Former President Olusagun Obasanjo has decried calls for a National
Conference on the way forward for Nigeria describing such conference
as a distraction.
The former president who, described such conferences as distractions,
said he did not bother to read the report of the last one organised by
former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Mr. Obasanjo stated this in an interview with the News Agency of
Nigeria at his hilltop residence in Abeokuta.
“We Nigerians need ourselves and if anyone thinks he does not need
another person, good luck to him.
“What I see in all those groups trying to break away is that they want
more of the national cake.
“The fact that you want more of the cake means that it is good and you
like it, else you will not be asking for more of it.
“I do understand the agitations of the youths in that the increased
facilities that now exist as against our own time have not translated
to adequate opportunities for them.
“But I think that rather than engage in violence, they should think of
how to build on the sacrifices of the generations before them,” he
The elder statesman, who turns 80 on March 5, said he had no regrets
at such an age.
He said that his hope that Nigeria would still be a great nation was
still intact.
“Whatever you might see as bad in Nigeria, other societies have gone
through the same at some period in their history.
“It is not for us to begin to condemn but to begin to join hands
together and consider how we can make the best out of our present.
“Our present situation is a passing phase and we need to be resilient
to ensure that we are not consumed by it.
“I will be the first to admit that we have not been where we should
have been, but note that we have also been far from where we could
have been because it could have been worse.
“It is the height of ingratitude for people to say Nigeria has not
achieved anything or much as a nation.
“The generation before mine fought for Nigeria’s independence, that is great.
“My own generation, which is the next, fought to sustain the unity of Nigeria.
“Since 1999, Nigeria had enjoyed 18 years of unbroken democracy.
“We witnessed in 2007 a transition of power from one individual to
another in the same party.
“We witnessed in 2015 a transition of power from an individual in the
ruling party to another individual in the opposition party.
“All these should not be taken for granted,” he said.
Chief  Obasanjo also  said the current Nigerian leader, Muhammadu
Buhari, has not disappointed him since he assumed office in 2015.
While reflecting on the Buhari administration since 2015, Mr. Obasanjo
said that the president had done his best to move the country forward.
“Whatever anybody says, President Buhari has not disappointed me from
what I know of him,” he said.
He said the president had delivered on his core areas of strength and
ability, particularly in the anti-corruption crusade and the war
against insurgency.
“In my book, I have said that Buhari is not strong on the economy and
I did not write this to run him down.
“I also used to think that he is not strong in the area of foreign
affairs, but I have realised that he has improved very well.
“He has actually done his best in the areas where we know him to be
strong,” he said.
The former president urged Nigerians not to relent in their support
for Mr. Buhari and not to give up on Nigeria.