The Distinguished Lecture/Inauguration of the Olusegun Obasanjo Good Governance and Development Research Centre (OOGGDRC) was held on Tuesday, 2nd May, 2017 at the Shehu Musa Yar’ Adua Centre, Abuja.
In his welcoming address, the Vice-Chancellor of National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), Prof Abdalla Uba Adamu described the former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, in whose honour the Centre was named, as an outstanding personality in Nigerian political history. He explained that the establishment of the Research Centre named after Chief Obasanjo was NOUN’s response to the Nation’s need for good governance and development.
He further noted that Chief Obasanjo’s leadership had been exemplary in ECOWAS, AU and Commonwealth. Prof. Adamu said that it was in appreciation of this that the Management of the National Open University of Nigeria elected to immortalise Chief Olusegun Obasanjo for his contributions to good governance and development in Nigeria, Africa and the world.
The Chairman of the occasion, His Excellency, Dr. John Dramani Mahama; former President of the Republic of Ghana, in his opening address, thanked the National Open University of Nigeria for establishing and naming the Research Centre after former President Olusegun Obasanjo, as well as considering him suitable to Chair the event. He recognized the importance of the Centre in promoting good governance and development research and paid glowing tributes to Chief Obasanjo for his role in governance in Nigeria, West Africa, the African continent and the world.
Specifically, President Mahama charged the OOGGDRC to focus its research efforts on the following areas:
- Many unresolved challenges of leadership in Africa that include the paradox of democracy and development. According to him, the questions that readily come to mind when looking at this paradox are:
- should we have democracy before development?
- should we have development before democracy? or
- should we have democracy and development side by side?
- Africa has the fastest growing population; hence the relationship between this fast growing population and governance should be researched on.
- Social media and Governance: how can government take advantage of the changing new media to communicate to the people?
- Rural-Urban Migration: what can be done to address the problems of governance such that people in rural areas live comfortable and dignified lives and therefore relieving the pressure in our urban centres?
- The pre-eminent role of Nigeria to be the driver of socio-political and economic growth in the West African region and the entire African continent.
In conclusion Dr. Mahama observed that the Research Centre has lots of work to do and must strive to meet up with expectations and achieve its objectives.
On her part, the Chairlady of the occassion and former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Her Lordship, Honourable Justice Mariam Aloma Mukhtar, commended former President Olusegun Obasanjo for his service to Nigeria and humanity. She went down memory lane to recount the role of the former President in her elevation to the apex Court in the country as the first female Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
She commended the initiative of establishing the Centre, especially noting that the NOUN has proven to expand its scope from ODL to policy and development, which is consistent with our National Education Policy and Objectives. She then invited His Excellency, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo to deliver the Distinguished/Inauguration Lecture.
The former President’s lecture titled: Leadership, Governance and the Challenges of Development in Nigeria: The Way Forward, explored the concept of development as well as the effects of corruption, and the peerless efforts made by his administration to combat the menace. He, however, bemoaned a situation where past and present administrations had not been able to effectively prosecute high-profile corruption cases.
According to him, “the objectives and mission of the Centre is to address the needs of the Nigerian society today, that is, to deepen democracy, promote good governance and attain desired level of human development, growth and progress”.
Chief Obasanjo equally elaborated on the significance of quality education in the development process of any nation by declaring that education is “the strongest pillar of good leadership and the most important instrument of development, growth and progress.”
The full text of the lecture is available can be downloaded here: Inauguration Lecture
Below are captions from the event: