Barack Obama, the President of the United States of America once said that “Africans are responsible for Africa”. As far as I am concerned, this is one truth we must acknowledge if we are going to successfully combat our peculiar challenges, make steady progress and achieve greatness.
Character is the cornerstone of greatness. In this context, character means positive values such as Integrity, Hard work, Courage, Responsibility, Love, Creativity, Peace, Equality, Justice and Honesty.
Nelson Mandela of South Africa had a dream. He saw his people freed from the chains of apartheid. He saw apartheid come to an end in South Africa. That dream landed him in prison, where he served 27 years. He later became the President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, and was the first South African president to be elected in a fully representative democratic election. Over four decades, Mandela has received more than 250 awards, including the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize. Now, that’s greatness!
Nelson Mandela exhibited positive values such as Responsibility, Courage, Sacrifice, amongst others. How I pray that we have more African leaders that will demonstrate these inspiring values! It will take time, but Africa will begin to grow in leaps and bounds. Everything rises and falls on leadership. Africa is fraught with myriad challenges, most of which can be solved if we have compassionate leaders. Leaders, who will design policies, develop and implement people-oriented projects.
My mind particularly wanders to politicians who embezzle funds meant for developmental projects in their countries. Their do-or-die attitude says it all. They would rather loot than leave a legacy even though things are falling apart in almost every aspect of our national life. In Nigeria, basic social amenities are largely luxuries. What I find most disturbing is the fact that these greedy politicians are celebrated as though they have attained greatness. Africa desperately needs to be rescued from the hands of greedy politicians and tyrants.
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, a former Prime Minister of Great Britain made a comment about greatness that has always struck a chord in me. He said ‘Responsibility is the price of greatness’. We all dream of a new Africa and we can make it happen. We can all take responsibility -responding to our dreams with corresponding actions.
What is Greatness? “Greatness is the constant radiation of positive values.”
Whenever a person, an institution, an organization, a community, a nation or a continent constantly radiates positive values, we can safely conclude that they are great.
Africa can unleash her greatness. We can get ahead, if we take responsibility for change.