Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has identified three key lessons that Nigeria and its people should learn from the raging coronavirus pandemic in the country and globally.
He also asked Nigeria and other African countries not to continue blaming the past for the current economic woes in the continent.
Obasanjo made the observations on Wednesday at a virtual book launch organised by Afrobarometer, a non-governmental organisation based in Ghana on behalf of The Brenthurst Foundation of South Africa.
Obasanjo was a discussant at the event alongside former Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Hailemariam Desalegn and that of Thailand, Abhisit Vejjajiva. The 313 pages book which was launched is titled: “The Asian Aspiration: Why and How Africa should emulate Asia,” and was published by The Brenthurst Foundation.
According to Obasanjo, there are three major lessons he believes Nigeria should learn from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The first one, he said, is to attach great importance to the issue of food security in the country and take it more seriously in the country’s economic policies and implementations.
“It is now this time of coronavirus pandemic that the country knows how important it is to be self-sufficient in food production and especially in most of the essential ones,” he stressed.
The second lesson is for the country to take the issue of information and communications technology more seriously
According to him, Zoom and other virtual platforms have given people during this current pandemic and lockdown across borders opportunity to meet for economic activities and this will be the way to go after the pandemic.
“But there is a problem again on this,” he noted, “and that is when considering the huge number of out-of-school children in a country like Nigeria. We have to do something about this.”
Speaking further, Obasanjo said the third lesson for Nigeria and other African countries to learn is to encourage and utilise the Africa Free Trade Agreement among countries by doing bi-lateral and multi-lateral trading within the continent.
Obasanjo, who also spoke on the importance of integrity and competency of people in control of resources at government and private levels, said COVID-19 pandemic despite its destructive nature to humans and resources has become an eye-opener to areas of priorities for African countries including Nigeria to focus after the crisis.
On blame games by successive governments in Nigeria and other African countries about the past, Obasanjo said that though the past could not be totally ignored so as not to make the same mistake of the past, Africa should not be shackled by the past rather forging ahead for meaningful development.
He said African problems are self-inflicted due to bad leadership and poor institutions, as well as what he described as pervasive corruption, especially in governance rather than continued blaming colonial masters.
“So, we should not allow ourselves to be held bound by our past,” he said.
On their separate contributions, former Ethiopia and Thailand leaders, Hailemariam Desalegn and Abhisit Vejjajiva, said even though African countries have much to learn from Asian countries that within a generation not only overtook African countries but also left them far behind in the level of economic prosperity, the development of Africa countries is in the hands of Africans and not from outside.
According to them, there is a need for economic diversification and constitution of strong leadership and institutions to take many out of poverty in no time on the continent.
YOU SHOULD NOT MISS THESE HEADLINES FROM NIGERIAN TRIBUNE
Pantami Used Armed Officers To Evict Our Staff, Abike Dabiri Alleges
The chairman, Nigerians in the Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa, has alleged that the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami used armed security men to eject NIDCOM from the offices which they occupied in the NCC building located at Mbora District… Read full story
Naira Set To Rally As CBN, ABCON Finalise BDCs’ Resumption Of Forex Sale
The naira is facing its greatest risk from the COVID-19 pandemic as currency speculators continue to make spurious demand for dollar with the hope of making good returns from the rising gaps between… Read full story
MONDAY LINE: Buhari’s Fifth May 29
MUHAMMADU Buhari’s first coming was from December 31, 1983 to August 27, 1985. It was a period of famine and pestilence; of queues for coins and corn and of lean liberty. His second coming will be five years old on Friday. Can he sit back and use his tongue to count his teeth? What has changed between his past… Read full story
China Tells US To Stop Wasting Time In Coronavirus Battle
The US should stop wasting time in its fight against the coronavirus and work with China to combat it, rather than spreading lies and attacking the country, the Chinese Government’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, said on Sunday. The Sino-US ties have nosedived since the outbreak of the new coronavirus… Read full story
The Continued Harassment Of Essential Workers
NOT a few Nigerians were miffed by the reports of arbitrary arrests and continued harassment of essential workers by the police immediately after the recent extension by the Federal Government of the partial lockdown and curfew imposed across the country to curtail the spread of the Covid-19 global pandemic. Initially,many thought that the police operatives were at it again, acting outside their briefs for pecuniary gain… Read full story
Subsidy Removal: Those Who Can’t Fix Refineries Should Give Way ― NLC
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has warned that the Federal Government should not talk about; or contemplate fuel price increase; even as it stated that subsidy is a cover-up for inefficiency and corrupt in the system. The NLC gave this position, as the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association… Read full story
The Looming Fiscal Crisis And The Wisdom Of Awolowo
In terms of financial wizardry and sheer genius in economic statecraft, the only master I bow to is the legendary sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. I believe he was an extraordinary statesman and an economic genius to boot. Former Head of State General Yakubu Gowon once observed: “If you know of a man greater… Read full story
COVID-19: Curfew Now 8pm To 5am In Oyo
The Oyo State COVID-19 Task Force, on Sunday, relaxed the existing curfew imposed on the state in respect of the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic to between 8 pm and 5 am. A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Seyi Makinde, Mr Taiwo Adisa, confirmed that the decision was reached at the… Read full story
Adeboye Speaks On How Coronavirus Will End, Urges Nigerians Not To Panic
The General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye on Sunday said only a big miracle would make the deadly coronavirus pandemic leave the world completely. Pastor Adeboye stated this on Sunday during a live broadcast to his members on Dove… Read full story
Southeast Governors Meet In Enugu, Explain Delay In Implementation Of Zonal Security Outfit
GOVERNORS of the Southeast geo-political zone on Sunday explained why they are foot-dragging on the commencement of their zonal security outfit, saying that the Inspector-General of Police is not keeping with the agreement they reached with him… Read full story
No Rift Between Makinde And I ― Oyo Deputy Governor
Contrary to speculation of a cold war between him and his boss, Oyo State Deputy Governor, Raufu Olaniyan, has said there is no rift whatsoever. Olaniyan described the relationship between him and Governor Seyi Makinde as “robust and cordial… Read full story
Buhari Tasks Farmers On Massive Food Production, Says ‘No Money For Food Importation’
President Muhammadu Buhari has challenged Nigerian farmers on the need to embark on massive productive agricultural activities this farming season as Nigeria has no money for food importation. The president gave the challenge shortly after observing this year’s Eid prayer alongside members of… Read full story