ON Friday, April 12, I told Vanguard readers that I’d recently travelled to Rwanda – to attend a conference for African Chief Executives; and I praised, as follows, some of the Nigerian VIPs who spoke at this event, including Bayelsa State Governor, Mr Seriake Dickson, and Dr Kayode Fayemi, the Governor of Ekiti State:.

Bayelsa State governor, Seriake Dickson and Ekiti State governor Kayode Fayemi with one of the AFRICA CEO FORUM organisers

[They] spoke very eloquently and provided me and other members of their audiences with valuable learning experiences.

And, by the way, I and many other Nigerian and non-Nigerian onlookers were especially impressed by the fact that though Fayemi (APC) and Dickson (PDP) belong to different political parties that had just emerged from bruising electoral battles back home, they related to each other very warmly and cerebrally in Rwanda.

Of course, they couldn’t possibly agree on every topic. But they focussed on the bigger picture, rather than on petty rivalries, thereby proving themselves to be well brought-up, civilized gentlemen who prioritise collective development issues.

The likes of Fayemi and Dickson remind and teach us, by avoiding avoidable rancour, that it is not necessary for political differences of opinion to become bitter and destructive enemies.

If more Naija leaders shared their benign, intelligent and mature mindsets, our country might be in much better shape!

I didn’t know at the time that Dickson and Fayemi would soon be honoured by colleagues who shared my high opinion of them, and I (forgive my smugness!) felt like a particularly good judge of character when they were both singled out a couple of days ago.

Leadership batons

On Wednesday night, Fayemi’s peers (Dickson included) decided that he should take over from Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara as Chairman of the all-party Nigeria Governors’ Forum.

Almost simultaneously – also on Wednesday night – Dickson’s peers decided that he should collect the leadership baton from Alhaji Ibrahim Dankwambo, the soon-to-depart Governor of Gombe, and henceforth head the PDP Governors’ Forum.

Congrats galore to two charismatic men of substance; I confidently predict that the fora they are chairing – and the nation as a whole – will benefit enormously from their stewardship.

Also read: Go round and see the beauty of my country, Buhari tells Ben-Shosan

Reader responses

ON a number of occasions over the years, I have quoted white people who do not see black folks in a lofty light.

Last week, I quoted Lord Lugard, the colonial Governor-General, who accused us of various shortcomings…and Julian Van Abele, an American student who feels that most of the world’s achievements boil down to the achievements of white males.

Here are some of the responses I received from Vanguard readers:

Nosike Uduezue <[email protected]>

Re: A white colonial’s opinion of us

You have in the past posted what the former president of South Africa, P. W. Botha, said about Africans: “We have demonstrated that we are superior to the blacks in a thousand ways.

The Republic of South Africa has not been created by wishful thinking. We have created at the expense of intelligence, sweat and blood. We do not pretend like other whites that we like blacks.

The fact that blacks look like human beings does not necessarily make them reasonable human beings.

Hedgehogs are not porcupines, lizards are not crocodiles simply because they look alike. If God wanted us to be equal to the blacks he would have created us of uniform colour and intellect but he created us differently. The blacks cannot rule themselves, give them guns and they will kill each other.

They are good at nothing else but making noise, dancing, marrying many wives and indulging in sex. Let us all accept that the black man is the symbol of poverty, mental inferiority, laziness, and emotional incompetence and that the white man was created to rule the black man and that the black man is a creature which lacks foresight,” and you wanted Vanguard readers to comment. I did not comment but I made copies and distributed to some persons. Majority of the people that I sampled…agreed with Botha. They said it was brutal but it was a fact and that Africans must do serious introspection.

Now you have come up with what Lugard and Von Abele said. Several readers who commented [on the Vanguard website] were abusive and I feel sorry for the black man because we lie to ourselves and are hypocritical and cannot even engage in honest intellectual debate.

I agree with Lugard. I also feel that if Africans wish to be taken seriously they have to work harder and stay back in their respective countries and stop trooping to Europe and America where the whites have worked hard to make their own countries comfortable…

…I also agree with Von Abele that whites are superior in the meantime until Africans prove otherwise.

From Ifeka Okonkwo ([email protected])  

Donu, I feel so sad that the march to the greatness of our country by our selfless founding fathers was halted by the military on January 15, 1966.

Since the end of the Nigerian Civil War on January 15, 1970, all those who had been at the helm of the affairs of our country, instead of harnessing our abundant natural resources to make our country fully developed like the Asian Tigers, or Dubai, have regrettably brought our country down on her knees and our present quagmire, due to their insatiable greed, lack of foresight and acquisition of obscene wealth from our common till!

The views expressed by Lord Fredrick Lugard and Julian Van Abele, are true of the calamity that has befallen our country in the hands of our clueless ruling class since the demise of the first republic.

If the whites had managed our resources during the oil boom years till date, our country could have been fully developed like the first world countries and not the world’s capital of the poorest of the poor!

This is a country that is going bankrupt and heavily in debt but is still foolishly practising the expensive presidential system of government that pays our politicians the highest salaries and allowances in the whole world.

I weep for our country, as I see no end to our sufferings in the midst of plenty with our present crop of selfish politicians who are only thinking about who will be the presiding officers of National Assembly and the 2023 general elections and not how to better our lot and most importantly how to tackle the worsening unprecedented general insecurity of lives and property we are going through now, in our hapless country!

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