Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, former Nigerian president, has appealed to African leaders to focus on good governance, equity and other positive things that would bring about sustainable growth and development in the continent.
Obasanjo made the appeal at the recently concluded Commonwealth Day Service and The Commonwealth Africa Summit event held in commemoration of the Commonwealth Week in London.
The elder statesman said that focusing on good governance will ease tension and unhealthy rivalry among member-states in Africa.
He said it was high time Africans learnt to do things right and solve their own problems as so doing would attract respect and support from the West.
“The world will listen when they think you are serious and you are doing what is right. We, as Africans should remember that nobody will do anything for you unless you do it yourself.
“We need to put our pad on our head as Africans and stand by our load and be ready to carry, then they will help us,” he stated.
The former president insisted that there are good things which Africa got to offer the world and not necessary the opposite, as widely believed.
“Although the notion is that Africa must always learn from their commonwealth counterpart in developed world. The reality is that there are a lot of good things that can also be learnt from Africa.
“Africa is not an unmitigated failure; there are good things in Africa. Africa remains the cradle of humanity,” he said.
He added that education remains the key to development as such there abound the need for utmost priority to be placed on education both by the leaders and the teeming youth.
“Leadership can do and undo. What I have seen in Africa is that I think on incremental basis, our leadership qualities are improving, but our leaders need to be educated. They need to understand the world and know that by them alone we can’t go farther.
“Let us train and educate our people. People will say, too many people, the truth is that the so called youth budge can be an asset and a responsibility. Let us educate them and give them skills,” he said.
He however emphasised on the need to see agriculture as business and not development project. “What do we do with the 60 per cent of arable land in the world, which is in Africa? Let us stop regarding agriculture as a development project; it’s a business, Agriculture business.”
The event, themed, “Shared Prosperity, Mutual Security” was organised by the Commonwealth Africa Initiative and GLEEHD Foundation, also had in attendance Mayors across London; High Commissioners, Members of Parliament and a huge number of the African Diaspora Community leaders and citizens across the Commonwealth countries.