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AllAfrica News: Latest
All Africa, All the Time.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Monday blamed the Structural Adjustment Programme of the former military president General Ibrahim Babangida administration for the problems of food production in the country.

 

He also accused African leaders of conniving with international agencies to impoverish their peoples.

 

Obasanjo said this at the public presentation of the Africa Human Development Report 2012 in Abuja.

 

He said, “I don’t like that word, Structural Adjustment, because it was one of the things that killed our agriculture, when the World Bank said we should be structurally adjusted even when we had no structure to adjust.”

 

He also explained that the report re-echoed what was already public knowledge among Africans.

 

Obasanjo said, “This report is a damning condemnation of decades of governance in sub-Saharan Africa.

 

“It tells us what we know that the poverty of Africa is the making of African leaders over the years.

 

“African leaders have made the option of taking us along the route or path of poverty; we don’t need to be told.”

 

The former President added, “It also repeats what many of us have said over and over again that the prescription given to us by the International Community is like force feeding a diabetic patient in coma with concentrated liquid sugar.

 

“I know that because I am a diabetic patient and I run away from sugar.

 

“In short, this report is an indictment of African and International leadership in the area of African economic development generally but particularly in the area of food production and food and nutrition security in Africa.”

 

 

He said for too long, Africa seemed to have encouraged laziness, inefficiency, waste, corruption and leaders at all levels “have got away with murder through poor, inadequate and incompetent performance, what this report is saying is enough is enough Africa”.

 

Earlier, in his address of welcome, the UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Daouda Toure, said the report pointed out two disturbing paradoxes in sub-saharan Africa.

 

He said, “The paradox is that Africa is not predestined to hunger and malnutrition. Our continent has the lowest occupation of arable land, yet one quarter of the African population is affected by hunger.”

Source: PUNCH

 

Saturday, 25 February 2012 17:19

Obasanjo offers peace road map to Senegal

Nigeria’s former President Olusegun Obasanjo, in Dakar to broker peace between President Abdoulaye Wade and the opposition, has proposed a two-year term for Wade, should he be re-elected in the election tomorrow.

 

Obasanjo wearing two caps as ECOWAS and African Union peace envoy believes the proposal will ease tension in Senegal. Under the country’s amended constitution, the elected president has a term of seven years, but Obasanjo now wants Wade, 86 years old, to step down after two years. He is expected to win tomorrow’s contentious poll, as he is seeking to earn a third term in office. He had already spent 12 years.

 

Wade’s bid for third term after manipulating the nation’s constitution has sparked weeks of protests that left six people dead.Speaking in Zambia, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he was “concerned” by the pre-poll violence and urged “peaceful and transparent” elections.Nigeria’s ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo “introduced a new element, a roadmap which states Abdoulaye Wade will only stay in power for two years if he wins,” said Abdoul Aziz Diop, spokesman for the opposition June 23 Movement (M23).

 

“Our wish remains that Abdoulaye Wade loses the election,” he said, noting that Wade has not promised to resign after two years.”It is these guarantees which will carry the coming negotiations with Obasanjo.”Obasanjo’s deal also calls for creating a new constitutional court and independent electoral commission, M23 co-ordinator Alioune Tine told RFM radio, saying the opposition movement was “open to negotiations…to conserve peace.”

 

Obasanjo arrived in Dakar on Tuesday as head of a joint mission launched by the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and has met with Wade, the opposition and diplomats.His arrival came after days of riots over Wade’s candidacy that turned parts of Dakar into a no-go zone as police fired teargas at rock-throwing protesters who had set up flaming barricades.

 

With polls set to open, the rapper-led youth movement “Fed Up” urged voters against boycotting, encouraging them to get their voter cards and vote massively against the incumbent.”The struggle must continue and will continue at the ballot box. We have been sharpening our weapons, your voters cards. The time has come to use them,” the movement said in a statement late Friday.Wade has already served two terms in office, but argues the changes to the constitution in 2008 extending term lengths to seven years allow him to serve two more mandates.

