Three months after criticising President Muhammadu Buhari’s performance, former President Olusegun Obasanjo has advised Nigerians not to vote for a ‘failed government’ in 2019.
Speaking on Monday in Abeokuta, Obasanjo called on Nigerians to be cautious not to re-elect a ‘failed government’ which may end up with excuses for its failure to meet Nigerians’ expectations.
The former president spoke during a visit to his home by a ‘New Nigeria 2019 Group’ led by Chima Anyaso, the convener, and Moses Siasia, co-convener.
He said it will be foolhardy for Nigerians to reinforce failure by re-electing the All Progressives Congress (APC) and President Buhari in 2019.
He criticised the APC-led Federal Government for allegedly bringing hardship on Nigerians and running an ineffective economic policy, which, he said, cripples businesses, causing economic woes in the country.
While castigating the APC, Obasanjo also condemned his former ruling party, PDP. He asked Nigerians not to accept the opposition party’s recent apology; saying both APC and PDP could not salvage Nigeria.
He said, “But this time, for us to make it, we need all hands on deck. You see, I have publicly said and I mean it, that as a party, neither PDP nor APC can get us there as they have been. Never mind about reforms and apology and all that.
“And yet we have to get there. I asked one of the foundation members of PDP, the PDP when we started, was it a grassroots party? He said it was an elitist party. Really, we have never had the so-called grassroots party. Even NEPU which we could say is the nearest was not grassroots enough. And I believe strongly that we must have a strong popular grassroots movement to bring about the change, sustainability and stability that we need in our democracy and development.
“I am happy to meet with you, but don’t take anything for granted. There will be a lot of work that we have to do. What those I call power addicts would want to do is to divide you based on gender, age, tribe, religion and region. You have one commonality – interest of Nigeria. And it doesn’t matter where you come from. We had that interest.
“The truth is this: when you have an ineffective and incompetent government, we are all victims. And don’t let anybody deceive you. Those of you who are in business, your business could have been better today if we have a competent and effective and performing government. As I said, stop giving excuses; we met challenges. If there are no challenges, then we wouldn’t need you to come. You come in because you know there are challenges and then giving us excuse that you have many challenges, that is why you haven’t achieved results.
“And then you still want to go. The first lesson I learnt in my military training is never reinforce failure. What we have now is failure. Never you reinforce failure. Let failure be failure. And if you do not see what you should see, you will then be a victim of what you don’t like because it’s only when you see what you should see and you do what you should do that you put away what you do not like. And if you don’t see what you should see and you don’t do what you should do, you will be a victim of what you don’t like.”
He, however, said he believed some members of the APC and PDP still have integrity and can help Nigeria succeed.
“But let us bring together all these movements because we are pursuing the same thing. If we allow ourselves to be taken piecemeal, it is finished. Now if we are together… Yes, I said you cannot take PDP as it is and APC as it is; but they are not all made of evil people.
“There are good people. I said PDP is leprous hand, APC is leprous hand, but there are some clean fingers in them. So, let’s take those clean fingers in them and graft the clean fingers in our own. That is the way to go and if we go that way, we will get there, we will move together, and we will move fast and we will move far,” Obasanjo added.