Skip to main content

The Way Forward By Richard Odusanya

August 20, 2020

Nigeria being a one third of the population of Africa would have become Africa's first superpower and a stabilising democratic influence on the continent given the enormous amount of resources; minerals and human per capital including the most educated workforce in Africa but poor leadership has always been our bane and across the continent.


On the 29th of May 2001, at the Villa Chapel during the church service of the then Democracy Day Celebrations; the respected Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye delivered the sermon that I considered to be a ‘wake up call’, and I completely aligned myself with the message. By this time I was totally dissappointed with the styles and policies of the government, particularly on issues of political intolerance, self righteousness/aggrandizement, ineffective anti corruption crusade, visible corruption perpetuated at the echelon structure of government, and politically motivated assassinations.

My brain flashed back to 5th of June 1999 when I got a call from Otunba Oyewole Fasawe, an intimate friend of President Olusegun Obasanjo as he was then with a message from Former President Olusegun Obasanjo for me to work with him in what was known as the ‘outerbox’, some people called it ‘engine room’. I was really excited about the prospect of a brand New Nigeria where there is equity, justice and peace -- where there's no abuse of public resources to enrich or give unfair advantage to individuals, their family or their friends.

Nigeria being a one third of the population of Africa would have become Africa's first superpower and a stabilising democratic influence on the continent given the enormous amount of resources; minerals and human per capital including the most educated workforce in Africa but poor leadership has always been our bane and across the continent.


There is need for a reform of our nation. After the wake up call by the servant of God Pastor Adeboye, I noticed that the entire political and administrative system and particularly those tendencies have not changed. I finally made up my mind to step down to follow a course for a better society. A country fixed together with falsehood can never progress.

"Africa’s biggest problem is its leadership shortfalls and we the people accept the status quo.” Some individuals who dominated the scene yesterday have failed to quit the stage. The emergence of grey hair whispers nothing to their selfish minds. They have failed to chart a noble course for the supposed leaders of today. They had neither mission nor vision. These greedy, selfish and visionless leaders have failed generations.

Nigeria has been hit with security challenges ranging from Boko Haram, Banditry, Kidnapping, religious crisis as a result of poor leadership and my heart goes out to the supposed leaders of today who are tagged Leaders of tomorrow, those at the verge of giving-up; and also my sympathies goes to those whom have taken to cutting corners and other ill values because of our failed state.


After serious thoughts over the aforementioned and how to better the lot of Nigerians and Africa as a whole, the birth of LEADERSHIP RESCUE INITIATIVE (LRI), a fully blown advocacy group came to fruition. Afterwards, a new journey of national rebirth began to redress the anomalies of the past years. LRI wrote a petition dated 8th April, 2013, to the leadership of the 7th National Assembly and copied the Inspector General of Police and the Attorney General and Minister of Justice of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. 

The petition attracted international attention which resulted in the refund of billions of dollars fraudulently taken from Nigeria under the guise of Paris club debt. The Ajaokuta Steel Industry was also recovered back through this approach. 

Leadership Rescue Initiative also hosted the first year memorial anniversary of Prof. Chinua Achebe in London where His Lordship, the Bishop of Canterbury, Bishop Justin Welby gave the keynote speech.

The Leadership Rescue Initiative LRI submitted a comprehensive RESTRUCTURING plan to the Confab 2014. 

On the 25th of September 2015, the then Prime minister of Britain, David Cameron while delivering his address at the United Nations General Assembly, identified political and violent crisis as the root cause of extreme poverty in Africa and subsequently made a submission that attracted immediate reaction which gave birth to Africa Covenant Rescue Initiative (ACRI) on the 25th December, 2015. African Covenant Rescue Initiative (ACRI) is a pan African body acting as a vehicle for fostering Africa unity and better society for all through advocacy and programs.

One of the greatest achievement of ACRI was to successfully engaged the 8th National Assembly 'parliament' to legislate in favour of June 12 as our Democracy Day celebration as against the junta's preferred May 29. Thanks to the support and input of the leadership of the 8th National Assembly headed by H.E, Distinguished Sen. Bukola Saraki, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN, Sen. Ayim Pius Ayim former Senate President/SGF, H.E Dr. Okwi Nwodo, Malam Garba Shehu, Bashorun Dele Momodu and a host of other patriotic fellow compatriots too numerous to mention. Although, the current political gladiators and the bureaucrats manipulated the event, shut out ACRI, despite submitting a well thought out work-in-progress documents to very senior government officials with the hope of a greater unity. They made it look like it was their sole initiative.


