Unfortunately, you did not address any of the issues I raised in my
contribution. You will notice that not once did I mention corruption at any
level. I am also not interested in setting up the political class against the
civil society in terms of relative corruptibility. No one needs to posture
around over the issue of corruption.
More fundamentally, I do not think that Nigeria or Africa's problem is
corruption, even though that appears to be the global consensus. I think it is
wrong-headed. It is also true that Obasanjo agreed to pretend to a higher moral
standing and join in the campaign against Nigeria as an inherently corrupt
society. What he is doing is just a demonization of Nigerians in general and
the waging of a psychological warfare against Nigerians, much to the delight of
people: local and foreign who think that Africans are inherently corrupt and
therefore incapable of self development due to corruption.
I should be clearly understood since this matter of corruption easily lends
itself to much sermonizing and posturing. I am as opposed to corruption in
Nigeria and elsewhere as anyone else. However, the manner in which the issue of
corruption has been presented since independence, it is as if corruption is the
reason for Africa's failure to develop. It is not.
Any minimum familiarity with the course of development of South Korea, Taiwan,
Brazil, India and others makes it clear that these capitalist societes are just
as corrupt as Nigeria. The difference is that they put their societies and
economies on the trajectory of transformative development anchored on the
development of their technological capacities and the creation of industrial
societies which in turn generated their mass prosperity which we all now
celebrate and even envy.
Therefore the issue in Africa is one of the continuing failure to exercise
effective self-determination and make the obvious choices. The unavoidable
choice is to invest in the systematic development of the human resources and
technological capacities for national and continental transformation. If we
don't do this, even if we jail all Africans and have only angels; Africa will
not develop. Corruption is not the issue.