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Obasanjo gives candidates handbook

Former Nigerian President Olusengun Obasanjo has given few of Liberia’s presidential candidates including Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai, Sen. George Weah, Cllr. Charles Brumskine and Alexander Cummings copies of a book addressing practical political, economic and business issues in Africa that aspiring leaders could use for transformation.

Mr. Obasanjo launched the book titled “Making Africa Work” in Monrovia Tuesday, 29 August after being honored by President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf at the C. Cecil Dennis Auditorium of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for his leadership in Nigeria and his unmatched support to Africa and Liberia in promoting peace and democracy.

Commenting on the number of presidential candidates that gathered to grace the investiture of Mr. Obasanjo, President Sirleaf remarked amidst laughter and applauds that she hasn’t seen any of the presidential candidates come to event like they did with the honoring of Mr. Obasanjo.

“So you broke grounds for us today; we have another one I will call each of them and say if you can go to Gbagba I think you can come to your own,” she says.

While honoring Mr. Obasanjo, Mrs. Sirleaf expresses believe that there’s no president – current or previous – who has done so much for Africa, for promoting democracy and development in Africa and advocating and representing the continent all over the world in so many ways

She recalls how he has represented Africa in so many ways, and particularly emphasizes that there’s nobody who has been so supportive and helpful to Liberia than Mr. Obasanjo.

She says his help to Liberia cuts across giving advices, advocating or mobilizing, being part of those who worked many years in trying to find peace through several interim governments and negotiations all over the continent.

Touching on Mr. Obasanjo’s 11 – chapter – book which Mrs. sirleaf says she took two hours trying to read, she underlines some key things, particularly the emphasis it makes on how majority of Africa’s population is residing in the cities and the challenges that are available.

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She looks at the discussion on democracy and development in the book, saying democracy and development are indivisible. In the area of agriculture, she acknowledges that it is very clear that private sector – driven agriculture, trade and value addition are ways “we have to” go to have a truly functioning agriculture sector.

She notes that the message comes to all in terms of the lack of enough emphasis in giving the private sector the incentives, whether it is in dealing with Liberian farmers or others.

In response to the honor, Mr. Obasanjo tells President Sirleaf that on a number of occasions she has surprised him, and thanked her for the honor. He says, the roled played by Mrs. Sirleaf, especially when there’s need for leadership cannot be downplayed, thanking God for her life and for the things the country has been able to achieve.

He prays that she will continue to strengthen democracy here not only in campaign and elections times, but throughout the life of the country.

Mr. Obasanjo tells President Sirleaf that West Africa, Africa and the world will require the services of those of them that God has enabled to serve their countries, saying he looks forward to her joining past leaders very soon to make their contributions to so many things out there that need to be done.

Concerning the book, Mr. Obasanjo says it is not academic, but one that is practical. He adds that it is in fact a handbook for politicians, economists, and business people, among others.

He says he and his co-authors did not want to write a book naming and shaming people for the problems in Africa, noting that poverty in Africa has already been lamented so much, but the authors are interested in creating wealth and jobs in Africa.

Opposed to the fears of hardship that accompanies growing population, Mr. Obasanjo says if a population is educated and given skills and power, it creates wealth.–By Winston W. Parley

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