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MUHAMMAD: The Late Great African Continent

Askia Muhammad | 4/23/2014, 3 p.m.
A generation ago when we were just learning about the great accomplishments of African scholars and civilizations, during a period ...
Askia Muhammad

I once monitored parliamentary elections in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, maybe 15 years ago. I went to the city of Maiduguri in the far Northeastern Yobe State a heavily Islamic area. We flew in on a Friday afternoon on a Nigerian Airlines plane whose flight attendant call button never stopped ping-ing throughout the entire flight – clearly a budget repair line item which went into the pockets of some aircraft inspectors and not into the simple maintenance of that minor in-flight annoyance.

Our plane circled the airport and I noticed cars lined up, seemingly for miles on the ground. I thought that they were all attending Friday prayers at the city’s mosques. It was only after we landed that I learned the cars were parked in queues outside gas stations, awaiting fuel shipments to arrive in a country, whose major export product is petroleum. It seems that instead of delivering gasoline to the gas-starved citizens of their country where it belonged, tanker truck drivers learned they could drive a few extra miles into neighboring Chad and sell the gas for cash, lining their own pockets but creating fuel shortages in their homeland.

While some of us are studying and trying to practice ancient African cultural practices, modern Africans are craving skin bleaching creams, hair straighteners and tight jeans, and all the while practicing fratricide among themselves.

Where is the modern Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah now when we need him most, when we need an African leader in the tradition of Queen Nzinga, Mansa Musa, Askia The Great of Songhai, who might lead the world by the example of civility, and dignity, and generosity, and strength with kindness to the Oneness of God and the Brotherhood and Sisterhood of all human beings; and to equal love for his/her fellow man and woman as for him/herself.