Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Tuesday said bad governance is at the root of the recent coup d’etat sweeping through some African countries.
According to Obasanjo the practice of democracy without integrity bad governance, nepotism, and favouritism amidst sit-tight syndrome are fuelling the coup d’etat in Africa.
Within the last two months, the military had taken over democratically elected governments in Gabon and Niger Republic citing poor leadership and mismanagement of the countries’ resources.
Obasanjo said that as much as he hated military rule having suffered untold hardship under the late military despot, General Sanni Abacha, when he was incarcerated for the 1995 phantom coup, the maladministration of the African leaders was, however, making the citizens seek alternative liberators beyond the government of the day, hence this gale of military coup.
The 86-year-old former President disclosed this at an interactive session on public service and governance held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library with members of Africa for Africa Youth Initiative who came from Botswana, Benin, Ghana, South Africa, Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.
Speaking on how to stem the tide of incessant coups and ensure political stability on the continent, the former military Head of State said, “If some of the things coming out from these former French colonial countries are true like the Malians saying they don’t want to have anything to do with France again, one might really be asking if France has ever granted these countries full independence.
“Secondly, we are told that democracy is the government of the people by the people and for the people, but you may ask which people? And what does this democracy deliver?
“On one occasion, I got about a dozen or two boys and girls who have attempted to go across the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean. When they told me their story, I wept. When you see and hear that kind of thing, what do you do? Yes, I love democracy, having suffered in the hands of Abacha, I will never love military rule; but if it has to come, what can we do?
“However, we should ask ourselves this question: Do we have conditions that are encouraging these coups on our continent?
“Because if we don’t have the conditions that encourage them, it will not happen, though this does not mean that we must encourage them.”
He expressed worry that the youths supported the coups, querying, “Why are we allowing the youths to begin the search for liberators beyond the government of the day?
“When I left secondary school, I got five jobs. How many of you will finish university now and have five jobs waiting? You will be lucky to have even one or two. Think of a situation where somebody said there will be job creation, there will be employment, there will be wealth creation, you will say wow, this sounds interesting, but can it be done? Let me make it clear that I don’t support coups because personally, I have been a victim.”