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DEMOCRACY MUST BE SUSTAINED IN AFRICA - OBASANJO

By NBF News
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Former president Olusegun Obasanjo has said democracy and good governance must be entrenched and deepened in Africa to sustain Africa's past performance.

Obasanjo, who chaired the first anniversary lecture of the National Mirror Newspapers' first anniversary in Abuja, was represented by Ojo Maduekwe, former Transport and Foreign Affairs minister.

Obasanjo stated that all indications showed that in the first decade of the 21st century, Africa was on the rise, saying 'but what must Africa do to sustain and even surpass the performance of the last ten years?

'Democracy and good governance must be entrenched and deepened. This cannot be achieved without transparency and open government,' Obasanjo stated.

The former president noted that sound and home-grown socio-economic policies that created wealth, generated employment and adequately provided for the welfare and well being of all citizens were timely. He said transparency and open government would ensure decency and effectiveness of governance anticipated by the citizenry and fight against corruption and social ills that had eaten deep into our national life.'Where there is light, darkness will disappear. Openness is the light to be beamed into the darkness of bad government, leading to corruption, nepotism, inefficiency and wanton wastage.

'Citizens need information to be active participants and partners with government. The more citizens feel involved and informed with responsiveness from government, the greater there is peace, harmony, progress, development and growth. Sense of participation and justice, endear inclusiveness,' Obasanjo stated. In his remarks, the Publisher of National Mirror Newspapers, Jimoh Ibrahim said 'for National Mirror, I must commend our colleagues who are doing a very good job,' saying ' I expect more and from January, I am sure that readers will get more and more of the diet.'

Delivering the lecture entitled: 'Africa and the challenges of the 21st century,' former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Richard Akinjide eulogized West Africa for her rich oil deposit, saying West Africa had 'sweet crude,' which he termed 'the best oil in the world which people sought after.' He added that in no distant time, 'Nigeria will move from the third world to the first world as it is already being compared as having the same economic potentials with Russia.'

Akinjide noted that Africa, the second largest continent with 30 million square kilometers of land, had a large quantity of natural resources, the majority of which remained to be discovered or were barely tapped. Outlining the mineral resources in Africa, Akinjide said it had been calculated that if Africans were to allocate efficiently, only a few percent of her mineral wealth would develop her infrastructure and the continent would benefit from an infrastructural capital of the same caliber as that of Western Europe.