Tajudeen reviews the year that is about to pass:

It is the end of one year and the beginning of
another. It is customary to look back on the outgoing
year, recalling the high and low points while looking
forward to the New year with hope and expectations and
sometimes trepidation about things foretold or just
expected. Many people also engage in ritual New Year
resolutions that habitually do not survive the New
Year celebrations!

This column will not review the whole year. I am also
engaging the good sense gear not to make any
predictions for 2006 so as to save myself the trouble
of verbose explanation why they did not happen, this
time next year. And as for New Year resolutions, I
safe myself both embarrassment and disappointment in
one go by not making any. This makes everything that
may happen a surprise whether welcome or unwelcome, a
surprise all the same.

Instead of a review of the whole of 2005 I will just
look at one issue that became almost obsession for me
throughout the year.

The year 2005 will go down as one in which so much was
promised to Africa, so little was achieved but the
subterfuge helped clear any lingering scales on our
eyes that foreign-do-gooders will help fix Africa. We
were told several times by all kinds of do-gooders
that 2005 was Africa's year. These expectations were
based on a dubious coincidence outside of Africa. The
British Prime Minister, Tory Blair, assumed both the
Presidency of the European Union and Chairmanship of
the G8 Rich Vultures' Club in the year and promised to
make Africa his priority. Prophet Blair, who did not
officially visit Africa (except for an obligatory
photo call on Mandela on his way to the holiday
paradise Island of Mauritius and another holiday in
Egypt) throughout his first term as Prime Minister
decided that, to cleanse himself of the blood of
innocent Iraqis that he helped his buddy, barmy Bush,
to exterminate, Africa was his salvation.

Leading British NGOs led by OXFAM who even had one of
their former top ranking officials ensconced in
Downing Street as an Adviser saw Blair's missionary
view of Africa as a wonderful opportunity for funding
opportunism and willingly went to bed with Blair.
Their shameless embrace of Blair is only comparable to
the grotesque scandal of Western journalists becoming
embedded with the Anglo-American imperialists in their
illegal occupation of Iraq. These NGOs now have to
search their souls during 2006 and ask if their
collusion with power was worth it. But since they are
not accountable to the people they serve they continue
to talk up their treachery as success. What kind of
success is this for Debt relief that sees Nigeria
paying back over 3 billion Dollars to Britain alone, a
figure more than the total Aid budget of Britain in
the same year?

What kind of opportunity for Africa is 2005 when
pressures have to be dissipated on making the USA
through its UN ambassador, the UN -hating Bolton, to
accept not to eliminate the acronym, Millennium
Development Goals (MDGs) set 5 years before. If it
took so much effort to defend the acronym alone how
much will it take to achieve the goals? If you are
still in doubt how bad things are the recent WTO
meetings in Hong Kong put paid to any illusions. There
was no movement on the big issues and decisions are
delayed for yet another round of negotiations between
cats and mouse of the global economy. The cats will
not give up their right to eat the mice while the mice
`have to do everything to escape being gobbled up.
It's a clear frontier but many Western NGOs confuse
their domestic audience and their conniving Southern
activists in facilitating the illusion that some cats
are less greedy than others. Many Southern activists
know this not to be true but carry on with their
northern patrons because their jobs and careers depend
on it. The campaigns offer individual poverty
alleviation mechanisms without making a dent on the
global and national structure of power that
impoverishes the masses of their peoples. Whatever Bob
Geldof, Bono and other busy body new missionaries in
the west may do poverty can neither be danced out of
town nor be talked out of existence with Prime
Ministers and Presidents. It is a poverty of history
to think and act as though a few rock concerts will
change the situation. No matter how many billions
watch the concerts.

So grim are things that Bob Geldof has now become an
adviser to the new Conservative leader, newly cloned
Blairite, David Cameron, on Global poverty. Having
tried Blair and New `Labour the patron saint of
Western NGOs have gone for the conservatives! I guess
after trying the fake Tory why not go for the real
thing? Are Oxfam and their assorted fellow travellers
in Africa now going to persuade us that Cameron is the
new face of the war on poverty?

It is clear that the British and other Western NGOs
make adjustments to their own political environment
and find relevance whoever is in power but because our
own NGOs are Donor-driven, lacking a social base in
our own societies they have proven themselves
incapable of doing the same. Therefore they declare
themselves only independent of African governments and
are not accountable to African people but dance to the
tunes of their funders. I hope that in the New Year
these NGOs will start looking more to Africa and
Africans rather than false prophets, saviours and
messiahs from outside. The fact that majority of our
peoples survived to see the dawn breaking on 2006 has
nothing to do with what Blair, Brown, Bob and Bono (I
ofen wonder why their names are all 'B'?) did for
them or to them but the direct result of our will to
live and overcome.In saying bye bye to 2005 lets say
bye bye to the B stars in the global pornography of
poverty that dominated the mulimedia during the year.

Happy New year to you all.