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‘Nigeria more divided than we imagined’ – Olusegun Obasanjo

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Former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo has lamented the deteriorating state of Nigeria, saying the country is presently more divided than ever before.

Obasanjo who was a guest of honor at a public lecture series tagged, “From Elections to Governance and Performance” on Thursday in Abuja, said with the current situation on the ground, it would not be out of place for a national reconciliation, which will assuage the feelings of aggrieved Nigerians, particularly the youth population.

He criticized the growing debt profile and spending spree of government at all tiers, especially those at the helm of affairs currently, likening the situation to “spending like a drunken sailor”.

Obasanjo, however, advised that for reforms to take root, there must be political will and concerted effort to drive it by all stakeholders in Nigeria.

While speaking to the issues of reforms, he said governance in Nigeria now calls for thinking outside the box in terms of development financing.

“Let me suggest three ideas that I think can enrich the direction of the conversation here today, said the former President.

“One, given what we saw during the election, Nigeria is now even more divided and more corroded than we thought. This places a deep onus on any administration following the current one to urgently facilitate the process of national moral rearmament and national reconciliation that will assuage the youths.

“This must be done in sync with the imperative of national value orientation that Nigeria requires to build a collective sense of enduring and local values and national belonging.

“Two, governance in Nigeria now calls for thinking outside the box, in terms of development financing, this has become inevitable in the face of Nigeria’s dwindling fortune, in oil revenue, Nigeria’s huge foreign indebtedness, and the urgency of diversifying Nigeria’s neo cultural economy.

“My experience and understanding, however, is that the money to develop and grow our economy is out there if we provide a conducive environment for it to come and stay.

“Three, political will, political action, and administrative efforts must be invested in reforming the public service into a capability-ready institution that could enable Nigeria’s development agenda beyond 2023.

“All of these and more are necessary to correct and not to repeat the sickening and painful show of shame that the elections of 2023 generated.

“Let me conclude by stating clearly that I am now too old to keep quiet and watch Nigeria’s seemingly clueless launch into dystopia. All efforts are now required from all well-meaning, committed patriots to rescue the nation from the precipice. And when I look at the audience I have a feeling that among the people who can do it and who must do it are some of you here.

“It has become my own personal obligation, continuing in my relentless service as a letterman, dedicated in my twilight years to say the truth, as I see it, so as to push Nigeria, in the direction of our collective aspirations. What is our collective aspiration? A better society where all Nigerian can become what the Almighty God destined them to be.

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