Despite the numerous challenges confronting Nigeria in its quest for nationhood, it may not necessarily have to look elsewhere for the solution to the problems as Nigeria has the capacity to resolve its own issues by itself, former President of Botswana Mr. Festus Mogae said in Abuja yesterday. He spoke at the 10th Daily Trust Dialogue at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel.
Mogae said Nigeria is blessed with a mass of educated people that could successfully work out the solutions to the problems confronting the country. He said the quality of the discussions at the dialogue has shown clearly that Nigerians know exactly where their problems lie and what to do about them. He said he may not have anything new to say to Nigerians that has not been said before.
President Mogae also said seeking the assistance of other nations like China as some have suggested, may not guarantee the kind of commitment that will drive the bid to build a virile nation as the commitment of the foreigners would be restricted to only areas where their interests are protected.
He said the real problems however lie in whether Nigerians are prepared to do something about those problems they have identified.
The former President, who was the chairman at the occasion, said the challenges of ethnic differences, unemployment and lack of physical infrastructure which dog efforts to deepen democracy in Nigeria, if addressed, would serve to point the way forward to other countries on the African continent which share similar challenges.
He said though there have been many dialogues in Africa on topical issues confronting the continent, many of which have held across the continent, the task of nation building and entrenching democracy makes it imperative for such dialogues to continue till the goal of nation building is attained across the continent. "Anything I can say to you in Nigeria, many other people in Nigeria have said it. But when something like democracy is involved it bears restating because we have not achieved what we want."
President Mogae also wondered if the submission by one of the speakers about Western nations being responsible for Africa's problems is not "a form of escapism."