Address Speech Delivered on the Launching of Europe: A Mission Misunderstood
Mr. Chairman, the Speaker, Your Excellency: Paul King Aryene, Ghana Ambassador to Germany, Minister Rabiu Shehu and Mr. John Eziaghighala, representatives of Nigeria Embassy to Germany, Chief Launcher and Co-Launchers, Royal Highnesses, Clergymen, Academic Lords, The Press, Representatives of African Organizations and Communities, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen. It is with great pleasure, that I welcome you all here this afternoon, on this historic book launching ceremony. I am truly humbled and elated by the presence of people from all walks of life within and outside this great country who are here today. My sincere gratitude goes to you all and special thanks to Almighty God, who made this day possible in many ways. Marcus Tillius Cicero, widely considered as one of the greatest orators and most versatile minds of ancient Rome, summed it all when he said, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others...
Today is conspicuously engraved in my memory. However, make no mistake that we are saddled with the age-long, self-inflicted, negative impression that “most of our people detest reading books to enrich their knowledge; instead they only study for academic pursuit or job training.” This is the time to debunk this erroneous notion, held by the majority of well-thinking members of the public. By honoring this invitation, irrespective of your tight schedules and commitments and also to obtain your own copy and read it as well is a way forward in demystifying this impression. Without any hesitation, it is with boundless enthusiasm that my family and I express our gratitude to you all. Today has become indelible in my calendar. Mother Teresa of Calcutta India once said, “There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.” We truly appreciate each one of you.
Since the recent publishing of my book, I have received several emails and commentaries from readers around the world. Many have commended the book and have come to terms with most of the issues written therein. Whatever side of the pendulum you may find yourself, I welcome your personal views with an open mind, as no one has a monopoly of knowledge. These non-judgmental responses, described as brave for writing on topics considered “untouchable,” will always remain an inspiration to me. For those who may have been embroiled with some thoughts and reservations, I implore them to understand that there is the need to distinguish between emotions and reality and focus on the message with rapt attention, and not on the messenger. To such people, I wish to remind them of the proverbial giant that buried its head in the sand in an effort to hide from prying eyes, without realizing that the rest of its body is exposed to the public.
This is the time for everyone, especially Africans, to remind themselves of the impending consequences facing them presently - and in the future - if they fail to learn from history.There is another dimension to curious minds; some have wondered what gave me the audacity to write a book and considering Africans as target group – a large continent with fifty-three countries, and covering several such sensitive topics. My response to such questions is not far-fetched – if you scratch my body, what flows through my veins is African blood. Having served both as a leader, founder and a co-founder in some African organizations and having also been a company representative in Germany, I had the privilege of consulting and meeting with a lot of Africans around the world. On the other hand, having been born, and having studied and worked in Africa along with foreigners from other parts of the world, it offered me the intriguing peculiarities of Africa with the rest of the world.
Living and working in Germany today as a citizen of this great country, and having been to other European countries as well, provided a unique perspective. My participation in art exhibitions in Kassel also offered me an interesting and advantageous position to understand and be understood as well. On a personal note, my job as an Insurance Broker brought me around the Country. I’ve had the privilege of meeting people of different races. Such interactions with these individuals, who patronized my work, and seemed interested to learn and understand the peculiarities evident in Africa, are revealing and rewarding.
No country or continent is a perfect place. The current situation in Africa is no exception. The promise land is not found in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe or America; rather promise land is a state of the mind and personal conviction to succeed in your set goals or dreams irrespective of impediments. The ancestors of the present generation of Africans will perhaps turn in their graves, as the very same rich culture and history they cherished and preserved from generation to generation, slip away in our hands today unhindered. The position of Africa as a continent in the world is very unique as the birthplace of human societies. Who will inform the rest of the world that Africa is occupied by vibrant people that make up a large portion of the global population, who have contributed to the growth of humanity in all spheres of life? Contributions made in the world by great men and women of African descent, in various human endeavors, should not go unnoticed or unheralded. And our unsung heroes should in no account be forgotten.
