The misconceptions about the African male child.

Most of the African poems, novels, novella and short stories I’ve read (and believe me I’ve read a whole lot) always paint the African man as brutish, timid, difficult and even sometimes wicked. While the female counterparts are painted in a beautiful imagery, with supple “breasts & buttocks”, loving mothers, the “talk of the town spinster”, Amope the one-in-town, pretty damsel…

All these adjectives are okay by me so far other men aren’t complaining. But I just wonder why the feminists still yearn for more. Everyday my hears are filled on the radio & tv, from articles claiming women are trampled upon. The African feminists need to ask the Indian women what they face in a country where a woman is raped or brutalized every 2 minutes! Yes, every 2 minutes! Maybe by that comparison, African feminists would learn to appreciate more the African man’s gentle soul & romanticism.

Yes I know the wars that have ravaged Africa over the years brought the bad reputation on the African male. Stories abound of soldiers, even child soldiers in Sierra Leone and Liberia who brutalized, maimed and raped women at will. But these evils are offsprings of war anywhere. It is not so different to what Fidel Castro did in Cuba or what Saddam Hussein did in Iraq or what has been done in Syria, Palestine etc. I once heard an uncorroborated story of how Castro single-handedly had sex with over 10,000 women(adults & children) while at the height of his powers in the Caribbean country. No African man has ever done that, our worst dictators didn’t.

I’ve read of how Idi Amin was a romantic who had a family, he got mad when his youngest & most enterprising wife had an affair with his associate. I’m not supporting how Amin went about the judgment, I’m interested in how he cared enough about his woman for him to get angry. The Burkina Faso military revolutionary Thomas Sankara had only one wife and was a loving husband till his untimely death. The average African man, if given the idyllic environment to flourish like his European counterpart, will automatically be loving, caring and dote on his wife.

The socio-economic and political atmosphere in Africa has been brutish towards all species, hence the resultant reaction towards African women. One day I know the African man would be seen for what he truly is, a responsible, gentle and harmless individual with a strong urge not only to succeed but to cater for everyone around him.

*I wish the ‘spirit’ had led me to write this on World Father’s day, but I hope it would carry full effect all the same.

-To be continued


President Barack Hussein Obama: A sellout and major mistake

I write full of disappointment! Full of anger and distraught towards our supposed role-model, angel of light and perfectionist who has proven to be unworthy of those good qualifications. President Barack Obama rode on the back of the goodwill of good people in the world in 2008, there was massive support for him. After hundreds of years of oppression of black people in the United States of America, all we wanted was a representative on that presidency seat.

As Sal Bommarito succinctly puts it,
“… to elect an African American president was a huge and very inspiring event for the country, I thought. Finally, after 200-plus years of discrimination and repression, a black man became the most powerful person on the planet. African-Americans rejoiced when this man was elected — they had a true role model. Well, the president has disappointed on this front as well.”

Tragedy is when you leave important things to attend to frivolity. President Obama has been spending the rest of his last one year of presidency, meeting with Hollywood celebrities in the White House, showing them around in a relaxed manner. Does this mean United States of America has no more challenges in its coffers? Come on, this is the world’s most powerful country! I don’t think Vladimir Putin is currently dining with celebrities in the Russian state house. We all know Obama rode on the back of these celebrities to office and their support & consequently their fan’s support gave him the needed votes, most especially the black and latino communities who listen most to Jay-Z, Jeezy, Nas et al. But if President Obama feels he needs to show his gratitude to these guys he can’t ignore the plight of millions other miserable Americans who aren’t celebrities.

Under Obama’s presidency, there has been more concerns about the mistreatment of migrants in USA than under any other President in American history. History has been good to Obama but he has not been good to history. He came at the perfect time, but instead of being that man, instead of returning the great favor bestowed on his lowly character he has decided to be a catalyst for repression. When you remain silent in the face of oppression & decide to keep mum then you are on the side of oppression. This president came into office with the impression of being on the common man’s side but he has failed, he’s no friend of the common man after all.

If I had read President Obama’s political book, The Audacity of Hope as at 2008 when it was released, I wouldn’t have been as enthusiastic as I was about his candidacy for president then. In the book, he appeared smart, intelligent & a visionary but then he showed how much of a politician he can be. President Obama is someone who would say whatever you want him to say even though he has his own reservations. He’s just like the rest of the other politicians, he’s not a saint after all.

