Afripol Most Influential Africans
Nelson Mandela: A symbol of freedom to the emerging continent and Mandela has become the conscience of the world. Mandela is a role model for a goodwill mindset; embracing reconciliation, forgiveness and unity in his native South Africa. The troubled continent littered with wars and disturbances needs Mandela's methodology for making sustainable peace.
President Goodluck Jonathan: The president of the most populous and influential country in Africa which is Nigeria. He has displayed maturity in tackling Nigerian huge and complex problems. A democrat who has shown credible interest in leading Nigeria to her vision of becoming the richest and most successful democracy in Africa.
President Goodluck Jonathan Prof. Wangari Maathai
Prof. Wangari Maathai: A warrior for the environment and has made planting trees in Kenya a point of duty. The first woman in Africa to win Nobel Peace Prize and the founder of The Green Belt Movement.
Chinua Achebe: A writer and author of “Things Fall Apart” that delved into the crash of civilizations when colonialism stepped foot in Africa. Achebe is a civic activist and chronicler of African storytelling; he has done more to express African state of mind to the world.
Wole Soynika: The first African to win Nobel Prize in literature. Wole Soyinka is a dramatist, poet and civil right activist. Great Soynika is a lion of Africa who has used his powerful intellectual acumen to mesmerise the world community.
Muammar Gaddafi: A colorful and influential leader in Africa. No matter what you might say or think of Gaddafi, nobody can deny his influence in Africa. He is political savvy and made the strategic move of re-establishing relationship with the West. He played a significant role in the formation of African Union. The most recent summit between Africa and Europe was held in his capital city, Tripoli, Libya.
(L)Muammar Gaddafi (R)Kofi Anan
Kofi Anan: A Ghanaian diplomat that needs no introduction, the former Secretary General of United Nations. At the end of UN tenure, Kofi Annan, became the Chairman of the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa, organization dedicated to African food sufficiency and security,
Kase Lawal: The founder of CAMAC International and the chairman of Camac Energy, a NYSE /AMEX Company. A business baron and 21st century business executive. His prominence in the global business scene has become something of great interest to African and he has become a role model to aspiring business executive in Africa and in African American community.
Chinua Achebe Wole Soynika
Aliko Dangote: The founder of Dangote Group. Forbes magazine documented him as the richest Nigerian business executive. An intelligent and modern African business tycoon, whose conglomeration/empire has given thousands of jobs to Africans.
Philip Emeagwali: The inventor of the fastest computer. Philip Emeagwali has been called “a father of the Internet” by CNN and TIME, and extolled as a “Digital Giant” by BBC and as “one of the great minds of the Information Age” by former U.S. President Bill Clinton.
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf: The first woman president in Africa. She is committed to building the war torn Liberia. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has become an inspiration and role model to millions of African young women, girls and the youths of the continent,
(L) Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (R)Jerry Rawlings
Nduka obaigbena: The founder and chairman of Africa’s widely read newspaper named ‘Thisday’ and flagship magazine 'Arise', an international voice of Africa. His influence stems from his unflinching and sustaining commitment to African culture in the globalized media.
Jerry Rawlings: The former president of Ghana made the greatest impact on this West African nation after Kwame Nkrumah. He made radical reforms that transformed Ghana to a progressive capitalistic democratic society. His influence has not waned, he still plays vital role in cessation of conflicts in Africa especially at the ongoing fracas in Ivory Coast.
Mo Ibrahim: The Sudanese business mogul and billionaire. His commitment to democracy and good governance drove him to create a foundation that monitors and rewards good governance for African Heads of States.
(l)Charlize Theron (R) Mo Ibrahim
Africa Political & Economic Strategic Center (AFRIPOL) is foremost a public policy center whose fundamental objective is to broaden the parameters of public policy debates in Africa. To advocate, promote and encourage free enterprise, democracy, sustainable green environment, human rights, conflict resolutions, transparency and probity in Africa.
