Ahead of the 2023 general elections, former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo has stated that many aspirants parading themselves for one political office should be in jail.
He reportedly made this known at the international symposium organised to mark his 85th birthday at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
According to him, “I cast a cursory look at some of the people running around and those for whom people are running around. If the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission had done their jobs properly and supported adequately by the judiciary, most of them would be in jail.”
He added, “The issues of security, stability, development, economy and our relationship within Africa and with the rest of the world can only be taken care of if we get the issue of nation-building right.”
The former president made it known, “We have a lot to learn from the events of the last almost 24 years and God is not to blame if we fail.”
He maintained, “It would appear that we are not getting our priorities right and that can spell doom for our country if we fail to do what we should do for nation-building in terms of fundamentals of equity, justice, common ideals, popular education, shared values, mutual respect and equality of opportunities anchored and propelled by leaders across the board that are persons of integrity, honour, morality, competence, great virtue, courage to do what is right, humility and ability to put a team together and work with them in selfless devotion and service with the fear of God.”
Obasanjo also remarked that, “I believe in principles before personalities. Taking personalities before principles is putting the cart before the horse, and for me, the major issue is how to progress Nigeria from a country to a nation.”
He posited that, “If in 2015 Nigeria was 75 per cent a country and 50 per cent a nation, today, Nigeria will not be more than 50 per cent a country and 25 per cent a nation. The task of reversing the trend is beyond one personality, one political party or all political parties; it is beyond professional and commercial politicians alone. It demands and requires all hands on deck.”
He disclosed that, “Nigeria is tottering and for as long as we continue to put the cart before the horse, it cannot be well. Or put another way, for as long as we continue to do the same thing over and over again, the result will not be different. If the drift is not halted, the remaining 25 per cent of Nigerian nation will be dissipated in no time and Nigeria will not be a country but countries and will never be possible to be a nation again. That will be a monumental tragedy for Nigeria, Africa, the black race and humanity.’
He said that “Since 1999, we have changed from one political party to another, we have manoeuvred and manipulated to the point that election results are no longer reflections of the will of the people and we seem to be progressively going back rather than going forward politically, economically and socially.”
He also stated that, “We have activities without required actions and personnel to move us forward. If we continue in the same pattern of recycling, sweet-word campaigning, manoeuvring without substance of integrity, honesty, patriotism, commitment, outreach, courage, understanding of what makes a nation and what makes for development, we will soon have to say goodbye to Nigeria as a nation.”