Western interventionist policies in Africa, culture of impunity by African leaders and unviable structures created by colonial powers were the factors responsible for the inability of many African countries to properly tackle challenges of nation building, Director of the Africa Research and Development Agency Dr Sule Bello said in Abuja yesterday. He spoke on "Nation-Building in Africa: The Reality, Challenges and Prospects" at the 10th edition of the Daily Trust Dialogue at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel.
He said most African leaders were imposed by the West to serve their interest in various countries, saying the few African leaders that tried to rebel against Western interests were either being assassinated or overthrown and replaced with Western stooges. He said, "A number of studies indicate that the African leaders under reference were mostly serving as Western agents in their various countries, and where they were not and remained independent, they stood the risk of being assassinated, overthrown or in many other ways sabotaged.
In many cases serving African leaders were said to be in the employment and on the pay register of certain foreign secret services. In addition to this Africa's ruling ideas, policies and structures in most, if not all, of the countries under reference were imposed and promoted by the Western powers. It is in consideration of these facts that such leaders could not be described as simply African but rather as African surrogates, or agents, of western powers."
He also said "The most important reasons for the crisis of nation-building in Africa is thus seen to be the interventionist policies and activities pursued by the West against the development of local nationalist forces." He also dismissed notions that African countries could not achieved appreciable level of development because of corruption, geographical imbalance or ethnocentric divides, saying reducing the debate to these variables could be antithetical to the real factors of underdevelopment in Africa.
Dr. Bello further argued that most developed and developing nation-states have their unique cultural, ideological, racial and territorial differentiation as well as their independent or dependent status. He identified regional and global alliances such as Pan-Africanism, Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in respect of Africa, saying in today's world, national interests can hardly be achieved without the support of broader and wider regional as well as global processes of political, economic and cultural alliances and cooperation. He also identified the promotion at the national levels of unifying policies as constitutionalism, multiculturalism, political ideology and pluralism.
Dr. Sule Bello said despite the assumption of underdevelopment, some African leaders exhibited encouraging tendencies that should not be overshadowed by the overwhelming bad leadership on the continent. He listed initial successes recorded by Pan Africanists and the nationalist movements in all parts of Africa such as Kwame Nkrumah, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Patrice Lumumba and Nelson Mandela.
"Indeed the efforts to undermine constructive and successful nationalist movement could be traced to the efforts made by the colonial rulers to substitute reformist, collaborationist and surrogate agitators for popular nationalist leaders resulting in many of such leaders like Nkrumah, Lumumba, Mandela etc becoming "Prison Graduates" as they were then popularly nicknamed," he said.