Thursday, August 3, 2017 1:40PM/Temitope Oshikoya
It is a privilege and an honour to be asked to serve as a reviewer of the book “TRANSFORMATIVE PARADIGMS IN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT” by Chief Bisi Ogunjobi.
I have known Chief Ogunjobi for upward of 25 years. He has always been a mentor to me since my days at the African Development Bank, where I spent 15 years of my professional career starting as an Economist and leaving as a Director, and where Chief Ogunjobi spent 30 years of his professional career rising to become a Vice President.
I was also actively involved in Chief Ogunjobi’s campaign for the Presidency of the AfDB in 2005. Following the election, Dr. Donald Kaberuka, who became President of the AfDB promoted me to the position of a Director. Why? He felt that I am an intelligent, honest and brave person who had the courage to stand up for what he believes in. I stood up for Chief Ogunjobi during his campaign because he had a vision for Africa and the AfDB.
Drawing from the 2005 AfDB campaign experience, I wrote an article on “The Race for the AfDB Presidency in April 2015 in the Guardian and other Nigerian Newspapers. I articulated the strategy for Dr. Akinwumi Adesina to win the Presidency of the AfDB, noting that South Africa would be the kingmaker this time around. A week after the article, President Buhari sent Vice President Atiku to meet the South African President to solicit his support for Nigeria.
In the article, I noted how five candidates would be eliminated, while candidates from Nigeria, Cape Verde and Chad would end up toward the final rounds based on geo-politics, linguistic factors, regional and non-regional interests. The election went exactly as I had predicted and the rest is history. Dr. Adesina is today the President of the AfDB!
I am pleased to note that while Chief Ogunjobi did not win the Presidency at that time even though he won 67% of the African votes, he laid a good foundational platform for another Nigerian, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina to become the President of the AfDB.
We are proud of both of them!
We cannot discuss Africa and AfDB without mentioning our Special Guest of Honour, President Olusegun Obasanjo, who spearheaded the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD), working with the Presidents of Algeria, South Africa, and Senegal.
President Obasanjo was also instrumental in the creation of the Nigerian Trust Fund managed by the AfDB and the Africa Finance Corporation, which celebrated its 10th anniversary earlier this year. I was the pioneer Chief Economist of Africa Finance Corporation.
I took this detour on Chief Ogunjobi, Dr. Adesina, and former President Obasanjo to remind us about the importance of Transformative Leadership and Paradigms, which this book, we all gather here for today, is all about.
Title and Themes of The Book
The title of this book is a powerful statement. The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) notes that a Transformational approach or leader is more change-oriented and future-oriented, while a Transactional approach or leader is concerned about working within the status quo.
There are five themes to this Book
First, Development implies economic structural transformation and occurs when countries adopt new activities and shift from less productive activities to more productive ones across different economic sectors. Chapter 12 on Quest for the Diversification of the Nigerian Economy explores this theme. Chapters 1-4 on Resources, Food Security, Capacity Building, NEPAD and Regional Integration also touch upon the theme of structural transformation
The second theme is detailed in Chapter 11 on Good Governance: A Tool for Sustainable Development, where Chief Ogunjobi explores the linkages among governance, conflict, corruption, peace and economic development. He then proffers suggestions for fostering participation, strengthening parliament, legal and judicial reforms.
The third theme of the book relates to how quality physical infrastructure reduces cost of doing business and creates a competitive environment for businesses to thrive. Chapter 5 deals with Air Transportation, while Chapters 13-16 are devoted to the roles of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) in tackling the huge housing deficits. Chief Ogunjobi has served as chairman of the FMBN.
The fourth theme is that development is about people. Investing in people is critical to structural transformation. Chapters 17-20 are devoted to this theme.
As Chief Ogunjobi observes in Chapter 17 on Transformative Power of Education “human capacity formation transcends mere acquisition of intellectual ability and formal education. Investment in education not only ensures sustainable manpower and capacity building, but also empowers the poor to utilize their assets (labour) more effectively and productively.”
The fifth theme is on the roles of the African Development Bank as a key partner in mobilizing technical and financial resources for structural transformation in Africa. Chapters 7-10 focus on these roles of the AfDB. In this context, Dr. Adesina has developed the High Five Strategic Priorities for deepening AfDB roles in Africa that dovetail the five themes of this book.
Ian Reifowitz, in his 2011 book, Obama's America: A Transformative Vision of Our National Identity” observes that in “facing terrorism, violent fundamentalism, and other security issues, Obama’s response centers on a powerful, inspiring, and truly inclusive American narrative.”
In the same vein, Chief Ogunjobi’s TRANSFORMATIVE PARADIGMS IN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT is a powerful, inspiring, and truly African narrative for inclusive development of Africa and Nigeria in particular.
I highly recommend this book.
Thank you for listening
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