By Ikeddy ISIGUZO
AFRICA is complicated, conflicted, and conflagrating, but its leaders are digging deeper to further complete the combustive commotion in the continent. They are wont to don their successes in election robberies as democracy.
The robberies are comprehensive. The judiciary, legislature, media, and most instances security agencies are in tandem in re-configuring democracy to be a government of anyone who has enough powers to compromise principles, practices, policies, and politics solely for his benefit.
Spoils of the conquest of the people and their future are farmed out to those who flow with the frauds. People elected under constitutions with limited terms become the law and thwart every attempt by others to access power.
Shameless as they come, they still call warehousing all state resources for themselves democracy. Their democracy means everlasting hold on power, corruption, particularly theft of the ballot as a foundation of many other thefts that keep them in power forever,
Africa’s colour of democracy is represented more prominently by these men who have used coups and more desperate measures to cling to power.
.Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo (44 years) of Equatorial Guinea is the longest-serving African President. His son is Vice President.
.Paul Biya (42 years), Cameroon’s President is already 90, unaware of his environment, and may still run for election again.
.Denis Sassou (36 years), owner of the Republic of the Congo is 80. By the standards of the club, he is young.
.Killng Mswati III (36 years) of Eswatini, Africa’s last remaining absolute monarchy, is only 54 years old. He has a long stretch ahead. He has been in power since 18.
.Yoweri Museveni (35 years) of Uganda is the third oldest head of state in Africa, at 79. He is available for more service.
.Isaias Afwerki (30 years) is the only President of the country in its 30 years.
.Paul Kagame (23 years), Rwanda’s leader, will run for election again in 2024.
What they all have in common is that they run repressive governments that decimate the opposition, making government their family affair, and leave their countries bereft of any plans for a future without them.
Some dare claim that they draw their practice from the renowned Singaporean leader Lee Kwan Yew who turned his country into a developed country in his 31 years as Prime Minister.
Where are the developments in these African countries? Is development, whatever it is, the substitute for democracy? The crises these leaders throw their countries into with their death takes years to resolve.
Zimbabwe has not recovered from Robert Gabriel Mugabe’s 37-year grip as Prime Minister, and President. He left the country divided, without experienced politicians to carry on with its management in any meaningful way. The chaos their exit leaves is eternal in many cases.
It is little surprise then that a coup in Gabon would be of concern to the powerful. They are already quaking in their seats. Shuffles in Cameroon’s security settings are obviously to protect Paul. The other Paul in Rwanda has retired over 80 Generals. He too is afraid.
Back in Nigeria we had in the past months taken lessons on the importance of democratic rule as the heists at different points in the 2023 elections become more obvious.
Nowhere has Africa developed more than in electoral malfeasance. Each country has its version. The exceptions are few.
African leaders are comfortable no matter how they get into power. The continent’s leadership recruitment process has always had coups since its independence. Those who succeed join the photo sessions at the United Nations, African Union, and sub-regional bodies like ECOWAS.
Gabonese poured into the street to celebrate the end of the 57-year hold of the Bongo family on power. They know what they have been through. The Bongo family control of Gabon could have continued but for the most recent manipulation of elections which angered the soldiers.
Ali Bongo Ondimba succeeded his father Albert-Bernard Omar Bongo who became Gabon’s second President and was in power for almost 42 years until his demise in 2009. Ali was already grooming his son, Omar Bongo’s grandson, to be the next President.
Omar Bongo was among African leaders whose only death could detach from office and France encouraged them. Cote d’Ivoire and Gabon were of particular interest for they had resources that wheeled the French economy into prosperity and more influence.
Most of those leaders were trained in France, had French citizenship and under France’s assimilation agenda, the likes of of Cote d’Ivoire’s Félix Houphouët-Boigny, in office for 33 years till death, and Senegal’s Léopold Sédar Senghor, in charge for 20 years, but voluntarily relinquished power, were members of the French Parliament.
Gabon’s oil was as good as France’s. A fifth of the world’s known uranium is in Gabon. Gabonese uranium supplied France’s nuclear bombs, which French President Charles de Gaulle tested in the Algerian deserts in 1960. Big iron and manganese deposits and plenty of timber are in Gabon, making the country always important to France.