Music star and political activist Youssou Ndour attended an opposition protest in Dakar on Tuesday. The opposition condemned Wade but still failed to unite behind one candidate to challenge the incumbent [EPA]

 

The country’s top legal body validated his candidacy on January 27, sparking riots around the country and clashes in downtown Dakar.Observers say Wade needs to secure a first-round victory because he would fare badly in the second-round when the field contracts to two candidates.Thirteen opposition candidates are on the first round ballot, including three former prime ministers, but no clear front-runner has emerged.Foreign partners have voiced concern over the unsettled campaign — uncharacteristic for Senegal, which boasts an unbroken series of elections since independence in 1960 and has never suffered a coup.

 

The United States has sent its top Africa diplomat Johnnie Carson to Senegal to underline its “desire to see calm, free, fair elections,” the State Department said Friday.Some worry that more than 450,000 unclaimed voter cards boost the prospect of fraud, but the elections body insists it is ready to manage the polls.Roughly 5.3 million people are registered to vote.Paul Melly, an analyst with London-based Chatham House, told AFP that a Wade first-round win could “could produce a further upsurge in protest and anger on the streets.”Wade was first elected in 2000 to great euphoria after unseating the Socialist Party that had been in power for 40 years.His supporters praise him for an infrastructure boom, but his detractors say he has focused on prestige projects while the average Senegalese battles rising food prices and crippling power cuts.Infuriating the opposition are signs he is lining up his son Karim Wade to succeed him.

 

pmnews

 

Chief Olusegun Obasanjo's speech

"Mr President, we are here because we believe in what I call Nigerian dream. Mr President, we from the South West we were the first to collectively stick out our head to say this is the way, and what is the way? "The way of Goodluck Jonathan for Nigeria. A Nigerian dream entails collective aspiration, collective hope, collective objective, collective target and collective fulfilment . It also entails our communality. And what is our communality in Nigeria? What is the communality between me and my brother from Sokoto? What is the communality between me and even my brother from Yenagoa? What is the Communality between me and my brother from Maiduguri? What is the communality between me and my brother from Badagry or even from Ekiti? It is Nigerian identity. Nigerian Identity! That is our communality.

"If you say the communality is that we belong to the human race, so do the Europeans, so the Americans, so the Asians. But we are one communality, one identity, Nigerian identity. If we have a common identity, then we can have a common Nigerian dream.

For me I see a Nigeria dream of land of unity in diversity. For me, I see the Nigerian dream in equal opportunities for all Nigerians; land of freedom and choices; land of prosperity, fairness, peace and justice; land of love, care, harmony among its people; land respected internationally and playing its rightful role within the comity of nations and land where no one is oppressed, discriminated against, enslaved or disadvantaged.

"For instance, let me go to an element of one of the aspects of the dream. When I was a young man, leaving secondary school, there was only one University in Nigeria. The opportunity for young men to go to university in Nigeria was then limited. Today there are 117 Universities in Nigeria expanded and enhanced opportunities. We have to match that with opportunity to access to employment and to good living standard. Your excellencies, this I believe is attainable and as a political party we in PDP have dreams. "We have set about actualizing our Nigerian dream. You will see this in the formation of PDP. The history of the PDP speaks for its self. The constitution of PDP, the manifesto of our party and the performance of our party so far. We have set our hands on the plough and there is no looking back for PDP.

"Drawing from our national Constitution which upholds Federal Character, we are the only political party that enshrines Federal Character in our Constitution through zoning and rotation.

And we should be proud of that. For us and for the foreseeable future that remains sacrosanct, I am an apostle of Federal Character under Murtala/Obasanjo administration and I cannot now preach anything different. The accident of history of the recent past must be understood for what it is, an unexpected situation and PDP as a party has addressed that issue.

Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala of Oyo State, President Goodluck Johnathan, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, vice President Nnamdi Sambo and PDP Ag. National Chairman, Alhaji Bello Mohammed at the PDP South West Rally in Ibadan.

