Obasanjo spoke at the 22nd Convocation Lecture of the Lagos State University (LASU).
The lecture was entitled: “Role of Tertiary Education in Promoting Social Cohesion and Peace: Opportunities and Challenges for Nigeria’’.
The lecture was delivered by Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission.
Obasanjo was the Chairman of the occasion.
According to the former president, leaders must provide good leadership, good governance, understand development and maintain values to move the country forward.
“If you, as a leader, cannot give good leadership, good governance, understand what development is, and maintain values within our culture, then you must get out.
“If you are in any leadership position, you must also observe three G’s: meaning you must give and get others to give; if you cannot do either of the two, you must get out of the system,” he said.
Obasanjo said that higher education in Nigeria should have social, economic and political purposes, besides education.
He identified higher education as panacea for social coalition and peace.
The former president said that disparity was not a way to manage diversity, adding that mismanagement was a problem for diversity.
In his remarks, Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State, said that universities should provide solutions to societal problems.
Ambode was represented his Special Adviser on Education, Mr Obafela Bank-Olemoh.
Ambode said that no price was too much for anyone to pay for peace and national development.
“Put general interest above personal interest and work on your individual mindset, as any individual, who is not at peace with himself cannot maintain peace in the society,” he said.
In his lecture, Rasheed said it was time for tertiary education institutions in Nigeria to make direct contributions to the nation’s economic and technological development.
He said that technologies driving the country’s economy must come out from the institutions.
“Why should Nigeria continue to spend huge sums in foreign exchange to build roads, for example? Why can’t our tertiary institutions develop the capacity to build our roads?
“Why should our tertiary institutions continue to spend money on electricity bills rather than build their own dams to cater for their need?
“Why must government continue to pay foreign companies to tackle gully erosion rather than our tertiary institutions addressing the issue,” he asked.
According to him, until we interweave our tertiary institutions and our economic activities and produce the necessary spinoffs, we are likely to continue with the unrealistic economic development modules.