A FORMER President, Olusegun Obasanjo, has said many politicians who should be in jail were jostling to lead Nigeria in 2023.
He blamed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Commission (ICPC), and the nation’s judiciary for the politicians who now walk freely on the street.
However, he did not name the aspirants.
“I cast a cursory look at some of the people running around and those for whom people are running around; if EFCC and ICPC had 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.”
Obasanjo made the remarks at an international symposium to mark his 85th birthday in Abeokuta; the Ogun State capital reports the Punch.
The event had the theme, ‘Africa Narrative with Nigeria Situation’.
The former president said he had not endorsed any candidate for the next presidential poll, against some reports claiming he had done so.
He said one of his friends, Ango Abdullah, a professor, briefed him of some publications which claimed he had endorsed three candidates from the South for the next presidential poll.
He said many top politicians had visited him to inform him of their plan to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari, who leaves office on May 29, 2023.
Obasanjo said following the situation, the nation had found itself; he would not rush into endorsing any candidate without consulting relevant stakeholders and examining the aspirants.
He decried the slow pace of advancement of democracy and its dividends in the nation.
He said, “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 requisite actions and personnel to move us forward. If we continue in the same pattern of recycling, sweet-word campaigning, manoeuvring without the substance of integrity, honesty, patriotism, commitment, outreach, courage, understanding of what makes a nation and what make for development, we will soon have to say goodbye to Nigeria as a nation.”
The nation’s military and democratic leader restated the need for the peaceful co-existence of people in the country.
He urged that fixing the nation must begin on the principles of nation-building, not necessarily on emotion, ethnicity or religion.
Obasanjo also urged Nigerians to x-ray all those aspiring to lead the nation in the next election.
He said the electorates should profile them from their birth.
He said anyone who would lead the nation must be a team leader, irrespective of his political party.
Some of those aspiring for the nation’s most exalted seat are former governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, former governor of Imo State and now a senator, Rochas Okorocha, and former governor of Abia State and currently a senator, Senator Orji Kalu.
Others are former Senate President Bukola Saraki, Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Pius Anyim, former Anambra State Governor Peter Obi, and former governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwankwaso.