How Nigerian leaders disappointed citizens, Africa, Black race, world —Obasanjo



Former President Olusegun Obasanjo said yesterday, that Nigerian political leaders have disappointed Nigerians, Africa, the Black race and the world for failing to make the nation the giant that everyone expected her to be.


He spoke at the public presentation of a book, titled “Reclaiming the Jewel of Africa.” written by Dr. Olusegun Aganga, a former Minister of Finance, under former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Chief Obasanjo said: “Not long ago, I decided to have on record the experiences of some Nigerian ambassadors from independence to date.


“One of the first set of ambassadors, Ambassador Ogunsulire, during the interview recollected that at the first meeting of the United Nations General Assembly attended by Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa for the admission of Nigeria as a member of the United Nations on October 7, 1960, Nigeria was referred to as Giant in the sun.


“As at that time, the expectation of Africa and the world was for Nigeria to be a giant in the world. But over the last sixty-three years, we have not lived up to expectations. We have disappointed ourselves; we have disappointed Africa; we have disappointed the black race; and we have disappointed the world.


“What Segun has tried to identify, itemize and recommend in his book is the way forward. But the beginning of charting a new course for ourselves is to admit our failure because we have not always put the round peg in the round hole.


“We are carried along by ego and emotion of self, selfishness and self-centeredness, ethnic and religious jingoism with total lack of understanding of the world we live in and a gross misunderstanding of what development entails and how to move fast and continuously on the trajectory of development.”


What I looked for in my appointees


The former president disclosed that his choice of appointees was guided by love for Nigeria and humanity, fear of God and track record of performance.


His words: “Let me make a point here. I always look in and look out for men and women of intelligence, track record of performance, ability, love of Nigeria and humanity and love and fear of God and courage with humility and integrity to serve Nigeria.

 “None of them is perfect nor a saint but all those that I have so recruited particularly from the diaspora have performed creditably well in government. Segun Aganga is one of them.


“So is Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Lesley Obiora, Akin Adesina, Rilwanu Lukman and Bayo Ogunlesi. There are others who secured international appointments after their services at the national level under my watch.


“Among such distinguished ones are: Amina Mohammed, Babatunde Osotimehin, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Oby Ezekwesili and Akin Adesina after he had initially been encouraged by me to serve at home.


” The point I am making is that we have, both at home and in the diaspora, Nigerians who have attained world and best standard in their character, professions, attributes, performance and reputation in all walks of life.”


Need for peace and security

Chief Obasanjo pointed out that peace and security must be addressed for the nation to make progress.


“In these connections, let me identify two of the major issues which are interrelated on the factors for all-round development.


“These are peace and security which we cannot achieve without justice, equity and inclusive society. And telling ourselves the truth, we have not done well on these scores in the recent past – in the last decade and a half.”


Out of school children, Boko Haram & banditary

The former president said that there was a direct link between out-of-school children and Boko Haram terrorists and bandits, that have been killing innocent Nigerians in the last 14 years.


According to him “I will also point at the issue of education where over twenty million children that should be in school are not in school.


“We do not need an oracle to tell us the consequences of that for tomorrow. The skill acquisition, empowerment and employment of youth would seem to be ignored or not to be appreciated.


“We do not need to look far for the remote causes of banditry, Boko Haram, kidnapping and other organized crimes. We are living dangerously on a keg of gunpowder, driving more people into poverty through good policies poorly and thoughtlessly implemented or bad policies and no policy at all.


“Our population is made up of men and women almost in equal numbers. We have not given enough, appropriate and adequate attention to all aspects of preparing women for all-around development programmes for a community, a state, a nation, the continent of Africa and the whole world.

“If we fail to get all hands on deck, we will be diminished in all our instruments and capacity for development.”


Empty leaders

He regretted that many Nigerian leaders were empty and had no idea about what development entailed.

The former president said, “If you ask most of our leaders why they want to be in the position they are craving for, you will weep for your nation over their level of emptiness as far as development issues are concerned.


“What do they understand for peace, security, stability, predictability, development, growth and progress to be actualised?


“I believe that peace, security, democracy and prosperity must be taken together. Any leader that fails to understand any of these and fails to bring them together to deliver good governance for the welfare and well-being of the people – all the people – cannot contribute anything significant to claiming Nigeria as a jewel of Africa let alone the Jewel of Africa and definitely will be far from contributing to Nigeria being the Giant in the Sun.”


Chief Obasanjo urged policy consistency in order to attain development while advising the government to appoint the brains into strategic positions in. order to accelerate the development of the nation.

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  1. You are one of the bad and wicked leaders in Africa. You too are highly corrupt.


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