The Action Congress of Nigeria has expressed concern at Nigeria’s failure to rally support for victims of drought and famine in the Horn of Africa.
It said in a statement on Thursday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, that as a natural leader in Africa, it was incumbent on Nigeria to spearhead the campaign to raise funds to provide food and shelter for the victims.
The party argued that it was not enough for Nigeria to hide under the cover of “the ever-lethargic African Union” to make its contributions to efforts at assisting the victims.
According to the ACN, Nigeria must lead the efforts at helping the drought and famine victims, especially now that President Goodluck Jonathan “is occupying the position of the rotational chairmanship of the 15-member Economic Community of West African States, a well-respected body in the international community.”
It added, “The unfortunate situation in the Horn of African nations is a great opportunity for Nigeria to play its natural leadership role in Africa, and to show the world that it is indeed well placed to represent Africa on a permanent basis on the United Nations Security Council.
“Waiting for the belated pledging conference being organised by the AU next week before doing anything towards ending the humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa is a disappointing lack of initiative on the part of the Jonathan administration.’’
The party wondered why Nigeria, and other leading African nations, allowed the international community to seize the initiative from them in helping their own people.
It added, “The United States has donated or pledged $535m towards the humanitarian crisis, by far the highest so far. Brazil has promised to provide more than $27m while Russia has pledged $1m in aid.
“In contrast, the few AU states that have shown interest have pledged a paltry $500,000 in total. Even Kenyans have raised more than $4m through the Kenyans for Kenya campaign!’’
The ACN said the statement attributed to Irungu Houghton, a pan-African Director of Oxfam International, should prick the conscience of African leaders, including Jonathan.
Houghton had said, “African citizens have already rallied to the cause and made significant contribution. But now we need African governments to follow their lead. Most are yet to make a decent contribution and show the true meaning of ‘African solutions to African problems.”