Nigeria’s former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has said that the colonisation of African countries by Europeans was the major cause of the current underdevelopment of African countries.
Obasanjo,who stated this at the University of Ibadan while speaking at the maiden edition of the International Conference of the African Studies Association of Africans (ASAA) said Europe’s colonisation of Africa was the fundamental impediment to the progress and development of the continent.
The ex-President who spoke in a speech he delivered at the conference which has as its theme: “African Studies in the 21st Century: Past, Present and Future,” stressed that during and even after colonialism, the African economy and its resources were devastated, while its population was depleted through slave trade.
“As we are all aware, colonialism devastated and depopulated the continent through transatlantic slave trade.Even after independence, colonial hegemony was not totally blurted out in the area of trade and economy.
“The ice is broken with this first step of bringing together the island of associations of African Studies dotted all over the world under one roof as ASAA.
“I would like to see African studies that is truly interdisciplinary and which integrates the three branches of humanities, social sciences and the natural sciences. Also, African studies should not be satisfied with merely contributing to the accumulation of knowledge about Africa,” Obasanjo said.
According to the ex-president, African Scholars should deliberately prioritise their studies by way of consciously tailoring them to deepen indigenous-based tradition of knowledge.
Also speaking, ASAA President, Lungisile Ntsebeza, from Capetown University, South Africa, said ASAA’s objective was to proffer solutions to the problems and challenges facing the continent and to chart a new course for the future, while the conference was aimed at ensuring that the continent becomes Afro-centric.
Professor Akin Mabogunje, the chairman of the occasion,in his remark, stressed the need for effective cooperation among African intellectuals, and noted that the field of African studies in the 21st century can no longer ignore tropical issues of trade, migration, insurgency.