The Inefficacy of the Bullet and Ballot: Changing the Leadership or Killing the Monster – By Richard Odusanya

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Richard Odusanya - 9News Nigeria
@Richard_Odusanya is 9News Nigeria special guest writer on Politics, Africanism, African Emancipation and Humanitarianism
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Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime. I have dedicated my life to see humanity, most especially, my African brothers and sisters; in their numbers, rise above the limit political barriers have set for them.

Our responsibility as citizens is to address the inequalities and injustices that linger, and we must secure our birthright freedoms.In doing this, it is compulsory to continuously remember that freedom will never be given but won.In the light of this, we must do everything legally possible within our reach to see every entity in Nigeria and Africa at large have a voice and freedom as birthright.

I write because I want to live a footprint in the sands of history in terms of standing for humanity. I speak because it is a calling for me that every African is accorded the respect deserved by humans and not treated like animals. I collaborate with other true freedom fighters and human rights comrades to make Africa great again because in her greatness lies my peace.

In the build up to the just concluded Ugandan election, I tried in my mind to change the imminent situation of “election rigging” that our continent of Africa has been identified for. I tried very hard to silence the voice reminding me that the election would not be free and fair. Even though the harassments suffered by the citizens in the hands of the incumbent government were pointers of an already rigged election, I still wished and hoped that history would be made; what a patriotic heart to “Mother Africa”!

The struggle for the freedom of the Blackman has been before the 14th century, and it is unfortunate that such is what we strive to achieve even in the 21st century when other continents are already moving gradually into the space. Instead of getting it right with the abolition of slave trade in the 19th century, the second phase of slavery has been opened instead but this time by our own very black leaders and brothers.

The Leadership Rescue Initiative ( LRI) and Africa Covenant Initiative (ACRI) that I stand as the convener were borne out of sincere decision to advocate for the betterment of Nigerians and Africans at large. ACRI is premised on pan-Africanism to act as a vehicle to foster Africa unity and better society for all, through advocacy and freedom thirsty programs for the teemed African population.

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I have chosen not to rest and continuously work with like minds, in and out of Africa, until we cloth “Mother Africa” in gold, silver and diamond of inestimable values.

The 16th January,2021, served as an affirmation of the continuity of the dark days in Ugandan and Africa as a whole. The suffering and smiling of Ugandans in the hands of President Yoweri, who has been in power for over three (3) decades, continues.The incumbent, as usual, was declared the winner of the Uganda elections the 6th time which will run for another five(5) years. I have been heart broken and my spirit has been down. I wanted “Yoweri” out! I want a vibrant and resilient “Bobi Wine” for a better Uganda because an injustice to one is an injustice to all.

However, in my soberity, I saw a different picture of our problems in Africa.It is widely believed that leadership problem is the major problem in Africa; not even poverty. Bad leadership has been the manufacturing machine of extreme poverty, insecurity, unemployment and whatever social vices one could ever think of.

Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea came into power in 1979 through a coup deposing the former leader, Francis Macias Nguema; a leader sentenced to death and executed through firing squad for the atrocities he committed as a leader in his cruelty.

Mbasonga promised to start over and to do a better job at governing the country. But just like his predecessor, he turned out to be a worse leader having remained in power in the last 42 years.

Paul Biya of Cameron succeeded Ahidjio as president upon his resignation in 1982 and consolidated power in a 1983-1984 staged attempted coup in which he eliminated all his rivals.

The international community and observers accused Biya of rigging the 1997, 2004, 2011 and 2018 elections; thereby upturning the interests and freewill of the people.

Museveni was involved in the rebellions that toppled Idi Amin of Uganda; one of the most inhuman souls that ever walked on the surface of the earth, (1971-79) and Milton Obote (1980-85) before he captured power in the 1980s. In the mid to late 1990s, Museveni was celebrated by the West as part of a new generation of African leaders.

