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The Leadership Scourge in Nigeria And Africa - A Push for a Better Democracy
20. May 2019 at 22:57
The militarization of the electoral process is a disservice to our democracy and a throwback to the jackboot era of military dictatorship. In some areas of the country, such as, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Imo states, troops deployed for the elections turned their guns on the very citizens they were meant to protect. This is condemnable and should not be associated with our electoral process in the future.


Africa is dying. She is sick, directionless and visionless. Burdened with despots as leaders, the continent is in devilish but firm grips of deceitful educational systems, poverty breading economic policies, retrogression and accelerated self-destruction. Stating this, is simply lending voice to an already overstated ugly facts; it is no longer news. Worst is, it appears as if there are no solutions. Africans appear to be intelligent enough to discern problems, but at the same time, inhibited by hypnotism of some sort from desiring, finding and implementing solutions. 


The definition of African economy is chaos, madhouse and poverty. Most of our national economic policies are made and driven by people who cannot manage a local store in a remote village. Some of these people have no idea of what negative impact an unguided statement made by a President or an Economic Minister can make on the health of a country’s economy. Some dip their hands into the national coffers as if it is their own personal purse. 

As a matter of fact, most people who engage in politics in Africa are there for one singular objective: to have access to public treasuries, loot the resources and live happily ever after. Is it a wonder why they commit all manner of crimes to get to power? It is normal in Africa to see people who steal, lie, cheat, blackmail, kidnap, maim, kill and break the laws of the land, left, right and center just to clinch power. Is it a wonder why our elections are battles and wars? Look around and see rivers of blood across Africa over leadership tussles. 

One can state without fear or favour that political violence across Africa has nothing with leadership! Rather, it has everything to with criminal minded individuals whose only source of livelihood are loots from public funds. The mindset of most African ‘leaders’ can simply be summarized as, “how can I get more cash?”. This is why contracts are awarded, payments made in full but no work will be done. Many Africans think wealth is the same as ‘cash’. We are brought up to believe that our problem is lack of cash. So, where ever there is cash, people are ready to kill to get there. Corruption in Africa is only a symptom.

While the economic policies of most developed nations can be summarized as Create, Produce and Export, that of most of the African nations can be summarized as follows: Get cash, Import and Consume. The world over, Creativity and productivity remain the bedrock of growing economies. On a general level, any nation with more imports than exports will have a trade deficit. If there are advantages of such deficits, we are yet to see them in Africa. Most of our economies are battling with inflations and devaluing currencies. Yet, most of our bilateral trade agreements with developed nations always end up in their favour. Often, our leaders sign documents without understanding the implications. A production-based economy will do far better than a consumption based one. This is simple economics.

Most of the people who find themselves in our corridors of power are too eager to sell off our natural resources at whatever terms, provided they will lay their filthy hands on some “hot and free” cash. They don’t care about developing private sectors of their respective nations. Manufacturers struggle to produce under hash conditions, so our industries are mostly small scales. The work force of most developed nations are absorbed by the private sector. In Africa, greater percentage of our employees are working for Governments. That is part of the mysteries of high cost of governance in Africa. 

When will Africa experience her own “industrial revolution”? What is the reason behind our reliance on imported food for survival? Even if we can’t produce fighter jets, why can’t we produce enough cassava and corn? Even if not for exports, at least enough for us not to die of hunger. 

Unfortunately, we sell our natural resources, only to spend some of the money on imported processed foods, use some to buy fighter jets and other weapons and then kill one another over manmade unrests. Of course, the remaining funds are stashed away in foreign banks by our ‘amiable’ leaders; for themselves, their children and for everlasting inheritance for their unborn generations. Is it still any wonder why Africa is poor? 


Here is a paradox; we are endowed with natural and human resources, yet live in abject poverty. The secret of developed nations is human capital development. Humans design and produce things. So, wise nations develop their human capital. Once a nation has human capital, their natural resources can be harnessed, processed and managed. The human brain is the foremost ‘natural’ resource. Furthermore, the brain of a properly developed human can create and produce anything imaginable. The process of this development of human capital is known as education. 

Unfortunately, the kind of education we have in Africa does not seek to develop the brains (consequently mindsets) of the leaners. Rather, most of the processes end up killing the creative and productive abilities of our best brains. The best our graduates come out with are abilities to communicate in languages of our colonisations. In addition, they are handed impotent papers called certificates. Most of them come out of school without acquiring any serious knowledge let alone developing skills. They cannot solve any problems. 

While we focus on learning definitions in foreign languages and call it education, developed nations are advancing in Science, Engineering, Medicine, Economics, Commerce, Government, Etc.

To grow our economies, we need to redefine education. Our present curriculums must change. We have to shift emphasis from “book only” kind of education and put energy on developing the creative and productive abilities of our younger generations. Theories without practical applications are not but mere stories. While kids in China are competing on designs of next generation smart phones are electronic games, our graduates are dying to at least own one of them gadgets. 

