Yesterday, 25th May, more than half the people in the world took a day off from normal work to relax, spend time with family or just catch up with work. Different chunks of the globe celebrated this day for very different reasons. In the United States, it was a Memorial Day to remember and honor the soldiers who fought during the civil war for those who are free today. In parts of Europe countries considered it a Spring Break Bank Holiday. In Africa, 53 nations rested to celebrate the Africa Union Day. Of course any worker will jump at an opportunity to rest and spend more time away from work, but is there anything to celebrate in Africa?
OAU! I learned these vowels in junior high as if they were the most important ones in the series of alphabets. This generation will have just two vowels to memorize since it is now just AU. As if the drop of one vowel and the re-arrangement would give more meaning to the political and economic community. Frankly, I don’t see the value of the OAU/AU. The rate at which it grants its citizens benefits is perhaps too slow for me to recognize and appreciate, or they are just carrying titles and rotating positions to benefit their tummies. To be fair, I must admit, I haven’t really been following the achievements and performance of the Union, but should I? I am of the view that, one doesn’t need to read about the benefits of water to see its true value. Illiterates appreciate water, so do the blind. When the sun scorches your skin, it doesn’t really matter whether you are aware of its existence or not, its rays will permeate your already soaked garment and make you more uncomfortable, whether you are an astrologist or just a young man who wants to get some jollof on the streets of Accra (did you expect me to say Lagos?)
I have seen how the European Union has made it so simple for citizens of member nations to travel to and from one member state to another with just an ID. I have compared that freedom of movement to the one the AU promises and keeps promising. Even within the ECOWAS, I have personally gone through several uncomfortable situations just to cross from Ghana to Nigeria or Togo, even with the green book in hand with E-C-O-W-A-S body printed on it. At these borders, paying some CFA or Naira to get in seems like a norm, if you don’t do it, you are delayed or asked to return. Are the managers of the EU aliens with supernatural talents? Why is it so hard for our leaders to replicate what exists elsewhere. If there was anything I credited the black man with, it was the will and ability to copy! Why then can’t we copy the almost perfect situation at play in the EU?
Africa is a mess, a big fat, over-pampered mess. For how long will we keep looking on unconcerned when our kinsmen risks their lives crossing tens of thousands of miles of water just to seek greener pasture elsewhere? Today, Kenyan security forces faced fresh attacks from Al-Shabab, even before the East-African tech super-power could get over the Garissa attack and the WestGate incidence. The continent’s biggest Economic giant, Nigeria, crumbled to a halt as Oil suppliers just decided to demand what is due them before they supplied a single drop of crude. That sneeze sent shivers down Ghana’s spine. A flu like fever which intensified the load shedding situation the Ghana has been plagued with for the past 3 years. No one seems to know when all this will end. When Ghana wakes up, it prides itself with being one of the most democratic nations. Frankly, if you asked me, this is not different from College senior with “Best blackboard cleaner in class 2” accolade on his CV. We should grow past that. In a world where terabyte is no longer a big deal, a nation should stop seeing peace at an end in itself, but rather a means to an end. How does any business balance its books without electricity? How do students study without lights at night? And our President comfortably sleeps in his presidential mansion at night, and keep lying to the citizens about how he feels their pain. What kind of black magic is this?
Let’s not forget, Boko Haram still wants to rule the continent or parts of it with its non-Western Education agenda. Luckily, after more than 360 days of screaming #BringBackOurGirls, most of the girls were rescued by the Nigerian Army, but with seeds in their wombs. A dilemma which will not only be problematic for their affected families, but also for the bigger family, Africa, as well.
South Africa after butchering and killing people of their own skin color for days has now taken a break. As a nation known for its xenophobic tendencies, no one knows when the unfortunate habit will surge once again will. Did you you hear about the attempted coup in Burundi? Or was it a reversed coup rather? Two terms just doesn’t seem to be enough for our African leaders. When such serious issue are knocking on a nation’s door, how or why would its leader choose playing ball to seeking to hear the voice of its people? Togo and Gambia confidently and shamelessly struck down a proposal to restrict West African leaders tenure to two years. One would think that these power-hungry clueless leaders stay in power because they are so much focused on their good deeds, unfortunately, that is not the case. We have seen heads of states reign for more than 4 decades, and would still no stand-down even when the inflation in their countries slides into space. We still have Ebola eating up some parts of West Africa after Liberia was declared Ebola free. Illiteracy kills dozens indirectly every day, yet our leaders walk with their chests out knowing very well they haven’t done much to reduce the number school kids being taught under trees or not being taught at all. I have intentionally resolved not to dirty this post with our corruption disease. It is as if the continent has been cursed with corruption. Or do our leaders intentionally weaken the reach of the watch dogs just so such acts can go unnoticed?
Pull out your African map, if you have one, throw a coin on any part of it, I will tell you what cancer is eating that piece up. And what makes it strange is, these cancerous cells swimming among us could have been avoided or reduced, if the AU was really set up to do some work, any work at all!