Open Journal of Philosophy
2013. Vol.3, No.1A, 161-167
Published Online February 2013 in SciRes (
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 161
A Philosophical Evaluation of the Concept of African Freedom
Godwin Okaneme
Department of Philosophy and Religions, University of Abuja, Abuja, Nigeria
Received September 24th, 2012; r evised October 25th, 2012; accepted Nove mber 9th, 2012
Freedom is a key concept in universal affairs. It is so important in human affairs that individuals, coun-
tries and even continents cannot do without it. The term freedom is highly subjective as its meaning may
differ from one individual to another. It equally applies to countries and continents. This factor however
does not in any way reduce the philosophical importance of the concept of freedom and its critical role in
human affairs. This work evaluates the concept of African freedom based on Maduabuchi Dukor’s inci-
sive work on African freedom titled “African freedom: The freedom of philosophy”. The paper takes the
strong but painful position that Africa in not really free and gives reasons for this unfortunate scenario. It
further discusses the way out of the continent’s quagmire.
Keywords: Evaluation; Concept; Freedom; African; Predicament
A discussion on the concept of African freedom will defi-
nitely elicit some unbridled curiosity, as well as enthusiasm.
There is no doubt about this philosophical standpoint because
Africa represents so many things to so many people depending
on one’s ideological perspective. To the unrepentant colonizer
(the West), Africa is a continent baptized with progressive un-
derdevelopment making no visible efforts to extricate herself
from the shackles of backwardness and idiosyncrasies. To the
concerned citizens of the world, Africa is a continent that has
received a lot of cruelty particularly from Europe and the rest of
the developed world as a result of the deliberate activities aris-
ing from colonialism and its pernicious effects as well as neo-
For the African, the issues are even more hydra-headed and
problematic. While many Africans are quick and eager to heap
their problems and predicaments on the altar of colonialism,
many others yet reject this pessimistic viewpoint and are of the
strong opinion that African countries should stop blaming their
lack of development on colonialism and seek for positive ways
of moving their nations forward. In light of the fore-going, this
paper critically examines and evaluates the concept of African
freedom. While it does not totally rule out the factor of coloni-
alism as a strong force and contributor to African backwardness
and inherent lack of total freedom, it is of the considered opin-
ion that the issue of colonialism as a key factor and contributor
to African underdevelopment and lack of freedom has been
overtly and covertly over-flogged and that it is time that Afri-
cans start looking inwards and work assiduously towards the
development of the continent as well as working towards its
total freedom. This has become more imperative since no na-
tion or continent develops through protests and bemoaning past
injustices meted to it.
Philosophy: An Overview
The mere mention of the word philosophy elicits some
measures of anxiety as well as curiosity among people espe-
cially non-philosophers. Even among intellectuals, the subject
matter of philosophy is a subject of controversy. According to
Barbet (1990: p. 1):
The question “what is philosophy?” unlike the apparently
similar questions “what is history?” and “what is sci-
ence?” does not admit of a straight forward answer. In-
deed it would not be too much of an exaggeration to say,
paradoxically that the question is itself a philosophical
one-in so far as different philosophers tend to have dif-
ferent conceptions as to the nature of their chosen disci-
pline. Perhaps the best way of finding out what the vari-
ous answers are is to plunge straight in and “do” philoso-
Abel (2004: p. 1) seems to echo the same opinion as Barbet
when he asserted:
That the ancient Greek thinkers who explored fundamen-
tal questions about the world and about human existence
called themselves philosophers “lovers of wisdom”. They
took time to stop and wonder about such things as the na-
ture of the universe, the purpose of life and the meaning
of “good” and “bad” in their search for wisdom, they were
not content to rely on answers provided by religious and
cultural tradition; they used reason and evidence gained
from their own experience to formulate new hypotheses.
