During his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on April 5, President Hage Geingob quoted Idowu Koyenikan – a US-based consultant and bestselling author – by saying: “Your pride for your country should not come after your country becomes great; your country becomes great because of your pride in it.” Toivo Ndjebela spoke to Koyenikan about the meaning of his quote and other issues.
New Era (NE): At what platform did you make or write the quote by President Hage Geingob in his SONA?
Idowu Koyenikan (IK): The quote is from my book, titled ‘Wealth for All Africans: How Every African Can Live the Life of Their Dreams’.
NE: What does the quote mean?
IK: If you take a good look at the great countries of today, you will find that the people of those countries take a lot of pride in their country. They treat their national flag with respect, sing their national anthem with enthusiasm and talk about their country with pride. At first glance, it’s easy to misunderstand this. It’s easy to think that they all have this sense of pride because their country is already great. But, really, their country is great, because they first had pride in it. The fact that the country is now great only serves as proof and motivation for them to continue to be proud of it.
NE: How did you become aware that President Geingob had quoted you?
IK: One of my associates alerted me to the President’s speech. It was later confirmed upon review of the transcript.
NE: How does being quoted by the President make you feel?
IK: I feel honored to have been quoted by President Geingob. Even though I get quoted regularly, it is incredibly special when it comes from a president in what was a very important speech.
NE: What do you make of the overall SONA by President Geingob?
IK: I was impressed with the President’s speech. He comes off as someone who wants well for his country and is passionate about the development of his people. I was even more impressed by the fact that he has a plan for the country. Oftentimes I come across leaders who assume their position of office without a plan, so it is refreshing to see that the President has a plan of action. From my experience, even the best plans with the best intentions are not easily executed, or sometimes fail to gain traction with the people. However, there are some proven strategies that can be put in place to combat this.
NE: What do you make of African literature in general?
IK: Over the years, I feel as though the readership for African literature has expanded beyond the continent. This is good news for Africa. My hope is that things will continue to get better for African literature and for African authors.
NE: Anything else you’d like to comment on?
I would like to see my book ‘Wealth for All Africans: How Every African Can Live the Life of Their Dreams’ in schools, public libraries and in the hands of Namibians all over. It is possible that it could be translated into some of the local Namibian languages, or to partner with the right government agency or corporate institution to make it easily accessible in Namibia.
I wrote this book because of my vision of a better Africa, where its people and the continent as a whole live up to their potential. This book is for the person who feels as though, due to past failures, he or she would not make it in life. It is for the person who was raised poor, but wants to do better for himself than the circumstances he was raised in. It is for the market woman who feels that her life and her contributions have no value. It is for the student who wants to learn how he or she can live the life of their dreams. It is for the person who has lost hope in his country and would like to restore it. It is for the child that wants to live a better life than his or her parents lived. It is for the leader who wants to dig deep into the core of leadership and what it means to be a great leader. It is for the businessperson who wants to learn how to make his or her business more successful.
I want every Namibian to know through this book that regardless of their beginnings, background, or current situation, it is possible for them to live out their dreams. As a consultant I do a lot of corporate training work in the US, in such areas as leadership training, strategy development, branding, employee engagement and so on. I would be open to working with some of the Namibian corporations and government agencies in this capacity as well.