Gov. Ben Ayade’s Pioneering Spirit; the Kind of Leadership/Governance Philosophy I Think Nigeria Needs Going forward!

Govenor Ben Ayade addressing Cross Riverians on his COVID-19 policy plans

Governor Ben Ayade is a great man. He has not only shown himself to be a profound patriot during this unprecedented times; he has shown, again, that he has the “pioneering spirit”. Something Nigeria needs a great deal of if any generation of her will ever live to experience a truly DEVELOPED, ADVANCED and SOCIO-ECONOMICALLY STABLE and PROSPEROUS SOCIETY and SYSTEMS that competes at par with the BEST OF THE BEST across the world and that works for all. I have known and written about this of him for some time now.

It was so disappointing to see young people on social media making “superficial” comments of the governor for making a sound postulation/hypothesis in the quest to find pragmatic and homegrown solutions to this national public health and socioeconomic emergency that we are all faced with. As a scientist, I know every established law, process or methodology in science (medically or otherwise) starts with sound postulations or hypothesis, and then it graduates to exploration, experimentation and discoveries (inferences), and then to conclusions and codification (standardization of a procedure).

Ayade was encouraging the government and indeed Nigerians to explore the solution of taking “serum” from the blood of those who have recovered from the COVID-19 disease and therefore have strong immunity against the disease, and pass the serum through the various vaccine production process to possibly come up with our own vaccine in Nigeria. While I’m not a medical person, I will express my conviction of the verity of his hypothesis based on my biological background. I’m a Botanist by training. What is a serum, or antiserum (in core medical speak)? Definition: “Serum/antiserum is the liquid part of human or animal blood that contains one or more ready-made antibodies that can provide immunity against a disease or counteract a venom”. I would stop there to let you absorb those words for a second.

Now, what’s really a vaccine and how does a vaccine work to “solve” a disease problem in a person? Definition of vaccine: “A preparation containing weakened or dead microbes (disease-transmitting microorganisms, e.g. a virus) of the kind that cause a disease, administered to stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies against that disease”. So you mean all that a “vaccine” does is to “stimulate” your own in-built immune system to produce “antibodies” (here you have that word again)? Well you have read the definition yourself; nothing more and nothing less.

Please note that I am not making a medical case for the soundness of Ayade’s hypothesis or theory. I don’t have the experience or training to do that. But what I’m making a case for is the need for us as Nigerians/Africans to believe more in our own selves and our homegrown ideas/solutions to handle universal problems of humanity and society. There’s no solution, discovery, innovation, technology, medical breakthrough or successful system anywhere in the world that did not emerge as a result of “thought” — an individual or team’s critical thinking or conceptualization. Those who come up with these “solutions” and “procedures” don’t have an extra pound in their brains. They are not superior to any single Nigerian/African in a single way. If anything, it is just the Africans’ sense of self-worth and confidence that has been bewitched by this age-old attitude — thinking that our “solutions” must come from abroad.

I just want to use these few words to inspire and prompt every one of us (Nigerians) to believe more in ourselves and the fact that we can actually transform our society and bring it to a first-world status. There’s nothing the Whiteman can and has done that we cannot do, and even surpass. Some of the finest professionals in many of these countries and systems are Nigerians and other Africans. If someone comes up with a possible solution, especially in a critical time like this, it is important that we put some R&D millions and even billions in that direction to explore the chance of coming up with our own possible cure or breakthrough solution. We should not allow ourselves to be continually lorded over by foreigners and their systems. As we know, even the Whiteman is still “struggling” to come up with the possible vaccine for this COVID-19 disease. They are, essentially, still “experimenting”. And why shouldn’t we too?

As a parting short, it is my conviction that this nation will experience a great turnaround that is unprecedented in its almost 60 years’ history socioeconomically and societally within this decade. Therefore, we need this kind of “thinking” or “philosophical outlook” as expressed by governor Ayade to be able to foster and actualize that dream. China did it; they believed in themselves and their capacity to better their lot and be globally competitive as general society and economy. Singapore did it. The United Arabs Emirates, especially Dubai, believed and went on to transform their society in all ramifications with just “thinking” and “daring”. If all these countries can do it, why can’t we? I say we can!!

Austine Edim

leadership/life coach, business stratgist; management consultant at APNET Consult Limited (ACL)