Although not all the Greek philosophers thought it possi-
ble to find the ultimate answers to their questions, they all
believed that the very activity of seeking wisdom is highly
According to Onigbinde (2009: p. 1):
Most people probably have never bothered to know how
philosophy can, and does touch their lives. Some simple
examples may help show some connections between phi-
losophy and human life. When someone in anger, blames
the world for his misfortunes, he states unconsciously, ba-
sic belief. When someone declares his love of life, in
some joyous moments, he too expresses a view of the
world in general. Of course, statements like these need not
to be final as they might later be modified or totally
The essence or importance of philosophy to humanity cannot
be over-emphasized. Indeed philosophy is of so much essence
in the world. Without ideas which are the hallmark of philoso-
phy, the world may not move forward or make meaningful or
tangible progress. In the words of Okeke (2001: p. 10) “phi-
losophy is considered an indispensable knowledge in all human
endeavours and in the human society. Philosophy is indeed a
rational enterprise and is a very important discipline in the
world. The reasons for this stand are not far-fetched. In our
world of today filled with mysteries and confusions, there is
every need for us to ask questions. This is emphatically where
the role of the philosopher comes to the fore. This is where the
views of Immanuel Kant, a very notable German philosopher
are apt. According to Kant, philosophy asks four basic ques-
tions, what can I know?”, What ought I to do?” What can I
hope for?” and what is man?” Without reason, man could be
said to be an empty being devoid of rationality and may not
make rational and positive contributions towards the betterment
of his immediate environment. Indeed it is rationality that
places man above other beings in the world and it is through his
rationality, that man transforms his environment and surround-
ing from what it is to what it ought to be. Philosophy indeed
provides man with the necessary intellectual capacity to make
necessary and contingent contributions towards the betterment
of his society. It indeed equips him to have a guided outlook on
life by examining issues more critically and rationally which
enables him to have a proper focus thus helping him to make
positive contributions to issues that confront him and others in
their daily lives.
It must be noted here that it is not being advocated that phi-
losophy has solutions to all human problems. Indeed that will
be a serious misconception for neither philosophy nor any other
course of study for that matter has all solutions to numerous
human challenges. Problems are indeed part and parcel of hu-
man existence and a world without problems is indeed incon-
ceivable. Problems indeed help to expose the intellectual char-
acter of man for it is in discovering problems that confront his
daily existence and finding enduring solutions to them on regu-
lar basis that his intellectual capacity as a thinking being is
exposed and appreciated.
Freedom: What Is It?
Freedom as a concept has assumed an enviable and important
position in man’s social and political life that it features daily in
man’s frequent and arduous task of asserting himself in the
world. Among countries and continents of the world, freedom
is severally talked about consciously or unconsciously, know-
ingly or unknowingly covertly or overtly. According to the
New International Webster’s Comprehensive Dictionary of the
English Language (2004: p. 503), freedom means exemption or
liberation from slavery or imprisonment. It further defines it as
exemption from political restraint or autocratic control. Free-
dom stands for something greater than just the right to act justly
within the confines of the law. It also stands for securing to
everyone an equal opportunity for life, liberty and the total and
unrestricted pursuit of happiness all through one’s life. In the
words of Dukor (2010: p. 1), “The concept of freedom itself is a
nebulous concept. It has often been discussed and written about
as an abstract concept and in some other contexts; it is viewed
as a socio-political praxis”. Okolo (1988: p. 254) views free-
dom as very cogent issue in human affairs. According to him:
Freedom is not easy to define even though it has always
been a prime value among men and constitutes a watch-
word among revolutionaries all over the world. There is
perhaps no other political idea with as much import in
practical action.
