NEW YORK (PANA) – Nigeria’s President Olusegun Obasanjo has warned Africans and those in the Diaspora to look out for another scrambling for Africa’s economic potential by major powers of the world.

Obasanjo gave the warning in New York, while addressing a large congregation of dignitaries and African-Americans at a special tribute held in his honor at the grand ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

Tagged: “A Night of Celebration and Tribute,” the U.S.-based Leon Sullivan Foundation hosted the tribute.


Obasanjo said unlike the rush for slaves and colonialism, the target now of the new scramble for Africa is for its energy resources, especially the huge hydrocarbon deposit in the Gulf of Guinea.

“I now see a scrambling for the energy related resources of Africa and this is a renewed scrambling by economic power, which is being lead by China from the East and U.S. from the West,” he said.

The Nigerian leader, therefore, urged Africans to rise up and defend their resources against exploitation by remaining committed to the course of the continent and its people. He also charged Africans in the Diaspora to always promote international policies and business practices that will propel Africa’s growth and development.

On his leadership and the tribute, the president thanked God and Nigerians for giving him the opportunity to serve both the country and Africa.

“Your support and patience enable me to rule Nigeria and I owe all my glories and experiences to Nigerians. I also thanked my late father and my late mother for bringing me into this world to serve humanity,” Obasanjo noted.

He further expressed gratitude to the organizers of the event for honoring him saying; “there is no great honor, but to be honored by your people in the Diaspora, who have recognized my work and leadership qualities.”

Earlier, the chairman of the foundation, Ambassador Andrew Young, praised Obasanjo for “restoring Nigeria’s fiscal and democratic credibility.” Young said that the foundation decided to honor the Nigerian leader for his commitment and dedication not only to Nigeria, but also to all of Africa.

“He has given blood, sweat and tears, including imprisonment for his support to the advancement of democratic governance. Indeed, he has struggled to bring peace and security to troubled areas on the African continent,” the former U.S. ambassador to the UN said.

According to Young, “Under his (Obasanjo) leadership, the progress made in Nigeria has been nothing short of spectacular! The country is nearly debt free for the first time in almost half a century.”

Also speaking, the daughter of late Leon Sullivan and President of the foundation, Mrs. Hope Masters said, “We are today paying tribute to a statesman, a world leader, a revered Commander-in-Chief and a distinguished gentleman.”

She described Obasanjo as “a committed leader and a man who is passionately devoted to ensuring a proud legacy for the entire continent of Africa.”

Others who spoke at the occasion included U.S. congressman Donald Payne and Jamaica’s former Prime Minister, P.J. Patson, who also extolled the Nigerian leader, and noted that “Obasanjo is a brother and a friend who has united us, more especially than those in the Diaspora”.

The event was attended by governors of Osun, Ogun and Nassarawa states, diplomats, top US-based business and corporate executives, Nigerians in the US and some members of the Black Caucus of U.S. Congress.