No nation can be successful when the youths are leaving because the youths are the future leaders. Several people living at home today are better off than many living anywhere abroad. Many of us were either misinformed or not informed at all before setting out on this journey, while a lot more are still questioning why they embarked on the journey at all. The purpose of every journey must be defined. Because when purpose is not known, abuse becomes inevitable. Many Africans have not only left Africa to Europe but a lot have gotten their much given talents buried.
There was this case of a girl from one of the big cities of Germany who was brought to me not too long ago by one of my friends. He didn’t tell me before that there was an issue with the girl he came with. I left them at home and before l could return, my friend left my apartment alone leaving the girl behind. He called me on phone and told me to please do all l could to assist him. I asked him what he meant by that? He told me that the girl he left in my house will explain in details. She stayed over two weeks within my supervision. Her case was unique! She came under a group sponsorship from Nigeria, who wanted her to work (using her body) as they called it and pay back several tens of thousands of Euros right here in Germany. She ran away she said and started hiding from one end to another. She promised paying back but didn’t know how since she vowed never to use her body to make money. She would not put out her phone which kept ringing with full of threat. I asked her to put out her phone but she made me know that such attitude could endanger the lives of her family members down home. I asked her why not report to the police, but she wouldn’t, as such could also jeopardize her family. No police involvement, phone must be on at all times, panic, fear, and depression was all she knew at that time. I tried talking to the guys who brought her to Europe, but they only insisted in knowing who I was and where I lived. I wouldn’t tell them anyway as such could escalate the whole situation. I prayed God to take control of that situation which He did. She later got someone who was ready to pay her bill and marry her. But each time I remember what she passed through and the situation she brought me into, I just thank God how it all ended. Who knows what she could have achieved in Nigeria in her trade as a dressmaker, but she was also lucky I must say. Not every girl could get a guy to pay off her bills. The making of this book was born out of love, passion, pains, and a craving for equality and fairness. As much as I thank our German friends for accepting us here, I would also encourage them to open up their doors of direct integration and not parallel integration.
We are already here and can only be well integrated in order to contribute more meaningfully to the society in which we live. Open your training doors, your academic doors, professional doors, employment opportunities. Show some love and drop that professional smile that doesn’t get to the heart. Get into Africans and let Africans get into you as well. That will be a better integration for a positive globalization.
I also call on individuals and African leaders of various groups gathered here today to stand up and join the gentle, non violent and constructive effort of re-integrating ourselves as well as our people. Get the tools of trade which starts from learning the language of the land in which we live. Empower yourselves, ask questions and insist on answers. Don’t relax where you are, you can definitely do more. Learn and get strengthened. When you promise miracles and wonders, give them also the primary tools to get there which include education and skills. Let there be more African based magazines and let them get themselves more competitive by publishing their articles in German language as well. Presentation of African skills and talents through African based magazines in German language will go a long way in this integration process.
Lots of notable Nigerian leaders and first ladies have either died or went for medical treatment outside the shores of Africa on health related issues. This shows how degenerating our health and other related system are. What so ever the reasons may be, it only goes also to show how far we have come. I can’t afford to say it all today in this short welcome address, but I can assure you that together, we‘ll get there and contribute our quota to the nation that has “harbored” us and of course to our various home lands. For our German and French speaking friends, I just want to let you know that translation of my book in both languages is in progress as requested by many.
I got a midnight call from one man of God who read my book. He called me up that night, having read almost half of my book he said. He asked me why l wrote the book. I was flabbergasted, and then I thought, having read more than half of my book shouldn’t he already have an answer to that question, but I was still a bit confused. After a while, I gave him an answer. I told him that l wrote out of love and passion for mankind. He didn’t allow me to explain further as he went straight into praying that not only that all get to read this book, but that all who may read , that the Lord may engrave the contents into their heads. I was like ‘Wow! I have only heard such prayers being said about the bible. Could the contents be so great and serious? That was an encouraging prayer. Finally, if Africa must stand the test of time, they should stop day-dreaming.
God bless Africa, the land of pleasure and treasure
God bless Germany for knowing how to protect its own
God bless the world as the only place we can claim to live as human
I sincerely thank you all.