Obasanjo Reverses Self On Fulanization, Seeks Dialogue

It’s never too late to do the right thing; I think finally, former President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo appears to understanding this as well as his role as an elder statesman.

On Saturday, he met with Fulani cattle breeders in the Southwest as well as Kogi and Kwara States in order to address the scuffle between the nomadic herders and the resident farmers.

Obasanjo told Gan Allah Fulani Development Association of Nigeria (GAFDAN) that Yorubas wanted unity, peace, harmony, wholesomeness and progress in the region, stressing that the time had come for everybody to acknowledge that “bad things are happening” in the Southwest and which have been attracting bad names to the Fulani in their midst.

This is a clear departure from Obasanjo’s reliance on writing only letters in the past. The former president appears to be putting his money where his mouth is, he finally seems to understand that actions speak louder than words. Meeting face to face with Fulani cattle breeders is completely different from writing an open letter.

If one reads the communiqué from the meeting, Baba seems to have gotten some firsthand information on the most recent shape of the farmer/herder clashes across the country and the reasons for such happening in the Southwest.

Like President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo have done in the last few weeks, Chief Obasanjo has embraced dialogue over explosive statements that could cause the country more harm. We all know that Baba loves Nigeria and that he wants peace but this can best be achieved through diplomatic channels.

A proof of this was the swift rescue of five persons abducted in Ogun state. The police force deployed geo-tagging technology and other technological know-how to track the kidnappers and arrest five culprits.

These are the kind of engagements that is required and expected of our leaders and I am happy Baba is adding his voice to this newly adopted strategy.

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Emulate Abdulsalami’s Statemanship, BMO Chides Obasanjo

The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) has hailed convener of the two-day roundtable on national security General Abdulsalami Abubakar for quietly spearheading the quest for peaceful co-existence in the country without heating up the polity.

According to the group, this is the path former Heads of State are expected to toe, based on their national profile, rather than triggering bellicosity that could further widen the nation’s fault lines.

In a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke, BMO said that the move by General Abdulsalami is worthy of emulation by not just former leaders but also by any Nigerian aspiring to leadership positions in the country.

“Not many Nigerians were aware that the former Head of State, through the Abdulsalami Abubakar Institute for Peace and Sustainable Development Studies (AAIPSDS), was working on a peace summit until some of the invited groups brought it into the public domain.

“And this was at a time another former leader Olusegun Obasanjo was also in the public eye for an open letter in which he tacitly upbraided an entire ethnic group over some grievances which he suggested could be resolved at a National conference.

“But rather than take a similar route, Abdulsalami ensured that participants representing various interests as well as those with different perspectives on the emerging security challenges showed up in Minna, Niger State to proffer solutions for a united and peaceful Nigeria.

“We believe that a former President who built a reputation for mediating in conflict situations in many parts of Africa at the behest of international organisations like the UN and AU should have done what a younger former leader, with a lesser international pedigree, is doing in his own country.

“So we are urging Chief Obasanjo to consider emulating General Abdulsalami’s unifying peace initiative and peaceful disposition rather than the divisive efforts he had in recent times been engaged in, which are bound to dent his credentials as a respected and unbiased national figure,” the group said. 

BMO commended individuals and groups that participated at the two-day national security summit and had harsh words for those who did not show up.

“Our message for eminent Nigerians from all walks of life who turned up in Minna is that their contributions to peaceful co-existence would be etched in gold because there is no alternative to dialogue in resolving conflicts.

“Nigerians would also not forget in a hurry the socio-cultural groups which did not honour the invitation as their decision could be interpreted to mean that they rejected peace, but we know that the driving force for the attitude of these groups is hatred for President Muhammadu Buhari.

“Some of these groups are known for grandstanding on issues of insecurity and have always pointed accusing fingers at others, but it is surprising that when called upon to make their own contributions to efforts to foster peace, they demur.

“We hope that Nigerians have taken note of those who chose to boycott the security summit and pay attention to their utterances afterwards.”

