By Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has lamented that rather than flowing with milk and honey, Nigeria has become a “land flowing with bitterness and sadness.”
Obasanjo urged Nigerians to strive to change the narrative, saying geniuses abound in every section of the country to turn things around for good.
The elder statesman pointed out many Nigerians are running international organisations fantastically well, saying it was necessary to interrogate why Nigerians perform well abroad but fail optimally at home.
He spoke at the Youth Centre of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, during public presentation of the book titled ‘ The Man General President Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR.’
The 10 – chapter and – 175 – page book about the ex – President’s three -folds life as a man, an army General and Civilian President was authored by Femmy Carrena and reviewed by Michael Abiola Omolewa.
It was written to celebrate Obasanjo, who clocked 84 on March 5.
Obasanjo noted that God created Nigeria to lead the black race, lamenting the country has not fit into that role because of leadership failure.
“The task before us now is to think of what to contribute to make Nigeria what God created it to be, a land flowing with milk and honey. Right now, it is land flowing with bitterness and sadness. That is not what God meant for this country. We must change it. And we must change the narrative.
“We must talk to ourselves in a civilized language in which we talk to ourselves. I told some people who came to look for in the morning today if you look around, there is no section of this country where you will not get genius, north, south, east, west and anywhere.
“So, for what reason should we look down on ourselves? Or for what reason should we look down on others that you are not a human being? “
He went on: “As at today, the white race is being led by the Americans. I don’t know how long that will be. The yellow race is being led by the Chinese and whatever we say or do, China will lead the world before the middle of this century. There is nothing we can do about that. I believe that God has created Nigeria to lead the black race.
“That we are not doing it is not because God has not given us all that we needed to do it. It is because we have failed in leadership to do it. And that has to be corrected.
“The fact is that it is the fault of all of us. We should speak up, we should speak up. And you should say what you should say and say it when you should say it.
“Why do Nigerians bloom outside Nigeria? As at today, we have four Nigerians, about five, directly running international organisations and running them well. And one or two are at the number two levels. We have Akinwunmi Adesina running the African Development Bank, we have Benedict running Afroexim Bank, we have Bakindo running the OPEC, we have my sister, Ngozi running WTO, we have Amina who is risen to number two position at the UN.
“These are things that should give hope and encouragement but the point is that if these people are here in Nigeria, if you hear about them at all, we would have shackled them and make it impossible for them to perform as they are performing outside.
‘’And each of these that I have mentioned, they are doing fantastically well. We now have even at the AU, Bankole who has just taken over as Commissioner for political and security.
‘’So, why are they doing well there and here they are not doing well? We should be interrogating this. And then what should we do? What should we do is to put our house in order. And we can put our house in order.”