Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigeria’s former president, has noted that the country needed to be rescued, while advising that the incoming administration must explore all avenues at ending ethnic division that emanated from the 2023 general elections.
Obasanjo described the election outcome as a “sickening show of shame” and urged the incoming administration to put measures in place that would foster national reconciliation.
According to Obasanjo, the move will bring about healing and to assuage Nigerian youths who were angered by the shortcomings of the elections.
Obasanjo stated this while delivering his speech at a Conference in Abuja, organised by Nextier and the Ibadan School of Governance and Public Policy themed, “From Elections to Governance and Performance”.
The former president added that governance in Nigeria now required thinking outside the box, to rescue the nation, in terms of its plunging economy and huge national debt burden, adding that there must also be the political will and action, as well as administrative efforts, to reform the public service, and turn it into a capability-ready unit.
Obasanjo noted that in light of the challenges facing the country, he was now “too old to keep quiet”, stating that he would continue to voice concerns for the benefit of the nation.
According to him, efforts are required to rescue the country from its launch into dystopia.
Obasanjo added that it would only be possible with a common vision.
“Given what we saw during the election, Nigeria is now even more divided and more corroded than we thought. This places a deep onus on any administration following the current one, to urgently facilitate the process of national moral rearmament and national reconciliation for the aggrieved and will lead us across Nigeria and to assuage the youth,” Obasanjo said.
“This must be done in sync with the imperative of national value orientation that Nigeria requires to build a collective sense of enduring and local values and national belonging.
“Let me conclude by stating clearly that I am now too old to keep quiet and watch Nigeria’s seemingly clueless launch into dystopia. All efforts are now required from all committed patriots to rescue the nation from the precipice. And when I look at the audience I have a feeling that among the people who can do it and who must do it are some of you here.
“It has become my own personal obligation, continuing in my relentless service as a letterman, dedicated in my twilight years to say the truth, as I see it, so as to push Nigeria in the direction of our collective aspirations. What is our collective aspiration? A better society where all Nigerians can become what the Almighty God destined [them] to be.
“At times like this, some of us have to adopt the attitude of being known to be blind and not being afraid of the dark. But we must continue to work for the light of all.”
The former president recommended innovative ways for expanding growth and development in the country, adding that gains made would be reversed in the absence of a political will.
“Governance in Nigeria now calls for thinking outside the box in terms of development financing, this has become inevitable in the face of Nigeria’s dwindling fortune, in oil revenue, Nigeria’s huge foreign indebtedness and the urgency of diversifying Nigeria’s neocultural economy,” he said.
“We cannot be spending like drunken sailors on frivolities and corruption and expect development and growth. Such a situation cannot take us into the fourth industrial revolution.
“My experience and understanding, however, is that the money to develop and grow our economy is out there if we provide a conducive environment for it to come and stay.
“Political will, political action and administrative efforts must be invested on reforming the public service into a capability-ready institution that could enable Nigeria’s development agenda beyond 2023.
“All of these and more are necessary to correct and not to repeat the sickening and painful show of shame which the elections of 2023 generated into.”