President John Dramani Mahama has encouraged Africans to be proud to speak about what they had achieved instead of dwelling on what they lacked.
“What I have noticed is that, it is our tendency in Africa to speak of what we do not have, how we are lacking in this or that, why we have not got where other more developed continents are, and who might possibly be to blame for this,” he said.
Speaking at the 40th anniversary celebration of the establishment of the University of Ilorin in Nigeria Friday, President Mahama said although there was nothing wrong with self-critique once it was constructive, it was unfortunate that in the process of performing that self-analysis, Africans forgot how far they had travelled to where they were now.
The President, who was the special guest of honour at the event, spoke on the topic, “ Africa’s Agenda 2063: Ending Poverty and Ensuring Prosperity in Africa.”
He observed that Africa had come far from the sordid past when some of its leaders ruled with iron fists.
President Mahama spoke about the brutal regimes of leaders such as Mobutu, Idi Amin Dada and Nguema, and said what was a source of pain, suffering, terror and fear in those days now belonged to history.
Today, he said, the continent had made a lot of progress in democratic governance and socio-economic development.
Africa Agenda 2063
He said as Nigeria celebrated the tremendous progress made by the University of Ilorin, it reminded Africans of the power of possibility that existed in just a single dream.
“The African Union’s Agenda 2063 is nothing more, or less, than a continuation of such a dream. It is a way and a means for each of our 54 nations to tap into the power of those single dreams, to encourage the citizens of this continent that we all love so dearly, to come together and take charge of our destinies, and to keep making those dreams come true. We cannot afford to forget that we hold the power to do that,” President Mahama said.
He also encouraged Africans to find out more about the African Union’s Agenda 2063, adding that “You’d be surprised at how huge a difference it will make, in both the short and the long run.”
Reiterating the need to champion goals that could extricate the continent from poverty, President Mahama said the African Union was unrelenting in that.
“In 2013, on the 50th Anniversary of the African Union, the heads of its member-states came together in an attempt to answer those very questions.
“ What we came up with was an agenda, a roadmap to guide our individual nations and the continent as a whole, on the next phase of our journey towards an independence that is based on self-sufficiency, economic stability and the eradication of poverty; gender equality, peace and social justice, ethnic, racial and religious tolerance and harmony, “ he said
Stressing the strength in unity, President Mahama said, “ Africa learned it long ago, during the era of liberation when one nation after another fought for and won its independence.
“From country to country, we inspired and energised one another with our dreams, our actions, our refusal to lose sight of our ultimate goal.”
He was, however, quick to observe that one vision in which Africa did not stand united because it was improperly defined as true freedom.
“The absence of freedom is what drove Africans to leave their lands; what compelled dozens of individuals to brave the harshest and most dangerous conditions in order to cross the Mediterranean Sea to enter Europe, or to queue for countless hours each day in front of non-African embassies praying to be granted a visa so that they could leave for the so-called advanced countries,” he said.
Greatness of Ilorin University
President Mahama emphasised the importance of the University of Ilorin in the history of Nigeria, saying when the history of education in Africa’s most populous country was written, the name of the university would not be left out.
“University of Ilorin alone has produced Alhaji Abdulfatahi Ahmen, Governor of Kwara State; Babs Omotowa, the MD and CEO of Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Ltd.; Sarah Alade, the former acting Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria; Mrs Folusho Olaniyan, the MD and CEO of UTC Nigeria Ltd.; and the actor, Femi Adebayo. And that is just a few names,” President Mahama said.