Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said it is unfortunate that many of the country’s leaders lack basic economic skills which he insists is one of the reasons why the country has not made much progress.
He said this, yesterday, at the 15th annual leadership symposium organised by the Center for Values in Leadership (CVL) in Lagos.
Obasanjo, who was the special guest of honour at the lecture, said even though he is optimistic about the country, it has become imperative that the country transitions to a popular movement, which would give the people a feeling that power is in their hands.
“The three ingredients of success are leadership, governance and development. Leaders should understand the world we live in; they should not live their lives in ignorance of what is happening around them.
“Any leader that wants to be successful must have a good knowledge of the economy but some of our leaders do not even understand what demand and supply, which is the most basic aspect of economics. In Nigeria, we are not there yet, but, we would be deceiving ourselves if we do not speak home truths.
“What are these home truths? The first is that diversity must be acknowledged and be appreciated. We should make diversity an asset and not a liability.
“The second is infrastructure and the basis of our development must be adequate provision of infrastructure. We should also be able to transition peacefully from one government to the other or one party to the other. We must transition to a popular movement and give the people the feeling that power is in their hands,” Obasanjo said.
The former president also added that security issues should not be emotional and, in any decision taken towards security, the changing times must be considered.
“You cannot use the security methods that were used in the colonial times and assume that it would be effective in the 21st century. Adapt modern security techniques and don’t say that it is not your culture. Culture is dynamic. It changes. When we ordered motorcycle riders to ensure they wear crash helmets for safety, the late Abubakar Rimi objected and said it was not their culture in the North to wear helmets. I responded by telling him that riding a motorcycle is not their culture, either; it is a western culture.
And, I also told him that if he wants to retain the cultural means of transportation in the North, then, everybody should be riding a donkey or a camel because motorcycles were invented by the West…”
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