be thrown out just like that as has been the wish and desire of Tinubu? Why not, you may say, election year for politicians is a time of betrayal and sacrifice especially of those whose electoral value is inconsequential. Electorally, Tinubu stands head ahead of Oyegun, and this is not in dispute.

 

Also, can Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State dine together politically with Comrade Senator Sani and Senator Hunkuyi whose building was even demolished during the fight?

 

After Governor Ibrahim Ganduje of Kano State declared publicly recently that he has parted ways forever with his former boss, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, and his Kwakwasiyya group, would Tinubu make him leak his vomit?
What of Tinubu himself, can he stand with the Senate President Bukola Saraki to say old ways have passed away for a new way to begin? Even when it’s widely believed that he contributed to the inconveniences that prevented Saraki from enjoying fully his number three position? Today if you Google Saraki the image you get is not that of a nation’s head of parliament presiding but that of a criminal suspect in the dock, can this wound be easily healed by Tinubu’s drug box?

However, there is this optimistic attitude indicating that in politics everything is possible. Believers in this optimism easily embrace Maurice Barres, the French novelist who captured the never say die spirit of politicians in his statement that “the politician is an acrobat. He keeps his balance by saying the opposite of what he does”. How sincere is Tinubu and Buhari on this reconciliatory project?

 

 

There are so many other possibilities to Tinubu’s assignment that cannot also be overlooked. It could have been a strategy of a drowning Presidency itching into general election and hoping to keep up with whoever can help at such a critical period.

 

It could also be the geo-political North’s own strategic response to halt the seeming unity in the Southern Nigeria, a development that could be the deadliest blow to the Northern hegemony. There couldn’t have been a better way to tie apart that dangerous geo-political romance in the South than pulling out the biggest political tree in the region and whispering into his ears, the goodies that await him. There couldn’t have been an easier way to achieve this especially as the Aswaju is not enjoying the best of relationship with the Yoruba socio-cultural and political group, the Afenifere, who has been at the forefront of this crusade. There is also the other treachery aspect indicating that Tinubu might just be playing a fifth columnist role against the system for deserting him after victory only to rush coming because the day of reckoning has arrived.

 

 

Also as a possible instigation to Asiwaju’s assignment is the scorching attack by the former President Olusegun Obasanjo on both President Buhari and his ruling party. The easiest way to contain and possibly help divert the conversation away from the huge effect of that outburst on the government and the party is cleverly to draft from the same region as Obasanjo a formidable political iroko to quell the accompanying political uprising.

 

It could also have been that what President Buhari did in drafting Tinubu to go and make peace in a war where he has been a top commander is just the extension of taking the people for granted. No wonder American Journalist, Franklin Adams once remarked that “there are many politicians who believe, with conviction based on experience, that you can fool all the people all of the time.”

 

But in reality, after President Buhari and his party rode to power cruising on the falsehood of propaganda and deceit, can they fool Nigerians again after the hellish journey since 2015?

 

For Tinubu, there are some landmines on his political career that he must apply all his political wizardry to manoeuvre his way in this difficult assignment. At stake is his goodwill with the people and no politicians would want to toy with it.

 

American businessman, Marshall Field, aptly captured it better in these words: “Goodwill is the only asset that competition cannot undersell or destroy.” Nigerians are watching to see how the Jagaban will writhe out of this. God help Nigeria.

 

 

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