FORMER President Olusegun Obasanjo and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, on Monday, declared that the West African sub-region and indeed Africa were currently going through perilous storms as a result of political instability in some parts of the continent.
Obasanjo and Osinbajo, who stated this at the opening session of a high-level dialogue organised by the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa, bemoaned military incursion into the democratic regimes of some African countries.
The two-day event with the theme, ‘West Africa: Rising to the challenges of consolidating democratic governance’, was held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta, Ogun State.
Obasanjo, who is the Chairman of CoDA, lamented that coup d’état, election fraud and political violence and instability had crippled the growth of Africa.
He condemned military takeover of democratically elected governments in some African countries.
The former President warned that democracy in West Africa and indeed Africa required urgent attention.
Obasanjo insisted that power grabbing and governance through the gun would neither help Africa nor procure democracy through the judiciary.
He stated, “In recent years, we have witnessed a return of coup d’état, election fraud and political violence, resulting in instability and threatening the developmental gains we have made in the last couple of decades.
“I feel very sad and it gives me great concern when I see the democratic system we have painfully built collapsing. And I believe that there must be a solution, because the problem is human and all human problems can be solved by human beings. That is why the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa, under my chairmanship, and the OOPL have brought all of us together today to discuss pertinent issues affecting governance in West Africa, including the challenges and then to seek the way forward.
“Achieving this may not be easy, but it is a must if we want our nation to make progress; it must entail responsible management of diversity, which makes everyone feel a sense of belonging and be a significant part of the whole.
“We need a stable environment to grow our economies and ensure that countries develop in a sustainable way. Such an all inclusive democratic environment will fast-track the development of our economy and will strengthen our security and promote general progress.”
- Osinbajo, while delivering his keynote address, stated, “This is a moment of peril for democracy in our region because we are navigating a perfect storm of adverse circumstances, a world economy that is reeling from recessional shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic, price and supply disruption from the war in Ukraine, the emergency of armed non-state actors, and poor challenges associated with catering for the youngest population in the world.
“We must not allow our continent to become as it was in the cold war era. A fetter of proxy wars and great power conflict, we know from experience that this would result in a deepening or the recession of democratic values in Africa.”