First Published: 26th Oct., 2020
One of the critical problems of the African society is the lack of institutions that aid the development of a Nation. These institutions, inter alia, includes anti-corruption institutions that serves as watchdogs, finance institutions that aides small scale businesses, technological institutions that helps in the discoveries of technological ideas, education/scholarship institutions that helps the less privileged get education and child welfare/support institutions that sees to the welfare of the African child.
As a result of the humongous shortage of the ‘laters’, the African child have suffered tremendously in what can be described as ‘an ill-fated environment’.
The African child, in contrast to the president’s metaphoric view of laziness, is not bereft of ideas. He is an ingenius, a stream of ideas, a thinker, a solution possibility, an idealist and realist. He owns the solution to the challenges of his immediate environment but his community have disregarded him and relegated him to the background unheard.
It is however, unfortunate that he finds himself in a non-supportive environment. So, he grows old with his ideas and dies with it because there is no institution to take the ideas from him and make them a reality.
Again, it is not absolutely true that he is unable to make his ideas come to reality all by himself, but the environment took away all his rights and privileges. Even the little left for him, he could not afford financially.
Quality education was taken away, food was taken away, shelter was difficult and so, he spends all his youthful days trying to survive rather than being taken care of and spending his hours on research, development and consequent findings.
At a much younger age, I was always full of thoughts. Thoughts beyond the comprehension of people around. It was massive, everyday conception and meditation on ideas.
Put it at the age of 15, I was already thinking of the possibility of wireless electric power transfer even without having a pre-knowledge of it.
We were living in Ughelli main town. Electricity in Africa has no other apt description than it’s major characteristics of undulation and non-existence. However, most times, there is power in a nearby building far opposite.
In Africa, and Nigeria precisely, it is almost a normal thing that you do not have electricity, but that your neighbour is having electricity while you don’t is a natural cause for envy.
And so, I stood at the front of my compound all day, wondering the possibility of drawing electricity from the light bulb in the opposite compound.
In my own reasoning, I could cut and fix a sensor in the metal pole in front of my house, and each time the sensor sees a light bulb at the other end, it automatically converts the power from the light bulb to electricity and supplies my compound power.
This thought overwhelms me and I dwelt on it extensively for a long period of time to no avail. Unfortunately, I was never a science student.
Nevertheless, if I had been living in an environment filled with opportunities and possibilities with many technological support systems, it is 90% possible that this idea may either come through or something near would have been achieved.
Today, when I heard of iPhone x and iPhone 8 being equipped with distance charging mechanism, I could only exhale and lament that ‘wow! So that thought was possible!’
The years of childhood till early 20s are very active years of critical thoughts for the child. During these period, their brains are very active. Those who lives under the tutelage of parents have less to worry about and have a huge time to think of an idea and develop it. But are the supporting institutions available?
Whereas, the African child continue to suffer in hunger with all his ideas and thoughts. Who reason in hunger? Of course, stomach have to come first before a proper reasoning can ensue.
When African leaders fail to develop Africa, they do not understand the attendant consequences that only leads to more and more underdevelopment. Africa have the solutions to it’s development with it, but it’s self-serving leadership style only works to dampen it’s development.
Youthful ideas will never lack. Vibrant thoughts will always remain with the youths. It is left for the African leaders to make the African environment conducive for research that can place the continent in it’s pride of place.
This will never be by mere happenstance but through concerted and deliberate effort put in place to grow Africa.
Michael Jules is a postgraduate student of the Niger Delta University, department of Voc/Tech Education, Faculty of Education. He writes in his own accord.