The period between the ages of 13 and 16 years in the life of a male child and between the ages of 11 and 14 years in the life of a female child is a period when parents should brace up to their parental duties to ensure that their wards grow up to become responsible citizens and adults. This period known as puberty is when sexual maturity occurs. This maturation is evidenced in females by the onset of menstruation, in males by the production of semen, and in both by the enlargement of their respective reproductive organs. Rapid growth occurs and is marked by a range of physiological changes. Various secondary sexual characteristics also appear for the first time during puberty; in males, production of body hair increases markedly, particularly in the pubic, axillary and facial regions, and the voice usually changes and becomes deeper in tone. In females, hair also appears in the pubic and axillary regions, and the breasts become enlarged.
Just as the parents are expected to brace up to their responsibilities, children also have major roles to play to ensure that they become the responsible adults the society expects them to be. In the first instance, children must accept that they need proper guidance and must deliberately follow wise counsel. Discreetness is a vital virtue for any child to covet. There is a popular Yoruba adage that says “ti iṣu ẹni ba ta, a fi ọwọ bo jẹ ni”, it simply means that if one’s yam sprouts healthy tubers, one is expected to discretely consume it. To contextualize this, using a girl going through puberty as a case study when she suddenly realizes that she is growing bigger and experiencing some unusual sensations in certain sensitive parts of her body, the wise and sensible thing to do is to become more discreet in the manner she carries or throws herself around particularly in the presence of the opposite sex so as not to attract the kind of attention that she may not be able to manage. For the sake of emphasis, any relationship that is consummated between a man or a matured boy and a girl going through puberty based on the girl’s new-found looks is unwholesome and can only lead to trouble. Like my people the Yorubas will say “ere kini aja nba ẹkun se”, meaning what kind of a relationship can exist between a dog and a tiger, except for one being the eaten and the other the eater.
Still dwelling on the above analogy, value appreciation is pivotal to resource optimization, so it is almost certain that one will most likely waste a resource that one does not know the actual worth of. According to British economist David Ricardo, analyzing the essence of comparative advantage in free trade, said that some nations lacked an absolute advantage in the production of any commodity. However, even these nations could gain from free trade if they concentrated on producing commodities in which they had the smallest disadvantage. One thing is clear, Africa cannot all of a sudden become industrialized; the reality as it is today is that Africa’s comparative advantage is in the area of supply of raw materials. The continent by the benevolence of God is the biggest producer of some of the raw materials for the production of most products in the world today. Consequently, Africa should take cognizance of its strengths and weaknesses so as to ensure that it always gets a good deal in return for the raw materials it’s able to bring to the market.
I am a member of what is known as the Borderless Alliance in West Africa and just finished our third annual conference with the theme, ‘’Enabling Growth”, so I thought it will be both interesting and instructive for us to examine in this edition of IWA some of the issues that were deliberated on which brought to the fore the need for and the efforts being made to remove all barriers to trade within West Africa. In addition, among other very interesting stories that we have compiled for you, we also had the privilege of interviewing the Tanzanian High Commissioner to Nigeria, His Excellency Daniel O Njoolay, and he shared his thoughts on the need for Africans to do more business amongst themselves, according to him we have the population which is a large enough market to exploit just as countries such as China and India did for formidable trade growth. It is the only way the African trade alliance can blossom. All these are packaged for your pleasurable reading as I welcome you to another year of great exploits as we transverse the great African landscape. I want to thank you so much for your commitment to IWA.