Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Monday reiterated that neither the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) nor opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has the capacity to chart Nigeria on a different course, economically and as a society.
He said that, in spite of reforms being undertaken by the APC-led Federal Government and apologies by opposition PDP for failing Nigerians during its time in power, both parties lack the vision and wherewithal to take Nigeria to the next level.
Obasanjo characterised the current government as not “competent, effective and performing”, but that there are good people in both major political parties in spite of the failures he pointed out.
The former President spoke at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), Abeokuta, while receiving a joint delegation from Nigeria Young Professionals Forum (NYPF) and New Nigeria 2019.
The two groups, led by Moses Siasia and China Anyaso, had visited the ex-President to consult him on the state of the nation and assure him of their preparedness to respond to his call for a popular movement.
He argued that the current administration would not have been voted into power if there were no challenges to address.
Obasanjo noted that only a political party with a strong and popular grassroots movement can bring about desired change, sustainability and stability in Nigeria.
While charging the groups on the need to wrest power from those he termed the “power addicts”, Obasanjo advocated for a virile grassroots movement where Nigerians can come together and form a formidable force which could not be intimidated or divided.
He equally charged citizens not to be afraid of facing challenges in their quest to effect desired change, noting that “when you have an ineffective and incompetent government, we are all victims.”
In his remarks, the former President explained that:
“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. 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 a grassroot 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 – the 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… 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.
“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. 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 a 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 stated.