ABEOKUTA-Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has described himself as ‘an incurable optimist’ in Nigeria, urging Nigerians not to lose hope about their country despite the daunting challenges facing it.
Obasanjo warned that the current situation in the educational sector if not adequately addressed, could spell doom for the country.
Obasanjo challenged government at all levels to give adequate attention to the development of education, urging the government to address the growing population and its attendant challenges facing the country.
The former President spoke on Tuesday in Abeokuta while addressing some youths and students from selected schools in the state at a one- day Youths Governance Dialogue organized by the youth development centre, an arm of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library.
He said “there should be no Nigerian child that should be out of the school for any reason. How are we talking about the state of emergency on Education, how are we talking about popular education? You have already got your Boko Haram in the next 15 years if you don’t do anything about that.
” So, whatever you are talking about, unless you take care of inclusivity, you will not get there. Quality is important, but, inclusivity is much better, education for all”.
Obasanjo also raised another challenge facing the country which he called demography.
He said “We are now 200 million population and in about 30 years to come we will be about 400 million. Some say we will be 415 million, some say we will be 450 million, whichever one, we will be the third-largest country in the world after China and Indian, that would present great challenges, how are we going to handle it?
“It can be an asset if we handle it well, but, if we continue with business as usual as we are doing now, it will be a great calamity, it will be a great disaster, we have to think about it.
“And those who will produce the 450 million people, there are already here, they have been born, so you cannot stop them from being born.
“Those who will produce 750 million in the year 22,000 they are the one we can do something about.
And again, it is important, People are already thinking, who is doing the short-medium- long- time thinking plan, no”.
Obasanjo while encouraging the youths in the country, said his experience and his roles in the Nigeria projects made him have hope in the country.
According to Obasanjo, “having run or taken care of a very substantial number of soldiers in the war front. The soldiers from a division people have lost hope about in the sense that, they have lost the fighting spirit and within a space of six months, that division was saved and that division ended the Nigerian civil war.
” Having run the affairs of Nigeria as a military Head of state when some people felt there was virtually no hope about Nigeria and we turned it around. And having taken care of Nigeria when I came out of the Prison when some people told me that I will be the last President of Nigeria because after me there will be no Nigeria again because the situation was so bad I have come to have tremendous hope in Nigeria and my optimism. So, I am an incurable optimist about Nigeria.
“During the Muritala Mohammed and I government, Nigerian soldiers who were working in Lagos and who had to go to the office in public transport, they did not wear their uniform they were ashamed but within the space, if six months they were proudly wearing their uniform. So it can be done. (IT CAN BE DONE )
Don’t lose hope, the situation is bad. The current situation is bad, I don’t need to tell you that, I can see the light beyond the tunnel. There is a light beyond the tunnel.