The 19th African Union Summit may have come and gone but the ripples left behind will remain for a long time to come.
The Summit held in the Ehtiopian capital, Addis Ababa, had the theme “Boosting Intra-African Trade.” However, the election of a chairperson for the AU Commission took the shine off the event.
The contest for the post relegated other critical issues such as the growing insecurity threats in northern Mali and Nigeria, as well as conflicts between Sudan and South and South Sudan to the background.
Although the AU Security Council met and recommended far-reaching measures to tackle the security challenges in member state, concrete steps to actualize them are still being expected.
Little, if anything was discussed about the abysmal level of intra-African trade which the out gone Chairperson of the Commission, Dr. Jean Ping, put at only 10 percent.
After three rounds of voting South Africa’s Interior Minister, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, emerged as the first woman ever to occupy the office of Chairperson of the 54 member commission.
Mr Clayson Monyela, spokesperson for South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation, described Dlamini-Zuma’s victory as “a victory for South African diplomacy.”
An attempt by AU heads of States and Governments to choose between the then incumbent, Dr Jean Ping, and the eventual winner, Ms. Dlamini-Zuma six months earlier, ended in a stalemate.
Dlamini-Zuma’s election is likely to go down in history as the most fiercely contested and most divisive.
Faced with the threat of another stalemate, the AU Chairperson, President Boni Yayi, in his inaugural address at the opening of the 19th AU Summit, on July 15, 2012 expressed regret that January’s stalemate had cast the union in bad light.
He appealed to his colleague to use the opportunity offered by the second attempt to restore credibility to the Union and its processes. Yayi said, “Six month later, we should have the ability to unify the continent through this election.”
Also speaking at the event, newly inaugurated President of Egypt, Dr. Mohammed Morsi, who was attending the meeting for the first time, expressed confidence that Africa had the ability to solve all of its political and security problems.
According to him, these include establishing strong and healthy relations between Sudan and South Sudan, ending the conflict in Somalia and restoring stability to Mali and Guinea Bisau.
He, like Yayi, alluded to the fact that, finding solutions to these larger problems must begin with settling less complex challenges like electing a leader for the Au Commission.
Morsi said, “In this context, we also look forward to doing our best, within this summit, towards electing the chairperson and members of AU Commission on the basis of consensus among African countries.
Nigeria’s Ambassador to Guinea, Dr Aisha Abdullahi was elected Commissioner for Political Affairs. Her victory was historical in the sense that Nigerian diplomats dubded it “sweet victory” because Nigeria had failed three previous attempts to get a Nigeria elected as Commissioner in the AU.
Abdullahi beat five other contestants to clinch the post. Her closest rival was a Burundian Army General sponsored by the Southern African Development Committee. The general received 15 SADC votes while Abdullahi secured 35 votes spread across West, Central and North and East Africa. Her victory came after the Ghanaian candidate earlier withdrew for Nigeria.
Ghana’s withdrawal left her as the sole candidate of the Economic Community for West African States.
She then went on to face candidates from the SADC nations of Burundi, Botwana, Zimbabwe and other from Cameroon and the DR Congo in the race for the position.
It is instructive to note that Burundi spearheaded the assault on the candidature of Ping during the closed session preceding the election of the AU chairperson.
Other victories recorded by Nigeria at the summit included getting the AU Ministerial Committee on Candidatures to endorse three Nigerians for top level positions in agencies of the United Nations.
The Nigerians are: Dr. Kanayo Nwanze for the post of President of the International Fund For Agricultural Development, Dr. Olumiyiwa Aliu for election as President, Executive Council of the international Civil Aviation Organization, and Mrs. Theodora Nwankwo for election as member of the United Nation’s Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women.
This was even as Nigeria’s Kolawole Aduluju won an election to become Assistant Secretary-General of the Pan-African Postal Union, after a tightly contested election. Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the AU Ambassador Paul Loko said Nigeria had a lot to celebrate after the summit.
However, the absence of Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan and host, Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia from the week long Summit also played a role in taking the shine of the event.
Diplomats who spoke to our correspondent on the sidelines of the Summit argued that there was need for Nigeria’s to rethink its relationship with other African States, which have over the years, demonstrated open hostility to our national interests.
Jan 18, 2016 0
May 10, 2015 0
Nov 11, 2017 0The world Black and Arts festival that was hosted in...
May 27, 2015 0Lagos State House of Assembly has invited Josephine Agwu...
Nov 17, 2017 0Tiwa savage is a natural singer with sense of passion to show case the dynamic qualities she possessed, which has earned her accolade and support from numerous fans across Africa and United Kingdom....