Politics

Q&A with Nigeria’s Olusegun Obasanjo

The former Nigerian president sat down with Africa Journal Editor Serena Chaudhry during the Concordia Africa Initiative in London to talk about development in Africa and its burgeoning young population.

LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM / KAZAURE AND LAGOS, NIGERIA / ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA (Reuters) –
INTERVIEW WITH FORMER NIGERIAN PRESIDENT OLUSEGUN OBASANJO

Q: What keeps you awake at night?

A: FORMER NIGERIAN PRESIDENT, OLUSEGUN OBASANJO,

“What keeps me up at night is the population bulge. How do we create jobs for them. How do we make sure they have education. How do we deal with health facilities, how do we deal with housing for them. If we do not deal with it, it’s a matter of time. It will consume us. And it is not something that has a limit to one country, because if it starts in one country it will be like the so-called Arab Spring. It will start in one country and it will go like wildfire to other countries in Africa.”

Q: What should leaders do to unlock Africa’s potential?

A: FORMER NIGERIAN PRESIDENT, OLUSEGUN OBASANJO,

“We must match the need in the industry, in the private sector with the education that we give our people so that they are given education that is relevant. That’s the first thing. The second thing is that we have to open up and at the same time we have to integrate. Unfortunately, some of us still live in the colonial mentality. Anglophone, Francophone, Lusophone. Nobody is talking of Africaphone and we need to think Africaphone, talk Africaphone, for us to really make the type of progress in integration that we should make.”

“We also have to have a shift of understanding that yes we have to look internally within Africa for what we want and it’s only when we cannot get it within Africa then we have to look out. Now if Nigeria wants something, is it available in South Africa, is it available in Kenya, is it available in Ethiopia before you start looking into Europe, Asia or America.”

Q: Does change need to happen at a faster pace?

A: FORMER NIGERIAN PRESIDENT, OLUSEGUN OBASANJO,

“We may be a bit late but we can still catch up. If we start doing something about it now, we can turn the population of Africa from being a liability and a danger to being a great asset.”


Associated Links

  • Africa Journal
  • Countries
  • International organizations
  • World
  • Serena
  • Nigeria

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.