Some years ago, a highly respected leader told me that someone had shared with him that the origin of the word manager meant to control. "Leadership, on the other hand," he told me, "had a Germanic origin meaning to find a new path."
Right now, at this time in history, almost everywhere in the world, we see things happening that require a new generation of big, bold, innovative leaders to step forth to consider new and promising ideas --- leaders willing to find new paths for peace and prosperity for all the world's nations. Nowhere is the need more pressing and the requirement for new thinking and new vision more URGENT than in Africa. The urgency is not for more aggression or more sanctions. It is for true LEADERSHIP --- the kind that can forge new paths by putting differences to work by honoring them through creative new solutions. Africa represents a place that tragically has been a demonstration, over and over again, of what Albert Einstein warned when he said that "we can solve problems with the same thinking we used when we created them."
With the change of leadership in the British Government, it is clear that Gordon Brown has the opportunity to set an example for the world of true leadership at a new level by rethinking the long-standing failed UK colonial policies related to Africa and piloting a new paradigm --- stepping up to allow a new way to help Africa become whole through the new vision offered in the Multi-Nations Solution --- an idea that if successful could be a role model for change throughout the world. It is an honor, to present the appeal and promise of brilliant new idea shared in the open letter that follows below by Dr. Oguchi Nkwocha, Igbo visionary from south-eastern Nigeria/Biafra:
“Blair passes on his African vision” is the title of a recent news transcript by Peter Biles of BBC News, Johannesburg, of “From Our Own Correspondent broadcast on Thursday, May 9th, 2007 at 1100 GMT on BBC Radio 4.” It is a title evoking feelings of unbridled unease for the reason that the implied recipient of Blair’s vision is Gordon Brown, who was a member of Tony Blair’s Commission for Africa; and Brown will also be inheriting the UK government from Blair.
For, it is our opinion and belief that Mr. Blair’s vision of Africa is informed by and founded on the UK government’s policies on Africa; that such policies are an unbroken thread woven from the period and the ingredients of British colonization of Africa; that colonization inflicted the wound which turned Africa, as once described by Blair (according to the broadcast above), “a scar” [“on the conscience of the world”]. We believe that a vision of Africa formulated by the Prime Defender and Executor of government policies which torment Africa (as colonial policies certainly did) cannot be a good vision. And now, both the vision and subtending government are being “passed on” together to Mr. Brown. That is the cause of our trepidation.
We do not in any way suggest that Tony Blair and or Gordon Brown have less than honorable, charitable intentions towards Africa, nor do we question their commitment to Africa. We do, though, point out that their circumstances make well nigh impossible “thinking outside the box” paradigm for Africa. That is the cause of our unease. It is essentially clear that without throwing off the old mentality, no significant progress can be made in Africa, which explains why indeed no such significant progress has been made or recorded, despite a huge investment in time, money and personnel.
We can use Nigeria as an example of British policies in Africa. 100 years ago or so, the British applied colonial policies to Nigeria and forced a “non-uniting” British-balkanized “union,” out of peoples with hardly any thing in common save for skin pigmentation. A problem “child” of a State was thus birthed. 100 years later, the UK government is still insisting on keeping Nigeria one, unmoved by Nigeria’s glaring problems which have rendered Nigeria truly unworkable and painted it a caricature to the rest of the world. This past decade was Blair’s watch: he maintained these policies—as if he had forgotten that these policies led to Genocide against the Igbo and other Biafrans by Nigeria; led to the Biafran war, wherein the British government provided the wherewithal for Nigeria to use hunger as a “legitimate” (Nigeria’s rationale, backed by Britain) weapon of war against Biafrans; led to Muslim domination of Nigeria (British deliberate preference); led to the current morass and looming crisis in Nigeria. It could well be said that Nigeria is a test of Blair’s Africa vision, as well as his Africa policies: that makes our point and justifies our concerns.
It is within this context that we implore Gordon Brown to abandon failed Africa policies and failed Africa vision which are now being passed on to him, in order that Africa may escape suffocation. As these apply to Nigeria, we implore Mr. Brown to re-evaluate the Nigeria-must-remain-one colonial policy and vision of the British government, a policy and vision which have already put Nigeria in coma, one step from final demise; not forgetting that human beings bear the burden and are paying the ultimate price, minute by minute, for these failings.
Specifically, we ask Mr. Brown and the British government to stop blocking a Multi-Nations solution for Nigeria, whereby major Ethnic Nations in Nigeria regain their pre-colonial Independence, Sovereignty and Nationhood. These Nations can then mutually agree on areas of inter-National cooperation among themselves. There is nothing in this arrangement which should jeopardize genuine and legal British interests in the area: if anything, such interests will be secure and better met than in the no-end-in-sight disaster known by Nigeria.
This paradigm can be applied where appropriate and where desired by the Nations and their peoples in other parts of Africa. We believe that restructuring of the nature suggested by the Multi-Nations solution paradigm will finally neutralize the colonial program which has been running in the background despite so-called Independence of African countries. It is the fact that colonialism still lurks and is active in Africa that is responsible for major ongoing problems of Africa today. Restructuring will eliminate the odious program and lead to more stability and security in Africa.
We urge Tony Blair, for his part, to turn his attention to Biafra—to working for the actualization of Biafra, which fits into the Multi-Nations solution strategy for Nigeria, if he can still find the time to work on Africa, as we predict and hope he will. Biafra has to be a huge burden on the conscience of the British / British government considering the large role played by the British, even as we speak, in the ongoing oppression and persecution and bloodletting by Nigeria of the Biafrans in Nigeria today. We believe that Mr. Blair will find in the actualization of the Nation of Biafra a new hope for Africa. And he should discover a true friendship and caring for the British which has always been there but thus far trampled.
We write in order to turn our unease regarding these developments into reassurance. This translates into hope for our people: hope that we will crawl out of imposed bondage and proceed to fulfill life’s aspirations as citizens of the Independent Nation of Biafra; hope that Africa will have found an effective solution for thus far intractable problems, so to arise to fulfill its potential on the globe; hope for the Blair’s and the Brown’s of this world who strive so hard to make a difference in our world—that they may get tangible and significant results.
In the absence of such hope, we perish—we all perish, together.
Oguchi Nkwocha, MD
A Biafran Citizen
On behalf of the Nation and People of Biafra
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