Nigeria Must Embrace Democracy That Promotes Prosperity – Obasanjo
Former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, on Friday charged leaders at all levels to embrace democracy that fosters prosperity rather than one that inflicts suffering upon the masses.
Obasanjo made this appeal in his address at the commissioning of the 34.85km Oyo-Iseyin road in Oyo state.
The 34.8km Oyo-Iseyin road project commenced in July, 2021 under alternative project funding approach by the Oyo state government. It linked the Oyo and Oke-Ogun Zones which makes it important to the economy of the state.
Obasanjo in his words said, “We must discard a form of democracy that perpetuates poverty, insecurity, and unemployment, and instead, prioritize the people’s enjoyment of the dividends of democracy.”
He advised Oyo state to invest in agriculture for food sustainability, emphasizing the importance of cultivating specific crops that can distinguish the state among others nationwide.
The former President further said, “Among those we elected, not all of them we can boast of that we have not wasted our votes, with the little time I have moved with Governor Seyi Makinde, it is obvious you have not wasted your votes.’
“Oyo state is already the first in cassava production because I know that and it is part of what I do, but it not only cassava we can produce in agriculture, adding that the state can as well engage in two more cash crops and livestock for which it can also be ranked first in the country. The state has ranked first in cassava production, if the governor meets with his advisers, they will decide on the cash crops and livestock to add that will rank the state as first.”
“This will showcase the achievements of the governor and that the citizens of the state benefit from the dividends of democracy. Democracy is nothing if there is no job, democracy that nurtures poverty is abortion, democracy that nurtures unemployment is failure, democracy that nurtures lack of peace and security must be thrown overboard, democracy dividend must involve peace, security, stability, prosperity, wealth creation, employment and the wholesomeness of the society, that is when democracy will survive and people will feel that democracy is a worthwhile system of government that must be embraced,” Obasanjo said.
The former President however expressed delight that the governor has chosen him to be part of the success story of his achievements saying that road infrastructure which failed to take cognisance of the needs and welfare of the people would not have served the purpose for which it has been constructed a d it would have not achieved what good governance and democracy is for the welfare and benefit of the people.
Governor Makinde in his address, described the road project as one of the key projects that will open Oyo and Oke-Ogun zones to further investments economic stimulation.
“When our administration came in a little over four years ago, we had clear plans for accelerated development in our dear state through improving our road infrastructure, we knew that if we were to compete favourably with other states in Nigeria and become key players in our West Africa sub-region we have to interconnect all the zones by road.
“We were able to quickly identify where our competitive advantage lies and come up with a strategy for addressing that advantage. Oyo is the biggest by land mass in the South West of Nigeria and we have arable land for agriculture, the question for us is how do we get the big players to come and site their investments in agri-bussiness on our land, the answer wasn’t difficult to get to the answer is to open up the zones through road projects.”
“Yes we had have a choice between doing what previous government has done, I am from Ibadan, the choice is that we can concentrate efforts in Ibadan to repair inner roads which will be easily visible to the people in the capital, but we said no, we are not going to do that we will rather let our infrastructural development go after our economy, we chose to take the path less traveled, people are shading me even up to this moment, that all the inner roads in Ibadan are bad, well I have news for you, we will start fixing the inner roads in a matter of weeks.
“We chose to take the path less traveled because we believe the five geopolitical zones in Oyo state must be connected for us to to be able to lift the entire state economically,” Makinde said.
President Obasanjo later commissioned Ladoke Akintola College of Agricultural Sciences, Iseyin.