African Unity Day: “We must thrive in Unity ” says AWLA President Amanda Demechi-Asagba

Lagos, May 25, 2022

The President of the African Women Lawyers Association (AWLA) worldwide Mrs Amanda Demechi-Asagba has called for the sustenance of unity amongst African nations in a bid to foster cooperation and developement

Demechi-Asagba made the call following the commemoration of African Unity Day also known as Africa Day, celebrated on May 25.

AWLA reports that May 25 commemorates the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU)

The History of African Unity Day dates back to May 25 1963 when the leaders of 32 newly independent African states gathered in Addis Ababa Ethiopia to establish the OAU

The OAU is primarily intended to promote unity and cooperation among African states, uphold self-government and respect for territorial boundaries as well as eradication of all forms of disputes

Leaders from 30 of the then 32 independent African states therefore, signed a founding charter in Addis Ababa and the OAU was consequently, created to help bring about change, freedom and independence to many African countries

Thereafter 21 states joined, with South Africa as the youngest and 53rd member in 1994.
The OAU has since 2002 been renamed the African Union.

The African Unity Day It is also popularly known as Africa Day. It replaced the African Liberation Day also called The African Freedom Day and it is observed as a statutory public holiday in Gambia, Ghana, Guinea,Lesotho, Mali, Mauritania, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The change in name to the African Union did not affect the name and date of Africa Day

According to Demechi-Asagba, Africa Day is a. day when all African nations are expected to reflect on the struggles of past heroes who fought for the freedom and unity of the African race.

‘AWLA enjoins Africans on this day, to reflect on the significance of this struggle by founding fathers who fought for a better tomorrow of all Africans

“In the year 2020 17 countries on the African continent celebrated 60 years of independence and this lends credence to the struggle by pan African Advocates who brought this into fruition

HEROES OF AFRICA
Today we remember and celebrate the heroes of Africa. The foremost heroes of Independence are Kwame Nkrumah (Ghana), Julius Nyerere (Tanganyika, now Tanzania), Léopold Sédar Senghor (Senegal), Nnamdi Azikiwe (Nigeria), and Félix Houphouët-Boigny of the Ivory Coast

Nnamdi Azikiwe, Ibrahim Bello, Sardauna of Sokoto, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Tafawa Balewa of Nigeria who all fought for the independence of Nigeria, Chief M.K.O Abiola – the Father of Democracy, Funmilayo Ransome- Kuti a foremost Activist for emancipation and good governance
Hajia Gambo Sawaba and Margaret Ekpo were passionate, bold, courageous and dogged activists and role models.

Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana who saw independent Ghana as a spearhead for the liberation of the rest of Africa from colonial rule and Mabel Dove-Danquah, a ‘trail-blazing feminist’ and an outspoken advocate for women’s equality and good governance, Bibi Titi Mohammed from Tanzania.

Gregoire Kayibanda of Rwanda, Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya, Hastings Kamuzu Banda of Malawi and Malawi’s first female lawyer Vera Chirwa who endured exile and long years of imprisonment when she, along with others, fell out with president Hastings Kamuzu Banda. Chirwa is a founding member of the Malawi Congress Party, which eventually led the country to win independence. She also founded the League of Malawian Women which did not only fight for the rights of women but was a leading supporter of the resistance against white domination in Malawi. Robert Gabriel Mugabe of Zimbabwe and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia who remains Africa’s first elected female president.

“We also remember heroes like Nelson Mandela, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Miriam Makeba and Helen Suzman of South Africa who gave themselves for the good of their people.

Fela Aníkúlápó Kuti popularly known as Abami Eda, was a Nigerian fearless, bold and courageous activist,multi-instrumentalist, bandleader, composer, political activist, and Pan-Africanist who used his song to act as a watchdog to executive recklessness and impunity- (songs like Them Kill my Mama, International Thief Thief, Beasts of No Nation, Ikoyi Blindness, No Agreement, Sorrow Tears and Blood, Stand Up, Expensive Shit, Black Excellence, Water No Get Enemy, Original Suffer Head, Roforofo Fight, Yeye De Smell, Gentleman etc). He was one of the greatest Activists prophets and peaceful protesters.

Wole Soyinka (Nobel Laureate, Political Activist) whose popular inspirational quote, resonates with me- “The man dies in all who keep silent in the face of tyranny.”, Ken Saro-Wiwa (Writer, Businessman, Environmental Activist)
“I tell you this, I may be dead but my ideas will not die.”to mention a few.

Dare to be one of the heroes of Africa by impacting your world positively.
Above are your role models.
“The man dies in all who keep silent in the face of tyranny”
Don’t be left behind in the train of freedom fighters and watchdogs of society.
We must join hands to realize the Africa of our dreams.

AFRICA A CONTINENT OF PEACE AND UNITY

“Africa is a continent of Peace and Unity and so, this day further brings to our mind, the need to thrive in peace and unity

“Our nation Nigeria, being a frontier of peace and unity , epitomises this in its national Anthem where it says in the last stanza …”One nation bound in Freedom, Peace and Unity.

“The Nigerian Coat of Arm also signifies Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress. This also portrays Nigeria as a leading force in fostering African Peace and Unity

“AWLA therefore, joins hands in upholding the peace and unity of Africa , and we use this opportunity to call for a continued cooperation among African nations, as well as a harmonious relationship to foster development.

ATTAINING AGENDA 2063

With the rising state of insecurity in the world and the war in Ukraine, threatening Africa’s food supplies and food price inflation, We call on the African Union to prioritize Nutrition, security and justice in order to save our nascent growth and development and encourage investments for a more sustainable future in line with Agenda 2063 particularly at ensuring that Africa achieves Aspiration 4 of Agenda 2063 which aspires for “ A peaceful and secure Africa” through the use of mechanisms that promote a dialogue-centred approach to conflict prevention and resolution of conflicts and establishing of a culture of peace and tolerance nurtured in Africa’s children and youth through peace education. The Agenda 2063 flagship initiative of Silencing the Guns by 2020 is at the core of activities being put in place to ensure Africa is a more peaceful and stable continent.

To ensure the realisation of its objectives and the attainment of the Pan African Vision of an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, Agenda 2063 was developed as a strategic framework for Africa’s long term socio-economic and integrative transformation.

Agenda 2063 calls for greater collaboration and support for African led initiatives to ensure the achievement of the aspirations of African people. There is no better time than now to call on all African leaders to prioritize working towards achieving Agenda 2063 as well as the Sustainable Development Goals( SDGs) Agenda 2030. for a guaranteed safe and prosperous world.

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