Former President Olusegun Obasanjo criticized Nigerian leaders, asserting that many of them lacked understanding when it came to development issues. He made these remarks in Abuja while delivering the keynote address at the public presentation of a book titled “Reclaiming the Jewel of Africa,” authored by Olusegun Aganga, a former Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, who also served as Minister of Finance.
During the event, past and current senior government officials were present, and President Bola Tinubu unveiled the book virtually through his Special Adviser on Monetary Policy, Olawale Edun. Obasanjo emphasized the significance of leadership, stating that it is a critical factor in shaping a nation’s development, including peace, security, stability, and progress.
He expressed concern about the lack of consistency and continuity in policy implementation, despite the country having no shortage of policies. Obasanjo believed that with effective leadership based on character, attributes, value, virtue, orientation, performance, and love for humanity, and fear of God, Nigeria could achieve greatness and become a “Giant in the Sun.”
He also lamented Nigeria’s failure to live up to expectations since gaining independence 63 years ago, disappointing not only itself but also Africa and the world. Obasanjo acknowledged Aganga’s book as a step towards charting a new course for the country but stressed the importance of admitting past failures and rectifying the lack of understanding of development.
Regarding youth, he expressed concerns about the neglect of skill acquisition, empowerment, and employment opportunities, linking these issues to the rise of banditry, Boko Haram, kidnapping, and other crimes in the nation.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan praised Aganga for his role in attracting foreign investments during his time as Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment. He commended the book for capturing their efforts in promoting Nigeria as Africa’s first destination for foreign direct investment.
Similarly, President Bola Tinubu commended Aganga’s achievements and pledged to promote meritocracy, as recommended in the book, during his government’s tenure.