“Soul is the rhythm o’ sex. It’s the rhythm o’ the factory too. The workin’ man’s rhythm. Sex an’ factory. Not the factory I’m in, said Natalie. There isn’t much rhythm guttin’ fish”. – Roddy Doyle (1958 -) Irish novelist and playwright. ‘The Commitments’
My desire is to succeed in any activity or venture that I embark on, and this I believe, is likely the same for most people. This question of what to do to succeed, was what was on my mind when I stumbled on the above quote. I got enchanted by the way Roddy Doyle highlighted the relationship between ‘soul and rhythm’ as well as his analogy of ‘sex and the factory’, thus I decided to dig a little deeper into his thoughts. Ordinarily, I probably wouldn’t have seen any similarities or relationship in the very essence of ‘sex and the factory’, talk less of considering the ‘soul of rhythm’, but my understanding of what Roddy is saying in the above quote, is that one must own the very essence or soul of the processes and procedures of a venture in order to succeed in such a venture. I am an ardent believer in the fact that success is more impactful when gotten from ‘top down’ rather than from ‘bottom up’. This is clearly established in the saying: a ‘fish rots from the head down’, thus in order to enjoy ‘fresh fish’, it is logical to pay special attention to preserving the head of the fish. Therefore, my humble submission is that until Africa gets it right with leadership, we will keep dancing around in the ‘underdeveloped neck of the woods’ that we have found ourselves and are presently lost in, without finding a way out.
The United Kingdom, like many other well developed climes, didn’t just become developed overnight, there are many accounts of their struggles and the bitter experiences they had before attaining their current level of development. It must be clearly stated that this pathway of advancement is as a result of the selfless sacrifices made by their founding fathers and the level of qualitative leadership they’ve had from great individuals like Sir Winston Leonard Spencer – Churchill, KG, OM, CH, TD, PCc, DL, FRS, RA, a man who graced this world with his character and presence between the 30th of November 1874 and 24th of January 1965.
Sir Winston Churchill, was considered not just as one of the greatest UK Prime Ministers of all times, but also as one of the greatest world leaders to have ever lived. He distinguished himself in and out of office as someone who truly got the ‘soul of the rhythm’ of leadership, being actually born into a very high level aristocratic family. He was a true statesman who earned the respect of most world leaders in his time. He was not only a valiant solider who notably led Britain to victory during World War II, but also a famous war correspondent and prolific writer as well as an artist.
Before the World War II, he held several prominent positions in the parliament, including being President of the Board of Trade (1908 – 1910), Home Secretary (1910 -1911), First Lord of the Admiralty (1911 – 1915), as part of Asquith’s Liberal government. During the war, Churchill departed from government following the disastrous Gallipoli Campaign. He briefly resumed active army service on the Western Front as commander in the Royal Scots Fusiliers. He returned to government under Lloyd George as Minister of Munitions, Secretary of State for War, Secretary of State for Air, then Secretary of State for the Colonies. After two years out of Parliament, he served as Chancellor of the Exchequer in Baldwin’s Conservative government of 1924–1929, controversially returning the pound sterling in 1925 to the gold standard at its pre-war parity, a move widely seen as creating deflationary pressure on the UK economy.
It is easy to see, running through the ‘life and times’, of Sir Winston Churchill the fact, that he understood and owned the ‘flow of success’ in leadership was majorly responsible for the tremendous success he achieved leading the United Kingdom.
How I wish that those aspiring to lead Africa, especially in governance will endeavor to ‘understand and own’ the ‘flow of success’ so as to stop the ‘stumbling and wobbling’ brand of leadership which has kept Africa retrogressing rather than progressing. Only then can this philosophy percolate down through all levels of the African society, and consequently we may be able to find our way out of this ‘underdeveloped neck of the woods’ that we have found ourselves.
Fasten your belt, as you are in for another very enjoyable ride on this edition of IWA. The cover story is a peek into how for the past eighty-one years, British Airways has shown commitment and remained one of the most successfully airlines in the very stormy West African aviation market. In addition to other fascinating stories, we also examined the unfolding events with Africa’s Democratic Process. I wish you a very pleasurable reading experience. Enjoy!