2023 polls, show of shame — Obasanjo

•Says he’s too old to keep quiet and watch

•Insists Nigeria more divided now than ever

•Why campaign promises fail, says Nextier SPD

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday described the just concluded elections in the country as a painful show of shame, saying efforts should be made by patriotic Nigerians to correct it and not to allow it repeat itself.

Obasanjo also said he was too old to keep quiet and watch the country slid into dystopia and that efforts were required from well meaning and committed patriots to rescue the nation from the precipice.

The former president spoke as Founding Partner of Nextier SPD, Patrick Okigbo, said election promises could only be implemented if the civil servants who were supposed to drive it were reformed.

Speaking as a guest of honour at a public lecture series, tagged,”From Elections to Governance and Performance”, in Abuja yesterday, Obasanjo lamented that the country was currently more divided and corroded than what it’s founding fathers had in mind.

The event put together by Nextier SPD, also witnessed the public presentation of a book, “The Unending Quest for Reform: An Intellectual Memoir”, authored by Prof. Tunji Olaopa.

The ex-President criticised the growing debt profile and spending spree of government at all tiers, especially those at the helm of affairs currently, likening the situation to “spending like a drunken sailor.”

On the issues of reforms, he said governance in Nigeria now called for thinking outside the box in terms of development financing.

According to him, this trend of thinking has become inevitable in the face of Nigeria’s dwindling fortune in oil revenue, Nigeria’s huge foreign indebtedness and the urgency of diversifying the Nigeria’s neo-cultural economy.

He said: “Let me suggest three ideas that I think can enrich the direction of the conversation here today.

“One, given what we saw during the election, Nigeria is now even more divided and more corroded than we thought. This places a deep onus on any administration, following the current one, to urgently facilitate the process of national moral rearmament and national reconciliation that the potential will enhance skilled for the aggrieved and lead us across Nigeria and to assuage the youth.

“This must be done in sync with the imperative of national value orientation that Nigeria requires to build a collective sense of enduring and local values and national belonging.

“Two, governance in Nigeria now calls for thinking outside the box in terms of development financing. This has become inevitable in the face of Nigeria’s dwindling fortune, in oil revenue, Nigeria’s huge foreign indebtedness and the urgency of diversifying the Nigeria’s neo-cultural economy.

“Three, political will, political action and administrative efforts must be invested on reforming the public service into a capability ready institution that could enable Nigeria’s development agenda beyond 2023.

“All of these and more are necessary to correct and not to repeat the sickening and painful show of shame which the elections of 2023 degenerated into.

He congratulated the author of the book, Prof. Tunji Olaopa, for continuing to labour on behalf of the Nigerian public service and adding significant intellectual memoir to his huge collection of publications and to the annals of administrative reforms in Nigeria.

Speaking to newsmen on the occasion,, the founding partner at Nextier SPD, Patrick Okigbo, noted that reforming the civil service was necessary to drive electoral programmes and promises that would better the lot of all Nigerians.

Okigbo said it was one thing to have a political will as a leader and another to entirely translate the will into actionable projects, which was what reforms were all about.

“Every four years, we go to elections, politicians make promises of what they want to do and at the end of the day, not a lot happens. It is not because these politicians are bad people, it is not because they do not want to do stuff, it is basically because all the electoral promises will have to be delivered by the public service, the civil servants, the political appointees.

”Tunji Olaopa, the author of the book, is one of the most prolific writers on public service reforms.

“I think we have kind of mystified polictical will, we have created a myth around political will and I give you an example, President Muhammadu Buhari can decide that he wants to do XYZ, what he should do is to discuss with ministers at FEC and give an instruction to get it done.

“The President is not the holy spirit, he cannot be everywhere as there are only 24hours in a day. By the way, I am not making excuses for him. I am just saying that even after you bring the political will, it is not enough. What you need is an institution that has the capacity to deliver on those promises or programmes. “


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