Buhari Can Learn from Ghana’s Akufo-Addo when it comes to Macron, French Foreign Aid and Development

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Macron meets Buhari - Credit AP

A lot of us who study and work can be grateful that we don’t have to fund studies from individuals and charity. Most humans hold beggars in contempt so even when we seek resources, we should carry along a bag full of skill, capacity and a readiness to give back. If we do receive donations, it’s with the full intent of being of service to the benefactors. I don’t believe there is humanity in being a beggar, having nothing to offer.

Africa, especially Nigeria, suffers a stigma. It is this idea that we need charity. Developed nations send aid, then turn around to call us idiots. They feel pride in their giving and contempt for the receiver.

Africa helping AfricaHonestly, it hurts our image. This is why I stopped receiving handouts a few years back. I had a senior cousin who, out of his goodwill, would give me old clothes. In return, I became his cook and washerman. It’s not like cooking or washerman are terrible jobs but I wanted to use my mind, I wanted to work with the firm he owned, even if I would still do the other menial things.

This cousin for some reason felt I was only good for cooking and washing. He would reward this by giving me some of his old clothes which honestly were quite durable meaning that they could be as old as a year or more. I have no idea how old they were but you could see age on them. That was my reward.

Doesn’t this sound familiar? The French President, David Macron, came to Nigeria to visit and he said “France cannot solve Nigeria’s security problems.” The Minister of Foreign Affairs (Onyema) had said earlier that the purpose of his visit included discussing the two security groupings: the G5 Sahel and, of course, the multinational joint task force that we have in fighting Boko Haram, so we can work together in sharing intelligence.

Macron says no, France cannot help you. Why is this news? Why are we not discussing scholarships to smart Nigerians? Why are we not discussing security exchanges? But when it comes to charity, it’s so easy for developed nations to make Nigeria and indeed Africa the poster child for suffering and poverty.

We all saw the video of Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo as he told Macron that Ghana was beyond aid:

“We can no longer pursue a policy for our countries and regions that is based on the support given by the West, France or the European Union. This has not worked and it will not work,” Akufo-Addo told a joint press conference with Macron, who was visibly surprised by the statements made by the Ghanaian president.

“It is not right for a country like Ghana – 60 years after its independence – to depend on the generosity of European taxpayers when it comes to financial means for health or education,” the Ghanaian president made us proud, he restored a tiny fragment of whatever dignity Africans ever had.

My people say “eniyan l’aso eyan,” an ideology that when one person is down, there must be family and friends to hide their nakedness, at least till they are back on their feet. Africa is naked and we have nobody to lend us clothes, we only get the rags with holes exposing our naked butts.

It is clear that working side by side is never going to be a working plan between Africa and the developed world. Joint ventures may probably only exist between the failing and failed states of Africa.

As Rwanda reached out, lending support to Ghana’s “Beyond Aid,” Africa must begin to contemplate the fact that salvation will not come from the west. That the road to repair might not be paved with white stones. That it might be a dark tunnel filled with the light of our own camaraderie and support for one another.

That we are indeed only the ones that can save one another. The alternative is a journey of neo-colonialism, servitude and mental slavery. Status quo.

*Feature image: French President Emmanuel Macron and Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari |Photo Credit: AP

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