Nigeria disappointed itself, Africa, world — Obasanjo

•says we’ve not put round pegs in round holes

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Monday observed that Nigeria has not only disappointed itself but Africa, the black race and the world as a whole.

Delivering a keynote address virtually at the public presentation of a book titled, ‘Reclaiming the Jewel of Africa’, in Abuja, he spoke on factors that he believes have prevented the country from achieving its potential.

The book presented is written by former Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment and later Minister of Finance, Olusegun Aganga.

“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,” Obasanjo said.

According to him, what the author seeks to do in the new book is to try “to identify, itemise and recommend in his book is the way forward.”

He added: “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.”

Speaking further on the problems bedeviling the country’s development efforts, the former president stated: “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 to 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.”

He regretted that skill acquisition, empowerment and employment of youth appeared to have been ignored or not appreciated.

Obasanjo added: “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.”

President Bola Tinubu, who was represented at the occasion by his Special Adviser on Monetary Policy, Olawale Edun, unveiled the book.

Dignitaries present included former Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo; former Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi; former Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Arunma Oteh, among others.

(Tribune)