Strong institutions alone won’t save Africa from bad leadership, says Obasanjo

Olusegun Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said that strong institutions alone will not save Africa from bad leadership.

He stated this to counter what the former President of the United States (U.S.), Barrack Obama, said that Africa needs strong institutions and not strong leaders.

“I disagree with him. We need both strong institutions and strong leaders. If we don’t have strong leaders, they will not be able to establish strong institutions and even if strong institutions are established and the leaders are weak, the strong institutions will not stand the test of time.”

Obasanjo, who spoke yesterday at the 15th edition of the Centre for Values Leadership (CVL) yearly lecture and international leadership symposium held in Lagos, also stated that the security of the nation should be shielded away from emotional tendencies and that culture should not in any way threaten the security of the country.

The event, tagged “Leadership and Performance in Africa: The Challenge of the Continent’s Economic Competitiveness”, had Sierra Leone presidential aspirant, Kandeh Yumkella, in attendance.

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Obasanjo said that the common prosperity of the people must be put at heart for the country to develop, adding that for Nigeria to be able to transform her economy, things must continually be done right.

He said: “We will be deceiving ourselves if we don’t tell ourselves the home truth. Our diversity must be acknowledged and appreciated. Nigeria is what it is because of the diversity that we have and that is what made us the largest population of the black race in the world. We must see it as an asset.

“The first generation of leaders during post-Independence gave us independence. They made the transition from the colonial power. They did their best within their knowledge, experience and exposure. Then, we have the military and we have also transited from that. Now, we have to transit to popular movement.

“The security of the country should not be seen as an emotional issue. Everybody needs security. You cannot bring what worked in the colonial days to what work now, it cannot happen that way.

“Culture is meant to be dynamic. When I was military head of state, there was a law that to ride on a motorcycle, you have to use helmet. Somebody came up and said it is not in their culture to use helmet. I told him that riding motorcycle is not also your culture.”

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