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Saturday, September 24, 2016

Rich Nuggets of Practical Experiences for African Development


TITLE: AFRICA: The Game Changers & Dynamics of Power
Author: Femi Adelegan
Publishers: Terrific Investments & Consulting
No of Pages: 333 Sized 10×8
Reviewer: Kayode Oladeji
A new book titled: Africa: The Game Changers & Dynamics of Power, was presented to the public as part of activities marking the 60th birthday anniversary of a veteran publicist, retired public administrator, author and politician, Femi Adelegan whose technocratic instincts have kept him in the ‘’corridors of power’’ for over two decades.
Written by an experienced bureaucratic player, the compilation is a comprehensive review of some fundamental issues in the governance of African nations from the perspective of a participant-observer in governments, by a personality who has been able to assimilate and acquire a great deal of practical knowledge in governments.
Adelegan’s very wide exposure places him in the class of conscientious commentators, creative counsellors, and intellectual advocates of change, who has paid his dues and discharged his duties remarkably well, so efficiently, and so charmingly, in the various sensitive political positions in which the author has served the nation.
An overview of Adelegan’s new 16-chapter publication indicates that in the past six decades, there has been an increased resolve by successive African leaders to open a new vista in the continent’s life, including the resolve of political leaders to institute various mechanisms designed to promote the concept of best governance practices and carry out necessary reforms that are crucial ingredients of a new dawn; and that Africa’s political leaders are trying strenuously, and sometimes violently to reposition the continent.
The publication notes that in the diverse natured and complex political entities, there have been political readjustments for the purpose of promoting good governance, which is obviously the solution to the myriad of problems confronting African nations.
Published by Messrs Terrific Investmen and Consulting, the book has its foreword written by former President Olusegun Obasanjo who notes that “Pervasive corruption, sometimes aided by the developed nations, is an obstacle to the realisation of the key objectives of African nations”.
Terrorism and conflicts have become pronounced and have assumed dangerous dimensions. Underdevelopment has also been promoted largely by incoherent implementation of policies, and institutional reforms, for the enforcement of rules and regulations introduced for the economic and political transformation of Third World countries.
But all hope is not lost. “Of notable importance is the increasing political awareness of Africans, who are becoming very much interested in accountability, transparency and good governance. Indeed, Africans are now determined, more than ever before, to take their fate in their own hands, in order to advance socio-economic and political development, which is the most potent way of developing the continent.”
Perceptively, Adelegan, in the book AFRICA: The Game Changers & Dynamics of Power, treats issues pertaining to political governance in Africa, and suggests the necessary changes that should be firmly embedded into the process of governance in the continent, which is believed to be at the threshold of its breakthrough.
The compilation treats diverse issues on the economy of Africa that could be addressed by African nations for sustainable growth, including the role of African entrepreneurs, various acts of philanthropy, redistribution of income, as well as the requirements and need to embrace corporate social responsibility more than ever before by rich African entrepreneurs.
The preface, contributed by Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, a former United Nations Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs, notes that “the author highlights such important requirements as the need to reawaken political leaders on the importance of good governance to societal development, encourage efforts towards the re-evaluation and proper utilization of the economic fortunes of Africa and the Black race, and also stimulate actions towards the reduction of the digital divide that impacts the black race through the proper implementation of the globalization agenda.
The new book treats issues that could heighten cooperation between developing and developed nations, and also make them embrace the needed changes that must be constructed into the process of governance and international relations; and particularly, recommends improvements in the political and bureaucratic systems of African nations.”
Emeritus Prof. Michael Abiola Omolewa who served as the President of the 32nd Session of UNESCO General Conference in his prologue asserts that “This invaluable book locates the essence of the commitment and realities of the regenerative efforts of the African Union that is at the vanguard of energising Africa for the attainment of common set-goals and objectives of member-nations.
“Furthermore, this compilation suggests the necessary changes that should be firmly embedded into the process of governance. It is most gratifying that Femi Adelegan has been able to identify the types of institutional arrangements that are essential for socio-political and economic development of Africa; and reinforces the consensus about the immediate and long-term goals of the continent.
“The author articulates Africa’s democratic experiments and major political upheavals, and also suggests practical ways of eliminating problems of chronic poverty, poor political strategies, and the imbalance in the global economy, from a broad comparative and development direction.”
Themes and sub-themes of the new compilation on Africa include examination of the problems of the continent, military intervention and conflicts, the role of the elites, peace building and sustenance, Globalization, the importance of good governance to democracy and development, evolving an enduring democratic culture and projections on the future of Africa. Adelegan’s background and broad horizon have evidently aided the practical and theoretical information contained in the publication.
The author remarks that “From my outing as a media practitioner engaged in agenda-setting and shaping other people’s opinions and views, to my appointment as Chief Press Secretary to four governors of Osun State, Nigeria, from January 1994 to January 2000; on to my duty tour as the Chief Private Secretary/Special Adviser on Policies, Programmes and Plans Implementation to the governor of Osun State, Nigeria, from June 2003 to November, 2010, I have been able to acquire a rich blend of knowledge and maturity, that should ordinarily assist my quest to demystify governance, what governments do, and the roles of occupants of political offices. “I have been able to keenly watch governance procedures and major actors in Governments, locally and abroad, from several prisms, and from the sidelines.
Additionally, I have been involved in decision-making in governments as an active participant in the process of political and economic development.”
The author concludes that ‘’Africa really has no real reason to be poor, had there been conscientious efforts, dedication and commitment on the part of Africans to build the continent as progressive societies, and also implement several initiatives capable of turning the situation around, while confronting serious challenges attributable to a poor governance culture.’’
Prof. Gambari captures the essence of the publication in his observation that “Without any doubt, Adelegan has enriched this book with rich nuggets of practical and theoretical experiences; utilizing the wide experiences acquired from his long walk in the corridors of power in Nigeria for over two decades and as a publicist, bureaucrat, writer and politician,’’ and goes ahead to recommend the book as essential reading for students and practitioners of politics, international relations, and history; as well as politicians and global power players in this era of globalization.
Similary, Prof, Omolewa expressed happiness that the book is being written at a time the global community is becoming more committed to multilateralism, and UNESCO is prepared for the Post-2015 global agenda commended this publication to the global community for reading, for a better understanding of Africa’s problems, potentials and endowments.
Omolewa says: “I feel convinced that those who share the aspirations of African nations, in particular, everyone who cherishes our joint commitment to building a peaceful, prosperous and more progressive polity, would find this book very revealing, refreshing and rewarding.” Personalities invited for the book presentation include top government functionaries, leaders of political parties across the board, key players in both the public and private sectors, and members of the academia.

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