As the world battles Covid-19, I refer you to this piece I wrote in the Harvard Business Review which has been translated into many languages and cited by organizations in leadership training. The Catholic church incorporated it in a leadership manual in New England. Like the African proverb – “the ant-hills are not built by elephants, but by the collective efforts of the little rejected ants” – we are learning that a critical part of those who build our societies are not really just those we see on TVs daily, but most times the collective efforts of just ordinary people – the cleaners, garbage men, nurses, mail women, drivers, doctors, etc.
A wise man in my village – Chief Okechi Kanu, the elder brother of former governor of Imo and Lagos states, Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu – corrected me many years ago, cancelling out “rejected” when I quoted that proverb as I pushed for more funds to be allocated for our local public secondary schools.
He was the president of the Ovim Community League, and I wanted him to support undergraduate students to return to the village, during vacation, to teach students in our secondary schools preparing for JAMB and WAEC, ahead of their upcoming exams. Yes, “Ndubuisi, the Students Union may be little, but Ovim can never reject its future”, he wrote in a reply as he approved the request.
May post Covid-19 bring decency, respect, and honour for ALL humans irrespective of pay grade or education attainment!