Macron: Lessons for Nigeria


A political phenomenon which is compared to the French revolution
headed by the irrepressible General Napoleon Bonaparte has just
happened in France thus reinforcing the strong doubts i do have about
the expression that lightening doesn’t strike twice in one place.

This phenomenal political revolution devoid of violence or rancour
that I’m talking about is the 2017 French presidential election which
culminated in the emergence of the 39-year old Mr. Emmanuel Macron as
the winner by a decisive margin.

The independent centrist Macron reportedly scored 60.3 percent of the
votes while his rival; Marine Le Pen got 39.7 percent.

In the emergence of this young but upwardly mobile politician,
political lightning has struck twice and infact the symbolism of his
election after such a tensed political atmospherics has wider
ramifications not just for France but the European Union and the
global community.

Just before the second round of the Presidential poll took place, the
electoral commission of France alerted the World of frenetic effort
made by some hackers with suspicious links to Kremlin in Russia to
hack into the campaign systems of Emmanuel Macron With the overall
objective of intefering to influence the outcomes of the election. The
hackers succeeded but the quick intervention of the Electoral umpires
to stop the French media from circulating the private and campaign
emails hacked from the party office of Emmanuel Macron contributed in
no small way to ensure that there was level playing field for both

Macron who is a strong supporter of European Union is an opponent of
Russian President Mr. Putin who had invaded Ukraine and annexed a
large chunk of that sovereign state in an attempt to stop the European
Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation from gaining in-road to
Russian Federation through Ukraine. European Union is on the side of
Ukraine in the ongoing civil war with Russia.

On the other hand Ms. Marine LePen is opposed to EU and therefore is
seen as the favourite of Mr. Putin who is pleased to see EU

The victory of EmmanuelMacron is viewed as victory for a united Europe
and indeed the German Chancellor Angela Merkel who is soon to undergo
political baptism of fire in the soon to be conducted German election
heaved a sense of relief upon learning that French voters have
rejected far right candidate who hates European Union passionately. In
the United Kingdom the Prime minister Mrs. Theresa May who has called
for a snap national poll in June is happy with the outcome because she
anchored her Conservative party’s campaign on seeking for strong
mandate to be able to negotiate fairly with the European Union over
the Brexit. If LePen had won the negotiations beyween UK and EU
wouldn’t have been easy because the whole of Europe would have heaped
the blame for the eventual exit of France from EU on the British
voters. Thankfully, the French voters have decided to remain in the
European Union. Theresa May has already congratulated both Emmanuel
Macron and the French voters for their choice.

Before analysing the implicit import of this French electoral
revolution of 2017 it would be nice to refresh our minds with the
fascinating story of the much talked about Napoleon Bonaparte so as to
more appropriately position this emerging World leader Emmanuel Macron
in his right place of historical honour and to clearly underscore the
implied significance especially to Nigerians and Africans where by
sit-tight rulership has destroyed the economic and democratic
credentials of our Continent and has made Africa a laughing stock in
the committy of nations.

Countries such as Zimbabwe, Equatorial Guinea; Cameroon; Chad,
Congo-Kinshasha and Uganda still have political dictators who seized
power even whilst Emmanuel Macron was a two year old.

But let’s review just a few historical events that characterized the
Napoleonic era so as to reassert the correlationship with the
contemporary French Political tsunami that has just brought in the
Young Emmanuel Macron who only formed his Centrist Socialist Party
last year.

In seeking verifiable information about this great French political
statesman of all times we have to consult the authoritative website
known as

In this great work of scholarship we learnt that the Military general
and first emperor of France, Napoleon Bonaparte was born on August 15,
1769, in Ajaccio, Corsica, France.

These writers stated that Bonaparte remains One of the most celebrated
leaders in the history of the West, and that he revolutionized
military organization and training, sponsored Napoleonic Code,
reorganized education and established the long-lived Concordat with
the papacy.

He died on May 5, 1821, on the island of St. Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean.

Before his emergence France had witnessed tumultuous times and high
profile executions.

But the comparisons of Bonaparte and Emmanuel Macrons ends not only
with the historical significance that he is the youngest President
elect since after Bonaparte.

