Nigeria @ 63: The day you become great, Africa becomes great – Prof Lumumba tells Nigerians

A former director of Kenya’s Anti-corruption Commission, Prof. Patrick Lumumba, has linked Africa’s rising to greatness to Nigeria’s greatness, noting that the day Nigeria become great is the day Africa becomes great.

Prof. Lumumba spoke yesterday at The Platform, a non-denominational and good governance conference hosted by Poju Oyemade, Senior Pastor, Covenant Christian Centre in Iganmu, Lagos, Nigeria.

Speaking at the conference with the theme, Africa – Rising Continent: Nigeria’s Strategic Role, Prof. Lumumba stated that given Nigeria’s over 200 million strong population, the country has the capacity to become a three-trillion dollar GDP (Gross Domestic Product) economy in five years’ time.

Nigeria, which marked its 63rd Independence anniversary on October 1, is regarded as Africa’s largest economy in Africa, with an estimated $500 billion.

At the Platform conference, Prof. Lumumba emphasized that the African continent would be better off if Nigeria harnesses its incredible potential in terms of human and natural resources.

“I’ve talked about Nigeria and reminded Nigerians: Of the day you become great; that is the day Africa becomes great. In five years, Nigeria has the capability of becoming a three trillion GDP economy; all the ingredients, the fundamentals are there,” he said.

Highlighting the creativity and industry of Nigeria’s talents who are also making waves in different fields of endeavour globally, Prof. Lumumba said, “If you’re going to any part of the world, and you do not find a Nigerian run away from them, because there is nothing to be done there.”

The Kenyan professor and activist also stated that Africa has the depth of human capital and potential to become greater and more prosperous than it is now. According to him, “Africa is only going to realize its potential when in all areas, by dint of choice, we enable our best men and women to serve in different areas.

“I have no doubt in my mind that Africa can do it. When I look at Africa and I look at Nigeria, I see an Africa that is capable of rising because of our sons and daughters.”

Speaking on the importance of democracy and good governance on the continent’s development, Prof. Lumumba said, “We must change our governance. Because if we don’t deal with the question of governance, we are going nowhere.”

He added, “Africa has become a continent where after every election, there is conflict because the pursuit of power is the cutthroat competition where our throats are actually cut. We have a problem in that direction and the sooner we resolve that, the safer we will be. Africa can rise and Africa will rise. But it is not going to rise by prayer and fasting.

“We must pray and fast but it will not happen, because the last time I checked even those of you who are believers – when Abraham was taken from the Ur of the Chaldeans and given Canaan, it was not on a silver platter. He had to fight the Canaanites; he had to fight the Philistines.

“That is the nature of divine instruction, ‘Go ye and subdue the world by the sweat of thy brow’. The kitchen where they made manna was closed. Manna will no longer come, because you must now make your manna and it is our duty as Africans to begin to rethink.”

Aside from Prof. Lumumba and the host pastor Oyemade, other guest speakers at the Platform Nigeria conference included South African entrepreneur, venture capitalist and elite coach, Vusi Thembekwayo; Nigeria’s Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Dr. Bosun Tijani; Nigeria Country Director, Development Alternatives Incorporated (DAI), Dr Joe Abah; the General Overseer, International Central Gospel Church, Ghana, Dr. Mensa Otabil; Special Adviser to the Nigerian President on PEBEC and Investment, Dr. Jumoke Oduwole; Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms, Taiwo Oyedele; multiple award-winning movie director/producer, Bolanle Austen-Peters; and policy expert, Dr. Modupe Adefeso-Olateju.


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