The Plight of the Black Man, By Uju Obii-Obioha
…the reason we are behind has a lot to do with the fact that our leaders are selfish and thus do not have the best interest of their countries/communities at heart. Simply put, if black leaders had true love for their fellow citizens, Africa will be way ahead than it currently is.
Have you ever asked yourself why all black nations in the world are significantly behind their Western counterparts? Even black cities and neighbourhoods in western nations like the U.S. and U.K. are usually behind the white cities in terms of infrastructure and public safety. I have lived in a few black cities in America and have visited a lot of other black cities/neighbourhoods and I must say there is a world of difference between the black and white localities. The black neighborhoods usually have old and dilapidated infrastructure, poor leadership and lots of violence and mayhem. What puzzles me is that when neighbourhoods are predominantly inhabited by white people they are usually better managed and safe but when the whites relocate and the blacks move in, in a matter of years the place becomes a shadow of itself.
I know some people may refer to South Africa as a black nation that has world class infrastructure but what they may fail to understand is that the reason behind it is because of the white South Africans who have been in charge for years. Therefore, South Africa is an exception because blacks only started ruling in 1994, which is not that long ago. African countries with potentials, like Nigeria and Ghana, still lag behind in spite of the fact that they are blessed with highly educated citizens. It is quite interesting that a lot of African countries have been ruled by presidents who were educated in the West, but in spite of all the knowledge they were not able to pull their nations to commanding heights.
In the case of the black cities in America, I can hardly come up with any justifiable excuse why they should be so behind because the cities are led by black politicians and officials who have a clear blueprint of service leadership from their white counterparts. I am not ignorant of the fact that most black cities are not as well funded as the white ones, however the difference in the neighbourhoods should not be as night and day. All they need to do is replicate what the officials in the white cities are doing. I don’t understand how that could be complex or could it be that blacks have a problem with leading themselves? The same goes for Nigeria or other black nations of the world. As far as infrastructural development is concerned, all it takes is to award contracts to capable firms and closely monitor the contracts to ensure they are completed. Nigeria does not have to be an expert in building roads and bridges in order to have world class roads and bridges. Nigeria does not have to be experts in electricity generation and distribution to have constant power supply.
My perspective on the issue of black nations/cities not being at par with their white counterparts, is that the reason we are behind has a lot to do with the fact that our leaders are selfish and thus do not have the best interest of their countries/communities at heart. Simply put, if black leaders had true love for their fellow citizens, Africa will be way ahead than it currently is. Most of our leaders seek political office for the wrong reasons, such as for personal aggrandisement and rent-seeking. If someone seeks power for the right reasons, why would he be unwilling to hand over the position after his tenure? If it is all about serving the people, why will one be willing to kill for a position?
I sincerely hope that black people all across the world will come to the realisation that other races look at us and wonder what is wrong with us. We are as intelligent as the rest of the “first-world” but for some reason we have not figured out a way to effectively work together to make our lives better. For how long will we depend on the “first-world” countries? How long will we blame our decline on colonisation and racism? The time has come when we need to take ownership of our failures and tell ourselves the cold hard truth. We all need to constructively criticise ourselves, pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and get to work.
Uju Obii-Obioha, a procurement professional and contract specialist, writes from Maryland, USA.