By Henry Ekwuruke –
Genuine development entails real positive change and growth. This is authentic when it touches all levels of life. This change is not retrogressive; it is progressive. The Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary defines development as “the gradual growth of something so that it becomes more advanced, stronger, etc.
It is also the process of producing or creating something new or more advanced”. This growth is manifested in the socio-economic, political and scientific life of the nation. Far beyond this, we must note that this is also a human development.
According to David A. Coker the process of development should be reconceived as beneficial change, usually specified as alleviating human misery and environmental degradation in poor countries. It is important to state that any development that does not meet this standard is not worth the name.
Often, people measure the level of development in terms of physical structures. This standard is superficial and of course deceptive. The real and lasting development is that of the human person. No doubt, Western civilization brought significant development along with it. In a scrambling bid to harvest economic resources at all cost World-wide, in order to sustain local industrialization in the late 18th Century, the Westerners invaded many countries of the world and colonized them under the motto “The need justifies the means”. Unfortunately, Africa happened to be one of the victims of this invasion.
After the Scrambling and partitioning of the African Continent, the colonial masters introduced their so called “civilization” in their respective colonies. This took effect without consideration of the native culture and existing local rites. Consequently this fatal oversight was not only responsible for the destruction of the identity of the people in the colonies but is to account for the various conflicts and boundary disputes in the ex-colonies till this day.
The colonialists saw this period as an opportunity to experiment on new policies and bureaucratic system. This is not to say that the intervention did not bring about a considerable positive change and improved the lot of many Africans. In the same vain, it is obvious that the colonial warriors paid lip service to the idea of modernizing and the development of Africa. Instead of bringing the genuine development and positive social and political changes the purported to introduce in Africa, they systematically carted away our artefacts and mineral resources. The worst out of these banes was the African loss of able bodied men, women and the youths via slavery.
From this time on, Africa has been waging an endless war of political, economic psychological and social independence. It has not been possible to throw off the shackles of dependence because the “defenders of the status quo” are omni-presently omnipotent.
Many Dictators have come and gone, many parts of Africa have seen many civil wars fought with a genuine course of self-determination but lost, while the ex-colonial and neo-colonial nations have vested economic interests and are not willing to let peace rain in Africa. The westerners are not willing to alleviate the problems and dilemmas of the African nations via debt- rebates or cancelling. Yet we talk about globalisation. All the efforts of the people to liberate themselves from the burden of the neo-enslavement and colonialism have hit the rocks. Ato Quayson declared Post-colonialism is seen to pertain as much condition of existence in former colonies as to conditions in Diaspora.
Both are frequently linked to the continuing power and authority of the West in the global political, economic and symbolic spheres and the ways in which resistance to, appropriation of and negotiation with the rich countries of the World. Modernity and globalisation instead of alleviating the misery and hanging problems of Africans, has turned out to be an instrument of further impoverishment of our lands and has been an ugly trend behind the grab of our economic and other changes.
What makes the future look bleak is the despair that spells itself out in the actions of almost every person in the land. It does seem that we have accepted as true ,the western opinion and definition of African man As one that has no soul and cannot rationalize. We have been considered virtual consumers and we seem to accept the unacceptable.
For now, one can say, without fear of contradiction, that both the government and the people are comfortable with the status quo in our respective countries. We have accepted to remain at the level of exporting raw materials and afterwards bring them back in another form for use and have become comfortable in our best acts –“buying and selling” Actually, this condition, can be reversed and we can say no to it. When we redefine our identity and sought our heritage. This culture of consumerism can be destroyed. Now is the time for us to evolve a government that will suit our peculiar social and cultural milieu.
There cannot be authentic development and growth in Africa if we African do not aspire to be self-reliant. Let us know that if you want anything done well, you should do it yourself. Reply to this Article