Against the backdrop of recent xenophobic attacks in South Africa, former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, has urged African leaders to strive to protect the rights and businesses of fellow Africans within their domain.
The former President, who made this call in a keynote address he presented yesterday at the ongoing International Peace Summit in Sao Tome and Principe, added that sustainable development is only possible in an atmosphere of peace and security.
Emphasising the need for leaders to protect lives and property on the continent, Jonathan said: “To make meaningful progress, Africans must be encouraged to treat one another as brothers and sisters, in love and unity. Relations within and between nations should never be allowed to degenerate to a level where citizens will resort to self-help by visiting violence on fellow Africans and their legitimate business interests.
“Growth and development can only be cultivated and sustained when leaders ensure that the rights and freedoms of citizens as well as migrants are respected and protected.”
The conference has in attendance many serving and former African leaders including Sao Tome President Evaristo Carvalho; Prime Minister Jorge Bom Jesus; former President of Niger Mahamane Ousmane; and former President of Guinea Bissau Manuel Serifo Nhamadjo.
The former President, who is the Chairman of the the African wing of the newly inaugurated International Summit Council for Peace (ISCP), also noted that good governance, where peace and security reign, is the way to a peaceful and prosperous continent.
He said: “For peace to thrive, we must first build hope in the lives of the people because hope inspires love, love promotes peace; peace engenders justice while justice guarantees freedom and trust. These universal virtues are central to our quest for a peaceful and prosperous continent.”
Speaking on the theme of the conference, Jonathan said: “The theme: ‘Building a Peaceful and Prosperous Africa Centered on Universal Values: Interdependence, mutual prosperity and Universal Values’ speaks directly to the need for a concerted effort towards healing a troubled world.
“I will continue to state that the dream of the ISCP is consistent with my personal ideals and that of my Foundation. The Goodluck Jonathan Foundation (GJF) is committed to the principles that strengthen democracy, good governance, peace and stability while promoting prosperity through youth empowerment in Africa.
“Building peace is a task for every one of us, irrespective of the position one occupies; whether as a leader or a follower, peace is an ideal which we must deliberately work for. Peace is not rain from heaven, it is a seed we plant and nurture for it to grow and bear fruits in our families, countries and the world at large.
“Peace, justice and democracy are some of the greatest ideas of our world. It is the tripod upon which sustainable development stands. Peace and development are mutually linked; none can survive in the absence of the other.”