Ramose (2011: p. 1) views freedom from an ontological per-
spective. According to him:
Freedom is coeval with human existence. Freedom was a
lived human experience long before wise words were
spoken about it or erudite treatises written on it. Freedom
was known wherever human beings lived. Freedom is not,
in the first place, a hollow abstract concept subsisting in
the metaphysical world of Platonic ideas. If it were such a
concept then it would be separated from the human being,
waiting to be seized and grasped by whoever cared to
travel the metaphysical world of Plato’s ideas. For us,
freedom is rooted in the ontology of an embodied human
being. It is the concrete lived reality of the human being,
in a complex web of relationships, to stay alive in the un-
folding ad incessantly changing con d i ti o n s of life.
In the words of Adler (1968: p. 5), “it (freedom) has been the
battle cry of revolutionists and counter-revolutionists, of re-
formers and anarchists, of utopists and men who fear all fo-
rums of enthusiasm”. Hannah Arendt (1977: p. 153) equates
freedom with the human condition for according to her, “as
long as they act, neither before nor after, for to be free and to
act are the same.
What therefore in essence is freedom? According to Jean-
Paul Sartre, a notable French Existentialist philosopher, “free-
dom is what you do with what has been done to you”. This
could be termed a faulty definition of the true concept of free-
dom since it reduces or limits the exercise of freedom to a reac-
tionary concept instead of making it a proactive issue. For an-
other French philosopher, Charles De Montesquieu, a great
political thinker, “freedom is the right to do what the law per-
mits. The above definition provides us with a rational percep-
tion of what freedom truly is. A society that is free is that
whose individuals have the unfettered power to take their des-
tiny in their hands and who are ready to chart their own course
without recourse to external interference or being teleguided
directly or indirectly from outside their environment. Such a
society could be a self defined and self-driven one owing no
allegiance whatsoever to any foreign power or domination.
Again, a society that could be said to be free is one that has the
rule of law at its beck and call. Freedom also implies that the
citizens of a given state live most responsibly within the con-
fines of the law. It is the right conduct of citizens in a state that
can guarantee law and order in that state. It is a clear fact that
the degree of freedom that is available to citizens in any given
state is a function of the degree of responsibility demonstrated
by the citizens of that state for one cannot hope for a free state
where citizens conduct their affairs outside the norms of their
society. Such a situation could only lead to lawlessness and
One’s freedom must not infringe on the freedom of another
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
citizen for the freedom of a citizen begins where that of another
stops. It is therefore of utmost importance that citizens respect
the freedom of their fellow citizens for there to be peace and
harmony and an egalitarian society. This implies that citizens
must conduct their affairs with utmost decorum and avoid un-
necessary frictions capable of leading to a breakdown of law
and order. This will also mean that citizens make certain sacri-
fices to ensure that there is peace and harmony in the state.
African Conception of Freedom: An Appraisal
The way Africans conceive freedom is very unique and quite
different from the way it is seen in the West. Africans conceive
freedom from a communalistic perspective while the Europeans
conceive it from the individualistic realm or perspective. Ac-
cording to Dukor (2010: p. 3):
No less important is the African Traditional conception of
freedom and its implication for African freedom from
European domination. There is African conception of
freedom extant in the underlying principle of African po-
litical philosophy called communalism and in a popular
conception of individual personal gods among the Afri-
cans. Analytically speaking therefore, African conception
of freedom can be traced to a realm of ideas bordering on
African communalistic ideology and her conception of
personal god. African man is understood and explained in
terms of his integration in a network of relationships in
the society among the individuals and their relationship to
the past, present and future generations.
African freedom is deeply enshrined in our communalist en-
deavors. African communities are strongly fashioned from a
typical communal perspective. The well-being and prosperity of
the community is of utmost importance to the individual in the
African context and in most cases, the individual subjugate his
comfort to the comfort of the community. This is embarked
upon on the assumption that if the community is comfortable,
then the citizens of that community must be comfortabl e as well.
This is usually a natural flow. When there is turmoil in the
community, the peace of the citizens of that community is
compromised. Dukor (2010: p. 4) seem to have captured this
point vividly when he wrote:
In other words, freedom in Africa means harmonizing
one’s actions (political and social) with the society’s
norms and values which of course means that there is
never an absolute freedom from an African point of view.
