by Femi Oyeweso (Leadership)
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has declared that Nigeria can come out of its plethora of challenges in two years only if the citizens vote in a president who can take tough decisions and stand by them.
Obasanjo, who enjoined Nigerians to brace up and be ready to make sacrifices towards putting the country back on the right path, said yesterday that the country requires a leader, who has a passion, innovation, vision as well as possesses adequate knowledge about the challenges confronting the country in the areas of security and economy among others.
The former president spoke when he hosted a presidential aspirant under the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Mohammed Hayatu-Deen, at his penthouse residence located within the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital.
Declaring that he has a “mad passion” for Nigeria, Obasanjo maintained that he has no apology for being mad about Nigeria “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”.
He lamented that the current situation in Nigeria is not only agonizing for him, but for other Nigerians, who also desire a better country to call a home.
“Some people say the human memories are shot, maybe they are right because if human memories are not shot, 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, that 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 in.
“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, that 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 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 said 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 in 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 in today. It has to be an all-Nigerian hand on the deck. No section of the Nigerian community should be left out.
“So, I believe you have knowledge, from what you have said you have the vision, also you told me that you have the madness and you have innovation, but let me add, Nigeria is a complex country. And we need to understand we need to understand the complexity of Nigeria and that complexity if we take care of it. Nigeria is not a difficult country to rule or to manage, but we must all be ready,” he said.