Full Transcript Of Obansanjo Letter To Buhari – Must Read!!

THE WAY OUT: A CLARION CALL FOR
COALITION FOR NIGERIA MOVEMENT
Special Press Statement
By

President Olusegun Obasanjo
Since we are still in the month of January,
it is appropriate to wish all Nigerians
Happy 2018. I am constrained to issue this
special statement at this time considering
the situation of the country. Some of you
may be asking, “What has brought about
this special occasion of Obasanjo issuing a
Special Statement?” You will be right to ask
such a question. But there is a Yoruba
saying that ‘when lice abound in your
clothes, your fingernails will never be
dried of blood’. When I was in the village,
to make sure that lice die, you put them
between two fingernails and press hard to
ensure they die and they always leave
blood stains on the fingernails. To ensure
you do not have blood on your fingernails,
you have to ensure that lice are not
harboured anywhere within your vicinity.
The lice of poor performance in
government – poverty, insecurity, poor
economic management, nepotism, gross
dereliction of duty, condonation of misdeed
– if not outright encouragement of it, lack
of progress and hope for the future, lack of
national cohesion and poor management of
internal political dynamics and widening
inequality – are very much with us today.
With such lice of general and specific poor
performance and crying poverty with us,
our fingers will not be dry of ‘blood’.
Four years ago when my PDP card was
torn, I made it abundantly clear that I quit
partisan politics for aye but my concern
and interest in Nigeria, Africa and indeed
in humanity would not wane. Ever since, I
have adhered strictly to that position. Since
that time, I have devoted quality time to
the issue of zero hunger as contained in
Goal No. 2 of the Sustainable Development
Goals of the UN. We have set the target that
Nigeria with the participating States in the
Zero Hunger Forum should reach Zero
Hunger goal by 2025 – five years earlier
than the UN target date. I am involved in
the issue of education in some States and
generally in the issue of youth
empowerment and employment. I am
involved in all these domestically and
altruistically to give hope and future to the
seemingly hopeless and those in despair. I
believe strongly that God has endowed
Nigeria so adequately that no Nigerian
should be either in want or in despair.
I believe in team work and collaborative
efforts. At the international level, we have
worked with other world leaders to
domicile the apparatus for monitoring and
encouraging socio-economic progress in
Africa in our Presidential Library. The
purpose of Africa Progress Group, which is
the new name assumed by Africa Progress
Panel (APP), is to point out where, when
and what works need to be done for the
progress of Africa separately and
collectively by African leaders and their
development partners. I have also gladly
accepted the invitation of the UN Secretary-
General to be a member of his eighteen-
member High-Level Board of Advisers on
Mediation. There are other assignments I
take up in other fora for Africa and for the
international community. For Africa to
move forward, Nigeria must be one of the
anchor countries, if not the leading anchor
country. It means that Nigeria must be
good at home to be good outside. No doubt,
our situation in the last decade or so had
shown that we are not good enough at
home; hence we are invariably absent at
the table that we should be abroad.
All these led me to take the unusual step of
going against my own political Party, PDP,
in the last general election to support the
opposite side. I saw that action as the best
option for Nigeria. As it has been revealed
in the last three years or so, that decision
and the subsequent collective decision of
Nigerians to vote for a change was the
right decision for the nation. For me, there
was nothing personal, it was all in the best
interest of Nigeria and, indeed, in the best
interest of Africa and humanity at large.
Even the horse rider then, with whom I
maintain very cordial, happy and social
relationship today has come to realise his
mistakes and regretted it publicly and I
admire his courage and forthrightness in
this regard. He has a role to play on the
side line for the good of Nigeria, Africa
and humanity and I will see him as a
partner in playing such a role nationally
and internationally, but not as a horse
rider in Nigeria again.

The situation that made Nigerians to vote
massively to get my brother Jonathan off
the horse is playing itself out again. First, I
thought I knew the point where President
Buhari is weak and I spoke and wrote
about it even before Nigerians voted for
him and I also did vote for him because at
that time it was a matter of “any option but
Jonathan” (aobj). But my letter to President
Jonathan titled: “Before It Is Too Late” was
meant for him to act before it was too late.
He ignored it and it was too late for him
and those who goaded him into ignoring
the voice of caution. I know that praise-
singers and hired attackers may be raised
up against me for verbal or even physical
attack but if I can withstand undeserved
imprisonment and was ready to shed my
blood by standing for Nigeria, I will
consider no sacrifice too great to make for
the good of Nigeria at any time. No human
leader is expected to be personally strong
or self-sufficient in all aspects of
governance.

