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“We have what it takes to transform Africa”
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“We have what it takes to transform Africa”

The challenge of developing good leaders is one of the most important issues facing Africa, writes Femi Asu, 27, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Lagos in Nigeria. He says youth have a responsibility to meet that challenge by casting off apathy and using their energy and new opportunities to jump-start Africa’s future.

The challenge of great leadership has bedeviled many African countries for years.

But where lies the cure for this leadership malady that has eaten deep into the fabric of our continent, translating our vast potential for greatness into continuing poverty and stagnation?

I believe the youths carry the solution, as the catalysts of change and sustainable development.

“The lack of true leaders has caused great pain and poverty in every sector of life,” says Mr. Linus Okorie, president of Guardians of the Nations International, a non-profit youth leadership development organization with a passion to transform not just Nigeria, but societies in Africa and around the world.

It is no longer news that the need for positive leadership is the biggest challenge facing African nations. The recent Youth Alliance for Leadership and Development in Africa 2012 Conference heard from Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba, Deputy Secretary-General of the Commonwealth that the leadership and resource deficit has been the undoing of many African countries. 

It’s high time we the youths realized that we have a special responsibility towards reshaping the future of this continent. We are the single most important determinant of the future of Africa. 

We must rise to rescue our nations from the grip of those who have been gang-raping our collective patrimony for years. We must stop running with their often-repeated slogan that we are the leaders of tomorrow. That sentiment is belied by brazen sit-tight, self-serving proclivities and cavalier attitudes to the plight of citizens, especially the youth. 

Yet we have the power to rescue Africa. Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, a former World Bank Vice President for Africa, declared at the 1000 Points of Light Summit in Lagos that youth have great opportunities. Our saddest course of action would be to sit by lamenting and complaining about obstacles, he says.

While we have to understand what we are up against, Dr. Ezekwesili describes today’s youth as “the turning point generation”.

“You have tremendous opportunities. Don’t complain about the constraints. Access to technology is important for your generation as an opportunity. Technology has democratized know-how. Today what you know is without boundaries… The world of the internet opens you up to the lowest cost of knowledge,” Dr. Ezekwesili says. 

Yes, we have what it takes to transform Africa. It is therefore up to us to rise to the leadership challenge and not resign ourselves to the status quo. We must bring our energies, creativity, talents, skills and education to bear on this task. We can no longer afford the luxury of apathy and civic disengagement, born out of frustration. That will only deprive us of our dream Africa. We cannot afford to mortgage our future because some leaders have disappointed us. It is our responsibility not to disappoint ourselves. 

We must constantly be guided by the fact that youth is a marvelous period of life. We destroy ourselves and threaten the future if we allow socio-economic challenges like severe youth unemployment to drive us into vices such as cyber crime, prostitution, kidnapping, armed robbery and political thuggery.

The future of Africa rests on our shoulders, and her transformation, to borrow the words of President Barack Obama in his 2012 acceptance speech, can only “be done by us together through the hard and frustrating, but necessary work of self-government”.

We must continue to prepare ourselves for this task by constantly improving ourselves, striving ceaselessly to increase our knowledge and skills, broadening our horizons and maximizing our potential. 

We must be actively involved in the democratic process if we really want to make a significant change in Africa. If each of us becomes active in our various circles of influence, together we can jump-start Africa’s greatness. 

Permit me to adapt the words of hope Obama spoke on his re-election night and apply them to the youth of Africa:

“I’ve never been more hopeful about our future. I have never been more hopeful about” Africa.

“And I ask you to sustain that hope. I’m not talking about blind optimism, the kind of hope that just ignores the enormity of the tasks ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path…the wishful idealism that allows us to just sit on the sidelines or shirk from a fight”.

Indeed blind wishfulness will take us nowhere except further on the path of mediocrity.

Instead Obama has these words that can apply to Africa.

“I have always believe that hope is that stubborn thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us so long as we have the courage to keep reaching, to keep working, to keep fighting.”

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About me:

Trained as an accountant, I live and breathe writing and journalism. I am an expert author with EzineArticles.com; an editorial consultant, inspirational speaker, youth empowerment advocate, social entrepreneur, blogger and publisher at http://www.standoutandreign.com

 I am deeply passionate about excellence, committed to continuous self-improvement and adding value to others, helping them find their passion. 

I am a unique, never-to-be-repeated miracle of God; an evolving work-in-progress going places to manifest the glory of the Maker!

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

 

 

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