• Monday, March 04, 2024
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BusinessDay

What is Africa?

Converting Africa’s biggest challenges into impactful opportunities

I will not be shocked or surprised if an English language scholar starts to lecture me on the grammatical implications of my choice of words -the sentence `What Is Africa’. And of course, a geography savvy might want to tell me that Africa is a continent and that it is.

Yes, we all know the above and yet we seem to forget in a hurry that Africa is our one and only home.

When the coupists in the Niger Republic wobbled into unprofessional actions and upended the democratically elected government of Niger’s Bazoum, I wonder what was in Nigeria’s president Mr Tinubu’s mind when he so insisted on a military invasion of Nigeria’s northern neighbour. Even when other means of pressing the neck of the power-hungry soldiers in Niger to relinquish power have not been tried, but because various Western governments; the Elysee Palace, in particular, were so ambitious enough to declare brazen support for a military incursion into the Republic of Niger Mr Tinubu had to throw other diplomatic tools to the wind in favour of a military invasion.

There’s no denial Nigeria being the economic and military bulwark of the ECOWAS Bloc, with an annual military budget far away from the grasp of its Western African peers but then, this invasion to the president forgot how dry it will bleed Nigeria.

Generally, Western governments have leveraged the economic throes of the country to lure Nigerians to japa for greener pastures abroad. What would have been the scenario if Mr President eventually succeeded to order Kalashnikov wielding men clad in military fatigue to restore democratic order in Niger.

From which pool of population does he plan to mobilize, train and reinforce the military to still engage in the myriads of counter-terror operations across Nigeria? According to the CIA World Factbook, 167 million Nigerians reach military age per annum yet 1,855,467 Nigerians fled the country according to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority as of the year 2022. Sadly this frightening figure is just for the country’s airport departures alone.

Read also: The failure of democracy in Africa

Mr Tinubu would have been more than shocked by the way Nigerians would have left the country in droves for him, just like when the Russians tried to jump military mobilization last year.

Africa is bleeding to death yet our leaders seem hell-bent on still trying to inflict wounds and demonstrate military might.

In Nigeria alone there are 93,130 refugees who are trying to find a safe haven away from all the bloodshed in their various African countries of origin.

No centre or location in Mother Africa that hasn’t drank filled its inhabitants’ blood as evident in Chad, CAR, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Cameroon, Gabon, Congo, Sudan, Democratic Rep of Congo, South Sudan, Eritrea, Libya, Western Sahara, Uganda, Mozambique, Kenya, Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco with Nigeria being the third-worst nation prone to terrorism with no improvement since 2017 and Ethiopia (the headquarters of the African Union) neck-deep in two civil wars for the past three years.

More than 35 Non-international Armed Conflicts (NIACS) are already raging in the aforementioned countries according to the Geneva Academy, what then is the outlook for Africa, why launch another mayhem?

Read also: The root cause of military rule in Africa and pragmatic solutions

Some leaders clearly have violated the spirit of democracy, hence the unfortunate support for insurrectionists. How can a democratically elected President rule for; 44, 41, 37, 30, 26, and 23 years as seen by Teodoro Obiang of Equatorial Guinea, Paul Biya of Cameroon, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea, Dennis Sassou of Congo and Paul Kageme of Rwanda respectively.

Is this still democracy at play in these countries? Imagine being ruled all your life by your ancestors?!

Soon enough hardships exacerbated by climate change will start ticking as usual, when flash floods will submerge houses, cases of landslides become more pronounced and the continuation of the severe drought hammering the Horn of Africa as occasioned each year.

A gallon of diesel generates on average 10-12kg of ozone-damaging CO2 which is a huge player in climate change and an armoured truck generates 260kg of CO2 per mission, in the same vein a combat aircraft releases 27,800kg of CO2 per mission.

A 60-tonne US-made main battle tank is estimated to produce carbon emissions equivalent to 10 Mercedes-Benz cars “Jens Stoltenberg”.

Among Nigeria’s battle-effective weapons which would have eventually crossed across the border into Niamey are the Chinese-made VT-4 tanks which suck up a whopping 1960 litres of fuel per mission, the JF-17 multirole jet used constantly by the Nigerian Air Force which consumes 3000 litres of fuel and is estimated to cost 3,029,960.00 Naira to fly per hour.

The highly celebrated and newly acquired A-29 Super Tucano manufactured by Embraer which uses the ALX Pratt and Whitney Canada PT6A-6r/3 turboprop engine consumes 695 litres for a range of 1.500km. Figures stated for individual equipment.

Read also: Shame is the missing link to our desired leadership

Of what implications are these unending, endemic conflicts to Africa, to our environment and climate? Just overtly bad.

In these trying times of Naira scarcity, ethnic divide, shrinking foreign reserves, high cost of fuel across the country and a more vindictive climate, now is not the time to flex military muscle.

Our leaders ought to be more proactive and guided through the spirit of pan-Africanism.

This week when the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin issued an order to have African asylum seekers repatriated to Africa, he meant Africans should go fix themselves. Although as a state which has lobbied intensively for an observer statue in the African Union, it’s an utter shame to the face for Africans.

To the English language or geography scholar, Africa is your/our home, treat it fair and right.