Thursday 22 June 2017


The title above was the subject matter of the discourse led by Prof. Nzongola Ntalaja at the National Defence College (NDC), Abuja on 21st June, 2017. Prof. Ntalaja is a specialist in African politics, development policy, administration and political theory. He is currently Professor of African Studies at the University of North Carolina, USA and Professor Emeritus of African Studies at Howard University, Washington DC.

Worried about the level of conflict in many African countries, including terrorist activities, Nzongola advanced three major reasons for this unpleasant trend:
*The absence of the rule of law
*Infringement of fundamental human rights
*Poor standard of living of the populace

According to Nzongola, the three problems stated above could be mitigated in African countries if:
*The 'sit-tight' syndrome is avoided by elected leaders
*Citizens' rights are extended, i.e. concentrate more on state of 'residence' rather than state of 'origin'. Exclusionary rules of citizenship should be resisted.
*Avoid hate speech, which could fan the embers of genocide and ethnic cleansing.
*Improve the living standard of the people.
*Involve civil society in the governance process. After all, governance should be about the people.
*Kleptocracy among the elite, especially the leaders should be curbed by having strong institutions which put adequate and enforceable sanctions in place to punish offenders.
*The challenge of poor infrastructure is addressed.
*The electorate should vote for 'visionary' leaders who have an acceptable ideology and have the interest of the citizens at heart.
*Economic integration should be put in top gear in each of the regions in Africa. ECOWAS is the undisputed leader in economic integration on the continent.

Animated discussion that followed had me (Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa), the Commandant of NDC, Dr. Gani Yoroms (Director, Strategic Studies, NDC), Prof. Sunday Ochoche (Executive Secretary, Victims' Support Fund, VSF) making contributions that validated Prof. Ntalaja's position. It was nostalgic to see the lead discussant, Nzongola after so many years...

Related Links

*Hate speech: What have we learned from the Rwanda genocide?

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