Severally in the past (during the slave-trade era), Africa was raped by powers outside powers with the full cooperation of some selfish, conniving Africans. In later years, those Africans were replaced by another set of African connivers, such selfish politicians with semi-literate soldiers like a certain Umaru Dikko and Muhammadu Buhari. Others include the likes of Yakubu Gowon, Sani Abacha, Olusegun Obasanjo, Theophilus Danjuma, Ahmadu Bello, and Babagana Kingibe. They connived with outside powers, receiving assistance such as arms and ammunition from them, and using same to devastate the people they swore to protect just to remain in the saddle of leadership; even when they obviously lack the capacity to function as leaders.
Painfully, that rape has continued till this present day in different forms and different guises, and yet with new set of connivers, some even complementing those mentioned above. As a result of this situation, many people had felt that redemption would come when highly-educated individuals grow to take over the position of power and authority. The thinking was that such individuals would be highly informed, and would, therefore, understand the plight of Africa in view of the intricacies of international power-play, and so would be able to act right. In addition to that belief, many in some quarters believed that when women, especially those with high education, occupy important positions in government and in the society, that things would improve tremendously.
This was a major reason great joy swept over many people in the West African sub-region when Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, became the President of Liberia. She was seen as highly educated woman – being a Professor.
Incidentally, when she concluded her two-term tenure as president and left, many people did not bother to appraise her stint as a leader in Liberia. It was assumed she had done well despite series of protests over some missing funds under her watch.
In the same manner, when she became a member of the ECOWAS observer committee at the just concluded general elections in Nigeria, little eyebrows were raised. It was believed she was educated and sophisticated and would not dance with the shenanigans of desperate people in government over the election.
Oh! How wrong the people were. Indeed, they believed in vain, for her report on that Presidential election of February 23, gave nobody joy. The old woman (born in October 29, 1938) has proven to be even far worse than the ill-educated military men people hoped they would help to retire into political ignominy. She joined observers from outside the continent to claim that the election was free and fair when irrefutable records of violence, enforced disenfranchisement of eligible voters in Rivers, Lagos and other states, vote-buying, stuffing and snatching of ballot boxes and destruction of ballot papers, including killings and abduction of electoral officers and voters. How careless can she be?
Does it mean she was never deployed in Nigeria to witness the carnage and election violence perpetrated by the desperate politicians in power? Didn’t she witness the unleashing of rampaging soldiers on the populace in a supposedly democratic election? Does she not know that Buhari was dead, and that the man standing for the election as Buhari was an impostor – Jubril from Sudan?
Was Mrs. Sirleaf not aware that more than 50 Nigerians were killed by the police and military men across the country in their bid to scare voters away from the polling booths so that the party in power, the APC would continue with its rigging plans unchallenged? Is she also not aware that Card-readers did not function properly in some polling units which led to the disenfranchisement of many voters? Does she not know that APC paid people to buy their voters’ cards? Does she not know that children(underaged voters) were registered to vote in Northern states were APC had many supporters?
It was a pity how Ellen Johnson Sirleaf disappointed Africans in Nigeria. It was indeed a shame that she declared an election that was adjudged as the worst in strategy and execution in the history of Nigeria, free and fair. Such are the leaders we see in Africa.
Chibuike John Nebeokike
For: Radio Biafra Media