BMO expressed hope that all Nigerians would heed the advice of Nigeria’s former Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, who, as chairman of the Roundtable discussion, said conflicts can only be brought under control if stakeholders look for a common ground through team building and peaceful resolution of conflicts.

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BMO To Obasanjo: Stop Your Hate Campaign

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has again shown his propensity for mischief with his recent letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, designed to further his claim of a Fulanisation agenda.

According to the Buhari Media Organization (BMO), Obasanjo’s attempt to present this mischief as a solution to the security challenge in the country is not only pretentious but also hypocritical.

In a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke ,BMO said the letter was meant to present the Fulani as an ethnic group harbouring some grievances against the Nigerian state which only a national dialogue would help resolve.

“We have seen through Chief Obasanjo latest deceit to present the Fulani as the ‘agent provocateur’ by putting it in the dock of public accusation with claims of some grievances which he insinuated as the cause of banditry, kidnapping and killings in the country.

“What he did with his preamble for a call for a National Dialogue is to place the neck of an entire ethnic group on the slab on the basis of what he, as an octogenarian, perfectly knows to be a long-standing farmers-herders crisis.  Yet he sought to place the matter at the doorstep of a President that he has fallen out with, by claiming that the government had been treating it with levity.

“So It was not entirely surprising that the former President found a way of dragging President Muhammadu Buhari into the fray by suggesting ‘vicarious responsibility’ and even went to the extent of saying that ‘perception may be as potent as reality at times’.

“In essence, it is an extension of a previous letter in which he accused the President of harbouring and pursuing a Fulanisation and Islamisation agenda which he couched as one with a solution to the myriad of national problems.

The group also accused the former President of stoking tension in the aftermath of the tragic murder of Mrs Funke Olakunri, daughter of Pa Reuben Fasoranti, the national leader of the Yoruba socio-cultural group Afenifere.

“We are shocked that Obasanjo referenced the incident in a manner unbecoming of his status as a three-time head of government, and which further lends credence to the conspiracy theory launched by the Afenifere spokesman Yinka Odumakin and spread by several other unpatriotic elements even before additional facts emerged from eyewitnesses.

“The fact that he alluded to possible outbreak of violence is a pointer to his war mongering mindset. Or else why would a man who prides himself as father of Modern Nigeria so glibly speak of spontaneous or planned attacks against the Fulani which could lead to a Rwanda-like genocide?

“Although we see Chief Obasanjo more as an opposition figure than a former President , yet  like many Nigerians have said in reaction to the letter, he is at a stage in his life where he should be seen  playing a more conciliatory role rather than always playing to the gallery to suit his political inclination   

“It should be beneath an elderly Nigerian that claims to still bear the scar of the 1967-1970 civil war to be stoking ethnic tension under the guise of searching for appropriate solution to the problem of insecurity,” it said.

BMO added that Obasanjo’s penchant for mischief also showed in the manner he suggested a way out as well as the individuals he wants the President to invite for a national conference.

It said: “We wonder why he could not use his membership of the National Council of State to push what he considers as solution to the security challenge in a way that other former Presidents could also bring up suggestions.

“We know that during his years as President, farmers-herders crises claimed 50,000 lives in Plateau state alone and that’s even according to a government report cited by the BBC. It was also within that period that his Attorney General and Minister of Justice Bola Ige was murdered by yet-to-be-identified gunmen, but there was no record of him yielding to any outside suggestion for a security summit.

“We are however convinced of President Buhari’s sincerity and determination to make Nigeria more secure.”

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2019: We Will Do Whatever Needs To Be Done To Dislodge Buhari, Says Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, has said the Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM), will do whatever needed to be done to make power change hands in the 2019 Presidential election.

Obasanjo stated this in Ibadan while addressing the Oyo State chapter of the CNM.

While urging the youths to get prepared to take over the mantle of leadership of the country, the former President stressed that next year’s election would be a herculean task for the opposition.

