Former President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo says it remains a puzzle why Nigeria has failed to take its leadership position in the comity of nations, despite parading citizens who are heading international organisations and doing well at such level.
He spoke on Thursday in Abeokuta, Ogun State at the unveiling of the book in his honour titled “The Man, The General, The President”, authored by Femmy Carrena.
Book was reviewed by emeritus Prof Michael Abiola Omolewa, a former Chairperson UNESCO.
Listing five among the prominent Nigerians doing well outside the shores of Nigeria, he noted that if they were in the country, the system would have shackled them, and prevented them from attaining such height.
The former president listed Dr Akinwumi Adesina, running the African Development Bank, Benedict Oramah running the Afrexim bank, Mohammed Barkindo running the OPEC, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala running the World Trade Organisation and we have Amina Mohammed who is number two in the United Nations.
He called on all Nigerians to interrogate this mystery, urging them to put their house in order so as to right the wrong.
He said “We have great Nigerians, why do Nigerians bloom outside Nigeria, as at today we have five Nigerians directly running international organisations and running them very well and one or two at the number two level.
“We have Akin Adesina running the African Development Bank, we have Benedict Oramah running the Afrexim bank, we have Mohammed Barkindo running the OPEC, we have my sister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala running the WTO and we have Amina Mohammed who I think celebrated her 60th birthday yesterday or day before yesterday, who is number two in the United Nations.
“These are things that should give hope and encouragement for the future.
“The point is that, if these people are here in Nigeria, if you hear of them at all, we would have shackled them and make it impossible for them to perform as they are performing outside.
“And each of these people that I have mentioned, they are doing fantastically well. We have have even at the AU, Ambassador Bankole Adeoye who had just taken over as the Commissioner for Political Affairs & Peace and Security (PAPS) of the AU.
“So why are they doing well there and here we are not doing well, something must be wrong, we should be interrogating this, we should and then what should we do. What we should do is put house in order and we can our house in order.”
Obasanjo while making veiled reference to the insecurity and economic downturn in the country, said the nation “is dripping with bitterness and sadness.”
He added that Nigeria had been destined to lead the black race, but “failure of leadership” had impeded the country from taking its place in the comity of developed nations.
To put Nigeria in the right footing, the former President said education must take the forefront.
According to him, over 14million out of school children must be returned to the school.
He said “My prayer is that all of us particularly in this country and now is that we will have something to contribute to make this country what God has created it to be; a land flowing with milk and honey. Right now, it is a land flowing with bitterness and sadness, that is not what God want this country to be.
“We must change the narrative, we must talk to ourselves in the civilized language.
“There is no where you go in this country that you will not see genius in any section of the country. So, what reason should we look down on ourselves or others except we are not a human being.”
Speaking on the emerging world economic power, the Ota farmer noted that Republic of China would rule the world before the middle of this century.
He said “As at today, the white race is being led by American; I don’t know how long that will be. Yellow race is being led by the Chinas and whatever we say or do, China will lead the world before the middle of this century and there is nothing we can do about it.
“I believe that God has created Nigeria to leave the black race. That we are not doing is not because God has nor given us all that we need to do it. It is because we have failed in leadership to do it and that have to be corrected. But, that is the fault of all of us. As your rightly said, where we should speak up, we should speak up.”
The book reviewer paid glowing tributes to Obasanjo, saying he always “speaks to power and speaks when everyone else is afraid to speak out.”