Buhari calls for collective efforts to tackle poverty, disease, insecurity, others in Africa
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has stressed the need for leaders of African continent to collectively work together towards eradicating poverty, disease and insecurity ravaging the peoples of the continent, especially the youth.
He also paid glowing tribute to his predecessor, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in averting the feared crisis during his election, and in facilitating the peaceful transition of power.
In his first address to the opening of the 25th Summit of the Heads of States and Government of the African Union (AU) in Johannesburg, South Africa yesterday, the President noted that while the continental body had recorded some progresses since it’s more than half a century existence, a lot still needs to be done.
He noted that some of the greater challenges to peoples within the union still lie in the political, economic, as well as peace and security spheres, noting: “Our continent is currently bedevilled by the twin evils of terrorism and insecurity; poverty, youth unemployment, and underdevelopment. The destructive effects of the inhuman and criminal campaigns of the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria and neighbouring countries; the Al-Shabab attacks in East Africa, and the activities of the Al-Qaida in the Maghreb, all bear testimony to a continent under siege.
“The images in the international mass media of African youths getting drowned in the Mediterranean sea on their illegal attempts, and often times illusory hope of attaining better life in Europe is not only an embarrassment to us as leaders, but dehumanises our persons. Indeed, they combine to paint a very unfavourable picture of our peoples and countries.
“Those of us gathered here today owe it as a duty to reverse this ugly trend. We must put an end to the so-called push factors that compel our young men and women to throw caution to the winds and risk life, limbs and all, on this dangerous adventure.
“We must redouble our efforts to sustain the economic development of our countries, ensure empowerment of our youths, create more jobs, improve and upgrade our infrastructure, and above all continue the enthronement of a regime of democracy, good governance and respect for human rights and rule of law. These and other measures that engender peace and stability must be pursued relentlessly.
In this connection, we must persist in our collective endeavour to work together through the African Union and our respective Regional Economic Communities (RECs), to uplift our continent and provide the African peoples the enabling environment for the realisation of their legitimate dreams and aspirations.”
It is gratifying to note that our Union has made laudable progress over the past one and a half decades since its transformation from the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) to the African Union (AU). Notably, we have been able to redirect our priorities at the continental level from mainly political goals to more diverse aspirations that are equally fundamental to our survival and development in a global community
The President assured of the unflinching commitment of Nigeria to the ideals and aspirations of the African Union as explained in the Agenda 2063, which is geared towards ensuring a peaceful, prosperous and integrated Africa in the next 50 years. It is for this reason that Nigeria is fully and irrevocably committed to the ECOWAS vision.
“We do so because we believe that African integration is best attained through the instrumentality of our Regional Economic Communities (RECs) as the building blocs of viable continental institutions. Nigeria will therefore continue to play her part in supporting the African Union Commission and other continental and regional institutions in their efforts to prioritize African development in all sectors of human endeavour.”
He noted that the journey might look arduous, but it was certainly not impossible, adding: “There are opportunities in every challenge. If and when we adopt this call for a change of attitude, approach, and disposition towards agreed protocols and commitments, we shall be bequeathing a politically stable, economically developed, and socially harmonious Africa, thereby justifying the confidence reposed in us by our electorates. We will also demonstrate our qualities as statesmen and true daughters and sons of Africa.”
Buhari paid glowing tributes to his predecessor, Jonathan for the role he played in averting the feared crisis during his election, and in facilitating the peaceful transition of power between the two parties, while also expressing appreciation to all the African leaders, who honoured Nigeria with their presence at his inauguration, and even those, who for unavoidable reasons were unable to attend.
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