Friday, October 19, 2007

The Global Context of Faith in Cultures and in Education of Nations: A Vision for African Christian Leadership Education.

The Global Context of Faith in Cultures and in Education of Nations: A Vision for African Christian Leadership Education.

Being the Topic of a Colloquium delivered

at Greenville College Greenville Illinois

October 11, 2007


‘Sayo Ajiboye MA MSW

Mission Africa International
Plot 164 AK Street, Federal Housing Estate, Ikorodu Lagos

Good Evening, my name is Oluwasayo Ajiboye.I am a prince of the Yoruba people, from Imesi Ile in Ijeshaland by birth and a pastor- priest of the Christian faith by choice. I stand before you today as a generalist – in training and in disposition. In discussing The Global Context of Faith in Cultures and in Education of Nations: A Vision for African Christian Leadership Education,” I speak as a passionately concerned and involved African generalist, not as a specialist.

There was a time in Africa when hope ran wild. People believed that change was possible, they worked for it, they waited for it; they expected it to come quickly; they believed that it would set them and their generations free. This was a season when Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product and the per capital income was higher than South Korea’s, and quite close to that of many Western countries, including the United States. This was a season when Malaysia and other countries of Asia came to watch the unfolding drama of excellence that unfolded in our nations and learnt from it. It was a season when the leaders of these nations sought counsel from our African leaders on how to construct their own systems. Believe it or not, there was such a time when the only nation whose currency was stronger than that of Nigeria currency was Britain. I retreat into that season for inspiration whenever I have to engage with this new season within which Africa finds itself. This is a season, a long season within which hope has been low and excellence has been a wish, not granted.


I note that every leader of that season was a product of Christian philosophy in education.

  • Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana went to School under Rev Fraser and Rev Aggrey and later attended a Roman Catholic Seminary and graduated from Pennsylvania University with Bachelors in sacred Theology.
  • Leopold Senghor of Senegal was trained by the Spiritan Fathers from the Age of eight.[1] He actually entered Seminary and was told that he was not suited to Christian ministry!

  • Seretse Khama of Botswana was a product of South African Christian Boarding School and Fort Hare College, the first College opened to Blacks in Apartheid South Africa. Fort Hare was founded as a result of the activities of James Stewart of the Glasgow Missionary Society Church of Scotland[2][3],[4]
  • Julius Nyerere defied the odds and bested it all at once. He was the only one of the first generation leaders who was educated completely at a public school but he was also the only one who was the most devout of them. He never missed the daily mass throughout his public life, he was known to fast often. In fact, in the year 2005, the Catholic Diocese of Musoma in Tanzania opened a cause for the beatification of Nyerere[5].
  • Patrice Lumumba of Zaire was educated at a Protestant Elementary School and a Catholic Secondary Mission School. He was raised in a devout Catholic family.
  • Dr. Nanamdi Azikwe, the first President of Nigeria was trained at the Wesleyan Boys High School in Lagos before moving to Howard University here in the USA[6]
  • Obafemi Awolowo, the first Regional Premier of South Western Nigeria was trained at the Methodist Mission School in his home town Ikenne and later at Wesley College for Teachers in Ibadan. He was a devout member of the Anglican (Episcopal) Church.
  • I can go on and on and create an endless list. General Gowon of Nigeria was the son of a minister, Thomas Sankara of Burkina Faso was raised in a Christian home etc etc.

Of all of these Awolowo or Awo as he was popularly called was and still is a mythical figure among my own people, the Yorubas of South Western Nigeria. He began leading a region of about 20 million people when he was in his late thirties, He worked under the oversight and intense opposition of colonialist; in spite of these he succeeded in leading an effective team of thinkers to set up structures of change. Within 5 years of becoming the premier of the Western Region of Nigeria, he introduced:

    • Free primary education for every child in the region
    • Built, equipped and staffed functioning General Hospitals in the 10 plus divisional headquarters of the region.
    • Organized agricultural productivity around a unique system that empowered young people and conserved age old structures of the community and brought hitherto unbelievable levels of prosperity.
    • From the financial result of Agricultural prosperity, he embarked on a process of modernization by
      • Building the first modern stadium in all of Africa, Liberty Stadium Complex Ibadan Nigeria
      • Installed industrial capacity that utilized agricultural raw materials and propelled the Western region far ahead of its contemporaries.
      • Laid the foundation for the first indigenously conceived modern University in Sub Saharan Africa
      • Constructed the first High Rise Building in Sub Saharan Africa – appropriately named Cocoa House Ibadan
      • Installed the first Public Television system in Africa
      • Created a networks of roads that is still essentially the backbone of South Western Nigeria
      • Demonstrated passionate commitment to the plight of the poor and the helpless

Himself and his team did all of these in an atmosphere of multi-party politics, ethnically motivated opposition, strong financial scrutiny by the colonial overlords. Much later, during the Nigerian Civil War of 1967 - 1970, he was invited to manage the national economy. He did this so well that to date Nigeria is still the only nation to prosecute a major war without resort to deficit budgeting or external borrowing; the country actually turned a profit during the war!

The question then is this: what accounts for the success of these man and his generation where subsequent generations with richer resources have failed miserably? I hang the answer on three anchors:

i. Their Preparation and the Form of education that they received

ii. Their Personal styles and the form of leadership that they espoused

iii. Their Philosophy of the Community and the vision of the nation as they saw it.

Preparation and Value Driven Education

I know a little about the kind of education that they received because I was born and I lived with one of Awolowo’s contemporaries. My father was a year Awo’s junior at the Wesley College, Elekuro, Ibadan. These titans were formed at Methodist Mission College much like Greenville where I stand today.

They were formed by a commitment to a value driven education that demands a commitment to a clear set of standards. I read in a scholarly paper how the present educational system of my country seeks to achieve the following goals:

i) produce manpower

ii) ii) conduct research and

iii) iii) serve the community.

The educational philosophy that produced these men turned those values on their head; these men were trained to invert that order. For them, education was not about a job, or about a career; it was about service. It was about living in the community; they joined the ancient sages in asking, “how then shall we live?”

In his book “Common Fire: Living Lives of Commitment in a complex World,” Educational Psychologist Laurent Daloz asserted that success among healers of communities in the America has been a success that is rounded by a purpose other than self. It is a success located in and around “Commons.” These New Commons are different from the Village Green; they are facilitated by “the development of a new mindscape.” Daloz believes that this mindscape “stretches space, place and time. “It is a shared world in which the good of all is being worked out.

The old African Commons was defined by ancestry and close affinity; the New African Commons will be defined by technology, globalization, diversity and complex radicality. It is a sad commentary that the Old Guard was better prepared to engage with the new global reality than the new players! I am nearly convinced that if there had been continuity of leadership of the old, Africa would have been a serious player in the space age and not an onlooker.


