A “Lifetime Achievement Award for Leadership in Education” was bestowed on me at the weekend by the ICT University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA, during the 5th Commencement Ceremony of the Cameroon campus of the University.
I delivered the keynote address at the graduation ceremony in which I warned that Africa’s march to greatness may never be realised until leaders devote themselves to building egalitarian societies where no man is oppressed, but everyone is given the opportunity to excel, irrespective of gender, religion, tribe or political affiliation.
The just concluded FIFA World Cup in Russia leaves us with loads of lessons. More than half of the French 23-man squad- Umutiti, Pogba, Mbappe, Dembele, Kante, among others- are young men of African origin given the opportunity to excel, not minding their roots.
Giving everyone the opportunity to become the best he or she is capable of also accounts for the success of nations like the USA. It is called the American dream.
Unfortunately, most of Africa’s crises, conflicts, restiveness, and separatist agitations have their roots in injustice and inequity, especially the failure of leaders to do justice to all manner of people as contained in their oaths of office.
If Africa has to move away from conflicts and underdevelopment, then we must first enthrone justice and equity to give everyone a sense of belonging and create opportunities for everyone to happily and patriotically contribute his or her quota.
We must learn to accommodate and provide equal opportunity and development for all parts of our countries, irrespective of their religion, ethnicity, and political persuasion if we want peaceful and indissoluble nations”.
I reminded the graduands that Africa is for Africans to develop as nobody will drop from the moon to develop Africa. Nobody abandons his or her farm because it is overgrown by weeds.