•Reason efforts of past leaders failed to unite Nigeria – Olu of Warri
By Luminous Jannamike, Abuja
A former governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, says Nigerians don’t appreciate good leaders until they leave office.
Oshiomhole, also a former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), also said he fought former President Goodluck Jonathan out of office due to their differences in politics.
He admitted that Jonathan left lasting legacies for the nation, despite some of his weaknesses.
“You (Jonathan) left legacies even though I had cause to fight because it is politics. The legacy you have left, there is no successor who can afford to do less”, Oshiomhole said yesterday.
Meanwhile, Jonathan himself and Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atuwatse III, spoke on why efforts of past leaders to unite Nigeria have not yielded resuls.
They spoke at the one-year memorial lecture in honour of the late Captain Hosa Okunbo.
“But the logic of multi-party democracy is that even an angel can be defeated. You have set a standard that none of your successors can afford to go below”, the former Edo governor told Jonathan.
“Part of your (Jonathan) legacies was when you launched the almajiri school and your thought was that no Nigerian child should be left on the street and also appropriated special funds.
“These ideas are not new but what we lack is the will to transform it to practice. We never know who are our friends until when we are no more. No one is appreciated until he or she leaves office”.
Speaking at the occasion Jonathan said efforts of past leaders, especially those of the first republic, to unite the country had not yielded positive results.
Speaking on the topic ‘Lasting Legacy: Key to Nigeria’s Development Issues’, the former President explained that the leaders did their best to position the country for economic growth and development, but the attempts yielded more to centrifugal forces that reinforced ethnic cleavages.
He noted that the present crop of leaders inherited a country that was already balkanized into three regions and later four.
According to him, rather than see Nigeria as a united entity, they saw it as a country of different nationalities under which the regions would pursue their different development agenda.
The ex-President, however, admitted that the system operated by the heroes past worked well during their time, because there were significant developments recorded under the regions.
He regretted that along the development trajectory, Nigeria lost focus and the system became conflicted, especially when the military overthrew the civilian administration and decided to centralise governance, by creating a 12-states structure.
But Jonathan maintained for any nation to develop, there must be political stability; adding that for a nation to grow, leaders at various points must deliberately make the necessary sacrifices that promote patriotism, inspire devotion and spur citizens to do their best for their country.
The former President added that despite all that the nations has been through, Nigerians should not lose hope in our country.
Stomach infrastructure in politics, bane of Nigeria’s progress — Olu of Warri
On his part, Ogiame Atuwase III decried the glorification of stomach infrastructure in Nigeria’s political culture.
Alluding to what he described as the Esau syndrome, where one’s own birthright is sold for a mess of pottage, the monarch applauded Jonathan for not upturning the presidential elections in 2015 despite having control of all the state’s apparatus at his disposals.