People speak about African tribalism. The Old Guards were vigorously confronted with the equality of man at the mission schools. Mission schools were always multi-ethnic; they always included students who traveled from very long distances to be a part of the community. The old mission school was the ultimate antidote to ethnic rivalry; there was simply no space for that foolish assumption. After school, the products of mission were forced by circumstance to circulate around their nations. They had to work with those other than them; they had to lead those with whom they do not agree. They were empowered by the values of He who is different than us who yet befriended us; they engaged closely with the values of our Lord the Nazarene.

Re-engagement with Development

For Africa to re-engage with its lost trajectory of development and for the nations to release their populace from the negative facilities that assails them, there must be a re-engagement with a value laden, value driven education. This education must redefine The Commons, it must embrace technology and a radically complex diversity; it must commit to an existence within a Trans regional Trans continental global construct.


I am always intrigued when I read about the African Old Guard and their very personalized kind of leadership. Their styles of leadership created effective disciples, it sets hearts on fire. So you hear about Nkrumanism in Ghana, Ujaama in Tanzania, Zikism in Nigeria, Negritude in Senegal and of course, Awoism in Nigeria. Someone will immediately throw at me the fact that the era of “isms are gone. I immediately answer that “most probably not…!” Maybe we are living in an era when one “ism” – capitalism, has so overshadowed the other “isms” that it effectively blinds our sight from a need for something other than itself. I wonder if we are living in an era of people who are afraid to engage with the big idea, maybe we are living in a season of leaders whose creative capabilities are suspect; I think we should worry at the preponderance of one “ism.” We need to be asking ourselves, how long shall it be when our world will remain monocled by one vision – that of economic gain? We need to desire the day when men again will engage with the beauty of the original thought, the original concept; we need to see the day of the philosopher King – again.

Ladies and gentlemen, I look forward and sincerely desire a New Lutheran Reformation, I desire a Wesleyan impact on national and global sanity, I yearn for a Calvinistic reintegration of order and form; I desire an Anabaptist rediscovery of ancient roots and mores. I believe that a new generation must arise that will engage with ideas and redefine concepts. This generation will have the capacity to make disciples; they will draw unto themselves willing men and women. I strain at the leash as I consider this thought; I pray passionately; “do it again in our days Oh Lord!”

There is nowhere on the face of the earth where this idealistic, responsive charismatic leadership is necessary like Africa. We are faced with a question however: Will he be a spawn of Al Qaeda or will she be a Prince of the Church. Those of us seated here can help determine that question.


I now return to the thought on the leadership of the Old Guard and its communal face. I dare say that the essentials of charisma xariðzomai, is attraction. Charisma draws; it holds; and it enfolds. Every contact with Charisma commands the contacted to reflect, to think; charisma cannot be ignored; it always demands action: it spawns creativity. Charisma challenges the weak to rediscover the innateness of strength; it creates unbreakable connectional bridges. Charisma makes individualism a mythical and ultimately, quite irrelevant (Daloz again!). The charismatic will always evolve into follower ship: whether it is St. Francis of Assisi or St Dominic or Saint to be Teresa of Calcutta. Whether he is Che Guevara , Fidel Castro, Lenin or Kim Il Yong, it does not matter whether he is Osama Bin Laden or Sheikh Omar: the Charismatic will always command deep following. Will this generation be able to raise Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury? Will we get another Wilberforce? We will train financiers, administrators, transnational reformers and mission leaders like the Clapham Sect? There is no continent on earth with such a need for charismatic reorganizers with enough will and following to enforce change.


I believe that the only force on earth capable of using Charisma without pollution and abuse is Christianity.

Only true Christians are capable of being altruistic, with no strings attached. This is because we are commanded to give something for nothing.

Only Christians are truly progressive; we aim at the enlightenment of that which is most hidden in the Universe – the Spirit of man.

Only Christians are truly practical, we reject a flight into nothingness (maya – or - illusion of Hinduism), demand a leap of faith (Kierkegaard) and insist that it must be based on the platform of reason (Paul, Lonergan).

Only the Christian faith is truly diverse in its assertion that all of you are brethren, in His personal acceptance of the service and ministry of Women (Luke 8:1-3),

Only Christians have the internal capacity to live in the world and not be of the world. We can be in the Company of fornicators without descending into morass of immorality.

It is only Christian Education that can bring the change needed to Africa.

Permit me to close my thoughts by reminding you of a dear friend of mine, some of you have probably met him where I met him – within the four walls of the library: his name is William Carey. Nearly 200 years since this man’s ministry ended, the most crowning deed that he undertook - with his team - was to facilitate transformational education for India. Working with a powerful team whose lead organizer was the indomitable Hannah Marshman, they provided free education for the poor around Serampore. By 1820 – 1830, 8000 students were in schools within a twenty mile radius of Calcutta. In his particular station, there were 400 students attending for free. By 1827, Joshua Mashman has secured a Charter for Seramphore College to confer degrees….

When we look back over a 200 years span, we will see the conditions in Africa that are very challenging today have probably changed, we will see a social peeking order that was committed to maintaining the privilege of the rich has probably been dismantled, we will see, post– date, a continental context that right now demands critical attention but all of which attention has been addressed. One thing that will however make all of the rest pale into insignificance: what is important then will be what we choose to do or not to do today, what our children are talking and writing about; what was considered important actions in an era of pain.

Nkrumah is dead, Zik is gone, Nyerere has passed away, Senghor is gone, Khama, Sankara, Sadaruna, Awo… all of them are gone; soon, we also will be history, we will be gone. What will be written concerning us? I therefore stand before you today as visionary seeking partnership, maybe we can affect a countless generations.

We are in the process of setting up an Institution of Higher learning, our aim is to provide a value laden, service driven visionary education for our young people. We desire a place of excellence in extremis, we desire a place of ethos that models our Lord the Master Servant; we desire a transcontinental College; a place where young thinkers can resort and be formed. We seek a contextualized application of technology, a center that refuses to mimic Europe/America but strongly encourages a spirit of contextual inquiry. We desire a place where technological questions are posed in manners that address the needs on the streets of Africa. We desire a place where history is respected, we desire a place where the future is gazetted; we desire a place of journeys, a center of voyages into the world wide ocean of knowledge walking on the narrow but firm ledge of the word of God. We desire a center that is consciously committed to a transformational agenda; we ask the partnership of Greenville College.



[3] The Life of James Stewart retrieved 10/11/07 at 1:53am from

[4] It was James Stewart who said It is better to Christianize the Africans than to crush them. It is better to educate than to exterminate them. And the day is coming, whether we live to see it or not, when even the Dark Continent shall have its Native Universities.”
Dr. Stewart in 1878.