Issues ranging from human rights abuse, political instability, conflicts and violent crimes has continued to escalate in many nations of the Africa continent: specifically, the following; assaults of democratic norms, human rights abuse, economic downturn, xenophobia, coups and genocide etc. These are worrisome and requires deliberate and strategic attention. The unrest following the coup d’état in Mali that led President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta to resigned, after being detained by soldiers calls for serious concern. 

Mr Keïta won a second term in elections in 2018, but there has been anger over corruption, mismanagement of the economy and therefore the rise of communal violence in areas of the country which led to his government to be plagued by months of protests over economic stagnation, corruption and a brutal Islamist insurgency that has claimed thousands of lives. In the 2012 coup in Mali, they cited insecurity and corruption as the reason behind it and 8years later they are still battling insecurity and corruption in the same Nation. 

Senator Shehu Sani said the Coup in Mali is a bad omen for other democracies in the subregion. The elderstates man words via his verified Twitter handle on Wednesday, August 19, 2020 were, "The Coup in Mali is a serious set back to democracy in Africa and a bad omen for democracies in the subregion; but the people of Mali who have been through tragic experience of intractable political crises appears to be fully in support of it. We should respect their wishes."

A coup isn't a desirable outcome but the power desperate mindset of many African leaders even under democracy tends to create it. It's so sad that majority of Mali citizens are happy with the soldiers coup but this is what happens when the citizens loose hope in democratic government. It is so sad that basic rights are luxuries and hardship is the norm in Africa.

Most African nations are engulf in needless political crisis because of selfish and wicked leaders and is in dire need of rescue from the deprivation of the basic needs of life. Although, not directly responsible for post-conflict peace-building work in West Africa, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has been playing significant role through a number of activities to promote peace building in the region. However, the current unrest in the continent calls for systematic collaboration with civil society and cooperation with other partners in activities aimed at meeting sub-regional security challenges. 

Hence, Africa Covenant Rescue Initiative (ACRI) platform as a conflict management outfit given its foundation and conceptual framework is the latest initiative put in place by African leaders to rescue and facilitates efforts in curtailing the lingering conflicts in the continent of Africa: The Grand Ethiopia Renaissance Dam  (GERD) Ethiopia, Mauritius, Southern Cameroon, Mozambique, Libya, Mali, CAR and Nigeria among others. ACRI is a mechanism concerned with liberating Africa from the yoke of poor leadership, poverty and underdevelopment.

The recent happenings in Mali should serve as a wake up call to our compatriots accross the divides considering Nigeria is faced with same security and corruption issues. We condemn the killings in Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara and everywhere in the country. We condemn the corruption, insecurities of life, police and SARS daily harassment, lack of jobs and sufferings. We believe in the pan African ideals that's why we implore our citizens to engage through the platform of ACRI (rescue mission) to avoid what happened in Mali.

It was in this respect we wrote a letter dated 19th November, 2019 to Former President Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan after his appointment as United Nations Special Envoy on PEACE to discuss way forward on minimizing the continent's ills. ACRI on the premise as a conflict management outfit in ensuring a better society for all proposed a PEACE SUMMIT of Africa leaders, stakeholders, leaders of faith, and friends of Africa to seek lasting solution to the numerous challenges in the our continent. In one of our numerous meetings with Former President Goodluck Jonathan, it was agreed that the platform of ACRI be structured in a manner that will be galvanized and run through a STEERING COMMITTEE of African statesman. It was then agreed that our own Former Head of State Dr Yakubu Gowon GCFR as chairman designate, to be assisted by two vices and others to cut across the continent. With the current situation in Nigeria today and many other African countries in dire need of RESCUE. We sure need to give life to the proposition.


If your neighbours roof is on fire and you decided to keep the water in your house from him; all is needed is just a little wind and your house is on fire too. The little water you have will never be sufficient to put out your own fire. Therefore, we call the attention of relevant authorities. Let's rise up and stop telling stories of our once glorious country and lamenting about our devastating present state but look ahead and create the best future we can ever imagine by taking conscious step to change our nation's pitiful reality.

Imagine the branding of Nigerians and other African nationals in Ghana as criminals. Insecurity has forsaken our country and continent and it's about that time we raise our collective voices to condemn it and we call the attention of men of good conscience, elderstates men (including those whom are retire) leaders of faith, world bodies and the International community to rescue mission to curtail it before it pass the point of no return. 

Recently, California Senator Kamala Harris said, "We need to be conscious and compassionate about the struggles of all people and to believe that the fight for justice is a shared responsibility. We've got to do the work to fulfill that promise of equal justice under law. Because, none of us are free until all of us are free". She said "there is no vaccine for bad leadership." Conclusively, African continent have suffered from poor leadership leading to... Africa's biggest problem and we the people accepts the status quo.