Friday, 19 June 2015 08:23

Let's March On The White House: Obama Fails Africa

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President Obama hasn't done much for Africa. In fact, his performance in Africa is poor, slow, lackadaisical , and obviously unremarkable. I am extremely disappointed. That President Obama's relationship with Africa is sorry is an understatement; it is lackluster, dull, dreary, uninspiring, jaded, or lacking brightness; and my disappointment has me in excruciating pain and devastating frame of mind. It is agonizing. I consider the vote I cast for him in the 2012 election as "sowing wild oats". Can you imagine the plight of a woman who had a baby at Utonkon railway station, and the baby grew up hating and abandoning both mother and Utonkon?

Man, I am disillusioned. President Obama's attitudes towards Africa during his first term in office leaves a lot to be desired. Does he realize that Afrika is a continent with 54 sovereign nations ? Permit me to tell you that America's 50 states are but a drop in a bucket full of Africa's 54 nations. You could take America and fit it into Africa and still have room left to squeeze in Great Britain. Tell me about it. Although the votes have been counted and President Obama, as expected, has been declared winner and occupier of the White House, I am persuaded that his performance on a test of African affairs is shoddy, slapdash, sloppy, substandard, inferior, trashy, or simply careless. I award him a grade of A in his battle with the Republicans but a dismal F- on African Diplomacy. I expect my President to step up his efforts to carry out his "change mandate" or else abandon the slogan as mere election rhetoric . He can at least hand the baton over to General Colin Powell who heads to Africa with break-neck speed. Obama or his advisers could find some African nations fertile enough to export some of American's machinery and unwanted industries.

President Obama has earned a failing grade because he failed to do things he should have done for the 54 nations in Africa. Obama's performance in Africa during his first term doesn't amount to diddly squat. Whatever he did in or for a continent his country and fellow Western nations have benignly neglected, consistently raped and brazenly exploited, hasn't amounted to hilly beans. He hasn't made any significant difference in things that are consequential to me and my two billion fellow African friends. To me, Obama seems to be either interested in maintaining status quo or is embarrassed to be associated with that wretched, squalid, desolate , or stubbornly disagreeable piece of Kenyan soil on which his father's people are condemned to eke a living with the sweat of their brows .

The African policy of Obama Administration can be described as being slatternly, dowdy, blowsy, and frowsy (four adjectives whose shared meaning is lack of precision, freshness or stylishness in appearance). Slatternly implies untidiness or slovenliness through inherited habitual neglect of an unfamiliar place. African is still depicted as tropical rainforest in movies embedded in childish subconscious thoughts of Western minds as land of Jungle Jim. Tarzan and Chaka the Zulu. Dowdy stresses dullness in color like wearing a beige swimsuit to dinner at Buckingham Palace, while blowsy suggests a rustic appearance of iron in water. Frowsy denotes disarray, lack of neatness, or dinginess. Writing for the World Report of November 5, 2012, Stephen Hayes has this to say about Obama's election campaigns:

In fact, I do not recall a single discussion on Africa, especially sub-Saharan Africa, during this entire campaign. The exploration of Mars and the fate of our space program were in the discussions far more than was any words related to our relations with the 54 countries of Africa

David West, African Correspondent, interviewed a few Kenyans to determine their impressions of President Obama's four-more-years win. (http://wwwguardian.co.uk/world/Novo5/us.presidential.election.rest.of.the.world):

"Four years ago there was so much hope in this country," said Boniface Mwangi, a photographer and political activist whose office in Nairobi, Kenya, is decorated with Obama's image in life-size cardboard replica. "Now we're no longer that hopeful and asking where did we go wrong. I thought Barack Obama would do well for Africa but I'm ashamed to say that George Bush did more. Obama has done nothing for us. People are very mad, especially in Kogelo, his family village: they're still expecting some kind of handout from [him]. I hope his second term plans will include Africa; otherwise he's a hoax."

Will someone grab Obama's titles as the "First African American President" and "Kenyan-American President", and "mixed race President" and "African blood in me" and shove them down an open fetid latrine somewhere behind the Methodist Central School. I am not interested in or impressed by titles and accolades that are best bestowed upon barefoot teenage boys practicing soccer in a thorny bush clearing infested with scorpions. What has Obama done to deserve a standing ovation from me? What has he done that I should write home about? What do I tell my old Nigerian classmates who made congratulatory phone calls four years ago: "We are happy and proud of America for electing an African U S. President"?

