While reviewing Nigeria’s history since independence, former President Olusegun Obasanjo said the country may have been cursed with poor and irresponsible leaders.
Mr. Obasanjo, who gave the keynote address at the 4th Annual Ibadan Sustainable Development Summit organised by Centre for Sustainable Development, University of Ibadan, in collaboration with African Sustainable Development Network, on Tuesday, said if Nigerians were yet to commend a leader after 53 years of independence, “Then we are jinxed and cursed; we should all go to hell.”
He also condemned the younger generation of leaders in the country, saying they lack integrity and probity and have failed their people woefully.
Making specific reference to his Vice President for eight years, Atiku Abubakar; former governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu; former Speaker, House of Representatives, Salisu Buhari; former Bayelsa State Governor, Deprieye Alamieyeseigha; and others as younger generation of leaders, the former President said Nigeria was not lucky even with them.
“We had some people who were under 50years in leadership positions. One of them was James Ibori, where is he today? One of them was Alamieyeseigha, where is he today? Lucky Igbinedion, where is he today?
“The youngest was the Speaker, (Salisu) Buhari; you can still recall what happened to him. You said Bola Tinubu is your master. What Buhari did was not anything worse than what Bola Tinubu did.
“We got them impeached. But in this part of the world some people covered up the other man. The man claimed he went to Government College, Ibadan but the governor (Oyo State) went to Government College and packed all the documents so that they would not know that he did not go there.
“I wanted someone who would succeed me so I took Atiku. Within a year, I started seeing the type of man Atiku is. And you want me to get him there?
“I once went to Tanzania because Julius Nyerere recognised Biafra. He told me not to mind his aides and others in government. They would say they have one house in town but their five year old sons and daughters would have houses all over.
“Some of you who are condemning the leadership would get there tomorrow and it will be a different story. Only very few are actually good.
“Abacha, my predecessor got $750m. Through our lawyer in Switzerland we recovered $1.25bn and the lawyer still said there is probably still another $1bn to be recovered [The figures didn't add up but that was what the former President said]. In 1979 we had 20 new ships specially built for Nigeria. When I came back 20 years after, the national shipping line had liquidated.
“The whole thing is not just about leadership. If we talk about good leadership you should also talk about good followers. If you talk about human right you should also talk about human duties and obligations.
“It is sad that after 53years of independence we have no leader that we can commend. The problem in Africa is that when one person takes over he would not see any good thing that his predecessor did. Let us condemn but with caution,” the former military ruler and two-term democractically elected president said.
The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Isaac Adewole said he was worried about the fate that could befall the country as she holds her general elections in 2015.
“We have not raised question about the scenario where 35 people found it difficult to conduct credible election in this country,” the don said in reference to the election of the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum that has polarized Nigeria’s 36 state governors.