By Lizzy Okoji and Kate Obande-Okewu
The Konard Adenaeur Stiftung (KAS), a German Foundation, has pledged the continuous support of Germany to Nigeria to overcome its challenges, ensure good governance, democracy, peace and stability.
Dr. Gerhard Wahler, Head of Department, European and International cooperation of KAS, made this known in Abuja during the 15th anniversary of the organisation’s operation in Nigeria.
According to Wahler, Germany and KAS consider Nigeria as an important partner for the stability of the West African region and Africa in general, hence the need for more support and collaboration.
“Democracy, rule of law and prosperity for all, this is our vision for Nigeria, because without the rule of law, prosperity for all will become prosperity for some.
“Without prosperity, democracy will not last and without democracy, people cannot control their government.
“I consider Nigeria as a pivotal player in the region; Nigeria not only has the largest population in Western Africa but also serves as the economic hub and political anchor of Western Africa.
“The challenges in your country and region will not be easy to overcome, it will be a long process and I always stress this in my talks in Germany; there is no alternative to this path.
“ We need to join forces to create lasting perspectives for people in Western Africa.
“Peace, stability, good governance, rule of law, democracy and economic diversification are key ingredients in fostering a strong region that can provide better lives for its people,’’ Wahler said.
Wahler said that just as Germany had increased its contribution for the region in regards to security and development policy, KAS had also increased its footprints in West Africa and Nigeria.
Acoording to him, the 15-year KAS operation in Nigeria has been evident and its activities has tripled since 2012, engaging more partners and organisations.
In her valedictory remarks, Mrs Hildegard Behrendt-Kigozi, outgoing Country Representative of KAS, Nigeria, advised Nigerian leaders to contribute to the good governance of the country so that the desired change would be achieved.
She expressed optimism that positive change was possible if every Nigerian, especially those in authority got everything right through the implementation of the right policies.
“I really look forward and I do hope that Nigeria can get everything together well.
“I am a bit afraid because of the insecurity, because of the population growth which makes it difficult for the government to care of the people.
“So many new children every year will need to go to school; so many people every year who will need to get job after graduation.
“To govern Nigeria and to give it prosperity is possible but it is difficult a job and I really do hope that it will happen.
“It will need more time; it won’t happen overnight and I really do hope that in the next five to 10 years, a lot of things would get better,’’ Behrendt-Kigozi said.
Also speaking, Mr Vladimir Kreck, the incoming KAS Country Representative to Nigeria pledged to build on the policies of Behrendt-Kigozi which is hinged on the objective of the foundation to promote democracy and good governance.
“Nigeria is a large country and Nigeria is a great country, greatness in terms of population and greatness in terms of problems.
“What I can say is that there are certain things I can’t promise. I can’t promise to change Nigeria substantially with our work at KAS; I can’t promise to increase our budget.
“But there are certain things I can promise, that we would have an open office for everyone who seeks to partner to promote democracy, the rule of law and security,’’ Kreck said. (NAN)