Thursday, September 20, 2012

Rational Europe and irrational racism

In the past we made history and now history is being made of us.” – Jean Paul-Satre.

Europe likes to tout its rationalism, and Europeans like to trumpet this as the main thing that separates them from the rest of us.

European scholars never tired of telling the rest of us that we are emotional babies (often crying ones), whilst they are sturdy, rational and scientific men\women, whose actions are dictated by pure logic.

Some Africans, Leopold Senghor among them, bought into this and parroted it in their writings.

But very few things I see in Europe make sense to me; many actually seem quite irrational when we consider them closely.

Let us take Europe’s relationship with Africa as an example.

Africa has plenty of mineral resources whilst Europe has technology in abundance; both parties need each other to engage in mutually beneficial trade.

It would be marriage made in heaven were Europeans be prepared to marry their technologies with Africa’s large raw materials. Both people would benefit immensely.
Methinks that the only rational thing to do was for Europe, whose industries requires Africa’s raw materials, to look for ways and devise the means by which it can successfully partner Africa, keep things going smoothly so that both economies can keep running and both people gainfully employed and happy.

Alas, those that touted their rationality did nothing of the sort.

They, in fact, did exactly the opposite.

Rather than seek mutually-beneficial cooperation, Europeans devised short-term measures that will guaranteed them all the profits, leaving the Africans only the miseries.

Rather than strategic long-term policies that will be mutually beneficial, European invested in short-term policies that could not stand the test of time.

Rather than offer Africa concrete economic development, European politicians decided on lecturing and hectoring and, when that failed, war and violence.

Of course, the cheating game can last this and no longer.

It took time, but the Africans finally wised up.

One by one, they turn their backs on Europe and start to look East.

In many African countries that the West looked to as traditional playgrounds, the Chinese have made quick job of supplanting them.

Today we see Europeans scrambling to understand what went wrong. We see their scholars and their media offering some very silly arguments on why they lost out in Africa.

It is racism, stupid!

Who in this age want to be treated like an inferior? Who in this time still does know that the European game is finally over? Who in this time does not know that Europe no longer enjoy a monopoly on technology? Who doesn’t know that Africa today has alternatives?

Africans have woken up and they have listen to the powerful prophecies of Frantz Fanon which enjoined them to leave behind a Europe, where they never tired of talking about the rights of man, but continue to kill man wherever they can find him? Who wants anything to do with a people who continue to think of only committing avalanche of murders?

Sino-Africa relations have its own problems, but few Africans lament the shift away from Europe. Few of them will miss Europe with all its negative baggage.

The reasons are not difficult to understand.

More than any other people, Europeans ought to show a lot more sensitivity towards Africans – a people they have so badly wronged.

Alas, rather for present-day Europeans to show any remorse or sense of contrition, they want to continue with the wayward ways of their parents.

And, not only that, they expect us to continue to applaud them for it!

They continue with the same imperial arrogance, and continue to think that the world still revolves around Europe.

Rather than engage the Africans like equals that deserve respect, they continue to holler, to hector, to give sanctimonious lectures and to threaten sanctions and, if that fails, inflict wholesale violence a la Libya.

Few Africans are ready to accept this nonsense in this age. Many of them have lived or visited Europe and they can only shake their heads in amazement as the European Emperor continues to dance naked.

One by one African countries decided to tell Europe to shove it.

It is interesting that no serious research has been done to see whether or not there is a direct link between the crises Europe face, and the loss of their Jewel Crown which is Africa.

Could the European economic crises been averted or moderated if Europe’s had pursued a more informed and more rational policies towards Africa?

We would never know but it cannot be doubted that Europe lost big time as Africans took their business to Asia.

In the 1980s, I told the Dutch that they will live to rue their racist policies towards Africa. My caution was occasioned by several instances of open racism I witnessed as I went around with African business people who came to transact business in the Netherlands.

These men and women, people of substance back home, came to the Netherlands with their own money, to buy Dutch goods. Right from the Schiphol airport, haughty officials treat them like scums.

