Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, has said that Nigeria’s inability to meet its security challenges was a choice by the country’s leaders and not by God’s design.
Obasanjo said this when he spoke at his penthouse residence within the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital on Thursday, May 19.
The former leader declared that the country was going through a more difficult time than any other period in its political history. According to him, the issue of insecurity can be addressed within a space of two years if the Nigerian leaders work towards it.
“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.”