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Africa can’t achieve economic development if…  – Ezekwesili


A former minister of education, Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili, has warned that as long as Africa continued on the path of very poor politics with a culture that subordinates the common good for personal, private or narrow interest, there would be no room for the continent to achieve economic development. 

Ezekwesili, the founder of School of Politics, Policy and Governance (SPPG), said data has proven that the anticipated development was not feasible with the current state of affairs in African countries.

She stated these at the Africa Conference heralding the SPPG Class 2023 graduation ceremony held at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja on Thursday.

Ezekwesili called for the urgent structural transformation of African politics by leaders of thought across the government, private sector and civil societies who are determined to start that journey of change.

“As you listen to our brothers and sisters from various countries on the continent, you can see that it is a common denominator for Africans to mourn the absence of quality leadership. 

“Africa has chosen the path of democracy and if you look at historical numbers, more countries that have enjoyed prosperity have come through the democratic path. 

“So, democracy is a very important thing because democracy comes with political freedom. With political freedom, there is a rule of law and that rule of law is the cornerstone of economic freedom.

“It is economic freedom that leads to the proliferation of ideas, innovations, creativity and therefore, the two most important economic agenda for countries can get solved faster and better. 

“Competitiveness and productivity, is all based on empirical data. So, if we know all those things as evidence abounds, we cannot then sit back and hope that somehow change will come.

“So if Africans needs to transform our politics and we just sit back as citizens, hoping that those who have entrenched poor governance as a matter of political culture will someday fall in the kind of Apostle Paul and have a Damascus experience we will wait forever and that is not something that this generation should do,” she stated.

Also speaking, Boniface Mwangi, a Kenyan Activist said Africa’s biggest problem is leadership and that have to be fixed, noting that too much concentration on religion has contributed to the continent’s under development which must be addressed.

Mwangi stressed the need for young people to take over power from the older class which has not helped the continent but are mere neocolonial stooges as African stolen wealth is stashed in advanced countries.

“Africa’s biggest problem is its leadership and we have to fix that. Driving from Abuja Airport to the Hotel I saw the biggest buildings and very magnificent were not schools, good homes but churches and there lies our problem. We focus a lot on religion and we need to fix that. 

“Our leaders have copied the white man ways. When the white man colonised our continent, he took our lands, he took our minerals, he took everything and we kicked them out and then we took the bad habits. Our continent, our land was communal but now we have become very western in our ideals. So we have 10 billionaires and a billion poor in Africa and that needs to be fixed.

“And then we need young people to take over power and that can’t happen when we spend more time praying than politicking, make politics our own way of life because the reason why you don’t have a job, the reason why there is no security, medicine in hospitals. 

“The biggest mistake the young people have done in this continent is to serve the old people. The old people of yester years the people who came before us the ones who fought for independence did not collaborate with the white men why are we collaborating with criminals, collaborating with thugs. 

“So we need to think how do we have across Africa a Pan African movement to fix our leadership because if we don’t fix our leadership we will be doomed. The people we have in power are neocolonial stooges, they work for the white man. The money that is stolen in our continent goes abroad,” he added.

In their separate remarks, Lourdes Caposso Fernandes, Founder and President, Legal Counsel Firm, Angola; Hon. Joanah Mamombe, Member of Parliament of Zimbabwe, amongst others link the Africa’s development challenges to  poor political culture and leadership and called for a paradigm shift.

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