[6] Nigerian Past Leaders: Sir. Nnanmdi Azikwe

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Yorubas, AN Empowered People; A Mid 20th Century Perspective

Empowering the Yoruba
When the respected Dokita Okunnade told me I will speak today, my first reaction was: “Kini omoran le ri so nile ogbon?” “What can the knowledgeable say in the house of wisdom?” Our fathers have however taught us that: “Omo Akin kii ko ija” “the offspring of the brave never fears the face of battle.” So I ask you to hang with me as I try to engage with Ideas on “Empowering the Yorubas in the Diaspora.”
I honor the presence of all good people who have chosen to grace this occasion and share with us the richness of our Yoruba heritage. I especially honor our cousins from different parts. Our African people of the Diaspora deserves a sit of honor in this place, I pay my unreserved respect to them. There are also people here who are not African but have chosen to align with the Yoruba Dream, our roots may be different but our aspirations are the same. My prayer is that we will all be empowered for progress and that we will all have the freedom to pursue meaning and happiness. I do welcome you.

What is Empowerment?Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines empowerment as “giving official authority or legal power to a group,” it is also defined as promoting the self-actualization or influence of a person or a group. Psychologist talk of at least 20 dimensions of empowerment, Freire (1972), Bolton & Brookings (1996), Spreitzer (1995), Laverack & Wallerstein (2001), and Williams, Labonte and O’Brien (2003) have all done seminal work in defining and describing empowerment. I am however going to address empowerment like a family discussion rather than as a social scientist.

Clarity of Identity.
Empowerment starts when there is clarity about identity. A man or a woman without a clear identity is a dangerous man; he is like a dead person, he is a hopeless shape filling spaces that he has no capacity to conquer. A man without identity lives in fear of himself, and he lives also in fear of others around him. His fear however has no warrant in reality; he is like the child that Shakespeare wrote about who: “fears the face of a painted devil.”
Empowerment commences when we have truly defined WHO WE ARE! Think about this, we call ourselves Omo Oduduwa, but what do we mean? It should mean that we have located something positive in the person of Oduduwa and that we want to identify with it. It should mean that we identify with the heroic behavior of the founder of our race, that we identify with his diplomatic capacity; that we recognize his valiant nature, that we are grateful for his perseverance and that we desire to celebrate all of this. After all He is Odu ti O du Iwa, The Oracle or Wisdom that focuses on Good Character or the Perfect life. Is this what we mean when we claim to celebrate Oduduwa? Are we refocusing on Good Character and the Pursuit of the Perfect Life? If we are, then we are already an Empowered People!

Relevance The Second Issue with Empowerment is Relevance. A group or a person is empowered when he is considered a relevant contributor to community in which he lives. The question then is whether the Yoruba identity can relevantly contribute to Middle America of 2006. What can this community learn and benefit from the realities of our accumulated experience as Yoruba people? Can Middle America learn from the way our parents brought us up? Can we share with this community the deep wisdom of our fathers? Can we tell them about the industriousness of our people? Can we share with the people of our New Land the Yoruba commitment to history and to honoring the Ancestors? More importantly, can we show this community our mother’s passionate commitment to their children and to the future? These are issues will empower us to engage with the people of our new land. .
Language as a Preserver of Cultural Identity
Preserving our Cultural Identity is critical to thoughts on empowerment. The Yoruba community must not loose its grip on its Identity. There is no stronger measure of cultural Identity than the Use of language. I bring before us today a need to teach our children our language. The best teachers of this language are the parents that speak them. Let us not assume that speaking our language will spoil our children’s comprehension of English, let us rather learn from our own experience. Did learning English spoil our comprehension of Yoruba? Did it not rather enhance it? Studies have shown that children are capable of learning many languages in the first few years of life. For those of us who grew up in Nigeria, can you remember how the children of the missionaries and foreign teachers spoke fluent Yoruba but also spoke their parent’s languages? Let us not forget our language. Our fathers say that a stream that forgets its source will dry up. Olorun ko ni jeki odo aiye wa gbe o. The streams of life will not dry up in our families.

The Yoruba NationI want us to move a bit from these familial issues and consider the Historical perspective. What can we learn from the Yoruba Nation itself as a promoter of Empowerment? May I propose to you that this nation in which we were born in is not inferior to any in the world? Compared with the 50 plus countries of Europe, only 6 have a larger population than the Yoruba people of Nigeria, in fact only three of the 6 can be said to have a larger population than the pre-colonial Yoruba nation which today is transnational! Population wise, we are a viable nation.

Population Versus Functionality
Someone will say, it is functionality that defines nations not population. I will answer that objection by saying, the Yoruba nation when allowed to function have proven that it is a functional nation of inventive people. Effectively, commercial radio broadcast started in America in 1921, it became public in the United Kingdom in 1927; by 1932, our fathers and mothers in Yoruba land have already started listening to their “Ero Asoro Magbesi.” It will be puerile to imagine that this feat was simply due to the benevolence of the colonialists, we must rather assume that the inventiveness of our fathers and mothers contributed. There is an unsung hero behind the scene who prompted the white man’s action and made it possible for the system to operate.

This inventiveness of the Yoruba Race was proven definitively in the matter of the Television. Television was introduced to the American public in 1941, yet a mere 17 years later, our people were watching the “Ero Amohun Maworan” in Ibadan. Now if you put into context the diffusion rate for technology in those days and you factor in the reality of a World War II, we must judge that the transference rate for this technology to the Yoruba people of Africa was lower than 5 years!
I say all this to establish a benchmark for assessing the Yoruba Nation. How do we assess the Yoruba Nation? From 1970 - 1990s we have witnessed the impact of retrogression of dictatorial military rule, do we now asses ourselves by this retrograded standards or do we assess ourselves on the complete history of our people? I want to challenge us to develop a clear picture of who we are. The Yoruba Nation must stop judging itself by the confusion of the military era. We must reach back and establish that our vibrant identity flows from a functional history, our assessment of our land must say to our children, we are a great people. Let me cite some deeds that may help with this evaluation.

Do you know that when many developed nations were still struggling with how to treat their citizens, Yoruba leaders have introduced a free health care for all their citizens? We must let it be known that as far back as January 1955, our leaders have given us Free Primary Education. Our leaders boldly committed to a budget of $10 Million when the capital and recurrent expenditure for the preceding year (1952/53) was a mere $5 Million. Our leaders believed that if there is a will, there is a way! Within three years, populations of students in primary schools topped over a Million students, population of students in secondary schools rose from 9000 to 84,374. When the Colonialists handed over to Yoruba leaders, there were 25 secondary schools, within the term of the first Yoruba government; the number of schools has increased to 159! Think about it, 124 standard Secondary Schools were established in three years on a lean budget! I challenge any other nation to show the same result and the same resolve.

It was the Yoruba people that established the first African owned conglomerate. The Oodua Company which evolved between 1955 and by 1959 had 51 companies in its holding. These include the Hotels, Banks, Insurance Companies, Textile Mills, Cement Companies, Paints Manufacturing Companies, Iron Melting Companies., Cocoa Industries, Breweries, Rubber Processing Companies/Tire Makers, Tile Producing Companies, etc. The Yoruba people started the first industrial estates in Nigeria at Ikeja and Ilupeju in 1958, they introduced the First Minimum wage law in Africa, started the first indigenously owned modern University in Africa, built the first sky crapper and did many other things that have since become models which up till today, are yet to be suppressed, or even matched by any subsequent government. We are a stock of a great people, the knowledge of our excellent past should empower.

