Former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo (GCFR), says the problem hindering the development of Africa is mismanagement of its diversity by leaders on the continent.
Chief Obasanjo disclosed this while delivering the keynote speech at the National Daily Awards of Excellence held at the Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos on Friday, May 12, 2023.
The former President also called on African leaders to manage the population of the continent in order for it to be an asset rather than a liability.
He said, “African governments should not ignore the overwhelming evidence that the failure of leadership to apply our choices of population management is impeding progress in the continent.
He said his position is rested on the belief that population, large or small, can be harnessed as an asset rather than becoming a problem or a liability.
“Besides, the viability and socio-cultural positions on family planning by different African communities should be respected but properly managed. Africa’s growing population, if well managed, will yield a great dividend for national and urban development.”
He said while National Daily Awards celebrate African excellence and achievements, showcasing the bright sides of the continent’s success stories by giving recognition to deserving individuals, said Nigeria and the African continent must identify more productive ways for Africa to attain real independence.
“He said: There is no magic. We did a few things right and we continue to do them right. We in Africa have done a few things right. Our problem is that we don’t continue to do them right.
He said the harsh economic realities on the continent have led to countless Africans dying while trying to flee their poverty-stricken countries in search of a better life.
Obasanjo says the quality of life of Africans is concerning and has blamed this on bad leadership.
He explained: “We are politically divided, economically disunited we are nowhere, we are down the drain. Diplomatically, Nigeria is not at the table. Before, we had sent troops to Sudan, Sierra Leone, but today, we can’t send troops to the Republic of Benin.
“There are three races in the world – white, yellow, and black. For now, America is leading the whites, the Chinese are leading the yellow race, and Nigeria with 225 million people is created by God to lead the black race. When we stop disappointing ourselves we can take care of the continent and the black race.
“Nigeria has no business with poverty, insecurity, or political division. It is the choice of our leaders. It is not God’s choice for us. If God hasn’t chosen that for us we can do better.”
Earlier in his welcome address, Chairman of the occasion, Prince Julius Adelusi Adeluyi OFR mni, Chairman, Juli Plc, called for effective cooperation among African intellectuals.
According to him, Nigeria needs a government that understands the country and Africa, which would be fair and sincere with Nigerians, adding that with the right government, this nation could become the right leading country to develop Africa.