Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, the Director General, World Trade Organisation, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and a former president, Nigeria Bar Association, Olisa Agbakoba, among other notable Nigerians proffered solutions to the challenges facing the country.
They spoke on Saturday at the 113th anniversary of King’s College. The anniversary lecture titled, ‘Building the Nigeria of our dreams,’ was organised by the King’s College Old Boys’ Association.
Obasanjo, who led the King’s Week 2022 colloquium which was held at the Kings College, Lagos, said Nigeria as a country was poor, insecure, and had other challenges because of its choice of leaders.
‘‘We are politically divided, economically disunited we are nowhere, we are down the drain. Diplomatically, Nigeria is not at the table. Before we had sent troops to Sudan, Serria Lone but today, we can’t send troops to the Republic of Benin. There are three races in the world, white, yellow, and black. For now, America is leading the whites, the Chinese is leading the yellow race, and Nigeria with 225m people is created by God to lead the black race. When we stop disappointing ourselves we can take care of the continent and the black race. Nigeria has no business with poverty, insecurity, or political division.
‘‘It is the advertently or inadvertently choice of our leaders. It is not God’s choice for us. If God hasn’t chosen that for us we can do better. For Nigeria, we have done a few things right but we have not continued to do it right.’’
In her opinion, Okonjo-Iweala said that Nigeria lacks a social contract that would guide the nation in the management of its resources.
She said, ‘‘Nigeria can fight poverty, Improve people’s life if it is properly managed. Our revenue sources are not diversified we depend only on one revenue. Nigeria lacks a sacrosanct social contract in the country; there should be a guideline that dictates certain things that should be sacrosanct. We should have guiding principles to decide how we manage, save, spend and take vigorous actions on our revenues. As a country, we need to have certain indicators of how our economy should be governed. If we do this, we have so much to gain.”
Agbakoba said, ‘‘We have been to a lot of conferences it is time for us to face the real question, we will never come out of this if we don’t sit and ask ourselves if we are really one until the infractions are tackled.’’
Another guest speaker, former INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, enjoined Nigerians to get involved in the political and electoral processes to improve the quality of leaders that are being presented for elective positions by political parties.
‘‘Since 1999, till date, there has been a remarkable decline in the quality of leaders. This is caused by the lack of appropriate selection and criteria in Nigeria’s leadership and electoral process.’’
For the former president of KCOBA, Dr Sony Kuku, ‘‘If we have the right people who love Nigeria, if we can get people into governance without godfatherism, ‘Ghana must go,’ the better for us.”