Former President Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has called on African leaders to adhere to the rule of law and prioritise equality and justice in order to build a continent of peace, prosperity and development.
Dr Jonathan made the call during the Ninth African Leadership Magazine Person of the year award ceremony organised virtually during the weekend where he was awarded the African Peace and Security Leader of the Year 2020.
In his acceptance remarks, the former President said: “For peace to reign, those who wield power should respect the rule of law, be fair to all and dispense justice in a manner that promotes equity and boosts the people’s confidence in their nation.
“When politicians undermine democratic principles and usurp citizens’ rights, it creates a situation that impacts negatively on peace and development”, he said.
Underscoring the importance of democracy, stable leadership and peace and development, Dr Jonathan stated: “In Africa, it appears we see the political process as a civil war or a fraudulent enterprise that has no rules. This is unhealthy for our polity as it impedes our development.
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“Leadership commands a great influence in the affairs of men, such that the fate of a nation is often interconnected with that of the leader. Leaders that promote peace and build institutions always focus on those deliveries that cater to the needs of our citizens and keep them safe.
“More than in any other parts of the world, self-centred and egocentric contests for power by African politicians had, more often than not, unleashed widespread violence and insurgency on the African soil.
The former President further said: “Peace in our continent is mainly threatened by political instability, poor democratic practices, and weak institutions. Many African nations that are today mired in conflicts, or just emerging from one, often have such crises rooted in the struggle for leadership.”
“ I always make the point that there is a clear link between a nation’s social and economic standing and its position in the global conflict index. Nations with fewer conflicts and more stable leadership tend to be richer and better off in the human development profile.
“The nations with the lowest progress on the official United Nations Human Development Index, many of them in Africa, are those that are either poorly governed or embroiled in leadership struggles.”
Jonathan who expressed appreciation to the publisher of African Leadership Magazine and the award committee said:
“I am delighted that my little contributions towards peace and sustainable democracy in our continent are being recognized.
“Awards and recognitions are good because it reassures the recipients that their little contributions to the growth of society have not gone unnoticed.
It also comes with a sense of responsibility which jolts the awardees to the fact that they can no longer go below a certain threshold. To all of us receiving the award today, it is, therefore, a nudge to do more, ” he said.