Nigerian car dealers, who came to the country and bought over two hundred (yes, 200) cars are treated no better. Very ordinary Dutch police constables will put on air and start to harass these people who have enough money to pay the whole Dutch police for years.

Today, the Dutch second-hand car business (sales plus ancillary services like shipping) has collapsed.

Few Africans today come to transact any business in the Netherlands – it is Asia, all the way.

As the sun sets on Europe, Africa is rising. Africa has become the in-thing.
Few years ago, the Economist magazine carried the stupid headline about an Africa the Hopeless Continent.

A decade later, the mindlessly racist editors of the Economist were forced to swallow their silliness and ran a story about an Africa that is rising.

Yes, there is no denying the fact: Africa is rising.

In 1994, I wrote a piece in the Dutch newspaper, de Volkskrant, in which I told the Dutch that they can continue to peddle their useless statistics about Africa, and that we Africans remain optimistic and shall continue to face the morrow with optimism.

I also told them that were I a European, I’d be more worried about my future than an African. Africa, I told them has nowhere to go but up. I told them that as soon as we manage to settle our political challenges, we shall have the time to tackle our economic challenges.

We have the mineral resources and we have the young, energetic and very enterprising people who are hungry and eager for progress.

Happily, for Africa, my predictions are coming through.

Today, whilst Europe is sinking literally and metaphorically, Africa is booming.

Whilst European economies wallowed in the quagmire; some economies in Africa register two figures growth.

Whilst Europeans today worried stiff about their pensions, plundered by their banksters, Africans look to the morrow that beckons with its brightness.

The BBC recently aired a documentary on Portuguese immigrants to Mozambique.

Sadly, not many other western media carried it.

According to the BBC, Portuguese are now flocking to their former colony, Mozambique in large numbers. They are in search of the proverbial greener pasture. Angola has also lent a helping hand to rescue some Portuguese businesses.

What exactly is wrong with us in Africa; why are we so generous!

The question of immigration is another thing that starkly betrays Europe’s irrationality.

The most shocking thing to this writer when he came to sojourn in Europe in the 1980s was the pervasive racism and the open, naked hostility towards non-Europeans.
Nothing prepared for me it.

Coming from a place where people with pink skin are worshiped almost like gods, it was quite a shock to live among those that think of you as beneath their dogs.

It’d have made some sense to me if the open hostility had a rational cause. Perhaps we have wronged Europeans in some ways. Perhaps our ancestors did something terrible for which the children have to pay the terrible price.

I searched for answers; I failed to find any.

My readings told me that if anything, it was we Africans that have justifiable and quite legitimate reasons to hate Europeans.

History is replete with gigantic and quite horrendous injuries Europeans wreaked on us.

But here we are, happy-go-lucky that we are; prepare to forgive and forget and to let bygones be bygones.

We yearned only for acceptance.

Alas, this was even too much for them to grant us.

While their scholars and media continue to insult and pour scorn on us, their politicians did their utmost to paint us as the ultimate ogre.

We are in Europe, they lied, to steal jobs and, of course, their beautiful women.
We are said to be the cause of everything that ail their societies. We represent clear and present danger that must be eliminated.

The European hoi polio, well prepared by the ideological institutions of his land to be gullible, swallowed the politicians’ lie whole, and start to act accordingly. The lower class, who catch the same hell as we were catching, choose race over class solidarity – they became the storm-troopers used to bash our heads!

Pure racist fascists, called Right-Wing partisans, gained ground across Europe and today, they represent quite a sizable percentage of several European parliaments.
What dangers exactly do immigrants present to Europe?

This is the question Europeans are not prepared to honestly consider and answer.
The question was posed by Africans to a group of Dutch politicians at a recent gathering in The Hague.

Dutch elections are slated for early September and the African immigrants demanded some answers.

There were lots of long faces, but no answer.

The Africans genuinely wanted to know what exactly the politicians meant when they talk about the problems of immigration. They wondered how people, Europeans included, could ever think that human beings are problems.

