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During the last three or so days, BBC moderated a forum which asks people from all over the world to say what they think about Nigeria. While I am not opposed to public discussions of opinion or perception I cannot but wonder what is the whole purpose behind the forum.
We all know that Nigeria already has a bad image abroad and that the current government has made considerable efforts to try to revamp that image. These efforts have, to varying degrees, been backed up by reforms at home.
I feel that to ask people to discuss so publicly what they feel about Nigeria could only generate more negative than positive responses, and readers who do not know anything about the positive things going on in Nigeria will just indiscriminately accept those negative perceptions. This will, in turn, detract from, rather than support the ongoing reforms in the country, perpetuating the portrayal of Nigeria in a very negative light. What then is the point, or shall we say agenda behind such a forum?"
Is it justifiable for a foreign media firm to host such a forum as on Nigeria or any country for that matter?
Is this another example of tactless journalism that doesnt contribute much to progress?
Or, is it perfectly rational to go ahead and ask the world "what do you think of Nigeria?"
Here is the url: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/5072244.stm
I was recently reading some articles on BBC. com about Africa, once again, starving to death. At the moment, almost half of the countries on the continent have a sizeable segment of their population on the brink of starvation because of a very poor harvest and extensive drought in some regions.
It seems as if year after year we see images of Africans thin as a broomstick with veins popping out of their skin starving to death. By the time the rest of the world realizes how bad the famine/drought is, hundreds of thousands sometimes millions are already dead. The world then responds with food aid and other charitable donations to help stabilize things for a few months (whether the aid actually gets to the people who need it is another story). Each year Africa receives food aid and each year there is a serious hunger problem on the continent. How do we break out of this cycle? Whose fault is it that every year the world is reminded just how desperately poor we are in Africa and how much we cannot take care of ourselves? Why for God's sake can we not feed ourselves? What are we doing when our children are dying for lack of ordinary food- we are not even talking about good food - just basic food to hold the stomach?
If you ask me, Africa's serious poverty issue is largely the result of selfish corrupt leaders who think of nobody but themselves, who never tire to fuel ethnic sentiments and incite people to pick up arms and kill each other while the rest of the world looks at us and shakes their heads. Rather than plan and strategize on how to effect sustainable agriculture so that we can at least feed our people, they steal and plunder the wealth of their various countries and amass houses and cars. All our corrupt leaders who have turned us into a continent of beggars should be lined up and shot one by one for each african child that has died from starvation or war.
It is frustrating that a conitinent so rich in resources is continually the pity of the world - We remain the only continent that has regressed not progressed in the past 20 years. I am not saying that every country in the continent is in shambles. There are stories of hope here and there (e.g Ghana). And of course not all of the continent is starving - I know Nigeria and several other countries was not identified as having a hunger or starvation problem.
But even those countries not starving still have serious poverty issues - Nigeria is identified as one of the lowest income countries in the world. It is a shame - a country rich in human and natural resources like Nigeria has no place amongst the world's poorest. I hope us Africans will get angry enough one day and oust our good for nothing leaders who have so woefully dissappointed and stolen from us and stifled the dreams of the African youth.