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Yar’Adua warns against hasty establishment of African Union govt

Posted by By LUCKY NWANKWERE, Abuja on 2007/07/03 | Views: 359 |

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Yar’Adua warns against hasty establishment of African Union govt

President Umar Yar’Adua has warned against any rush into the establishment of a Union Government in Africa.

President Umar Yar’Adua has warned against any rush into the establishment of a Union Government in Africa.

According to a statement from the office of the president’s spokesman, Yar’Adua, who spoke on-going 9th Ordinary Session of the assembly of the African Union, in Accra, Ghana, said much as Nigeria favoured the move, there was need for a "gradualist approach" to its establishment because of the critical need at the moment for African countries to focus more on the urgent task of strengthening and consolidating internal governance and growth structures.

Noting that Nigeria has always supported the principle of the ultimate goal of the African Union being "full and political integration leading to the evolvement of a United States of Africa," the president, however, observed that the critical issue before the assembly was the question of whether to fast-track the process or to pursue the same objective through "gradual incrementalism."

"Our perspective is mediated by the critical need at this point in our continent’s developmental process, for the nations of Africa to focus more on the strengthening and consolidation of internal governance and growth structures and on more robust regional integration.

"Focus on inter-regional collaboration is equally critical, especially considering that all the five regions of Africa face essentially the same challenges of poor infrastructure, inadequate energy, endemic poverty and the twin bane of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis."
The president also said challenges the concept of union government had thrown up, make it imperative that a gradualist approach was needed.

Said he: "Dear colleagues, there are clear and present threats and challenges, which we must face up to. We cannot ignore the social, economic, and political inequalities within and among our member states, which, if not bridged, would pose daunting obstacles on the march towards viable political and economic union.

"Conversely, these issues, along with the challenges of conflict, disease and poverty, drive the imperative for us to present a united and common front in the global arena. There is strength in the synergy that is only possible from functional unity.

"This brings me to another critical variable in this debate: the degree of our commitment to our continental body and the essence of our Africanness. To the extent that we continue to subscribe and owe more allegiance to extra-continental bodies to the neglect of the AU, our steps towards functional integration will remain faltering.

"We must recommit, in practical terms, to those principles that initially drove the birth of the AU. We must stay focused on forging common standards of political and economic governance and create enabling factors that will connect our peoples, enhancing the free movement of people, goods and services within and among our nations.

"In this regard, continental infrastructure, such as transportation, communication and power, as well as common agricultural, education, migration, and other policies are fundamental."
Before the commencement of the debate, President Yar’Adua and the new Mauritanian President were formally received into the assembly of African heads of state and government.

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