The Mission for Africa’s Cheetah Generation

From Me…

I am nowhere near what I was born to do. As far as my personal life goals go, I am without a doubt on the street of Success. Considering my belief that success is not a destination, it is safe to say that I am on the journey of success. Every man no matter how lowly placed today but who is well at work on his or her quest to make meaning in this world is on the journey of success. When I needed to decide between spending my N100 for lunch or for internet time in my school days, I was on the journey of success. When I had to make do with akara (bean cake) andgarri at night because I had spent my last cash on a children home project being the President of a service organisation, I was on my journey of success. When I posted my first blog in February of 1999 and only my Facebook friends could read, I was on my journey of success. When I shed tears at night because I kept trying and trying, failing and failing, I was on my journey of success. Today, my current junction is far more beautiful than my previous stop overs but nothing has changed. This is still the same journey and for as long as I live I will always define my success in the journey and never the destination because at the end of the day, the destination for everything on earth is death.


To you…

I have a message, not for the man who has arrived but for the man who is on that journey with me. You will suffer, you will sweat, you will toil and work, you will stumble an fall, you will go through  hell but if you keep moving, if you pick yourself up after every knock from adversaries and challenges it is only normal to expect that you will keep moving forward. Success is not in motion; it is in the significance of every action. Success cannot be universally defined. To an average mind, success is in the seen, the material, the satisfaction of mortal desires. If that is success to you, then you’d see it in a beautiful car, a super mansion, an appointment into a major political office and in the awards you win in the midst of it all. If a Nigerian, you’d probably also see it in how many power generators you have, how much power your generator can generate and whether you are one of the few who can afford to have power 24 hours every day all year irrespective of what the power company does.


The success Africa’s new generation must define for itself is the success of the people of the continent as one whole. It is near impossible for one of us to save Africa, but it is impossible to stop us if we all decide that our success as individuals would be in what we do every day to birth a revolution of ideas and knowledge in our brothers who for some reason remain in the darkness of ignorance. We are where we are today because most of us remain obsessed by personal glory. Ironically, such personal glories are norms in other climes where citizens seek the good of the land rather than an obsession with the good of the self. We let our problems and challenges live for so long till people from other cultures invade our land to solve our problems. When they finally come, we attack them for being “white saviours.” Would there be a “white saviour” if we at least tried to solve our own problems? Would there be a vacuum to be filled by foreigners to come save Africa if Africans tried to save themselves? Would we need to cry for investors into our different countries if we opened up our borders to ourselves? Charity still begins at home. If we trade with ourselves, the world would naturally trade with us. Trade amongst African countries hovers around 10 per cent. How shameless is that? That we are so obsessed with protecting the nothing we have from being sold to the nothing our brothers have. We are easily carried away as a people. Our value of success is so small we get swooned by little achievements. We are quick to think of ourselves as rich and powerful when in the real sense we are nothing but a billion people who cannot cloth themselves, feed themselves nor even protect themselves. We are 1/7th of the world population but our contributions to the progress of the world are nowhere near that average. Nigeria and South Africa are comfortable acting like two big bullies in a small pond when in the ocean they are just two other countries without clearly defined priorities. Ghana and Nigeria pretend to be brothers but are in every sense cold blooded rivals. A rivalry built on mediocrity. I’d understand if they had the world as their turf but no, they are playing locally and acting like that their big west African rivalry gets even seen as a dot on the issues that shape the world. Yoweri Museni is fulfilled being a puppet of the West. Jacob Zuma just wants to show Goodluck Jonathan that he is the boss on this big African turf, a turf that when considered globally is nothing but a blade of grass on a football pitch.


Redefining Success:

We have a long way to go as a continent. “Africa Rising” is nothing but a natural upward move of a people so grounded in underdevelopment the only way would be up. We can rise faster, we can do better, we can trade better. For too long we have been shackled by a convolution of national and regional rivalries, when we would do better to look at the big picture and play the big brother as a global player. Europe is practically one economy now. Trade amongst European countries is the norm rather than the exception. We will never develop on the droppings off global aid. We must look to trade more, not just with the world but amongst ourselves. We must open our borders if we cannot bring them down entirely. Enough of closing up ourselves in our poor estates when opening up would open up to gates of power and prosperity.


Success is a journey. Africa is nowhere near the right path. Our GDP growth has continually been driven by mineral resource exploitations that keep economies of the rest of the world producing for us off our raw materials. At the end of the production process, we who were the beginning of the production process as suppliers of the raw materials end up at the end of the chain as consumers. We always pay more for this.


Let me define the mission for Africa’s next generation; if our current rulers do not see the need to bring down the borders, we must by ourselves at least take them down mentally. We must reach out through the tools the modern internet offers. The future of this continent depends on us. That future started yesterday. Here amongst us are the leaders of the continent months from now. We will do well to redefine our values and valuation of success. You have not succeeded as an African for as long as the majority of our people remain poor, hungry and desolate when by just thinking more broadly you could be the difference. I wrote this in the air over the Sahara Desert – over the limiting old definitions of our poverty – sub-Sahara Africa hardly ever comes along with an adjective or phrase that has to do with global success.


This is my hope and expectation for you the young African; that you would start redefining success the Nelson Mandela way – doing more every day for a greater and more important African presence in the world. This would never be for as long as we produce more poor people for the world to feed. Ours is the generation that must begin the change process. We are the drivers that will set Africa on the path of success. It is a journey we must take together or see our people perish together. We must prosper together as one people or perish together as one poor continent. In the end, it is in our hands what becomes of our people and our continent. There is work to be done. Only men who see success beyond themselves will understand the enormity of this challenge. Where are these men?


This is @omojuwa


We either grow together or perish as one

Africa must provide leadership for Africa