"At the last meeting of BoT of our party last Saturday, the issue was tabled by the president as it was raised by three distinguished members of our party a day before that BoT meeting with the President. I was mandated to take up the position of the party with the three distinguished members of our party who raised the issue. They are General Ibrahim Babangida, General Aliyu Muhammed and Alhaji Abubakar Atiku.

The following day, that was last Sunday, I took up the matter with General Ibrahim Babangida who expressed to me that the issue is not the accident of history but rather it is the issue of perception in some quarter that Federal Character, zoning and rotation as established and practiced by PDP have been jettisoned and permanently cancelled.

"I on behalf of the BoT allay the fear and I promised a public report while he briefs the other two party members with whom we saw the president on the eve of the BoT meeting.

"What am I saying? What am saying simply is that Federal Character, zoning and rotation in our party is alive and kicking. I personally see the practice of Federal Character, zoning and rotation of key political and governmental positions and offices by the PDP, if it will continue to be the ruling party in Nigeria, I see that position beyond my life time. It will only happen when unity, stability and democracy have been established with full confidence and trust by every body in the system and within the polity and among the participants for factors of competence, performance and track record to become predominant. PDP should be praised for being the only party that enshrined Federal Character, zoning and rotation in its constitution and also practicing it.

"PDP has brought stability and substantial predictability to the polity and to the system. I do not know who will be the President of Nigeria after Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. That is in the hand of God. But with the PDP policy and practice, I can reasonably guess from where in terms of section of the country from where the successor to President Goodluck Jonathan will come and no internal democracy or competition will be hereby destroyed.

"The recent resort to sentiments and emotions of religion and regionalism is self serving, unpatriotic and mischievous to say the least. It is also playing on dangerous emotive issues that ignite uncontrollable passion and can destabilize if not destroy our country. It is oblivious of the sacrifices others have made in the past for unity stability and democracy in Nigeria in giving out their lives, shedding their blood and in going to prison. I personally have done two out of these three sacrifices and I am ready to do the third if it will serve the best interest of Nigerian dream.

"Let me appeal to those who have embarked on those dangerous roles to desist from taking us on a perishable journey. A common identity as Nigerians there is more that binds us than separate us.

"I am a Nigerian born a Yoruba man and I am proud of those identities, as they are for me complimentary. Our duties, responsibilities and obligations to our country and citizens and indeed as leaders must go side by side in our likes and demands. There must be certain values and virtues that would go concomitantly with our dream.

"Thomas Payne said and I quote " my country is a world." For me my country I hold dear. On two occasions I have had the opportunity, thanks to God and thanks to the people of Nigeria, to work for my successors in the government of Nigeria. On both occasions, I never took the easy and destabilizing route of ethnic, regional or religious consideration rather I took the enduring route of national, uniting and stabilizing route. I worked for both President Shagari and President Yar'Adua to succeed me. Not just because they are Muslims, northerners or Hausa /Fulani, but because they could strengthen the unity, stability and democracy of Nigeria. We of course, with all the displeasure of ethnic chauvinists for doing what is right for our country, that is in the nature of the burden of leadership. A leader must lead no matter whose ox is gored.

"In the present circumstance, let me reiterate what I have said on a number of occasions, electing Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in his own right and on its own merit which is there to be seen as the President of Nigeria will enhance and strengthen our unity, stability and democracy and it will lead us towards achievement of the Nigerian dream.

"We are impressed with the report that Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has already taken a unique and unprecedented step of declaring that he would only want to be a one term President. If so whether he knows it or not, that is a sacrifice and it is statesmanly. Rather than vilify him and pull him down, we as a party should applaud and commend him and Nigerians should reward and venerate him. He has taken the first good step, let us encourage him to take more good steps to achieve what we need to achieve for this country by voting for him in landslide victory as the first elected president of Nigeria on basis of our common Nigerian identity and for the purpose of actualizing the Nigerian dream. God bless you all."

FORMER president and chairman, Board of Trustees, BoT, of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo speaking in Abuja during the campaign 2011 grand finale of the President Jonathan/ Vice -President Namadi Sambo ticket. Theme of the speech was on the calling on Nigerians to vote the PDP presidential ticket, Nigerian dream and zoning.

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