Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, yesterday, articulated three reasons he is backing Atiku Abubakar for presidential contest, among which is the fact that he would not cede power to a caba
Obasanjo spoke at the Island Club as Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, presidential candidate enunciated his plans to get Nigeria working again.
The Island Club guest lecture addressed by Atiku had Senate President, Bukola Saraki; PDP national chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, among others as guests.
Noting how he turned towards Atiku, despite his earlier castigation of his former deputy, Obasanjo said: “Atiku has done three things which are absolutely imperative for a leader to be followed and believed. First, know who you are and present yourself as you are – a human being in blood and flesh and susceptible to human mistakes and human frailties.
“Don’t cover up with sanctimonious veneer of bogus integrity, incorruptibility, uprightness, goodness and false figures and statistics, all of which are contrived to deceive, to cheat, to plunder and to destroy.
“Second, a leader must be honest to himself and to the people he serves, or he wants to serve. He must identify and acknowledge his situation, mistakes, shortcomings, and inadequacy; show remorse where and when he has erred, seek forgiveness and repent; and not passing the bulk or keep blaming others and fail to accept responsibility.
‘’Atiku accepts responsibility for his mistakes, shows remorse and seeks forgiveness from his political party and subsequently from Nigerians.
“Third, as a leader, you must understand the fundamentals of the problems you have to solve and be courageous, visionary and ready to reach out sufficiently to build a credible team of experts, knowledgeable men and women, concerned and interested citizens and non-citizens to work hard and tirelessly for solutions that will benefit all Nigerians and, indeed, Africans and humanity. From my personal knowledge of Atiku, he has these qualities.’’
Reiterating why Atiku would make a better president than Buhari, Obasanjo said: “We now know that both Buhari and Atiku have issues and all of us as human beings have one issue or the other in different magnitude but judging both of them empirically, and for the task at hand, Atiku will perform much better than Buhari, and he will seek good and able people around the country and beyond and make use of them to achieve his mission and vision for the general good of Nigerians and the country.
“He will be a team leader but will not allow the seizure of his mandate by a cabal. A system to prevent impunity and ‘I can do what I like’ attitude and action must be put in place for all concerned. It is more than check and balance; rather it is for the good of all stakeholders and equity-holders.”
The former President used the forum to dismiss insinuations that he did not trust Atiku as vice-president to preside over Federal Executive Council meetings.
Before he enunciated his economic plans to reinvigorate the economy, Atiku used the opportunity to again raise concerns about the state of Nigeria’s democracy.
“After unsuccessfully abusing the instruments of state to remove the leadership of the legislature, President Muhammadu Buhari has turned his sights on the judiciary.
“The action of unilaterally suspending the Chief Justice of Nigeria by President Buhari is unconstitutional. The constitution provides laid down rules for the suspension or removal of the CJN and this has not been followed. This is a grave attack on our constitution and the people of our country.
The candidate subsequently unfolded his plans which he encapsulated to include privatisation of the four refineries, liberalisation of the productive sector of the economy, and politics of inclusiveness that minimises the spirit of frustration that spurs citizens into rebellion.
Atiku particularly lamented that Ghana with 14% of Nigeria’s population was attracting more Foreign Direct Investments, FDIs, as he promised to enunciate policies that would spur growth and restore confidence in the economy by citizens and the international community.