Saturation of ICTs in Africa and the shaping of Political Consciousness in Africa.
by *Perry Ndubuisi Idejiora-Kalu
Political consciousness comes about people become informed about political happenings in their society, understand basic politics and by this, become aware of their power as a people, their ability to influence change at any time. In the past, the African public has been systematically left out of this process, not accidentally though, but by design, in a calculated attempt by powerful policy making cartels (within and outside Africa) to continually make sure that Africa and the African peoples are kept in the dark as regards political consciousness.
The strategy is summarized in the following way, “if a people (the African people in Africa) become politically conscious, then it will be difficult to manipulate them or take away what belongs to them. And so a people could arise and force change to take place. This could become detrimental to the power cartels. This strategy has been successfully going on for many years and has to a very large extent contributed to Africa’s social, economic and political underdevelopment as well as aided the presence of a wide-stretched apolitical public in Africa.
However, the recent saturation of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in Africa, through the heightened use of mobile phones, Internet connectivity, social networks (Facebook, twitter, etc) are currently “de-apoliticalizing” the African public, particularly the Youths who are the nucleus for initiating change in any socio-political setting. A new trend is thus currently being shaped for the African public and this is being instigated by the saturation of ICTs. This is very positive for us. And this is happing without many noticing it, not even the mostly corrupt leaders of Africa. Classical evidence to this thesis is the Arab Spring. A classical proof of how ICTs helped in empowering a people to topple their repressive governments. ICTs created a base for sensitizing and organizing the people. Today, the Arab spring has become a success and a model for change for all other regions of Africa and the world.
ICTs will continue to shape the scope of political consciousness in Africa. Today, youths in remote places in Nigeria can see first-hand, in just minutes, political activity for change, going on in faraway parts of the world. Through this simple process, they are periodically being educated and emancipated. In the near future, when Africa must have achieved social, economic and political development, ICTs will be seen as catalysts that made this possible. The ICT revolution in Africa should be encouraged, it means well for us.
*Perry Ndubuisi Idejiora-Kalu is an Information Systems engineer and Vice President at Circle Consortium Germany. He has advised the Nigerian government on some sensitive National Security/Defence matters. He is actively involved in policy making at the International Youth Council (IYC) USA. He is an aspiring Diplomat.