Thursday, October 15, 2015 9:24 pm
Former Unites States ambassador to Nigeria, Walter Carrington, has said if leaders of the country could eradicate extreme poverty and stop using government to meet their needs but those of their people, Nigeria will not only become the giant of Africa but “that great Black Country to which all the world will pay tribute and wish to emulate.”
Carrington who spoke in Benin Thursday, at the 1st Eminent Lecture series of University of Benin, Benin City entitled “Nigeria and Future of The Black World,” said there is a far flung Diaspora which sees a revitalized Nigeria as the great hope of The Black World, noting that “at a time when so many dismiss Africa as a continent made of nations whose leaders are too venal to govern on behalf of their people, we look to Nigeria to prove the doubting Thomas wrong.”
He said for more than a century, the greatest of American President, Abraham Lincoln, described the ideal democratic state as one which was of the people, by the people and for the people, saying that “it is by the standard we continue to judge nations today.”
Recalling Nigeria’s 50th anniversary celebration five years ago, Ambassador Carrington said the country was becoming at last a nation “of the people.” He however regretted that most of the half a century, Nigeria had rarely been a country that was ruled by the people. “For most of this time, it has been controlled by the military juntas who neither had nor wanted the consent of the people,” he said.
The former American Ambassador was however optimistic that with a democratically elected civilian head of state and with the personality of President Muhammadu Buhari, the country will fulfill the third of Lincoln’s prepositional triad making his “a government for the people, a government which cares more for the welfare of the poor majority and disadvantaged than for the unjust enrichment of the privileged few and their enablers who too often in the past have looted the national treasury.
“Two years ago, I challenged a group of young Nigerian graduates selected by the American Consulate as fellows in a newly established youth fellowship dedicated to the pursuit of social justice. I told them do not let fifty or even ten more years pass in which the impoverished poor make up the majority of your countrymen. The eradication of extreme poverty is the great moral challenge of our time. This challenge will not be met so long as male elites continue to use government to meet their own needs and not those of their poor brothers and sisters; as long as women are denied their rightful share of power and opportunities, as long as corruption permeates so much of society.
“So too, I challenge all of you today. For I remain forever optimistic that even at my advanced age, I will long see Martin Delany’s dream realised and that great Black Country of my in-laws, and possibly of my ancestors, will become that great Black Country to which all the world will pay tribute and wish to emulate,” Carrington said.