The Oasis Reporters
November 1, 2023
By Peter Obi
Over the weekend, I was privileged to attend the Celebration of Black History Month by the black community at Oxford University, England, where I was a guest Speaker.
At the event, I discussed the need for Africa and the black community to focus on productive activities, good governance, and purposeful leadership. I reminded them that life, irrespective of colour, race, or tribe, should be about building a better society and making humanity better.
I related to them how the sole purpose of serving society, propelled me into joining politics in Nigeria.
And I also recalled to them how in 2001, while taking an Executive Management Course at Kellogg School of Management, I had a personal encounter with Prof Donald Jacobs, the School Dean, who eventually motivated me to join politics back home in Nigeria, to help build a better nation for all.
Then, I contested and became the Governor of Anambra State.
Looking back in time, not minding the bold challenges I have faced, I am grateful for all I have accomplished, especially the positive changes I have engendered in the nation, particularly in the areas of health, education, and pulling people out of poverty.
The black community, and indeed Africa, need to invest heavily in education and utilize its energetic youth populations to foster development within their region.
Africa should not be focused on attending all sorts of summits and asking for concessions. The era of tokenism in Africa has passed.
With a landmass of 30.3 million km² and a population of over 1.4 billion people, Africa continues to fall short, economically, far below Europe, with a landmass of 10.18 million km² and a population of about 746 million.
The three biggest economies in Europe; Germany, the United Kingdom, and France, with a population of about a million have a GDP, almost 25 times the GDP of Nigeria with an almost similar population.
Germany has $ 4.4 trillion in GDP with a land mass of 349,223km², plus a population of about 84m, and France has a GDP of $3.049 trillion with 551695km in land mass, and a population of about 54m. The UK has a GDP of $3.3 trillion and a land mass of 243,610km with a population of about 67m, while Nigeria has a landmass of 923 769km and a GDP of $489.80 billion.
Development is a journey. Time was when Europe faced similar challenges, as we face today, but tackled by engaging in productive activities.
Nigeria, and indeed, Africa need only committed ethical leadership to lead it on the path of economic productivity and development. -PO