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Opinion:Focus on Africa - Kingsley Moghalu's presidential bid to end 'oil curse'


The rising star of Nigerian politics, Kingsley Moghalu, vows to end the "oil curse" with his  2019 presidential bid while Sierra Leone's new Unity Party engages in a daring battle for women's rights.

Youth-driven political parties have sprung up across Africa in the wake of growing political awareness about the ravages of bad governance.

This is particularly true of Nigeria, Africa’s largest nation with a population of 190 million inhabitants. There are up to 190 political parties registered to take part in the 2019 general elections, according to the country's electoral body INEC.

With more than 30 million people out of work in the country of 190 million inhabitants the clamour for change has never been so loud, according to one of the rising stars of Nigerian politics.

Professor Kingsley Moghalu, a former senior UN diplomat and former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and presidential candidate of the newly-created Young Progressive Party, which held its first national convention in Abuja in September.

No future for ethnicity

The Young Progressive Party set itself the ambitious objective to undertake a total revamp of the political landscape and the economy, starting with moving the country away from the ethnic and religion –based agendas driving the politics of the two traditional parties, the ruling All Progressive Congress of President Muhammadu Buhari and the opposition People’s Democratic Party which have ran the country since the end of 15 years of military rule in 1999.

When I asked the 55 year-old Moghalu in Lagos just what caused him to go swimming in the crocodile-infested Nigeria political river, he pointed out that good men who saw politics as too dirty had left the country at the mercy of the worst men and women for too long.

"I decided to run for President because people had grown tired and fed up of old recycled politicians who have been in power for decades and delivered no result," the ex-banker stated.

Nigeria now has the highest number of people living below the poverty line, he noted, adding that people are waking up and demanding some thing different, new and bold which they see in candidates like him.

Is oil a curse?

Professor Moghalu said he was offering Nigeria a clear vision of national unity, economic transformation and diplomatic resurgence.

The Young Progressive Party candidate promised to demonstrate, through political education during the upcoming campaign, that "oil has not been a blessing but a curse" to Nigerians.

He stressed that oil has made Nigerian politicians lazy to a point that they rely on it as the sole foreign exchange earner. He added that the up and downs of petroleum prices have not benefitted the ordinary Nigerian. Kingsley Moghali presented human capital as the way forward during his presidency.

New party to champion Women's Rights in Sierra Leone

The clamour for innovative leadership and good governance is also driving another exciting experience in Sierra Leone where civil rights activists have launched a new gender-driven Unity Party.

Naasu Fofana, who resigned as gender adviser to President Ernest Bai Koroma, is deputy Chair of the new movement. She told RFI from Freetown that the movement's founders under the leadership of Femi Claudius Cole had grown tired of watching the failures of the traditional parties.

The two parties are the All People's Congress, and the ruling Sierra Leone People's Party. Fofana pointed to their shortcomings in matters of inclusive governance and most importantly on the issue of women's empowerment.

Gender bill, too little too late?

Fofana claims that despite all the positive messaging thay have rolled out about having passed the 30 percent quota bill and vociferations about having placed the first woman here and there, there was a "lack of political will to integrate women's perspectives at the top end of leadership".

The one single issue that fired them up, Naasu Fofana noted, was the decision to exclude Unity Party leader Femi Claudius Cole who ran in the March 2018 election from the Presidential debate.

"We had to stop asking and waiting and threw ouselves into the game" Fofana explained. She dismissed questions about her Party's all-female chairmanship as a none issue, arguing that voters don't care a damn that the leaders of Sierra Leone's other political parties are all men.


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