Proud of what? I am prouder of these aging classmates than I am proud of the President of a country I have called home, become a citizen of, and worked for decades to educate its children. I am prouder of my Nigerian classmates for recognizing that "this time like all times is the best if we know how to use it" than I am proud of a President who fails to perform at the most critical moment in history. These aging Nigeria classmates have performed beyond my wildest dream, having come poor from the bleak foot of rocky hills of Northern Nigeria, from the malarial rainforests of Eastern Nigeria, and waste lands of Kwara to produce 6 Vice Chancellors of Nigerian institutions of higher education; and there are dozens of Generals, Ambassadors, one Nigerian Supreme Court Justice, and a overabundance of gifted professionals. And what has my US President done with the black blood of Africa pumping from his heart and all down his veins? At a meeting I had with some of these classmates, I was honest in responding to their 2008 well-meaning but misplaced congratulatory calls that were otherwise highly enthusiastic:

Fellows, I really don't understand what makes you so proud of America for electing a duly qualified US President. What has America or this President done for you guys in four years? Hasn't your country done enough for America in terms of parting with your oil, African brain drain, and of course, stolen wealth? Come on, fellows!

I am willing to give my President the opportunity to redeem himself and earn a passing mark in my roll book. Therefore, the administration of Barack Hussein Obama, new occupier of the highest office in the world, is expected to step up to the podium with passing grades on a few assignments:

President Obama didn't recognize Africa as a momentous entity in his first term. Obama and the Americans cannot continue to ignore Africa or regard the Continent as "Sleeping Giant" it once was thought to be. The Giant is now fully awakened and ready to be reckoned with. It is insulting that the President of the United States has not toured a handful of nations in Africa since first taking office four years ago. The Obama Presidential Tour of Africa would focus on the problems and prospects that are Africa with special attention paid to the future of emerging middle classes in evolving nations. Africa is much more than a producer of metals, oil, slaves, and natural gas the West has been exploiting; Africa has people whose wellbeing ought to be of concern to past and present imperialists and colonizers. Has President Obama forgotten Africa whose people have made tremendous contributions without which America wouldn't be what it is? Suffice it to say that Africa's contributions to the development of America, including its cotton and tobacco plantations, have not been exactly infinitesimal.

Right this moment, Africans (Nigerians in particular) in the U S contribute huge quotas to the U S workforce, including but not limited to (1) the physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals taking care of America's sick; (2) teachers, administrators, and counselors working with America's school children; (3) engineers and technicians scattered throughout America's industries; (4) and small business men and women who provide employment for America's workers.

President Obama shouldn't theatrically treat Africa as an abused child that occasionally needs simple bandaging. President Obama needs to spearhead useful projects that would (1) stop the exploitation of Africa by the Americans, British, Russians, and the Chinese; (2) stop using Africa as dumping ground for the West's expired drugs and obsolete/useless pieces of technology; (3) stop draining Africa of its human resources that the West harnesses for its development needs while my people wallow in degradation; and (4) stop and/or discourage Western powers who greedily encourage African leaders to misappropriate budgets meant for national development and transport them to foreign banks; and (5) go after, seize, and repatriate billions of dollars stolen by unscrupulous African leaders back to the African countries in which the wealth was misappropriated. He ought to shed a tear for children of Africa.

President Obama shall investigate African needs rather than throw funds on projects with negligible impact on the people. All African countries with no exception have dire difficulties in maintaining adequate health and infrastructure that America can help to ameliorate. No nation in Africa is meeting its current power needs and Nigeria- the most populous country critical to the continent- can brag of only 20% of the nation's power needs as having being met. Obama should institute positive economic development plans to bring about real changes in the ways Africans live, at least to promote emergence of the middle class. Periodic White House Conferences with 54 African Heads of States is a good way to go. Merely sending the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to smile at and take photographs with poor African market women is , to say the least, begging the issue. President Obama would find it beneficial to send Gov Mitt Romney along with General Collin Powel on a one-year fact-finding mission to African countries to study what needs to be done continentally to entrench democracy in nations known for violent uprisings and uncalled- for bloodshed.

