Olusegun Obasanjo, the African Union’s High Representative to the Horn of Africa and former president of Nigeria, has indicated that there are several minor internal conflicts brewing in African countries that needs critical attention to prevent an escalation into wars and coup d’état.
According to him, leaders of the various African countries must be committed and step up their strategies to fighting ‘developmental wars’ against poverty, disease, illiteracy, bad leadership and poor governance on several fronts.
“Conflicts still ravage the continent and terrorism is sprouting in many corners. Having been recently appointed the AU High Representative to the Horn of Africa, I have come to the increasing realisation that Africa has to quench its small fires before they escalate to a conflagration which will consume the region. With such huge, God-given natural endowments, Africa can surely do better. A critically missing factor is people-centred leadership,” he said.
The former president made these remarks in a statement read on his behalf by his Special Aide, Robert Adeleke Adebiyi, on the occasion of a book launch in Accra-Ghana. The book titled: ‘General Acheampong; The Life and Times of Ghana’s Head of State’ presents a composite picture of the life and legacy of the former military head of state, thus ‘the good, bad and ugly’.
He further bemoaned the fact that, many African countries could not meet most of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and about nine years to 2030, attaining all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is still a greasy pole to climb.
Commenting on his colleague, the former Head of State of Ghana, General Acheampong and the book, Obasanjo indicated that in spite of the brevity of his life, he etched his mark in the annals of development of his country.
“The developmental history of Ghana has a special place for General Ignatius Kutu Acheampong. His tenure as military Head of State saw the change from the imperial to the metric system of measurement; change from driving on the left to right-hand drive in ‘Operation Keep Right’, ‘Operation Feed Yourself’ (a programme aimed at developing self-reliance in agriculture), ‘National Reconstruction’ (aimed at promoting employment and skill for workers), face-lift projects in cities, and the reconstruction/upgrading of stadia to meet international standards,” Obasanjo recounted.
Author of the book & CEO of John A. Kufuor Foundation, Baffour Agyeman-Duah, emphasized that the book is not to glorify Acheampong but to present a composite picture of how he emerged from military to politics of head of state, his achievements, downfall and all that happened in-between.
He added that it is also an attempt to fill in a gap of absence in literature work on the late General, using primary sources such as personal notes of Acheampong, interviews with family and people who came into contact with him during his days as well as news files and voices of him on the internet.
He surprisingly noted that it took five years from inception to publication of the book as he meticulously and diligently checked and cross-checked his information to ensure an unadulterated but whole truth account is presented.
Chairman of occasion, Prof. Yaw Adu-Gyamfi, stated that a people who cannot accept the past are condemned. “We should be able to monitor present trends and happenings around us and compare to the past. The continuation of all our history be it economic or social must be told without any falsehood or adulteration,” he said.
He concluded that the perceived disinterest in our history as a people can only be linked to lack of literature material to that effect, a reason why the book deserves the highest commendation as it is the right step to addressing this void.