Speaker tasks Africans on unity to promote development

By Lawan Hamidu, Abuja

Africans have been advised to promote the outstanding potentials the continent holds, to reflect its true qualities.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara gave the advice at the opening ceremony of the Standing Committee meeting of the 16th Commonwealth Speakers and Presiding Officers Conference (Africa Region) in Abuja.

Mr Dogara said though Nigeria, faced with the global burden of terrorism, has made a remarkable progress in reducing the menace but that has not been reflected in international news headlines.

He therefore advocated a collaborative effort to promote and tell stories of developments and breakthroughs in different countries across Africa.

“It is only through coming together like this as parliaments that we can address some of the burning issues in our region and internationally. By sharing experiences in forums like this, we will be able to anticipate certain things and put in motion actions or activities that will checkmate certain developments across the globe… As we meet, we foster understanding and a relationship from the experience we share. We [Africans] are in the news in most cases for bad reasons. Obviously, every nation on earth has its own challenges and we’ve seen cases of terrorism in advanced nations like the United States and recently in Paris for instance, however, in first world nations, their challenges are not as accentuated as it is the case when it happens in Africa. However, I can tell you that a lot of good things are happening in Nigeria. No one talks about the successes of our armed forces in the battle against the dreaded boko haram, little is being mentioned of the fact that we have sound professionals; for example, some works in the consortium that is currently remodelling the White House in the United States and also just recently, we celebrated a Nigerian who had a successful operation of a foetus, returned it to the womb and that baby was delivered successfully.

So these are the things that do not appear on headlines internationally but I believe that there are so many good things in Ghana, Botswana and all the nations represented here. We have the potential to start producing leading lights in all fields of human endeavour,” Mr. Dogara explained.

The sanctity of the parliament
On the need to protect the sanctity of the parliament, the Speaker said; “As a matter of fact, the parliament is the corner piece of democracy and without the legislature, government cannot be democratic.” 

The Speaker of Ghana Parliament, Mr. Edward Doe-Adjaho, Deputy Speaker of Swaziland National Assembly, Esther Dlamini and Deputy Speaker, Nigeria House of Representatives, Yussuf Lassun were among the heads of African parliaments present at the conference.

Mercy Chukwudiebere