By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Paul Kagame is the President of the Republic of Rwanda. He was in Nigeria, in particular, Lagos for the first time, according to him,where he attended the annual Kuramo Conference, with the likes of Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos state, Nobel Laureate winner, Prof. Wole Soyinka and the Director, Centre for the Study of African Economics, Oxford University, Prof. Paul Collier.
Kegame, who was recently bestowed with the award of Africa Peace Winner, 2012, last Saturday, after the conference met with agroup of Young Nigerian Professionals where he spoke on a number of germane issues concerning Africa continent viz a-viz Rwanda experience. Especially after the 1994 genocide.
Rwandan President, in one of his submissions, faulted the operations of International Criminal Court, ICC, on principle, saying it is incompetent to really handles Africa peculiar matters.
He argued that: “ A crime is committed on Africa continent only to be tried outside the continent. ICC is for the few western countries who are not competent to fairly handle such cases
”I strongly, believe that ICC, is a court to only try common Africans. I wish Africa can have its own court of law to handle its cases. This will at least ensure some of level of satisfaction through a legal processs.
”The arguement is about ensuring its fairness and justice. We have all it takes to make Africa great in the world. We have to take our destiny in our hands by confronting our problems headlong” “Kagame posited.
He,however, identified meaningful investments in the youth and education as key strategies, which would help Nigeria and other African states recover their lost opportunities.
Kagame dismissed a tradition of seeking development aids from foreign donors and international financial institutions from Europe and United States among African states, stressing that neither Nigeria nor any African state needed any foreign aids to unlock opportunities in its economy.
According to him, Nigeria can change, but it is the young people that would make the change. “I believe the change has started already. What is required to make a change is in the hand of the youths.
Rwanda is ready to work with Nigeria and failing to do what is necessary will make prosperity a major challenge on the continent.
He explained that each country on the continent “has everything it needs to catalyse its growth and development.’’
”We have lost opportunities in the past. We should be challenged so that we do not lose opportunities in the future again. We must ensure as a continent that opportunities are no longer wasted”.
Aside from natural resources, the continent is endowed, the president added that meaningful investment in the young people is key to Africa development, particularly, Nigeria.
He noted that the resources of Nigeria is not her problem but the people Kagame said: “If we look at the number of young people we have in this part of the world, it is a vast opportunity for the government. But we need to support them. I want to see young Nigerians and Africans working together and take advantage of vast opportunities in their respective countries or on the continent.
“The continent’s young people need to interact and network. We now have technology and devices to interact and network better. This is how we can gain what has been lost in the past decades. There is no other way around it. Africans must develop Africa. Europe will not develop our continent for us,” he said.
He said Rwanda under his leadership was able to make progress because both leaders and people resolved “to confront their challenges. All the development aids would amount to nothing if we do not develop our young people.
“We have everything within our means to bring about desired development. Everyone is capable of being a leader, and there is no problem that is insurmountable. Young people should no longer waste opportunities. Africa needs the younger generations to redefine and transform our future,” Kagame said.