Debate and divergence of views can only enrich our history and culture.
Democracy opens new vistas and opportunities. We should use the opportunities it offers to correct past mistakes not to blunder anew.
The work of Nigeria is not complete for as long as there is any one Nigerian who goes to bed on empty stomach.
Most importantly, nothing has happened to change my conviction that freedom and the love of liberty remain the essential defining attributes of our national character as a people.
If you ask me to summarise our mission, I would put it this way: We were a military regime that sought to lay the foundations for freedom and liberty in a complex society.
But no nation can base its survival and development on luck and prayers alone while its leadership fritters away every available opportunity for success and concrete achievement.
The average Nigerian person has come to reconcile himself with the fact that his or her social progress remain essentially in his or her hands in collaboration with other fellow Nigerians and not merely relying on what government alone could provide for him or her.
With each new book, the march of our national history takes a step forward. When one is present at a book launch, one is bearing witness to the birth of a new body of ideas, to the coming into being of another testimony of history.
It is of course the nature of historical contraction that the shortest distance to a historical destination is never a straight line.
We have established a new basis in our country in which economic liberalization would continue to flourish alongside democratic forces and deregulated power structure.
There are no doubts that, the situation in the country today, indicates that there is much more work to do in the process of reforming the political economy and improving the quality of life of our people and communities.
A society that does not correctly interpret and appreciate its past cannot understand its present fortunes and adversities and can be caught unawares in a fast changing world.
Our choice of a reform framework dictated that we looked at the fundamental assumptions that had driven Nigeria's economy, society and policy hitherto and to seek ways of either abandoning or transcending those assumptions and their supporting institutions.
I believe that historians and analysts of historical events need the authority of facts supplied by living witnesses to the events, which they make their subject.
The return of democracy in our land has indeed thrown the problems of development into bolder relief.
It is only through books that we partake of the great harvest that is human civilization across the ages.
To meet the expectations of the majority of our people, and to open up new vistas of economic opportunity so that the aspirations of Nigerians can stand a fair chance of being fulfilled in a lifetime, there must be a truly committed leadership in a democratic Nigeria.
The challenge as we saw in the Nigerian project was to restructure the economy decisively in the direction of a modern free market as an appropriate environment for cultivation of freedom and democracy and the natural emergence of a new social order.
Even now, we make no apologies for the choice we made. The sacrifices we made were selfless. The options we offered were patriotic while the paths we chose were well thought out.
At the same, we need to remain sensitive to the reality that we are still an African society in which the majority of the people and communities live under severe deprivations and afflictions that are no fault of theirs.
There is also work to do in the evolution of a stable family life and values, and in ensuring that the Nigerian family is built on core values that will form the bedrock of the future society. We must showcase the ideals of family life and be models of family values.
Informed by our sad experience of history, we require nothing short of a foundation for lasting democracy.
Each one of us, and, indeed, all those who aspire to national leadership must bring their own visions, views and styles to the business of reforming Nigeria, and the search for solutions.
The reason is that till date, in spite of advances in information technology and strategies of information, the written word in the form of books still remains one of humanity's most enduring legacies.
I am not sure that you, the younger generations, will like to go to war that we went through. So, we learn as the mistakes are being committed.
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