Olusegun Obasanjo

Former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo has bared his mind on the state of the economy of the nation. Obasanjo, speaking at the World Pension Summit in Abuja, said that he had warned the past state governors to save a huge chunk of economic resources when there still existed excess oil revenue.

Obasanjo said: “I remember when I was in government and I told, particularly, the governors, ‘please let us save for the rainy days.’ They said no!.

“There was no rain at that time, now that the rain has come; there is nothing we can fall back on to cushion us.” Obasanjo, however, commended the secured nature of the pension scheme, stating that despite the many years of sleaze in the Nigerian polity, the pension funds were not touched.

“One of the things that make me very happy in the pension scheme is that in the last five years, when almost everything goes, concerning public funds, pension funds remain sacrosanct. I believe that the pension funds are something we must preserve, no matter what we do.

“We must also find a way of using the pension fund in our development, particularly in infrastructural development. They are examples we can look at all over the world.

“For instance, in housing, Singapore is a good example where they have used their pension fund to make sure that there are no Singaporean who do not own a house. There is no reason why we cannot tow that line.”

Speaking about the pension programme, and innovation when it comes to available financial resources, the former President said:

“I like the theme of the programme, ‘Pension, Innovation and Sustainability.’ But I will add two things: your innovation must be with caution.

“Now, when people have to work all the days of their lives that they are strong and they make contributions for their future, we cannot afford to be too adventurous when making innovations. Because when they need the money, it must be there.”