The recent meeting of African leaders brings to the fore the need for Nigeria to redefine its relationship with other countries on the continent, JOHN ALECHENU writes
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 Ethiopian 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 terrorist threats in northern Mali and Nigeria, as well as conflicts between Sudan and South Sudan to the background.
Although the AU Security Council met and recommended far-reaching measures to tackle the security challenges in member states, concrete steps to actualise 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 per cent.
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.
This outcome caught even the most seasoned African affairs analysts by surprise.
For one, a number of member states — at least in private — opposed South Africa’s unilateral decision to break an unwritten rule barring leading member states from vying for the job.
Mr. Clayson Monyela, spokesperson for South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Co-Operation, 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