When Nkrumah was proposing a Unites States of Africa in the sixties, many thought he had hidden agenda to become overall dictator of Africa. However, countires like Nigeria were able to make it clear that Africa with her diverse cultures and peoples was not ready for an instantaneous unification in those days.
Indeed, regional consolidation of the constituent states was a better option that would gradually lead to total unification of Africa. Only this week was the President of Benin Republic advocating this to former Nigerian president Obasanjo, on the need to dismantle the artificial borders separating the ECOWAS states.
French and English should be compulsorily taught in every school within the ECOWAS sub-regions. This would gradually either bring about Franglais or more social integration of peoples in the Anglophone and Francophone states of ECOWAS.
Economically, there would be movement of goods and services across these states without the incumbrances of tariffs and high custom duties, this however should not negate effective policing to curb the movement of light arms from weapon-flooded warsites like Liberia and Cote D’Ivoire into an overpopulated state like Nigeria which will make good haven for criminals.
The chairman of the ECOWAS should gradually be given more power, and even as the states operate with their presidents, the ECOWAS chairman takes decision on trade and other administrative responsibilities that will slowly evolve the region into having its own ECO currency, parliament (which though is already in existence) and a common army.
The African Union should take a cue from the existence of these regional organizations and also work towards their integration. So far, the AU has done fairly well in responding to Somalia but half a million dollars is too little a contribution from a 54-member state like the AU. Dictators like president of Equitorial Guinea who is embarrassingly the Chairman of AU would not feel the pinch if half a million dollars was taken from his loot hidden overseas.
There are resources in the mines of Zimbabwe, resources in the fertility of African soil, resources in the oil wells of Angola, resources in the cassava, palm oil, uranium of South Africa, IT-know how, technocrats etc, that each state of Africa could use to complement one another. Moreover, imagine what it would be if your product or services could be patronized by at least 200 million people without border tariffs (this is the secret of the capitalist strength of the Unites States home market and the Empire days of the United Kingdom when it controlled the slave and colonial markets extensively)
Africa is not too big to have a unified government even as the various states ran their internal administration. It is a long time Africa had visionary leaders like those fathers of nationalism, from Oliver Thambo, Kenneth Kaunda, Senghor and the living legend Mandela, where are the reincarnated souls sprouting again, where are the visionary leaders to take us to the promised land of our fathers.
As individuals however, let us do everything we do with the idealist state of a United Africa in mind. I am from the country called Africa, from the state of Nigeria. Where are you from?