Africa’s political leaders in conflict with the building blocks of nation building

Mon, 3 May 2021 Source: W. Z. Nambie

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Soon after political independence, the next task for the founding fathers of the African states was to embark aggressively and vigorously on nation-building policies and programmers to rid the continent of any further exploitation of its natural resource by their colonial masters. Certainly, they were also not oblivious of the fact that political independence without economic emancipation will thwart their struggles for nation-building.

Indeed, in the modern drama of nation-building Africans must look up for examples of nationalistic, patriotic, selfless and dedicated political leaders who are service-oriented to make a break-through in agricultural and industrial revolution in their respective countries to enhance their economic freedom and subsequently rid their citizens of pervasive abject poverty, ignorance, and illiteracy.

The attainment of this objective or goal however resides in the sagacious use of the building blocks of nation-building. The writer considers the following factors, among others, as the BUILDING BLOCKS of nation building:

(1) Clean and good governance.

(2) Good quality education.

(3) High employment rate.

(4) Social harmony and cohesion.

(5) Observance of work ethics.

(6) Good delivery systems.

(7) Status of the national economy within the context of the global economy.

(8) An efficient and effective tax collection regime.

(9) National food security.

(10) Existence of law and order.

(11) A strong, efficient, and effective national security apparatus.

(12) High savings rate.

(13) Behavior of the citizens or nationals.

(14) Wise use of country’s national resources.

The big question now begging for an answer is:

How many African political leaders are efficiently and effectively using these building blocks for nation-building in their countries? Sadly, it appears however, that the plight of nation-building in Africa is mirrored in the negative attitudes of its political leaders who have allowed certain phenomena to take center stage in their struggles and efforts at nation-building on the continent. Examples include;

(a) pervasive high rate of corruption.

(b) Gross indiscipline in the society.

(c) The co-existence of national interest and excessive personal greed, selfishness and shameless affluence exhibition by political leaders and appointees and other public officers.

An interplay of these vices/phenomena breeds a potent and insidious evil, which gradually easily and surely erode the moral fabric of society and consequently makes nation-building as difficult as it is for an expert swimmer to swim up-stream in a swift current.

Indeed, the failure of Africa’s leaders to make the rightful use of the building blocks has been the root cause of abject poverty, ignorance, illiteracy, citizen’s apathy, and social vices in their countries. Essentially, a governments core mandate is to formulate and implement state policies and programmes that will satisfy the conflicting interests and competing social and economic demands of the citizenry. The ability to do this in an open and transparent manner constitutes good governance.


This building block implies that the government and its political appointees must not be corrupt, because if they are, it will not be possible for them to fight corruption, because a thief should not be expected to arrest a fellow thief.

The harmful effects of corruption on the African continent are crystal clear and need not be overemphasized. African’s political leaders should, therefore, as much as possible, avoid this insidious cankerworm which is the greatest threat to good governance.


Most African countries have virtually become neocolonialist states. Indeed, neocolonialism has become Africa’s economic monster and if not fought and vanquished, economic independence in Africa will be difficult to achieve.

The status of the national economy within the global economic spectrum is a acritical factor in nation-building. For Africa to take its rightful place in the global economic arena, its political leaders must strive to make the continent a self-made one by taking control of their economies, and cease being obligate parasites on the so-called developed economies. These economies equally need Africa because they also depend very must on the continents enormous and rich natural resources to further better develop their economies.

In this regard, when entering in to trade agreements with them, a WIN-WIN situation must be sought, in lieu of tele guidance of their economies from afar by foreign economic power blocks and financial institutions. Import-oriented economies are not suitable for nation-building since the enormous foreign reserves involved will not be available for national developments.

Indeed, Africa’s political leaders should watch out for trade and financial policies that are designed to further impoverish their countries and reject them outright.


Education, being the basis of human capital development, must be of high quality in terms of knowledge and skills and be competitive with others globally, in both theory and practice. These qualities and attributes are essential ingredients in transforming the country’s other production factors into goods and services for the nation’s economic development.


