Former President Olusegun Obasanjo says he will do “everything humanly possible” to save Nigeria’s democracy.
Speaking during the launch of “Politics as Dashed Hopes in Nigeria”, written by Auwala Anwar, his former special assistant on federal capital territory administration (FCTA), in Abuja on Thursday, the former president said the world is watching how Nigeria will handle upcoming elections.
He also called on Nigerians to guard the nation’s democracy ahead of the general election.
“If we cherish democracy, we will all guard and protect our democracy. And that I believe is the main purpose of the book,” he said.
“I am in despair; our hope lies in democracy and good governance as one of the hallmarks of free fair and credible election. As for me, I will do everything humanly possible to safeguard democracy, with good governance for Nigeria and for all Nigerians.”
He added that he is happy most Nigerians are “rising up to their duties and responsibilities in guidance of our democracy.”
“Remember that if you stand aloof when evil is being perpetrated, you become an accomplice in the perpetuation of the evil,” he said.
‘QUALITY OF NIGERIAN POLITICIANS DETERIORATING’
Obasanjo said he agrees “the quality of politicians (in Nigeria) is deteriorating.”
“I also agree that money has become an unnecessary important aspect of our politics. And that the elites are not putting their act together,” he said.
“(But) I believe we have one thing that joins us together which is Nigeria’s nationality. I believe strongly that Nigeria should not be divided.”
Anwar, the author, said the book gives an insight into the activities of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) (which President Muhammadu Buhari co-founded) started as “an article in a newspaper.”
“When the CPC went into crisis. There were committees set up … we created a code of conduct because we believed the principal problem of the CPC was indiscipline,” he said.
“It was not a normal political party. There were various segments including the owners, labourers and workers, and the slaves.”
Meanwhile, Obasanjo has stepped up his attack on President Buhari by criticising his very lengthy, absence from Office and the country, on medical grounds.
The former President, who was the Guest Speaker, at the Island Club Quarterly Business Lecture, said, “In the years since he was sworn-in as President of Nigeria, in 2015, Buhari has spent 104 days outside the country, on medical vacation”.
However, speaking on the competence of Atiku, Obasanjo said that since he did not spend 104 days outside the shores of the country, people may not know that Atiku stood in his stead in many capacities, while they were in charge of the country’s administration.
According to Obasanjo, contrary to popular belief, Atiku presided over several Federal Executive Council, FEC, meetings, under his 1999-2007 administration, on the latter’s vacation outside the country. He also stated that one of the most ridiculous claims he has heard, is that he did not trust Atiku, who was his Vice, to preside over the FEC. His words: “That is not true, because he (Atiku) had occasions to preside a few times that I was out of the country on duty. On those occasions, he was in charge of the FEC meetings, and no Nigerian Chief Executive has devolved to his Deputy, as much as I did to Atiku.
“I did not need to designate him ‘Acting President’, because the Constitution is clear; once the President is not available, the Vice President automatically acts with full powers, and he consults when and if he considers it necessary.
“But since I was not absent from home for 104 days, at a time, people may not know that Atiku actually stood in for me whenever I was out (of the country). You have a man who has what it takes in experience, exposure, lessons that he has learnt, and he has learnt his lessons. I tried to teach him a few of them. You have a man who has what it takes at this time for us to have a change, and we need a change for the better.”
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