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04 July 2017

AFRICA NEEDS LEADERS WHO SHARE JOHN MANAMA’S VISION OF REAL TRANSFORMATION : SHEIKH ABDULSALAM TOFA ( NIGERIAN MUSLIM CLERIC BASED IN THE UNITED STATES)


My first visit to Ghana was in 2002 during the tenure of Mr Kufour. Between 2002 and 2006 I operated a business with a Ghanaian friend Ernest Oware in Ghana leading to the establishment of some Banks in the country.

Together with Mr Oware who operated a succesful business in Nigeria and a close friend of Ernest Shonekan, and some Japanese friends, we eatablished the popular Oil marketing company OSKLINE and lifted oil from Nigeria some some West African countries including Sierra Leone, Liberia and Benin. Through my encounter with some leaders on the continent,I came to understand why Africa with all her vast resources and human resource base,continue to struggle in the poverty mud, why leaders suddenly become arrogant when power gets into their hands,and why they aggravate the horrible situation they inherit. I’m not a big fan of the literary sub-genre of political rhetoric, schmaltzy and self aggrandizing propaganda.

I nonetheless love leaders who uplift the dying spirit of their people through inspiring optimism. If is good we accept and walk with the divine truth that we will not eradicate poverty in our lifetimes but we must collectively work towards its eradication by helping to reduce it during our time.

Others see the situation we find ourselves as ancient, innate and for the foreseeable future, inevitable. We shouldn’t discourage ourselves and the coming generation with such baseless and inaccurate analogies. Our problems keep on deteriorating because of the kind of leadership we elect or who take up arms against legitimate governments.

My businesses in Ghana brought me close to high level personalities like Mr Kufour, the current President, Mr Owusu Ankomah, Late Mr Aliu Mahama among others and enjoyed their hospitality and nobility throughout the period.

I traveled with Mr Kufour on a number of business trips and have never regretted offering him and his government the kind of support I gave them including helping them access grants and low interest loans for their projects. I saw the country’s level of development at the time Kufour was exiting and must use this medium to commend him for what he did for that great country. The image and legacies Nkrumah left in Ghana and Africa, make occupying the highest office in Ghana, a difficult job.You occupy a very sensitive position in African politics the moment you take over as leader of Ghana because of that huge space Nkrumah still occupy in the continent’s politics.

In my country Nigeria, our default on the issues of democracy and good governance and other pertinent issues, strained, without a shadow of a doubt, the relationship between the international and the Nigerian state under some of our leaders. When my senior political friend, Alhaji Bashir Tofa, told me was going to secure a ticket to become the NRC’s Presidential candidate,I told him to bury his plans. That advice was based on what had started emerging in some circles about the publisher of the Concord Group of Newspapers Chief Moshood Abiola. Our politicians had become hungry tigers and will do everything possible to eliminate any soul who act as barrier between them and their wealth seeking agenda. I wasn’t surprised when the military rulers decided to treat Abiola the way he was,treated. It was no more about improving the welfare and condition of the ordinary Nigerian,but how to amass wealth, educate their wards in expensive colleges, establish mini towns etc. Low infrastructure is still one of the major problems in the country. Our leaders treated their people scornfully and disrespected them. Development was concentrated in the cities and measured their performance by how glittering city life improved the end product is the emergence of the terrorist organisations in the rural enclaves of the country. The national Bureau of Statistics records indicate that 60.9% of Nigerian in 2010 were living in absolute poverty and that figure had risen from 54.7% in 2004 and predicted that the trend was likely to continue. I wrote a memo to the Vice President indicating my fear for the country looking at the details in that report and the percentage of our youth within the range. Isn’t it a sad story that Africa’s biggest oil producer will find itself in this terrible quagmire.

I returned to Ghana in January 2016 with some investors who wanted to revive the country’s glass factory at Aboso it the deal didn’t materialise but must say was impressed with the way the authorities dealt with the negotiations.

MR MAHAMA

I have never met him but must say have huge respect for the former Ghanaian leader and have been using his leadership skill and performance as my strong point when chastising our leaders in Nigeria. When I had the opportunity to address some leaders from Nigeria and other West African nations in Botswana last year, I asked my Nigerian friends if they noticed the sharp development taking place in Ghana and I remember the Sultan of Sokoto also citing the case of Ghana to support his admonishment of our leaders when he spoke on how our leaders have neglected the rural enclaves causing insurrections and insurgencies. The young Ghanaian leader spared no effort to infuse new confidence in his,people and through that restored order into Ghana’s economy. I had the opportunity of traveling to some remote parts of the country and you see efforts to rebuild the shattered foundation of the country’s infrastructure base. I was forced by my own instincts to buy two plots of land at Kwabenya a suburb in the capital to relocate. The administration built new schools,hospitals, ICT centres etc across the country, roads in the remotest part of the country asphalted, portable water extended to the remotest parts of the country. In the cities,I saw new buses to support commuters, I saw modern interchanges etc. This is the kind of leadership Africans need, a leader who implement policies to reduce the sharp division between the affluence of a small business class with the majority of our have- nots. Leaders who don’t measure their performance by the glittering city life,but will first focus on the drudgery,poverty and the torments in our rural areas to enable them weld their nations together. Ghana is enjoying the respect it is commanding on the continent because of how the young man carried himself in office. Our leaders in Nigeria should institute research findings into why our young folks are moving in their hundreds to Ghana, why Ghana has become their new Britain. Loyalty to our nations must be our offer to our nations but unfortunately for Nigerians and most African countries, our leaders allow their inordinate ambitions to blur their vision to their duty. Corruption has become a routine act and our leaders practice it with dexterity and confidence.We still have leaders and other personalities like Paul Kigame, John Mahama etc who can lead the continent’s reconstruction agenda to help countries on the continent build truly independent economies,firmly structured on the source potentials of our lands and culture of our citizens in the context our common call of self reliance.








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