Beyond Walter Rodney's Development Discourse: Idealism to Praxis
A Thesis Submitted to the School of Postgraduate Studies, University of Lagos
The work argues the thesis that the adoption of Walter Rodney’s development discourse can serve as a viable paradigm for practically achieving the goals of integrated development in contemporary Africa if emphasis is placed on human development and effective leadership. Leadership, derives from the verb “to lead”. To lead means to “guide or cause to follow one” or to direct, as by persuasion or influence, to a course of, to conduct in a certain direction, or to be the head. Thus, leadership involves providing guidance to people for the purpose of achieving some specific goals. Leadership is the ability to take an initiative to motivate, to influence, to direct and control the thoughts, opinions and actions of the followers in any given society towards the achievement of purposeful desired goals. By human development, we mean the holistic qualitative improvement of human person and the society. Human development is when there are continuous opportunities given and open to man to improve his skill and abilities, to unleash his potentials, to be creative, self-disciplined, responsible, educated and patriotic. We therefore submit that the development of Africa is and will continue to be very much dependent on its human development and effective leadership. Almost all the countries in Africa need this paradigm shift in their leadership roles towards effective development. In Nigeria, for example, not until the country is able to evolve good leadership models and develop its human resources through functional, cultural, moral, socio-economically based, scientific and creative educational system, the aspirations of integrated development on the country will continue to be illusionary. This submission applies to all other countries in Africa. It is our conviction that a continent which is unable to develop the skills, knowledge and values of its people and effectively utilize them in the developmental process will not be able to develop anything else.