He warned that hard choices must therefore be taken by leaders, to break the poverty cycle, including having to step on toes when necessary.
He spoke at the 7th convocation ceremony of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) in Abuja where he was awarded a PhD in Christian Theology.
He said: “I have come out with the conviction that poverty is not our lot or the lot of any individual or group in Nigeria. It is the choice made consciously or unconsciously by our leaders.
“The beginning of getting Nigeria out of poverty into wealth creation and employment generation is in our choice of leaders who understand what development means and what it entails and who are ready to do what needs to be done and make hard choices that need to be made.
“This includes stepping on toes of friends and well- wishers who will not conform to the transformation or change agenda.”
At the convocation, Fabiyi Adebayo Adekunle emerged the overall best graduating student while popular comedian, Chief Chika Okpala, was awarded a Masters degree by the university.
The former President noted that there is no age limit, no status barrier and social limit for functional education.
He added that as a former student of the institution, he rejected special favours just to experience the process leading to the award of PhD degree.
“I wrote my examination in my study centre with other students to utilize the learner support service like any other student. I went through the rigour and discipline of the graduate school like any post graduate student,” he noted.
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