In summary, African conception of freedom differs remarka-
bly from the Western conception of freedom. While the African
conception of freedom views freedom from a total communal-
istic perspective, the Western conception of freedom views
freedom purely from an individualistic perspective. In this
sense, the individual does not subject his freedom to the state
but obeys the laws of the state willingly as a law- abiding citi-
zen. This is a marked departure from the African perception of
freedom that sees freedom from a communalistic point of view.
Is Africa Really Free?
This is indeed a critical and challenging question that will
elicit a lot of comments from various sides of the divide. This
will surely depend on the perspective from which any scholar
or thinker sees it. Whenever this very critical question is raised,
many African patriots and scholars are quick to answer in the
affirmative. While such patriots and scholars need to be com-
mended for their unalloyed patriotism, the truth that stares us in
the face is that Africa as a continent is not completely and to-
tally free. Africa we are told from the historical perspective is
the cradle of world civilization. Unfortunately for the continent
of Africa, things have gone so awry that despite her numerous
natural and human resources, she has continued to struggle to
find her feet among other continents of the world in social,
economic and political issues. Poverty remains an endemic
challenge in the continent and many countries in Africa are so
poor and lean heavily on grants and aids from Western nations
for survival. This surely cannot be a sign of freedom at all at
least from a critical and objective perspective.
Evaluation of Africa’s Predicaments
The African continent of today is enmeshed in tumultuous
crises of incredible dimensions. Okolo (2003: p. 3) asserts that:
Africa is not only the home of the black people but their
home-base as well, in the sense that in actual fact, the
continent contains the heaviest concentration of black
people in the world. Consequently to speak about the Af-
rican condition, the powerlessness or the impotence of the
black man in Africa in a strong way speaks on the reason
or reasons for the powerlessness, exploited and exploit-
able conditions of the blacks in Diaspora too.
Oladipo (2007: p. 147) seemingly agrees with the above view
when he asserts that:
Africa today is confronted with an enormous develop-
mental challenge which is composed of a myriad of inter-
locking elements. In the first place, she has not been able
to reconstruct her societies in a manner that can empower
her peoples to realize their human potentials in a signifi-
cant manner. Secondly, she has failed to achieve the kind
of cultural rebirth that can ensure that her encounters with
other cultures are mutually enriching rather than socially
destabilizing. In other words, Africa today is not only
confronted with the problem of dwindling opportunities
for social development and self-fulfillment, she is also
faced with a serious problem of cultural dislocation in-
volving a loss of capacity for deliberate, self-initiated
change. In general, she has fallen behind in the develop-
mental process. Hence, the socio-cultural situation in Af-
rica today is largely one of risk—particularly the risk of
humiliation and poverty as a result of continuous under-
development and social decay—and anxiety about the
possibility of the continent ever being able to evolve an
industrial civilization, which would enable her to achieve
economic prosperity for her peoples and ensure that her
encounters with other societies are ones of genuine part-
nership rather than of dependence and exploitation.
One of the greatest predicaments of the African continent is
the issue of slavery. Prior to the independence of most African
countries, many Africans were forcefully bundled into Europe
and America through the inhuman slave trade. They were used
for slave labour in farms and were subjected to inhuman treat-
ments and were equally forced to work for very long hours
without food and water in some cases. Needless to recount that
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Africa lost a lot of her citizens to slavery. The question that will
arise here is: What is the effect of the slave trade on the present
African predicament? It will amount to belabouring the obvious
to state that slavery and slave trade impacted and has continued
to impact negatively on Africa as a continent. Through the ob-
noxious and inhuman trade, Africa lost a lot of her citizens to
Europe and America and many of them died in the process of
being ferried across in most inhuman conditions while those
who could not withstand the harsh weather and unbearable
conditions simply gave up the ghost while on the journey to the
Whiteman’s land. Perhaps, it will not be out of place to assert
that if there was no slave trade and slavery, our brothers that
were forcefully taken into Europe and America would have
stayed back to contribute their own quota towards the devel-
opment of the continent of Africa. Africa could have been bet-
ter off. Perhaps this is where the proponents of the payment of
reparation to Africa by Europe and America have a very strong
case. However, it must be stated clearly that even if no mone-
tary payment is made to the nations of Africa as fallout of the
obnoxious and inhuman slave trade, Africa at least deserves an
unreserved apology from both Europe and America for force-
fully taking her citizens into slavery which is morally reprehen-
sible and psychologically dehumanizing. No amount of postu-
lations or arguments can fault this position as it is an existential
truism for all times.