President Obama should stimulate positive economic development plans for Africa that combat massive unemployment and brain drain. How do Americans and their presidents relate to African and Africans? It has been a master-servant relationship marked with so much as "gada-gada-gada" with no substance, as a dance with no rhythm, or a teacher without lesson plans. Are President Obama's policy makers for Africa only interested in open Safaris and zoos where lions, elephants, monkeys, and hippopotami run around to provide entertainment for rich kids from Boston? And do Obama and his sophisticated development experts just fancy Africa's traditional development solely on the basis of "Bob, I tell you we've finally come upon the sources of raw materials we've been looking for"?

President should understand that, as a self-sustaining continent, Africa doesn't need America's pittance handouts/grants/aids. Africa has all the resources it wants and needs. However, Africa needs help in knowing how to utilize and prioritize. As a heavy producer of raw materials (including petroleum, natural gas, gold, cocoa, diamond, copper, bauxite, cotton, silver, brass, cobalt, tantalum, and peanuts, to name only a few), Africa needs the 20th Century technology and expertise needed to develop its natural resources. The West must cease selfishly hoarding its technology and sending rickety, obsolete, alakirija equipment (like the coal-burning, squeaky, hand-me-down Nigerian railroad system of the 1950's).

President Obama should encourage cooperation amongst African groups. Obama's policy makers and those of Britain ought to desist from introducing policy of earlier administrations that encouraged inter and intra-group conflicts resulting from stimulating tribal quarrels (Hausa- Igbo, Tutsi-Hutu) in order to provide arms to the side that promises greater access to mineral resources. President Obama's policy should focus on providing technical assistance to African nations threatened with terroristic violence such as the boko haran mad men that have claimed the lives of over 3,000 Nigerian men, women, and children of Christian faith. Whether bokos and their sponsors are on the payroll of devious Western manipulators is a question that Africans interested in lasting peace ought to consider.

President Obama shall have the courage to encourage the development of the Organization of African Union (OAU) whose chairmanship should rotate among democratic African Heads of State. Africa ought to unite under the Organization of African Union, (OAU) just as the Organization of American States (OAS) or European Union (EU) do in order to embark on massive development of the continent. And we join Bishop Tutu of South Africa in calling for the trials of all persons-American, British, Kenya, Ugandans, Nigerians, and all leaders- whose actions led remotely to the killing of Africa's innocent, noncombatant men, women, and children. The use of starvation as an instrument of war (as the case was with Biafran children) must be stamped out with all deliberate speed.

President Obama shall discourage massive looting and rape of Africa by African unscrupulous leaders who steal their nations' resources with impunity and with the connivance and support of crooked politicians and bureaucrats in America, Britain, and other Western countries. It is time we assembled groups of educated, democratized Diaspora Nigerians in the United States and equip them with governance skills for the work of rescuing African nations from self-destruction. We have overabundance of qualified Africans such as Nigerians in all disciplines, including but not necessarily limited to education, medicine, law, science, civil and architectural engineering, and water resources. These men and women should be recruited and sent home to rehabilitate their countries. A Volunteer Retired Squad of Nigerian Deans and Vice Presidents (VRDV) can be encouraged to provide services with stipends provided in order to breathe revitalizing life into Nigerian and other African educational systems.

President Obama shall have the courage to encourage African leaders in their honest efforts to imbibe the ideals of democracy, rehabilitation, restoration, restitution, and the spirit of No More War. The marginalized ethnic groups in Nigeria, such as the Igbos, should be compensated by their governments for the violence visited upon them. Examples are the Northern Nigerian pogroms, boko haran killing sprees, and the starvation of children by Nigerian Federal Government during the Biafran Civil War. Restitution ought to be paid by Nigerian government to families of those who lost their lives. Accurate numbers of starved children ought to be recorded and circumstances surrounding such atrocities documented. Apologies must be rendered by all those remotely connected to unprovoked murder of defenseless women and infants.

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James Agazie Ed D

A retired college Professor  with educational backgrounds in law (JD) education (Ed.D, MA) counseling,( MS) and and mathematics.  Write on topics dealing with Nigerian families, marriages, education, and employment.