Nelson Mandela, “It is the task of a new generation to lead and take responsibility…..”
Various research on the most endowed continent in the world, in terms of natural resources have revealed that Africa is second to none in terms of resources and cultural heritages. Resources in Africa include diamond, salt, gold, Iron, Cobalt, Uranium, copper, bauxite, silver and petroleum as well as woods and tropical fruits all of which are of high economic value. Much of these natural resources are untapped and the ones being harnessed are poorly managed.
Reports have revealed that Nigeria is the 7th largest producer of petroleum in the world, and 1st in Africa. Nigeria has the 2nd largest gas reserve in the world, and the second largest bitumen reserve in the world. The geo-strategic position of Africa alone can turn around her economic fortune.
Most advanced countries of the world don’t have one-tenth of what Africa has, yet they meet the basic social needs of their citizens. They even plan for their unborn generations. Malaysia for instance got her main economic base from Nigeria over a century ago, and Malaysia is now an Asian tiger in terms of economic growth. Africa is the origin of modern civilization yet the incivility of our leaders to the demand of Africans is worrisome.
All of the aforementioned raises questions such as: why is Africa backward among other continents in the world? Is it because we are black in color or is it because of our geo-physical location?
No! Africa is not backward because of skin colour or geographical location. The main problem faced by Africa is leadership.
The self-centeredness and sit-tight mentality of African leaders is one of the greatest factors that have brought African economies into disarray because most of them lack the conceptual architecture of governance to blend with the modern global trend. The corrupt act of African leaders has made other continents see Africans as criminals. Africa is thus seen as a continent where corruption is regarded as the “fourth arm of government.” The Corruption Policy Index places a lot of African countries on a high corruption index.
In order to redefine and reposition Africa, all Africans have a role to play. The youths in fact have a greater role to play. They need to see themselves as leaders from today and play a huge role in this effort. Failure to put the right efforts in place and invest in the youth means that the hope of Africa would be dashed, and our future would be jeopardized.
It is therefore important to train the young generation on the need for effective and responsible leadership. According to Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, a renowned Nigerian cleric and an advocate of social change, “without effective leadership and good governance at all levels, public, private, and civil organizations, it is absolutely impossible to achieve goals, sustain quality and deliver first class services. The increasing complexities and requirement arising from constant change in the society, coupled with constant push for higher levels of productivity requires effective and ethical leadership”.
Nelson Mandela also said that “the quality of change in our society will greatly depend upon the quality of leadership that is exercised in various sectors and activities of our communities, organizations and public life. Once Africa gets it right in the area of leadership, the political economy, security and welfare of the citizens would be in the right shape.
All hands must be on deck to train the younger generations, both on leadership and ethics, in order to have a rebranded African continent. The youth of today are the hope for tomorrow.
God bless Africa!