Nigeria non-existent in diplomatic affairs – Obasanjo

Olusegun Obasanjo, a former president, has said other nations regard Nigeria as being non-existent in terms of diplomacy and foreign affairs.

He spoke at the colloquium marking the 113th anniversary of Kings College, Lagos. Obasanjo also said the disunity and economic misfortunes the country witnesses currently are unprecedented. He called on his audience to forge unity and work to achieve the Nigeria they desire.

“Today, we are politically disunited, economically, we are nowhere, diplomatically, what they say to me wherever I go is that Nigeria is not at the table.

“We need to have a government that understands what it means to govern and the responsibility to govern; not arrogance of ignorance, not crying nepotism,” he said.

Speaking specifically on unity, Obasanjo said, “We do not trust ourselves while confidence is totally destroyed and where there is no confidence, there is no togetherness. If we have no dream, then, what can be the inspiration for the aspiration of our youths? What can they look up to or aspire to? We must take being a Nigerian as first and being anything else as second.”

“If you want to build the Nigeria of your dream, you must have a dream or dreams; we only have a Nigerian dream and if we have a Nigerian dream, what is it so that we can all key into it? But if we do not have a Nigerian dream, do we need to have a Nigerian dream? And if we need to have a Nigerian dream, what must it be?

“The Americans can say they have the American dream, the British can say they have the British dream but in our case, do we really have what we can call the Nigerian dream? For me, the Nigerian dream will start from the national identity, which we can all hold on to. National identity is the foundation of social position. Even when you look into our constitution, there is something we call national ethics.

“Chapter 2 (23) of the constitution says, ‘National ethics shall be discipline, integrity, dignity of labour, social justice, religious tolerance, self-reliance and patriotism’ Even if you take the two stanzas of the national anthem and pledge and bring it to our ethics, we have enough to give us a Nigerian dream. If we have a Nigerian dream, there will be vision for our youth. If we cannot agree on our dream for Nigeria, maybe we can agree on Nigeria we want and we work towards the Nigeria we want.”

The event’s keynote speaker, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Director General of World Trade Organization (WTO), described Nigerias as the most enterprising and industrious people on the planet.

“It gives me great pride. You just give Nigerians the basics and access to these fundamentals of education, health, finance and infrastructure, and Nigerians will do the best. Looking back to the start of the century, the record shows that Nigeria can sustain the strong growth we need to improve people’s lives when we do the necessary reforms, and manage the macroeconomic fundamentals,” said Okonjo-Iweala, who spoke virtually.

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