Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said the desired peace and security in African countries would continue to elude them until world leaders acknowledge the importance of using African-grown solutions to resolving the political and socio-economic problems plaguing the continent.
With particular reference to how the African Union (AU) High Representatives brokered peace between the Federal Government of Ethiopia and Tigray’s militia; the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) using homemade ideas, Obasanjo urged African leaders to adopt such method to resolve the continental crisis and desist from portraying their people in bad lights or folding their hands while any African country is in turmoil.
The former President made these known yesterday while hosting student leaders from Ethiopia and the Tigray Region, who paid a “Thank You” visit to him yesterday at his residence located within the precinct of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
The students, which included the president – Mekelle University Students’ Union, Weldebrhan Azazi, Oli Bedane Wako for the Ethiopian Higher Education Institutions Students Union (EHEISU), President – United Youth of Africa Nation (UYAN), Dr. Daysman Oyakhilome and President, All-Africa Students Union (AASU), Osisiogu Osikenyi had visited the former president at his Penthouse residence in Abeokuta where they presented him, a letter titled, “Instrument of Gratitude to Baba” for his stabilising role and enduring legacies in Africa.
“We wish to convey the gratitude of students and young people from Tigray Region, Ethiopia, and the rest of Africa for your statesman-like role in brokering the “Cessation of Hostilities Agreement between the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Tigray Peoples’ Liberation Front (TPLF)”; and other peace building roles you have played in Ethiopia and Africa at large”.
“Thank you – Baba; from all of us, student leaders from Tigray Region of Ethiopia; Ethiopia Higher Education Institutions Students Union (EHEISU); United Youth of Africa Nations (UYAN) all under the auspices of the All-Africa Students Union AASU. Our generation and the entire Tigray is eternally grateful.”
But responding to the encomium showered on him, Obasanjo emphasised that what his team in the AU was able to achieve in Ethiopia, South Sudan, and Gambia among the other eight war-torn countries in the Horn of Africa was nothing, but finding an African solution to African problems which he said the continental union had been clamouring for since the 1960s through the Organisation of African Union (OAU).
The elder statesman declared that with a homegrown approach to resolving the crisis, no problem in Africa is too great for Africans to solve by themselves either political or economic among others.
“And how did it happen, AU decided that as our continental organisation, they should not continue to fold hands where there is war raging or where there is a fire burning in any of our countries. Then they decided to appoint what they called High representative of the Horn of Africa, not only that all the leaders of the Horn of Africa supported the AU in seeking peace, in promoting peace, security, stability, and enduring and sustainable development in the whole of the Horn of Africa.
“AU took the right step, the right decision at the right time. That same organisation found the right instrument to use to achieve the right purpose it wanted to achieve. Then our leaders in the region and the continent backed up the process and our department partners supported the AU effort, there was no question of …across purpose, we all worked together and archived together and we can all claim credit together and thank God together for what we have been able to achieve.
“It is a great lesson for us to know that yes, whatever may be our problem – political, economic, or social in Africa we can solve them if we go about seeking a solution correctly. No problem in Africa is too great for us to solve. Where there may be problems of peace, problem of insecurity, problems of youths unemployment, lack of empowerment, lack of acquisition of skills, youths frustration and of course general bad governance,” he said.
The former President, however, called for a total demobilisation of the combatants so that those who were conscripted during the civil war would be able to go home and start their normal life while people in the IDP camps ought to have gone home now and resume their normal life with schools opened to allow students and teachers returned to classes.
“There should have been total demobilisation so that those who were conscripted during the civil war would be able to go home and start their normal life. There should have been nobody left in IDP camps, by now they should have gone home and resumed their normal life. All schools should have opened by now and then of course there should be continued provision of humanitarian aid.
“There are a lot of not-so-pleasant commentaries on Africa generally and on different countries. My point is that yes, many things are going wrong in Africa but we cannot take one white brush and paint the whole of Africa or the whole of a country and say Nigeria is only a country of cheaters. No, we have decent, honourable eminent Nigerians all over the world.
“I won’t because of one apple in a basket that is rotten and say I have a basket of rotten apples. I will say yes, I have a basket of apples but one is rotten. Yes, there are men and women who will fall short of expectation in character, morality, integrity, and honesty but don’t take a broad brush and paint a sad and bad image. Where you have a population of 225 million people you must make allowance for a devil that will be among the saints and that happens in any country, not only in Nigeria alone”.