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Opinions of Saturday, 4 April 2015

Columnist: Attafuah-Danso, Emmanuel

Applauding Nigeria As Gen. Buhari Takes Over.

Consolidating Democracy In Africa: Applauding Nigeria As Gen. Buhari Takes Over.

The vulnerability and preponderance towards violence in African elections is an open secret and had become one of its destabilizing factors. For decades, we have been prone to post-electoral conflicts which had led to the loss of several lives. Within the immediate sub-region, the Ivory Coast comes readily to mind and then Kenya and in Eastern parts of the continent. The International Community had always expressed pessimism about the prospects of Africa deepening its democratic process as a sure way for enhancing national construction; and its fear is heightened by numerous skirmishes erupting from African elections.
Africa’s large market, enormous potentialities in terms of resources including great mineral and oil deposits ought to have drawn major Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs); but this is not to be and the manifestation of the low interest in Africa by the West makes this assertion true inspite of Asia’s recent incursions led by China.
Apparently, Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation had witnessed indeed a dip in good governance and a manifest leadership deficit particularly in terms of not only the poor management of its national economy, but also the growing insecurity, graft and pervasive corruption among its body polity, rent-seeking amongst those on the upper rungs of the political ladder under the direct watch and feeble response by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) led by the 57 year old zoologist Good luck Jonathan.
That a continental giant and a sub-regional gateway had gone down its knees had been a source of concern to pundits and general observers. It indeed seem obvious the government led by Jonathan had lost the plot and it’s on the path of self-inflicting quagmire of retrogression.
Fast-forwarding to its elections, accusations went across the divides with alleged assassination attempts on the opposition leader and former military leader General Muhamadu Buhari attracting international as well as regional condemnation.
Further, its borders were closed ostensibly to ward off any insurgency by the notoriously marauding Boko Haram. Yet, this singular action sparked some fear and apprehension given the volatility of the Nigerian environment. Then the threat of a military take-over zoomed in the horizon dying down afterwards. In line with our predisposition to championing the cause of Africa’s democracy and the pursuit for the centre-centre-right pathway, issued a statement demanding that the Youth who constituted the bulk of the society and electorate exercised greater restraint and circumspection in making the transition peaceful.
Today, the most spectacular had happened and that is, the elections had been greatly successful, peaceful and declared credible in concession both by the vanquished and victor(s). That the ECOWAS, AU, the International Community and Observers and more poignantly the maturity exhibited by the Nigerian public and the Youth contributed to this success is most heart-warming.
Indeed, as we bid the vanquished a better luck next time, we hope that the victor and incoming president would lead Nigeria on the path of socio-economic renaissance under the guiding principles of the ECOWAS,AU and best international practice towards consolidating Africa’s path of democratization, rule of law and respect for human rights and propriety in public service to forestall the perennial exigencies of corruption, strong-man-rule et al. Indeed, Nigeria cannot succeed in isolation except we are able to synchronize our efforts as a compound whole in sync with the convergence criteria.
The Africa Young Conservatives Dialogue, Ghana hopes that like the Singaporean late leader Lee Kuan Yu did in 1965 when it broke away from Malaysia, the new president would put the Nigerian economy back on track on even keels so as to leapfrog its developmental agenda.
Nigeria like all Africa has hordes of its youth struggling in unemployment and is therefore expectant of holistic youth policies which would cure the adverse prevailing conditions affecting them.
Again we anticipate a brisk set of actions to bring down on the Islamic militancy which stares it in the face through the appropriate persuasive dialogue and rapprochement towards creating the right environment, salubrious enough unleash the energies of the people of Nigeria in creating prosperity through increased productivity.
Finally, we also the president elect to take a cue from the following statement by Dr. Mahathir Mohammed, former Prime Minister of Malaysia:’’ By and large, a country should be allowed to run its own economic and financial affairs. There shouldn’t be pressure from outside. If people find the situation uncomfortable, then they should think about what they can do, not what others can do for them. We don’t ask others to do things for us. We do it ourselves… I was born under colonial rule… I felt very small in those days. Nobody showed any respect for those under a colonial power. I would not want to go back to that stage and we must stand on our own two feet.’’
That you have taken democracy a step further and in a peaceful manner showing the way for all Africa deserves you our applause and congratulations!!!
Emmanuel Attafuah-Danso,
Convener, the Africa Young Conservatives Dialogue, Ghana (The Dialogue)