By Okey Emmanuel
Times are changing. So are the societal needs. Time was when physical strength was might.
Just Cast your mind back to the days of someoutstanding leaders in history: the great Julius Caesar. King Nebuchadnezzar; Alexander the Great. Genghis Khan, Charlemagne. Napoleon. … And here in Africa: Emperor Mansa Musa of Mali, Hatshepsut of Egypt, The Queen of Sheba (Ethiopia) , Tunkan Mani (Wagadou), Queen Amina (Zaria), Ewure the Great (Benin Empire), Dhaka the Zulu and so many others.
These larger-than-life kings reigned like colossus and were highly revered. They all left impregnable marks in the sands of time too deep to be eroded. The strength of these super-humans lied in their own sword, magical prowess and mysticism. With these they conquered their world and gave their subjects the need of their time – protection!
Yes, protection will always be the primary need of all times for mankind from a leader to his people. But protection from what?
In ancient times protection was primarily from predators – humans and animals – who were always sprawling around looking for humans to devour. A leader then must always assure his subjects that as long as he was concerned, the subjects are in safe hands. It was a period of survival of the fittest.
True, it will always be the survival of the fittest – even up till today! The only changing thing is the factor fighting our survival. In the days of Mansa Musa, the factor was human aggression against fellow humans.Today, the factor is basically economic – both at personal level and at community level.
I must say, and stand to be corrected, that by God’s grace our economic challenge in ANAMBRA has gone beyond the Almajari level. So while looking for a modern-day leader in Anambra with economic solutions it will be very retrogressive for us to look for a father-Christmas Governor – one whose pedigree is based only on past philanthropies. That will be tantamount to calling Ndi Anambra Almajaris. Any man or woman craving to govern ANAMBRA should be able to show us his economic blueprint that could transform me from a fish eater to a fisherman.
The current Corona Virus imbroglio has taught us that a leadership that is based on palliatives is an Almajari life. Or ask those that received some cups of rice as palliatives how long it lasted for them! Perhaps this will also be a lesson to voters who receive a paltry sum (N2,000 to N5,000) to mortgage their lives that worth millions of naira. Do not be deceived; stomach infrastructure is the biggest lie of Nigerian politicians.
Don’t get me wrong, am not against almsgiving – of course the Good Book admonishes us all to embrace the ministry of almsgiving. But Anambra should not get a governor based on propensity to give alms. We are not Almajaris. We need personal and community empowerment. Such an empowerment is system based. For example, when Prof. Soludo wanted to revolutionize and empower Nigerian Banks he had to use economic principles to rejiq the system. When a solution is system based, it stands the test of time. That’s why Nigerian banks today are still standing despite several economic earthquakes resulting from current federal government maladministration.
In a world economic forum in May 2017, Dambisa Moyo, a global economist and celebrated author, was quoted as saying that ”Africa doesn’t need charity, it needs Good leadership”. Past President Barrack Obama put it in another way: Africa needs strong systems and NOT strong men.” Nothing can be truer than this!
As Anambra 2021 beckons, it’s time for us to shop from doers and thinkers who are solution givers – those eggheads from Anambra who have received commendations from referees of global economy players – The United Nations, World Bank. Mark you, we are few days away from the take off of the much awaited fourth industrial revolution, and as the Deloittes put it, only leaders who they called “DISRUPTION DRIVERS” that will thrive in the emerging economy. Others will sink.
Anambra 2021 should afford us the opportunity to shop for the Lee Kuan Yew’s of this world who would give us amazing economic miracle that will deliver a modern Anambra. It has been tested in some countries of the world = Turkey, China, Maysia, etc. It takes a great thinker and doer to turn Onitsha to Dubai and Nnewi to Wuhan. In this regard, am yet to see anyone thicker than Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo. If the global bodies find him so useful, he will not be too good for Ndi Anambra.
Mr.Okey Emmanuel is a Public Affairs Analyst/Commentator based in Lagos