19th September, 2023
By Abiodun Lawal
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Tuesday in Abeokuta said he would not support a coup d’etat in Nigeria and other countries because of his experience in the hands of a former Nigerian Head of State, the late Gen. Sani Abacha.
However, while expressing his opposition to the military takeover of government, the former President declared that any condition that encouraged such on the continent should be avoided as much as possible.
Obasanjo said this while speaking with a group of youths under the aegis of Africa for Africa Youth Initiative (A4A) at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL).
‘The rising case of military coups in Africa shows that the people are tired of some things in their countries and in need of liberators,” he added.
Obasanjo called on governments of various African countries, including Nigeria, to ensure they did not push the youths to the point of preferring a military take-over in view of their policies.
“The point is, do we have conditions that encourage the type of things that are happening? If we don’t have the conditions that encourage them, they may not happen.
“That does not mean it should be encouraged. What it means is that we should make sure that we do everything to prevent military takeovers from happening.
“When you see things that happen in many countries, and I will not exclude Nigeria, then you wonder. But, don’t forget particularly the youths, they support most of these military take-overs,” the former Nigerian leader said.
Obasanjo then called on African leaders with a sit-tight mentality to have a change of heart, adding that democracy which works for everyone should be encouraged.
“One, let me make it clear, I do not support a coup d’etat. Because, personally, I have been a victim of a coup d’etat.
“Two, the good thing about democracy, if it works and delivers, is that you can sit down and dialogue and debate and discuss.
“But your democracy must take integrity along with it. Your democracy must take honesty along with it. Your democracy must take character along with it.
“Your democracy must take those attributes, God-given attributes, inclusive society, no marginalisation, no exclusion and no favouritism.”
Obasanjo also called on African youths to rise to the occasion to take leadership positions because the tomorrow they are waiting for may never come.
He said he never wanted to be a politician but only became one by accident.
The former president stated that the love he has for his people and humanity made him join politics, charging politicians generally to aspire to go into politics to serve their people.
“Politics is about service. You must give service and nobody is too old or too young or too poor to give service. When we begin to give quality service, then we shall have qualitative governance,” he said.
The Director of A4A, Henry Akasisli, in his remarks, said the group’s visit to Obasanjo had rekindled their passion and drive to take the African continent to the next level.
“Our visit to former President Obasanjo has been a major eye-opener. We have seen things. It is re-awakening,” he said.