By Emma Okocha
“The goal of the US relationship with Nigeria is to build a partnership supported by four principal pillars: Investing in People, Economic Growth and Development, Peace and Security, and Governing Justly and Democratically ….the US EXIM Bank is collaborating with the Federal Government, Commercial Banks and other relevant private sector groups to develop alternative sources for funding Nigeriaâ€™s energy needs.â€™â€™
â€”US Ambassador, Robin Renee Sanders, Working US- Nigeria Partnership, Crossroads, Sept-October, 2008.
“We are seen as incredibly ignorant about the African continent.
Many Americans think Africa is one country rather than fifty -one, confuse Nigeria with Niger, and Swaziland with Switzerland and will never want to know the difference between Mali and Malawi….Unlike many other countries, the US offers a relevant ecological environment for virtually any natural resource challenge confronted by African countries.
The US can replicate the rain forest, the Savannah, the Sahel and the desert. The US educational system is rich and varied , with the capability of providing educational or training experiences responsive to virtually any Third World development need.â€™â€™Â Â â€” Former US Ambassador to Nigeria, Donald Easum on The US As A Partner In African Development, to USA Africa, Vol.2, No28, November, 1987.
“Almost six months into the administration, the State Department is still conducting a much vaunted â€˜comprehensive reviewâ€™ of US-Sudan Policy. Nothing concrete has emerged. The administration appears divided at the highest level over whether genocide is even still taking place in Darfur. Furthermore, they are making overtures to Khartoum which are at best naive.â€™â€™ â€” Virginian Rep, Frank Wolf , Congressional Record Statement, July 9, 2009.
“Africa is too large and complex for any one to have an overall African Policy, Economic growth and development is important but must be limited on our own end. American aid can become a band aid and we want our aid to lubricate desirable economic reforms and not become a substitute for needed change.â€™â€™ â€” Prof Richard Hass, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard, and George.H. Bush Foreign Affairs Advisor.
With almost a billion people, diverse cultures and customs, different languages and religions, arbitrarily delimited by boundaries, created by European colonizers, Africa is one of the largest continents with very promising potentials.
Irrespective of its diversities, the history of Africa chronicles some golden connected chapters, and for the neophyte, the continent could be taken as one country and often the mistake is to propose or initiate an overall policy for a continent that is representative of a lot of tendencies, with equally different leaders pushing conflicting philosophies and colliding interests.
In the forgoing concluding sketches, we will seek to demonstrate that Obamaâ€™s Accra declaration did for the first time seek to avoid lumping the Africans as one entity. Obama as a son of the soil made a significant detour from his predecessors.
The US Presidents before Obama preferred to run an overall policy for the whole continent.
From the hollowed chambers of the Ghanaian Parliament, the US President declared, “America will not impose any system of government on any other nationâ€¦ …As I said in Cairo, each nation gives life to democracy in its own way, and in line with its own traditions.â€™â€™
While the US will increase assistance for responsible individuals and institutions and assist to build an honest state police, Obama pointed out that,Â “governments that respect the will of their people are more prosperous,Â more stableâ€™â€™.
He condemned the leaders and governments that exploit their people and enrich themselves,Â the Police that live by bribery and predicted that in the long run, nobody would do business or live in such corrupt tyranny.
He was able to cite that “Across Africa, we have seen countless examples of people taking control of their destiny.
With the scientific barometers of an engaging observer, Obamaâ€™s sublime categorization, which separated the Sudan Darfur Gulags, the African triage nations of Zimbabwe, Chad, and Niger; the killing grounds of Somalia, and the Congo, the soho corrupt kleptomania that have continuously overburdened the Nigerian promise and destiny.
On the pulpit inside the Ghana historic Parliament, he rejoiced with the legatees of the Kwame Nkrumah exemplary leadership and praised Ghana for giving Africa a new face of pride.
Raising his tiny left fingers and with a lot of pride in his Hollywood eyes, Obama beamed into the camera; â€˜â€™Across Africa, we have seen countless examples of people taking control of their destiny, …we saw it in Kenya, where civil society and business came together to help stop post election violence.â€™â€™
His proud face lifted in confidence when he talked about the rising hope of South Africa and by the time the President presented theÂ fresh air that is Botswana, the world was introduced to a new Africa.