Your Question naturally should be how is this relevant to us today in mid America? My reaction is to call you to look at two platforms. The first platform is that of instructive rumination. The Yoruba Nation must choose to Dream again. We need to lay hold on the entrepreneurial boldness of the Awolowo Era and deploy it in mid America. Maybe its deployment will become a flow that will reach back into the heartland of our people; just like it happened in 1941when a few young men got together in England and their influence flowed back into Nigeria as Egbe Omo Oduduwa. I believe that we can.

The second platform is the development of a strategic model. Can we learn from the Awolowo strategy? Can we invoke the Pan Yoruba option that Awolowo and friends mobilized to pursue a goal that was bigger than that which one man can achieve? Can we create platforms which encompasses many talented men and upon which each person can bring his own peculiar expertise and be allowed to shine?

Communal Wealth?
My question goes a bit farther, it touches on dangerously strategic horizons; can we consciously decide to create communal wealth and well being! It is strategic because the present day Yoruba needs to be careful not to confuse what our fathers clearly delineated. We should not think that because we have good jobs and great credits we have attained Olà (Non Material Wealth defined by Intangibles, True riches that go beyond material possession). We should remember that access to Owó (money) is not access to Olá (material wealth), and access to Olá is not a proof of Olà. No wonder our fathers aimed for Olà. Do you realize that there is a mystery of Olà, it is this, that no man gets Olà by power, that Olà is possible only by communal acclaim! To tightly secure our tomorrow, to guarantee a truly meaningful life for our children; to be at rest concerning Òla (tomorrow) we need to pay attention to Olà! How do we create Olà in the Yoruba community in Diaspora? This will be the epitome of Empowerment.

I am therefore throwing a challenge that we begin again to consciously create large platforms from which our people can shine. I am challenging us to pursue Olà, to take actions that will lead to communal acclaim, to chose pathways that will create a common-wealth, a common-health; that we consciously reject the barrack mentality of the military era that we go back to 1956 and pick up the thread of dreams; that we gather together that which was shattered by the Wettie upheaval of 1963/64?

The classic entrepreneurial tendencies of our people have shined and have been transmitted only when we have formed great platforms. The excellence of the Action Group was not an Awolowo excellence per se, it was team effort. Action Group was a functional platform of highly motivated people. They got together and strategize for over a year, each person wrote papers on his area of expertise, and they developed a common vision of what is possible for the people. They implemented it; the rest is history.

Developing Yoruba Industrial Systems in Mid AmericaMy challenge is this, can we have dreamers arise who will create effective platforms for the Yoruba people to conquer Mid-West America? Can we have platforms for work, industrial systems that will provide job for the new immigrants? Can we develop high standards of rigorous excellence – standards like Papa Awolowo demanded? Can we employ each other, pay good wages, but can we also ask for serious hard work – can we demand this up front! If we can, the proverbs of our fathers will come to pass “Agbajo Owo la fi nso aya.” It is when we put our hands together that we truly can beat our chest.

Thinking further about industrial systems, the missionaries attested to the fact that Efunsetan Aniwura employed 2000 plus people on her farm in 1840s and that the great General Ajayi Ogboriefon fielded over 6000 “Baba ni nmasa” in a single morning of battles. Ogedengbe and Fabunmi of the Fiery Swords – my great Uncle – mobilized a mighty force that stopped the great War Machine of the Ibadan Empire for 15 Years. Awolowo mobilized a whole region and paid them the highest wage in Africa of his days. We are the successors to these feats, we can develop entrepreneurial systems in mid America that will involve thousands of people and create platforms for employing the Yorubas in the Diaspora. A people that develop industrial systems is a people that will possess the land that they occupy.

Residual Income Let me touch briefly on the issue of Residual Income. An Empowered people must not depend solely on what they get as salary. What will happen on the day your salary stops? Then you start spending your savings. What will happen when savings get depleted, then Ile ola a wa di ahoro! The great house becomes impoverished!! An empowered people must have strategic plans for residual income. A Residual Income is that income that in which you do the work once but the money keeps coming in for the rest of your life.

The Yoruba people in the Diaspora must develop a culture focused on owning a portion of the great American society. I owe much of the thought in this section to our cousin, Mr. Sam Aihe a great Bini man, the former Vice President of Citi Bank. Sam advised us to start considering this concept of ownership from an individualistic perspective. Think of what you use on a daily basis, who is the manufacturer; strategically base your investment on what you consume. Remember however that investing is like planting an orchard, it is very different from planting a corn. Even though you will not get a quick fix result, on a long term you are the winner. Remember the people who invested in Microsoft twenty years ago are all millionaires today. If you invest $50.00 a month in a few years it would have grown tremendously…. Please invest and allow your money to work for you.

Strength From the Inner Life I will like to end this discussion by talking about the Inner Life. What was it that made people like Awolowo so successful? It is a personal discipline that will not submit to traditional indulgence. Awolowo paid close attention to the use of sex (he largely abstained), food (he did not eat much), alcoholic beverage (he refused to abuse it); Awolowo became something of a legend in this regards. To be truly empowered we must discipline our base instincts. We must channel our energy to achieve God’s best for our lives.

Summary Please let us be clear about who we are, let us honor our identity; let us set goals worthy only of Dreamers, let us work hard at attaining them, our people will be empowered in the process.

Oduduwa: An Empowering Force

The Oduduwa Concept: An Empowering Force
KeyNote Speech at Oduduwa Day 2006
The John F Kennedy Community Centre
315 Howdershell Rd., Florissant MO 63031 USA
Speaker: Oluwasayo Aderemi Ajiboye, MA, MSW
Prince of Imesi Ile, Ijeshaland in St Louis MO

I count it a privilege to be chosen among many wise descendants of Oduduwa to give this speech. I have chosen to share with you from what I learned of the Elders especially what my Father taught me.

The Oduduwa Concept
Understanding the Oduduwa concept releases a flood of Empowering Understanding. The name is Odu ti O du Iwa, it means “The Oracle or Wisdom that focuses on Good Character or the Perfect life" When we claim to celebrate Oduduwa day, are we refocusing on Good Character and the Pursuit of the Perfect Life? If we are, then we are already an Empowered People!

