Obasanjo: Africa out­liv­ing bad rule, graft

Daily Trust - - FRONT PAGE - From Dele Ogun­yemi, Ibadan

A brighter fu­ture awaits Africa as the con­ti­nent is fast mov­ing out of bad gov­er­nance and cor­rup­tion, for­mer pres­i­dent, Oluse­gun Obasanjo, said yesterday.

In a key­note ad­dress at the first in­ter­na­tional con­fer­ence of the African Stud­ies As­so­ci­a­tion of Africa (ASAA) in Ibadan, the two-time Nige­rian leader also noted with de­light that the con­ti­nent is grad­u­ally mov­ing out of hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions that were typ­i­cal of the post-colo­nial au­thor­i­tar­ian regimes.

Obasanjo noted the vices which that were com­mon­place in years of au­thor­i­tar­ian regimes in Africa have sig­nif­i­cantly re­duced.

He blamed the back­ward­ness ýas­so­ci­ated with Africa on among other things, stain and stench of slave trade, the cold war, poor gov­er­nance which made some Africans to laud the old days of colo­nial­ism, cor­rup­tion and hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions.

The con­fer­ence with the theme; “African Stud­ies in the 21st Cen­tury, Past, Present and Fu­ture”, held at the In­ter­na­tional Con­fer­ence Cen­tre of the Univer­sity of Ibadan, was had Pro­fes­sor Akin Mabo­gunje as chair­man with Pro­fes­sor Toyin Falola as co-key­note pre­sen­ter.

“The right to free speech, right to ex­press a dif­fer­ent view­point, right to draw per­sonal con­clu­sions based on self-in­sti­tuted re­search and to query cer­tain cul­tural prac­tices and be­liefs are part of the huge lib­er­ties that Africa now boasts of”, he said.

Obasanjo used him­self as an ex­am­ple of tol­er­ance and in­sti­tu­tion of free speech as a cat­a­lyst for en­gen­der­ing so­cio-po­lit­i­cal de­vel­op­ment, say­ing: “If you visit the Oluse­gun Obasanjo Pres­i­den­tial Li­brary in Abeokuta, you will find thou­sands of archived news­pa­per comics and col­umns meant to spite and in­sult my per­son even as a sit­ting pres­i­dent. No in­di­vid­ual or group of peo­ple was ever queried or jailed or re­pressed for ex­press­ing this free­dom. Rather, I en­cour­aged them be­cause I de­rived fun and plea­sure from the hu­mour as I know who I am and no­body needs to tell me who and what I am not “.

Pro­fes­sors Mabo­gunje and Falola re­in­forced the ideas pos­tu­lated by Obasanjo, say­ing it was high time Africans started us­ing their brains and po­ten­tials to de­velop ýthe con­ti­nent.

Photo Govt. House

Gover­nor Ak­in­wunmi Am­bode of La­gos com­mis­er­ates with the wife of late Ta­judeen Disu, the man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Lekki World­wide In­vest­ment Lim­ited, Dr. Sade, dur­ing the gover­nor’s con­do­lence visit to the fam­ily res­i­dence in Vic­to­ria Is­land yesterday.

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