“If you can’t get the governance right, you can’t get the economy right.”
Former president of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, addressed a packed auditorium at the Gordon Institute of Business Sciences in Illovo yesterday, where he, along with his co-authors discussed the launch of their book, Making Africa Work.
Obasanjo spoke about the importance of good governance and how it leads to the betterment of many things.
The book, which released in April this year and is published by Tafelburg publishers came about after the need to create a reading tool to help grow African economies through integrated means, according to co-author Dr. Greg Mills.
“Working with the former president, his excellency Obasanjo, I learnt skills such a patience and resilience at the master’s feet. Writing a book is no easy task, and he ensured that we got to where we wanted. He added his practical experience coming from a head of state background,” Mills said.
Obasanjo had previously risen through the military ranks and became the head of state after the assassination of the then military head, General Murtala Mohammed, in February 1976.
At the time the Nigerian state was still military run, and Obasanjo shared pro-democratic views. He handed over to a democratically-elected government in September that year, and was subsequently jailed for his views for three and a half years until June 1998.
Obasanjo was democratically elected as president in 1999 and served two terms.
“I won the election and became president, and one of the things which I had to deal with was that of the coup [in 1993],” he said.
His predecessor, General Sani Abacha led a coup d’etat over the previous president.
“I had the challenge of leading a state now. The book looks at how we can deal with good governance, and also how peace and security is fundamental to getting things right in a country,” Obasanjo said.
During the question and answer session, an audience member asked the former president what kind of education should Africans be taught?
Obasanjo responded by saying that “we must talk about proper education”.
“There is no reason why any African child should not have access to basic education. We must be interested in integration. South Africa is the only country in Africa with the word ‘Africa’ in it, yet it has failed Africa in many ways. Both South Africa and Nigeria have extra responsibilities to play as the leading African countries. We need to get it right. When Thabo Mbeki and I were president, we took Africa as our responsibility. It is up to our leaders to accept responsibility,” he said.