Yar’Adua, African Leaders Tasked on AU
By Gboyega Akinsanmi, This Day, Lagos
President Umaru Yar’Adua and other African leaders have been called upon to devise strategic ways of establishing effective, meaningful and people-oriented African Union (AU) Government.
Foreign policy experts made this call yesterday at a roundtabble discussion on AU Government organised by the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), to review the socio-economic and political prospects of African integration in the face of deepening crisis of under-development.
Present at the rountable were NIIA Director General, Professor Osita Chukwuemeka Eze, Head, Department of Jurisprudence and International Law, University of Lagos, Professor Akin Oyebode, Director of African Affairs, Foreign Affairs Ministry, Mr Emmanuel Ogunnaike, President, Nigerian Political Science Association (NPSA), Professor Jinadu Adele and renowned peace expert, Professor Amadu Sessay among others. Eze, who also chaired the roundtable, said the constitution of continental government founded on the principles of fairness and justice, “will assist African countries to confront the challenges of globalisation.”
He said African leaders should leave sentiment and racism behind them, accept continental authority external to their countries and agree on the focus areas expected to be addressed by the union government. “There is hardly any area that does not deserve serious attention. This issue is thus that of setting priorities and taking into account focus areas that provide pillars and have the potency to produce multiplier effects. Of the areas listed in the Constitutive Act of African Union, we consider governance and human rights, food, agriculture and water resources, peace and security, education, training, staff development, science and technology, health, environment, energy, infrastructure, trade and external relations as strategic and pivotal.
“There is a common interest in uniting to fight and protect from a hostile global environment and enhance the capacity of Africa to explore and exploit its human and natural resources in the 21st Century,” Eze said.
According to him, the idea of a United States of Africa “is coming a bit late, “ but it is better late than never.
Even then, there is need for the project to be executed with passion always, bearing in mind that whatever reforms of rules and institutions are carried out.
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