Temple Chima UbochiSunday, March 2, 2014
Bonn, Germany




Continued from Part 15

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader (John Quincy Adams)

Leadership is a platform for service. Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees all others (Winston Churchill)

I am personally convinced that one person can be a change catalyst, a transformer in any situation, any organization. Such an individual is yeast that can leaven an entire loaf. It requires vision, initiative, patience, respect, persistence, courage, and faith to be a transforming leader (Stephen R. Covey)

lthough Mbeki and many Nigerians have rightly blamed Nigerians for not standing up against the leaders misruling them and mismanaging the country resources; for giving the leaders blank cheque to misbehave, through their acquiescence to bad leadership; but, let’s not forget the difference a single quality leadership can make in any country. It didn’t take a move by the whole Chinese people for Deng Xiaoping to single-handedly transform China into the economic behemoth it’s today; it didn’t take much input from the people, before the leader who transformed Singapore, and the one who transformed South Korea, did it for their respective nations. It didn’t take a revolution for Mahathir Mohamad to transform Malaysia. Muriel Strode (1875-1930) must have rightly noticed the quality a leader was supposed to have, by saying: “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail”. Nigerian leaders are selfish bunch, even those who know what to do, will not do it, because they don’t want the citizens to benefit from it. Nigerian leaders are only happy when they are creating poverty instead of prosperity, as they want the overwhelming majority of Nigerians to remain subservient to them. That’s heartless! This writer believes, as someone put it, that thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened, and that happiness never decreases by being shared.

Gowon or Obasanjo or IBB or Abacha should have transformed Nigeria just as the leaders of China, Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia etc respectively did, but, those Nigerian dunces blew away the chance they had. For the sake of space and time, let’s look briefly only on Malaysia and China. Mahathir Mohamad, as Prime Minister, made it possible for Malaysia to experience a period of rapid modernisation and economic growth, and his government initiated a series of bold infrastructure projects. He began privatizing government enterprises, including airlines, utilities and telecommunications, which raised money for the government and improved working conditions for many employees. He grew the economy and was an activist for the developing nations. Despite his shortcomings, Mahathir Mohamad had a significant impact on the economy, culture and government of Malaysia. He helped shift the country’s economic base away from agriculture and natural resources and toward manufacturing and exporting, and the country’s per capita income doubled from 1990 to 1996. He was a doctor before becoming a politician. He won five consecutive elections and served for 22 years (1981-2003), longer than any other prime minister in Malaysia’s history. He resigned office in 2003.

Before getting to the “wonderkid”, Deng Xiaoping, it’s worth noting that China said that it has identified 4 evils bedevilling Nigeria, and offered to help fast-track Nigeria's economic growth. Few months ago, the then National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, visited the Foreign Office of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in Beijing, China. There, a top official of the Chinese government, Mr Ai Ping, identified the four evils pinning Nigeria down. Mr. Ai Ping, who is the Vice Minister, International Department of CPC Central Committee, added that the government of the Peoples Republic of China is interested in helping to fast-track the process of development and growth of Nigeria, especially in the areas of infrastructure and growth of economy. China, however stressed that for Nigeria to tap from its tested wisdom in nation building, it must struggle hard to tackle what it described as four evils which it reckoned has been bedevilling Nigeria and most African countries for long. China, through Mr. Ping, gave the four evils as feudalism which he stressed promotes indiscipline, extravagance and corruption, poor leadership and party system as well as weak institutions. Mr. Ai Ping said that the ability of China to conquer the four evils, which have the capacity to limit the progress of any country, was the reason his country has risen from poverty to prosperity, all within a period of 40 years. He also disclosed that the success of China as the world's second best economy was mainly rooted in the priority attention successive governments had placed on growth of national economy and the need to be self reliant in many respects. According to Ai Ping, China was able to evolve a strong system of governance with the aid of the CPC which he stressed has been promoting discipline among members, while deriving its strength from the grassroots. Ping said China never joked with the idea of constant reforms, noting that Nigeria too can imbibe the tradition of fashioning out home grown reforms to change its governing system through democracy. The minister urged Nigeria to take a cue from a sister African country, Ethiopia, which, according to him, now tends a single digit economy, through the progress oriented reforms it adopted about half a decade ago. Ethiopia, he stressed, was one of the least developed parts of Africa, when it suddenly began to tend one of Africa's fastest growing economy on a single digit base having demonstrated understanding of the basic rules of economic development. He said within a few years, Ethiopia was able to evolve a market driven economy, with attendant encouraging infrastructural development, adding that the East African country complemented its new consciousness for growth by focussing attention on human developments. He said Nigeria should not shy away from recruiting experts from relevant quarters to train its youths on acquisition of skills, which, according to him, is vital to national growth. He said, "In China, we always have more solutions than problems. All the changes we have had in China came through reforms and reforms should be an ongoing process. So, China and Nigeria can forge strong partnership while exploring areas of cooperation which would be beneficial to the two." (Tribune)

