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UN Security Council – How Nigeria Can Get Permanent Seat–Kodjo, Former Prime Minister of Togo (allAfrica.com)

Former Prime Minister of Togo, Mr Edem Kodjo, said, yesterday, that Nigeria has the opportunity of spearheading Africa’s opportunity of securing a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council.

Kodjo who spoke at the second memorial lecture of the late Dr Olusegun Agagu held at the Civic Centre in Lagos stressed the need for Nigeria to rise up to the task of uniting the African continent, in order to achieve the goal of securing the seat.

Kodjo, who was represented by former Minister of Communications in Togo, Mr Cornelius Aida, said Nigeria remains a powerful machine for the building of a stronger and more united Africa declaring that “no wonder it is no exaggeration to think that the world order in the future cannot be conceived of without Nigeria.”

Delivering the keynote address entitled: “Resource, Policy and Economics”, he lauded the conduct of the 2015 general elections saying Nigeria has taught other African countries a lesson in democracy.

His words: “this is the first time that I am setting foot again on this African land of Nigeria after the outstanding lesson in democracy that you have just taught Africa and the world at large. The whole world actually held its breath. That was a lesson that restored our pride, our assurance and our hope in our mother Africa. She knows how to surprise people. She always turns up and, at the right time, you see her sitting up, then standing, proud and full of hope when everybody believes that she is unhappy and about to collapse. Yes, that also is one of the faces of Africa”.

He, however, noted that in spite of the country’s natural resources, majority of Nigerians are still grappling with poverty. On the need for Nigeria to ensure unity and lead other African countries to secure a permanent seat in the UN Security Council, Kodjo said “Africa has yet to play a major geopolitical role because she has not yet succeeded in realizing her unity.”

According to him, “If Nigeria, today torn and affected by conflicting influences, has so little a presence on the global political scene, she has the means, she has every means to get organized and appear as a full regional power to be taken into account . We have said it earlier on; she was remarkable in terms of efficacy in the process of the liberation of colonies on the continent and in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa.”

We need strong leaders, strong institutions–Gambari

In his speech, former United Nations Under-Secretary General, Professor Ibrahim Gambari said “Nigeria should be proud that in March 2015, we had credible elections but elections are over while elections are means to a better society. On my part, I know that there is no democracy in the world that successfully reproduces itself, which does not see to the developmental aspirations of its citizens. Take a look at Libya, everything was given to the citizens under Ghadaffi like free houses, free education, but yet the people wanted something different. Material wealth alone cannot guarantee the stability of a country. There is need for rule of law and rule by law. There is a nexus between development, democracy and peace”.

Gambari, who called on government at all levels to tackle poverty, unemployment, security and the deplorable state of infrastructure said such factors lead to instability in a country.

He said “What kind of obligation can we demand of our citizens if you cannot provide them with the basic things? Not only must we provide infrastructure that allows our citizens to realize their best, we must also involve social safety by taking adequate care of the down trodden. If properly harnessed, the human and natural resources of this country, under a visionary and dedicated leadership are such that Nigeria can become a much more prosperous country. Some leaders always try to subvert the institution may be because of their insecurity, so we need both strong leaders and strong institutions. We must ensure that the political class provides the kind of leadership the country deserves and needs. Nigeria has not yet emerged but we are the on the way”, he said.

Agagu was an amiable man–Obasanjo

In his remarks, former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who was represented by Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola described the late Agagu as an amiable man.

Oyinlola, who chaired the occasion said “In view of the relationship that existed between Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and the Agagu family, he (Obasanjo) would have made it a point of duty to be here today (yesterday) to chair the occasion but unfortunately, being a man of international standing, it was just some few hours ago that he got a call to answer to the duty of Africa in Ethiopia and Guinea Bissau, hence his absence from this occasion, which he holds dear to himself.”