Nigeria More Divided Than Ever Before, Needs National Reconciliation – Obasanjo

  • Says I’m too old to keep quiet

From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has declared that Nigeria is more divided than it has ever been after the 2023 general elections, calling for national reconciliation to assuage the aggrieved and the youths for national peace and cohesion.

He made the call at the public presentation of From Elections To Governance & Performance Presentation of “THE UNENDING QUEST FOR REFORM: An Intellectual Memoir” by Professor Tunji Olaopa.

Obasanjo, who said he was too old to keep quiet on national issues, while suggesting three ideas to enrich the direction of the conversation at the event put together by Nextier, SPD, a public policy firm.

He said: “One, 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 for the aggrieved and will lead us across Nigeria and to assuage the youth.

“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.

“Two, governance in Nigeria now calls for thinking outside the box in terms of development financing, this has become inevitable in the face of Nigeria’s dwindling fortune, in oil revenue, Nigeria’s huge foreign indebtedness and the urgency of diversifying Nigeria’s neo cultural economy.

“We cannot be spending like a drunken sailor on frivolities and corruption and expect development and growth. such a 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 a conducive environment for it to come and stay.

“Three 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.

“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 many 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 afraidof the dark. But we must continuall work for the light of all.

“Once again, congratulate you, Tunji for your continuing labour on behalf of the Nigerian public service and most importantly, for adding this significant intellectual memoir to your huge collection of publications and to the annals of administrative reforms in Nigeria, at this defining and auspicious moment like this.

“This memoir must find its way into all federal and state Ministries as well as the National Labraries in Nigeria. Of course, it must become one item in the fundamental reading list of all serious minded Nigerian, development worker, public manager, policymakers, development theorists and planners and administrative scholars.”

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