Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Tunisian Revolution - What Lessons For African Leaders?

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The Tunisian problem started as mere protest and then graduated to an uprising and eventually to a revolution which led to the eventual step down of the former Head of state Ben Ali. Now that Ben Ali has finally vacated power and gone into self-imposed exile, what lessons are other African leaders learning from the North African state?

It is now clear that tyranny cannot stand for ever; and that a time would come when the ruled would not fear death anymore. The people may live in fear for several years and be intimidated by state powers and machine guns or artillery fires. But one day everyone would cast off the fear of death and confront the power of oligarchy and totalitarianism for personal freedom.

Freedom has never come too cheaply for any people. Those who are hungry for liberty and self determination would rise up to challenge the power of oppression and take what rightfully belongs to them – power.

The Tunisian revolution has once again proved the fact that power belongs to the people. Despotism would only reign as long as the people remain silent. No man can ever be greater than his country: it is the masses that make a leader what he is.

A lot of African countries have lived under absolute, tyrannical, despotic and repressive leadership. The leaders who believe that power is permanent refuse to recognize the fact that power is actually transient and that one day it would change hands.

Ben Ali ruled Tunisia with iron fists for 23 years, without being accountable to anyone. Corruption thrived under his regime; oppositions were emasculated and victimized. The people groaned under the yoke of his intimidating powers. But all that is now history because the same man who believed he could rule forever is now in exile in Saudi Arabia.

Egyptians are now taking to the streets demanding for the resignation of their president who has been in power for decades. Their eyes have been opened by the fearlessness of the Tunisian people who had lived under the same kind of leadership until few days back.

The reason there has been civil wars, guerilla wars, militancy and pockets of internal insurrection in several African countries has been largely due to the kind of oppressive leadership the people had had in centuries. However, things seem to be taking a dramatic change for the better. True democracy, freedom of speech, accountability and credible elections seem to be visible in the horizon.

Hosni Mubarak should as a matter of urgency quit his post as the Head of state and allow the people determine who should govern them. He should not impose his cronies on the people. He should know that no amount of intimidation, killing and victimization would stop the people from getting what they want.

Other Heads of state like Muammar Gaddafi, Robert Mugabe, Omar Al-Bashir, etc should also take note of the new awakening in Africa. They should understand the yearnings of the people and quietly vacate office before they’re humiliated out. Africa needs leaders who can help manage her resources and develop the continent so they could try and catch up with other continents that have gone ahead of them in terms of infrastructural and human resources development.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Dr. GoodLuck Jonathan Picks PDP Presidential Ticket

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President Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan Friday morning emerged the flag bearer for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2011 presidential election in a landslide victory over former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and Sarah Jubril at the party’s primaries conducted at the Eagle’s Square Abuja.

He polled 2,736 out of the 3,507 votes (with 61 voided), while Atiku Abubakar came a distant second with 805 votes. The third candidate and the only female contestant Sarah Jubril had only a vote.

Dr. Goodluck Jonathan’s landslide victory has finally proved that the issue of zoning that has threatened to tear Africa’s largest political party apart is after all not fully supported by the people. Atiku was only able to get an overwhelming victory in 5 out of 36 states. All the people/states that openly supported the zoning arrangement may have after all decided to practice true democracy which is a reflection of the voice of the people.

Unfortunately, the former VP lost to Jonathan in his own state – Adamawa state. Nigerians have once again shunned the politics of ethnic divide, tribal bigotry, geopolitical differences and religious sentiments to pick the candidate they felt is best suited to be president come May 29, 2011.

Only during the June 12, 1993 election that saw the emergence of late Chief M.K.O. Abiola as the acclaimed winner of the election under the umbrella of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) did Nigerians overwhelmingly vote for a candidate irrespective of his geopolitical zone, religion or ethnic background.

Come to think of it, if the issue of zoning had taken its course then the best candidate for the party would not have had the chance of emerging as the flag bearer. What this means therefore, is that zoning was never the mind of the majority of the people: it was smuggled into the party’s constitution by a selected few who did so for selfish reasons.

The people have spoken their minds by the way they defiled the zoning arrangement to vote massively for the best candidate who clearly was not supposed to be qualified if that kangaroo arrangement had been respected. The policies and constitutions of political parties and every organization should be formulated to reflect the true yearnings of the people and not that of a few privileged.

Dr. Goodluck Jonathan has presented Namadi Sambo as his running mate for the April 2011 elections; and if what we saw during the PDP convention is anything to go by, then the pair is sure of massive votes from Nigerians irrespective of their political parties, ethnic groups, cultural backgrounds or religion. A lot of people believe in the Goodluck-Sambo pair to deliver the dividends of democracy to them. They have already started to carry out major reforms in the economy, power sector, education, transportation, etc to the delight of the citizenry.

We hope that come May 29, 2011, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan would be sworn in as the duly elected president of Nigeria, so he could complete the nice works he has started. We say congratulations Goodluck, for emerging as the presidential flag bearer of the People’s Democratic Party.