Former Nigerian President, General Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo, attributes Africa’s challenges to issues of poor leadership and governance.
He presents a nuanced perspective on the continent’s predicaments, underscoring that the root causes cannot solely be attributed to colonialism, slave trade, or neocolonialism.
General Obasanjo shared these insights during the 15th African Youth and Governance Convergence held in Mankessim, Central Region.
He highlights that although Nigeria is not engaged in armed conflict, it is grappling with significant economic turmoil.
He laments the involvement of African leaders, who are meant to steer solutions, in exacerbating the issues.
“Africa’s problems are enormous, but I will start from Nigeria, my country. We are not in a state of war nor are we in a state of peace, but politically, economically and socially we are not stable. This cuts across the whole African continent, and we are in bad shape and situation because leadership and governance in our different countries and sub-regions have not lived up to expectations. Some are blaming the colonial power slave trade or neocolonialism, but that is not the case. We have put colonialism behind us for well over 150 years, and so what excuse do we have to blame colonialism or look for a scapegoat? Leadership and governance have simply not lived up to expectation,” General Olusegun Obasanjo noted.
The former Nigerian President enumerated some key challenges the continent is faced with and how they can be resolved while urging the youth to exhibit positive defiance if they want to be counted as stakeholders of development on the continent.
“Since Independence, the problem of Africa has been five and it ranges from the lack of full understanding of what being independent means and what it entails. We don’t have one market as a continent, and this is causing us as a people. We produce the raw materials here and send them to oversee, and then they repackage them and send them to us at exorbitant prices. These are but a few of Africa’s problems, but leadership has failed to solve our problems.
“The youth can play a key role in the development of the continent, by engaging themselves in governance issues. As a youth you must be positively disruptive, defiant and surge for greater things for the continent”.
Commander of the Kofi Annan International Peace Keeping Training Centre Major, General Richard Addo Gyane urged the youth to add their voices in drawing out policies and programs in their various countries while shirking off interest from insurgency groups.
“The youth must take advantage of digitization and use it positively. I pray they don’t fall prey to insurgent organisation, child sexual abuse and exploitation, cyberbullying and the worst of all is the recruitment into insurgency groups,” Richard Addo Gyane said.
Head of Secretariat for the Africa Union Economic Social and Cultural Council William Cawee wants employment opportunities created for the youth across the continent.
In all, over 65 delegates from 26 African countries and 2 diaspora countries namely Canada and the United States were present at the event.