Today, Museveni has become a monster whose government has been marred by involvement in the Democratic Republic of Congo and other Great Lakes region conflicts; the rebellion in the Northern Ugandan by the Lord’s Resistance Army, which caused a humanitarian energy; and the suppression of political opposition and constitutional amendments scrapping presidential term limits (2005) and the presidential age limit (2007); mechanisms that have kept him in office for 35 years and a new five (5) year term for rigging his way into their just concluded election.


Robert Gabriel Mugabe; a black nationalist of the Marxist persuasion, ruled ruled supreme over his people for three (3) decades.

Prior to his access to the highest political seat in Zimbabwe, he was the voice of the poor masses.In 1964, he was arrested for “subversive speech” and spent 10 years in prison.

He led a coup right from the prison in 1974 to oust Ndabaningi Sithole, the then leader of their party; Zimbabwe African People’s Union ( ZANU).

During the civil war of the Rhodesia’s black majority population against Prime Minister Ian Smith’s white-ruled Rhodesian government ( 1975-79), Mugabe was joint leader, with Nkomo of the Patriotic Front (PF) of Zimbabwe.The party’s guerillas operated against the Rhodesian government from bases in neighbouring Zambia, Mozambique and Angola.

The French negotiations in 1979 in London ended the war and Mugabe became the first Prime Minister through the 1980 election.

He eventually succeeded in forming one party system in the country. Mugabe, who came into power in 1987, was forced to resign in 2017 after succumbing to political and military pressure. One of the greatest and toughest freedom fighters ever on the continent of Africa ended up being an unrepentant oppressor of humanity.

Paul Kagame, on his own, is the 6th and current president of Rwanda. He was a commander of Rwanda Patriotic Front; a Uganda-based rebel force which invaded Rwanda in 1990 and was one of the parties of conflict during the Rwandan Civil war and the Rwanda genocide.

He was considered Rwanda de facto leader when he served as Vice-President and Minister of Defence under President Basteur Bizimungu from 1994 to 2000.

His people under his 21 years of reign, are no better than other Africans dwelling below the poverty line that is dominant in Africa.

Kagame is of the class of African freedom fighters that turned against the people they fought for to enslave them the more.

The message I received was very clear. It got me thinking , and more afraid than ever before.Except for our own very Father Nelson Mandela, who serve 27 years in jail for fighting against racial discrimination in Africa, we have not had African activists that survived the corruption of absolute power.

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We have made changes of government through both the ballots and bullets, but none has worked. The activists and freedom fighters that raised our hope failed us after getting into power.

Just the way we all clamoured for the success of Bobi Wine, lots of African activists rallied round George Manneh Oppong Weah’s victory in the 2005 Liberian election, under the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) formed by him.

He successfully ran against the sitting President then; Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in the second round of a fiercely contested election.

In 2011, he ran unsuccessfully for vice-president alongside Winston Tubman. He was subsequently elected to the Liberian Senate for Monstenado County in the 2014 elections, and President in the 2017 elevtion, defeating the incumbent Vice-President, Joseph Boakai.

Eighteen (18) months into office, a “mother of all protests” was staged in Liberia against his government for his failure to tackle corruption, economic mismanagement and injustice, thereby joining the list of potential saviour turn dictators, tyrants or monsters as usual.

I find the democratic practice in Africa such a problem because those we thought in the past as the good ones to lead us out of poverty and incarceration turned out to be bad people that were just on the other side of the bad ones they fought. With this, I have come to the conclusion that the problem in Africa is not about just the leadership but the system majorly. If the American democratic setting was not strong enough, in a mess or shambles like that of Africa, the 45th POTUS, President Donald Trump, would have easily submerged the will of the people.

It is very imperative at this juncture for us all to look deeply into the mess we practice in the name of “democracy”. We are practising nothing but the “demonstration of craze”. If we refuse to do this needful, we will never make it out of the cycle of ” the good” becoming “the extremely bad”.


Richard Odusanya
Richard Odusanya is the convener of AFRICA COVENANT RESCUE INITIATIVE ACRI


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