Former President Olusegun Obasanjo expressed his belief that Nigeria has let down not only the African continent but also the entire world. He made this assertion during a keynote address at the public presentation of the book titled “Reclaiming the Jewel of Africa,” authored by former Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, as well as Minister of Finance,
Olusegun Aganga. The event took place in Abuja and was graced by the presence of President Bola Tinubu, represented by his Special Adviser on Monetary Policy, Olawale Edun, who unveiled the book.
Obasanjo candidly stated that over the past 63 years, Nigeria has not lived up to the expectations it had set for itself and has consequently disappointed not only its own citizens but also the entire African continent, the black race, and the global community.
However, the former President acknowledged that the book authored by Segun Aganga lays out a way forward for the nation. He emphasized that to chart a new and successful course for Nigeria, it is crucial to first admit its failures, particularly in the realm of leadership appointments, where decisions were often based on personal ego, emotions, ethnic and religious biases, instead of merit and competence. This has hindered the country’s ability to understand the world and effectively pursue sustainable development.
Obasanjo identified two crucial interconnected issues that play a pivotal role in achieving all-round development: peace and security, which are contingent on justice, equity, and inclusivity. He lamented that in recent times, Nigeria has not performed well in these areas, particularly in the last fifteen years. Furthermore, he highlighted the alarming problem of education in the country, with over 20 million children not receiving access to schooling, which is likely to have grave consequences for the future.
Additionally, the former President pointed out that the neglect or lack of appreciation for youth skill acquisition, empowerment, and employment has contributed to the rise of challenges like banditry, Boko Haram insurgency, kidnapping, and other organized crimes.
Obasanjo concluded by cautioning that Nigeria is currently treading on a dangerous path, potentially driving more people into poverty due to poorly implemented policies or a lack of adequate policies altogether. He called for urgent and thoughtful action to address these pressing issues and steer the nation towards a more promising future.
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