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The Graduate School of International Studies at the University of Denver is where a lot of discussions are held every year on many hot-button international affairs. There was no exception to that rule on Saturday, July 23, 2007, when a group of Africans across the United States came together to discuss the state of democracy on the continent after the 2007 General Elections in Nigeria.
The elections in Nigeria saw the ascent to the power of many new faces in the Nigerian political landscape. Most notable among the new faces is Nigeria’s newest president, Musa Yar’Adua. The arrival of Yar’Adua and other developments throughout Africa is what spurred the contentious discussion at the DU cyber café’.
Leading the charge was Sam Omatseye, Nigerian columnist, who is also chair of Comet newspapers based in Lagos. Omatseye recently covered the elections in Nigeria and appeared less than optimistic about the future of his home country.
In the same manner, Pius Kamau, Denver Post Columnist, and Thoracic Surgeon castigated many African leaders for failing to deliver for their people while building a paradise for themselves on earth. He qualified Africa’s leadership crisis as a mental health issue that should be dealt with very quickly before it is too late.
Other speakers were Dr. Sam Desouza of Qwest Communications, Dr. Kelechi Kalu of the University of Northern Colorado and the University of Denver, and Dr. Ehi Abgaohe of the Tarrant County College of Dallas, Texas.
The event was marked by a question and answer session that turned out to be a frank exchange of differences of opinion and approaches on how Africans wanted the continent’s problems handled. Participants at the event issued a call for dialogue among Africans in Africa and the Diaspora community, a call of action and not merely talk, and for more opportunities for future discussions about the affairs of the continent.
The theme of the event was Building Sustainable Democratic Culture in African States. It was sponsored by DU’s Africa Today Associates, the Redeemed Christian Church of God, and the Friends of SAM.