African Politicians Boastfully "Developed" Wealth Into Poverty

By Farouk Martins Aresa

There is a President-Elect in Nigeria, but most do not believe any of the 3 candidates could restore our dignity. We dearly missed the days when Nigerians were welcomed and respected around the world. Nigerian institutions from Universities, Teaching Hospitals, Professionals to Police and Military were invited to prestigious institutions in and outside Africa. We contributed to Peace Missions around the world, building and developing budding institutions in Africa.

The face of poverty has shifted from Asia to Africa. Compared to when Nigerians were furious at Umaru Dikko for insinuating that he had never seen people picking food from the garbage in Nigeria as they do in the United States of America. The audacity that anyone in his right sense or mind would compare Nigeria flowing with honey and “wara” then, with poor people in the States was too much to bear. We rain curses on him for being so indifferent.

The Head of State then, General Gowon bragged that our problem is not money but how to spend the much we had. If you are wondering which country this was, we should. It is the same country politicians campaigned and are bragging of today that they have developed into the Poverty Capital of the world. The prodigal developers have passed the nightmare to our children. So, when you hear how they developed a place, understand where it came from.

Nigeria has three leading Presidential candidates that sold and campaigned on selling their country. When Africans exhibit tribal tendencies, xenophobia or lunge at one another's throats based on an ethnic group's control of their towns and cities; they leave politicians that sold most of their precious and productive land to foreigners unscathed.

Lebanese, Americans, Europeans and lately Asians do not generate the same resentment as Nigerian new developers. Though foreign developers bring technology with low paying jobs, they take out crippling profits leaving perpetual credit card (debt) payments. Who do you think are the beneficiaries of Tax-Free-Zones in Lagos, Nigeria?

American, European and Asian politicians campaign and regulate against businesses that invest money and technology (intellectual properties) outside countries in order to avoid living wages and increase profit. High technology manufacturing plants are more difficult to replicate locally because they take time, involve skills and financial investment that cannot be easily replaced by those seeking immediate raw cash.

It sounds unbelievable but it is true that some Africans, not foreigners, would turn the land of wealth flowing with honey and "wara" into abject poverty. It takes humans wasting or bereft of empathy, talents, dignity and callousness to impoverish a people while claiming to be developers of the states they govern. Yet, they have supporters defending any of the policies.

We were taught that it takes a village to raise a child in Africa. Good qualities other continents used to enhance their economic fortune and liberate themselves from the yoke of oppression, some of us used to subject our people to abject and perpetual poverty.

If you are looking for where a deluge of money can turn a whole country into the Poverty Capital of the world called development, look no further than Nigeria. This is where senseless accumulation of money stolen by individuals that should be invested in finished products at home have turned politicians, cronies and copycats trying to live up to them, to money launderers. When caught abroad, some have abandoned millions in foreign cash.

As the country gets poorer, a few individual pockets get heavier. If Nigerians campaign or boast to you that they develop a place, take a good look. They mean their pockets are full, at the expense of the place they wrecked. It is hard to develop people or a place by being clever by half, boasting of native intelligence without sharing, benefiting or respecting your host.

Any means is good for the swindlers, dire ritualists, drug peddlers and desperate voyagers to cross sea and desert at the risk of dear life. Many people from different countries wonder why a country in the Continent so blessed with natural resources and talents could be so selfishly mismanaged. Some claim talents flow to where they are rewarded. Well, most people gladly follow raw materials and money called rewards anywhere. Instead of developing them as finished products at home.

This writer begs to disagree that reward only comes in raw cash in exchange for raw materials. Those that focus on raw cash have not only lost their ways but they have also lost their minds. While it is true that many are willing to make the money first and worry about their minds and morals later, it is always too late when they have nothing to show for the money and are forced to suffer the consequences. Their recklessness and viciousness turn families into circular firing squads, killing progressive ideas that eventually result in abject poverty.

If these Nigerians were so industrious and intelligent, how did their country go from potential Regional Power to creators of poverty at home? Every other continent understands that the greatest returns on exploitation is from Africa; as long as you can get local partners willing to bleed and sell their countries raw. Unfortunately, the Nigerians that cannot wait to get out are not just the poor or unskilled. The best talents in Arts and Sciences are also rushing out, at the risk of their lives or becoming organ donors.

Indeed, Nigerians are now known in Africa countries and overseas in their penchant for their warped "generosity" in underdeveloping unsuspecting people and places. These villages, cities and countries eventually woke up and caught on to desperadoes. They react with lethal punishment, fearing they might turn their people and places into Nigeria, the Poverty Capital of the world. If they only know that Nigerian politicians have used the irony of poverty to gain positions and reelection into power at home.

Farouk Martins Aresa @oomoaresa

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