When probed about the nonsense parroted about Africans coming to take away jobs and live on welfare, there was also no one prepared to offer any answer.

Many Africans that seeks sojourn in the Netherlands are highly educated, often highly skilled middle-class. The majority are from Somalia, Burundi, Congo and now, Libya (total approved figure for 2011 is 3,075).

They became refugees for one reason or the other – some not unconnected with activities of western governments and multi-national companies.

Rather than receive a humane welcome, the already traumatized refugee is arrested at the Schiphol airport and locked away until his application for asylum is considered. It is a process that could take upward of five years. His life is shattered and his talents wasted.

But the same politicians that could not give answer when prompted, would next day go out to tell gullible people that immigration is a problem, and very energetically propose ways to solve a problem of their own creation, and one that exist only in their imagination.

The solution is, invariably, to strip the poor immigrant of the little dignity and humanity he has left.

The fact (according to figures from the EU’s EUROSTAT office) is that, contrary to popular myth about Dutch tolerance, fewer non-Europeans live in the Netherlands than in other European country save Finland.

Only about 4% of the people living in the Netherlands are foreigners, and the majority of these are citizens of another EU member state.

And hidden from many Dutch is the fact that the Netherlands, for the past years, has being a net exporter of people: more Dutch people left their country and move elsewhere than foreigners moved to the Netherlands.

According to a study (“Exit, voice and loyalty in the Netherlands”) by sociologist, Hendrik P van Dalen and Senior Researcher, Kène Henkens:

For the fifth year in a row, emigration from the Netherlands exceeded immigration last year, reaching 123,000 emigrants, which amounts to 7.5 emigrants per 1000 inhabitants. Dutch media has repeatedly reported this phenomenon because it caught demographic forecasters by surprise. The last emigration wave occurred fifty years ago, and at present the Netherlands is the only Western European country experiencing net emigration, although similar trends are visible in the UK (Salt and Rees, 2006) and to lesser extent in Germany.why-are-dutch-leaving-netherlands

This however has not daunted the energetic Dutch from devising more and more ways to strip the non-European of all his cultural identity\humanity in the name of an elusive and ill-defined integration.

Under new immigration laws that take effect from October this year, family reunion will be further restricted. Non Europeans can no longer marry if they have resided in the country for at least one year – they must go and marry in their countries. Immigrants can no longer bring their child to the country if he’s older than 18 years. The three years waiting list for permanent residence permit has been extended to 5 years. Residence permit can now be withdrawn on the flimsiest of reasons. See:

In discussions with my Dutch friends about this fixation with immigrants, they seem as lost as I am. They all tell me that their politicians do not represent them, which rather rubbished the claim that the country is a democratic one.

My Dutch friends are as clueless as yours sincerely about what could be done to stop self-serving politicians from further poisoning the relationship between ethnic groups, and further confusing an already confused people.

They would rather want their politicians to talk about the issues that concerns them and will affect their future: the Euro Crises, the plundered Pension funds, collapsing infrastructures and the worsening health services.

My Dutch friends yearn also for a healthy relationship among the progressive people of the world, devoid of crass racism and stupid politicking.

Do unto others as you want to them to do to you is an injunction recommended by almost all the world’s religion.

Europeans want to be treated humanely and fairly when outside of Europe, why do they (and their politicians) find it difficult to respect the humanity of those that sojourn among them?

Why do they expect to be treated humanely when they come to our land, when they continue to treat immigrants like beasts of burden?
Why do they expect to reap beans when all that they sow is tare?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

It is education, stupid.

“On the expansion of knowledge I stand.” – Martin Luther.

Gladly, two of Ghana’s registered political parties have come out boldly to espouse a free education programme.

Sadly and, most regrettably, the incumbent party still does not buy into the idea.

The Minister of Education, Lee Ocran, recently reiterated the government’s stance when he said that, to his party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) , led by President John Dramani Mahama, free SHS can only be possible after the year 2032.

