Personal development or individual or self growth, expansion, progress, increase, maturity, enlargement, improvement, training, education, advancement, etc is the bedrock of national, communal and family development.
Just like the saying goes: “no nation can be better than the individual families that make up that nation”, so is it right that no family can be better than the individuals that make it up.
If the above is clearly understood, it stands to reason that the foundation for national development is resting on the small hinges of the personal development of each person that make up the family, community and country.
When we consider the horrible situation of African countries today, the wailing lack of social, cultural, scientific, economic and spiritual development in the continent, vis-à-vis the personal development of Africans, we can find the source, cause and solution to the problem of development in Africa.
I would like to posit without fear of contradiction that the source and cause of the economic, social, scientific, spiritual and cultural malaise in Africa is because of the lack of personal development of the African person and that the solution to the problem is also in Africans embracing personal development.
Colonialism diverted the evolutionary process of the cause of the development of the African people. We lived in societies that cared for each other, societies that watched out for each other. Pre-colonial African life was rooted in cultures and traditions that held people accountable for their actions regardless of the circumstances. The colonist brought a culture of winner takes it all; a culture of dog eats dog and a culture that enables people to use logic to escape justice. But the worst introductions of the colonists’ are the cultures of authority stealing the condemnation of African way of life.
African freedom fighters largely fought to remove the hands of the colonists from pie and not really to liberate the people of Africa. So immediately power changed hands, nothing changed for Africa as the new rulers simply continued in the pattern of the colonists.
As a result of this, the African culture of every young man working through arts and sciences, farming, wrestling and goodness to prove himself worthy of a position of honour and authority in the society was never rekindled. The African system which requires “a youngster to wash his hands well in other to dine with elders” was eroded.
The process by which young men are accepted in the circle of leadership in African culture is simply the process of personal development. So post independent Africa become a period when great effort was made to abandon personal development and use “might as right” and treachery and trickery to achieve high positions in the society. Note that I did not call it position of honour because there is no honour in the ways and manner these rogue rulers ruled Africa. This naturally led to the multiplication of rogue rulers instead of leaders that could have helped the people to achieve the true enrichment of their lives.
After spending a few years on this earth and getting involved in personal development, I can see clearly that what is causing Africa’s problem is lack of personal development. Personal development is required to enable people become leaders instead of rulers. Personal development is required to enable people speak truth to authority and demand accountability from authority. Personal development is required in rulers so they could become leaders.
The African situation has become so bad that nobody is speaking truth to authority and nobody as demanding accountability. In fact, we are in a situation of “if you can’t beat them, join them”. And today, we have more people languishing in penury because they are waiting in line for an opportunity to join the band of rogue rulers. The rest of us are those who I describe as “dead people who are so afraid of being killed” that we cannot even dare raise our voice or question any of the myriads of evil going on in our society.
Perhaps, the most useless of us are the military and security forces of Africa. They are not able to distinguish between the people in authority and the sovereign of modern independent nations. They do not know that the sovereign is the people while those in authority are servants like themselves. They would support rogue rulers and turn at the behest of the rulers kill the sovereign whom they swore to defend.
I propose two approaches to dealing with this critical element for African emancipation and renaissance.
One, each individual African person should research personal development, self-growth, personal growth and personal transformation. Find as much information as possible to give him or her clear understanding of what it is all about. This research finding should be followed up with the creation of a personal development goal and a personal development plan. A personal development plan outlines the strategies for the achievement of the personal development goal. Follow this plan doggedly for the rest of their lives. This would lead to self-growth or personal development and transformation that would position each person for the next level in the struggle for the emancipation and renaissance of Africa.
Two, African institutions of learning from primary to tertiary should include personal development and transformation teaching in their curriculum. A coordinated personal development education would help midwife the emergence of leaders – true and real leaders for the continent.
Our people say that “the okro tree cannot be taller than the person that planted it”. I would use this in two ways to explain what needs to be done. First, “we the people” elected our rulers. They are not supposed to be bigger than us. But they are now. We need to redress that. If the okro tree grows too tall, the planter would bend it and go ahead and plug his okro. Second, we cannot build an Africa that is bigger and better than we are. Africa would remain where we are able to get to and we have no capacity as we are today to cause to happen, an Africa that is more than we are at present. To get that Africa that would fulfill its place in the circle of life, we need to become more ourselves than we are today – meaning personal development and transformation.
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