FG begins disbursement of grants to 2,800 rural women in AnambraThe definition of a failed state is often found in the history of its foundation, and in that foundation lies the truth that has plagued Africa since the dawn of the 20th century.

A foundation built on the emergence of despotic leaders and other human moles infused in the fabric of governance, whose primary allegiance is not to Africa, but to the whims and caprices of a Colonial Human machine, dedicated to burrowing into the mindset of a people, programming them to live only in the here and now of time, and in that psychological arrest, Springs and sustains a failure to reflect on the past and project into a brighter future.

The envisioned outcome is perpetuation of apathy, inertia, and lack of motivation, blindsided by a dominant ego- driven pursuit of self-serving principles to the exclusion of altruism.

The success of this war machine unleashed against Africa has found expression in the failure of many Africans states to chart a course of unity amongst her people, provide a solid foundation for sustained economic growth, raise awareness of her people on the doctrine of collective nation-building, shedding the cloak of divisive forces embedded in religious, ethnic and tribal sentiments and intolerance as well as other class driven caste systems.

These and other factors have chained Africa to the ground, preventing the emergence of a time-driven paradigm shift,  challenging Africa to greater heights and place in the world of human accomplishments.  Little wonder the great continent of Africa is at the bottom of the barrel in infrastructure development, human capital acquisition, healthcare delivery, resource and production- oriented educational curriculum, as well as technological innovations.  Black Africa must be ashamed that it ranks first in poverty, infant and maternal mortality, corruption index, human rights violations and a host of other vices.

The Nigeria situation is a microcosm of an African tragedy where a nation is turned on its head by the shortcoming of its own people.  By extension, the black man in failing to understand himself and his positioning in the pyramidal stratification of the human race, continues to live in a fool’s paradise, oblivious of the fact that his house is on fire.  It is not an accident but rather by design that the black man is positioned at the bottom of this pyramid in terms of productivity, self-sustenance and definition of character.

Africa, through abandoning its heritage and cultural values, in preference for a white only ideology has opened itself up for exploitation and self-imprisonment; more so as the dichotomy created by these competing variables will never fit into a coherent monolithic construct of a pathway to global competitiveness.  This is our Achilles’ heel and the reason why Africa is so vulnerable to the intrusive forces of colonialism and neocolonialism.

In the Nigerian experiment, history must not always repeat itself especially when the outcome is inimical to our survival.  History will always judge us for standing by and doing nothing in the face of growing danger in a society drifting towards attrition, moral decadence, collapse of her traditional ethos, and a struggle between the forces of sensual validation and vindication of just practices, values, self-sacrifice and self-effacement.

The warning signs of a society in danger of extermination include insecurity of lives and property, insecurity of sustained food supply at a rate that can be afforded by the poorest amongst us, and an unemployment index exceeding 75% of the population, with restiveness amongst the youth for whom the future appears bleak and who feel forgotten by a system that takes no prisoners.

These warning signs are contained in the feelings of our daughters who feel desecrated, abused and dehumanized by a society that is largely unforgiving; a system that has turned its back on them and driven many of them into prostitution simply because they have no choice but to sell their bodies in order to put food on the table for their siblings and for aging parents whose pensions have been withheld and sometimes unpaid by a corrupt system filled with predators.

The warning signs of a society gradually grinding to a halt may be seen in the anxiety expressed at most dinner tables where there is not enough food to go around, where families struggle to choose between sending their children to school or offering them to serve as House- helps in non-kinship environment, and  in return for gratuity paid in kind or cash but never in full, as these children generally end up being  abused, sometimes maimed and  killed and often dismembered because they have no voice to speak for them. In some of these homes, children have to take to the streets as Hawkers of petty food products, weaving in and out of busy traffic, roaming the neighborhood while their privileged peers are in school. These children often fall victims to Pedophiles, kidnappers, Child Traffickers and Ritualists. They die young, their blood crying in the wilderness. They lie in shallow graves unknown to their wailing family.

The perpetrators run loose and breathe free, unprosecuted, because these children have no voice.