Oduduwa Stories
There are mythical stories about Oduduwa and there are historical stories. I choose to glean from the historical.
i. He was A Man that Took a Principled Stand: There would never have been a Yoruba race but for the fact that Lamurudu and his son Oduduwa took a principled stand. There was a mass conversion of people in their community to a new religion, Oduduwa and his father took a stand not to go the way of the masses, they chose to stick with the way of their ancestors. This led to a war and Oduduwa Team lost to the new religion crowd; Lamurudu in fact lost his life. But rather than wallow in self pity, Oduduwa led his people away from the site of contention. This set back was the genesis that gave rise to the Yoruba race. Application: There are many of us who are facing tough times today. It may be possible that the conflicts that we face will be the genesis of super excellent achievement. I am challenging you to hold on and not give up. You may also become the father of a race.

ii. Oduduwa was a Master Negotiator: When Oduduwa got to the land that is now call Yorubaland, he met it as an occupied land filled with highly developed people. There was a system of Worship that was already established as the ruling force in the land. But Oduduwa was able to negotiate relationship with the occupants of the land in such a manner that his person and his leadership skills were accepted. Application: The Yoruba in the Diaspora need to revive the negotiating skill of our fathers.

iii. A negotiator must understand the Dynamics of Personal Presentation. How do I present myself such that I will not be overlooked or pushed back?

iv. A negotiator must be clear in his goal of personal Ascendancy. We must unashamedly pursue excellence and seeks to be the best in whatever community we are located.

v. He cannot do this with negative aggression however. Note that I use the term NEGATIVE AGGRESSION. Ascendancy is not possible without some form of aggressive action. Nobody is going to make room for you except you stand up for it and work for it. Force must be deployed in a positive factor. We need to understand and develop the skills for positive and strategic forcefulness. We must find the Synergy that allows us to be forceful without being obnoxious. Our fathers were specialists in these skills, we must master it anew.

vi. Oduduwa Understood The Strategic Implication of Location. Oduduwa had only one son, his name was Okanbi. Oduduwa encouraged Okanbi to disperse his children across a land massive land mass stretching from the Niger Delta Area of Nigeria into Republic of Ghana. Application: Modern Day Yoruba in the Diaspora must take an advantage of this strategy of planned spread. We must plan to be represented in every community where there is an effective economic activity. We must boldly stake out claims on regions far and wide, we should encourage our children to spread and occupy at every levels. Our fathers say, ibi gbogbo ni ile owo, every ground is holy ground. This spread must not just be a physical spread, it must be a professional spread, it must be residential spread, it must be investment spread. Let us reach out to take possession of this land in which we are placed.

There are other options that makes the Yoruba race an empowered race before the advent of any white man; I will like to look at these options.

Organized Leadership: Our community was not left to haphazard leadership; every community is organized into a strong royal patriarchate which leaves a large room for an effective feminine expression. The King was Alase Ekeji Orisa, he is the One with authority, who is second only to the gods. His ase or authority however is a moderated Ase. It was moderated by his inner cabinet of chiefs with whom he must meet everyday, it was moderated by the council of elders or the Ogbonis a sort of court of justice; it was moderated by the influence of the priests whose once in five days divination gives direction to the community; it was moderated by the influence of the Iyas, who silently watch over the activities of the King & his Chiefs, the Justices& the Priests. Application: The question for the Yorubas in the Diaspora is who moderates our activities? To be Empowered we must be Accountable. We must give someone the authority to speak into our lives, we must identify mentors and accountability partners who will help us negotiate the pathway to success. . The Yoruba Kings and their communities succeeded because they did not act alone. They involved many layers of safety in the decision making that affected their lives, we can learn from these and create personal layers of wisdom that will keep us from danger

Role of Women: It has been said by many that African women were little regarded by their communities; this is absolutely not true. There is none so respected as women who control the homesteads. Let me cite an example from traditional Yoruba worship. The greatest of the gods, that which is worshiped even before the Irunmales is Ori. There are many Ifa corpuscle pointing to this fact. But do you know the person responsible for Ori Apere, it is the woman of the house! She is the one who watches over this most important of the deities. So the men take care of the lesser deities, but the woman takes care of the most critical one! I cannot go into extensive details but who do our communities respect even more than the king? It is the Iyas, the great mothers. Application: I challenge the Yoruba in the Diaspora to honor our women the way our fathers honored the mothers.

Two Lessons from the Yoruba Social Life
Lesson Number 1: Yorubas Capacity to Break with the Norm and Develop New OptionsA major strength of the Yoruba people is a capacity to reinvent themselves. When the Fulani Jihadists pressed on the capital of Yorubaland, the pragmatic Yoruba leaders abandoned the capital retreated into the forests and built another city that is now known as Oyo Ile. By doing this, they saved the race from absorption by the Islamic Jihadists. The Nupe Kingdom, Bariba Kingdom, Ebira Kingdom and many others were neutralized by the Islamic insurgency and they did not survive in their old formats. Only the Yorubas were strategic enough to survive till today!
At Oyo Ile, the leaders of the young people decided to change the system of Leadership, they wanted Adelu to reign in place of His father – something which could not have been in the past. The young warriors reinvented the system and the Great General Kunrunmi, the generalissimo of Yorubaland who opposed this move was confronted and eliminated by the Ibadan forces.
When the Ibadans became too powerful and began to oppress the rest of the Yorubas, my great Uncle, Fabunmi of the fiery sword started an insurrection; he mobilized the Ekiti - Ijesha confederacy and handed over leadership to the Oore Lotun who in turn handed over military leadership to Ogedemgbe who was mighty in War and Fearful in Festivities. Together with the different leaders, they reinvented what relationship between the different Yoruba people group should be.
Maybe it is time for Yorubas in the Diaspora and back home to understand that our people were great experts at reinventing themselves. Maybe what I am saying will empower us to positively reinvent ourselves. Maybe it is time for us to look inward and say what can we do to be special in mid America?

Survival in Yoruba Mythology: I was surprised to learn that one major Yoruba strategy for Survival is actually to learn to “Walk on Both Legs” This is Yoruba euphemism for knowing when to “rush forward” and when to “rush backwards.” For those who may know, I am actually quoting the Ifa corpuscle Odi Meji which is a story about a legendary prince whose name is “Modeeere Morinre” who had opposition to establishing himself in Ode Ife – our traditional ancestral home. He was advised by Orunmila to go to Ode Ado (with great honors to our cousins the Benin people who are here). By the time Modeere Moriinre got to Ado or Benin, the people were looking for a King and they have been informed by the Oracle that if Moddere Morinre ever shows his face, he must be made king…I am not vouchsafing for the accuracy of this but this seems to be a form of the story of Oranyan who was the King of the Yoruba golden age. He ruled in Ife and also in Benin or Ado as Eweka Dynasty that took over from the Ogiso Dynasty and whose direct descendant Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo Erediauwa (Oba Atokpeye!) is still King in Benin today. This is why the Oba of Benin’s appellation is "Abieyuwa N’Ovbi Odua Nuhe, The son of the Wealthy Odua of Uhe." Uhe in Benin language is the Ancestral Ife of the Yorubas. This same Eweka or Oranyan (choose what you will!) was the founder of Oyo and his Direct Descendant Iku Baba Yeye reigns still. Application: The essence of the Ifa story is so relevant to us in Mid America. There is a place in this great land that is waiting to celebrate each one of us. Let us find that place. Let us learn to walk on both legs, to go in and to come out.