That is 20 years from now.


Mr. Ocran even remembered to tell us that were free education to be a feasible proposition, the Ghana’s first president, the Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, would have implemented it.

He conveniently forgot to remember that Africa’s favorite son implemented a free education programme for the most deprived areas of the land.

Whatever the nay-sayers say, and whether or not the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) the two parties that have endorsed the free education programme, implement it if they come to power remains immaterial: the discussion on free education has entered into Ghana’s political space and it never will go away. It shall continue to dominate political discourse as it rightly should.

I just find it difficult to understand why some people seem so dead set against the idea of the state funding education for our children. The excuses they give range from the flimsy to the utterly ridiculous.

I am yet to read a meritorious argument against the implementation of a programme that not only will benefit individual Ghanaian children, but whose benefits will redound appreciably to the country in the next few years.

It should be remember that until very few years ago, the most capitalist of countries in Europe had a free, qualitative and compulsory education for citizens.

In the Netherlands for example, until some few years ago, Dutch children enjoyed free and education up to secondary level, and there was guaranteed student loan scheme for those that desire to go to university. Economic difficulties have forced the Dutch to transfer the state’s guaranteed scheme to bank loans that attract commercial interests.

What is equally baffling is that it is the National Democratic Party, a self-proclaimed Social-Democratic party that seems opposed to a free education, while the NPP, supposedly a party of capitalist moguls champions it!

How ironic!

The question we ought to ask ourselves here is: If some people can announced, planned , find the money and launched a programme that put man on the moon inside of ten years, why should it take us 20 years to find the money to educate our children – the biggest investment we can ever have!

This becomes more baffling when we see all the wastage and leakages n the system.

Let us not rehash some old issues, but how could our officials who managed to get some GH¢858 million in three years to pay judgment debts, tell us that they cannot find the funds to implement a free education policy estimated to cost between 700m to one billion cedis?

How could our officials who managed to create some 280 parliamentary constituencies and are telling us that we need additional 47 more tell us, talk about the unfeasibility of a free education policy?

Aside from basic salaries and emoluments, each of our MPs also gets a car loan of US$50,000.

Multiplied by 280, that comes to a neat 14million.

We also have quite a number of presidential aides who get salaries of some 4,000 ceids; many of them do little apart from hopping from media house to media house to lambast critics and opponents of the government.

We also maintain a large retinue of ministers (cabinet and state) who also get loads of freebies from the state.

The state of the art fleet of four-wheel jeeps we gave our officials must also have cost us a small fortune.

In addition, we give free accommodation to all our MPs and all our ministers.

It should be said that MPs and ministers in most of the countries from where we borrow the money, to fund the lavish lifestyles of our officials, live in their own house. They buy and fuel their own vehicles. Our nation’s largest benefactor to date, China, operates a part-time parliamentary system of governments, and its officials use cars that are far smaller than what we give to our officials.

Whilst the British Prime Minister travels on commercial flight, we do our best to buy a jet (or is it two?) for our president.

We claim not to have money but we manage to operate a very expensive presidential system that is imperial in its opulent majesty.

When we tallied up all these expenses, they certainly must be substantial.

If we can raise the funds to give our officials such good lives, why do we continue to hear the lamentations about lack of money to fund a free education programme for our children?

Life is all about making choices; the economists call it opportunity cost.

The choice before is stark and it is, put simply, this: do we want to continue with our hit-and-miss approach to development or do we want to make a clean, decisive break, jettison old prejudices, become bold and make bold, if painful, decisions about our future?

Do we want to continue the to trod the same path we walked for so long, which has left us as the world’s under-achievers, or do we want to be bold and make the necessary choices that will enable us to join the rest of humanity in marching triumphantly into a brave new world of science and technology?

Our tragedy is this country, indeed in Africa, is that since the time of our Founding Fathers (Nkrumah, Kaunda, Nyerere, etc), we have not had confident and bold leaders who are willing to take us into unexplored territories.