The absence of this building block results in social un-rest, chaos, mistrust and suspicion among the citizenry. It becomes difficult to harness the cooperate efforts of the various factions of the society for nation-building and development.


The observance of work ethics results in high productivity with a corresponding high Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Punctuality to work and working the full working hours of the day, jealous protection of government property, exhibition of honesty, integrity, respect for authority, high discipline, high task-orientation, goal-directed behaviors and willingness to work for the attainment of the goals and objectives of national policies and programmes, among others, constitute observance of work ethics. Such attributes profoundly enhance nation-building. The opposite of these attributes constitute nation-wrecking.

The government on its part must also realize that the state institutions, being implementers of its policies and programmes, constitute the ACTION PART of the government. They must therefore be adequately strengthened financially and logistically to carry out their constitutional mandates for nation-building.


This building block ensures that the right things, in the right quantities, are sent to the right places, at the right time to enhance the timely and successful implementation of government policies and programmes. The manifestation of this block has made the “Planting for food and jobs” policy of the Akufo Addo’s administration a success and deserves commendation.


An imports-oriented economy is detrimental to nation-building. African countries should endeavor to build export-driven economics through an agricultural and industrial revolution in their countries to earn more foreign exchange. Indeed, the survival needs of their countries should be produced locally to satisfy the food demands of the citizenry, especially where they have comparative advantage in producing such survival needs as rice, sugar, meat, etc. Such a revolution will save foreign exchange and also create employment in their countries.


A country with a high employment rate enjoys such benefits, among other, as: -

- Less corruption, since the socio-economic needs of the citizens are satisfied.

- Employment leads to the production of goods and services to contribute to the country’s G.D.P

- The Country’s security is enhanced due to the absence of, or low rate of, such social vices as armed- robbery and other criminal activities.


This factor ensues that adequate funds are raked in to the national exchequer to propel the country’s development and growth. Indeed, money is to the nation as blood is to the body without which dearth occurs.


In human life, survival needs are very acritical, without which there will be no life. The availability of food, quantitatively and qualitatively, will build healthy citizens, and hence a healthy nation for productive activities for nation-building and development. Food security will also reduce the use of the country’s foreign exchange for importing food items.


A country without a security system is like a body without an immune system. It will be vulnerable to both internal and external attacks in diverse forms that can destroy it. Hence, it’s relevance.


The attainment of national goals and objectives of a government’s policies and programmers depends on this building block. This factor affects both the governors and the governed. If the governed are not treated in such a manner that will influence them to develop goal-directed behaviours, and be willingly to do things that will implement government policies and programmers, there will be little or no achievements.

Indeed, the behaviour of the governed will contribute profoundly to the choice of a leadership style that the governor should adopt to contain the situation. Conversely, the governor should also not behave in a way that will create mistrust and suspicion between him and the governed to develop counter-productive behaviours.

A balance between the two is the key to the problem to allow for successful nation-building. In this regard Africa’s political leaders should endeavour hard to avoid using malicious political propaganda to fool their citizens, but instead, establish faith in the citizens for nation-building.

Today, African should look for political leaders who are service-oriented, selfless, patriotic, nationalistic, and dedicated for nation-building to rid their citizens of ignorance, pervasive abject poverty, and illiteracy.

Indeed, Africa can only take its rightful place in the global village and propel development in their countries if their governments have within them members who have analytic, creative, imaginative, innovative and interpretative minds to contribute towards nation-building. Without the aforementioned attributes, nation-building in African countries will be as difficult as it is for an expert swimmer to swim up-stream in a swift current.

Doubtless, if Africa’s political leaders would develop the right attitudes and abilities that will enhance the efficient and effective use of the building blocks specified in this article, and implement their political manifestos accordingly with passion, purpose and perseverance, Africa can become a HIGHLY INDUSTRALISED PROSPEROUS CONTINENT(HIPC) devoid of HIGHLY INDEBTED POOR COUNTRIES(HIPC)


(Senior Citizen – LAMBUSSIE)


Columnist: W. Z. Nambie