The real African is not chicken

THIS will sound indelicate to some people: at the end of the day, we all have to go to the lavatory.

Billionaires, priests, vagabonds, sex workers of either sex, nuns, kings and queens, would-be saints and sinners — we all have to relieve ourselves — to pander to those of an ultra-sensitive nature.

So, Africans are no different from other races on this earth. They will fight to the death, if offended. Try to humiliate them and they will fight tooth and nail to restore their dignity.

In case some Africans have forgotten, this was, essentially, the basis of our struggles against colonialism.

Unfortunately, even after we had triumphed in those wars, there were African leaders who insisted they could still make us eat crow.

In some cases, they were the same people who had led the struggles against colonialism.

They dared to destroy the dignity of their compatriots who had made them leaders.  Again, the Africans fought and triumphed, risking life and limbs — much as they did against the colonialists.

So, the real African — who never invented anything as magical as the flying machine, the train, the bicycle, the rocket, the computer or the bra — is not chicken.

He will still rise up when people — whoever they are — try to make him eat humble pie. The big question is: Why do African leaders treat their fellow Africans as if they were utterly witless?

Here is the startling truth: the leaders are no different from leaders of other races. They let their faith in their infallibility go to their heads — which the people decide to chop off.

My view has always been that as we are the poorest creatures on Earth, we should forsake all other ambitions, to concentrate on killing the poverty in our midst.

It may sound idealistic or even Utopian. But it deserves our close attention. Other races may be lumbered with elements of poverty as horrible as ours.

But that poverty is not as widespread as it is among us. Among us, the poor outnumber the rich by such a large margin, in some instances, you could count the rich on the fingers of one hand — figuratively speaking.

Since our freedom from colonialism, beginning in 1957, very few of our leaders have made the struggle against poverty their Number One goal.

Some have tried, it is true. But somewhere along the way they have been sidetracked – by their own selfish ambitions.

By and large their people have continued to wallow in poverty while they themselves lived like kings — or queens.

Even those professing to be proponents of socialism have not lived up to those ideals.

Most have blamed the plight of their people on the West or the former colonial masters. 

To some extent, some of the former colonial masters have tended to resist the temptation to do the right thing — help their former charges to achieve as respectable and dignified a lifestyle for the majority as their own people enjoy.

Killing each other over matters that other races would find trivial has not helped Africans either.

In Nigeria only last week, people were killed before an election. An election is vital for democracy — so they keep telling us — but it cannot be important enough for people to kill each other.

It is not a matter of life and death. People kill each other because their leaders tell them to. They do this because they believe this is the surest way of frightening all the people to vote for them.

Voting itself ought to be treated as part of the fight against poverty. People ought to vote for leaders who are committed to the fight against poverty — convincingly.

All leaders known to have failed to demonstrate visible evidence of their commitment to the fight against poverty ought to be rejected at the polls — massively.

Again, I suspect that many people will see this as more idealistic rubbish.

But without ideals, what is life, but a wasteland of materialism, anchored on selfishness and the decadence of the “Me” philosophy — whatever that means in this day and age of One World, One Village?
Meanwhile, let me go to…relieve myself.

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