Wealth Creation
Let me deal briefly with Yoruba concept of wealth, our fathers clearly delineated different layers of well being. The first layer is Nini Owo layer. This is the layer where you have money be a show-man in the community. Our people are convinced that Nini Owo ko gba Agbara. They do not respect much those who have money but posses little sense in the community. Nini Owo can be equated in Mid America to having a good job and great credits. When you have this as far as our fathers are concerned you are just beginning life. They are watching you and asking, can he make it to the next level which is the level of Olá. A man who has money and knows how to use it in the community is called said to have Olá. Note that this is not yet the goal of the average Yoruba man in the pre colonial era. His goal is the stage called Olà; this is the stage when people are getting rich and blessed because you are in their community. This is the stage when you are not just an accumulator of wealth but you are a facilitator of others into becoming wealthy. At this stage, what you count is not how many people works for me, but how many people have by working for me grown to the point of being a source of life for others. Who have been blessed and have become a blessing because of me?

Let me go over these again, access to Owó (money) is not access to Olá (true material wealth), and access to Olá is not a proof of Olà. There is one more thing to the Yoruba concept of Olà, you will never be able to say by yourself I am now an Òlólà, no man gets Olà by power, Olà is possible only by communal acclaim! It is others that will say you are an Olólà. You know the Yorubas will glibly call anyone with a few coins in his pocket Ololá, but rarely will you here them speak of Olólà; this is because it is very rare and very difficult to attain to that position. But some did attain, who were truly Olólà. There was Alaafin Abiodun, who ruled Oyo from 1774 – 1789, who by wisdom and riches brought peace back to Yorubaland after the terrible reign of Bashorun Gaa, there was Oba Adelu, Ogunmola in Ibadan, Kiriniun Onibudo Ajayi Ogboriefon, Lisabi in Egba land, Ogedemgbe of Ilesa, Fabunmi of Imesi Ile, Labinjo of Lagos, there were women like Iyalode Tinubu of Lagos/Abeokuta who single handedly kitted the Egba forces against Dahomean invaders, Efunsetan Aniwura of Ibadan (who I personally consider a victim of revisionist literature). Application: The challenge is this: who is a successor to the excellent history of our people who will be the Olólà in mid America?

Classic Yoruba Entrepreneurship. It excites me to dream of the flowering of the classic Yoruba entrepreneurship, to dream of industrial systems owned and operated by our people that is capable of employing thousands of people. I dream of systems that spawn off other systems and becomes landmarks in the American landscape. Why Not, each of the persons I mentioned their names above have over 2000 men in their retainer-ship. They employed and catered for them before the Europeans came, why can it not happen again. Are we not their offspring?
To tightly secure our tomorrow, to guarantee a truly meaningful life for our children; to be at rest concerning Òla (tomorrow) we need to pay attention to Olà! How do we create Olà in the Yoruba community in Diaspora? This will be the epitome of Empowerment.

I am a dreamer and a preacher, but I will not take any more of your time. I will however close with a passage of the Bible, will you permit me to share this: The Bible says

“Do you see a man whose heart is right with God, He will stand before Kings and not before mean men”

The second passage says “God’s eyes is going to and fro over the face of the earth looking for a man whose heart is right”

Will you be the man or the woman that will be Empowered to carry on the great mantle of Yoruba cultural leadership? This is my challenge to our Community.

Oduduwa a Gbe Wa O!

Thank You

Please Read the Part 2 in Yorubas: An Empowered people, A Mid 20th Century Perspective

Monday, September 26, 2005

Mobilizing for Change in Africa

The Changing Contexts & Paradigms


Africa has been impacted by two centuries of a checkered drive towards modernization. There is a noticeable absence of human, financial and working capital that makes life meaningful in other climes. Africa’s massive resource base remain largely un-deployed, un-developed and often times un-exploitable. It often serves little or no purpose in the desire to give the people a meaningful life. The United Nation’s Millennium Development Goal shows that Africa’s children are the most exposed to all the negative realities of earth – more exposed than children in any other continent of the world.

The World of the African people is a challenging one. It is a world that has proven unfriendly to parents and children alike. It is a world where access to education is very difficult and access to health care and justice is more difficult still. It is a poor world, the only one in our universe where poverty rate and the number of the poor are increasing today (2005). It is the only section of our world where more than 50% of the population that are under the age of 15 years today, are guaranteed to spend their adult lives either in abject poverty or on the margins of survival within the global community. It is a world in need of a new way of thinking, it is a world requiring a proactive attempt to empower the Living Systems and fight for change.

Endangered Villages & Unsafe Cities
Africa’s urban areas are largely unsustainable. They are sites of intense congregation of human beings without any intentional long termed plan to manage the resources and people that exist within it. Africa’s Villages on the other hand are fast becoming monuments, ghost towns; they are places stripped of their relevance and denuded of their vital productive elements.

The Siren Song of the Cities have depopulated the countryside, rural life in Africa is often a complex demographic admixture of the very old, waiting to die, the infirm hoping to die and the very young asking for what life is all about. As soon as the very young get someone to explain life to them, either correctly or incorrectly; they begin the process of escaping the rural realities.

Africa’s rural areas represent an enigma, either too young to know or too old to care but yet it contributes between 65% - 80% of the GDP of virtually all nations of Africa. Africa is therefore saddled with the dilemma of the least effectively managed areas being the most productive! There is no wonder then that Africa’s growth has been largely in the negative in the last two decades.

Mission Africa International is convinced that the most effective segment in the population (young people) must be assisted to become its most productive component, and that the most productive areas of the land (rural areas) must be controlled by the most effective. Young Africans must become effective producers and rural Africa must become desirable habitations of Young People. This is a necessary step to reviving the continent and retarding the creation of hell holes called African City Slums.

The Seduction of Hope
It has been repeated several times that half of Africa’s population will live in cities by the year 2025. The reality of African population today makes one wonder why this should be the case. Why do people succumb to the systemic pressure to move to the city? The answer is based in the age old perception that opportunities exist within the cities and that there is helplessness and hopelessness within the rural areas.

When we do a comparative analysis of the African population however, it is clear that the greater percentage lives in rural dwelling places and that the greater portion of the productive activities are located in the rural areas. It is a tragedy to allow the greater percentage of the productive population to continue living under an illusion of hopelessness and helplessness.

Mission Africa International affirms a desperate need to fight hopelessness that covers a large portion of Africa like a cloak.

There is a need to consciously engage with Africa’ rural and Peri Urban areas and show that they are live-able places which are excellent for raising children.
Mission Africa International affirms the need to prioritize and revolutionize access to resource by the African rural and peri urban dwellers.

Africans hold certain believe system that Africans about the process of wealth acquisition. These believe systemsaffect and impact on the perception of rural and urban realities.

Before the advent of the White man, African economy was an agrarian economy; wealth was a direct function of your strength as a farmer. Your wealth was essentially dependent on your capacity to physically produce.

For instance, the Yoruba people have a population that exceeds 40 Million people and they are native to three countries. They are extensively dispersed over the face of Africa and in the Diaspora. Pre European Yoruba mind measures wealth by rows of stored yams that hang on someone’s barn or the number of livestock you are able to raise. It was also measured in the skills that you posses as an artisan. Everyone in the community was engaged in one form of practical and constructively productive enterprise. They have such proverbs as “Apa ni ara, igunpa ni iyekan.” This proverb translates to mean “your true relative is your own arm, your faithful acquaintance is your elbow.”

