Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has identified the emergence of bad leaders and the inability of Africans to manage their diversities to their advantage as the bane of the continent.
Chief Obasanjo said this while speaking as guest of honour and keynote Speaker at the award Night organised by National Daily Newspaper, tagged: “Celebrating Excellence,” which took place on Friday at Lagos Oriental Hotel, along Lekki- Epe Expressway, where the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Alkali Baba Ahmed and Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Anambra State governor, Charles Soludo, were among the awardees.
The former president, who spoke on the topic “Attaining peace in Africa,” noted that African leaders in the past did well, then the crop of leaders now in place, said the right questions to ask were: “What the past leaders of Africa did right, that we are doing wrong now, and what were the values and qualities then that is lacking now?”
This was just as Obasanjo quickly recalled that he had over, a long period, been involved in peace talks, initiating peace, development and stability which were essential for growth and development, that must be followed by justice, equity and fairness, noted that Nigeria was often referred to as the giant of Africa, but wondered if Nigeria was really the giant of Africa.
“Have we lived up to giant in the sun? If we have not lived up to that, are there qualities that leaders have then that are absent in leadership now? What were there in those days that are not there today? Obasanjo queried.
“Talk of values, have the values changed? Peace, security and stability are prerequisites for advancement. In those days, these factors were present in our lives,” he said.
Speaking further, former President Obasanjo said the failure of Africa to choose the right leader brought about the consequences of what the continent was facing, pointing out that, in the past people made the right choice on who to rule them and there were good performances from those that were put in positions of authority.
He pointedly declared that excellence can be attained only when the right leader was in charge.
Chief Obasanjo, however, admitted that there is something unique about Nigerians, saying that they excelled individually, just as he added that there were many of them across the globe unsinged.
Former President Obasanjo commended IG Ahmed on the award given to him, saying that the police were rarely appreciated
He said that the award was for him to improve more on what he was doing and prove to Nigerians that despite the gloomy situation in the country, there were spotlights of excellence that needed to be recognised and celebrated.
Earlier in his speech, Chief Julius Adelusi Ademiluyi, chairman of the occasion, said the awardees were chosen, to inspire others, adding that those chosen for the award were people who had contributed to the growth of the nation, either old people or young people.
He lamented that Nigeria was still in a precarious situation, saying that the country needed to get out of the situation she found herself as soon as possible, by adopting the principles the leaders of Nigeria in the ’60s adopted which were based on Chances, Choices and Consequences.
Some of those given awards were from the Corporate world, the Entertainment industry, members of the National Youth Service Corps, the Communication industry, and individuals that had excelled in their chosen fields.
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