Whatever we say about those pioneers, they were larger than life leaders who dazzled us with the architecture of their visions.

Whether or not they realise their visions or whether or not those visions were utopian can be debated, but no one can deny that they had VISIONS.

Very sadly we cannot say this of any contemporary leader in Africa.

Sadly, we are being led by mental Lilliputians and intellectual dwarfs, who lack that all important ingredient of all great leaders: VISION.

A visit outside our beautiful continent will only reveal to us the yawning gap between us and the rest of the human race.

It will only tell us the painful truth about how far behind we lag.

The Koreans, through firms like Rlg, Samsung and Hyundai daily dazzle us with electronic and engineering marvels.

The Chinese plan to send one them to space shortly.

Both nations follow the trail the Japanese blazed for the Asians three or four decades ago.

The Asians so thoroughly dominate science and engineering breakthroughs today that few people will believe that we started life at about the same time.

Modern Chinese history began in 1949 when the communists managed to drive off the US-imposed Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek.

Modern South Korean history started after the bitter Korean war that led to its establishment on 15 August 1948. That is just nine years before Ghana threw off the yoke off colonialism in 1957, and blazed the way for Africa’s decolonization.

Malaysia, another of the Asian Tigers, got her own independence on 6 September 1963, and was reputedly poorer than our dear Ghana.

Today, we can only look at the Malaysians in awe. Without jettisoning its core Islamic values, Malaysia managed to build a thoroughly-first world nation in a generation. Its plants manufacture high-grade electronics and pharmaceuticals products.

Malaysians, like most Asians, now receive respect at ports of entries outside Asia.
As mention supra, our post-colonial leaders did their best. For one reason or the other, they failed to lift us to high level of development.

There is no need for us to continue to cry over spilled milk.

But there is a need, a very urgent one, for us to lift ourselves up and redouble our efforts to join the rest of mankind.

We are starting from a very low level and the optimism in us should tell us that we have nowhere to go but up.

But very few things in life happen per chance. We have to prepare to build the tomorrow we want today.

We must try as much as possible to remove the mental shackles with which we imprison ourselves.

We ought to change, very fast, the mentality that instinctively tells us that: “it is impossible,” “it’s difficult.”

Of course, it is difficult; who says that anything in life will be easy?

We need to realize that the main reason we lag behind the other races is that the quality and quantity of our education is POOR.

Of course, we have numerous schools and universities. But we have to think beyond the box as they say.

It is not simply enough to keep on graduating people with diplomas who cannot function adequately.

In a globalized world, we need to produce global citizens who can successfully compete with their peers from anywhere in the world.

We need to seriously reconsider our education system under which we continue to graduate people who cannot think critically.

We cannot continue to operate a system whereby our graduates are good at only quotology – swallowing and regurgitating facts like parrots mimicking human voices.

Our next leader should be someone prepared to break away from the crowd and lead. He should be a confident person and one that is bold enough to tell us basic home truths. Principal among this that there is no way we can continue the way we are going and expect to get anywhere.

Our next leader should be one emboldened to change the whole paradigm of our education system.

Our next leader should be an education President. If he only could successfully prosecute an education agenda that give our children quality education, linked intrinsically with our core traditional values, he would succeed beyond measures.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Time to start creating our own miracles.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” - Arthur C. Clarke.

You believe in a book that has talking animals, wizards, witches, demons, sticks turning into snakes, burning bushes, food falling from the sky, people walking on water, and all sorts of magical, absurd and primitive stories, and you say that we are the ones that need help?” - Mark Twain.

By now careful readers of this column would have noticed that we are scientific and technological buffs.

Actually, very few things fascinate me more than to read about scientific exploits.

Very few things captivate me than to read or watch how ordinary human beings, sit down and use their brains and intellects to achieve what is truly magical and, per definition, should be unachievable.

I have read my fair share of books, and I have a library a medium-sized college will be proud of, but few books have moved me more than Norman Mailer’s “Of a Fire on the Moon,” an account of the man’s landing on the moon.

