A former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has said the country is not doing badly as it celebrated its 55 years of nationhood on Thursday.
The former President, who spoke with journalists at his Hilltop Presidential residence in Abeokuta, Ogun State, noted that even developed nations of the world have had their own time of challenges.
He said Nigeria was also taking steps gradually to overcome its challenges.
Obasanjo said, “Fifty-five years in the life of a nation is comparatively young and when you look at the life and history of those that you may call settled societies or reasonably mature countries, we are not doing too badly.
“They have had missteps just like we are having missteps. They have made mistakes and most of them have learnt from their mistakes. They have been dynamic in the way they have progressed and I believe that we are doing the same thing.”
Obasanjo said the leaders and the led needed to ensure that “certain cardinal principles, cardinal features of our national life, and values” were not eroded.
“And then, we should also be willing to learn from our mistakes,” he added.
Obasanjo, who said Nigeria had the potential to become a great nation, stressed that what needed to be done to realise this would require all hands to be on deck.
“Men, women, Muslims, Christians, young and old, irrespective of our location, our tribe, our social standing, should know that Nigeria needs all hands on deck.
“And we must also realise important issues that we must not play with. We must not play with the issue of education, we must not play with the issue of the health for our people, and we must not play with the issue of employment for our teeming population, particularly for our youths.
“We must not play with the issue of the economy, we must not play with the issue of security and peace, we must not play with the issue of justice.
“Justice and peace go hand in hand, we can’t have injustice and expect peace to reign supreme.”
The former President also noted that corruption must be totally eradicated, and must not be allowed to have a resting place within the Nigerian society.
“We must kick corruption out because it destroys almost everything and I am not talking about corruption of money alone; I’m talking about the corruption of attitude, nepotism, favouritism. They are corruption in different forms and all aspects of corruption must be kicked out of our society,” he said.
Obasanjo, who had just returned to the country from the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly, which was held in New York, said world leaders had favourable impression of President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said, “I heard some of the comments of those he (Buhari)met, the comment that probably would not come back to him. He met former US President Bill Clinton for almost one hour and President Clinton, when I joined him for his global initiative, talked to me about his impression of our President, it was favourable.
“Gordon Brown and I met him and we talked about issues. The few other leaders who met him gave me their impression and his debut so to say. It has been good.”