Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Monday expressed his dismay over Nigeria’s failure to meet the anticipated progress since gaining independence about 63 years ago.
He emphasized that not only has the country disappointed itself, but it has also let down Africa and the rest of the world.
Obasanjo revealed this in his keynote address during a public presentation of the book titled ‘Reclaiming the Jewel of Africa,’ authored by Olusegun Aganga, former Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, as well as Minister of Finance.
Obasanjo said, “Over the last 63 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.”
He, however, stated that “what Segun (Aganga) 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 gross misunderstanding of what development entails and how to move fast and continuously on the trajectory of development.”
He further identified two of the major issues that were interrelated in terms of 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.
“I will also point at the issue of education, where over 20 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,” Obasanjo stated.
He said the skill acquisition, empowerment and employment of youth would seem to be ignored or not appreciated.
“We do not need to look far for the remote causes of banditry, Boko Haram, kidnapping and other organised crimes.
“We are living dangerously on a keg of gunpowder, driving more people into poverty through good policies poorly and thoughtlessly implemented or bad policy and no policy at all,” he stated.
The book was unveiled by President Bola Tinubu through his Special Adviser on Monetary Policy, Olawale Edun. The event, which was held in Abuja, witnessed a large turnout of past and current senior government officials, as former President Goodluck Jonathan and Obasanjo spoke virtually.