Black history month: Peter Obi urges Oxford students to use their talents to develop Africa
Peter Obi has urged Africans in diaspora to shade off the slave trade effect and deploy their abundant talents to develop the African continent back home.
The presidential Candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the February 25, 2023 election, spoke yesterday as special guest at the Celebration of Black History Month by the black community at Oxford University.
Mr Obi said the time has come for Africa and the black community to stop lamenting about racism and victim mentality but instead engage in productive activities, good governance, and purposeful leadership to better their lot.
The Black History Month (BHM) event organized by the Oxford African and Caribbean Society (OACS), a vibrant society at the University of Oxford aims to put BHM “into a broad historical context to remind ourselves that it is fundamentally a politicised calendar event.”
According to the organisers, Black history has been pushed into the margins of mainstream thought and should be about refocussing and rebalancing a deeply imbalanced status quo, going at least as far back as 1661 when the Barbados Slave Code made it legal for human beings to be enslaved based on the colour of their skin, baking racist ideology into an economic law.
Obi, a former governor of Anambra state shared ideas with the community reminded them that life, irrespective of colour, race, or tribe, should be about building a better society and making humanity better recalling that this was what motivated him to enter politics.
He noted that he joined politics leaving his lucrative business, to serve the public not minding the huge loss available.
“I relayed to them my experience in 2001 while taking an Executive Management Course at Kellogg School of Management, a personal encounter I had with Prof Donald Jacobs, the School Dean, which eventually motivated me to join politics back home in Nigeria, to help build a better nation for all.
“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. Especially in the areas of health, education, and pulling people out of poverty.
He reminded them that Africa needs to invest heavily in Education and utilize its energetic youth populations.
“Africa should not be attending the summit asking for concessions”, pointing out that the era of tokenism for Africa has passed.
According to the LP standard bearer, ‘Africa with a landmass of 30.3 million km² and a population of over 1.4 billion people, continues to fall short, economically, far below Europe, with a landmass of 10.18 million km² and a population of about 746 million.
‘Africa will rise and enjoy development and progress.
Obi went further to say that with a land mass of Europe of 1,152,000km almost the same as Nigeria with 923,000km Nigeria with a youthful population should be more productive but is hindered by poor leadership.
Obi noted that “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 development.
He noted that the three biggest economies in Europe, Germany, the United Kingdom, and France with a population of about 216m have a GDP almost 25 times the GDP of Nigeria with an almost similar population.
Germany has $ 4.4 trillion with a land mass of 349, 223km, plus a population of about 84m and France has a GDP of $3.049. and 551695km land mass, plus a population of about 54m the UK has a GDP of $3.3.., and a land mass of 243,610km with a population of about 67m while Nigeria has a land mass of 923 769km and a GDP of $489.80 billion.
Obi told his audience that what this means is that what is lacking in Nigeria and many African countries is a lack of productivity arising from poor and focused political leadership which Africa should strive to achieve and take their destiny into their own hands and stop looking for tokens from areas not as blessed as the continent.
In a note sent to NewsBand, ACS observed that “The political space is changing. As diversity increases within the UK’s politics it is still painfully obvious that there has been a set back within the black community and how fast they climb those ranks, shown by the fact we still haven’t had a black prime minister. As we live in a melting pot Britain, we see black people from across the African and Caribbean regions with close links to their home countries. Due to this, this conversation is here to facilitate the possible crossovers and ways in which political leaders in the UK can help their counterparts in Africa and the Carribeans.”