He said: “Some people believe that those that are in position, whether they are doing well or not, they must continue to be there. But when we say they must not be there, they will want to fight back. They will do many things to wreak havoc, but everybody must be prepared. It will not be easy to wrest powers from them. If you think it will be easy to liberate Nigeria, you are deceiving yourself.

“But the God that did it yesterday will do it again today. We have seen this before. In this Nigeria, we have had a situation that we had five political parties and the five parties nominated one person as candidate for presidency. If only his nuclear family had voted for him, he would have won.

He noted that a similar scenario happened in the past when all the five political parties in the country adopted one person as their sole candidate for presidency.

Obasanjo said, “Our God was laughing then, now he is also laughing. When the time was up then, he confirmed that He is God. He is omnipotent, omnipresent and eternal who can do all things and who can make all things possible. But if we are leaving things to God, we have to play our own part.”

He added: “I just want to join in assuring you that the philosophy of what we have is CNM, and what it will transform to will not be different.

“We have not had a political party in this country that is grounded in the grassroots. All our political parties are elitist. We have not got a party in this country that has given a pride of place to the youth.

“The youths under 40 years old form more than 65 per cent of our population. Now, who will tell you that because you are under 40 years old, you cannot play a very significant role in the affairs of your country?”

At the meeting were  former governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, who is the National Coordinator of the movement; former deputy governor of Oyo State, Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja; two former secretaries to the Oyo State Government, Chiefs Olayiwola Olakojo and Ayodele Adigun; Obasanjo’s close associate  Otunba   Oyewole Fasawe; and a legal luminary, Hammed Raji  (SAN).


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Obasanjo Lacks Understanding Of Nigeria’s Politics, Says Bisi Akande

A Chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Bisi Akande, has reacted to former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, warning the President against re-contesting for the 2019 general elections.

In an exclusive interview with Sun newspaper, Chief Akande blasted the former President, saying “Obasanjo does not understand any politics beyond himself. Obasanjo’s politics is Obasanjo. The only thing Obasanjo understands best is Obasanjo.”

“Go and ask Obasanjo why he wrote that letter, or made that statement that Nigerians should not vote for Buhari. If he will tell you the truth, he must have been told off by President Buhari for something Obasanjo did. Go and ask Obasanjo, if he would tell you the truth. I am sure that shortly before he wrote that letter, he must have been told off by President Buhari for something personal to Obasanjo.

“So, Obasanjo’s politics is Obasanjo and whatever he writes or says about anybody doesn’t carry weight, particularly among us his people, because we knew him for a long time,” Akande added.

When asked if he is satisfied with the style of President Buhari’s led government, the former interim Chairman of the party said: “I am impressed by his style of leadership but his enemies are unhappy.”

He added that President Buhari’s enemies are some set of people who do  not want him remain in the position and are setting trap for him everywhere.

His words: “General Theophilus Danjuma just told us that the military are the ones killing people. We have read about some military officers who kept money in a septic tank and we have also read about the military that stole billions of dollars and naira from Nigeria’s treasury. Now, if President Buhari came and stopped this stealing, you won’t be surprised if the military are behind these killings in order to make Buhari unpopular and throw him out of office.”

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President Buhari And Obasanjo Meet In Ethiopia

President Muhammadu Buhari and ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo have met  at the ongoing African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

This contact marks the first time both men met since the controversial letter from Obasanjo, criticizing President Buhari’s administration on some issues, where he also advised the Nigerian leader not to seek a second term in office.

They met briefly in the Nelson Mandela plenary hall of the African union Commission, just before the opening ceremony of the 30th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU).

Before Obasanjo went to pay respect to President Buhari, another former President, Abdulsalam Abubakar also took time to exchange pleasantries with President Buhari.

