Former Malawi President, Dr. Joyce Hilda Banda has challenged Africans to rise against insensitive and corrupt leaders who have continued to impoverish the continent and explore her peaceful and united opportunities towards achieving meaningful growth and development.
Banda who was a keynote speaker at the 12th Annual Zik lecture with the theme: “Reclaiming Zik’s World: Climate Justice and Africa’s Sustainable Development,” regretted that the greatest problem of African countries and Nigeria was leadership.
The event held at the Secretariat complex of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK) Awka, was organised by Faculty of Social Sciences.
“African leaders are involved in organised crimes and looting. This corrupt tendencies of African leaders is a sad development we all must take responsibility and find solutions to,” she said.
Banda particularly condemned Africa leaders who force themselves to power through vote-buying and falsification of election results, stressing that such practices was counter-productive to providing good governance and advancing democracy.
“For instance, during the last Malawian general election in 2020, the incumbent President had used “tipest” to alter the results of the election in his favour, but the “award winning Malawian judiciary nullified the election,” she said.
Banda however praised leadership qualities of the first president of Nigeria, the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, and, urged African Leadership to embrace his philosophy for a united Africa and development.
She also praised African women for their immense contributions to socioeconomic and political developments of their countries, urging them to be united to fight for African liberation and economic advancement.
Presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the 2023 general elections, Peter Obi argued that Africa’s problem is not colonialism, but leadership.
He said unless Nigerians and Africans dismantle criminality amongst their leaders the country and continent would remain in in dire stress and irriconcilable woes.
He said, “I thank you for the honour of coming to Nigeria for this lecture. My little contribution to your speech is that the problem with Africa and Nigeria rest squarely on leadership, bad leadership.
“The problem has nothing to do with colonialism having been colonised years ago. Today, it’s African leaders that have turned Africa into a gigantic criminal enterprise.
“For example, if you’re employed in this university, you work hard to be a lecturer and your salary is N400,000. If you’re not spending from your salary, it will amount to N44millon for 30years, which is not up to what we use to buy a car for a legislature in Nigeria. That’s the Nigerian problem and we must dismantle this criminality.”
Earlier, Chairman of the event and Governor of Oyo State, Dr. Seyi Makinde advocated for restructuring as sure way to salvage Nigeria in the face of current social, political and economic woes.
He blamed poor governance to over centralization of power, stressing need to focus attention on creating a structure that will engineer nationhood and development.
He said, “What is before us is not just uniting Nigeria but also uniting Africa. We need to focus on creating a structure that is beyond ethnicity and religion. We can innovate our way out of the current hardship through healthy competition.”
Governor Chukwuma Soludo said his administration would promote Zik’s philosophy by providing quality education, and improving lots of the ordinary citizen, especially the destitutes and poor.
Earlier, Vice Chancellor of UNIZIK, Prof Charles Esimone, described the theme as significant, saying it aroused curiosity as to who Zik was and his world view as well as connote the world had been lost or vitiated somewhere and needed to be reclaimed.