Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said Nigeria needs a government that has a proper understanding of governance.
Obasanjo said this at a colloquium organised to mark the 113th anniversary of Kings College, Lagos.
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The former president, who chaired the occasion, said national identity is the foundation of social position, adding that weak social position causes distrust as people are reluctant to engage with one another.
He said, “We do not trust ourselves while confidence is totally destroyed and where there is no confidence, there is no togetherness. If we have no dream, then, what can be the inspiration for the aspiration of our youths? What can they look up to or aspire to? We must take being a Nigerian as first and being anything else as second.”
Speaking on the theme of the colloquium ‘Building Nigeria of our dream’, the former President said economic emancipation and citizens’ well-being are central to the national dream.
He said, “If you want to build the Nigeria of your dream, you must have a dream or dreams; we only have a Nigerian dream and if we have a Nigerian dream, what is it so that we can all key into it? But if we do not have a Nigerian dream, do we need to have a Nigerian dream? And if we need to have a Nigerian dream, what must it be?
“The Americans can say they have the American dream, the British can say they have the British dream but in our case, do we really have what we can call the Nigerian dream? For me, the Nigerian dream will start from the national identity, which we can all hold on to. National identity is the foundation of social position. Even when you look into our constitution, there is something we call national ethics.
“Chapter 2 (23) of the constitution says, ‘National ethics shall be discipline, integrity, dignity of labour, social justice, religious tolerance, self-reliance and patriotism’ Even if you take the two stanzas of the national anthem and pledge and bring it to our ethics, we have enough to give us a Nigerian dream. If we have a Nigerian dream, there will be vision for our youth. If we cannot agree on our dream for Nigeria, maybe we can agree on Nigeria we want and we work towards the Nigeria we want.”
While he lamented that Nigeria has never been as disunited as it is today, he stressed that to keep Nigeria as one, is a task that must be done.
“Today, we are politically disunited, economically, we are nowhere, diplomatically, what they say to me wherever I go is that Nigeria is not at the table. We need to have a government that understands what it means to govern and the responsibility to govern; not arrogance of ignorance, not crying nepotism.
“There are three races in the world, the white, the yellow and the black. For now, the Americans are leading the white race. The Chinese have taken the lead of the yellow race. I believe Nigeria with a population of 225million people is created by God to lead the black race. So whatever we do, we disappoint ourselves, we disappoint Africa and disappoint the black race. We must stop disappointing ourselves and when we stop disappointing ourselves, we will take care of the continent and the black race,” Obasanjo said.
The Director General of World Trade Organization (WTO), Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who presented the keynote address virtually said her dream for Nigeria is modest.
She described Nigerians are most enterprising and industrious people on the planet. “It gives me great pride. You just give Nigerians the basics and access to these fundamentals of education, health, finance and infrastructure, and Nigerians will do the best. Looking back to the start of the century, the record shows that Nigeria can sustain the strong growth we need to improve people’s lives when we do the necessary reforms, and manage the macroeconomic fundamentals.”