In the Audacity of Hope, he spoke twice about Nigeria and it was not in good light. This is the biggest & most blessed country in Africa and the supposed “African-American” President Obama has no regards for its people. On page 168 he talks about USA depending on oil coming from Nigeria & other large exporters of crude oil & questioned how America’s $800 million goes into the hands of “the world’s most volatile regimes.” According to President Obama, “it doesn’t matter whether they’re despotic regimes with nuclear intentions or havens for madrassas that plant seeds of terror in young minds – they get our money because we need their oil.” President Obama has shown he cares not about what happens in Africa, millions can die but America will not budge, that’s what he’s saying. He had the temerity to also allege that USA’s dependence on oil from Africa & Asia undermines their national security. I’m an African, a Nigerian and I’m not a terrorist! Nigeria is not a threat to world security. What’s the President really insinuating, is George Zimmerman and his cohorts Africans or aren’t they threats to America’s national safety? Statements like these will always fall from the mouth of an African-American President who doesn’t see himself as an African, who has more sympathies for his white brothers than his true family. That’s why he can’t understand that Africa isn’t America’s problem, it’s the other way round.

He referred to Nigeria again on page 319 of the book, claiming that “countries like, India, Nigeria, and China have developed two legal systems – one for foreigners and elites, and one for the ordinary people trying to get ahead.” If Obama wants to berate African and Asian legal systems, what about the Judge who set George Zimmerman free to roam the streets after murdering young Trayvon Martin based on race prejudice? What of the police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri recently?

What about all the injustices that goes on in USA daily, human rights encroachments in the supposed citadel of democracy? What about the oppression of black people in America which claimed the lives of great men such as Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr., young men murdered in their prime? What about Tupac Shakur’s political murder in 1996, which was made to resemble a gang or music rivalry but no arrest has been made till now? President Obama’s USA isn’t perfect and its even more imperfect and vulnerable under his regime. Obama is going to leave that seat worse than it has ever been economically since the great depression in 1929. Politically, it is the worst in the history of the country. The country is tensed and the world, consequently is tensed. ISIS is a new phenomenon, the tentacles are worldwide and it is a result of President Obama’s lack of political will.

The page 286 of The Audacity of Hope sees President Obama himself confessing to America’s sins of tolerating and aiding juntas and despotic regimes around the world, just to oust leaders who lean towards communism. USA aided Mobutu Sese Seko of Congo DR and the despot was visited by every single American president since Dwight D. Eisenhower, only Jimmy Carter was the exception. What has President Obama done to remedy those ills in the Congo? Congo was in peace before America decided to interfere in their politics. The same problems created by his predecessors, one would have automatically expected an African-American President of the USA to make things right. Isn’t it an open secret that President Dwight D. Eisenhower ordered C.I.A to kill Congo DR’s first prime minister and one true legitimate leader, Patrice Lumumba due to his romance with the Soviet Union? Didn’t the USA aid Mobutu and Belgium in Lumumba’s eventual cold murder? What about Thomas Sankara, Nigeria’s Murtala Muhammed…? It’s about time the world puts America where it belongs.

No one really cared to check deeply the character of President Obama when he came in through the back door and took over with his cunning methods. Well, I wish people did as I’m sure most Americans have also seen the grave mistake committed by now. Unscrupulous politics can get you in power but won’t allow you have the best of administrations! Obama is afraid of White America. He’s too passive and lethargic to make any solid impact and I wonder why people didn’t see this on time. The man is such an accomplished con man who has succeeded in hiding his true colors. A president who never admits failure or mistake but claim misunderstanding or blame political opponents is not fit to lead. President Obama should learn to take responsibility for his shortcomings. Some of his “misunderstandings” of the situation has actually allowed the creation & widespread of ISIS in Syria and Iraq. It’s simply a case of negligence by an irresponsible and passive leader.


10 Ways Obama Has Failed as President

These 4 Miscalculations Will Define Obama’s Presidency

Africa As Ebola’s Paradise

Its recent outbreak in some West African countries may not have initially been accorded much attention, but today, as a result of the havoc it has so far created and the ease as well as the rapidity of infection, everybody is now on his toes across the globe. Now, Ebola has suddenly assumed the status of the fastest-growing killer virus in the world. And to affirm this horrible and disturbing status, last Friday, health experts declared the Ebola epidemic an international health emergency that requires a coordinated global approach.

At the moment, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and lately, Nigeria are battling the deadly virus, which has defied any known cure. So far, the virus is believed to have infected at least 1,779 people, killing 961 or more, thereby making it the worst outbreak in the four-decade history of tracking the disease. According to the World Health Organisation, WHO, “the possible consequences of further international spread are particularly serious in view of the virulence of the virus, the intensive community and health facility transmission patterns, and the weak health systems in the currently affected and most at-risk countries”.

The history of the disease is well known. Unfortunately, since it was first recognized in 1976, all the 18 outbreaks so far recorded occurred in Africa alone. Ebola may be a native of Africa but now the virus is threatening to go global and, by declaring it an international public health emergency, it shows how seriously WHO is taking the current outbreak. But tough statements, definitely, won’t save lives. Perhaps, what should really worry all of us now as the battle against the virus rages, are the words of Peter Piot, the scientific adventurer who discovered the virus: “We shouldn’t forget that this is a disease of poverty, of dysfunctional health systems and of distrust”.