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APC Responds To Obasanjo’s Letter, Says ‘Party Remains The Best Option For Nigeria At This Time’

In the aftermath of a letter written to President Muhammadu Buhari, by former President Olusegun Obasanjo and titled: “The Way out: a clarion call for coalition for Nigeria movement,” spokesman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, has said issues raised by the former president may have been made in good faith.

In a press statement signed by Abdullahi, he noted that while the party may not agree with everything the former president said, the party however recognizes Obasanjo as a father of the nation, and “understands that the former president would feel obliged to intervene if certain things are not being done or are not being done in a particular way.”

The statement reads in part: “However, we believe that such interventions should be for the sole purpose of improving the system and encouraging the relevant institutions to work harder in improving certain situations.

“It is for this reason that we disagree with the former president in what appears like a wholesale dismissal of the entire political system in the country. We acknowledge our challenges as a new political party, even as we believe that APC remains the best option at this time for all Nigerians who are genuinely committed to the progress and development of the country.

“We also note that there are about 72 other registered political parties in the country and the people reserve the right to support any of these. Our democracy itself is young and hence all the parties face sundry challenges, but we have made progress since 1999, with President Obasanjo himself being a major contributor to our progress as a multi-party democracy. It is for this reason that we believe the respected former president should not give the impression that none of the political parties in the country is good enough for Nigerians and the only solution to the current challenges that we face is a completely new arrangement.

“The task of building a political party is not done overnight. Even the oldest of our political parties is still very young in comparison with advanced democracies. Our democracy therefore stands a better chance of becoming really strong if we allow the parties to find their identities, even if in the process they make mistakes and appear to be “wobbling”. No political party arrives fully formed.

“APC call on all our supporters across the country to remain strong and steadfast. These are challenging times. But we cannot afford to react to public criticism with any form of emotionalism. We are the ruling party. We must take responsibility. Take valuable lessons on board and continue to improve. Regardless of the current challenges, we are confident that brighter future is assured for our party and our country.”


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Presidency Keeps Mum Over Obasanjo’s Letter

The presidency has kept mute about former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s letter to President Muhammadu Buhari asking him not to run.

Obasanjo, had in a lengthy letter on Tuesday, urged President Buhai not to run for the 2019 elections.

But the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said, “We will not react for now.”


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Go Back To Daura And Forget 2019, Obasanjo Tells Buhari

The Way Out: A Clarion Call For Coalition For Nigeria Movement

Special Press Statement By President Olusegun Obasanjo

Since we are still in the month of January, it is appropriate to wish all Nigerians Happy 2018. I am constrained to issue this special statement at this time considering the situation of the country. Some of you may be asking, “What has brought about this special occasion of Obasanjo issuing a Special Statement?” You will be right to ask such a question. But there is a Yoruba saying that ‘when lice abound in your clothes, your fingernails will never be dried of blood’. When I was in the village, to make sure that lice die, you put them between two fingernails and press hard to ensure they die and they always leave blood stains on the fingernails. To ensure you do not have blood on your fingernails, you have to ensure that lice are not harboured anywhere within your vicinity.

The lice of poor performance in government – poverty, insecurity, poor economic management, nepotism, gross dereliction of duty, condonation of misdeed – if not outright encouragement of it, lack of progress and hope for the future, lack of national cohesion and poor management of internal political dynamics and widening inequality – are very much with us today.With such lice of general and specific poor performance and crying poverty with us, our fingers will not be dry of ‘blood’.

Four years ago when my PDP card was torn, I made it abundantly clear that I quit partisan politics for aye but my concern and interest in Nigeria, Africa and indeed in humanity would not wane. Ever since, I have adhered strictly to that position. Since that time, I have devoted quality time to the issue of zero hunger as contained in Goal No. 2 of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN. We have set the target that Nigeria with the participating States in the Zero Hunger Forum should reach Zero Hunger goal by 2025 – five years earlier than the UN target date. I am involved in the issue of education in some States and generally in the issue of youth empowerment and employment. I am involved in all these domestically and altruistically to give hope and future to the seemingly hopeless and those in despair. I believe strongly that God has endowed Nigeria so adequately that no Nigerian should be either in want or in despair.