Just as Henri-Frederic Amiel (1821-1881) noted that “Doing easily what others find difficult is talent; doing what is impossible for talent is genius”, the progress in China Mr. Ping referred to was initiated by Deng Xiaoping. That man may have changed the cause of a country for the better than any other human being in human history. Look, today, the China's yuan currency overtook the euro in October 2013; becoming the second-most used currency in trade finance according to the global transaction services organization- SWIFT. The market share of yuan usage in trade finance, or Letters of Credit and Collection, grew to 8.66 per cent in October 2013. That improved from 1.89 per cent in January 2012. The yuan, also known as the renminbi (RMB), now ranks behind the U.S. dollar, which remains the leading currency with a share of 81.08 per cent. The top five countries using the yuan for trade finance in October 2013 were China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Germany and Australia, SWIFT said in a statement. Franck de Praetere, SWIFT's Asia Pacific head of payments and trade markets said "The RMB is clearly a top currency for trade finance globally and even more so in Asia". The RMB remained the 12th payments currency of the world, with a slightly decreased share of 0.84 percent compared with 0.86 per cent in September 2013. RMB payments increased in value by 1.5 percent in October, while growth for all payments currencies was at 4.6 per cent. The world's second-largest economy is accelerating the pace of financial reform to promote its currency to international players beyond Hong Kong. China aims to lift the yuan’s global clout and reduce its reliance on the U.S. dollar. Yuan trade settlement has expanded quickly since it first began in 2009 and the percentage of China's total trade settled in Yuan has risen from 12 percent in 2012 to nearly 20 per cent.

China is the most populated country in the world; one out of every seven persons in the world (every seventh person on the planet) is a Chinese. China’s population is heading into the two billion mark. China, the United States and India have all turned their respective huge population into advantages. While every other country is operating on deficits, China operates on surplus. Nigeria as the most populated country in Africa that is supposed to utilise its numerical strength to its advantage, will cite that as one of the reasons for its backwardness. Instead of Nigeria to be an economic and military power house in the continent because of its size and population, it has allowed itself to be termed the “good-for-nothing-giant-of-Africa”; Nigeria has turned its huge population into something of a disgrace and burden while China turned something that is supposed to be a burden into economic, military, political and diplomatic advantages.

Felix Adler (1851-1933) rightly noted that “The hero is one who kindles a great light in the world, who sets up blazing torches in the dark streets of life for men to see by. The saint is the man who walks through the dark paths of the world, himself a light”. Deng Xiaoping transformed China from the world’s backwater country to an economic giant. China may overtake America as the world economic power in next few years. To repeat; while other countries are running into deficits, China is running into surpluses. China has gotten its act together so well at home that it has started the modern colonization of so many third world countries. Paradoxically, out of every six human beings in this world, one of them is a Chinese, but, the large population didn’t stop China’s economic growth and stride. There’s a saying that if all Chinese jump and down at the same time, that the earth would tumble (upside down), due to how many they are. But, a strong and purposeful leadership transformed China into an economic giant it’s today. Who can be Nigeria’s own Deng Xiaoping?

Expand the horizon by reading these, if your time permits:








Soyinka, in rejecting the centenary award, said:

“I can’t share the award with the late Head of State, General Sani Abacha, who was a “murderer and thief of no redeeming quality”. I can’t think of nothing more grotesque and derisive of the lifetime struggle of several of this (Honours) List and their selfless services to humanity, as the `The Canonization of Terror’. I reject my share of this national insult”.


Continued from Part 15