By John Ikani
Former President, Goodluck Jonathan has insisted that one major source of conflicts in many African countries is the inability to manage diversities.
Jonathan also called on African nations to harness their diversities and differences for greatness.
He urged Africans to begin to see a little more than their tribes in all that they do, adding “your tribe alone cannot make a nation.”
The former President made the call at the 2021 “Democracy Dialogue” with the theme “Democracy and the Unity of State” organised by the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation in Abuja.
Jonathan, who is the founder of the foundation, said the diversity of African nations had often been misconstrued to be a source of their challenge, hence if well harnessed, it would be a source of greatness.
“As President and out of office, I have been involved in managing conflicts in many African countries.
“In the course of such missions, I had observed that one of the major sources of problems is the inability to manage diversities.
“In Africa, we need to harness our diversities and differences and translate them to strength for a more peaceful and prosperous future.
“Our diversity is often misconstrued to be the source of our challenges, but I feel, if properly harnessed, it will be the source of our greatness.
“One good way to make progress in this regard is to strengthen government institutions to improve integration, equity, and social inclusion in our various nations,” Jonathan said.
The former President said that to win peace in Africa, countries in the continent needed to constantly engage in meaningful conversations in order to reach a compromise on issues.
According to him, the weapons of warfare for the continent in times like this should be love, justice and hope.
“The pursuit of these virtues will guarantee sustainable peace and unity in Africa.
“While guns, drones and other artillery may win the war, to win the peace, we need to constantly engage in meaningful conversations in order to reach a compromise on issues affecting us all.
“We are optimistic that discussions and suggestions from gatherings like this will help set the agenda for bigger civic engagements for the promotion of peace and good governance in Africa,” he said.
Jonathan said the dialogue aimed at advancing the course of nationhood and building a consensus around some critical issues affecting Africa unity and development.
According to him, the theme of the dialogue captured the essence of democracy, which drives its steam from productive civic engagements.
He said that the foundation believed that democracy was a nation-building tool, a vehicle for the realisation of such societal aspirations as justice, peace, freedom and progress.
“For us, we carry the burden of promoting peace and prosperity, as aptly captured in our mission not just in Nigeria but in Africa.
“There is no better way to realise this than through consistent engagement with different stakeholders in our democratic space.
“Some nations are going through many challenges that have continued to pose serious threats to their unity and corporate existence.
“Democracy thrives on the mutuality of trust between government and the people and among the different groups within a state,” Jonathan said.