Friday, 29 January 2016

Nigeria's Goodluck Jonathan says former leaders can still play a pivotal role on continent

Goodluck Jonathan has joined a small club of former African presidents who are enjoying their lives in peace at home while also playing a new crucial role in developing the continent. 

Very few names come up, when you talk of former leaders who have given way to the political tide. 

The exclusive club includes names like Arap Moi of Kenya, Obasanjo and Goodluck Nigeria, Thambo Mbeki, Kgalema Motlanthe and F. W. de Klerk in South Africa, J Rawlings and John Kufuor Ghana, Quett Masire, Festus Mogae of Botswana and Namibia's Sam Nujoma and Hifikepunye Pohamba. 

Former Nigeria President GEJ, as he is fondly called, is the latest to have handed over power and on Wednesday addressed the global community in Geneva, Switzerland on the issues of Nigeria, politics, education and security. 

He has already formed a foundation, The Goodluck Jonathan Foundation, to further democracy, good governance and wealth generation in Africa.

At the "press conference" hosted by the Geneva Press Club, GEJ ably addressed diplomats, policy makers and journalists.  

GOODLUCK Jonathan: Nigeria, or any African nation for that matter, can never become wealthy by selling more minerals or raw materials such as oil. Our wealth as a nation is between the ears of our people.

"I feel that what people in my position, statesmen and former leaders, ought to be doing is to help build consensus all over Africa, to ensure that certain issues should not be politicized," he said.

"The allure of power and the worries about what will happen after leaving power are tempting that it takes a man who loves his people and nation, along with the fear of God to relinquish power easily in Africa."

Buhari and Jonathan joined by Kofi Annan last year

"Education is one of those issues. If former African leaders can form themselves into an advisory group to gently impress on incumbent leaders the necessity of meeting the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recommended allocation of 26% of a nations annual budget on education, I am certain that Africa will make geometric progress in meeting her Millennium Development Goals and improving on every index of the Human Development Index."

The full speech

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