A former president of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, has called out on African leaders to address the issue of youth unemployment or risk an outburst of violence in the continent.
He gave the warning when he addressed a four-man delegation led by the newly appointed president of ECOWAS Commission, Marcel Alain de Souza, at his residence in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
Obasanjo said: “On the issue of unemployment, particularly youth unemployment, I have maintained that all of us in West Africa, in our different countries and indeed in Africa, we are sitting on a keg of gun powder for as long as we do not pay adequate attention to youth unemployment.”
The former president also decried the issue of starvation in the continent.
He said: “A situation where more than 50% of our youths are unemployed is extremely dangerous. We now have a situation in part of West Africa where people now are dying of starvation.
“Is it that we are not producing enough food or if we are producing what we produced evenly, whatever it is it is shameful, it has led us to be begging international community for supply of food to any part of West Africa, it is not right?”
He lamented that the expectations from the sub-regional body when it was established 41 years ago were yet to be met.
“So the attention that we should have paid to the original objectives which is economic integration, economic development, socio economic, economic progress, we have been diverted.
“Of course peace and security is the foundation of any socio-economic development and growth. Of necessity we have to pay attention to base on security.
“My involvement in Guinea-Bissau was an enduring involvement.
“I have been in that development when I was in government as President of Nigeria and Nigeria and ECOWAS appointing me as special envoy that kept my involvement and my interest.
“I want to say this that most of these conflicts, most of these causes of insecurity or breach of insecurity were because adequate attention had not been paid to what I will call inclusiveness, inclusiveness in terms of political, economic and social development of all our countries, inclusiveness gender wise, inclusiveness social wise, inclusiveness religious wise, inclusiveness ethnic wise and we must appeal to our leaders in our sub region to take these issue of inclusion seriously,” he said.