CONTRARY to widespread views about the parlous state of Africa’s economy, the continent has remained impoverished because her commonwealth was stolen to develop other continents of the world, Baroness Martha Osamor has said.
The Nigerian-born British and Labour Party politician, made this submission as guest speaker during the Foreign Investment Network (FIN) Philanthropy Roundtable Discussion and Forbes Award Ceremony, held virtually at the weekend.
According to her, “It is a misconception to say that the continent of Africa is poor because it is totally corrupt. No. Their eyes are open now and they can see some of the lies told to them that Africa is poor because they have corrupt people. That’s not true. We need to pursue reparation and return of stolen items from Africa such as arts and crafts that were taken from the Africa to enrich other continent. Black people are not going anywhere. We all have to look at things we have been doing. All humans are made equal.”
Osamor’s view is not any different from the position canvassed by Walter Rodney in his now famous classic, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa written in 1972, where he argued that whereas Africa developed Europe but the latter was deliberately exploited and underdeveloped by European colonial regimes.
Like Rodney, Osamor did not intend to remove the ultimate responsibility for development from the shoulders of Africans as she believes that every African has a responsibility to understand the capitalist system and work for its overthrow.
Echoing similar sentiments, Captain Idahosa Wells Okunbo, Chairman/Founder/CEO, Ocean Marine Solution Ltd, said there is need to create jobs and empower the youths so they are able to earn a living for themselves without feeling inferior. “The average businessman in Nigeria and Africa should begin to think about that poor person. So if God has given you those blessing which is unremitted, you should be ready to give back to the society. I believe that through agriculture we can be able to liberate ourselves from poverty. It’s not about driving or running after wealth that would do no good for your children but the ability to leave a legacy within your community or environment that you will be remembered for.”
The event which had former President Olusegun Obasanjo among the special guests of honour but was not available and didn’t send a representative, Ogun State governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, while addressing the issue of charity giving, said from experience in governance he has been able to understand the place of need-base analysis, which he said aids development interventions.
“I have come to appreciate the importance of carrying out proper investigation to determine what form of interventions to deliver in terms of development,” he said.
Chief (Mrs) Onikepo Akande, former Minister of Commerce and Industry, particularly noted the role of FIN, which according to her has remained in the vanguard of foreign direct investment drive.
“I note the extraordinary contribution of Mrs. Olayinka Fayomi, Chairman of the Foreign Investment Network (FIN) as a key driver of FDI, developing economies over the last decades. I urge them not to rest on their efforts as Nigeria and other countries needs FDI more than ever before especially with the impact of COVID.”
Speakers after speakers including Zulfiquar Ghadiyali – Director at the Royal Office of Sheikh Tahnoon Al-Nahyan Abu Dhabi, Dr. Badria Al Mulla and a host of others acknowledged the importance of philanthropy, stressing that such values need to be entrenched in the society to ensure equitable redistribution of wealth.
The highpoint of the occasion was the presentation of the Best of Africa Achievement Award
Captain Idahosa Wells Okunbo: Chairman/Founder/CEO, Ocean Marine Solution Ltd. (OMS), Dr Kazeem Adesola Adeduntan, First Bank and Mahmood Ahmadu, CEO, OIS, for their unflinching support to worthy causes.
While presenting the awards, Mr. Mike Furlong, President, Custom Solutions Media for Forbes Media, said the Forbes’awardees were carefully selected out of a swath prospects because of their remarkable achievement in assisting the cause of humanity over the years.