Often described as a cat with nine lives, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR, is not backing off his role as a critic of governments and situations in the country, as he describes Nigeria as a “land flowing with bitterness and sadness”. The 84-year old elder statesman, at a book launch to mark his birthday on
Often described as a cat with nine lives, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR, is not backing off his role as a critic of governments and situations in the country, as he describes Nigeria as a “land flowing with bitterness and sadness”.
The 84-year old elder statesman, at a book launch to mark his birthday on Thursday, contrasted Nigeria’s popular aphorism of a ‘land flowing with milk and honey’ with a description of her present situation as a land flowing with bitterness and sadness, an euphemism depicting a combination of events happening around the country with a spate of insecurity which has brought in its wake trademarks of ‘tears, sorrow and blood’ according to the popular lyrics of Late Afrobeat King, Fela Anikulapo Kuti.
General Obasanjo spoke at the Youth Centre of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, during the public presentation of a book titled ‘The Man General President Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR.’
In a somber mood, General Obasanjo who sounded spiritual and philosophical said: “The task before us now is to think of what to contribute to make Nigeria what God created it to be, a land flowing with milk and honey. Right now, it is land flowing with bitterness and sadness. That is not what God meant for this country. We must change it. And we must change the narrative.
Nevertheless, it was a speech rich in comparison of the good and the bad of the country. He said “We must talk to ourselves in a civilized language in which we talk to ourselves. I told some people who came to look for me in the morning today, if you look around, there is no section of this country where you will not get genius, north, south, east, west and anywhere. So, for what reason should we look down on ourselves? Or for what reason should we look down on others that you are not a human being? “
“As at today, the white race is being led by the Americans. I don’t know how long that will be. The yellow race is being led by the Chinese and whatever we say or do, China will lead the world before the middle of this century. There is nothing we can do about that. I believe that God has created Nigeria to lead the black race.
“That we are not doing it is not because God has not given us all that we needed to do it. It is because we have failed in leadership to do it. And that has to be corrected. The fact is that it is the fault of all of us. We should speak up, we should speak up. And you should say what you should say and say it when you should say it.
Painting a brighter side of the country and her people, General Obasanjo said we should ponder: “Why do Nigerians bloom outside Nigeria? As at today, we have four Nigerians, about five, directly running international organisations and running them well. And one or two are at the number two levels. We have Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina running the African Development Bank, we have Dr. Benedict Oramah running Afrexim Bank, we have Mohammed Sanusi Bakindo running the OPEC, we have my sister, Ngozi Iweala running the WTO, we have Amina Mohammed who has risen to number two position at the United Nations.
“These are things that should give hope and encouragement but the point is that if these people are here in Nigeria, if you hear about 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 that I have mentioned, they are doing fantastically well. We now have even at the AU, Bankole Adeoye, who has just taken over as Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security at the African Union (AU).
He asked rhetorically: ‘’So, why are they doing well there and here they are not doing well here? We should be interrogating this. And then what should we do? What should we do is to put our house in order. And we can put our house in order.”