I knew President Buhari before he became
President and said that he is weak in the
knowledge and understanding of the
economy but I thought that he could make
use of good Nigerians in that area that
could help. Although, I know that you
cannot give what you don’t have and that
economy does not obey military order. You
have to give it what it takes in the short-,
medium- and long-term. Then, it would
move. I know his weakness in
understanding and playing in the foreign
affairs sector and again, there are many
Nigerians that could be used in that area
as well. They have knowledge and
experience that could be deployed for the
good of Nigeria. There were serious
allegations of round-tripping against some
inner caucus of the Presidency which
would seem to have been condoned. I
wonder if such actions do not amount to
corruption and financial crime, then what
is it? Culture of condonation and turning
blind eye will cover up rather than clean
up. And going to justice must be with clean
hands.

I thought President Buhari would fight
corruption and insurgency and he must be
given some credit for his achievement so
far in these two areas although it is not yet
uhuru!
The herdsmen/crop farmers issue is being
wittingly or unwittingly allowed to turn
sour and messy. It is no credit to the
Federal Government that the herdsmen
rampage continues with careless abandon
and without finding an effective solution to
it. And it is a sad symptom of insensitivity
and callousness that some Governors, a day
after 73 victims were being buried in a
mass grave in Benue State without
condolence, were jubilantly endorsing
President Buhari for a second term! The
timing was most unfortunate. The issue of
herdsmen/crop farmers dichotomy should
not be left on the political platform of
blame game; the Federal Government must
take the lead in bringing about solution
that protects life and properties of
herdsmen and crop farmers alike and for
them to live amicably in the same
community.

But there are three other areas where
President Buhari has come out more
glaringly than most of us thought we knew
about him. One is nepotic deployment
bordering on clannishness and inability to
bring discipline to bear on errant members
of his nepotic court. This has grave
consequences on performance of his
government to the detriment of the nation.
It would appear that national interest was
being sacrificed on the altar of nepotic
interest. What does one make of a case like
that of Maina: collusion, condonation,
ineptitude, incompetence, dereliction of
responsibility or kinship and friendship on
the part of those who should have taken
visible and deterrent disciplinary action?
How many similar cases are buried,
ignored or covered up and not yet in the
glare of the media and the public? The
second is his poor understanding of the
dynamics of internal politics. This has led
to wittingly or unwittingly making the
nation more divided and inequality has
widened and become more pronounced. It
also has effect on general national security.
The third is passing the buck. For instance,
blaming the Governor of the Central Bank
for devaluation of the naira by 70% or so
and blaming past governments for it, is to
say the least, not accepting one’s own
responsibility. Let nobody deceive us,
economy feeds on politics and because our
politics is depressing, our economy is even
more depressing today. If things were good,
President Buhari would not need to come
in. He was voted to fix things that were
bad and not engage in the blame game.

Our Constitution is very clear, one of the
cardinal responsibilities of the President is
the management of the economy of which
the value of the naira forms an integral
part. Kinship and friendship that place
responsibility for governance in the hands
of the unelected can only be deleterious to
good government and to the nation.

President Buhari’s illness called for the
sympathy, understanding, prayer and
patience from every sane Nigerian. It is
part of our culture. Most Nigerians prayed
for him while he was away sick in London
for over hundred days and he gave his
Deputy sufficient leeway to carry on in his
absence. We all thanked God for President
Buhari for coming back reasonably hale
and hearty and progressing well in his
recovery. But whatever may be the state of
President Buhari’s health today, he should
neither over-push his luck nor over-tax the
patience and tolerance of Nigerians for
him, no matter what his self-serving, so-
called advisers, who would claim that they
love him more than God loves him and that
without him, there would be no Nigeria
say. President Buhari needs a dignified and
honourable dismount from the horse. He
needs to have time to reflect, refurbish
physically and recoup and after appropriate
rest, once again, join the stock of Nigerian
leaders whose experience, influence,
wisdom and outreach can be deployed on
the side line for the good of the country.
His place in history is already assured.
Without impaired health and strain of age,
running the affairs of Nigeria is a 25/7
affair, not 24/7.

