A former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, has promised to support any presidential candidate he believes would transform Nigeria for good.
Mr Obasanjo made this known on Thursday while playing host to a presidential aspirant, Kabiru Turaki, at the his residence located inside the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
The former president said lack of qualitative leadership was one of the major challenges confronting Nigeria. He, therefore, called for concerted efforts from the political class towards providing the country with a better leadership.
“Let me say that what is happening here today or what you’re making to happen with your delegation particularly gladdens my heart,” he said of Mr Turaki who came to seek his support.
“You are firming up and stabilising our democracy. Democracy is not a destination but a journey and there is no nation that can claim to have reached the final destination.
“We have said a lot of things that we have identified about what we need to put right as a country. What do we lack? Why are we not where we should be?
“We are so divided today the way we have not been before. People are deprived socially and economically. But you know I have never lost hope. The reasons are many but one of them is what we are having here today.”
Mr Obasanjo, who has pledged to work against the re-election of incumbent President, Muhammadu Buhari, said Nigeria “has been blessed by God with men and women of calibre, who can stand their onions anywhere in the world.”
“Why are we underperforming? Simple, leadership. What you are saying in simple language is that we are not short of leadership that can perform and that leadership should be given an opportunity.
“A nation can be destroyed not necessarily by people who are doing bad things but people who keep quiet when bad things are being done. They are worse enemy of the nation as much as those who are doing bad things.
“For me, I’ll continue not to rest until we get this country to where God wants this country to be. There is no permanent arrangement for the indivisibility of Nigeria. I share your concern but I believe that no one can do it alone. And for me, anybody who will lead Nigeria to the Promised Land, will have my support.
“We are in a position to do better than we are doing but in a situation of the world today, where whatever is happening can be seen instantly, we have to create a good image to the world. But some of the things we do advertently or inadvertently are not creating that good image”.
Mr Turaki, a former minister of special duties and intergovernmental affairs, while speaking with journalists after the meeting, said he came, alongside his team, to pay respect to Mr Obasanjo and intimate him of his presidential ambition in 2019.
He said the indivisibility of the country remains non-negotiable and accused the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) of incompetence to resolve some of Nigeria’s many challenges.
“The meeting has been a very fruitful one. We have discussed openly, honestly and frankly about the current situation in this country and like always, Baba was of tremendous guidance to us. Baba has spoken in his vintage way of speaking passionately about the situation in Nigeria.
“We believe that our indivisibility as a one and united nation is given and it is non-negotiable. We feel that our unity is also non-negotiable. But within the parameters of living together and staying together as the plural and multiethnic complex country that God has brought together, we must learnt to understand and respect each other’s feelings.
“We must work towards ensuring that the government does perform the minimum obligation that citizens of every country expect, which is the protection of the lives and properties of Nigerians.
“And that is why we feel that not being able to do so; the APC-led federal government has now placed Nigerians in a very sorry situation. There is insecurity everywhere; there is lack of unity; there is despondency; there is hunger, there is poverty and we feel that we will of assistance.”
Mr Turaki, who is seeking the ticket of the PDP, Nigeria’s largest opposition party, said he and his team “will rise up to the situation and seek the support and mandate of our party to effect positive change that will affect the lives of Nigerians positively.
“And we have consulted with President Obasanjo and he has given us words of advice as always and we feel now that with this discussion we had with him, our knowledge of the intricacies involved has been so deepened and widened.
“We have been placed in a better situation now to address fully these problems that are bedeviling the Nigerian state.
“And when we get the ticket of our party and win the election in February 16 next year, we would be able to bring back Nigeria on the path of prosperity again. It can be done, it has been done and we will do it again by the special grace of God.”
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