Omar Bongo reportedly said: “Gabon without France is like a car with no driver. France without Gabon is like a car with no fuel”.
Niger Republic is in abject poverty prospering France which determined which leaders it wanted to sustain French interests above the country’s.
Did France permit the coup in Gabon while kicking against the one in Niger Republic? Could a coup in Gabon have succeeded without the acquiescence of France which had marines stationed in Gabon to protect French interests?
France had foiled a January 2019 attempt to oust Ali Bongo from power.
Before his overthrow, Ali Bongo had been ill and speculations of his death had been rift after a stroke in October 2018 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He did not make a public appearance until August 2019.
The Gabonese coup is the eighth to occur in West and Central Africa in three years. The others since 2020, were Mali (twice), Guinea, Burkina Faso (twice), Chad, and Niger.
In Niger Republic, the soldiers rolled the tanks to protect democracy. The debates are continuing.
What will be the position of AU over the military determining democracy? Will Gabon be the reason to cancel the planned military action against the Niger Republic?
Beneficiaries of heists at elections are the most vocal in preaching democracy. Such intentional promotion of hypocrisy is catching up with them.
Had African leaders been listening to their people, they would have known long ago that people were more interested in governments that improved their living standards than definitions of democracy.
What is democracy without the liberties that would result in our votes, decisions, indecisions, and counting? Is democracy now the government of the filthiest and strongest for their cronies and families?
The National Youth Service Corps leadership has earned my admiration over its meticulous record-keeping which serial certificate forgers are finding hard to compromise. Please keep it up.
*Isiguzo is a major commentator on minor issues
Group Calls For Protection Of Journalists In Bayelsa, Imo, Kogi States
The Media Rights Agenda (MRA) has urged for necessary measures to protect journalists and other media workers during this weekend’s off-cycle elections in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi States.
The group sent the request to the federal and state governments, as well as law enforcement and security agencies, stressing that the role of journalists in disseminating information about the electoral process is critical to ensuring free, fair, and transparent elections.
In a statement issued ahead of the elections in Lagos and signed by the Communications Officer, Media Rights Agenda, Idowu Adewale, MRA also urged journalists to be cautious and to use its existing hotline (08138755660) to report any threat or attack they may encounter during the process, as well as any obstacle.
Adewale said in the statement: “Given the pattern of heightened attacks on journalists and the media during previous elections, including the recent 2023 general elections, as well as the tense political climate in the three states in the lead-up to the elections, measures must be taken to ensure general security during the elections and provide adequate protection for journalists covering the elections.”
“Access to information allows citizens and other members of the public to have the information they need about political and electoral processes, facilitating effective public participation in elections,” he says.
“Journalists and the media play an important role in ensuring residents and other members of the public have access to information and may participate in the process.
“As part of efforts to preserve the integrity of the polls, it is also critical that the safety and well-being of these interlocutors be assured and safeguarded.”
Lamenting the increased number of attacks on journalists in the run-up to the off-cycle elections, as well as earlier this year in the run-up to the general elections, he emphasised that “a free and vibrant media is fundamental to a healthy democracy, and journalists must be able to carry out their duties without fear, coercion, or violence.” During this vital phase, MRA stands ready to assist them and assure their safety.”
Police Nab Husband, As Mother Of ‘Mummy Be Calming Down’ Boy Takes Own Life
Men from the Edo State Police Command are said to have detained Mrs. Toluige Olokoobi’s husband after he allegedly murdered her.
Olokoobi was the mother of Oreofeoluwa Lawal-Babalola, the tiny boy whose video went viral in 2020 after he pleaded with his mother, “Mummy be calming down.”
Oreofeoluwa rose to prominence on social media after a video of him crying in an attempt to confidently appeal to his mother, who chastised him, went viral.
The film inspired Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who used it to deliver an Eid-el-Kabir appeal to Muslims and Lagos people in general to remain calm during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Following that, the youngster and his family met with the governor, who praised his bravery and poise.
