WEF: President Jonathan chides African leaders on underdevelopment

President Goodluck Jonathan Thursday blamed African leaders for underdevelopment of the continent through disregard of laws of their countries and in the end engenders conflict which breeds poverty. He said at the World Economic Forum in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, that the disregard of rule of law by leaders was part of the problem of the continent as most of them place their ego above the interest of the people they lead.


Jonathan who was responding to questions where he was in a panel with Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi; President of Gabon, Ali Bongo, and Prime Minister of Angola, Paulo Kassoma where insisted that disregarding laws of the land lead to manipulating of laws to extend leaders tenures which breed conflict.


He counselled that as a way out, leaders should stop seeing themselves as being above the people and countries they lead while they should subsume their personal interests under the general interest of state. "But the leaders must not see themselves above the state and not put their interests above the interests of the state. This is the cause of most problems. Also, a leader may not be the best brain or the strongest physically to be the President, but he must have the ability to see potentials and use the right people.

"A leader must also be firm. If you are convinced that a certain thing is right, you must keep to it and if you are convinced that it is the right way to go you must continue in it for the best interest of the people. The key thing about leadership is honesty and being a person who is able to solve specific problems in different ways," he explained.


He must find a way to solve problems. There is not always one way but a leader must find the best way. He must be committed to developing his people," Jonathan submitted.

 In his presentation, Bongo agreed that without rule of law, Africa will remain in the woods, adding that there must be sacrifices leaders in the continent will adopt to make a change as the level of poverty was alarming and still increasing even in the face of all the resources.


"You always hear that Africa is rich and everyone wants to have a part of it, but the Africans are poor. But as leaders we want to make sure that Africa is rich and the Africans are rich too. One requirement for leadership is honesty, it is much better to be open about your challenges. A leader must not be afraid of telling his people the truth," he said.


Ethiopian Prime Minister, Zenawi added the scourge of corruption by leaders and their cabinets as constituting a hindrance to good governance and development and charged his fellow leaders to resist the allure of negative pressures, most of them from outside the continent who do not mean well for Africa.


He was supported by Nahas Gideon; Prime Minister of Namibia who charged that for Africa to experience development, leaders must be accountable and have the interest of the people at heart. He also stressed the need for the continent to go into production of products that would be used instead of relying on finished products which drain the economies and foster unemployment.

 Ahamefula Ogbu, Thisday

Jonathan expounded on the need to obey the rule of law

The session at the World Economic Forum, Ethiopia