Closely related to the concept of slavery is the problem of
colonialism in Africa. Many nations of Africa were forcefully
colonized by Western nations and the effects of such forceful
colonization are very visible in every nook and cranny of the
continent even up till today.
Oraegbunam (2006: p. 228) sums it up thus:
Western colonialism is certainly an important event in Af-
rica’s history. Although ended some decades ago, coloni-
alism inaugurated a crisis of the post-colonial African iden-
tity. Every colonial project involves a contact between
two cultures in which one establishes a control and ap-
plies pressure over the other with the effect that the for-
mer seeks to change in some degree the way of life of the
latter. But because culture is the totality of a people’s way
of life, the enormous impact of colonialism which consists
in “directed change” cannot be over emphasized. It nor-
mally results in a conflict of cultures and identity crisis.
There is no gainsaying the fact that colonialism surely con-
tributed a lot to the underdevelopment of the African continent
as many nations of the continent were economically despoiled
through it. It is worthy of note that many nations of Africa are
still suffering the effects of colonialism many years after they
had achieved political independence from their colonial mas-
Closely related to colonialism is the concept of neo-coloni-
alism. As the name critically and logically implies, neo-colon-
ialism is a new form of colonialism in Africa. Neo-colonialism
can be defined as the continuation of the economic model of
colonialism after a colonized territory has achieved formal po-
litical independence from its colonial master. This concept has
mostly been applied commonly to Africa especially since the
twentieth century till date. Even after most African countries
have achieved political independence from their colonial mas-
ters, these colonial masters still held these countries in bondage
by strangulating them economically. Before the extraction of
mineral resources in some of these countries came on board, the
economies of these countries were heavily dependent on agri-
culture. These agricultural products were expropriated and ex-
ported to the sole benefit of the colonial masters to the great
disadvantage of those African countries that produced them.
Till today, the Western nations have held the nations of Africa
in bondage through the obnoxious and repressive economic
policies of the International Monetary Fund (I.M.F.) and the
World Bank.
Another angle to the issue of neo-colonialism is the issue of
foreign aid to African countries. These aids come mainly from
Western nations and America. The inability of most African
nations to grow their economics after independence as a result
of the deliberate economic blockades from these colonial mas-
ters made it inevitable for these helpless African nations to seek
foreign aids willy-nilly. Accepting these loans from Western
nations and America by these African nations made them eco-
nomically sterile as their economies gradually crumbled. Most
of these loans were given out at very high interest rates pur-
posely to cripple these young African nations economically.
The repayment of these loans has contributed significantly to
the dwindling of the economies of most African nations today.
Worthy of note is the striking fact that some of these African
nations never requested for these loans but were convinced or
cajoled into taking them to their own great disadvantage. An-
other critical issue is the fact that some criminally-minded and
corrupt heads of state in Africa collected these loans on behalf
of their countries and never utilized them for any meaningful
developmental purposes. Rather, they embezzled these loans
and ironically stashed them away in foreign banks in Europe
and America to the great advantage of these foreign nations and
to the great disadvantage of their impoverished nations. Sadly,
this trend has become a recurring decimal even up till today in
most African countries.
