Traditional ruler urges African leaders to invest in youths

Yinka Salaam, Osogbo


A paramount traditional ruler, the Oluwo of Iwoland, Oba Abdulrasheed Akanbi says African leaders must prioritise investment in their youths as they hold the key to its greatness

The Oluwo made the charge in a keynote address entitled ‘Investing in our common future’, during the 2019 Commonwealth Africa Summit in London last week.

He said: “The investment has become imperative with a view to curbing what he described as ‘modern slavery.

The monarch stressed that the African youths are looking for leaders with the strength of character who will lead them to fulfil their talents and provide the enabling environment for the flourishing of a society.

“This future we talk about lies in the hands of this generation who are more than ever, the emerging global citizens who are devoid of prejudice and see or know no boundaries and limitations to their dreams and what they can become.

“They are our greatest investment for the future. They are the gladiators and the real champions of the future. Let us educate them, not with hatred and prejudice; but with love, culture and purpose for the good of humanity. That is our own legacy for the common future.”

Slave trade is barbaric

The monarch described the slave trade as a sad episode of Africa’s history: “Slave trade was barbaric and perhaps one of the worst expressions of degenerating humanity ever known to mankind. It was mutual, but the resulting forced slavery of our sons and daughters in foreign land was not.

“The point is that our own participation in the slave trade is part of our dark history that we cannot rewrite. Volumes have been written on what became of us in the hostile harems, plantations, construction sites and rail tracks of foreign lands.

“Today, centuries after the horrendous human trafficking across the oceans, we are witnesses of the consequences of what have become of us in the cities of Great Britain, Europe and America. The descendants of our sons and daughters sold into slavery in foreign lands are today British, Europeans and Americans.

“But after many generations, we have not healed largely because the forces of racism and discrimination that once ruled have not been completely thrown away, notwithstanding the abolition of slavery.”

The Oluwo however urged Africans in the Diaspora who had spent most parts of their lives abroad not to consider themselves as foreigners there.

“I hereby call on all our brothers and sisters, our sons and daughters who are in the Diaspora to understand that they are not foreigners in the Diaspora. After many generations in the UK, America and elsewhere, that is their home.”