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Nigeria would have hindered Okonjo-Iweala, Adesina, others from performing, says Obasanjo



Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, yesterday, said the Nigerian system would have hampered Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Akinwunmi Adesina, Amina Mohammed and other Nigerians excelling abroad from performing if they had continued working in the country.

He expressed concern that Nigerians usually perform well outside the country, but seem to underperform at home.

Obasanjo stated this at the unveiling of a book in his honour titled: The Man, The General, The President, written by his former aide, Femmy Carrena, at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), Abeokuta, Ogun State.

He insisted that the country must re-strategise for the system to produce more exceptional leaders, who could intervene in international affairs.


“We have great Nigerians, who blossom outside the country. As of today, we have no fewer than five Nigerians directly running international organisations and doing well and one or two others at the number two level.

“Akinwunmi Adesina is running the African Development Bank (AfDB), Benedict Oramah running the Africa Export, Import (Afrexim) Bank, Mohammed Barkindo at OPEC, we have Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala at the World Trade Centre (WTO) and Amina Mohammed, who is number two in the United Nations (UN). These outstanding Nigerians should give hope and encouragement for the future.

“The point is that, if these men and women were in Nigeria, we would have shackled them and make it impossible for them to perform, as they are performing outside the country.

“And each of them are doing fantastically well. We also have Ambassador Bankole Adeoye at the African Union (AU), who has just taken over as Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS) of the AU.

“So, why are they doing well outside and fail to excel at home? I think something must be wrong, we should be interrogating this and think of what we should do to put our house in order,” he stated.

Obasanjo also lamented that contrary to what God destined the country to be, Nigeria now “flows with pains, bitterness and sadness.”

He noted that Nigeria had been destined to lead the black race, but “failure of leadership” had hindered it from taking its rightful place in the comity of nations, adding that to put Nigeria on the right path, education must take the forefront.

He stressed that the first step at restoring the country’s lost glory was to return the over 14 million out-of- school children to school.

The book was facilitated by Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SIFAX Group Limited, Dr. Taiwo Olayinka Afolabi and donated to the OOPL for all federal tertiary institutions across the country.

Speaking, Carrena disclosed that the idea of the book was conceived 11 years ago to document Obasanjo’s accomplishments when he was president between 1999 and 2007.

He described Obasanjo as his mentor, who has changed his life and that of other Nigerians for good.

Emeritus professor and former Chairman of UNESCO, Michael Abiola Omolewa, reviewed the book and was read by Ndidi Amaka-Okafor.


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