I believe in team work and collaborative efforts. At the international level, we have worked with other world leaders to domicile the apparatus for monitoring and encouraging socio-economic progress in Africa in our Presidential Library. The purpose of Africa Progress Group,which is the new name assumed by Africa Progress Panel (APP),is to point out where, when and what works need to be done for the progress of Africa separately and collectively by African leaders and their development partners.

I have also gladly accepted the invitation of the UN Secretary-General to be a member of his eighteen-member High-Level Board of Advisers on Mediation. There are other assignments I take up in other fora for Africa and for the international community. For Africa to move forward, Nigeria must be one of the anchor countries, if not the leading anchor country. It means that Nigeria must be good at home to be good outside. No doubt, our situation in the last decade or so had shown that we are not good enough at home; hence we are invariably absent at the table that we should be abroad.

All these led me to take the unusual step of going against my own political Party, PDP, in the last general election to support the opposite side. I saw that action as the best option for Nigeria. As it has been revealed in the last three years or so, that decision and the subsequent collective decision of Nigerians to vote for a change was the right decision for the nation. For me, there was nothing personal, it was all in the best interest of Nigeria and, indeed, in the best interest of Africa and humanity at large. Even the horse rider then, with whom I maintain very cordial, happy and social relationship today has come to realise his mistakes and regretted it publicly and I admire his courage and forthrightness in this regard. He has a role to play on the sideline for the good of Nigeria, Africa and humanity and I will see him as a partner in playing such a role nationally and internationally, but not as a horse rider in Nigeria again.

The situation that made Nigerians to vote massively to get my brother Jonathan off the horse is playing itself out again. First, I thought I knew the point where President Buhari is weak and I spoke and wrote about it even before Nigerians voted for him and I also did vote for him because at that time it was a matter of “any option but Jonathan” (aobj). But my letter to President Jonathan titled: “Before It Is Too Late” was meant for him to act before it was too late. He ignored it and it was too late for him and those who goaded him into ignoring the voice of caution. I know that praise-singers and hired attackers may be raised up against me for verbal or even physical attack but if I can withstand undeserved imprisonment and was ready to shed my blood by standing for Nigeria, I will consider no sacrifice too great to make for the good of Nigeria at any time.No human leader is expected to be personally strong or self-sufficient in all aspects of governance.

I knew President Buhari before he became President and said that he is weak in the knowledge and understanding of the economy but I thought that he could make use of good Nigerians in that area that could help. Although, I know that you cannot give what you don’t have and that economy does not obey military order. You have to give it what it takes in the short-, medium- and long-term. Then, it would move. I know his weakness in understanding and playing in the foreign affairs sector and again, there are many Nigerians that could be used in that area as well.They have knowledge and experience that could be deployed for the good of Nigeria. There were serious allegations of round-tripping against some inner caucus of the Presidency which would seem to have been condoned. I wonder if such actions do not amount to corruption and financial crime, then what is it? Culture of condonation and turning blind eye will cover up rather than clean up. And going to justice must be with clean hands.

I thought President Buhari would fight corruption and insurgency and he must be given some credit for his achievement so far in these two areas although it is not yet uhuru!

The herdsmen/crop farmers issue is being wittingly or unwittingly allowed to turn sour and messy. It is no credit to the Federal Government that the herdsmen rampage continues with careless abandon and without finding an effective solution to it. And it is a sad symptom of insensitivity and callousness that some Governors, a day after 73 victims were being buried in a mass grave in Benue State without condolence, were jubilantly endorsing President Buhari for a second term! The timing was most unfortunate. The issue of herdsmen/crop farmers dichotomy should not be left on the political platform of blame game; the Federal Government must take the lead in bringing about solution that protects life and properties of herdsmen and crop farmers alike and for them to live amicably in the same community.