I only appeal to brother Buhari to consider
a deserved rest at this point in time and at
this age. I continue to wish him robust
health to enjoy his retirement from active
public service. President Buhari does not
necessarily need to heed my advice. But
whether or not he heeds it, Nigeria needs
to move on and move forward.

I have had occasion in the past to say that
the two main political parties – APC and
PDP – were wobbling. I must reiterate that
nothing has happened to convince me
otherwise. If anything, I am reinforced in
my conviction. The recent show of PDP
must give grave and great concern to lovers
of Nigeria. To claim, as has been credited
to the chief kingmaker of PDP, that for
procuring the Supreme Court judgement for
his faction of the Party, he must dictate the
tune all the way and this is indeed fraught
with danger. If neither APC nor PDP is a
worthy horse to ride to lead Nigeria at this
crucial and critical time, what then do we
do? Remember Farooq Kperogi, an
Associate Professor at the Kennesaw State
University, Georgia, United States, calls it
“a cruel Hobson’s choice; it’s like a choice
between six and half a dozen, between evil
and evil. Any selection or deflection would
be a distinction without a difference.” We
cannot just sit down lamenting and
wringing our hands desperately and
hopelessly.

I believe the situation we are in today is
akin to what and where we were in at the
beginning of this democratic dispensation
in 1999. The nation was tottering. People
became hopeless and saw no bright future
in the horizon. It was all a dark cloud
politically, economically and socially. The
price of oil at that time was nine dollars
per barrel and we had a debt overhang of
about $35 billion. Most people were
confused with lack of direction in the
country. One of the factors that saved the
situation was a near government of
national unity that was put in place to
navigate us through the dark cloud. We
had almost all hands on deck. We used
people at home and from the diaspora and
we navigated through the dark cloud of
those days. At that time, most people were
hopelessly groping in the dark. They saw
no choice, neither in the left nor in the
right, and yet we were not bereft of people
at home and from the diaspora that could
come together to make Nigeria truly a land
flowing with milk and honey. Where we
are is a matter of choice but we can choose
differently to make a necessary and
desirable change, once again.

Wherever I go, I hear Nigerians
complaining, murmuring in anguish and
anger. But our anger should not be like the
anger of the cripple. We can collectively
save ourselves from the position we find
ourselves. It will not come through self-
pity, fruitless complaint or protest but
through constructive and positive
engagement and collective action for the
good of our nation and ourselves and our
children and their children. We need moral
re-armament and engaging togetherness of
people of like-mind and goodwill to come
solidly together to lift Nigeria up. This is no
time for trading blames or embarking on
futile argument and neither should we
accept untenable excuses for non-
performance. Let us accept that the present
administration has done what it can do to
the limit of its ability, aptitude and
understanding. Let the administration and
its political party platform agree with the
rest of us that what they have done and
what they are capable of doing is not good
enough for us. They have given as best as
they have and as best as they can give.

Nigeria deserves and urgently needs better
than what they have given or what we
know they are capable of giving. To ask
them to give more will be unrealistic and
will only sentence Nigeria to a prison term
of four years if not destroy it beyond the
possibility of an early recovery and
substantial growth. Einstein made it clear
to us that doing the same thing and
expecting a different result is the height of
folly. Already, Nigerians are committing
suicide for the unbearable socio-economic
situation they find themselves in. And yet
Nigerians love life. We must not continue
to reinforce failure and hope that all will
be well. It is self-deceit and self-defeat and
another aspect of folly.

What has emerged from the opposition has
shown no better promise from their
antecedents. As the leader of that Party for
eight years as President of Nigeria, I can
categorically say there is nothing to write
home about in their new team. We have
only one choice left to take us out of Egypt
to the promised land. And that is the
coalition of the concerned and the willing –
ready for positive and drastic change,
progress and involvement. Change that will
give hope and future to all our youth and
dignity and full participation to all our
women. Our youth should be empowered to
deploy their ability to learn, innovate and
work energetically at ideas and concepts in
which they can make their own original
inputs. Youth must be part of the action
today and not relegated to leadership of
tomorrow which may never come. Change
that will mean enhancement of living
standard and progress for all. A situation
where the elected will accountably govern
and every Nigerian will have equal
opportunity not based on kinship and
friendship but based on free citizenship.

