Rev. Tony Agbali:
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The issues of debt reduction, debt forgiveness have brought Africa to
the fore of global attention. The globe-trotting efforts of African
Presidents, like President Olusegun Obasanjo is yielding dividend,
and showing, in spite of internal contradictions within certain of
the African polities, the commitment to a responsible governance
aimed at improving the lot of the populace.  The recent efforts of
the American and British to forgive some African nations their debts
represent such a monumental moment. Recently, the Paris Club has
agreed to relief Nigeria of over half of its external debt
forgiving $18 billion of its total  $30 billion debt. Thus, it shows
a level of commitment on the part of different agencies to address
the African issues. The African issue is mundanely complex but the
economic issues confronting the continent is one of the major drivers
of the other inter-playing issues such as increased out-migration of
talented professions to other global spaces, where their skills would
be credibly validated and rewarded.

The West today is trying to act in redeeming Africa, as it thought it
did in redeeming Africa from itself, by offering it a superior
civilization, using the abolition of the slave trade, as a convenient
idiom of imperialist domination.  Such antics have contributed to the
African malaise, as the institutions that were set up, were
self-serving.  Thus, even the regal prince of British imperialism,
Lord Frederick Lugard concede as much that the driving force of
British colonial expansion was, in spite of the ideological reason of
civilizing Africa, to protect British economic and commercial
interests, especially creating overseas markets.  Thus, this
expediency created social schemes that represented a repression of
the African skills, labor, and wage in comparison to those of other
global spaces.  Therefore, it is symptomatic that Lugard himself
advocated for the minimal paying of wages to unskilled labors, using
a pseudo-ethnological consideration that the African needs were not
much, hence leaving the consideration for the wage skills to the
commercial interests, rather than to the competing forces of market
forces. Thus, from the start African wages was not competitive, and
different efforts to ensure wage competitiveness, through wage
increase, replicated hyper-inflation, as it so happened with the
Nigerian Jerome Udoji Commission that ensured workers wage rise
around 1974.

Thus, right from the start African labor machinery and dynamics was
implicated in a culture of inferiority within the global labor
market. The further deroding of job security due to political
corruption and social instability, further truncated the African
middle class, thus easily seeking outlets, through the mechanism of
international migration into more lucrative market destinations.  The
ill-nurtured political class were clueless as to the act of good
governance in reversing some of these damaging scenario, thus
exacerbating the situation.

The convergence of multiplex and complex forces are at the root of
African backwardness and easy exploitation.  However, Africa
continues to forge ahead, most times in tears and silent burden in
trying to reclaim its humanity among other nations. Africans,
however, optimistic, in spite of their situations, never look down
upon their own selves and abilities to triumph over these forces of
denigration.  Even, in the midst of tormenting circumstances the
African resilience is impressive.  However, today, Africa is trying
to transcend the adjectives of negativity and backwardness. It is
attempting to carry on with grace the task of its own renaissance.
Cognizant of its internal logics, it sees a vision of hope where
others see despair.  Thus, crying out to the world, not to be spoon
fed, but to be given a hand of support, and a shoulder to lean on,
she requests help.

However, there are voices against such rhetoric and mode of
reasoning. These forces reside in certain agents who are static and
see no possibility of change and transformation, and refuse to
consent to the human ability to transcend its limitation and the evil
of its pasts. Some of these voices are individuals who regal
themselves strutting themselves within the halls of Western
parliaments shouting Armageddon, and hauling brimstones upon any
viable concept capable of paving the way for the future of growth and
achievement.  Preoccupied by their own sense of self-worth, they
valorize ideas and ideals that are troubling and fixated on the
thesis that past failures do not open new vista for future
possibilities and growth.  Focused on the past tyranny of some
erstwhile, and even present, African leaders, they trumpet a despotic
view that pretends to be a monolatry solution. Thus, little
differentiating them from the so-called tyrants they have audaciously
criticized.  Their monolithic views are held as perpetually
sacrosanct limiting their views to other paradigms and even in seeing
any good in other well-meaning alternatives.  Juxtaposing arbitrary
examples, taken out of their unique contexts, they act like the
author of the Golden Bough, in perpetuating a folklore of composite

Thus, as the G-8 sets to hold in Scotland, they are beaming with
smiles for being allowed into the corridor, of an hitherto undreamed
reality.  They are mundanely and crudely talking about using their
"matchete" to brutely and crudely be dictators of murderous intends
to decimate perceived rivals. Not much different than the Jean
Bokassas and Idi Amins.  Strutting their intellectuality in the West,
lost to the values of the social spaces they claim to represent they
are out of sync with the real situations on the ground, and hardly
would be "Messiah" intellectuals of Africa, ever be able to win a
seat in a council election, even in their own home area.  They
pillory ideals that are unworkable and have no bearing to the mode of
the optimism and diurnal efforts of most African people to transcend
their situation and transform their realities.

Africa and Africans have a future. The nature and contour of that
future might look unpredictable but the future of African is never
uncertain.  This is envisaged from the mode in which the efforts of
some African leaders are crystallizing into realities of hope. Even,
if some of these efforts are perceived as inconsequential, they mean
a lot, notably that the determined agency of African leaders can
change world opinions, and posit as positive channels for African
development.  If not anything else, such African vision, agency, and
determined efforts, represents a mark that some level of efficient
leadership, in spite of certain qualitative contradictions and
inchoate mode of leadership action, can led to social change. Thus,
let the apostles of African despondency, despair, and pessimism have
some sleep from overworking their brains in articulation doom, where
and when the future pronounced hope, no matter how moderate.