Exceptional Nigerians can’t perform in current system – Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Thursday said some prominent Nigerians leading international organisations would have been shackled by the country’s system if they were working in the country.

Obasanjo said the Nigeria’s system had made it impossible for many “exceptional Nigerians to perform fantastically well” in the country.

The former President said this in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, at the presentation of a book in his honour titled, ‘The Man, The General, The President’, authored by his former aide, Femmy Carrena.

Obasanjo noted that there was the need for the Nigerian government to put the country in order so that Nigerians could excel.

He said, “We have great Nigerians, why do Nigerians bloom outside Nigeria? Today, we have five Nigerians directly running international organisations and running them very well.

“We have Akin Adesina running the African Development Bank; we have Benedict Oramah running the Afrexim Bank; we have Mohammed Barkindo running OPEC; we have my sister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, running the WTO; and we have Amina Mohammed, who I think celebrated her 60th birthday yesterday or day before yesterday, who is number two in the United Nations. These are things that should give hope and encouragement for the future.

“The point is that, if these people are here in Nigeria, if you hear of them at all, we would have shackled them and made it impossible for them to perform as they are performing outside.

“And each of these people that I have mentioned, they are doing fantastically well. We have even at the AU, Ambassador Bankole Adeoye, who had just taken over as the Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security of the AU.

“So why are they doing well there and here we are not doing well?  Something must be wrong, we should be interrogating this. What we should do is put the house in order and we can have our house in order.”

The former President also described Nigeria as a country presently flowing in bitterness and sadness.

He argued that even though the country was destined to be a land flowing in milk and honey, bad leadership had made it unachievable.

Obasanjo said, “Right now, it is a land flowing with bitterness and sadness, which is not what God wants this country to be.

“We must change the narrative; we must talk to ourselves in the civilised language.

“There is no where you go in this country that you will not see genius in any section of the country.

“My own belief is that God had created races in the world and at one time or the other, he has decided that every race will be led by a particular nation in the world.

“As of today, the white race is being led by American; I don’t know how long that will be.

“Yellow race is being led by China and whatever we say or do, China will lead the world before the middle of this century and there is nothing we can do about it.

“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 need to do it. It is because we have failed in leadership to do it and that have to be corrected.”

The book was reviewed by the former Chairperson of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, emeritus Prof Michael Abiola Omolewa.

The review, which was read at the event by Ms Ndidi Amaka-Okafor, stated that the 10-chapter book was an eyewitness account of Obasanjo as a General and President.

The book was facilitated by Dr Taiwo Olayinka Afolabi, Vice Chairman/CEO, SIFAX Group Limited, and donated to the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library for all federal tertiary institutions nationwide.

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