Democracy is sustained and measured not
by leaders doing extra-ordinary things,
(invariably, leaders fail to do ordinary
things very well), but by citizens rising up
to do ordinary things extra-ordinarily well.
Our democracy, development and progress
at this juncture require ordinary citizens of
Nigeria to do the extra-ordinary things of
changing the course and direction of our
lackluster performance and development. If
leadership fails, citizens must not fail and
there lies the beauty and importance of
democracy. We are challenged by the
current situation; we must neither adopt
spirit of cowardice nor timidity let alone
impotence but must be sustained by
courage, determination and commitment to
say and do and to persist until we achieve
upliftment for Nigeria. Nothing ventured,
nothing gained and we believe that our
venturing will not be in vain. God of
Nigeria has endowed this country
adequately and our non-performance
cannot be blamed on God but on
leadership. God, who has given us what we
need and which is potentially there, will
give us leadership enablement to actualize
our potentiality.

The development and modernization of our
country and society must be anchored and
sustained on dynamic Nigerian culture,
enduring values and an enchanting
Nigerian dream. We must have abiding
faith in our country and its role and place
within the comity of nations. Today,
Nigeria needs all hands on deck. All hands
of men and women of goodwill must be on
deck. We need all hands to move our
country forward.

We need a Coalition for Nigeria, CN. Such a
Movement at this juncture needs not be a
political party but one to which all well-
meaning Nigerians can belong. That
Movement must be a coalition for
democracy, good governance, social and
economic well-being and progress. Coalition
to salvage and redeem our country. You
can count me with such a Movement. Last
time, we asked, prayed and worked for
change and God granted our request. This
time, we must ask, pray and work for
change with unity, security and progress.
And God will again grant us. Of course,
nothing should stop such a Movement from
satisfying conditions for fielding candidates
for elections. But if at any stage the
Movement wishes to metamorphose into
candidate-sponsoring Movement for
elections, I will bow out of the Movement
because I will continue to maintain my
non-partisan position. Coalition for Nigeria
must have its headquarters in Abuja.

This Coalition for Nigeria will be a
Movement that will drive Nigeria up and
forward. It must have a pride of place for
all Nigerians, particularly for our youth
and our women. It is a coalition of hope for
all Nigerians for speedy, quality and equal
development, security, unity, prosperity
and progress. It is a coalition to banish
poverty, insecurity and despair. Our
country must not be oblivious to
concomitant danger around, outside and
ahead. Coalition for Nigeria must be a
Movement to break new ground in building
a united country, a socially-cohesive and
moderately prosperous society with equity,
equality of opportunity, justice and a
dynamic and progressive economy that is
self-reliant and takes active part in global
division of labour and international
decision-making.

The Movement must work out the path of
development and the trajectory of
development in speed, quality and equality
in the short- medium- and long-term for
Nigeria on the basis of sustainability,
stability, predictability, credibility,
security, cooperation and prosperity with
diminishing inequality. What is called for
is love, commitment and interest in our
country, not in self, friends and kinship
alone but particularly love, compassion and
interest in the poor, underprivileged and
downtrodden. It is our human duty and
responsibility so to do. Failure to do this
will amount to a sin against God and a
crime against humanity.

Some may ask, what does Obasanjo want
again? Obasanjo has wanted nothing other
than the best for Nigeria and Nigerians
and he will continue to want nothing less.
And if we have the best, we will be
contented whether where we live is
described as palaces or huts by others and
we will always give thanks to God.

I, therefore, will gladly join such a
Movement when one is established as
Coalition for Nigeria, CN, taking Nigeria to
the height God has created it to be. From
now on, the Nigeria eagle must continue to
soar and fly high. CN, as a Movement, will
be new, green, transparent and must
remain clean and always active, selflessly
so. Members must be ready to make
sacwmwtwrifice for the nation and pay the price
of being pioneers and good Nigerians for
our country to play the God-assigned role
for itself, for its neighbours, for its sub-
region of West Africa, for its continent and
for humanity in general. For me, the
strength and sustainable success of CN will
derive largely from the strong commitment
of a population that is constantly mobilized
to the rallying platform of the fact that
going forward together is our best option
for building a nation that will occupy its
deserved place in the global community.
May God continue to lead, guide and
protect us. Amen.

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