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Soludo 2022: Tradition of emulation of emultables (I)

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THERE is an Igbo adage that “the blacksmith who could not mould a metal gong, should look at the tail of the kite (Uzu amaghi akpu ogene, ya nee egbe anya n’odu).”

  This means that neophytes should learn from the experts for perfection. The father of independence for Nigeria in 1960, the late Right Honourable (Dr) Nnamdi Benjamin Azikiwe (Zik) initiated this culture of emulation in 1920, when he was a 16-year old student at Methodist Boys High School, Lagos. A Methodist Missionary from Ghana, Rev. Dr. James Aggrey, came to the school and conducted church service for the students. In his sermon, he told them that as students, they should use their education for service for Africa, adding that in doing so, they should know that “only the best is good enough for Africa.” He admonished that African nations were in   colonial rule, and it was only independence from colonialism that was good enough for Africa.  Thus, Zik resolved to advocate for emancipation of African countries from colonialism. Zik decided to emulate Aggrey for agitation for African independence. He regarded his secondary school education as insufficient for the agitation and also resolved to emulate Aggrey to travel to Overseas for higher education, as Aggrey obtained his education in England. Zik then travelled to America for that in 1925. He obtained chains of degrees in History, Political Science, Journalism, Education, Economics, and on return in 1934, he got a job as newspaper editor in Ghana, editing “African Morning Post.” He emulated Aggrey in public lectures, and with his job as newspaper editor and public lecturer, he influenced a young teacher in secondary school, who had Teachers Grade two Certificate, the young Kwame Francis Nkrumah. The ambitious and patriotic Nkrumah, emulated Zik and travelled to America in 1936 and obtained lofty education as Zik. He returned in 1948 and joined the agitation for independence and secured lndependence for Ghana in 1957.

  Zik relocated to Nigeria in 1937, and floated his own newspaper conglomerate; Chief among them was the West African Pilot, with the motto as “Show The Light And The People Shall Find The Way.” With his agitation for independence, both on pages of newspapers, and arenas of public lectures, Zik aimed at best for Africa (Nigeria). Zik’s newspaper and public lectures influenced a young Yoruba man, Obafemi Jerimiah Awolowo, who emulated Zik and travelled to England, in 1941, for higher education. He graduated with degrees in Law, Journalism and Business Administration. He returned in 1948, and like Zik, practiced his profession and agitated for independence. He practiced law as attorney, engaged in business ventures and was the pioneer major share holder in Coca Kola Mineral Industry. He floated newspaper publishing and circulation, and as he regarded Zik as a role model, emulated Zik and launched his newspaper, the “Tribune,” on Zik’s birthday, November 16, 1949. The “Tribune” is still in publication and circulation, up till today.

  Zik applied his knowledge in Economics and floated Public company, where he sold shares to shareholders. He added importation of printing materials in his newspaper industry, so as to be independent from European merchants who dominated the trade. He established the African Continental Bank (ACB), for efficient and honest management of their money. He established the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN), the first indigenous university in Nigeria, for training of skilled manpower in administration and industrialisation of Nigeria. All these multiplicity of activities enabled Zik to emulate Aggrey and satisfy Aggrey’s prescription and assignment that African students should know that “only the best is good enough for Africa.”

  Another example of emulation of emultable was seen in Peter the Great of Russia in 1695. His country had a primitive Seaport at Archangel at White Sea. He conquered the Azov Seaport, but he could not compare with England, who dominated sea merchantalism. Peter got foreign shipbuilders to teach his people. He travelled to England and Holland and apprenticed himself in the skill of shipbuilding. After two years, on return, he revolutionised his seaports and the Navy. Soon he began to compare favourably with England and Holland in merchantalism of ocean going vessels. In 1967, during Nigeria Civil War, Russia competed with England in selling jet bombers and fighters to Nigeria. A country which could not make a boat to ferry her citizens across their rivers, in 1695, later became a force to be reckoned with in ocean going vessels and aeroplanes. Thanks to the wisdom of emulation of emulatables.

  In November, 2021, Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo, Emeritus Professor of Economics in University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN), former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Consultant to United Nations Organisation (UNO), European Union (EU), International Monetary Fund (IMF), African Development Bank (ADB), etc., was elected as governor of Anambra State, to pilot the affairs from 2022-2026-2030 (eight years). In his manifesto, he has prophesied that he was going to run an aggressive Public Private Partnership (PPP), where his government shall lead the private sector for massive industrialisation and commercialisation in Anambra (Nigeria). He has served developed nations in the world as consultant and visiting lecturer, and knew how to emulate those countries in transfer of technology to Anambra State.

  It is an established fact that a nation can serve as role models for nations to emulate under the guidance of pragmatic and knowledgeable leaders. So, Soludo is correct when he wants to lead Anambra to emulate developed nations, such as Taiwan, Dubai, Germany, etc., as evidenced in the history of Russia.

  But there is a particular country that can serve Anambra as role model. That nation is Israel, in Palestine, (Holy Land). This is a country which featured prominently in the Book of Creation, the Bible, dating back to Abraham, in the book of Genesis. In the New Testament, Israel also featured prominently, as the country of Jesus Christ who dominated the calendar of the world, that the history of the world is divided into two periods and what happened in the world before Christ is regarded as  “Before Christ (BC),” what happened after the birth of Christ is known as “Anno Dominum (AD), After Our Lord.

  But the chequered history of Israel, compelled them to suffer captivity in 70 AD, and they scattered to all parts of the world, as itinerant migrants, casual labourers, artisans, scholars in universities, captains of industries, wealthy merchants,  etc. But they retained contact with one another, and maintained their language, culture and religion. Their intellectuals persuaded the United Nations Organisation (UNO), who created a separate state for them in 1948. On gaining political independence, they knew that it was by economic independence, that they could sustain their political independence. So, under their leader, David Bengurion, they went into massive industrialisation, build a seaport at their new capital, Tel Aviv, and also an international airport. They went into mechanised agriculture, cattle ranching, etc, to produce what they needed to supply their tourism industry, because they maintained all the holy places that Jesus Christ created, which many people from the Christian world visit frequently in pilgrimage.

  The self sufficiency of Israel in economic ramifications can be appreciated with the testimony of a pilgrim, who returned to tell us his experience. He is Dr)Josephat Kanayo Okoye, Phd, KSM, KSG. This is contained in his book: “Buoyed On The Wings Of Destiny.” Published in 2021, page 242. He wrote as follows:

  “In addition to the Holy sites, I was given a tour of the country side to behold some of the innovations of the Israeli people. Though persecuted in and chased out of Europe, some years back, the Jews have not only recovered from their rejection to become a leading light in technology. They are now a nuclear powered nation, and a foremost player in world technical development. I saw desert lands and rugged topographic areas converted into productive communities.”

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