Apart from the issue of taking foreign loans by African na-
tions, another serious aspect of neo-colonialism is brain drain.
Many highly qualified and intellectually advanced man-power
in Africa today are tempted to take up jobs in Europe and
America. The temptation comes in the form of wonderful social
security’s and irresistible and mouth-watering salaries. As a
result of poor economies that has become the sad lot of so many
African nations today; many African nations cannot maintain
their highly qualified work force. They therefore end up mi-
grating to Europe and America where they get better job offers
with favourable working conditions. Many of them never come
back and their nations become the ultimate losers. It is sad to
recall that many highly qualified African engineers, medical
doctors, nurses, lawyers and teachers have taken employment in
developed nations of Europe and America to the detriment of
their home nations. As a result of this unfortunate saga, African
nations suffer till today the negative effects of brain drain with
Western nations bein g t he ultimate gain ers.
Perhaps one of the greatest and most visible impediments to
African freedom and development today is the perennial loss of
cultural identity among the different nations that make up the
continent. Commenting on the full import of this anomaly,
Wiredu (1995: p. 33) asserts that:
Contemporary African experience is marked by a certain
intellectual anomaly. The African today, as a rule, lives in
a cultural flux characterized by a confused interplay be-
tween an indigenous cultural heritage and a foreign cul-
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
tural legacy of a colonial origin. Implicated at the deepest
reaches of this cultural amalgam is the superimposition of
Western conceptions of the good upon African thought
and conduct. The issues involved here are of the utmost
existential urgency; for it may well be that many of the
instabilities of contemporary African society are traceable
to this circumstance.
Culture according to Anigbo (1988: p. 25) entails:
All the qualities which group men together and distin-
guish them from the rest of the animal kingdom. The most
basic aspect of that is the capability of man to communi-
cate and receive back information from one another. This
can be within and through all human groups.
For Kroeber (1963: p. 132):
The cultures of the world, past and present form an inter-
connected continuum, and it is somewhat arbitrary to di-
chotomize this continuum on the one specific issue of
whether peculiar cultures do or do not have writing and to
call them civilized or uncivilized accordingly.
It would not be out of place to assert that Africa as a conti-
nent has suffered from loss of cultural identity as a result of the
contact some of her citizens have had with Europeans. Many
Africans for instance will prefer bearing foreign names than
answering their indigenous names which will portray fully their
identity. It is therefore not surprising today that many Africans
can no longer be recognized by the names they bear. The same
applies also to the food we eat. Many Africans these days will
prefer eating foreign foods rather than eat their local delicacies.
It is equally noticeable in how we dress. We abhor our local
wears that portray our rich cultural heritage in order to dress
like Europeans, irrespective of whether such clothes suit our
climatic conditions or not.
It must be stressed though sadly, that Africa has been largely
affected by the virus of ignorance and poverty ravaging the
entire continent today. Many African children who are of
school age are out of school due to the obvious fact that their
parents cannot afford to pay school fees for them and also buy
their books to keep them in school. Such children are thus left
behind in a world that is highly knowledge driven and dynamic
in character as well. This surely accounts for the reason why
crime is on the increase in all the nooks and crannies of the
continent without any visible hope of mitigation.
One of the most dangerous trends in Africa today is the po-
litical crises that are ravaging some African countries. Some
African countries like Mali, Somalia, Ethiopia, Algeria, Libya,
Ivory Coast and Sudan have undergone one type of crisis or the
other. Some of these crises in some cases are fomented and
sustained from outside the continent mainly for political and
economic reasons. Such crises have continued to impact very
negatively on the continent’s corporate image.
Redressing the African Condition
It is an agreed existential truism that the African condition is
that filled with fear, despair, hopelessness and retrogression. It
is a condition of purposelessness, cluelessness and visionless
political leadership that has spread like wildfire in many coun-
tries that make up the continent. As a result of selfish and
self-seeking political leadership in many countries of Africa,
military intervention have become a common feature in many
African countries despite the fact that democracy has been
widely accepted as the most popular form of government in
many countries of the world today.
