Former President Olusegun Obasanjo criticised some state governors on Monday, saying that some of them live like “emperors” despite demanding sacrifice from the people.
Speaking at the University of Ibadan where he chaired the inaugural conference of the Ibadan School of Government and Public Policy (ISGPP), the elder statesman charged political office holders to be alive to their responsibilities.
He advised the national assembly to make its budget public for the sake of accountability and also lamented the high rate of unemployment in the country.
“Nigeria is a country where some governors have become sole administrators, acting like emperors,” he said.
“Some governors have hijacked the resources of the local governments and this has crippled the developments of the local government councils in the country.
“Leaders who call for sacrifice from the citizenry cannot be living in obscene opulence. We must address these foundational issues to make the economy work, to strengthen our institutions, build public confidence in government and deal with our peace and security challenges.
“We must address the issue of employment for our teeming population particularly for our youths. Leadership must mentor the young, and provide them with hope about their future as part of a process of inter-generational conversation.
“The national assembly must also open its budgets to public scrutiny.”
The former president also spoke on other pressing issues affecting the country.
“It is indeed proper for us in Nigeria to ask the question is the government working? Is government positioned to deal with challenges arising from these new developments?” he asked.
“These questions are made apposite by the massive scale of poverty and unemployment, the decay in infrastructural facilities, the impoverished living standards of citizens with regard to food, housing, water supply, education and healthcare which have deepened in recent years.”
Some of the dignitaries at the event were Akin Mabogunje, chairman, board of governors of the ISGPP; Emeka Anyaoku, former secretary-general of the Commonwealth; and Richard Joseph, a professor of international history.