News

    ECOWAS Leaders Will Resolve Mali Crisis, Says Obasanjo

    Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, delivering his keynote address at the 2012 Kellogg Africa Business Conference at Northwestern University.
    Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, delivering his keynote address at the 2012 Kellogg Africa Business Conference at Northwestern University.

    Multimedia

    Audio
    • Clottey interview with Forner Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo

    Peter Clottey

    Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo has expressed confidence that heads of state and government within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) are capable of resolving Mali’s crisis.

    “What our leaders are doing I believe is right, so this day and age coups are no longer acceptable,” Obasanjo said in an interview with VOA. “But having said that, how do we now navigate getting those who in reality now have power by possessing guns and then move on to restore democracy. What our leaders should be saying is restoration of democracy, rather than restoration of any individual in power.”

    Mr. Obasanjo delivered the keynote address on “Unlocking Africa’s Potential: Defining the Next Steps” at the Kellogg Africa Business Conference at Northwestern University Saturday, where he underscored the need for peace and security, stability, good governance and democracy.

    Mali security concerns

    Former President Obasanjo met with deposed Malian President Amadou Toumani Toure before his ouster by mutinous Malian soldiers.

    Obasanjo said Mr. Toure had expressed his concerns following the resurgence of the Tuareg rebellion in January.

    “We knew that at the end of the Libya operations, there would be fallouts. And the fallout would be where would all the weapons go? Where would be some of those who have been trained how to use weapons [and] how would they be accounted for? Obasanjo asked. “Part of what is happening in Mali is part of the fallout from Libya, and we should not expect that Mali will be the last.”

    The Tuaregs are believed to have fought for long-time Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and then to have returned to Mali after his death.

    Solving crisis

    The former Nigerian leader outlined some steps West African regional leaders can take to help resolve the Malian crisis.

    “We have to acknowledge the legitimate complaints of the military that they were given [a] task without adequate tools to perform the task,” said Obasanjo. “Our leaders should say, ‘well, we acknowledge this and having acknowledged that, we know that you are complaining about this legitimate situation that you find yourself [in], but the way you have gone about it is not the right way and that way is not acceptable.’”

    Obasanjo said regional leaders should find some way to ensure those who have legitimate concerns are not unduly punished. He said ECOWAS should encourage the soldiers to return to their barracks, and “then some form of arrangement made to have a short transition period of a civilian administration that will conduct an election, and fully restore democracy and constitutional government.”

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: abuchi
    April 03, 2012 3:01 AM
    a really good advice that has to be learned by all this French bloodsuckers like President Ouattara of cote d'ivoire

    by: Oludotun Malomo
    April 02, 2012 10:36 PM
    Africa leadership should device a way to let societies in Africa to express their cultural diversities as a sense of recognition would diffuse tensions in the continent. The colonial map should not be sacrosanct, the continent, p0olitically in not working, socioeconomically is not, is only a warfare societies that Berlin Conference has created. Pls is time this is dismantle for the good of new emerging World Order

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroadi
    X
    May 02, 2016 1:36 PM
    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora