Abiodun Onafuye/ Abeokuta
Nigeria’s former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has declared that the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari has no alternative for now,calling on all hands to be on deck in giving the necessary support to provide the “change” the country desired.
He said irrespective of people’s view about him on the present administration, he would continue to pray and work for its success.
Obasanjo stated this on Saturday when he hosted the leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) at his Presidential hilltop residence in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital.
The former President also reflected on the country’s general elections noting that with the successful process, God loves the country.
Obasanjo in a response to the demands of the students, led by the Vice President, Ogunkunade Oluwatoyin particularly as it affected fighting corruption and improvement in the standard of eduction and economy said:
“God forbid that this present democractic despensation should fail, because we have no other alternative and that is why I said that the present administration should succeed. There is no excuse and that is why I am so concerned about the success of this administration. Say whatever you like about me, I pray and I will work for the success of this government.
“There is no alternative to democracy, the alternative to democracy is even worse than the imperfection of democracy. I am a victim of military regime, I was put in jail meant to be killed. By divine intervention I escaped. If there was democracy there might have been a fair amount of trial.
“So I heard you, I note your request and as time goes by, when I do have opportunity in the community of leaders where you want me to pass your message, I will deliver your message”,Obasanjo said.
On leadership, Obasanjo pointed that the issue of good leadership is a collective effort of everyone.
“There is no individual who is seque-non. There is no angel, for me there is no messiah except Jesus Christ, but there are leaders who are concerned about what is happening in this country, leaders that are so passionate about this country and who are ready to stick out their neck for this country and God has given us such an individual as the President of the country.
“What has happened is an indication that change has come and that our dreams may come true. But all that is required of everyone, young and old, youths and even students is to give unalloyed support to the government and where we believe that we should give criticism that is objective and positive we should give.
“For me these points that you have made about what is going on in this country, about corruption, about the economy, about security, we all know these and that is why some of us prepared to stick out our neck to achieve change because most of these things have not been addressed for the past six years. How can anybody tell us that they will be addressed the next four years?
“But now we have seen a ray of hope, so I will say let us encourage where we need to encourage, let us be objective where we need to be objective, let us show solidarity where we need to show solidarity.
“Nobody is too young or too old to give meaningful contribution, even what you are doing here is part of it, but do not limit it here, let us take it to them, those at the Senate, House of Representatives, those at the State level, men and women of goodwill in this country,” he said.
Obasanjo also spoke on youth employment, which to him has always been “a serious concern.
“There is no employment for the youths in this country. We have 150 universities, somebody told me that we can admit about 700,000 students in a year, but those who seek admission into the universities probably double that number, but whatever it is, if we admit 700,000 students into the universities every year, we are creating half a million jobs. We are not even creating a quarter of a million jobs and that for me is where the problem lies.
“We need to be mindful of job creation and wealth creation, it does not matter what university you went to, you must be mindful that job creation and wealth creation to the next generation.
“If you don’t have a target about the actions that you are about to take, then you do not have anything to work up to. I believe that having a target is necessary and even if you can not meet that target your people have something to work up to and if a target is set that is the way we do in the military.
“Let me give the history of the Nigeria civil war, I was one of those who did the appreciation of the war and wrote the order we thought that war would end in six months and we make a plan for six months. But the war took 30 months but you can not just leave it open, it must be an open ended. Now fix a target and then those who are to carry it out they know that they have time and space within which to work”,he explained.