Former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday warned Nigerians against electing thieves and hooligans as leaders, stressing that such leaders can abuse and misuse democracy as weapon.
He spoke in Abuja during the public presentation of a book written by former President Goodluck Jonathan, titled ‘My Transition Hours’. Newsworth recalls that at the last presidential election, Jonathan had called President Muhammadu Buhari, candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, to concede defeat even before the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, announced the final tally.
Obasanjo, who was the chairman of the book launch, said Jonathan’s decision to concede defeat in 2015, saved the country from crisis and called on him to continue to contribute his quota to national development.
He identified four seasons in the life of a democrats or politicians: Campaign to election, when you take up office and came in with high popularity and it starts to dwindle, immediately after you leave office you lose fairweather friends, when you have weathered the storm and look up again.
“The post-office life which you are now enjoying is one that we must crave for. It’s a life of continued service to humanity,” he told Jonathan who was marking his 61st birthday.
The former president maintained that past leaders, both in Nigeria and outside Nigeria, have residual responsibilities to continue to serve people and God.
According to him, “Your birthday is being celebrated with the launch of the book. I must congratulate you for a peaceful retirement. Let me welcome you to the camp of authors.
“You came in with high popularity; that is why you were able to win elections. If you had launched this book three years ago, you wouldn’t have mustered the kind of crowd you mustered today.
“You have enjoyed a life of continued service to the nation. Because of what God has made us, we have the residual responsibility to continue to be of service to your community, your state, Nigeria, west Africa, Africa and the world.
“There is still no substitute for democracy when all is said and done. It fosters peace. It builds and does not destroy. It unifies rather than divide. But all these can only happen if democracy is in the hands of democrats. If it is in the hands of thieves and hooligans, they can abuse and misuse it as weapon. We should ensure hooligans don’t get it.
“Nigeria has responsibilities beyond its borders: for West Africa, Africa and the black race over the world.
“Like Koroma said, Nigeria has responsibility beyond its borders, for west Africa, Africa and for the black race.
“Atimes, when we do things and we get worried, but like Butrus Ghali said, when he was asked where he will like to be if not Egypt, he said Nigeria. When asked why Nigeria of all places, he said, ‘You will wake up in Nigeria and it will be as if heaven will fall but before you go to bed, it will be cool and calm. Let’s continue to make it cool and calm.”