Former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Director General, World Trade Organisation, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and a former Chairman Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Atahiru Jega on Saturday blamed absence of good leaders for Nigeria’s woes.
They said Nigeria could still be great again and even take up the leadership roles on the continent if the country could get right leaders to steer its ship.
They spoke in Lagos on Saturday at the 113th anniversary of Kings College.
The anniversary titled, ‘Building the Nigeria of our dreams,’ was organised by the Kings College Old Boys’ Association.
Obasanjo who led the Kingsweek 2022 colloquium which was held at the Kings College, Lagos, said Nigeria as a country was poor, insecure, and had other challenges because of its choice of leaders.
He said, ‘‘We are politically divided, economically disunited we are nowhere, we are down the drain. Diplomatically, Nigeria is not at the table. Before, we had sent troops to Sudan, Seirra Leone but today, we can’t send troops to the Republic of Benin. There are three races in the world, white, yellow, and black. For now, America is leading the whites, the Chinese are leading the yellow race, and Nigeria with 225m people is created by God to lead the black race. When we stop disappointing ourselves we can take care of the continent and the black race. Nigeria has no business with poverty, insecurity, or political division.
‘‘It is the advertently or inadvertently choice of our leaders. It is not God’s choice for us. If God hasn’t chosen that for us we can do better. For Nigeria, we have done a few things right but we have not continued to do it right. We need a government that understands Nigeria and Africa which will be fair and sincere with Nigerians, together with the right government, this nation can become the right leading country to develop Africa.’’
A former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, also advised Nigerians to get involved in the political and electoral processes.
He said lack of appropriate and quality leadership, selection process, and criteria while choosing leaders were a major challenge in the country.
‘‘Since 1999 till date, there has been a remarkable decline in the quality of leaders. Lack of appropriate selection and criteria in Nigeria’s leadership and electoral process. The country’s challenges cannot be addressed by bad leaders who have come into power through the faulty recruitment process.’’
The Director General of World Trade Organization, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, in her speech said her dream was for a Nigeria in which 95 per cent of the people had access to potable water, quality education, and more women participation in the political and economic life of the country.
‘‘Nigeria can fight poverty, and improve people’s lives if it is properly managed. Our revenue sources are not diversified we depend only on one revenue. Nigeria lacks a sacrosanct social compact in the country, there should be a guideline that dictates certain things that should be sacrosanct. We should have guiding principles to decide our we manage, save, spend and take vigorous actions on our revenues. As a country, we need to have certain indicators of how our economy should be governed. If we do this, we have so much to gain.
‘‘We have had episodes showing we can sustain strong growth, all we need is to work on all key indicators and move in the right direction.
‘‘If we build a strong governance we need to choose our leaders wisely, we need to ensure we build a strong foundation, we need to get our leaders to accept social compact that will take us into the future.’’
A former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Olisa Agbakoba, said the time had come for Nigerians to sit together and ask themselves serious question in order to get out of the present problems.
Agbakoba said, ‘‘We have been to a lot of conferences and it is time for us to face the real question. We will never come out of this if we don’t sit and ask ourselves if we are really one until the infractions are tackled.
“Do we wish to be one because this marriage was imposed on us? What marriage do we really want? Why have we excluded all the nationals at the national conferences we have had?’’
Former president of KCOBA, Dr Sony Kuku, added, ‘‘If we have the right people who love Nigeria if we can get people into governance without godfatherism, ‘Ghana must go’ the better for us. The older you are the more you want Nigeria to be together.’’