Former President Olusegun Obasanjo says most of the politicians gunning for 2023 presidency ought to be in jail.
Speaking in Abeokuta, Ogun State, during at the international symposium to mark his 85th birthday, Obasanjo said such persons, whom he refused to name would not be roaming freely if the anti graft agencies had done their jobs well and supported by the judiciary.
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The well attended birthday celebration attracted Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director General of the World Trade Organization; Dr Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (AFDB); former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, among others.
Atiku, former Lagos Governor, Ahmed Bola Tinubu, former Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, are among those vying for the presidential seat.
According to Obasanjo, any person who has no integrity in small things cannot have integrity in big things.
The former President also submitted that “Nigeria is tottering and for as long as we continue to put the cart before the horse, it cannot be well.”
Obasanjo said “As the quadrennial madness builds a head of steam and the runners and riders crisscross the nation in the quest for nomination as the party flag bearer to the highest office in the land, I read and hear about endorsement and statements in support of candidates that I frankly have not made and forming next political parties that I can never get involved in.
“I believe in principles before personalities and taking personalities before principles is putting the cart before the horse. And for me, the major issue is how to progress Nigeria from a country to a nation. If in 2015 Nigeria was seventy-five per cent a country and fifty per cent a nation, today, Nigeria will not be more than fifty per cent a country and twenty-five per cent a nation. The task of reversing the trend is beyond one personality, one political party or all political parties; it is beyond professional and commercial politicians alone. It demands and requires all hands on deck. I mean Nigerians in all walks of life – politicians, community leaders, traditional leaders, religious leaders, diplomatic leaders, leaders in the academia, leaders in all aspects of government life, and leaders in other aspects of the civil society.
“Since 1999, we have changed from one political party or another we have manoeuvred and manipulated to the point that election results are no longer reflections of the will of the people and we seemed to be progressively going back rather than going forward politically, economically and socially. We have activities without requite actions and personnel to move us forward. If we continue in the same pattern of recycling, sweet-word campaigning, manoeuvring without substance of integrity, honesty, patriotism, commitment, outreach, courage, understanding of what make a nation and what make for development, we will soon have to say goodbye to Nigeria as a nation.
“I cast a cursory look at some of the people running around and those for whom people are running around. If EFCC and ICPC will have done their jobs properly and supported adequately by the judiciary, most of them would be in jail. Any person who has no integrity in small things cannot have integrity in big things. Fixing Nigeria must begin on the principles of nation building, not necessarily on emotion, sentiments, euphoria, ignorance, incompetence, ethnicity, nepotism, bigotry, sectionalism, regionalism, religion or class. The issues of security, stability, development, economy and our relationship within Africa and with the rest of the world can only be taken care of if we get the issue of the nation building right.”