Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has expressed his deep concerns about Nigeria’s failure on the African continent and its impact on the global stage during a recent event in Abuja.
The occasion was the public presentation of the book titled, “Reclaiming the Jewel of Africa,” authored by former Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, who also served as Minister of Finance during the Jonathan administration.
Representing President Bola Tinubu at the event, his Special Adviser on Monetary Policy, Olawale Edun, unveiled the thought-provoking book.
In his keynote address, Obasanjo candidly stated, “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.”
Nevertheless, Obasanjo also highlighted the hope for a way forward, recognizing Aganga’s efforts to identify and recommend solutions in his book. He emphasized the need for Nigeria to acknowledge its failures, particularly in areas where leadership and governance were affected by selfish motives, ethnic and religious biases, and a lack of understanding of the complexities of development.
Peace, security, justice, equity, and inclusivity were identified by Obasanjo as critical interconnected factors for all-round development. He expressed concern about Nigeria’s track record in these areas over the past decade and a half.
Additionally, he pointed out the pressing issue of education, with over 20 million children currently not attending school, warning of the potential consequences for the future.
Obasanjo stressed the importance of prioritizing skill acquisition, empowerment, and employment opportunities for the youth, highlighting that neglecting these aspects has contributed to the rise of banditry, Boko Haram, kidnapping, and other organized crimes plaguing the country.
He concluded by cautioning that Nigeria is treading dangerously, risking increased poverty due to poorly implemented policies or the lack of coherent policies altogether.
The event served as a platform to confront Nigeria’s challenges and seek ways to chart a new course for the country’s progress and development.
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