The Day Nigeria Gets It Right, Africa Will Get It Right — Prof Lumumba

Patrick Lumumba


-- A former director of the Kenyan anti-corruption agency, Prof. Patrick Lumumba, has slammed political leaders in Africa for the growing insecurity and economic crisis in the region.

He stated this while speaking at the 20th anniversary of Stefanos Foundation on Wednesday in Abuja.

The theme of the event was ‘Census 2022: Concerns for Internally Displaced Persons and Implications on the 2023 general elections.’

Lumumba specifically berated the leaders for discussing what he called “trivial issues” during the recent African Union (AU) summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

According to him, the problems of leadership structure and institutional corruption were Africa’s greatest problems.

The erstwhile Kenyan anti-corruption chief maintained that Nigeria was a missing link to Africa’s greatness.

He said, “During the two-day summit, I like many Africans waited to hear our leaders talk about the conflict in Africa, especially Mali, Burkina Faso, about the insurgency in Nigeria, about the conflict in Central African Republic, Eastern Congo, Northern Mozambique, Southern Cameroon, Sudan and different part of Africa but I only listen to them talk about whether Israel should have observer status at the AU. Indeed they did not stop there, they constituted a team of African heads of states whether Israel will have observer status at AU. I was disappointed.”

Lumumba also noted that the proliferation of

IDP camps in the region which should ordinarily serve as a temporary base but now permanent abode for many citizens was a result of a lack of empathy from the leaders.

According to the professor of law, the time has come for Africans to ask themselves painful and uncomfortable questions.

“We Africans have been nice to each other for too long. Now the time has come when we must speak the truth in all its nakedness that it will prick our conscience.

“Many times when I think about the continent of 54 countries each of which all has a government, army, police, defence ministry, I asked myself, why is my continent so insecure? Why are my kit and kin so traumatized, brutalised and abused but those who we give the authority and power to preside our affairs enjoys security like no other?

“The tragedy of Africa is not that those in leadership do not know. They know. I can assure you that they know better than what is contained in this report because in every African government there is a unit whose only duty is on a daily basis to deal with intelligence and security. But somehow nothing happens.

“In the last few months, I have been watching Africa. I have seen coups in Guinea, Mali, Chad, Burkina Faso and an attempted one in Guinea Bissau and I have seen those who are in the position of leadership as president and who was once surrounded by security being humbled and almost been humiliated and I asked myself that do those in a position know that it can happen to them?

Continuing, he said: “I want to tell you that before it becomes better in this continent, I fear it will become worst. I fear it will become worst because when one looks at Africa today, there are IDPs in every corner . Camps which was supposed to be temporary has become permanent accommodation

“Those who elect are seeing the suffering. Sometimes you wonder, if blood flows through their veins.”

While making reference to one of the works of late foremost writer and author, Chinua Achebe, Lumumba wondered how Africans at every election cycle foster on themselves dictators and yet they celebrates them.

“How is it that a continent that is so endowed continue to be demeaning this manner. How is it that this Nigeria which has the largest population of Africans, a country which has the most educated men and women on earth, a country that has produced good and great men, with great scholars and evangelists continue to converse?

“How is that this Nigeria the land of great evangelists and Ulamas can allow conflict to take root? There are questions we must pose because the day Nigeria gets it right that is the day Africa get it right.

“It goes as much as saying that if Nigeria realises economic development, Africa will realise economic development and we pray that on daily basis that Nigeria will realise its economic potential”.

Programme Coordinator, Stefanos Foundation, Mark Lipdo said terrorists’ activities in the country encouraged high level of crime with impunity and has now given room for political exploitations that is affecting the rule of law and good governance.

He maintained that bias, intolerance, marginalization and sectional scheming has further deepened the fault lines, noting there are no signs of “these ills abating any time soon”.

Lipdo said the foundation had been working to intervene in the agony, pain and suffering that this violence has caused thousands of people in the country.