Nigeria’s younger generation should be positively disruptive to get power now but not through violence, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, said on Thursday.
He said whether in the military or in the private sector, leadership is very important, adding that the younger generation will never get power if they do not get it now.
The youth, he advised, should run for elections in Nigeria and must not say they are too young to run at 55.
“If you can’t run, what time do you have to run? You have to be positively disruptive but not through violence. If they call you leaders of tomorrow, don’t accept it. If you don’t get it now, you will never get it. How do you need to make those to make uncomfortable uncomfortable? That’s the solution”, he said.
According to him, although the older generation was not perfect, they fought for the unity of the country, its independence and democracy.
Obasanjo also faulted critics who have always described Nigeria as a geographical expression, and wondered which country in the world is not a geographical expression.
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He said commonality of life is the most important, no matter the religion and ethnicity, adding that anybody who doesn’t love peace should be examined.
The former President stated these while featuring as a guest speaker during an inter-generational dialogue and emerging political leaders fellowship, an initiative of The Bridge Leadership Foundation convened by a former Governor of Cross River State, Senator Liyel Imoke.
The event was attended by some dignitaries including a former Governor of Imo State, Emeka Ihedioha and former Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Dr. Osita Chidoka.
Obasanjo said every leader must have knowledge, fear God, exhibit honesty, integrity and values.
He said, “Every country has history of how they come about. So, tell me which country isn’t a geographical expression. No other alternative to Nigeria, it’s our country.
“My generation: I won’t say it’s a perfect generation, but we fought for the unity of Nigeria…Say whatever you like, we, including, the military which people say caused ‘katakata’, fought for the unity of Nigeria, we also laid the foundation for democracy in Nigeria. Generations after us, what will they claim? Between the generations, there’s gap, space, and values to be bridged. That is why our gathering like this is important.
“Many people don’t believe in Nigeria and if you don’t believe in Nigeria, why would you talk about something you don’t believe in? You have to believe in Nigeria before we can talk about Nigeria. Some people still say that Nigeria is a geographical expression. Every country has history of how they come about. So, tell me which country isn’t a geographical expression. No other alternative to Nigeria, it’s our country.”
Obasanjo also revealed that until he entered secondary school, he never saw telephone until he got to Form Three.
“Until I entered secondary school, I never saw telephone. The telephone never worked until I got to form 3. I never wore a pair of shoes until until secondary school. I grew up to be watching black and white television, and it was one station. When remote control became a means in TV, I never knew. But my children said I was old school”, he said.
Imoke described Obasanjo as the person whose government remains the best in Nigeria.
“I worked for that election campaign in 1999 because I believe in the democracy. I wasn’t related to Obasanjo but he engaged us to sell Nigeria. His government has been the best in Nigeria. When we talk of intergenerational representation, I don’t think there’s better illustration than Obasanjo. He’s the type of leader we want as a nation”, he said.