Till today, most of our resources are managed by expatriates because we are not sure of our own manpower. Honestly, it stinks to think we are independent. 

Also, the emphasis on these languages of our colonial masters must give way to emphasis on knowledge acquisition and skills development. We are today suffering from inferiorly complex because we have lost our identities as Africans. We need to experiment learning in our local languages, while studying foreign languages on their merits.

At the moment, most of our youths are scrambling to run overseas, either in search of greener pastures or to acquire real education. Live motto of many of them is something like: “get out of Africa or die trying”. And in reality, many of them are dying while trying to cross to Europe.

Those who have no alternative but to stay and study at home, end up discouraged after graduation. Graduates are trouping out of citadels of learning with little or no hope of getting hired: there are no jobs. The few existing ones are given to the less qualified who happens to know someone “up there”.  

We cannot but cry out, “Where are our leaders?”


It is only in Africa that incompetent, visionless, unqualified and even outright criminal minded fellows are ‘elected’ into positions of leadership. Most of them are not even educated enough to articulate National Problems, let alone formulate viable economic policies. Africa is under leaders who are blind, insensitive and callous. 

Where are the African intellectuals when the half-witted rule over lands? Where are our men of integrity when the corrupt run our affairs? Why must Africa allow visionless people to occupy the most important positions in lands while men of purpose and vision are wasting away? The lands of Africa are crying for help against violent men who ruin our lives. Unfortunately, our peace makers are scared off from the corridors of power. 

The worst part is, our leadership selection processes are often manipulated by people of other continents especially those from whom we have gained the so-called independence. They often see to it that stooges who will do their biddings ‘win’ our elections. When they say election, they mean selection. Individuals who dared to raise their heads as real leaders among us, are hacked down by these external forces, using their ever-successful divide and rule tactics. If they don’t divide us along ethnic lines, they will employ religions lines. For example, Cameroon is at a deadly war for a silly division of “French speaking versus English speaking”. Yet France and England are allies. They are not at war.  

How long shall we remain in this cauldron? How come we never have people with leadership abilities to lead us?

It is time we examine the processes through which people with questionable characters emerge as our leaders. Something is wrong with we call democracy in Africa. It is time we realise that what is suitable in America, may not be that suitable for Africa. There is a need for an urgent review of our democratic processes. In many African nations, the ballot box rather than reveal the peoples’ choice, is used to impose those they have rejected. If we choose bad leaders, we have no choice than to lick our wounds, and learn our lessons. If however, bad leaders are imposed on us, the pains are more severe. The ugly truth is, the ‘imported’ ballot box has failed us. There exists somewhere, an “African ballot box”: with which we can choose credible, visionary and patriotic leaders without manipulations by both internal and external forces. 

Africa, Is Our Hope for a Complete Still Valid?

There is hope for Africa. Every Problem Has A Complementary Solution.

To start with, I wish to state clearly that all our problems as Africans have solutions! Secondly, I wish to sound it out loud, that only Africans can genuinely solve Africa’s problems. Thirdly, we wish to make it known that other continents have their challenges too, and they are wise and responsible enough to take their destinies into their own hands. Africans on the other hand appear subdued and as a result are passive. Dear Africans, this is a new dawn, a season of paradigm shift and a time to take our destiny into our hands.

The truth is, Africa has made significant advancements in recent years, and each incremental improvement unlocks the potential for future improvement. In stark contrast to the notion of a dark continent, Africa today is home to millions of bright, motivated people whose primary goal is to build great African nations for Africans by Africans. We have great patriots who love our mother lands to death. 

Also, outdated attitudes and perceptions about Africa frequently overshadow the continent’s attractiveness for investment. However, the disconnect between perception and reality has created significant opportunities for investors willing to roll up their sleeves and put boots on the ground.

According to Henry Morton Stanley, Africa is the second-most populated continent, and the African people account for about 15% of the world’s total inhabitants. Between 1975 and 2000, Africa’s population expanded from 416 million to 811 million. And the continent’s population is now well over one billion, of which 355 million are already considered middle class. Most projections indicate that this population expansion will continue. Furthermore, according to economic data from the World Bank, Africa includes seven of the top 10 fastest-growing countries globally. Regarding resources, the continent has 12% of the world’s oil reserves and 42% of its gold.

African youths are calling for a Brighter Continent and urges all to shift in our thinking about Africa. It is time to “Light Up Africa.”

Moving on to the current realities within the 2019 General election, The patriotism of Nigerians is heartwarming and affirms my oft-repeated statement that we are brothers and sisters born from the womb of one mother Nigeria.


With regards to the Presidential elections that took place on February 23, 2019, it is clear that there were manifest and premeditated malpractices in many states which negate the results announced.

Cite This Article As: Esimaje Michael Onoseme. "The Leadership Scourge in Nigeria And Africa - A Push for a Better Democracy." International Youth Journal, 20. May 2019.

Link To Article: https://youth-journal.org/the-leadership-scourge-in-nigeria-and-africa-a-push-for-a-be

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