Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo has appealed to his compatriots to look inwards and stop blaming God for the lingering challenges of the country.
According to him, Nigeria problems were self-inflicted and not a punishment or curse from the almighty.
He traced the root cause of the problems facing the country to bad, unwilling and incapable leadership that has infested and continues to infest the political, social and economic landscape of the country.
Obasanjo made these observations as Chairman of the 38th Kaduna International Trade Fair seminar with the theme ‘Promoting Public Private Partnership as Panacea for Accelerated Growth and Development,’ organized by the Kaduna Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture on Monday.
Faulting his generation for failing to take the country to the expected height of leadership in the comity of nation, he however praised it for keeping the country united under a democratic administration.
He said, “God in His mercy has given us all the needed resources, both human and natural, but we have not been able to put them together and manage them effectively. The countries that have developed and are performing better are not better than Nigeria in terms of resources.
“One problem that must be corrected is the problem of leadership. This is because our leaders lack focus, commitment and continuity and sometimes, proper knowledge about economic and development issues, hence we have not been able to achieve meaningful result.
“Somebody came to me and said we need to pray to God and I said, for what? He said, ‘so that God can do for us, what we cannot do for ourselves.’ And I said, no, let us stop troubling God, because God has done all we need for us, we only need to play our own part.
“Another problem is that, we take one step forward and another step backward. Nigerian leaders must be tough and ready to bite the bullet, because Nigeria cannot have it easy.
Until we get the right leadership, the problem will continue,”
Continuing, he said, “It doesn’t matter what you want to say about them, the Awolowos, Nnamdi Azikiwes, the Sardaunas, Aminu Kanos, Tafawa Balewas, gave us independence, they were not perfect and if you like, you can even go from now till tomorrow to condemn what they did, but they gave us independence.
“My own generation fought for the unity of Nigeria. You cannot deny that. There are many things we must have done wrong but we fought for the unity of this country. I still have sharp nails from grenades that entered my body that our brothers shot at me during the Civil War. But, at the end of it, we reconciled.
“In addition, my generation laid the foundation of democracy in the country. Our democracy is not perfect; our democracy is a journey and not a destination. We must continue to improve on it. My sons and daughters, what will your generation do?”
“The public sector perceives the private sector as a profit-making industry that reaps where it does not sow, but in actual fact, they are two legs that when brought together can accelerate development in all sectors of the economy,” he stressed.
Urging the private and public sectors to cooperate in order to speed up the growth and development of the country, Obasanjo recalled his government’s attempt and private-public sector partnership and its accompanying success.
Obasanjo said, “When we were in office, we privatized the NNPC and sold it to Dangote and partners, but the government that succeeded me revoked it and that is why till today, the NNPC cannot work optimally.
“Today, the same Dangote that was denied ownership of the NNPC is building a refinery that can produce in excess of what the NNPC can produce and what Nigeria can consume. So, it means he will even export.”