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STAR STRUCK POLITICIANS BLOW MONEY ON FOREIGN CELEBRITIES

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Most of the African countries that receive foreign stars as ambassadors of a noble cause use them to raise money worldwide. Politicians in United States sought celebrities to boost their campaign funds. Not in Nigeria, politicians use workers' salaries and funds that can be better used to relieve the pain and suffering of their people to pay foreign celebrities, failed and former politicians to grace local occasions even for a few minutes.

It has never made sense that owner of ThisDay, Mr. Obaigbena, that could not pay the salaries of his workers, many times paid former presidents and celebrities just to peep at Beyonce's boobs and grace various occasions in Lagos, Nigeria. Not to be outdone, Gov. Fashola also arranged for Ms. Kardashian to drop by and just say “Hey Naija”. Are these people star struck or suffering from some deep underlining complex?

Coca-Cola and various promoters used to sponsor and arrange these types of events in those days including Ms. Nigeria. The governments have stepped in, in a big way and are now competing in the entertainment fields with private businesses and promoters. It is difficult to understand what culture or values they are trying to promote at the expense of the poor and down trodden masses that have to miss their salaries and basic needs.

All work and no play is not good either. Since the sixties James Brown and then Millicent Small that captured the world with her song - My Boy Lollipop - came to Nigeria, backed by Fela Anikulapo Kuti. We had Holiday On Ice by international skaters without backing from government. So it is not a matter of being antisocial or fun-loving but of misplaced priorities by some governments that fail to understand their roles in the society.

Even locally, Nigeria just won as African soccer champion for which every part of the Country celebrated together. Until business men with their money splashed on the coaches and players started getting competition from state governments on who can lavish more money on them. This has divided the same people that celebrated their success together as their national soccer team won championship gold in South Africa.

Old favorite American weekly TV show star Archie Bunker's All In The Family son in-law Michael, Rob Reiner now a very accomplished director actual boasted that Hollywood celebrities in United States are the only constituency that gives good money to political parties without expecting much in return. Many of them pick a cause in Africa and Asia where they devote their money and time. Our politicians just throw all and more back.

If African or Nigerian promoters, businesses and Non-government organizations cannot promote these celebrities that are willing to donate their own money and time to noble causes in order to be seen as giving back, money-miss-road government has no business paying them. It is money badly needed at the grassroots level for ignored subsistence.

On top of this foolishness are local and international Awards and Fund raisings. African children would like to know what each of the awards given out either internationally or locally represented. Nigeria has neither got off its knees since Independence nor shown some useful purpose for the relatively enormous amount of money made from oil in terms of infrastructure to launch its people into agricultural and industrial revolution.

Recently, the Prime Minister of England queried Nigeria about all the money made from oil since production began because there is nothing we can reliably demonstrate as the advantages of all the income and taxes levied; more than all foreign aid to Africa. Many Africans went to the same schools as the foreign prime ministers and presidents and beat them in class. But when it comes to managing our own economy, they lecture us.

It is embarrassing when students you beat in class come back to address you about what a poor manager of your resources you are. They see you excel in their countries in spite of all odds but become complacent and lazy in your countries because of easy oil money that every politician loot. May be, just may be if the weather was harsher, ethnicity less accommodating and terms of engagement in politics were stricter, we may perform.

It was Fidel Castro and later Lula Da Silva that wondered out aloud about this day Africa's politicians still exchanging gold for mirror; as their chiefs did during the slave trade. We are so obsessed with gadgets and personalities that are foreign to us that it blocks out reasoning faculties on encouraging our own products to attract and generate foreign currencies. No wonder Paris Club demanded their share of easy odious debts.

It prompted the obvious question: if Africans just love to party and waste money on dance and sports while educational standards and children are exported. Mind you, these are few Africans or few Nigerians that make up twenty-five percent of Africans. But when managers fail to show leadership where it matters after a promising attitude in the sixties of becoming a major world power, we are left to wonder what is missing.

There is this character by some racist elements that Africans love to sing, dance and excel in sports. Talents are distributed in different fields of human endeavors but when there are only openings in certain fields to a deprived group, they are more represented there. In order words, those groups that are not highly represented in sports, singing and dancing, have other choices in fields that are not closed to them.

We do not have any excuse in Africa where we control our own destiny and can invest in any field we want without plunging our talents and resources into only entertainments.

Again, we understand that sports and recreation are usually devoid of ethnic and racial ember unless some ethnic champions want to make it so. It also allows us to cheer and celebrate while forgetting our differences. At the end of the day, we must come back and use our mental faculties to bridge the gap between Africa and the rest of the world.

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Farouk Martins Aresa and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

Articles by Farouk Martins Aresa