Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has said that Nigeria was in a deficit where leadership is concerned, noting that the technocrats to lift the country and the African continent up were not lacking in the country.
Obasanjo, who was president between 1999 and 2007, said this in an interview with academic and historian, Toyin Falola, held virtually on Sunday.
According to Obasanjo, no matter what anyone wants to do, leadership needs to provide the right environment and incentive.
He said: “Nigeria has no scarcity of people to lift the country and Africa up. But Nigeria is deficit in leadership.”
He said the lack of understanding and knowledge of leadership has made it impossible for administrations to build on the achievements of their predecessors.
As a result, Obasanjo surmised, “after a government had made two steps of progress forward, the successors moved two steps to the side and one step backwards.”
He noted that when he was President, “The CBN governor (Chukwuma Soludo) called me one day and said Mr. President congratulations. $80 million came into Nigeria: not from oil or export, but from investors.”
He said he told Chukwuma that he was not satisfied, but was aiming for $100 million a day. However, only $3 billion came into the country in 2019.
“And Africa, South of the Sahara, got $32 billion in 2019. That was what I was aiming at in one year.”
Obasanjo also admitted that the older generation had done a lot of wrong things, while urging youths to make it uncomfortable for the older leaders to remain.
According to him, “Whatever my generation might have done wrong— and I will be the first to admit that my generation has done a lot wrong— is for your (young) generation to do it better.
“Don’t just seat and complain; it is like the anger of a cripple. Be proactive. Get like-minded people that can say ‘we can bring about a change’.
“The old hands won’t voluntarily go out of the way. You have to make them go out of the way. Make it uncomfortable for them; not violence, but bringing pressure to bear.”