The contemporary challenges posed by mass poverty of the urban
youthful populations and the incursions into France of extreme Islamic
fundamentalism can be situated side-by- side with the internal
political crises and schisms that unleashed themselves that resulted
in the military take over of political power by this ambitious General
Napoleon Bonaparte.

As stated, the other existential nexus with the era of Bonaparte and
Emmanuel Macron’s epoch is that whereas France faced internal
political squabbles and instability leading to the emergence of the
military General Napoleon Bonaparte to the coveted political office as
the Leader of France, France right now is awash with situations of
near anarchy created by the fear of terrorists.

For some few years now France has witnessed major terror attacks from
Islamists loyal to the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq led by

Several law enforcement agents and journalists have met their violent
deaths in the hands of these armed Islamic terrorists made up largely
of home grown terror agents who became radicalized from the decrepit
prisin walls of France or through the World Wide Websites of radical
islamic tertor masterminds.

A newspaper house in Paris which carried a cartoon of the founder of
the Moslem religion and its holiest Prophet was bombed even as dozens
of journalists were killed.

A Catholic Priest was attacked by a lone wolf and slaughtered at the
altar whilst distributing Holy communion to congregants somewhere in

A night club was bombed in France by Islamists resulting in the mass
genocide of nearly 200 people clubbing at the center of social life in

President Francois Hollande the outgoing French President was almost
killed in one of these high profile terror attacks when some suicide
bombers nearly invaded the National Stadium in Paris France during an
International friendly betwern France and another European national

Again, France just like other European nations is witnessing a serious
pressure to get the European Union disintegrate since after the United
kingdom voted to exit the European Union.

Marine Le Pen the other opponent in the second and last round of the
Presidential election had played actively on the growing agitation for
the dissolution of the European Union.

She secured over 30 percent of the votes in the final poll showing
that France is gravely divided ideologically and that millions of
citizens still believe in the ideology of exiting European Union as
campaigned by Marine LaPen.

But the far-right La Pen who had since congratulated the president
elect, expressed appreciation to her supporters and promised to “lead
the fight” in the France’s parliamentary elections next month.

Le Pen also pledged a “profound reform” of her Front National party to
create ‘a new political force.

The media reported that although it was not clear what she meant by
this, rumours in the media as reported are rife that the defeated
presidential candidate may be planning to disband the party and build
a new movement, aiming to organise “a major political reorganisation
around the divide between patriots and globalists”.

But the media analyses of the French election also shows that the
winner of this epochal election doesn’t have any politically elected
office background.

This is how the media presented the emergence of Emmanuel Macron thus:
“With his victory, Macron becomes France’s youngest president and has
pulled off a remarkable feat. He has never held elected office, and
just over a year ago his political movement En Marche did not even

“His rival, the far right leader Le Pen, has brought her France-first,
anti-EU Front National party a long way. According to information from
French state TV and radio monitored by The Guardian, the turnout
projection of 74 percent is the lowest in the second round of a French
presidential election since 1969.”

“This is not unexpected in a contest as unique as that between the
independent centrist Macron and far-right Le Pen, neither of whom have
the formal backing of a mainstream political group, say analysts.
Supporters of LePen however interpreted the election victory of Macron
as a vote for continuity.

Media observers say the outcome matters not just because France is the
world’s sixth biggest economy and a key member of the EU, Nato and the
UN Security Council, but also because the two candidates’ worldviews
could not be more different.

Pollsters have predicted since the first round on April 23 that
Emmanuel Macron, a centrist, former banker and economy minister, would
win comfortably, possibly by more than 20 percentage points, and at 39
become France’s youngest ever leader.

He is economically liberal, socially progressive, globally minded and
– on the whole – optimistic. Le Pen, of the far-right Front National,
is a nation-first protectionist who wants to close France’s borders
and abandon the euro and EU.

For us in Nigeria and the African continent, the emergence of Emmanuel
Macron should teach us a lesson to mainstream the active participation
of young persons in politics in the electoral legal frameworks so our
nations can benefit from the academic prowess of thousands of Nigerian
youngsters scattered all over the planet.