If Africa must develop and take her place among other con-
tinents of the world, then there is the dire and compelling need
to redress squarely the pitiable and dehumanizing conditions
prevalent in most countries in the continent. Many scholars of
African descent have expressed their views on this. According
to Okolo (1993: p. 1):
If the African is to win his current battle for progress and
development or hopes to overcome his psychological, so-
cial and political predicament, he must, it seems to me,
equip himself with genuine self-knowledge and self-un-
derstanding. It must however be said of him that perhaps
no race or cultural group in modern times has taken the
Delphic injunction, “know thyself”, more seriously than
the African.
One of the greatest challenges of the African continent that
needs to be redressed is the issue of underdevelopment preva-
lent in all nooks and crannies of the continent. According to
Terfa (2006: p. 175).
Development in Africa has been growing at a very slow
pace. There are many factors responsible for this kind of
regression or stagnation. These are; the colonial legacy,
social pluralism and its centrifugal tendencies, the corrup-
tion of leaders, poor labour discipline, lack of entrepre-
neurial management, inappropriate policies, the stifling of
market mechanisms, low level of technical assistance, the
limited inflow of foreign capital, falling commodity prices
and unfavourable terms of trade and low level of saving
and investment.
For Otonti Nduka (2006: p. 4):
The quest for development is, on the other hand, the total-
ity of the concerted efforts made by individual societies to
overcome weakness by acquiring increasing control over
the forces of nature thereby progressively eliminating the
centuries-old scourges of poverty, ignorance and disease
and making life on earth more worth living. This quest is
both perennial and universal.
Perhaps, it will not be out of place to assert that for Africa to
develop as a continent and be able to catch up with the rest of
the continents of the world, education of her citizens must be
pursued aggressively and vigorously. The type of education
being advocated here is that which has a pragmatic approach
that can equip African youths with the knowledge and self-
confidence to move the continent forward. Again, the issue of
diseases ravaging the entire length and breadth of the continent
must be addressed. It is highly unacceptable that in this age of
scientific and technological development, common ailments
like malaria and wild polio virus still ravage the continent.
One of the greatest problems plaguing the African continent
is the poverty of political leadership. Commenting on this, Du-
kor (2003: p. 22) says:
African people are stuck in their quest to wholly democra-
tize. The much-sought social, political and economic
transformation is recurrently elusive. The military leader-
ship across the length and breadth of the Blackman’s land
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 165
holds the democratic testing of the people to ransom.
However, African revolution is an ideal proclaimed by
African leaders at the very beginning of the waves of in-
dependence. But today, it is obvious from the economic
hardships and political instability pervading the Black-
man’s land that a truly African revolution is being waited
in vain as there exist gaps between rhetoric and reality in
the even much bandied path to economic and political re-
It will be worthwhile to state that no other continent in the
world have suffered more from poor political leadership than
Africa. This unfortunate and sad reality is captured by Dukor
(2006: p. 215) when he stated that:
Developing countries of Africa are still battling with the
problem of governance which results to political instabil-
ity, unaccountability, embezzlement, graft, etc in business
and social life. Corporate citizenship role in this scenario
is developing personalities in the industries, organizations
and governments who are patriotically and culturally ca-
pable of injecting ideas and integrity in governance.
Closely related to the problem of poor political leadership in
the African continent is the problem of endemic political cor-
ruption prevalent among many countries in Africa. There is no
gainsaying the fact that political corruption is one of the great-
est challenges of political leadership in the continent and it has
impacted very negatively on many countries in Africa leading
to progressive underdevelopment in the continent. If Africa will
be free, the issue of corruption especially among the political
class which tends to consciously under develop the continent
must be addressed. Political leaders in Africa must be taught
afresh the gains of altruism and selflessness in political leader-
ship as opposed to the current graft mentality that is prevalent
among the political class in most countries of the continent now.
