Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said Nigerians should not blame God for the country’s failures since it gained independence from Britain in 1960.
Obasanjo said this at the launch of a book by the Editor-in-Chief of Premium Times, Musikilu Mojeed, titled “The Letterman: Inside the ‘Secret’ Letters of former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo” on Thursday, December 1, 2023.
Speaking on the nation’s 62-year 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 learned. 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.”
Meanwhile, former President Goodluck Jonathan, who was the special guest of honour, commended the book, reiterating the place of letter-writing in the development of the country.
He said: “We have in Obasanjo, an unmatched Zest for letter writing, a passion that, over the ages that has apparently remained one of his key medium for critical communication and engagements.”
The Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Bishop Matthew Kukah, who reviewed the book, eulogised Obasanjo, noting that the former president had, in governance, created a footprint in the sand of times with letter writing.
Former Minister of Culture and Tourism, Femi Fani Kayode, who represented the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, hailed the author of the book, noting that the book was long overdue, saying it would make a good read for all Nigerians.