Former British Prime Minister, Mr Boris Johnson, yesterday, said credible elections, equality before the law, education and a good transport system are ways Nigeria can unleash its potential.
He also called on Nigeria and the United Kingdom to deepen their partnership, saying the two nations share some similarities.
The former UK Prime Minister spoke at the 16th Anyiam-Osigwe Lecture Series, titled: ‘Rehumanising Human Experience: A Synopsis of Anyiam-Osigwe’s Treaties.
The event, organised by the Osigwe Anyiam-Osigwe Foundation, in collaboration with the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, was held at the Marriot Hotel, in Ikeja, Lagos.
Johnson, who was the guest speaker at the event, lamented a colossal waste of human resources in Nigeria, despite its huge potential.
He highlighted equality under the law as the foundation that guarantees human potential, just as he urged governments, at all levels, to ensure enforcement of the law without fear or favour.
He also called on politicians to allow the people to freely elect those that will govern them, just as he harped on an effective transport system.
His words: “The UK has a population of about 66 million and Nigeria has over 200 million and still growing. How many of our people have reached their full potential? The job of politicians is to create opportunities for people to reach their potential because not only is that morally right, but it is also the right way for the economy
“What we are seeing in both our countries is a colossal waste of human potential and all my years as Mayor of London or British Prime Minister, it has been ways to unleash the talents.
“The first and most important thing that makes a country thrive is that it has to be safe. You have got to have equality under the law because that is the foundation for freedom.
“I know some of the problems that are faced in this part of the country but I know that these bandits and terrorists must and will be defeated and eventually, law and order will prevail. I also want you to know that the UK stands ever-ready to help.
“We, in the UK, have had our issues with terrorists in the past and I am proud to say that London is one of the safest cities in the world.
“Whoever you are, you will receive the same scrutiny and protection in the UK and this is the most important thing. It is a precaution for economic growth.
“The next freedom is the right to choose those who govern you and the right to remove them from office. It is called democracy and it is precious and under attack the whole time.
“Why did Vladimir Putin launch his evil attack on Ukraine? It is because he could see that the Ukrainians were choosing a different path. They were going through a different democratic system that he was permitted to the Russian people. By the way, I believe the Ukrainians will win. By the way, why did Putin underestimate the Ukrainian people?
“It is because he does not practice a democratic system and he surrounds himself with sycophants. He had no democratic checks and balances.
The third and crucial condition for releasing human potential is that you need a society that is an open system.”