•Nigeria has ‘ingredient to power the world —Tijani
By Juliet Umeh
Kenyan pan-Africanist and human rights activist, Patrick Lumumba, has said the liberation of Africa would not come by religious exercises, such as fasting and prayers.
The former Kenyan anti-corruption czar spoke, as the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Bosun Tijani, said Nigeria had the ingredients to power the world, asserting that the country’s youths were its biggest asset and that with the right support, they could reshape the world.
The duo spoke at the Platform of a non-political and nondenominational program, hosted by The Covenant Nation, at Iganmu, Lagos, yesterday.
Lumumba, who is a founding Trustee of the African Institute for Leaders and Leadership and erudite professor, stated in his address at the event that to save Africa, conflict and the change of governance must be dealt with, adding that if the question of governance was left out, the continent’s progress would be stalled.
He said: “Africa has become a continent where, after every election, there is conflict because the pursuit of power is the cutthroat competition where our throats are actually cut.
“We have a problem in that direction and the sooner we resolve that, the safer we will be. Africa can rise and Africa will rise, but it is not going to rise by prayer and fasting.”
The former director of the defunct Kenya Anti-corruption Commission, KACC, pointed out that freedom will not be given to Africa on a silver platter, but that the continent must stand up and take responsibility for itself.
“We must pray and fast but it will not happen, because the last time I checked even those of you who are believers – when Abraham was taken from the Ur of the Chaldeans and given Canaan, it was not on a silver platter. He had to fight the Canaanites; he had to fight the Philistines.
“That is the nature of divine instruction, ‘Go ye and subdue the world by the sweat of thy brow’. The kitchen where they made manna was closed. Manna will no longer come because you must now make your manna and it is our duty as Africans to begin to rethink,” he said.
Lumumba noted that the bold step the continent would take was an extension for a better future for the generations to come.
“The younger generations – (there is a saying in Tchi Malawi, more precious than our children than our children’s children). When we are doing these things, we must remind ourselves that we are doing this for this generation and generation yet to be born,” Lumumba said.
Nigeria has ingredient to power the world – Communications minister
Meanwhile, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Bosun Tijani, said the country’s youths were its biggest asset, saying with the right support, they could reshape the world.
According to him, Africa has a huge youth population, with Nigeria having a chunk of that number, many of whom are tech-savvy.
“If you have a second passport and you live in another country, you would find probably ten software engineers in Lagos before you find one in the UK in your cycle. Or if you are in the US, before you find one software engineer there, you would find ten in Lagos, or in Nairobi, or in Jo’burg.
”That’s the reality. We are the future. And you know why we are the future here? We are a continent of 1.2 billion and forty per cent of those are young people, across Africa, I believe under the age of 25. And this is where Nigeria is important. It is not just that we show off for the sake of showing off.
“In Nigeria, it is 60 per cent of our 220 million people who are under the age of 25, which means we have the ingredient that is actually going to power the world because these young people are digital natives. And if we give them the resources, they can actually become that engine that the world requires to be able to strive.”
While noting the country’s human capital, the minister said there were Nigerians in most top academic institutions in the world.
“There is no top academic institution in the world that you don’t see a Nigerian. Most Nigerians are always restless, no matter how much they have achieved. They always want to contribute,” he said.