Former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Director General of the World Trade Organization, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and former President of the Nigeria Bar Association, Olisa Agbakogba, were among Nigerians who offered solutions to the country’s problems at the 113th Anniversary of Kings College on Saturday.
The Kings College Old Boys’ Association organised the anniversary, titled “Building the Nigeria of our Dreams.”
Obasanjo, who led the Kingsweek 2022 colloquium at Kings College in Lagos, stated that Nigeria as a country was poor, insecure, and faced other challenges as a result of its leadership choices.
The former Nigerian leader said, ‘‘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, Seirra Leone 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 are 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 deliberate or unintentional choice of our leaders. It is not God’s preference for us. We can do better if God hasn’t chosen that for us. We have done a few things correctly for Nigeria, but we have not continued to do so. We need a government that understands Nigeria and Africa and will be fair and honest with Nigerians; with the right government, this country can become the right leading country in Africa’s development.”
Okonjo-Iweala stated in her speech that her dream was for a Nigeria where 95% of the people had access to potable water, quality education, and more women participated in the country’s political and economic life.
‘‘Nigeria can fight poverty, and improve people’s lives if it is properly managed. Our revenue sources are not diversified we depend only on one revenue. Nigeria lacks a sacrosanct social compact in the country, there should be a guideline that dictates certain things that should be sacrosanct. We should have guiding principles to decide our 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.
“There have been episodes that show we can sustain strong growth; all we need to do now is work on all key indicators and move in the right direction. “If we want to build a strong governance, we must carefully select our leaders, lay a solid foundation, and persuade our leaders to accept a social compact that will carry us forward.”
“We have been to a lot of conferences, and it is time for us to face the real question,” Agbakoba said. We will never get out of this unless we sit down and ask ourselves if we are truly one until the infractions are addressed.
Do we wish to be one because this marriage was imposed on us? What marriage do we really want? Why have we excluded all the nationals at the national conferences we have had?’’
Another guest speaker, former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, enjoined Nigerians to get involved in the political and electoral processes, saying lack of appropriate and quality leadership, selection process, and criteria while choosing leaders were a major challenge in the country.
‘‘Since 1999 till date, there has been a remarkable decline in the quality of leaders. Lack of appropriate selection and criteria in Nigeria’s leadership and electoral process. The country’s challenges cannot be addressed by bad leaders who have come into power through the faulty recruitment process.’’
Former president of KCOBA, Dr Sony Kuku, added, ‘‘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. The older you are the more you want Nigeria to be together.’’