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Lumumba, Ezekwesili, others say Nigerian politicians hold Africa down


A coalition of civil society organisations (CSOs) and eminent personalities across Africa yesterday in Abuja said the continent’s development would remain a mirage if Nigerian politicians fail to change their ways.

Director, Kenya School of Law, Professor Patrick Lumumba; Senior Economic Advisor, Africa Economic Development Policy Initiative (AEDPI), Oby Ezekwesili; and other experts from budgIT, Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), YIAGA Africa, Enough is Enough, among others, said there must be alternative to the current political cabals in the country.

Speaking at the Summit of the Alternatives (SOTA), Lumumba said the political elite had continued to hold Nigeria back, despite its huge resources and human capacity.He concurred with other stakeholders that a paradigm shift in the mindset of Nigeria’s political class and a convergence of credible, competent and capable alternatives to lead the country were urgently needed.

“Nigerian politicians and leaders must know that the time has come to throw aside the things that have held us back. The time has come for us to recognise that what Nigeria stands for is important to Africa. Nigeria’s leadership is the missing link to Africa’s greatness.

“I have no doubt in my mind that when the Nigerian leaders wake up to this reality, Africa will be great. This is the time for the Nigerian parliament and local leaders to liberate themselves. This is the time for Nigerian leaders to recognise that politics can be sanitised,” the don stressed.He described as shameful Nigeria’s inability to increase its Gross Domestic Product (GDP), revive key industries and improve healthcare, so that the president would not continue to sojourn in other countries.

Ezekwesili stressed the need for a new Nigeria, as Nigerians would no longer accept mediocrity from leaders.According her, the masses must show their strength against the notion that the citizens are powerless.

“A new Nigeria is possible and can emerge,” Ezekwesili said, urging citizens to get involved in dictating the future of the country.The South East representative of the movement, Emeka Okoye, raised the alarm about challenges that await Nigerians if they continue to vote wrong leaders into political offices.According to the technology expert, with the growing rate artificial intelligence and import of robots, over 60 per cent of current jobs in the country would be gone by 2030.He insisted that a sensitive government that would be guided by data and mitigate looming global challenges “is needed in Nigeria.”

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