The issue of incessant and unbridled quest for materialistic
acquisition of wealth is another major challenge that must be
addressed for Africa to move forward. Okolo (1994: p. 10)
throws more light on this issue when he asserts that:
For more enlightenment on the nature of consumer society,
one dominated by acquisitive instinct, we briefly point to
its major characteristics. The first is unproductive spend-
ing. Wealth exhibitionism is usually the name of the game.
Social importance, prestige and power are usually con-
ceived in terms of material wealth and possessions. Pur-
chasing instincts prac t ically dominate individual lives.
Speaking further on this, Okolo (1993: p. 33) asserts that:
Materialistic values and aspirations are so fleeting, often
disappointing. They ultimately fail to satisfy man whose
nature clamours for higher, more lasting values. Quality,
not quantity of life is what truly enriches and satisfies
African political leaders must teach the masses the need for
cultivating higher values of selflessness and service to human-
ity as opposed to the negative value of primitive acquisition of
wealth. However, since it is always said that example is better
than precepts, it is expected that African polotical leaders
should lead by example by living moderate lives visible to all
and sundry to enable the masses follow their examples. It will
be hopeless for our political leaders to preach that the citizens
should adopt moderate live-styles while they (the political lead-
ers) live very horrible and ostentatious lives.
The African continent has been bedeviled by challenges of
various magnitudes. This is a very glaring fact that is alluded to
by various African scholars like Uroh (2007: p. 52), Bamikole
(2007: p. 23), Offor (2006: p. 120), Oladipo (2006: p. 59) and
Lauer (2007: p. 121). While it is agreed that Africa as a conti-
nent has suffered so much in the hands of her various colonial
masters, it has no reason to continue blaming others for her
misfortunes many years after ac hieving political independence.
It is time for Africa to take positive and practical steps forward.
The political leaders of the various nations that make up the
continent of Africa should provide positive, effective, effectual
transparent and pragmatic political leadership devoid of self-
ishness and self-serving motives and objectives. This will cer-
tainly be the first practical step towards the real development of
the continent.
It will also be worthwhile to state that the various nations of
Africa should strive for economic freedom. This they can
achieve by shifting emphasis from consumption to production
which will help to boost their economies and also conserve
their scarce resources. Citizens of Africa, especially those who
are exceptionally gifted should be patriotic enough to stay back
in their various countries and contribute their own quota to-
wards the development of their nations instead of migrating to
Europe and America in search of greener pastures at the slight
opportunity. It is sad to recall that some of the best doctors,
nurses, engineers, lawyers and even teachers from Africa are
found in Europe and America. Africans in Diaspora have con-
tributed immensely towards the development of their host na-
tions. It will not be out of place to ask such illustrious and ex-
ceptionally endowed citizens of Africa to come home and help
develop their home lands.
Though it has been reiterated time and again that Africa is
not totally free, it is the longing and yearning of all true citizens
of Africa that the continent become truly free and exhibit real
qualities and characteristics of a truly free people. It is sad and
frustrating to live in a continent where most people are so dis-
pirited, disenchanted, disoriented and hopeless. For such people,
living means not dying for there is little or nothing to hope for.
This surely is a sign of a continent not yet truly liberated from
the shackles of bondage, slavery, colonialism and neo-colonial-
ism. The greatest freedom that will accrue to Africa is the free-
dom to define ourselves, our possibilities and our limitations
and the opportunity to assert ourselves as key players and con-
tributors to the global community. Since no nation or continent
obtains freedom on a platter of gold, Africa should not expect
to achieve true freedom without a fight. It may not necessarily
be a physical combat but an ideological one where the African
is expected to assert his humanity and raise his head high
among the rest of the free people of the universe. It is when and
only when this is achieved that it can be said with all certainty
that Africa has become truly free. We eagerly wait for this time
to come.
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