Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon Yakubu Dogara, has charged Africans to promote the outstanding potentials the people and the continent holds, saying the narrative presently does not reflect the true qualities in the continent.
Speaking as the chairperson at the opening ceremony of the Standing Committee meeting of 16th Commonwealth Speakers and Presiding Officers Conference (Africa Region) in Abuja on Friday, the speaker noted that though Nigeria, which is faced with the global burden of terrorism, has made remarkable progress in reducing the menace in the country, it has not been reflected in international news headlines.
The speaker therefore, advocated for a collaborative effort by African countries to promote and tell the stories of the developments and breakthroughs in the different countries across Africa.
Pointing out the case of the Nigerian surgeon in the United States who carried out an operation on an unborn child to remove a tumour and returned the baby back to the womb, Dogara said, “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 [Africa] 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 very sound Nigerian professionals; for example, some work in the consortium that is currently remodeling the White House in the United States and also just recently, we celebrated a Nigerian who had a successful operation of a foetus, retuned it to the womb, and that baby was delivered successfully.
So these are 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.”
Harping on the need to protect the sanctity of the parliament, the speaker stressed that it “represents the bastion of democracy. As a matter of fact, parliament is the cornerpiece of democracy and without the legislature, government cannot be democratic. We’ve had situations in this country involving military incursions, and any time they strike, the first casualty is the constitution and the institution of the legislature. In Nigeria, we had to restart in 1999, although we have been growing in leaps and bounds.”
Speaker of Ghana Parliament, Hon. 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.