By Ken Schoolland
I have always had an intimate desire to affect my world by creating community-based solutions, one locality at a time. In 2016, as a final year student at Kogi State University Anyigba in Nigeria, I came across an opportunity, a group, and a fundamental idea that would change my life forever. While surfing the internet on a website called Opportunities For Africans, I stumbled upon a group called “African Students For Liberty” (ASFL). I went on to view the ASFL website and, to put it simply, I loved what I saw: young Africans hosting local events, starting community movements, and creating global change with this “new idea” they called “Libertarianism.” I decided to take this first step in my journey of liberty by applying for the ASFL Local Coordinators Program which was then open. And the rest they say is history, right? Well, let me tell you my liberty story.
After the ASFL training, I was certified as a local coordinator for SFL and I immediately began working toward setting up a chapter in my university after obtaining the necessary documents from the then National Coordinator for Nigeria, Don-Elvis Ibeh. I was able to host a good number of campus events after leaving school. Recognizing that SFL had barely any reach in Northern Nigeria, with the help of my friend and brother in liberty, Bayonle Fesobi (the current West African Regional Coordinator for Recruitment and Expansion), I started out on a liberty tour in Northern Nigeria planting chapters in tertiary educational institutions across the region. Later in 2018, I was made the Team Leader for Northern Nigeria and subsequently, in 2019, the National Coordinator for Nigeria, the post I now hold. This has given me the opportunity to go in and host an event series in Nigeria and other West African countries like The Republic of Benin and Liberia.
In 2018, Rowland Dappa, then a National coordinator with SFL introduced me to a book, The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible. He eventually shared a soft copy of the book and I was really inspired as it gave me a rather clear perspective of the free market system. And during the Africa Liberty Forum in Kenya (2019), I networked with Mrs. Li Schoolland after hearing of her experience growing up under Chinese Communism as a child. Her story was deeply moving. Inspired by her story and my knowledge from The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible, I have begun to work on hosting a series of reading group events for SFL leaders across West Africa to share my knowledge of the book and to emphasize the relevance of propagating the ideas of liberty across Africa. I even donated 3 copies of the book on your behalf to my state library today here in Nigeria.
I look forward to undergoing my Post Graduate Studies in International Relations, and subsequently working with the Atlas Network, one of the largest international think tanks in the world. In the near future I would like to represent Nigeria on various diplomatic conversation platforms that would be directed towards instituting free-market ideologies here in Africa.
My liberty story is not over. In fact, it has barely even begun. I look forward to an Africa free of the shackles of socialism and I know that this potential begins with me.