18 Jun 2005
When we were kids our illiterate parents used to remind us that the primary reason for sending us to school was to enable us acquire the necessary skills to make us good leaders. In effect they expected us to be the ‘light’ that will shine on the dark path on which they trod. The few literate people in the sixties were highly coveted people in the villages. They were always invited to come and write letters dictated to them by the illiterate villagers and also read and interpret incoming mails. In any social gathering, the emerging elites were often given posts of responsibility as secretaries, treasurers etc.
Many an African elite today has become a turncoat and traitor of high magnitude. Instead of using the education acquired to shine like a light for his fellow compatriots, many are employing their skills to dribble and outsmart the rest of society. The dream our parents had of us turning the society into a paradise have turned into a nightmare that has dispatch many of them early into their graves. I sometimes feel ashamed to be identified with the African intelligentsia, as this group is largely responsible for the sordid things that have befallen this continent.
On a continental level, elites with flamboyant tittles and equally treacherous characters dotted the whole of Africa. Field marshal Mobutu Sesse Seko brought one of the richest nations on this continent to her knees within a period of three decades. The Rev Muzorewa and Sithole ganged up with the illegal white minority regime in Zimbabwe to delay that country’s independence. Across the border in South Africa, chief Buthelezi waged a bloody war to try and derail the anti-apartheid coalition led by the ANC. In Uganda, Dr. Obote replaced the bloody regime of Field Marshall Idi Amin with his own type of bloody regime. The Angolans were cursed with another blood-thirsty and greedy intellectual in the name of Dr. Savimbi. His war of graft was to cause Angolans more than a million lives and billions of Dollars. He also left them a monstrous souvenir of millions of land mines scattered all over the country. Nigeria is in the process of recovering a loot of over a billion dollars stashed away in foreign banks by General Abacha.
When growing up, we were always excited to meet people with titles like Dr., Rev., professor, general, chief etc. We held these people with high esteem and longed to be like them someday. Today my twelve-year old son watches the television and can clearly discern a lie flowing flawlessly from a professor’s mouth. Stories abound in the press everyday relating to theft and treachery by ‘respectable educated’ people. The picture of a thief being one vagrant loitering around motor parks is fast disappearing. Today’s ruinous thief is likely to be someone with a college degree and clad in a three-piece suit. Many people often remark that they have never seen me wearing a tie esp. as I belong to a professional corps that adores the stuff. My reply has always been that the ‘gentleman image’ of the tie has disappeared in my Country. Crooked African elites and ‘feymen’ have bastardized what was usually referred to as ‘formal dressing’.
Copyright ã 2005 by Njei Moses Timah
Njei Moses Timah [e-mail]