But there are three other areas where President Buhari has come out more glaringly than most of us thought we knew about him. One is nepotic deployment bordering on clannishness and inability to bring discipline to bear on errant members of his nepotic court. This has grave consequences on performance of his government to the detriment of the nation. It would appear that national interest was being sacrificed on the altar of nepotic interest. What does one make of a case like that of Maina: collusion, condonation, ineptitude, incompetence, dereliction of responsibility or kinship and friendship on the part of those who should have taken visible and deterrent disciplinary action? How many similar cases are buried, ignored or covered up and not yet in the glare of the media and the public?The second is his poor understanding of the dynamics of internal politics. This has led to wittingly or unwittingly making the nation more divided and inequality has widened and become more pronounced. It also has effect on general national security. The third is passing the buck. For instance, blaming the Governor of the Central Bank for devaluation of the naira by 70% or so and blaming past governments for it, is to say the least,not accepting one’s own responsibility. Let nobody deceive us, economy feeds on politics and because our politics is depressing, our economy is even more depressing today. If things were good, President Buhari would not need to come in. He was voted to fix things that were bad and not engage in the blame game. Our Constitution is very clear, one of the cardinal responsibilities of the President is the management of the economy of which the value of the naira forms an integral part. Kinship and friendship that place responsibility for governance in the hands of the unelected can only be deleterious to good government and to the nation.

President Buhari’s illness called for the sympathy, understanding, prayer and patience from every sane Nigerian. It is part of our culture. Most Nigerians prayed for him while he was away sick in London for over hundred days and he gave his Deputy sufficient leeway to carry on in his absence. We all thanked God for President Buhari for coming back reasonably hale and hearty and progressing well in his recovery.But whatever may be the state of President Buhari’s health today, he should neither over-push his luck nor over-tax the patience and tolerance of Nigerians for him, no matter what his self-serving, so-called advisers, who would claim that they love him more than God loves him and that without him, there would be no Nigeria say.President Buhari needs a dignified and honourable dismount from the horse. He needs to have time to reflect, refurbish physically and recoup and after appropriate rest, once again, join the stock of Nigerian leaders whose experience, influence, wisdom and outreach can be deployed on the sideline for the good of the country. His place in history is already assured. Without impaired health and strain of age, running the affairs of Nigeria is a 25/7 affair, not 24/7.

I only appeal to brother Buhari to consider a deserved rest at this point in time and at this age. I continue to wish him robust health to enjoy his retirement from active public service. President Buhari does not necessarily need to heed my advice. But whether or not he heeds it, Nigeria needs to move on and move forward.

I have had occasion in the past to say that the two main political parties – APC and PDP – were wobbling. I must reiterate that nothing has happened to convince me otherwise. If anything, I am reinforced in my conviction. The recent show of PDP must give grave and great concern to lovers of Nigeria. To claim, as has been credited to the chief kingmaker of PDP, that for procuring the Supreme Court judgement for his faction of the Party, he must dictate the tune all the way and this is indeed fraught with danger. If neither APC nor PDP is a worthy horse to ride to lead Nigeria at this crucial and critical time, what then do we do? Remember Farooq Kperogi, an Associate Professor at the Kennesaw State University, Georgia, United States, calls it “a cruel Hobson’s choice; it’s like a choice between six and half a dozen, between evil and evil. Any selection or deflection would be a distinction without a difference.” We cannot just sit down lamenting and wringing our hands desperately and hopelessly.

I believe the situation we are in today is akin to what and where we were in at the beginning of this democratic dispensation in 1999. The nation was tottering. People became hopeless and saw no bright future in the horizon. It was all a dark cloud politically, economically and socially. The price of oil at that time was nine dollars per barrel and we had a debt overhang of about $35 billion. Most people were confused with lack of direction in the country. One of the factors that saved the situation was a near government of national unity that was put in place to navigate us through the dark cloud. We had almost all hands on deck. We used people at home and from the diaspora and we navigated through the dark cloud of those days. At that time, most people were hopelessly groping in the dark. They saw no choice,neither in the left nor in the right, and yet we were not bereft of people at home and from the diaspora that could come together to make Nigeria truly a land flowing with milk and honey. Where we are is a matter of choice but we can choose differently to make a necessary and desirable change, once again.

