Former president of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, in a bid to convince Nigerians to accept his third force political bloc, Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM), urged Nigerians to transit to a popular movement.

Speaking at the 15th Centre for Values in Leadership (CVL) Annual Lecture and International Leadership Symposium in Lagos, Obasanjo noted that Nigeria has been moving from one phase of leadership to another since independence. He opined that for Nigerians to have a feel of participation in governance, there is need to be a movement that will make people know that power resides with them.

He said, “We cannot fold our hands and think that we are there yet, we are not there yet. The first generation of leaders gave us independent, there was transition from colonial to independent, then the military came and the military went out, then change of regime between one party to another but we have to transition to popular movement that will give the people the feeling and believe that the power lies in their hand.”

He further mentioned that the movement will make people feel the impact of quality governance in Nigeria.

Commenting on other national issues, Obasanjo maintained that Nigerian leaders have to work on making diversity a tool for national development. He said that the diversity of Nigeria should be seen as an asset and not turned into liabilities for Nigerians.

He stated, “Diversity must be acknowledged and must be appreciated. That is what makes us the largest population of the black race in the world; we should not make it a liability but an asset.” 

The former president also emphasized the importance of focusing on developing the poor and degrading state of education in the country. He lamented that less than 30% of Northerners are educated. 

Obasanjo also called for the development of the nation’s infrastructure and improvement of technology in battling security challenges facing the country. He noted that security should be treated as a national issue rather than cultural.

“Our leaders must prioritize infrastructure. The basis of our development must be adequate provision of infrastructure. We must embrace new technologies to tackle security challenges in the country, build strong institutions to uphold our core values.” 

On education, Obasanjo said, “the level of education in the South-west is 85 percent, 83 percent in the South-east and less than 30 percent in the North-east. It is sad that we are having these statistics in the same country. Our leaders should invest in education because it is very important for human growth and development.” 

Obasanjo further urged Nigerian leaders not to think of the well-being of Nigerians alone, but the well-being of the African continent as a whole to promote a common prosperity. He said that if you think of yourself alone and do not think of others, it’s an act of stupidity.

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