Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has lamented the stunted and impaired development of Nigeria, 56 years after attaining a state nationhood.
Obasanjo said Nigeria is not yet where it ought to be at 56 but expressed the hope that the sundry challenges bogging the country down would be surmounted.
He spoke on Saturday during a lecture organised by the Youth Fellowship of the Owu Baptist Church, Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, as part of the church’s activities to mark Nigeria’s Independence anniversary.
The elder stateman said leaders and followers, should “accept responsibility” for the fate of the country and “stop passing the bulk.”
“Our development is impaired, it is not what it ought to be but we must get it right. We must all accept responsibility, we must stop passing the bulk.”
Delivering his lecture on the topic: “Nigeria Development for Nigerians by Nigerians,” he declared that the development of the country must not be left with Nigerians alone but should also include foreign investors and friends of Nigeria.
According to him, those interested in assisting the country in its developmental efforts must also be encouraged to help it.
Obasanjo identified unemployment of educated Nigerians as one of the major factors threatening the peace of the country.
He also identified peace and security, education, food, sanitation, shelter as well as transportation as some of the ingredients for measuring development.
The former Chairman, Board of Trustess of the PDP recalled that when he completed his secondary school education at the Baptist Boys High School (BBHS), Abeokuta, he was offered jobs by five different establishments, including the United Africa Company (UAC) and Moore Plantation, Ibadan but lamented that a different situation prevailed today in Nigeria.
He also recalled during an interractive session how the famous industrialist, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, few years ago, told him that six PHD holders were among applicants who applied to become truck drivers in his company due to the unemployment situation in the country.
“Unemployment is a major problem in the country today and if we don’t take care, it will consume all of us, in fact, the rising unemployment is a time bomb.”
“The high rate of unemployment is responsible for youth restiveness in the country. The situation should be tackled with all the seriousness it deserves before it get out of hand.
“There is no other way we can develop except, engaging in agriculture business, it is the only business that can generate the number of employment we need.
“That is why we have to take it (Agriculture business) as a key of our development else the many educated Nigerians who have no job are like time bomb, sooner than later, it will explode,” Obasanjo said.
Obasanjo challenged the church to pay attention to both the spiritual as well as the physical well being of their congregations.
He noted that the church’s attention appeared to be focused only on the spiritual aspect of the congregations, explaining that he had seen the recession buffetting the country two yeas ago following the recklessness of the immediate past administration regarding the country’s resources.
He said his warnings and advice were largely ignored but concluded, Nigerians “cannot continue lamenting.”