Obasanjo: Nigeria back in world reckoning

Obasanjo: Nigeria back in world reckoning

Thursday, October 1, 2015 9:45 pm



Abiodun Onafuye/ Abeokuta

Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria on Thursday reflected on the country’s 55th independence anniversary and declared: “we are not doing badly”.

Obasanjo  who spoke in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital also on  the just concluded United Nations (UN) General Assembly in New York said:  “it was gladdening seeing Nigeria back at the table with the world leaders.”

Speaking on the nation’s independence anniversary,the former President said: “Fifty five years in the life of a nation is comparatively young.  When you look at the life and history of those that you may call settled societies or reasonably matured countries, we are not doing too badly.

“Such nations would have had missteps just like we are having missteps, they have made mistakes and most of them have learnt from their mistakes, they have been dynamic in the way they have progressed and I believe that we are doing the same thing.

“What is important is that certain cardinal principles, cardinal features of our national life, values, should not be eroded. And then we should also be willing to learn from our mistakes,”Obasanjo said.

The former President, took a cue from President Muhammadu Buhari’s  Independence anniversary  address to the nation, saying, “the President in his statement said Nigeria has the marks in making the potentialities of a great nation. It is just a question of actualizing our potentials and that will require all hands on deck; men, women, muslims, christians, young and old, irrespective of our location, our tribe, our social standing, Nigeria needs all hands on deck.

“As part of moving forward as a nation, we must also realise important issues that we must not play with, we must not play with the issue of education, we must not play with the issue of health for our people.

“We must not play with the issue of employment for our teeming population particularly for our youths, we must not play with the issue of economy, we must not play with the issue of security and peace, we must not play with the issue of justice, Justice and peace go hand in hand, we can’t have injustice and expect peace to reign supreme.

“These are some of the things, and then of course, corruption must not have resting place within our society, we must kick corruption out because it destroys almost everything and I am not talking about corruption of money alone; corruption of attitude, nepotism, favouritism, they are corruption in different forms and all aspects of corruption must be kicked out of our society,”he said.

On the UN General Assembly, Obasanjo said the outcome of this year’s Assembly should be rated as among the best so far stressing that “the United Nations at the beginning of this millennium came out with certain goals that we should observe or we should work to achieve for our countries.

It was eight goals in the Millennium Development Goals, MDG’s now it is more than that in this one and it is good.

“Apart from moderating conflict and preventing major war, world wars since the end of second world war, bringing about these elements or issues that can lead to development and making them goals for us to achieve is one important area that the United Nations has shown solidarity since its establishment.

“And of course, it is an annual arena for leaders to vent their views either on issues of particular interest with them in their country or issues  that are of regional interest or  of global interest and it is good that our own President was able to participate this year for the first time as elected President of Nigeria.

Despite some unfavourable  comments on some  of  the engagements of Nigeria during the conference,Obasanjo said that on the contrary, the world leaders, President Buhari met had favourable impressions about his leadership quality.

“I heard some of the comments of those he met, the comment that probably will not come back to him. He met Clinton for almost one hour and President Clinton, when I joined him for his Global Initiative told me about his impression of our President, it was favourable.

“Gordon Brown and I met him and we talked about issues. The few other leaders who met him gave me their impression and his debut so to say, it has been good. I think we are at the table, what they use to say was  that Nigeria was not at the table, now we are present at the table,”Obasanjo added.

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