While little has been heard about the family in three years, heartbreaking news broke on social media on Tuesday that the boy’s mother had committed suicide.
According to an X user, Olokoobi committed suicide in Benin, the capital of Edo State, for unknown reasons.
The X user, who stated that he was present at the site on Monday afternoon, went on to say that she had refused to disclose her difficulties with anyone before committing herself.
“The woman in the viral Mummy Calm Down video has just committed suicide here in Benin,” he stated in an email.
“She refused to discuss her problems with anyone.” She abandoned three children for her husband, including the well-known Mummy Calm Down boy.”
Meanwhile, confirming Olokoobi’s death in a chat with BBC Pidgin, the spokesperson of the Edo State police command, Chidi Nwabuzor, said her husband has been arrested and detained for questioning.
Nwabuzor said the husband reported the matter to the police.
The police spokesperson quoted the husband to have said that “he came home from the market when he saw his wife hanging with rope on her neck”.
Nwabuzor said she was rushed to the hospital and then to the mortuary after she was confirmed dead. (Adapted from a Vanguard report).
Anambra: CP Aderemi Adeoye Decorates Promoted Officers With New Ranks
The Anambra State Police Command Headquarters Conference Hall was a hive of activity Thursday as CP Aderemi Adeoye took turns decorating around 18 promoted officers of the command with their new titles.
The delight of some of the officers whose wives assisted the CP in decorating their husbands with their new ranks knew no bounds, as their husbands duly saluted their wives and the CP for their new positions and responsibilities.
Obi Innocent, one of the officers elevated to the rank of Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), whose wife joined CP Aderemi Adeoye in adorning him with his new rank, said it was wonderful that the Inspector General of Police thought him worthy.
CSP Obi Innocent, the officer in charge of the Legal Department at Zone 13, Police Zonal Headquarters Ukpo, stated that his new rank was a call to service and that he would do his best to uphold the charge given to them by CP Aderemi Adeoye to respect and protect the citizenry’s fundamental rights in the discharge of their new assignments.
Charity Akharame, who was honoured with the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) and was the only female officer among the 18 promoted officers decorated with new ranks, said it was not an easy feat but she was grateful to be among those who were decorated with their new ranks.
DSP Charity Akharame, the officer in charge of stores in the Anambra State Police Command, recalled how she began as a Police Constable and worked her way up to her current position as Deputy Superintendent of Police.
She stated that as a very disciplined police officer, she would follow the Police Commissioner’s directions regarding respect for all and sundry in the fulfillment of her constitutional obligations.
Jane-Frances Obi, one of the spouses of the officers elevated to the level of CSP, stated that being the wife of a police officer was not an easy assignment. As a result, she recommended any lady who is married to a police officer to be patient and understanding because the job is quite demanding.
Jane-Frances Obi, whose husband is Innocent Obi, the officer in charge of the Legal Department at Zone 13 Ukpo, believes the promotion is a reward for years of being patient, understanding, and standing in for them when they are not present.
Meanwhile, Emenike Chinenyenwa, who was decorated with the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) and presented a vote of appreciation, expressed deep gratitude to the IGP and the Chairman of the Police Service Commission for considering them worthy of being adorned in their new ranks.
ACP Emenike, the officer in charge of Medicals, stated that the elevation comes with increased responsibility and that they will work harder in their new tasks.
CP Aderemi Adeoye praised the current promotion winners in his remarks, noting that two aspects make the police career very interesting and eventful. He stated that one is for promotion and the other is for positions.
CP Adeoye, on the other hand, urged the newly honored officers to develop more empathy, compassion, care, and dedication in the performance of their jobs.
The police chief insisted that newly promoted officers must first recognise that they share the same humanity as others, and as a result, they must treat all people with dignity and protect their fundamental human rights at all times.
CP Aderemi Adeoye stressed that without the enormous roles of spouses, they wouldn’t have been successful in their careers. He therefore congratulated all the promoted and prayed that God gives them good health to enjoy the new ranks and the energy to discharge the responsibilities of their new offices.
- Source: Independent