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I’ll not keep mum when things are going wrong in Nigeria – Obasanjo

…says “My school made me to wash plates.”
…says “A leader without vision, I will not follow him.”
….Says will commit suicide if Nigeria had no hope
…Says there can be no development without education

By Anthony Ogbonna

The Former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has said that he will never keep his mouth shut whenever he sees things going wrong in the country. Obasanjo, however, said that when a leader in the country has vision, then that things will relatively be right because such a leader would take the right steps and make right policies especially by investing in the development of the people through education.

Obasanjo, Dickson and others during the unveiling of many projects in Bayelsa state.
Obasanjo, Dickson and others during the unveiling of many projects in Bayelsa state.

Obasanjo made the remarks at the Ijaw National Academy, INA, Kaiama, during an interactive session with students of the institution, as one of the activities marking the celebration of the 6 years anniversary of Governor Seriake Dickson administration, also known as the ‘Restoration Government.’

Earlier, the elder statesman had, upon his arrival, unveiled the Bayelsa Heliport which was renamed after the first military administrator of the defunct Rivers State, Alfred Diete-Spiff.

According to Obasanjo, “A leader without vision, I will not follow him. I will not even go anywhere with him. If you have no vision, you are not a leader to be followed.”

Obasanjo, Dickson and others during the unveiling of many projects in Bayelsa state.
Obasanjo, Dickson and others during the unveiling of many projects in Bayelsa state.

He said vision means seeing beyond one’s nose. “A vision means, I have something that I want to see through next year, next month, two years from now…It is something that drives a leader to want to achieve something.”

The former president who told the students his childhood experience which he said was all about ‘poverty matters,’ however said that the lesson they can derive from both his poor background and his motivation while he was both as a military and a democratically elected president was the fear of God and the ability to make proper use of the innate qualities, including good leadership qualities, that God has deposited in everybody.

“My school made me to wash plates…You must take advantage of the opportunities you have. Any opportunity you have in your childhood and as you grow up, make use of it because, it may serve you tomorrow.”

Emphasizing the need for the education of the people, especially the youths, and its importance in the development of the people, Chief Obasanjo said, “There can be no development without education.”

Bayelsa state ultra-modern Diagnostic Centre
Bayelsa state ultra-modern Diagnostic Centre

He commended Governor Dickson for investing heavily in education, saying, Governor Dickson realized that education is important and invested heavily in it. He however warned that “a leader who does not give his people education, not only will the people perish, but he will perish with them.”

While expressing high hopes that Nigeria will be better again, Chief Obasanjo said, “I won’t say Nigeria has no hope. I will find a way of committing suicide if there is no hope for Nigeria. Nigeria has great hopes. Nigeria has hope because, I will not keep my mouth shut when I see things going wrong in Nigeria. Nigeria has hope because you(the youths) are part of the hope.”

Also speaking, Governor Dickson said his administration made education a cardinal point of his agenda, adding that “Our vision from the beginning was very clear.”

He said the foundation of any development must be rooted in education. The governor however said that the lack of investments in education in the state was the root cause of the many social vices that plagued the state before.

He said, “Insufficient investments in education was the root cause of militancy and criminality” in Bayelsa before.

He said this is because, “If you don’t build schools, then be ready to build prisons, more cemeteries, more remand homes because peo0le will be jailed and killed.”

While urging the youths who aspire to be great leaders tomorrow to have courage and uprightness as their driving force, Governor Dickson said, “you must have the courage. After convincing yourself that what you want to do is right, honest, then you need courage.”

“You are the hope of our feature because, seated right here are the scientists who would take us to the moon. Seated here are great politicians, doctors…and where Bayelsa would be in the next 15 years depends on you because, you will create.”

Earlier, during a courtesy visit to the traditional rulers’ council where he was conferred with Bayelsa State citizenship and a chieftaincy title, Chief Obasanjo commended the Governor for the relative peace being enjoyed in Bayelsa.

According to him, “One of the things that struck me about your (Dickson’s) administration is the relative peace that you have maintained in the state. I do not know how you have done it, maybe we should all come to learn under your tutelage.

“This is so because one of the things we need to do and do well today in this country is the issue of security. Security is, and of course, stability.

“The point is this:  If one state is in peace, secured and safe in Nigeria, it is an example to others and it goes a long way because the aggregate peacefulness, the aggregate security and the aggregate security is what makes for peace, security and stability of our country.

“You called me a Bayelsan and I ought to be. I said to the governor that any good man must feel proud to be called a Bayelsan. Because here, you have seen real transformation. If there is a place where you can say, come and see transformation taking place, this is one place in the country.”

Other projects also inaugurated by Chief Obasanjo are the Bayelsa State Drug Distribution Company, the state ultra-modern Diagnostic Centre and others.


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