Wherever I go, I hear Nigerians complaining, murmuring in anguish and anger. But our anger should not be like the anger of the cripple. We can collectively save ourselves from the position we find ourselves. It will not come through self-pity, fruitless complaint or protest but through constructive and positive engagement and collective action for the good of our nation and ourselves and our children and their children. We need moral re-armament and engaging togetherness of people of like-mind and goodwill to come solidly together to lift Nigeria up. This is no time for trading blames or embarking on futile argument and neither should we accept untenable excuses for non-performance. Let us accept that the present administration has done what it can do to the limit of its ability, aptitude and understanding. Let the administration and its political party platform agree with the rest of us that what they have done and what they are capable of doing is not good enough for us. They have given as best as they have and as best as they can give. Nigeria deserves and urgently needs better than what they have given or what we know they are capable of giving. To ask them to give more will be unrealistic and will only sentence Nigeria to a prison term of four years if not destroy it beyond the possibility of an early recovery and substantial growth. Einstein made it clear to us that doing the same thing and expecting a different result is the height of folly.Already, Nigerians are committing suicide for the unbearable socio-economic situation they find themselves in. And yet Nigerians love life. We must not continue to reinforce failure and hope that all will be well. It is self-deceit and self-defeat and another aspect of folly.

What has emerged from the opposition has shown no better promise from their antecedents. As the leader of that Party for eight years as President of Nigeria, I can categorically say there is nothing to write home about in their new team. We have only one choice left to take us out of Egypt to the promised land. And that is the coalition of the concerned and the willing – ready for positive and drastic change, progress and involvement. Change that will give hope and future to all our youth and dignity and full participation to all our women. Our youth should be empowered to deploy their ability to learn, innovate and work energetically at ideas and concepts in which they can make their own original inputs. Youth must be part of the action today and not relegated to leadership of tomorrow which may never come. Change that will mean enhancement of living standard and progress for all. A situation where the elected will accountably govern and every Nigerian will have equal opportunity not based on kinship and friendship but based on free citizenship.

Democracy is sustained and measured not by leaders doing extra-ordinary things, (invariably, leaders fail to do ordinary things very well), but by citizens rising up to do ordinary things extra-ordinarily well. Our democracy, development and progress at this juncture require ordinary citizens of Nigeria to do the extra-ordinary things of changing the course and direction of our lackluster performance and development. If leadership fails, citizens must not fail and there lies the beauty and importance of democracy. We are challenged by the current situation; we must neither adopt spiritof cowardice nor timidity let alone impotence but must be sustained by courage, determination and commitment to say and do and to persist until we achieve upliftment for Nigeria. Nothing ventured, nothing gained and we believe that our venturing will not be in vain. God of Nigeria has endowed this country adequately and our non-performance cannot be blamed on God but on leadership. God, who has given us what we need and which is potentially there, will give us leadership enablement to actualize our potentiality.

The development and modernization of our country and society must be anchored and sustained on dynamic Nigerian culture, enduring values and an enchanting Nigerian dream. We must have abiding faith in our country and its role and place within the comity of nations.Today, Nigeria needs all hands on deck. All hands of men and women of goodwill must be on deck. We need all hands to move our country forward.

We need a Coalition for Nigeria, CN.Such a Movement at this juncture needs not be a political party but one to which all well-meaning Nigerians can belong. That Movement must be a coalition for democracy, good governance, social and economic well-being and progress. Coalition to salvage and redeem our country. You can count me with such a Movement. Last time, we asked, prayed and worked for change and God granted our request. This time, we must ask, pray and work for change with unity, security and progress. And God will again grant us. Of course, nothing should stop such a Movement from satisfying conditions for fielding candidates for elections. But if at any stage the Movement wishes to metamorphose into candidate-sponsoring Movement for elections, I will bow out of the Movement because I will continue to maintain my non-partisan position. Coalition for Nigeria must have its headquarters in Abuja.

