• Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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BusinessDay

Nigeria is now divided more than ever, needs healing – Obasanjo

OBJ’s remarks to Obas: Time we revisited legal architecture for kingship in Nigeria
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, has expressed concern about the current state of the country, stating that it is more divided and more corroded than before.
Obasanjo made the observation when he spoke during a public lecture series with the theme: ‘From Elections to Governance and Performance’ in Abuja on Thursday.
“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 that the potential will enhance skilled 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.”
Speaking further, Obasanjo noted that governance in Nigeria now calls for thinking outside the box in terms of development financing, adding that it has become inevitable in the face of Nigeria’s dwindling fortune in oil revenue, huge foreign indebtedness and the urgency of diversifying the country’s neo-cultural economy.
He also stated that political will, political action and administrative efforts must be invested on reforming the public service into a capability ready institution that could enable Nigeria development agenda beyond 2023.
He said: “We cannot be spending like drunken sailor on frivolities and corruption and expect development and growth. such situation cannot take us into the fourth industrial revolution already underway or be fair also defeat.
“My experience and understanding however, is that the money to develop and grow our economy is out there if we provide conducive environment for it to come and stay.
“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.
“Let me conclude by stating clearly that I am now too old to keep quiet and watch Nigeria seemingly clueless launch into dystopia. All efforts are now required from all well meaning and 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 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 Nigerian can become what the Almighty God destined 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 continually work for the light of all.”
The ex-President said with the current situation on ground, it would not be out of place for a national reconciliation, which will assuage the feelings of aggrieved Nigerians, particularly the youth population.
He decried the huge debt profile of government at all levels, adding that government must begin to think outside the box in with regard to development financing.
For Patrick Okigbo, a founding partner, Nextier SPD, Nigeria leaders at all levels need is an institution that has the capacity to deliver on proposed promises or programmes.
According to him, “Every four years, we go to elections, politicians make promises of what they want to do and at the end of the day, not a lot happens, it is not because these politicians are bad people, it is not because they do not want to do stuff, it is basically because all the electoral promises will have to be delivered by the public service, the civil servants, the political appointees.
” If the civil service does not have the capacity to deliver on these promises, they will remain mere promises, so what we are attempting to do here is to convene leading scholars, leading practitioners, leading policy advocates, development partners etc to say what is the pathway for reforming Nigeria’s public service. Tunji Olaopa, the author of the book is one of the most prolific writers on public service reforms.
“I think we have kind of mystefied polictical will, we have created a myth around political will and I give you an example, President Muhammadu Buhari can decide that he wants to do XYZ, what he should do is to discuss with ministers at FEC and give an instruction to get it done, who then takes it from that point, when a presidential directive has been issued it is the civil service.
“The President is not the holy spirit, he cannot be everywhere as there are only 24hours in a day, by the way I am not making excuses for him. I am just saying that even after you bring the political will, it is not enough. What you need is an institution that has the capacity to deliver on those promises or programmes.”