By Victoria Ojeme & Favour Ulebor
Former governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has said African leaders must ensure Africans were not made casualties in the crisis currently affecting the globe.
He said this during his lecture, themed ”Africa in the Turbulence of a World in Search of Direction,” organised by the Society for International Relations Awareness, SIRA, yesterday in Abuja.
Fayemi, who was also chairman of Nigerian Govervors’ Forum, Forum, NGF, said: “It is usual in periods of transition in global order for those countries that are the weakest links in the chain of power and influence to bear some of the biggest costs of change.
”Africa has been badly hit by turbulence emanating from outside its boundaries, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2007/2008 economic crisis, and the global climate change.
”The continent has also been grappling with its own internal challenges, both structural and non-structural. On top of rising poverty, growing inequality, currency depreciation, mounting inflationary pressures, and persistently high levels of youth employment, a new external debt crisis is hovering over many African countries which threatens another round of austerity and externally-imposed adjustment if not quickly contained.
”Historic social gains of the early post-independence years and early wins of the first decade of the return to democratic politics are being rapidly lost.
”Without a doubt, turbulence in the international system has been refracted into Africa to produce a season of anomalies across our continent.
“In the face of this season of anomie, the temptation is strong, and has already been manifested, to resort to fragmented, disjointed, and uncoordinated actions. However, this need not be so. Nor should it be allowed to continue.
”Change in global order must necessarily come with its own challenges. But the various dimensions of change which are taking place also present opportunities. For us in Africa, one clear opportunity is the chance to win ample autonomous space within which to advance our ambitions of structural transformation and, in doing so, take a role as a co-rule maker as the new global order gets fashioned out.
”Yet while opportunities may be available to be tapped into in the context of ongoing realignments in the international system, they are not always given, nor do they last forever.
”Acting speedily, purposively, and with single minded determination is an imperative which must be embraced with boldness and vision by the governments and peoples of Africa.”
MINILS, Issa Aremu, while calling for reconciliation, charged Nigeria to play a major role towards global peace.
He said: “Nigeria is already reckoned with globally, we only need to keep on doing some of those things we have done before. There was once Nigeria that used to lead the decolonization for Africa, I think what we need now on the continent is what I call a need for a new statesmanship, which the late Nelson Mandela led for Africa.
”If you check what is going on in the Middle East, I think what is necessary now is the need for negotiation, for reconciliation, and this is exactly what Nelson Mandela did after the Apathathe collapse. Rather than engaging in danger, engaging in unnecessary, endless war between the white and the black, Mandela sought reconciliation.
” think the principle of Mandela should work for both Palestine and Israel, there cannot be a future in the Middle East without forgiveness, there cannot be a future without reconciliation; we dont forget what has happened in the past, but we should forgive.
”Both Palestine and Israel have to resume negotiation based on United Nation security council resolution 242, the two state formula, so that we will put an end to this carnage and I think Nigeria and Africa have to play critical roles along this line, like the role Nelson Mandela played towards global peace.”
In his remarks, SIRA President, Owei Lakemfa, said: “We must take a stand, all countries start from defining their own interest and pursuing that interest, Africa should have its own position.
” African Union should, but it has not done very well in this regard. We need to be principled, we must define our interest, there are too many politicians assigned as ambassadors, we should concentrate on our professional diplomats and grow them and train them and even those who are retired, we can also ensure they are part of the system, so we can have a robust foreign policy.”