This Coalition for Nigeria will be a Movement that will drive Nigeria up and forward. It must have a pride of place for all Nigerians, particularly for our youth and our women. It is a coalition of hope for all Nigerians for speedy, quality and equal development, security, unity, prosperity and progress. It is a coalition to banish poverty, insecurity and despair.Our country must not be oblivious to concomitant danger around, outside and ahead. Coalition for Nigeria must be a Movement to break new ground in building a united country, a socially-cohesive and moderately prosperous society with equity, equality of opportunity, justice and a dynamic and progressive economy that is self-reliant and takes active part in global division of labour and international decision-making.

The Movement must work out the path of development and the trajectory of development in speed, quality and equality in the short- medium- and long-term for Nigeria on the basis of sustainability, stability, predictability, credibility, security, cooperation and prosperity with diminishing inequality. What is called for is love, commitment and interest in our country, not in self, friends and kinship alone but particularly love, compassion and interest in the poor, underprivileged and downtrodden. It is our human duty and responsibility so to do. Failure to do this will amount to a sin against God and a crime against humanity.

Some may ask, what does Obasanjo want again? Obasanjo has wanted nothing other than the best for Nigeria and Nigerians and he will continue to want nothing less. And if we have the best, we will be contented whether where we live is described as palaces or huts by others and we will always give thanks to God.

I, therefore,will gladly join such a Movement when one is established as Coalition for Nigeria, CN, taking Nigeria to the height God has created it to be. From now on, the Nigeria eagle must continue to soar and fly high. CN, as a Movement, will be new, green, transparent and must remain clean and always active, selflessly so. Members must be ready to make sacrifice for the nation and pay the price of being pioneers and good Nigerians for our country to play the God-assigned role for itself, for its neighbours, for its sub-region of West Africa, for its continent and for humanity in general. For me, the strength and sustainable success of CN will derive largely from the strong commitment of a population that is constantly mobilized to the rallying platform of the fact that going forward together is our best option for building a nation that will occupy its deserved place in the global community. May God continue to lead, guide and protect us. Amen.

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‘Competence And Not Age Should Be The Qualification For Leadership,’ Says Ex President Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said that capability and competence, rather than age, should be the qualifications for leadership.

Obasanjo said this while commenting on the proposition by the Senate to reduce the age of presidential candidates from 40 to 35.

“Quite frankly, if we put minimum age, why are we not putting maximum age? If they put minimum age and then say that even if you are 90, you can be president, because there is no age limit to being president.

“To me, there should be no age limit. Gen. Gowon (retd.) became the Head of State at the age of 33, I became the Head of State at 39…

“I believe there should be no age limit; let the people decide,” Obasanjo said.

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To Be An Effective Leader, You Must Prepare For The Future Says Ex President Obasanjo

Former president Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday said to be an effective leader, one must prepare for the future.

Obasanjo made the assertion at the inaugural lecture of the Olusegun Obasanjo good governance and development research centre, with the theme; ‘leadership, governance and the challenges of development in Nigeria; the way forward’ in Abuja.

He said people must have plan and ideas before seeking and taking leadership responsibilities.

Obasanjo said, “No person should go into government with ‘empty mind’ hoping to fill the mind up when he is already in power. He should be fired by ideals and only itching to run with it after gaining power.”

He said a programme of work with timeline must be available on the first day of work for a political leader.

Obasanjo said the federal government had a strong commitment in dealing with the problems of corruption including the introduction of Treasury Single Account (TSA). “Lack of successful prosecution of high profile corruption cases involving some Politically Exposed Persons is giving serious course for concern both for Nigerians and the international community,” he said.

Daily Trust

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