Barely two weeks after his long letter to Nigerian voters on New Year day, urging them to vote wisely, former president of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, has again called on Nigerians to be thoughtful and consider each of the presidential candidate and their character, track record, physical and mental agility before voting them in office.
Obasanjo said this while speaking via zoom at the Africa Leadership Group, hosted by Ituah Ighodalo, themed, “Leadership and Nation Building.” He urged Nigerians to go beyond talking especially on the internet and collectively vote for a president with good knowledge of the economy that will be able to quickly take the country out of its current situation to a better place.
The elder statesman acknowledged that Nigeria is where it is today only because of bad leadership; therefore the time to fix the country is now. Obasanjo stated: “We are where we are because of leadership and I thought that is the purpose why you set this up and you want us to talk about it.
“I would like to say this, we must decisively go for men and women who have the character, the attitude, and the skills that we need for leadership, that will deliver in this country.
“Recently, a pastor was talking and he said to the congregation ‘I know most of you must have made up your minds who you will vote for’ and he said ‘those of you who have made up your minds who you will vote for, I don’t want to know who you will vote for but put up your hands,’ almost the whole congregation, including himself put up their hands. I found it interesting and he said, ‘I want to make it clear and as I pray, put up your hands that your children may have a character, the attitude, the reputation, the life of the one you have chosen to vote for, then hands started coming down.’
“And I said to myself, so who here are people who are ready to vote for somebody they don’t want their children to be like? Now, what do you say of such people? Wicked as far as I’m concerned, unpatriotic; whether they do it deliberately for whatsoever reason – religion, money – for whatever they do that, they are nation destroyers and not nation builders and this has been our problem over the years.
“We don’t need to go far to look for why we are where we are and what we are seeing and what you are seeing and what I am seeing is we need to ensure that: first, we cultivate, we develop leaders for nation building. If the person you want to vote for or you have decided to vote for is not the person that you would want your child to be like, then change your mind.
“Every human being has an element of leadership ability, and to me, I think character, vision, track record, physical and mental agility as some people would put it”
Speaking on monetisation of politics in Nigeria, the former president said the next president has to be someone who understands the economy so that he will be able to fix the petroleum that has been stolen and be able to put strategies in place to tackle the out of school children in the country.
Furthermore, Obasanjo said: “There are over 20 million Nigerian children that should be in school that are not in school. Those 20 million Nigerian children, when they become adults, will not be able to contribute maximally or even optimally to the nation, their state and the world.
“There is also a problem with political education. It doesn’t matter whether you are fully educated or you have a university degree or primary or secondary education. Political education is also very important.
“Then there is religion and I think these are some of the sad realities that do not help us; and then money. I will put it in one word, corruption,” Obasanjo concluded.