There’s this discussion that happens in the ranks of progressive African youths. It’s about why African nations appear to be behind in everything.
Western nations have everything working for them while African nations have almost nothing working. In Europe, a small town can be the world’s largest manufacturer of a big thing. But in Africa, small towns are first of all inaccessible. Even big towns do not necessarily have what it takes to produce small things.
I sat with some colleagues and saw how China and Turkey manufacture some products “for exports only,” while they buy the ones for their local use from Europe. This is not to fault China and Turkey, but to wonder why we can’t produce our low grade requirements in Africa; why do they have to come from China and Turkey? Why not from Onitsha or Kpone? Stated in another way, why do we need discount buses from India when we claim that what is produced in Nnewi are discount buses?
In the USA, George Washington was the first President. After the second term, everyone praised him and suggested another term. His response?
In 1796, as his second term in office drew to a close, President George Washington chose not to seek re-election. Mindful of the precedent his conduct set for future presidents, Washington feared that if he were to die while in office, Americans would view the presidency as a lifetime appointment. Instead, he decided to step down from power, providing the standard of a two-term limit.”(
In essence, he put the nation before himself. He kept in mind that George Washington was not the smartest American.
Flip and come to Africa.
We have presidents ruling for 30 years, continually changing the Constitution because there’s no man like “Uncle Paul.” We have seen this in the Arab spring nations and several others. One Grandpa in East Africa even assured that there are more than enough jails in his country to throw political opponents in: “The economy is growing and we are building infrastructure; what else do they want?
We have even seen nations who went without leadership for years. They ended up in depression and repression. This was the experience of Israel. Then Ehud arose overnight and led them in conquest. In just 2 days, everything changed.
So why are we behind?
In the book It’s Not About You, Bob Burg and co write, “At Pindar’s party that night, Claire explained, Herron had related an experience he had during World War II, as a brand-new second lieutenant in the Army Corps of Engineers. He had been out with troops in the field on a training mission. It had been a hard day, and when the mess line was ready, he went over to eat—but before he could be served, an old sergeant took him aside.
“Lieutenant,” said the sergeant, “after your men have been fed, if there’s any food left, then you will eat. And later, after all your troops have been bedded down, if there’s a place for you to lie down, then you will sleep.”
Is this kind of progressive leadership possible in Africa?

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  1. I do believe it’s possible.
    It may take a while to catch on but it is possible. As we learn to put others first, and show consideration for others….. We also train our children to do same, subsequently we’ll have a people who are re-oriented and ready/willing to serve selflessly.

  2. I would suggest the question to be rephrased as: “How can we create this kind of leadership in Africa”?

  3. I refuse to lose hope. It’s definitely possible.

  4. Yes it is possible. It seems blurry now but it can begin with us.

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