Yoruba cities were organized along the line of “guilds or Egbes.” Guilds were vocational choices that you made and you stick to. It is sometimes family based and sometimes referred to as “the way of the family.” In Oyo Ile, the ancient capital of the Yoruba people for instance; there was Egbe Alaso, Guild of Cloth Producers, Egbe Elepo – Guild of Oil Producers, Egbe Alagbede – Guild of Blacksmiths, Egbe Onisona – Guild of Carvers, Egbe Agbe – guild of farmers. All of these pathways have attached families, productive records, ancient lineage linked poems that describes their activities, codes of conduct and so on and so forth. The community was a practical and a productive community; you cannot exist without having a trade. Everyone was directly involved in agricultural productivity and Egbe Agbe, the guild of farmers was a guild that every adult was a part off,

Prominent in the society were consolidators who were usually large scale producers. They purchase goods from other smaller producers to build quantity for export beyond the boundaries of their community. The archetaypal representatives ogf this group were the formerly famous “Egbe Onidaruke” the league of women exporters who consolidate foodstuff and sell across the borders of the community. Feeding into the Onidarukes were the alarobos who focuses on animate objects such as fowls sheep goats etc and the alajapas who focuses on inanimate objects such as food items, fruit items and medicinal herbs. The critical thing to note is that all major traders launch their productive and distributive trade from the platform of effective agricultural productivity. Agriculture was such a force in the community that in the early days of the Christian mission in Ibadan city, the missionaries needed to build their churches; they could not procure labor either for love or for money because all citizens were needed on the farm! Traditional houses were built through the age group system wherein a day in the week was chosen to do construction and repairs within each age group. The missionaries were not in any age group so all able bodied skilled men were unavailable to them (gone to farm) when it was time to build houses!

There are stories among the Yoruba’s pointing to the fact that even the gods work. The primordial earth was created by the instruction of Olodumare (most High God, the Lord of the Mystery of the Rainbow). His agent was Obatala, the white revered one whose instruction was to plant the primordial forest with the help of an intergalactic hen. When Obatala failed in this enterprise because his equipment that was made of silver could not deal with the strength of the intergalactic forest, it was Ogun, the lord of the guild of the iron smiths that came to his rescue with his strong working tools.

All these stories were a metaphor pointing to the value of work and engagement with the environment. Enshrined in the psyche of the people was a clear paradigm that says productivity is a practical, internal and a very personal, local effort. It was also an effort involving trans-local agents. Trans-local agents interact with the system – not as key players; but as catalysts. When Obatala failed for instance, Olodumare did not come down to help him. He sent rather another paterfamilias – Ogun - to help him out. Olodumare was a distant catalyst not an active player.
roots of change

Linkages with Europe in the 14th century led to the development of a parallel economy. This economy was not dependent on the institutions and the pathways of productive enterprise. It actually opposed and undermined the tradition of productivity. It was an economic system that allowed for acquisition of massive wealth from purely distributive sources that has no local productive content.
Over time, there was a shift in paradigm and a re-processing of how the Yorubas viewed the productive enterprise. It created a systems wide perception that what is produced internally is not good enough and that resource acquisition is essentially trans-local in nature. Resource acquisition became a quality that must be sought beyond the borders of the local communities. It was a violent new thought that had impact in the local communities.

The ocean board became an attractive place; cities sprang up that were motivated by the need to service the non productive but distributive enterprise which caters to the need of the Europeans. A special class of Africans arose who do not need to produce anything, they just traded in what others produced and they did so with advanced funds from the European traders. These people knew what the white man wanted, they knew what their productive kinsmen possess; they knew the secrets of the impenetrable forests: they linked the white man on the coasts and the black man in the interior. They brought exotic produce that the locals have no clue how it was produced to the homesteads. What they brought to the homesteads created a false economy. It was not reproducible by the locals; it became the root of dependency that Africa has experienced for so many centuries.

If you fast forward the process 400 years ahead and project through the era of slave trade and all its implications and the destruction of essential Africa, if you project through the era of colonialism and look through its impact on the African psyche; when you come to the recent era: the only conclusion is that the false economy created many years ago has become a culture. There is a tendency for the people not to respect what is available in the community. The hearts of the people are drawn away from the productive realities of their own economic systems; they are drawn rather to a false promise of quick gain beside the oceans. On the beaches of Africa, the young ones desire a “better life” across the ocean in Europe, they fail to realize that five centuries ago, these same beaches were places of pain where their uncles and cousins wept as they were forced on the slave ships. The slave ships are still sailing; only now it flies. Only now it is a willing exodus that says what is here is not good enough, what is here cannot be productively developed; I must find out what is out there.

From the foregoing, it is imperative that those who work in Africa adopt a systemic perspective that is sensitive to the histories of the people.
Africa can only be helped as we integrate and interface every aspect of the community, we must be clear about the challenges and be willing to proffer solution that takes a long termed, historical view rather than a short termed utilitarian, meet - a - need perspective.

The primary thing needing to be changed in the Africa is the productive regime.
People must move from the distributive platform to a productive platform.
Rural heart of Africa must be re-engineered as a productive powerhouse that serves the needs of the local communities and from the platform of local responsive service, grow to engage with external communities.

Engagement with foreign resources must be defined on a platform similar to the “Onidarukes.” Internal productive endeavors must supply internal needs of the population first and then create an excess which is exported to the external community.

Access to foreign resource must be tied to an internal productive endeavor. It should not be on the platform of charity, it must be on the platform of productivity.

Productivity must not be defined by what the West needs. Any group that is not meeting the needs of the people locally but is focused on meeting the needs of external players cannot be said to be ethical.

Agric for export drive is an unsustainable model that does not develop the nation. Agriculture should first of all serve the people. Export motivated growth has never developed any nation. A strong internal engine that services its own people is necessary to assure long termed productivity of a nation.

Policies should be developed that says a certain percentage of people effort must contribute to local sustenance.

Foreigners – especially Christian mission leaders and donors must focus their strength on ensuring internal productivity of their African partners. They need to help their African friends to shift their eyes away from the coast and what is coming from over the sea to what is inside the land and how it can be harnessed to bless the people.

The point above is not a call to isolationism; it is rather a call to productive engagement that optimizes the strength of partners. Foreigners should not give money out of pity. Foreign mission organizations should not support ministers that their community cannot sustain. They should ask rather “what exist within your community that we can empower to sustain you?” “What can you do internally that will make you productively engaged and maintained?”

Access to resources must be conceived in an integrated fashion. It must promote a wholesome existence that targets the optimization of all facets of life. It is this proactive optimization of engagement that we propose and base in a vision targeted at evolving the Living Community Systems - LCS.

A Living Community Systems focuses on an integrated existence that is internally productive and possesses effective access to external platform. Its focus is to access resources from all sources and use it to develop and facilitate effective local productivity.

