The former president of Nigeria noted that until Nigeria embraces the culture of continuity, the country would continue to grope in the dark while laying the blame on the nation’s lopsided constitution. “The problem of Nigeria is not the constitution,” Obasanjo argued, adding: “There is no constitution that is perfect in as much as it is written by human beings.” He further noted that if he had opportunity to rewrite the constitution of this country, there are only a few things he will change.
Obasanjo who was the guest speaker yesterday, May 9, at the third Covenant University International Conference on African Development Issues (ICADI), said there are certain things he would love to change if he had the opportunity to rewrite Nigeria’s constitution. The conference was themed: “Driving Inclusive and Sustainable Development in Africa: Models, Methods and Policies.
The former head-of-state stressed that the major problem in Africa is leadership noting that Nigeria is not an exception. “This is why I continue to say that If there is nothing we have got right since 56 years of our existence, then there is no need for our existence as Nigeria.” Obasanjo whose lecture was titled: “What is Right With Africa” identified Nigeria’s problems as leadership and corruption, saying that the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan was corrupt, and that the administration of his successor the late Umar Musa Yar’Adua, jettisoned his plan for continuity.
He recalled that his successor the late Musa Yar’adua initially campaigned for continuity after him. However, Obasanjo lamented that on attaining power, Yar’adua discarded the plan and some of the things his (Obasanjo) administration erected. Obsanjo also expressed concern over the profligacy displayed by the National Assembly with respect to the offensive amount expended on purchasing cars, wondering if it was constitutional.
“The purchase of cars by the Nigerian senators is absolute nonsense, after being given money for cars and house allowances, yet they still appropriated special funds for car purchase.” Obasanjo also appealed to Nigerians to give President Muhammadu Buhari benefit of the doubt, saying up until now, he only knows him as a principled man. “PMB served under me and I know him a little bit. He hasn’t deviated from what I knew him for. Actually he is not a perfect man, indeed no leader can be perfect. “Buhari might not be grounded in both the economy and foreign affairs, he is doing well in fighting Boko Haram and in his anti-corruption crusade.
I am very optimistic as far as Nigeria is concerned because we have somebody that will do it well as president,” Obasanjo said. The keynote speaker, Prof Joy Ogwu who is Nigeria’s permanent representative to the United Nation (UN) said Nigeria cannot have development in isolation of security, saying 85 per cent of security agenda of United Nation is on African countries. She said Africans owe themselves a duty to address their various developmental challenges. Meanwhile, Obasanjo has called on traditional rulers in Yorubaland not to engage in needless supremacy battles among themselves.
The ex-president stressed that the Obas must respect the throne they occupy and guard it jealously. The Nation reports that Obasanjo spoke on Thursday, May 5, when the new Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji, visited him at his residence in Abeokuta, Ogun state. According to him, the “I am greater than you in throne” syndrome among some royal fathers had drawn Yorubaland backward over the years. Obasanjo urged the Obas to shun unnecessary rivalry and put good governance first.