The more I read and re-read that book, the more I continue to be awed by that momentous achievement.

And yesterday, I watched the documentary, ‘In the Shadow of the Moon,’ twice.

It’s a video documentary on the Apollo programmes.

My head still reel just thinking about the mathematics, the science and the engineering that went into that prodigious endeavour.

I love to watch the stars, and I have two telescopes to aid my enterprise. I also have a couple of planetarium software on my laptop to aid my astronomical curiosity. Gazing at the celestial bodies is truly awesome as well as humbling.

I can only imagine (with envy, I admit) what the astronauts must have felt as they gaze around in their space crafts!

What I tell people is that they should take a peep at the planetary motion and their views and understanding of the world will be radically altered.

Very few who have seriously study the heavens will not be humbled not only by its vastness, its immense complexities but also by its sheer beauty.

The universe is truly immense and mind-boggling in its majesty.

What constantly awe me is the fact that mere mortals, equipped with the same brain like you and I, sat down to plan how to get a human being to land on the face of our satellite, the moon, and get him back safely back to earth.

And they did it!

And they did it using equipments that were truly primitive by today’s standards.
We talk here about leaving our earth and heeding towards uncharted territory. We are talking here about men and women planning about how to successfully embark on a journey of a distance of 384,400 kilometers.

And if the moon landing project was awesome, the recent landing of a robotic rover on Mars lacks the adequate superlative to describe it.

This is how a noted science writer, Ian O'Neill, put it: “The landing of Curiosity alone will be an engineering triumph; anything the rover does after will be a scientific bonus.

A nuclear-powered, one-ton robotic rover armed with a rock-burning laser and a set of heavy-duty drills is currently preparing to land on Mars. Its mission is to carry out a vast array of experiments to help mankind understand the Red Planet's suitability for life and, ultimately, to help answer the age-old philosophical question: Is life on Earth special?

After nearly nine months of gliding through interplanetary space, NASA's Mars Science Laboratory, known as "Curiosity", will feel Martian dirt crunching under its six wheels at 1:31am EDT (5:31am GMT) on Monday after the (hopefully) successful culmination of the "seven-minutes of terror" - a moniker for the mission's entry, descent and landing (EDL).

To any hypothetical Martians living on the planet's surface, this strange meteor would streak high across the sky toward Gale Crater, a 154-kilometre wide impact crater in the Martian landscape with a conspicuous 5.5-kilometre high mountain in its centre. But the Martians would be in for a shock as they watch a carefully choreographed series of steps unfold - parachute opening, pyrotechnic bolts firing and heatshield being jettisoned away - heralding the start of arguably the most dramatic part of Curiosity's mission.

So as we watch the clock count down to the anxious wait in the early hours of Monday morning, we can only wish Curiosity a safe landing. Everything else is in the hands of the NASA's engineering prowess and a heavy dose of Martian good luck.

As I have severally commented on these pages, it is time we in Africa start to take science and technology serious.

If we are to break the jinx of under-development, there is just no other alternative than to embrace science the way other people have.

We live in a world that, for better or worse, have come to rely heavily on science and technology; we cannot afford to continue to believe that we can, somehow, beat the system.

That is unless we want to continue to be the world’s under-achievers.

It is quite simple when we analyse it closely.

It is said that knowledge is power, and the evidence is quite overwhelming that it is those people who have acquired knowledge who rule the world.

We do not talk only about political rulership. The economic world is also ruled by those equipped with better knowledge.

Again, the evidence is incontrovertible.

We only need to ask why Western Multi-National Companies (MNCs) continue to dominate our economies in Africa.

We need only to ask why it is possible for these companies to take away 90-96% of profits from our mineral wealth while we receive insulting 3-10%.

The answer is simple: they have the technological prowess to extract and refine these minerals into useful products whereas, for us, they are just chunks of rocks in the ground!

I know that there are Africans performing at the highest levels of mathematics, science and technology at the most prestigious of laboratories all over the world – my own brother is among them.

