Nigerian President and ECOWAS Chairman Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, at the end of a two-day state visit to Ghana, has said his vision was to make the people of West Africa act as one family.
He said in spite of the differences in languages and inherited cultures, the people of the sub-region should act and think with one purpose. President Jonathan stated his vision for the sub-region in a statement after Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration had conferred on him an honorary Doctor of Law degree, at a special congregation at the Institute in Accra, at the week-end.
The visions are the creation of sub-region without frontiers, the provision of an enabling environment within which people ply their businesses and live in peace and to create a zone that is an integral part of the African Continent, where all human beings live in dignity and benefit from fair trade and mutual solidarity.
He said though his term would expire in December, he would continue to collaborate with fellow leaders to push his vision to reality.
President Jonathan reminded his colleagues of their duty to ensure that the people in the sub-region lived in peace and security and pursue the commercial activities without undue hindrances imposed by their agencies. “The days when states dictate exclusively of interests and carve out boundaries and spheres of interest in commerce, industry and trade are veritably over” he said.
He called on the countries in the region to use the state as an agent of change and progress explaining that the state must unleash the creative genius of the people and their unbounded energy and industry that gave rise to the trans-Saharan trade centuries ago and sustained the people for generations.
President Jonathan urged Africans to look inwards rather than other lines for inspiration saying ” we should rather look inwards to our past and present conditions to gain the needed motivation to move our collective project called ECOWAS forward,” president Jonathan said.
He observed that for the first time, all the countries in the sub region are in a democratic dispensation and expressed the belief of good signs and encouraging trends towards the full integration of the sub region.
President Jonathan maintained that the state still had a leading role in creating a conducive business environment which he said required that some part of the present holdings of resources in the hands of private individual firms must go to the state.
President Jonathan commended GIMPA for grooming leaders for public services and urged students of the Institute to be a beacon of hope as they took their positions in various administrations and commercial enterprises of their countries.
In an intervention, President Mills said Ghana and Nigeria who are formidable members of the Commission should build on the solid relationship to ensure stability in the sub region.
During his visit President Jonathan held bilateral discussions with his Ghanaian counterparts, laid a wreath at the tomb of Dr Kwame Nkrumah in Accra, attended a state dinner organized in his honour by President Mills and interacted with the Nigerian community in Ghana.
Ghana was the last leg of a three nation leg tour that took President Jonathan to Rwanda and Ethiopia.
President Jonathan had since return home.
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