A Living Community Systems proactively applies the economic concept of comparative advantage. This concept says that every community has something that it can do better than other communities around it. For any community to become a Living Community Systems, it must determine what its comparative advantage is.
A strong sustainable economic foundation is necessary for any Living Community Systems. People will continue to exit any systems that does not address their basic economic needs

Community growth occurs when leadership is nurtured around community comparative advantage. Nurture of Leadership around Community Comparative Advantage must therefore be a focus of Living Community Systems.

Sum total of the activities of members within any community systems determines the comparative advantage of that community. Enhancing the activities that the community is comfortable with and developing innovative skills that makes them do well in such activities must be the first target of any organization seeking change.

Training and re-training is critical to the process for developing a Living Community Systems. An enhanced skills regime will provide effective leadership to the productive process.

Access to Capital, Health and education forms the tripartite cords that holds up sustainable development. Presence of natural resource alone does not guarantee development (remember Congo, remember Nigeria?).

Access to Capital
Development depends on the capacity to convert natural resources into modes that can be utilized, and transferred and converted to capital. Utilize-ability and transfer-ability is critical to any development endeavor.

Utilize-ability, transferability and convert-ability always require access to capital. Utilize-ability in particular is affected by the concepts of portability and present-ability. Can the product be easily carried? Is it packaged in such a manner that people want to have it?

Access to capital resources to implement the goals of the Living Community Systems is critical.

Every instance of access to capital requires the establishment of a crucial participatory platform. If this platform is not established, development becomes patronizing and less than desirable.

Capital released for the development of Living Community Systems should always be viewed as retrievable capital. This is based on the assumption that the true productive capital exist within the community. External input is simply a non consumable catalyst that must be retrieved after a successful reaction.

A true Living Community Systems is a reproducible system. It should give birth to another. Conscious effort should be made to write this process of reproduction into the DNA of any Living Community Systems initiated.

For instance, Community A has a comparative advantage in maize production, it is assisted by Group X to jumpstart its development process. Community A should be made to understand that the process is not complete until they assist Community B with beginning their own development process focused on cassava as the product of comparative advantage.

Access to Health
Community health and individual wellness is always strongly correlated. Whenever a group of people are granted access to healthcare, their productivity increases many folds.

People within the Living Community Systems should be made to pay for their health care on a graduated basis. Units and levels of payment must be determined by local realities. It is the responsibility of the leadership of the health system to think about possible ways to make the services affordable.

It is important to note that people have never objected to paying for health care services, it has just not been effectively conceived, managed and distributed.

Access to Education
Ideas live in the heart and ideas can be transferred anywhere there is an idealist and a willing receptor.

Teachers by their calling should be idealists and young people all over the world have been proven to be eager receptors of ideas.

Living Community Systems requires the mobilization of Teacher – Idealists who will take their wards on a journey into the mysteries of learning.

Teaching where children actually learn is the focus of Living Community Systems. So what to teach has to be carefully conceived and systemized.

In Africa, teaching must be focused on facilitating change. Teaching must be an ideological tool, a place where active worldviews are communicated to the young ones.

This concept opposes the idea of a bland non – intrusive teaching philosophy that describes life as a pot-pouri within which you can choose what you will. The Choice of A Way must be taught.

For the Christian Mission program, education must be a conscious, active communication process that is driven by Christ Value.

The historical context of faith, the current context of commitment, the future implication of choice must be the pegs on which education hangs its theories.

What does AIDS Epidemics teach us about fidelity for instance? Or about commitment? Or about grace? Or about mercy? What does poverty teach us about creative work? What is the difference between working hard and working smart? How do we harness and optimize the ebbs and the flows of the seasons? What do the seasons teach us about pro-activity and innovation?

How does God see our communities? How does God matter within our situations? Pythagoras theorem must be made to show how Jesus is the Lord (and it does!).

There are many things in which Africa needs change:
1. Our perspective on work
2. The ethos that we bring into the work place
3. Our perspective on wealth and our strategy for creating it.
4. Our perspective on the future and our strategy for sustaining it
5. Our perspective of current situations and our resilience in dealing with it.

Africans are extremely adaptable. We are specialists in hope but when it comes to the arena of faith, we are often low on gas.

Hope says it will come when it will come, but faith says it will come.

Faith says because I believe it will come, I plan for it, I work towards it, I save, I strategize, I look for opportunity to make it come, I create alliances to bring it to pass; I refuse to sit on a spot, I refuse to be walked over..

Mission agencies need to investigate the multidimensional power of faith that does
practical work.

Hope on the other hand says, because it will come when it will I have no control over it. Why should I plan for change, I have no control over the elements, I am powerless I am in fact defeated. I must needs escape! One day after all my experiences, it will come... I just don’t know the date and I am not willing to wait and ask.

Hope looks good on the surface but when it does not transition into faith, it is a deadly killer; it is not true biblical hope.

This is why it seems African are so hopeful but are yet faithless because what is termed hope is in fact fatalistic abandonment.

This fatalistic abandonment is due to historic experience of continuous disappointment and leadership failure which teaches the people not to trust.

Faithlessness therefore is a function of long term abuse and misuse experienced at the hands of historic leadership.

Restoration of faith will be a function of restoration of historic justice in leadership. What will be the systemic experience of the people if they truly experience justice and fairness in leadership? How will they react? These questions cannot be presumed upon, it must be discovered by experience; there must be a journey into trust.

The natural assumption in embarking on a process of systemic change is that you will be challenged and this indeed is true. There must be another consideration however or we will fall as a victim to the concept of fatalistic abandonment.

We must ask ourselves the following questions and keep their possibilities always before our eyes:
What if the Lord honors us in our attempt to bring change?
What if He heals the hearts of the people and teaches them to trust their leaders again?
What if there is a revolution of attitudes in the homesteads? What if men are given the power to rise above systemic and generational pain?

Anyone seeking to deal with the issues raised must assume that he will fail to make the mark– in some ways. But can we also believe also that we will succeed to change a few?

Can God turn a few into a group and a group into a community and a community into a nation? Can God create righteous nations?

I as an African believe passionately that HE CAN. Nations can arise in a day to serve the Lord: and what a joy it will be!

Faith must be at the root of every consideration for the work of change. It must be faith in a person, the person of Jesus our precious savior. God had faith in a world that was totally messed up and that has perfectly rejected him. It was a world where the killing of prophets was a sport and the name of God was a money making scheme. God had faith in people that rejected him despite the fact that he has spoken to them directly. He planted a righteous seed among these same people that rejected Him; He sent his only begotten son to bring healing through a people that could care less.

God will not stop challenging us to have faith for Africa. He wants us to believe in His ability to bring change into the seemingly hopeless situation. God believes still that Africa can be saved and we believe too. We believe that if we do our little bit in our little corners and we are faithful, God with His mighty hand will bring to pass a mighty touch and cause His light to shine to the Nations.

And to them that live
in the valley of shadow of death,
the light has shined.