Obasanjo urges African leaders to ensure peace


•Ex-president seeks $100b lifeline for Africa from China


FORMER President Olusegun Obasanjo said yesterday that the only way there can be peace and security in Africa is for the continent’s leaders to spearhead it.

He also sought $100 billion lifeline for African nations from China within 10 years.

He, however, asked Africans to learn clarity of thought and discipline from China.

Obasanjo made the submissions in a paper at a forum organised by Gusau Institute, in collaboration with the Centre for Nigerian Studies at the Institute of African Studies, Zhejiang Normal University, China.

He said for poverty reduction, Sino-Africa relations should enter into strategic relationship and partnership.

His paper was titled: “Sino-Africa relationship: New era for partnership on peace and security, governance and poverty reduction”.

The ex-President, who attended the forum with her daughter, Funke, however, was unable to interact with reporters at the event because many dignitaries formed a wall around him and escorted him to his vehicle after the opening ceremony.

But he said: “Wherever the conditions for peace, security, and stability is lacking, there can never be durable peace, security and stability.

“Peace, security and stability in any society can be ensured by the people of that society, spearheaded by the leadership of the society.

“It is when the leadership shows the way that the citizenry will follow and outsiders will render assistance and helping hand.

“African leaders will spearhead their peace, security and stability architecture and programme and as it has happened in the past, it is then the Chinese will be able to render appropriate helping hands, based on the requests and desires of African leaders.

“At Africa’s request, training and equipping military and security forces must not be left out.

“We take it that peace, security and stability have been established with appropriate and required actions taken. And this can only happen within the context of good governance.

“But good governance will not happen without good leaders imbued with nationalism, selfless commitment and nationwide view of responsibility, obligations, duties and nation-induced worldview and global programme.”

He said for poverty reduction, Sino-Africa relations should enter into strategic relationship and partnership.

He recommended a $100billion lifeline for African nations within a period of 10 years.

He added: “In this, strategic arrangement of three areas of resources coming from China to Africa, i.e. grant, short-and-medium term concessional loan and long term loan should be evolved and strengthened.

“Again, I see three areas that must be covered i.e, education, skill acquisition and capacity development, infrastructure and trade.

“For instance, it has been estimated that Africa needs some $90billion for infrastructure every year. It will not be a bad idea if China can provide $10billion of that amount every year for a period 10 years in the first instance.

“It will be about 10% of the estimated need for infrastructure but it will be impactful. All these can be done through China Development Bank, China Exim Bank and the proposed Infrastructure Development Fund along with the World Bank.”

Obasanjo said Africa needs China in order to be able to develop faster.

He said: “I have no doubt in my mind that Africa needs China, indeed, Asia, as they need us. Anybody who understands the depth of the Chinese immersion into the Confucian philosophy, their ability to stay focused and stick to longer term plan will not cast away such relationship

“Again, what can Africa learn from the governance system and style of China? Here, I am not on ideological trail, rather I am on efficiency, effectiveness, performance, service delivery, commitment and focus.

“If the Chinese have done it and are doing it at home, we can learn from them and they can impart to us their system, method and service that can be grafted to our existing and make a desirable change for us.

“Within a space of about one generation from 1981 to 2012, China has lifted 500million people from poverty, the highest level of such feat in the history of humanity. China has been hugely successful in poverty reduction effort and China has a lesson to teach any developing country who cares to learn.”

Founder/ Chairman of Gusau Institute Lt. Gen. Aliyu Gusau(rtd) asked Africans to develop homegrown solution to conflict management.

Those at the session included ex-Vice President Atiku Abubakar, a former Independent National Electoral Commission Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, and the Managing Editor, News Agency of Nigeria, Bayo Onanuga among others.