Former Ambassador of the United States of America to the United Nations Andrew Young, has described Nigeria as a nation destined to be great.
Young made the observation in Abeokuta, Ogun, at a symposium organised as part of the activities to celebrate the 80th birthday anniversary of former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Saturday.
The subject of the symposium, organised by the Centre for Human Security, an arm of the Olusegun Obasanjo Library, is, “Purposes and Utilitarian Values of Presidential Libraries.”
Citing Obasanjo as an example, Young noted that Nigeria had produced great minds who had done great things and respected all over the world.
“I have seen Nigerians abroad.
“They are brilliant, intelligent and hardworking and respectable,” he said.
He, however, expressed concern that Nigeria was yet to fully realise and appreciate the great destiny it carries.
The former US diplomat likened Nigeria’s destiny to the Biblical Israelites whose ancestors served under slavery for several years in spite being destined by God to be great.
“The slavery of Nigeria is corruption, laziness, selfishness and refusal to realise that she is a nation destined to be great.”
Young, however, expressed the belief that Nigeria was set to be liberated from whatever it had become slave unto.
The ambassador described the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), to be inaugurated on Saturday as one of the platforms that would launch Nigeria into enviable heights among nations of the world.
“I see the library as something that will not only teach young Nigerians about their rich heritage, but will also point them to the great future of the nation.
“I see the nation, Nigeria, rising and occupying a significant position like China, US and other great nations of the world,” he said.
Former Permanent Delegate of Kenya to UNESCO, Ambassador Mary Khimulu, also described the library as “a new African record”.
Khimula, who pledged to be an ambassador of the library, called for more of such projects in Africa.
Former Secretary-General, All-Africa Association of Students’ Union, Mr Fred Awaah, described the library as a pride of the African continent.
He expressed joy that the work had served as catalyst and engendered a re-awakening among African leaders, adding that two other similar projects were ongoing in the continent.
“Such libraries would afford us the opportunity to tell the world our stories from our own perspective rather than have it misinterpreted by other people,” he said.
Awaah, who stressed the importance of presidential libraries, called on African governments to put necessary laws in place to prioritise establishment of such libraries for exiting presidents.
“The US which realises the importance has the Presidential Library Act of 1955 as well as the Public Records Act of 1978,” he said.
Obasanjo, in his closing remarks , described the library as an opportunity given to him by God to correct his past mistakes of not documenting some materials.
He expressed optimism that the library would stimulate tourism in and promote the image of Nigeria globally.
The Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library will also be inaugurated on Saturday.