The United States Consul General in Nigeria, Will Stevens, on Wednesday blamed the rising military takeovers in Africa on the refusal to relinquish powers by some leaders after spending decades in the government.
Since 2020, Africa has experienced coups in seven countries with the most recent one recorded in Gabon in August.
Addressing students during the launch of the “Recycling Waste to Wealth Challenge,” competition for secondary school students at Abeokuta Window on America, located at the youth development centre of the the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), Abeokuta, Ogun State, the U.S Consul General pointed out that a number of African presidents have spent between 20 and 40 years in the government, but they have failed to relinquish powers.
This, he said, “leads to democratic instability and coup.
He, however, noted that unlike other countries, Nigeria has enjoyed 25 years of uninterrupted peaceful democratic succession, which he found worthy of emulation.
According to him, the African continent faces huge challenges, ranging from climate change to food insecurity and only democratic stability could help the continent in resolving its problems.
To overcome its challenges, he asked African leaders to embrace the tenets of democratic and ensure a peaceful transition of power.
His words “I hope and feel that you (Africa) can fix the problems and the problems are big; its climate change which leads to flooding, it is plastics pollution, it is food insecurity, it is the backsliding of democracy in the region.
“Obasanjo served two terms and left power, he set the precedent in Nigeria of you serving and then you step aside for your successor.
“Nigeria has enjoyed 25 years of presidential succession. President Buhari just did the same thing, he served his two terms and then he stepped aside, that is a big deal in democracy, peaceful transitions of power, that is a huge thing to be proud of, It does not happen very often.
“There are Presidents of neighbouring countries that have been there for a very, very long time, 20, 30, 40 years, this leads to democratic instability, it leads to coups. Nigeria is the fourth largest democracy in the world, you just had a successful presidential transition, successful elections, this is something you should not take for granted. The idea that people can come into power, they can serve and then leave is really cool.”