Since the ‘Scientific Revolution’, the period roughly between 1500 and 1700, during which the foundations of modern science were laid down in Western Europe, human beings have made a lot of discoveries and have continued to make more discoveries till date. Although, it is an established fact that everything that can be seen or perceived, or has been discovered is very little when compared with what cannot seen, perceive or has not yet been discovered but which in reality are in existence, it is instructive to acknowledge and celebrate some men who have over the years continued to devote quality time to conducting investigations which have resulted in them acquiring robust understanding of the secrets of nature and the workings of our physical world. These men are the ones who have continued to propound principles that have in no small measure, helped the rest of us to also understand these secrets that have resulted in the creation of useful products and devices for the good of everyone.
One of such men, who graced our world with his brilliance and commitment is Aristotle, (384-322 bc), he was one of the greatest ancient Greek philosophers and scientists, and he shares with Plato and Socrates the distinction of being amongst the most famous of ancient philosophers, who were the first group of people to provide a systematic exposition of biology, psychology, physics, and literary theory. There was also Benjamin Franklin, who lived between 1706 and 1790, and who discovered one of the fundamental laws of Physics – the law of Conservation of Electric Charge – and proved that lighting really is electricity, and then went on to discover bifocal spectacles. The list is endless and replete with so many of them, like Wilhelm Rontgen, who received the very first Nobel Prize in Physics in 1901 for discovering X-rays and lived between1845 and 1923, also – Santiago Ramon y Cajal known as the father of Neuroscience, who won the Nobel Prize for Physiology/Medicine in 1906 for his neuron doctrine and lived between 1852 to 1934, the English scientist and mathematician Sir Isaac Newton who derived the law of universal gravitation, invented the branch of mathematics called calculus and performed important experiments dealing with nature of light and colour, was also one, just to mention a few of them.
As the saying goes “the evil that men do, live after them”, so does the good. Certainly, the names and legacies of these men are going to remain with us for a very long time, and thanks to them and the so many others who have followed in their path over time, reason and intellectual contributions have earned science a greater recognition and acceptance in the modern day society. Thus, the very idea that people could unlock these secrets of nature helped to bring about the ‘Age of Enlightenment’.
Ironically, as enlighten as we all claim we are, in this age, it seems that it is part of human nature when given the opportunity to occupy positions of influence, to sit-tight and refuse to vacate such positions for others coming after us to occupy, even when definite timelines were set. There is time for everything under the sun; a time to occupy a seat and a time to vacate that seat. Refusing to produce a successor at the time we are expected to, is actually stalling the process of a fundamental law of nature, that I have termed the ‘principle of reproduction’, which governs the existence of life.
Isn’t it intriguing that our hair and nails naturally grow back without us necessary doing anything whenever we trim them? We plant a seed and it eventually grows into a plantation of the exact specie we planted. So, for existence and perpetuation of life, all living things must obey this law of reproduction, just in the same way as the law of gravitation that says ‘what goes up must come down’, must be obeyed.
I am a staunch believer in the supposition that majority of our problems in Africa is traceable to leadership and that it is until we get it right with leadership in Africa, that we will get out of this woods. ‘Let’s cut to the chase’ here, “the fish rots from the head”, the developed world understands the need to practice the ‘principle of reproduction’, with leadership, which is one of the reasons they have continued to fare better than us in all facets of human endeavor.
While we are still battling with eternal leaders in Africa, leaders whose performance in office are bound to naturally diminish with time because they are human beings, the developed world has perfected a system, by which they automatically churn out thorough breed leaders at regular intervals.
On the cover page of this edition of IWA, we have examined the legacies and refusal of a great African leader, Paul Kagame of Rwanda to practice the ‘principle of reproduction’, as defined by me above. Undeniably, this great African has lead his country successfully over the years, building an enviable legacy in the process. The question on my mind is, what would his refusal to practice this fundamental law of nature portend for Africa, Rwanda and his legacies in particular. Customarily, there several other very exciting articles that have been carefully put together for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!