Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said Nigeria should not blame God for the country’s failures since it gained independence from Britain in 1960.
The statesman said this on Thursday at the launch of a book by the Editor-in Chief of Premium Times, Musikilu Mojeed, “The Letterman: Inside the ‘Secret’ Letters of former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo” in Abuja.
Speaking on the nation’s 62-year post-independence journey, Obasanjo described Nigeria as a “giant in the sun” that had since underperformed by the world’s expectations.
“When Nigeria became independent, it was a giant in the sun. That was the expectation. Not a giant even in Africa. A giant in the sun. That was the expectation of the world about Nigeria,” Obasanjo said.
“Have we lived up to it? No. If we haven’t, why haven’t we? I think we probably don’t appreciate what we have as a country and I believe if we do appreciate it and make good use of it, we would do better than we are now.
“I believe the right lessons must be learnt. We have all that we need to have; God has given us all that we need to have. That we are not doing what we should do, God is not to blame and we should blame ourselves.”
As the first democratically elected president of the Fourth Republic, Obasanjo assumed office in 1999 and stepped down in 2007 after completing two terms.
Prior to this, he led the nation as a military head of state between 1976 and 1979, having succeeded Gen. Murtala Muhammed who was assassinated in a military coup.
His military administration oversaw the country’s transition to the Second Republic with the election of the late President Shehu Shagari, whom he handed over to in 1979.
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