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Africa, Tip This Scale Already!3 minutes read

Rufai Oseni

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Africa

In Africa, it seems like colonization never left. It is as though the last vestiges of colonization we tried to shake off got stuck using magnetic buttons and left neo colonization in its wake. One even wonders if we ever took off the cloaks of colonialism in the first place.

The French clearly, as clear as the United nations can see, have a firm grip on the banking system of ex-colonial states. All francophone currencies are domiciled in France and the countries still pay about $500 billion every year, as colonial tax.

14 african countries are obliged by France, through a colonial pact, to put 85% of their foreign reserve into France Central Bank under the control of  French Minister of Finance.

The African former colonies impacted by these colonial taxes include Benin, Togo, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger Republic, Senegal, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, and Gabon

Through “a colonial pact,” France arm-twisted these countries to “put 85 per cent of their foreign reserve into France Central Bank,” under the control of the French minister of finance, journalist Mawuna Koutonin wrote in 2014.

When French President Macron hosted his French-African conference in France, I asked what genuine support and love he has for Africa. Now, don’t be deceived, no foreign leader truly loves Africa, or Africans. They all play the script of their national ideology and illusionary superiority as pointed by Chimamanda Adichie.

I think it is high time Africans told France to preach the Gospel within their borders and let the economies of Francophone countries be. There have been only brickbats since the French came with their boats filled with French military skirmish units to trade and pilfer resources in West Africa, after conniving with the British at the conference in 1890 to share West Africa.

It has been a medley of grabbing and plundering. Following in their steps and perhaps to earn their favours, when African leaders steal they take the loot to France.

To each his own. African history will never forget that President Felix Houphouet-Boigny robbed Côte d’Ivoire blind and built massive mansions in Paris without France asking questions. To recent times now, President Paul Biya, of Cameroon has been living in a Geneva hotel for 3 years. These nefarious acts have become so common place that speaking up against them now seems like breaking the law or upsetting a fraudulent ecosystem.

Africa’s famous resources which stretch way beyond material resources have remained been the attractive commodities. In the 1800s it was palm oil, used in the production of lubricants in Europe; then the hunger moved to crude oil, and then copper, and then bauxite and the list is endless.

It is appalling that Africa finds it quite difficult to do anything grand for itself with its gifted resources. Its citizens continue to suffer and the waste by governments continue.

With the recent increase in international loans receipt, viz-a-viz governments borrowing to fund projects, neo-colonization buries its roots deeper through loans. Guinea recently received a loan twice the size of its 10billion dollar GDP. With a 20 billion dollar loan, your guess is as good as mine.

Same foreign loans choked the Zambian government, as their ports and other infrastructure became foreign “take-over” simply because they could not repay their loans.

Ironically, the current African Union building was built as a greek gift, to curry favour for in-roads into Africa. Equally vexing is the fact thatAfrican countries do not seek loans from other African nation states.

Africa, the time to tip the scale is now.

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Dele Giwa: Heroes Don’t Die, They Look On

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Dele Giwa: Heroes Don't Die

In Nigeria, it is extremely difficult for the children of the common man to rise and shine. It takes hard work that is twice as much as the normal, and an extremely good talent to thrive.

 This ladder of greatness and difficulties was climbed by Dele Giwa, son of a laundry man and he became one of the most loved heroes of journalism in Nigeria. Fate was cruel to Giwa, but it had excused him for some years to leave a mark indelible enough for Nigerians to remember him thirty-nine years after his demise. 

The nature of the death of the former publisher and founder of Newswatch is one that will never be forgotten by Nigerians. In a period when the military went over the confines of human rights to dish out savagery, Giwa stood, critiqued and criticised when necessary without a tinge of fear. He made the Ibrahim Babangida government stand on its toes and that was what they hated him for. Oppressors hardly love to be questioned and this, Giwa did glowingly, when it was of utmost necessity. 

Many stories have been told about his death and not a single one of them described him less than the excellent man he was. Even in death, his great works are still seen wide and far, sparking courage in the modern journalist and daring the younger generation to question oppression. 

The truth is what many people, especially those in authority don’t like to hear but it is what always stands the valiant out. It is the forte of the best journalists in every generation and it is the hope of the common man. Giwa came from the common clan but wrote his name in gold, with his talent, penchant for the truth and love for his people. 

He died at the young age of 39 but had done enough to live far longer than his presence – the rare reward of a hero; immortality. Not much has changed since Giwa left the surface of the earth, in fact, he will be rolling in his grave to see the current state of his darling country. Nigeria is far worse than Giwa left it and the legacy he built has not been really followed, most thankfully to a very media-stifling government. 

Giwa’s biggest achievement was putting the government on its toes, and he showed precepts of how to become better citizens without selling one’s soul. His presence sparked courage for the populace and his death left many more with clenched fists, but struck by their powerlessness at the face of powerful, careless and disregarding leaders. 

Today, some journalists have trailed Giwa’s path, revealing stories out of the needle’s eye and putting their careers, and sometimes lives on the line to tell the truth, reveal the details and spill the beans. Their courage, and hope, like Giwa’s is to see a better Nigeria, and they’ve shown a relentless poise to ensure this becomes a success. 

More importantly, Nigerians have grown more courageous, are telling their own stories and are the investigative journalists themselves. A lot has changed since Giwa’s death, for worse, but the little that has changed for better leaves a mark of belief in the fact that, the son of a common man will someday change the course and cause of this great country, like the great Dele changed journalism and his country. 

His stories are still much present and the narratives he painted in the past now strike Nigerians at every turn and in every corner. The Nigeria he so much desired is yet to be, but there may be light at the end of this long tunnel so Dele must watch on. Heroes don’t die, they look on.

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Bukunmi Abiodun speaks to News Central on #ENDSARS Protest

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