Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, a Professor of Political Science and former Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, has shared a poignant message on the news of the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo that further complicates the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said, “But what hurt people like me, is that it allows we Africans to continue to be portrayed, as not only victims but as the main contributors to the tragedy of the rest of the world. I’m sure, frankly, that if you ever get to the place where western and eastern policymakers are really discussing, they will wish they could just find a Noah’s Ark and load all the Africans into that ship, cut the anchor, and let that ship just drift away and leave the rest of the world the alone, that is the way they think about us. And, the way we behave, justifies what they think about us. Most of the, there is a country, that according to a study done on the transfer of illegal funds, $600 billion had been stolen, had been transferred out of that country illegally, over a period of sixty years, $600 billion.”
Professor Akinyemi also highlighted the lack of appropriate leadership when he said, “. I believe South Africa, Zimbabwe, I guess as of tonight, I think are the only two countries that, not only have paid but have imported vaccines, COVID-19 vaccines, only those two. I know Rwanda has paid and is waiting. But for even these three, the quantity that’s coming in, will not be sufficient to address concretely, the tragedy for Africa, that is COVID-19. All the others are still waiting. Even countries that have the capacity, personnel-wise, to have developed vaccines of their own, still busy beating about the bush, not because the scientists are not there. But because their leadership is clueless and lack vision.
And everything then is politics. Everything is awarding of contracts. You put square pegs in round holes. People who are just administrators are then put where you ought to have scientists, decisions are then taken that should be science-led, but instead, are politics-led, all over Africa. And then they’re caught unprepared. “
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