Future of Nigeria, Africa can only be guaranteed by democratic process, say Mimiko, Suswam
Addis Ababa (WorldStage Newsonline)-- The future of Nigeria and that of entire Africa can only be guaranteed when democratic values are allowed to take root. This was the submission of two Nigerian governors, Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo state and Gabriel Suswam of Benue state who were part of President Goolduck Jonathan to the 22nd World Economic Forum on Africa in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, where the issue of leadership was in the front burner of the discussion.
Both governors posited that where democratic norms are allowed a space, it will in turn produce competent leaders.
They also argued that harmonizing and integrating trade policies are essential to the development of the continent which has for long remained an exporter of raw materials. Mimiko was of strong conviction about the future of the country and that of the continent; stressing that democratic process which is gradually taken root in the continent will produce capable leaders that will lead the continent out of the wood.
According to Mimiko, “It is exciting that Africa is focusing on leadership as a major variable of development of the continent and the summary is that leadership is everything if we really want to develop Africa.
“That leadership is about competence, capacity, integrity; it is about being able to inspire development. Within the last ten years, the platform has been very right for competent leadership in Nigeria, in Africa with democracy taking firm root in most of the African countries.
“What I have always believed in is that if we allow democracy to take root, the system itself will pull up the type of leadership we want in Nigeria. With consistent democracy and tinkering with the system such that we have credible elections, we will get there.”
Governor Suswam on his part stressed the need for Africa to integrate towards enhancing intra-African trade and withstanding harmful policies of western nations.
According to him, “African leaders need to harmonise policies that will enhance trade and integration amongst Africa, so that we Africans can grow our economy in our own peculiar way instead of copying everything wholesomely from Europe or metropolitan economies.
“I think it’s a good forum and African leaders who attended it also gave good account of themselves and what they need to do as leaders in their various countries to be able to integrate Africa.
“The fact the world is now focusing on Africa shows that the world has come to realize that Africa is the continent that needs also to be taken within the global framework so as to be able to avoid issues that are beginning to crop up that could by extension have some negative impact on the global village.
The Benue governor also disclosed that the Forum has provided a platform for him to interact with foreign investors who have indicated interest in investing in Nigeria, particularly Benue state.
He said, “I have been able to meet and interact with potential investors who are very excited about coming to Nigeria. Some of them said that in the next two weeks they will come especially in the area of agriculture and trading. While we have been talking about value chain in agriculture, we are not talking about the market aspect of it.
“So we must first and foremost capture the market within the African region, then we talk about other continents and here we have been able to meet, interact and discuss with some of these business people from other continents who are willing and ready, looking at the potentials which abound in Africa countries, especially in Benue state.”