Nigerian President Bola Ahmed Tinubu addresses the 78th United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York City on September 19, 2023. (Photo by ANGELA WEISS / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)
● As Tinubu says we seek to be neither an appendage nor patron
By PHC Telegraph
“We do not wish to replace old shackles with new ones”, Nigeria’s President Bola Ahmed Tinubu told a gathering of world leaders in New York on Tuesday.
Presenting a Nigerian perspective of Africa and the world while addressing the ongoing meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, Tinubu, “We seek to be neither (an) appendage nor patron.”
The Nigerian president urged leaders of non-African countries to cultivate better economic and political ties with their counterparts in Africa, saying the continent is blessed with abundant material and human resources.
“I say walk with us as true friends and partners”, Tinubu asked of the rest of the world, “Africa is not a problem to be avoided nor is it to be pitied. Africa is nothing less than the key to the world’s future.”
He said there is a strong need as the United Nations sets a fresh agenda for the future to steamroll the evolution of a new global partnership.
The Nigerian President said the new deal should be endorsed by the developed world and African nations, saying that the existing order is terribly skewed and tilted in favour of the advanced countries.
“Many proclamations have been made, yet our troubles remain close at hand”, Tinubu noted in his address, “Failures in good governance have hindered Africa.
“But broken promises, unfair treatment and outright exploitation from abroad have also exacted a heavy toll on our ability to progress.”
He recalled circumstances that led to the birth of the United Nations and the adoption of the Marshall Plan at the end of the second World War which helped to create wealth through production particularly in Europe.
Admitting that the post war situation in Europe is different from the reality that Africa faces today, Tinubu said African nations have waited for the emergence of a proper partnership that will put an end to very unfair practices.
“Given this long history, if this year’s theme is to mean anything at all, it must mean something special and particular to Africa.
“In the aftermath of the Second World War, nations gathered in an attempt to rebuild their war- torn societies. A new global system was born and this great body, the United Nations, was established as a symbol and protector of the aspirations and finest ideals of humankind.
“Nations saw that it was in their own interests to help others exit the rubble and wasteland of war. Reliable and significant assistance allowed countries emaciated by war to grow into strong and productive societies”, Tinubu remarked.
Describing that era as a period when the world attained “a highwater mark for trust in global institutions and achieved “the belief that humanity had learned the necessary lessons to move forward in global solidarity and harmony”, Tinubu stated, “Africa has been asking for the same level of political commitment and devotion of resource that described the Marshall Plan.
“We realize that underlying conditions and causes of the economic challenges facing today’s Africa are significantly different from those of post war Europe.
“We are not asking for identical programs and actions. What we seek is an equally firm commitment to partnership.
“We seek enhanced international cooperation with African nations to achieve the 2030 agenda and Sustainable Development Goals.”
He urged the big nations to work with Nigeria and the African world “to deter their firms and nationals” from what he referred to as “this 21st century pillage of the continent’s riches.”
Tinubu spoke of the impact that climate change is severely having on Nigeria and Africa.
“Northern Nigeria is hounded by desert encroachment on once arable land. Our south is pounded by the rising tide of coastal flooding and erosion. In the middle, the rainy season brings floods that kill and displace multitudes.
“As I lament deaths at home, I also lament the grave loss of life in Morocco and Libya. The Nigerian people are with you.
“African nations will fight climate change but must do so on our own terms. To achieve the needed popular consensus, this campaign must accord with overall economic efforts.
“In Nigeria, we shall build political consensus by highlighting remedial actions which also promote economic good.
“Projects such as a Green Wall to stop desert encroachment, halting the destruction of our forests by mass production and (the) distribution of gas burning stoves, and providing employment in local water management and irrigation projects are examples of efforts that equally advance both economic and climate change objectives.
“Continental efforts regarding climate change will register important victories if established economies were more forthcoming with public and private sector investment for Africa’s preferred initiatives.”
Tinubu observed that although Africa is blessed with “abundant land, resources and creative and industrious people”, man has too often been “unkind to his fellow man”, stressing the fact that “this sad tendency has brought sustained hardship to Africa’s doorstep.”
“To keep faith with the tenets of this world body and the theme of this year’s Assembly, Tinubu advanced, “the poverty of nations must end. The pillage of one nation’s resources by the overreach of firms and people of stronger nations must end.
“The will of the people must be respected. This beautiful, generous and forgiving planet must be protected.”
As Africans, Tinubu said there is a strong resolve “to walk the rich African soil and live under the magnificent African sky, free of the wrongs of the past and clear of their associated encumbrances” insisting quite strongly that “we desire a prosperous, vibrant democratic living space for our people.”
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