Alex Enumah in Abuja
As the January 31, 2017 date for the election of the African Union (AU) Chair draws near, a leading and ECOWAS candidate, Prof. Abdoulaye Bathily, has stressed the need for the continent to elect persons with dynamic leadership qualities that will take Africa out of the woods.
Bathily, a core Pan-Africanist and advocate of democracy and good governance in Africa also argued that until Africa devices her own strategy for development the continent would continue to lag behind.
The AU Chair contender who revealed this during an interview with select journalists in Abuja, said it was high time African voted into office only those that have what it actually takes to move the continent forward and not vote on sentiment of regional and linguistic affinity.
“For the last two and a half years, I was based in Gabon covering the 11 countries of Central Africa. When you look at this, I can confidently say that I have the enough experience, conviction not just as a Senegalese citizen, or a member of ECOWAS country, but also as an African citizen.
“I think today, the AU needs somebody who would not just do business as usual but who will be inspired by the Africans in their hope for democracy, regional integration, peace and security. More importantly, the African Union needs a more dynamic leadership that will make the organisation more relevant to the Africans,” he said.
Bathily, while disclosing that his main target is to make the African Union relevant to the African people, promised to work very closely with African grass-root organisations, so that they would be acquainted with the workings of the commission.
He also promised to push for reforms particularly in the area of good governance that would promote peace and security needed for the development of the continent. He said if there is good governance in Africa, the controversy surrounding the International Criminal Court (ICC) would be a non-issue.
On regional integration, the ECOWAS candidate said if elected, he would persuade the Heads of State and Government to bring together African entrepreneurs, to build a sustainable economy.
“I dream of having not only one Dangote or Elemelu, but hundreds of them throughout the continent, coming together to cooperate and build dams, roads, have airlines for easy air transportation. When we pull financial resources and intellect together, there is a possibility of having good cooperation which will build Africa. But when you have a partner who will build their companies, once they finish they go,” he said.
“The Europeans have their own strategy about Africa, but we don’t have our own strategy towards them. It is the role of the AU Commission to strategise to bring the Heads of State and Government to come together and to come with a common position vis-à-vis all the new partners.
He also appealed to losers in any elections to strive to make necessary sacrifice for the peace and well being of their people.