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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo in his opinion for the choice of leadership for Nigeria come 2023 has identified the kind of leader Nigeria needs.
He expressly opined that Nigeria needs a leader driven by passion and “a touch of madness” to move forward.
He made the remark while hosting a Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Presidential aspirant, Mohammed Hayatu-Deen, in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital. The former President said Nigeria would overcome its security challenges within two years if the leader was ready to make tough decisions.
According to Obasanjo: “I will say four things, of which I was reminded this morning. One is knowledge.
“And when you said, that you are involved in this, with a passion and I was telling some people this morning that, passion means madness, that you are mad about Nigeria, I am and I have no apologies for that because I have no other country I can call my own and I have no other country I can go to and say yes, I have come to live here.
“Passion means being mad about Nigeria, having a touch of madness, and I look at you (Hayatu-Deen); you are mad about Nigeria too.”
The Former President also opined that Nigeria’s inability to meet its security challenges was a choice by the country’s leaders and not by God’s design.
Obasanjo declared that the country was going through a more difficult time than any other period in its political history. He said he had no apology for having “mad passion” for Nigeria, “because I have no other country I can call my own and I have no other country I can go to and say, yes, I have come to live here.”
The former president’s comments came as a report recently presented by the Kaduna State Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, stated that between January and March this year, a total of 360 people were killed by terrorist groups in the state, while 1,389 others were abducted.
Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, in his own assessment, said the epicentre of insecurity in Nigeria had moved from the North-east to the North-west. El-Rufai declared that what was currently happening in his North-west geopolitical zone was far more serious and potentially more dangerous than what happened in the North-east.
The governor said Kaduna State was becoming a haven for terrorists because they saw its forests as a comfortable fortress for their activities.
Obasanjo spoke at his penthouse residence within the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, when he played host to a presidential aspirant on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mohammed Hayatu-Deen. The ex-president said Nigeria required a leader, who had passion, innovation, and vision for Nigeria, some who possessed adequate knowledge of the challenges faced the country.
The former president insisted Nigeria could overcome its security challenges within two years with the right leader willing to make tough decisions. He urged Nigerians to brace up and be ready to make sacrifices to put the country back on the right path.
Obasanjo explained, “Some people say the human memories are short, maybe they are right, because if human memories are not short, some of the mistakes that we are making, we will not be making them.
“Yes, we have a record, which some people may find a little bit not what they want to hear, but whatever people want to hear, I believe, like you (Hayatu-Deen) have rightly said, this period is not like any other period in the history of Nigeria and you used two words, decomposing and dissolving. I can’t find any better words to describe the situation we have found ourselves.
“It is an agonising situation for you, obviously, and also for me. I want to emphasise the point that the Nigerian situation, bad as it is, will only be put right by Nigerians at the forefront of our situation. So, Nigerians have to brace themselves up to do what needs to be done to put Nigeria back on the right path.
“And you are right in saying that wherever you go now, one of the things you hear is that Nigeria is not on the table, but why shouldn’t Nigeria be on the table? What does it cost Nigeria to be on the table?
“I will say four things, of which I was reminded this morning. One is knowledge. If Nigeria is not at the table, maybe the knowledge that we should have of ourselves, of our situation, of our continent, and, indeed, of the world is not that adequate. If that knowledge is adequate, we will do what is right, when it is right and how it is right.
“The second is vision, what is the vision that we have? And if you have no vision, you may have eyes, but you are blind. And I believe that is part of our situation.
“The third is passion. And when you said you are involved in this with a passion, and I was telling some people this morning that passion means madness; that you are mad about Nigeria. I am and I have no apologies for that, because I have no other country I can call my own and I have no other country I can go to and say, yes, I have come to live here.
“Passion means being mad about Nigeria, having a touch of madness and I look at you (Hayatu-Deen) and say, yes, you are mad about Nigeria, too.
“Fourth one is innovation. We cannot be doing the same thing that we have done in the past that did not pay us and continue to repeat it and expect any change. We have to move out of it, we have to innovate, we have to re-strategise.
“And you talk about security and people ask me about it and I say I know that we can put all insecurity in Nigeria behind us within a space of two years. That we have not done or that we are still in the situation we are is a choice that has been made by our leaders, not the way God wants us to be.
“Like you said, I couldn’t agree with you more, that no individual in Nigeria, no political party, no smuggled person can make a critical mass that will resolve the situation that we are on today. It has to be an all Nigerian hands on deck. No section of the Nigerian community should be left out.”
Obasanjo said he believed Hayatu-Deen had the requisite knowledge, “from what you have said, you have the vision, also you told me that you have the madness and you have innovation, but let me add, Nigeria is a complex country. And we need to understand the complexity of Nigeria and that complexity if we take care of it, Nigeria is not a difficult country to rule or to manage, but we must all be ready.”