National Building and Roles of Young African Writers
By Eze Andrew
1 week ago
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It has been generally acknowledged that African states have not lived up to expectation in their primary responsibilities. The yearning and struggling for good governance has remained unending and it should continue to be until social justice, equity, fairness roll down like a still-water and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
The rate of social injustice and other acts of man’s inhumanity to man are high in most African countries, which should not be allowed to continue to flourish. In most African countries there are high rate of child illiteracy, child labour, infant mortality, low standard of living, unemployment, religious extremism and intolerance, human rights abuses, ethnic hegemony and primordial sentiment, poverty, and other socio-political vices that are ravaging mankind on daily basis.
These acts call for holistic action to unravel and reposition the whole system through nation-building in Africa. By nation-building, we mean a process of enhancing or empowering the capacity of the state and its institutions in order to tackle and absolve all its systematic pressure and challenges. Nation-building is a process of making African states and their institutions to be result oriented, dynamic and to do away with status quo and other developmental constraints. This will enable the systems to be oriented towards change, and dynamic in approach rather than rigid and dogmatic. This can be achieved via human empowerment by encouraging individual initiation of new ideas, innovation and fair competition. People must be empowered, motivated, and encouraged to drive development in Africa and Nigeria in particular.
The questions are: what are the roles of young African writers in this immediate task of nation-building? Can they make positive input in the project? If yes: When and how? Or should they fold their arms and become onlookers? If they do not write on the acts, who will bring the issues to the limelight? Is it going to be the preceding generation that has failed them? These puzzles are endless and inexhaustible as far as the question of nation-building and roles of young African writers are concerned.
An African proverb tells us that “if you don’t stand for something, you will fall for something”. These show that the task of nation-building is a collective task for all, but young African writers have larger and indispensible roles to play. Hence, this is time for young African writers to do away with ethnicity, religious extremism and intolerance, to take bull by the horns, by knowing that their destiny is in their hands by breaking the jinx, by not following bad path of some past and present African leaders in order to conquer political and socio-economic regression that have befallen this continent. One of Igbo proverbs says “when a man says yes, his chi (personal god) says yes also”.
It is a task before young African writers to wake up, speak and write about these negatives trends of socio-political injustice and other societal ills in Africa. The importance of writing in human society cannot be overemphasized. It is through it that hidden iniquity can be exposed. It is through it that information passes across boundaries and generations. The reason why young African writers have big stake on this is because they are experiencing all these social ills daily and have not been integrated into the corrupt system to some extent.
Therefore, they are still political virgins. They can write freely with little or no element of partiality. Young African writers should see this “nation-building” as their task that they have to actualize successfully. The era of lamentation or politics of blame should be over. This is the era of holistic and pragmatic action to call any underserved or unwarranted action or inaction of our leaders to order via legitimate means by exposing the act through writing. Now should be the era of creative, logical and constructive writing among young African writers to right what has been wronged. This has become more important now than ever. This is because “he who wears shoes knows where it pitches him most”. Bad governance; it pitches us in all ramifications. People die in Africa in potentiality with untapped and unharnessed talent and skills. African youths have remained vulnerable to earth and its elements, instead of conquering and transforming them to their own benefit and that of humanity at large.
It is obvious that every generation has an era; the era of pre-colonialism, colonialism, nationalism (struggling for political independence), had all gone in Africa. This time is the era political consolidation, nation-building, and young African writers have to lead the battle. A writer writes because he/she has something to tell the world. Our society is marred by so many socio-political vices. Therefore they should capitalize on these vices in their writings. We should understand that the worst thing that can happen to any nation is to loss identity and self-respect. We all have stake in making Africa in general and Nigeria in particular to be great again by condemning what is condemnable and praising what is praiseable through insightful writing.[NewsNaira]
Young African Writers Eze Andrew Oforma
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