The telltale signs of a society in deprecation is a healthcare system that may well be described as a nightmare rather than a therapeutic environment.  Most hospitals especially emergency rooms now require patients to make a deposit of exorbitant amount of money before they are attended to even in the face of life-threatening emergencies.  Most hospitals are plagued with frightening lack of inventory needed to provide adequate and safe healthcare to the population they serve.

Graphic examples include lack of ventilators, oxygen cylinders, glucometers, pulse oximeters, cardiopulmonary resuscitation equipment including defibrillators, portable lab equipment for simple tests such as blood gases and blood chemistry as well as dipsticks for urinalysis.  In one particular Teaching Hospital, doctors were faced with the choice of which one of three patients would have to receive oxygen from the only oxygen cylinder available to the hospital.

At the end the decision was made to give the oxygen to the child amongst them and the two other patients had to die as a result.  In another setting, a portable oxygen cylinder had to be forcibly taken from a young female despite the fact that she came to the hospital with this portable cylinder for her own use, only for it to be wrenched from her hands because she was too weak to resist.  The cylinder was used interchangeably for other patients with persuasive family influence and the poor girl ended up dying from respiratory failure because she had no voice to speak for her.

The society is rife with our frail parents who after years of service to the country that they love, go into retirement with no provision made for their upkeep and sustenance.  Many of them have no family support, many of them defended our cause in the battlefield, some ended up being physically and mentally disabled.

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They sit in wheelchairs, some on wooden benches staring into space, not sure when and where the next meal will come from, not sure of tomorrow, not sure who may stop by to say hello.  Their vision fail before their very eyes, in time they become deaf, paralyzed by stroke and no one takes notice.  Some die in their sleep and decay before they are discovered.  This forgotten population lives amongst us.  They are our progenitors, our heroes, yet they exist in a lacuna as a forgotten generation because no one cares, and government looks the other way.

Indeed, the danger of a dying society is that it is agog with celebration of the primordial and mundane aspects of life to the exclusion of the need to take stock of the expedient needs of that society.  When this is juxtaposed with the fact that everybody can intellectualize on what the problems are, and able to proffer rambunctious solutions to these problems; the missing link has always been the inability to bring these solutions to fruition.  In other words, a leadership vacuum is created when these discussions and grandiose solutions are mere exercises in abstraction that call into question the level of depreciation of our reality testing.

As we approach the election of 2021 in Anambra State the matter is not about the hullabulla created by politicians, rather it is about bridging the great divide that has plagued our people for years.  The focus is not about any one individual but about the people’s right to self-expression. The journey beyond 2021   be embarked with the collective will of the people.

The role of leadership is to guide the shape of any state in the direction of academic growth, equal opportunity for all, conducive environment for children to achieve their highest potential in life, creating a workforce that builds on the sound foundation of free and effective enterprise.  No one should be left behind on this journey if the will of the people must be respected.

A good leader is like a prophet in that he comes with a message of hope, of truth, and of a better and brighter future.  A good leader is a servant of his own people, he takes the back seat in personal aspirations and is a Front liner and Champion of a people’s cause.  He is a custodian of our norms and values.  He stands guard at the gate of harmony, building bridges, creating opportunities and tearing down barriers.  Where there is despair he brings hope.  He serves with humility and places God first in everything, understanding that His ways are not the ways of man.

Such a man must be a voice for the voiceless.  He must be a voice for the underserved and less privileged.  He must be a voice for the widows, the Orphans, the disabled.  He must be a voice for the Youth, empowering them to greater heights and accomplishment.  He must be a voice of peace, of persuasion and of unity.  He must be a voice for our young women who must be rehabilitated, comforted and their pride restored.  He must be like the Prophet Isaiah who heard the voice of the Lord saying, whom shall I send, and who will go for us?  And Isaiah replied, “here am I, send me.”

Therefore, the duty we owe to society and generation unborn is the Legacy we leave behind.  This is what we will be remembered for in years to come. The Litmus test is whether or not we shall live up to the challenges of our times.

However, if we open our hearts today, and invite our Lord Jesus as we embark on this journey to make our state a better place for all, he will answer our prayer, he will hold our hands and walk with us every step of the way.

Dr. Ejike Onuogu, from New York

Vanguard News Nigeria


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