Writing from Germany Franklyne Emmanuel Ogbunwezeh says that we cannot dismiss or leave Ayittey alone....
While George Ayittey attracts my respects and congratulations for his recent recognition, the fact remains that anyone who ventures to make his ideas public, has thrown out a challenge to all and sundry to the effect, that his ideas are there for scrutiny. No idea worth its salt can be proved without passing through the fiery crucible of criticisms and appraisals. In disagreeing with Bolaji Aluko on this, I have to state that George Ayittey should be made to come up with more rational foundations for his ideas, which will go a long way in consolidating, instead of diminishing his submissions. That is the price we pay for ventilating our ideas to any public forum. And this can only be done when he critics do their job and make him come up with further justifications for his stand. In this way, our perspectives are further enriched and scholarship advanced.
Having said that, George Ayittey must be applauded for taking a stand on what he feels constitutes the modern problem with Africa, which like Achebe, he pinned down to bad leadership. I share these views totally, but must add, that this should not be construed as the only explanation that suffices for the African predicament.
Contemporary African leadership has been at best Machiavellic at all levels, and at worst ravaged by the twin problems of grotesque incompetence and kleptomania. But the history of the evolution of many African geopolities must be taken into consideration before a holistic appraisal could be effected, which would yield the real network of forces or crosspollination of historical and social dynamics, that has continued to sustain the African predicament, despite years of independence.
Leadership alone is notoriously inadequate to account for the gamut of problems confronting the Africa of today. Colonialism and slavery may have been overflogged, but they must not be overlooked in our considerations. Neo-colonial involvements in Africa is equally another potent factor.
To my mind, I feel that a good leadership can go a long way in at least, leading towards a solution. But good leadership does not just happen. It takes a good and active followership to sustain a good leadership structure. And how can we attain a good followership profile in an African situation where majority of the population is illiterate and abandoned to the extremities of poverty and hopelessness. My suggestion is that massive functional and qualitative education will in the long run lead to the evolution of a social structure, where the African people would really come to realise that they are the repositories of ultimate power. This is the crux of my argument in my essay titled "Education in Quest for Responsible Governance in Africa" www.globalpolitician.com
So, as Ayittey considers leadership as the crux of the matter, other factors should equally be considered to give his submissions a balanced perspective.
Congratulations Dr. Ayittey.
Franklyne Emmanuel Ogbunwezeh
Faculty of Social Ethics
Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universit”t