Beyond African Time (by David E. Abah)
African as a continent is full of surprises. The people, wildlife, landscape and the continents perception about life portray her as a continent with a different understanding of time.
Whenever African time is mentioned, what quickly comes to one’s mind is a simple lack of punctuality as this seems to be peculiar to Africa. Some school of thought have often attributed the continued underdevelopment of Africa & Nigeria in particular to the attitude to time & lateness to any function. Be it social, political or religious gathering usually accepted & explained often as “African time”.
I can distinctly recollect in October 2007, Ivorian campaign against African time upheld by Laurent Gbagbo received global media attention, commendation & accolades. The campaign with the caption “punctuality night” was held in Abidjan to recognise and acknowledge business men & women, public servants etc who keep to time in Ivory Coast.
In Nigeria, I can still recall how late professor Dora Akunyili audaciously launched a campaign against “African time” in her capacity as a minister. Punctuality is not peculiar to race, continent or country, therefore the expression “African time” is untenable & amounts to an insult on Africa.
There is a popular adage that says, “punctuality is the sole of business”. The adage highlights the importance of punctuality in the public & private sectors of the nation. As youths & today’s leaders it is high time to ride beyond African time & embrace punctuality, which is capable of bringing social, political, economic & moral development to us.
Punctuality is therefore very essential to everyone one of us who believe in order & discipline. Being a punctual person gives you the societal status of a responsible personality. In fact, a punctual person will be at the right place at the right time