But when it comes to our nations harnessing the brains of these individuals, we are found wanting.

For reasons that remain obscure and baffling, we still fail to realize the utility of harnessing the vast potentials our scientists offer.

Apart from the brief Biafran interregnum, no African nation has made a conscious effort to go scientific!

We fail to us the powers of our scientists and allow them to go other countries. We then turn around to employ expatriates who cost us far more. We continue to believe that these expats, will somehow, help us with ‘technology transfer.’

Rather than give prominence to our men of science, we neglect them and rather give prominence to cassocked charlatans who called themselves men-of-god.

We give prominence to these fraudulent imposters in our private and national lives.

These phonies are up there with the presidents, the ministers and all the most important people in the land.

The shameless frauds have also managed to swindle their ways into the economic scheme of things – so much so that many of them are among the most seriously monied people in our land.

They own vast properties, even why they keep preaching to their ignorant congregation that everything in this world is vanity.

The priests also have managed to buy their ways into our media, so much so that today, religious programmes take a big chunk of our airtime.

There will be little problem, if these priests can show or tell us a single thing all their stupid gyrations, spiritual pyrotechnics and adjurations have achieved for us.

They only reply in abstractions when you ask them why all the prayers are required of us.

They talk about prayers protecting a nation and offering a people peace.

When you ask why religion, more than any other thing, have been the single cause of wars and violence, they scratch their heads and talk about people not following god’s path.

They talk about Jesus being the answer, when you ask them what the question is, they cannot give you an answer.

When you ask them what example they can cite where people have staved off hunger or stop a flood by praying, they tell you that the ways of their god is mysterious.

The ways of god could be mysterious, but that shouldn’t stop us from learning from what other people did to get to where they are today.

The only lesson we can learn about human progress is that, it is only those societies that have been able to successfully separate the gods from the affairs of men, which have made any progress in their development.

Religion is and should always be private affairs. Affairs between a man and his creator should strictly be between the two of them.

Any imposter, who claims the power to mediate, is simply that, an imposter.

It is quite simple. By equipping us with an awesome machine in the form of a brain, the gods have done the best they could for us.

It is left for us to use this incredible machine to improve our lot on earth. The human brains contain an infinite numbers of cells which suggest an infinite numbers of possibilities. We are limited only by the power of our imaginations.

Why do we in Africa then neglect and sentence this brain into exile, and continue to think that prayer is a good substitute for thinking?

The evidence is all around us that it is only the people who dare to use the power of their brains that have managed to achieve any break-through.

From the laptop with which I write this article, to the internet I will use to send it to my publisher, to the radio set that offers me background music, to the portable music set tied to your ears, to the cars, the trains, the airplanes that offer transportation, all are products of science.

Why then do we in Africa continue to believe that some gods are coming from wherever to come and solve problems for us?

Why then do we in Africa continue to dance ourselves silly in supplications to fathers in heaven, when we should know well that no god has ever solve a single problem for any people?

Why then do we continue to pray 24/7 instead of sitting down to THINK and look for earthly solutions to earthly problems?

Rather for our leaders to parley with priests and ask us to fast and pray, our presidents should also throw challenges to our scientists and engineers to solve problems.

That is what leaders elsewhere did: they challenge their people to tackle any problem that confront them.

The Dutch did it after a flood in 1953 that took some lives and devastated a big chunk of the southern part of their country. They successfully build the Delta Project to ward off future disaster. The Dutch invented new technologies to solve the problems of flood.

Till date, the Netherlands have been spared flood of the 1953 scale, and the Dutch today reaps handsomely from their investment in flood control technologies.

When told that the Russians will beat the Americans in sending a man into space, President JF Kennedy decided to up the ante: He announced the Great New American Enterprise - America will send men to the moon and bring them back within the decade.

The result is the Apollo programmes that resulted in men landing on and planting the American flag on the face of the moon.

Wither art thou, Africa!

Wise saying:

" Never use both feet to test the depth of the sea." - African proverb