Same with much of African nations. For instance some scholars have
already factored in the issue of academic sophistication of Feance and
the French people as the fundamental reason for the actualization of
this kind of political revolution whereby a young man with no previous
electoral experience was able to form his political party and
galvanize supports of mostly the young which has in less than a year
displaced all the entrenched political camps and dynasties including
the defeat of Marine LePen whose father was an ideologue in the French

“To get the import of Emmanuel Macron’s victory at the polls you MUST
understand the socio-political social formation that made the victory
possible in the first place…France is the bedrock of the
Enlightenment Movement that spread through Western Europe. The
Enlightenment inspired intellectual,philosophical, cultural and social
movements across the globe. The ideas and principles of the
Enlightenment have continue to affect French politics, culture and
social lives. Thus, Macron’s victory too has strong root in the

The above was the scholarly position of Dr. Felix Akpan a former
University teacher in Nigeria who is now an academic in Massachusetts

Macron has promised to rebuild the economy of France and give hope to
the millions of young persons who feel alienated.

He has also pledged to continue to extend the support of his nation to
the global war on terror.

As a youngster Africans expect him to help the continents to recover
billions of stolen money stashed in France and other European nations
by political dictators of Africa because by so doing African nations
will stabilised and the youth who are migrating to Europe due to war
and economic collapse of their nations would remain in Africa and
rebuild the battered continent.

As for Nigeria, the coming of this fresh politician in France should
motivate the youth to pick the gauntlets and seek elective positions
to reposition Nigeria to become a haven of good governance.

Nigeria is bereft of the qualities identified as good governance
standards by scholars in the book titled: ” Globalization, national
development and the law” jointly edited by Professors D.A. Guobadia
and Epiphany Azinge (SAN).

These qualities are; high living standards; access to justice and
equity efficiently dispensed; access to basic amenities of life-food,
clothing and shelter; guarantee of security of life and property;
adequate and equal opportunities for all; good, qualitative and
uninterrupted education system; gainful employment; good and
functional social welfare programme; listening heart; freedom of
Speech and guarantee of other fundamental human rights; provision of
infrastructure and clement environment for economic growth and
development-good and properly maintained road-networks, affordable and
efficient transport system, uninterrupted power supply; atmosphere
devoid of corruption and good health delivery system.

Infact, as i write the over 74 year old Nigerian President Muhammadu
Buhari has just been flown to United kingdom for second round of
emergency medical treatment by the team of British doctors who had
earlier in the year treated him for undisclosed ailments for fifty
days in London at public expense even as our public healthcare is
criminally neglected and public fund for health frittered and stolen
and hidden in the Western World including France by politicians in the
previous and current administrations.

The way to achieve all these milestones listed above by the duo of
Guobadia and Azinge is for patriotic young Nigerians to drop ETHNIC
and Religious sentiments aside and embrace active politics to change
the cirrent evil status quo whereby those in position of political
authorities deploy these privileges to appoint only persons from their
Ethno religious backgrounds into strategic offices.

Buhari’s administration has taken nepotism to a sinister height by
alienating the South East of Nigeria totally from holding any
strategic defence portfolio against the constitutional principles of
Federal character.

The extreme divisiveness present in Nigeria now manifesting in the
uncontrolled violence on farmers by fulani pastoralists can only be
checked when the youngsters can embrace positive patriotic politics
with globalized ideology patterned after the manifesto of service to
our sovereign state and the promotion of World peace such as are in
the manifesto encapsulated by the newly elected French President Mr.
Emmanuel Macron.

Nigerians who are now fascinated about how such a Young man emerged as
the President of one of the World’s strongest nuclear powers should
remember too that in Canada there is another young Man by name Mr.
Justin Trudeau who is the political leader of that strong democracy.
Trudeau was born on December 25th 1971.

He was a little boy when in the early 70’s Nigeria’s military ruler
General Yakubu Gowon visited Canada and the father of Trudeau headed
the delegation that received Gowon and the little Justin was with his
Dad. But till date the contemporary of Gowon are still in charge of
Nigeria with Gowon himself frequently visiting the Nigerian seat of

Let us work hard at the enthronement of genuine democracy whereby we
would think Nigeria first and like former President Barack Obama who
became the first ever black American President of the strongest nation
in the World – USA, let’s sing ‘YES WE CAN’ and ensure that come 2019
we witness the arrival of genuine young democrats into strategic
national and sub-national elective offices so as to register the name
of Nigeria as a genuine global power.

*Emmanuel Onwubiko is head of the of HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION



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