The Pathways to Political and Economic Development of Africa, unveiled by Realnews at its seventh anniversary, a compilation of Realnews anniversary lecture series, has been described as a treasure that helps in the search for a new Africa, while providing sound solutions to the massive unemployment, terrible education standards, deep healthcare crisis and pervasive insecurity in Nigeria
By Anayo Ezugwu
REALNEWS Magazine and Publications Limited, publishers of Realnews Magazine, has unveiled its book: Pathways to Political and Economic Development of Africa. The highly sort after book was unveiled at the Seventh Anniversary Lecture of Realnews on Tuesday, November 19.
The book is a compilation of the presentations at the Realnews anniversary lecture series, which began in 2014. The lectures were delivered by eminent Africans, who have distinguished themselves in various fields. The book discusses a variety of topical issues related to the political, economic, security and leadership challenges and development of Nigeria in particular and Africa in general.
Book reviewer, C. Don Adinuba, commissioner for information and public enlightenment in Anambra State, commended Maureen Chigbo, editor and publisher of Realnews and her team for publishing the book. He said the Pathways to Political and Economic Development of Africa tried to find sound solutions to the massive unemployment, terrible education standards, deep healthcare crisis and pervasive insecurity in Nigeria.
According to him, Pathways to Political and Economic Development of Africa could not have come at a better time. The theme of this year’s lecture Beyond Politics: An Economic Narrative for Africa is equally apt. And so is the sub theme The End of Oil: Whither the Nigerian Economy?
Adinuba, who reviewed the book at the seventh anniversary lecture and investiture in the Realnews Hall of Fame, in Lagos, said Pathways to Political and Economic Development of Africa is a treasure, and it helps in the search for a new Africa. He noted that the book lifts journalism from a mere protest activity to the status of a development partner. “As Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State states in the foreword, the book is informed by journalism of conscience and national commitment. He prayed that Chigbo’s tribe of practitioners of journalism of conscience and national commitment multiply.
“Maureen Chigbo and her team at Realnews, instead of bemoaning endlessly about darkness in the room, have chosen to show how light can be provided in the room. They could have chosen at each of the anniversaries of Realnews magazine from 2014 to 2018 to bring a radical activist to deliver a frenetic lecture which would grab headlines immediately, but they on each occasion chose to invite an expert, who would carefully and coolly examine a development problem facing Nigeria or Africa and then help proffer a solution.
“It is chilling enough, as former Education Minister Oby Ezekwesili, who has been the World Bank Vice President for Africa, observed in the 2017 Realnews anniversary lecture which she delivered, that the gross domestic product for all 54 African countries with a combined population of about one billion people was $1.7 trillion in 2016, the same as Brazil, (though Brazil’s GDP moved to over $2 trillion the following year) which is just a country of some 210 million people. It is noteworthy that the ongoing initial public offer of Saudi Aramco, one company in Saudi Arabia, is $1.7 trillion,” he said.
According to Adinuba, Africa must get its leadership right for it to join the rest of the world to step into the modern world with confidence and dignity. “There is tremendous merit in the observation by former World Bank Vice President Ezekwesili in her paper entitled “African Leadership in an Era of Turbulence”, namely: “… all African countries urgently need agencies or departments of government to be run by the right people. We need people who have the training and the attitude necessary to deliver good governance outcomes that will make their society prosper and become stable.
“It will take the right individuals to lay down the foundation for lasting systems, processes, procedures, structures and also good individuals within (leaders and subordinates) and without (citizens and other bodies exercising their checks and balances roles) to sustain it. … I usually say that anyone person who can lead must have character, competence and capacity all rolled together in them. We do not need people who have one or two of them but not another”. This is the way to go.
“Other speakers at the annual Realnews anniversary celebrations like United Nations Special Representative for Africa and the Sahel, Mohammed Ibn Chambas, erstwhile Central Bank Governor, Charles Chukwuma Soludo, former Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation chief executive Maikanti Baru, ex-Nigeria Exim Bank chief executive officer, Robert Orya, former West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management Director General, Akpan Hogan Ekpo, former Bank of Industry executive director, Waheed Olagunji, former Coca Cola chief executive in West Africa, Alex Cumming, who ran for the president in Liberia and the current Nigerian Independent National Electoral Commission chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, spoke directly or indirectly about the imperative of effective and efficient leadership in both the private and public sectors in Africa. Their presentations, which are included in this 212-page book divided into five chapters, are generally persuasive.
“Still, there are controversial statements. For instance, modern leadership and management scholars will contest the assertion by Robert Orya that a leader need not be liked so long as he or she is effective. A leader needs to be liked except in emergencies. Followers admire leaders, who treat them with respect like discussing with them before they are given a target. This is because what Fukuyama calls the search for recognition is a key driver of human history and progress.
“When leaders recognize their subordinates by treating them with dignity, it engenders loyalty in the followers, but also makes them work with passion. Strategic human resource researchers acknowledge that a fundamental difference between, on the one hand, organizations and governments which deliver superior service and, on the other, struggling ones is the passion difference. That is, members of competitive organizations and governments work with passion or commitment, while those of ordinary organizations and governments work lackadaisically; the latter do not go beyond the call of duty. Their work is purely transactional.”