By Ofeibea Quist-Arcton
NPR West Africa correspondent
The United States of Africa. Mmmm. Haven't we heard that somewhere before?
Kwame Nkrumah first envisioned a united Africa
And that idea of a continental government for Africa? Wasn't that a visionary concept doing the rounds during the independence era 50 odd years ago?
Wasn't it Kwame Nkrumah's dream?
We appear to have come full circle.
It's now Libya's flamboyant Colonel Muammar Gaddafi busy beating the same US of Africa drum, championing the cause and mobilizing support with his pan-African roadshow that recently swept through West Africa.
Destination - Accra.
I'm heading there myself as I write.
Talk and action
I hear Ghana's capital is filling up with the great and the good (and the not so great and not so good) for the African Union summit.
But somehow it all seems a little like deja vu.
You know, the "I've heard-it-all-before" syndrome. Plenty of talk - but what action?
There's always a huge build up and some excitement, as well as a great deal of cynicism, before these summits.
But what, if anything, do they change for Kofi - or Ama - Average in Berekum or Benghazi?
It makes you wonder.
So will this idea of one government, one army, one everything for the continent, fly?
What about a little African unity first?
The letter 'E'
You ask yourself - if summit organisers are still discreetly having to separate two Horn of Africa neighbours, two enemies - whose countries incidentally both begin with the letter "E" - at the conference table, by slipping Egypt in between...
You've got it.
Eritrea and Ethiopia come one after the other in the alphabet.
But of course their leaders are no longer friends and probably would not stand to sit next door to one another.
If those are the basic problems Africa is still trying to resolve, what hope then for a United States of the continent, speaking with one voice to the world?
Illustrious Africans, such as the veteran anti-apartheid campaigner and legendary trumpeter, Hugh Masekela, joined forces with civil society activists in Accra, to say Africa must first deal with its crises and conflicts.
Who would be that first president?
The United States of Africa comes later.
But it has rather a nice ring to it, doesn't it? Where do you come from? Oh, I'm from the US of Africa.
And you? I'm from "U-Za" or "U-SAf".
What about Youse-Afreeka!?
How does that sound?
It seems most African Union countries are not ready to rush headlong into the creation of a continental government just yet.
But that's the top item on the agenda in Accra.
The scene is set for the battle of the grrrrrrrrrrradualists versus the immediatists.
And, of course, the all important question remains - who then would become that first president of Africa?