In a compelling address at the launch of the “Recycling Waste to Wealth Challenge” in Abeokuta, Nigeria, United States Consul General Will Stevens shed light on a critical issue plaguing African nations – the growing trend of military takeovers triggered by leaders unwilling to relinquish power after their terms expire.
Stevens, while addressing students at the Abeokuta Window on America within the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, emphasized that Africa faces an array of formidable challenges, encompassing climate change, food insecurity, and more.
He underscored that democratic stability remains the linchpin to resolving these issues.
The Recycling Waste to Wealth Challenge, a U.S. government-supported enterprise competition designed for students in vocational and technical colleges in Ogun State, provided the backdrop for Stevens’s impassioned plea for democratic values.
Elaborating on how Africa can surmount its challenges, the Consul General urged African leaders to embrace democratic principles and ensure the peaceful transition of power.
He commended Nigeria for its remarkable 25 years of uninterrupted peaceful democratic succession and called on other African nations to draw inspiration from this achievement.
Stevens remarked, “Nigeria’s commitment to democratic transition is a testament to its progress. Leaders like Olusegun Obasanjo and President Buhari have set a precedent by willingly stepping aside after serving their terms.
This exemplifies the essence of democracy – peaceful transitions of power, a rarity in many parts of the world.”
He went on to caution against leaders who cling to power for extended periods, which often leads to democratic instability and coups in neighboring countries.
Nigeria, as the fourth largest democracy globally, recently demonstrated the successful transfer of presidential power, an accomplishment that should not be taken lightly.
Stevens concluded with an encouraging note, saying, “The idea that leaders can serve and then gracefully step aside is a remarkable achievement.
Nigeria’s journey of democratic transition serves as a beacon of hope for the entire African continent.”
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