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Obasanjo Criticizes Leadership Amid Rising Insecurity In Nigeria, Gives Advice

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Obasanjo Visits Family Of Late Olubadan, Lekan Balogun

Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo has expressed grave concerns about the escalating insecurity and societal issues in Nigeria, describing the nation as increasingly volatile, uncertain, and complex.

Speaking at the Africa Methodist Council Heads of Conference Summit and Women’s Movement Leadership Summit in Lagos, where he served as the Chairman of the public lecture, Obasanjo highlighted the dire situation in the country, marked by rampant suffering and hunger.

During his opening remarks at the summit, which focused on the theme ‘Leadership in a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous World,’ presented by Bishop Ivan Abrahams, General Secretary of the World Methodist Council, Obasanjo criticized the current leadership’s response to the myriad of challenges facing Nigeria.

He stressed the urgent need for the leadership to awaken to its responsibilities to foster a safer and more prosperous environment for all citizens.

The former president underscored that the prevailing insecurity has rendered Nigeria a perilous place, demanding a re-evaluation of the approach to governance and leadership.

He called on Nigerian leaders to adopt new strategies and perspectives to navigate the complexities of the modern world effectively.

Obasanjo’s critique comes at a time when Nigeria grapples with various security challenges, including insurgency, banditry, and communal conflicts, which have exacerbated the conditions of suffering and poverty among the populace.

“How do we re-evaluate the world? That is what I believe we have to do in our re-evaluating the world. What do we do? Jesus Christ himself told us that in this world, we would have trouble.

“I will give you two points. Wake up! We need a new generation of leaders; moral leaders, transformational leaders, and servant leaders.

“This new generation of leaders will lead by showing love and leading the re-evaluation and transformation,” he said.

Speaking further, he said, “Nigeria as it is now is volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous and dangerous.

“We have resources in Africa; we have 70 per cent of the world’s copper. Japan has no mineral resources. Singapore is even worse. No resources!

“But, whatever resources we have, if we are devoid of leadership, it won’t get us anywhere. That is why leadership in Africa is very important.

“We can’t create an Africa of hope, prosperity, devoid of oppression and one of security, peace and where leaders have vision, knowledge and understanding this way.”

He also noted that the late South African freedom fighter, Nelson Mandela, and Preacher, Desmond Tutu, advised him to contest the presidency for the second time.

He said, “When I came out of prison, and there was pressure mounting on me to take the mantle of leadership in Nigeria, the only place I went outside Nigeria was South Africa. I went to seek advice from Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu.

“Nelson said, ‘Olu, whatever your instinct tells you, do it.’ Tutu said, ‘If your people want you to serve, serve and stop making excuses’.

“I came back home and decided to make myself available and contest for the presidency of Nigeria.

“I found out that the years I spent in prison were advantageous to me in serving as president when I was elected.

“We can get good out of bad. That also happened to Nelson Mandela.

“When we get good leaders, let’s make maximum use of them because good leaders don’t flog. When you get one in a generation, make good use of them. Let’s learn the right lesson from them.

“We cannot make the world less volatile, simple or unambiguous unless we have the right type of leaders. We are talking about leaders that take examples of Jesus Christ and become like him.”

Responding to a question during the question and answer session, Obasanjo said the removal of History from the nation’s educational curriculum was a huge disaster.

He said, “I don’t know where we got the idea that we shouldn’t teach history in our school. It is a stupid idea.

“It is like losing one’s memory. It will be a disaster. I don’t know where we got it from. Some people feel there is an aspect of the history we don’t want to hear.

“There are always the bad and the good even in your own life. As you may know, I am a proprietor of a school, and in my school, we must teach History, and it must be taught the right way. You can then decide to take whatever you want to take out of it.

“There is no race in the world that has suffered like the black race, through slavery, slave trade and colonialism.

“In America, some people are now teaching that the slave trade was not a true story – that the white and the black went to the Caribbean in search of greener pastures.

“We were shipped there as slaves. If we allow that to go, we will be enslaved again, and we must not allow that to go.

“I have given myself the task of working with some people to keep the slave trade alive in our history. We must not allow anyone to say the slave trade is not a true story and we must keep it on the front burner.”

Speaking further, the former President said finding crude oil in Nigeria was the beginning of the country’s misfortune.

He said, “One of the things that was a little bit of misfortune in Nigeria is crude oil. We were drinking and sleeping oil, and it was a misfortune for us. It made us to abandon agriculture. Oil is a waste asset. Agriculture is renewable. We have to go back to it.

“We have to give something to our youths who are becoming restive, frustrated and dangerous.

“If we are going to curb that, it is giving them education, skills, empowerment and employment. If we don’t, they will soon come to attack us in our homes in the daytime, and it is a matter of time.

“Even food, we don’t produce enough. We spend over $20bn to import food. 60 per cent of arable land is not cultivated. The one cultivated is not used to maximum capacity. We need leaders who will lead us to the promised land.”

Advising up-and-coming politicians, he said it was a pity most politicians took politics as a profession without any backup plan.

He said, “Politicians are a different kettle of fish. They have to be in the world and be to some extent of the world.

“You must not be a professional politician. Politics is one profession you go into without any training. You can wake up today and say you are a politician.

“If you are going to be a successful politician you must have an alternative to being a politician, another means of livelihood

“When I was President, because I had to listen to my party and they wanted to push me in the way I should not go, I always told them, ‘Look! My farm is there. Take your job. I go back to my farm.’

“Some politicians have no second address. That is a great pity. A politician who has no second address will stand for anything. He has no principle, morality, dos and don’ts.”

is an Associate at Naija News. He is a news media enthusiast, he holds a degree in psychology and loves exploring and sharing about the enormous power that lies in the human mind. Email: [email protected], Instagram: adeniyidman