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Friday 27 January 2023

No Leader Can Create New Nigeria Overnight — Obasanjo

No Leader Can Create New Nigeria Overnight — Obasanjo


*As Wike Warns On Truncating 2023 Polls

Former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has said no leader can create a new Nigeria overnight stressing that ascension to political offices does not empower incumbents to destroy the policies and programmes of their predecessors.

He spoke, yesterday, at the International Conference on ‘Deepening Democratic Culture and Institutions for Sustainable Development and Security in Nigeria’ in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.

Obasanjo said it does not matter the party a predecessor belonged to, but that new leaders should sustain the policies and projects of their predecessors as long as the programmes are in the interest of the people.

The former president said democracy was not a one-day wonder, noting that there must be continuity and predictability of policies despite changes in leadership.

He said: “In Nigeria, each new government behaves as if Nigeria is a newly found country. In fact, during campaigns, some leaders sound as if they plan to reinvent Nigeria and create new Nigerians overnight. That is because they miss the aspect of democracy that emphasizes continuity, stability and predictability.

“One regime can lay the foundation; but, it requires many regimes to continue to build positively and constructively on the foundation. It is largely because we overlook and often disregard the basic principles of democracy. And somehow, we do not appreciate the damage that we do, individually and collectively, to the fabric of the nation.”

He warned that without retracing the nation’s political steps to the right direction, the current process will either not produce the right leaders or it would leave so many broken blocks on the path to governance.

“The result will be democratic quagmire, increased corruption, insecurity and survival of the fittest, richest and better connected with little or no recognition of merits,” he said.

Obasanjo lamented that electoral litigations have now become a thing of luck because political actors do not play by the rules.

“We fail to understand that democracy is not a one shot game. It is evolutionary and it takes time to ground the practice. It is not for quick change and indeed, if we play by the rules, we would all realise that regimes or governments can change but the tenets remain constant. We would not be so bitter with election results or overload the courts with litigations, very many of which are like ‘try your luck’,” hew said.

On his part, Governor Nyesom Wike, said the success or failure of the forthcoming elections would have substantial implications on the future of the country.

“ The 2023 general elections are barely one month from today.This election is another opportunity for Nigerians to elect a new president of the federation and governors in the 30 of the 36 federating states. The success or failure of these elections would have substantial implications for the country. Success will add value by consolidating and strengthening all the roots of our democracy.

A failure may increase political polarization, exacerbate our social fault lines and set our democracy backwards.”

He, however, noted that after 24 years of democratic rule, “we are yet in a position to take credible democratic elections for granted in Nigeria.”

READ ALSO:  Nigeria’s Judiciary Not Showing Enough Commitment To War Against Corruption — Sagay SAN

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