In 1976, Piot, a 27-year-old medical school graduate training as a clinical microbiologist, undertook a voyage of discovery to the then Zaire, where, out of sheer determination, he ventured into the thick forest in one of the remotest areas of the country and unearthed the disease. Piot is now 65 years old. It’s been 38 years since the first outbreak and the world is now experiencing its worst Ebola epidemic ever. At the last count, the disease has reared its ugly head in four West African countries of Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. Out of these, Nigeria has been least affected, recording fewer deaths. Unlike in the past when the outbreak is confined to only one country, the current situation is unprecedented as the spread of the disease across four countries is making it more complicated to deal with than ever before.

As Piot rightly observed and I agree with him, “this is a disease of poverty, of dysfunctional health systems and of distrust”. The current Ebola’s spread in West Africa is a reminder of the vast development needs that persist in some of the region’s poorest countries despite claim to rapid economic growth and investment. The vast majority of Africans live miserably in slums and squalor. Africa faces endemic poverty, food insecurity and pervasive underdevelopment, with almost all the countries lacking the human, economic and institutional capacities to effectively develop and manage their water resources sustainably. As a result of this, a large number of countries on the continent still face huge challenge in attempting to achieve the United Nations water-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Although the crucial role of water in accomplishing the continent’s development goals is widely recognized, various governments on the African continent seem not to be moved by the appalling living standard of their people both in the urban and rural areas. Thus, clean water becomes a scarce commodity.
‘Ebola may be a native of Africa but now, the virus is threatening to go global and, by declaring it an international public health emergency, it shows how seriously WHO is taking the current outbreak’

Besides, Sub-Saharan Africa is the world’s poorest and least developed region, with half its population living on less than a dollar a day. About two-thirds of its countries rank among the lowest in the Human Development Index. A recent report by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, UNDESA, gave an analysis of data from 35 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, representing 84% of the region’s population, showing significant differences between the poorest and richest fifths of the population in both rural and urban areas. According to the report, “over 90% of the richest quintile in urban areas use improved water sources, and over 60% have piped water on premises. In rural areas, piped-in water is non-existent in the poorest 40% of households, and less than half of the population use any form of improved source of water”.

The report stated that despite efforts and approaches to extend and sustain water, sanitation and hygiene systems and services continue to suffer leading to different health complications in Africa as a whole, especially Sub-Saharan Africa, thereby causing avoidable deaths. “The water and sanitation position in West/Central Africa is of particular urgency, as the region has the highest under-five mortality rate of all developing regions: 191 child deaths per 1,000 live births”. This is underscored by recurrent outbreaks of cholera in both urban and rural areas, a situation that equally underlines the poor state of this region’s basic living conditions.

This is a serious concern because of the associated massive health burden, as many people who lack basic sanitation engage in unsanitary activities like poor solid waste and waste water disposal, open defecation and other dirty habits. The practice of open defecation that is rampant in Africa is widely believed to be the primary cause of faecal oral transmission of disease with children being the most vulnerable.

As if all these are not enough, there is also rapid and almost uncontrollable population growth and rural-urban migration. Despite the efforts of some Sub-Saharan African countries and cities to expand basic services and improve urban housing conditions, rapid and unplanned urban growth has increased the number of settlements on unstable, disaster-prone and high-risk land where diseases and other phenomena disasters with devastating consequences are prevalent. Among developing regions, Sub-Saharan Africa is estimated to have the highest prevalence of urban slums and it is expected to double to around 400 million by 2020. Again, this rising population is driving demand for water and accelerating the degradation of water resources in many countries on the continent.

Africa has joined India and China as the third region of the world to reach a population of 1 billion people, and it is expected to double this by 2050, the UN says. By then, there will be three times as many people living in Africa’s cities, and the continent that had fewer than 500,000 urban dwellers in 1950 may have 1.3 billion. The breakneck transformation of a rural population into a predominantly urban one is neither good nor bad on its own, but the issue is that African countries should plan their cities better, to avoid mega-slums and vast areas of deprivation developing across the continent. This is because, in most slums in Africa, basic amenities like potable water, quick disposal of garbage, sanitation facilities and toilets are not available. People in slums face many battles. Besides poverty, the health situation is very bad.

Since slums are considered illegal, the government feels no obligation to provide water and proper sanitation to slum dwellers. This high density and over-population means viruses and diseases can spread easily and cause epidemics. And when people are ill, there are not enough health services, doctors, nurses and medicines available for them, or even if these are available, people often lack the money to pay.

The sickening living conditions in many African countries may not have attracted much attention from the global community all this while. However, the ravaging Ebola virus that is currently knocking at the doorstep of everybody has, once more, forced global attention on Africa. With the experience of Nigeria, where a Patrick Sawyer, an American-Liberian diplomat, imported Ebola into the country from Liberia, the whole world has suddenly woken up from slumber to the stark reality that the entire global community is at the risk of contacting the deadly virus. What this calls for is the need for global cooperation and strategy to combat the recalcitrant disease. Not rhetoric. Not empty promises!