Achebe on Nigerian democracy
“The Colloquium on Africa” focusing on the forth coming elections in Nigeria summoned by the Honorable Chinua Achebe should contribute to solving the problem of voting machination in the country. Achebe must be commended for organizing an important event, mostly for his continue devotion and patriotism. Nigeria must be shepherded and guided by men and women of goodwill who knows that for Nigerian greatness to be realized, we cannot abandon the course of democracy to lethargy and cynicism.
“Nigeria is preparing for another election cycle beginning in February 2010 with state government elections in Anambra, a state in the southeast of the country. Anambra sparked the most violent and protracted scenes of ballot rigging and resistance in 2007, and the conduct of elections there in 2010 will represent a test case for national elections that will follow in the rest of the country.”
"If Nigeria's recent democratic failure passes without consequences from the international community, then the very idea of democracy in Africa is at serious risk," concluded Human Rights Watch.
Honorable Achebe has done the right thing by calling the country to self-examine herself on the issues of politics, election and democracy. No one is saying that democracy is all about election but it is an integral part of a democratic process. Election is an indicative of the longevity and richness of a democracy. The Achebe’s Colloquium on Africa was held at Brown University on Dec. 11, 2009 with the focused theme, “The international Conference on Nigerian Elections” which by itself is accumulative breakthrough in making democracy works in Nigeria. The symposium was honored with notable individuals from diverse walks of life including the Nigerian Nobel laureate and social critic - Great Wole Soyinka, President of Brown University -Ruth Simmons, Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State who was the guest speaker and many others.
The ramification of this December gathering on Nigerian polity will be difficult to be quantified but its awareness on the polity cannot be overemphasized. The people of Nigeria must be aware that the responsibility of governance and democracy do not rest only on the politicians but also on the voting masses. Therefore Nigerians cannot afford to be disorientated, nonchalant rather vigilant and active stakeholders in the democratic process. The noble idea of democracy as a political ideology cannot be allow to be faltering in Nigeria. Democracy has worked for so many countries and it can work in Nigeria too. One thing we must recognize it’s premature to say that democracy cannot function in Nigeria until we have given it our best. It is about making mistakes and corrections that we can build a credible democracy in Nigeria. Confidence building associated with free and fair elections will consolidate democratic process in the country.
“The Colloquium on Africa” cannot be only an intellectual exercise but a pragmatic Townhall Meeting that should assemble together all the communities and organizations that are stakeholders in our great country Nigeria. The representatives of Nigerian Students Association, Nigerian Labour Congress, Market Women Association, Trade Unions and officials of Nigerian Electoral Commission should participate and play a vital role in such event for these people are at the grassroots and are closer to the action.
The logistic and location for this important event must be considered. The ideal location and venue for the Colloquium on Africa should be on African soil – Nigeria. But for all practical purposes the venue at Rhode Island is a good one. The modern technology of satellite and telecommunication should be utilized to connect all the citizens of Nigeria that cannot make it to America.
Chinua Achebe has given so much to Africa and indeed to the whole world. This great dialogue he initiated must be replicated in all parts of Nigeria and Africa, so that we can come together to brainstorm and strategize on the pitfalls and vulnerabilities of democracy in our hemisphere and apply credible solutions to stop the hemorrhage. African countries and Nigeria in particular can rise to the challenges of modern Democratic governance for the sake of our children and posterity. The sustainability of democracy in Nigeria rests on having a fair and free election. On election credibility a durable foundation is laid for survival of democracy in Nigeria.
Emeka Chiakwelu is the Principal Policy Strategist at Afripol Organization. Africa Political and EconomicStrategicCenter (Afripol) is foremost a public policy center whose fundamental objective is to broaden the parameters of public policy debates in Africa. To advocate, promote and encourage free enterprise, democracy, sustainable green environment, human rights, conflict resolutions, transparency and probity in Africa. www.afripol.org
written December 21, 2009