Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, a former president of Nigeria, has stated that circumstances that support coups should be avoided whenever feasible.
The former president of Nigeria, who held both political and military office, claimed that the increasing number of military takeovers in Africa is evidence that young people there are fed up with certain things and in need of a liberator.
However, Obasanjo was quick to point out that while he opposes coups, there is typically nothing that can be done when one occurs.
According to Anaedoonline.ng, the former president made the submission while addressing at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) in Abeokuta, Ogun State, during a discussion with a group of young people from the Africa for Africa Youth Initiative (A4A), a platform founded by Reverend Chris Oyakhilome.
He claimed that given his time under the former military ruler, late General Sanni Abacha, he would not support a coup.
Following his talk on “Fostering Sustainable Development Through Pan Africanism,” Obasanjo answered questions about coups in Africa by stating that it is crucial to avoid coups from occurring.
He urged the governments of several African nations, particularly Nigeria, to take care not to drive the youths to the point where they would prefer a military coup.
He said, “Having suffered in the hand of Abacha, I won’t support military coup. But if it has to come, what can we do?
“The point is this, do we have conditions that encourage the type of things that are happening, because if we don’t have the conditions that encourage them, they may not happen. That doesn’t not mean it should be encouraged. What it means is that we should make sure that we do everything to prevent coups from happening.
“When you see things that happen in many countries, and I will not exclude Nigeria, then you wonder and don’t forget, don’t forget particularly the youth, they support most of these coups. The one in Gabon, the Coup Leader was being carried on the head by the youths, not by old wretched men and women like me.
“So, the youth are looking for liberators, and we must bear that in mind. Why do we have to allow the youth to start looking for liberators beyond the government of the day. Why?”
Obasanjo urged leaders in Africa who have a “sit-tight mentality” to rethink their ways and added that it is important to support democracy that benefits all people.
“And if you have been in government for 40 years and you are not tired, maybe you need retirement,” he said.
He added that “One, let me make it clear, I don’t support coup because personally I have been a victim of coup. Two, the good thing about democracy, if it works and it delivers, is that you can sit down and dialogue and debate and discuss. But your democracy must take integrity along with it.
“Your democracy must take honesty along with it. Your democracy must take character along with it. Your democracy must take those attributes, God-given attributes, inclusive society, no marginalization, no exclusion, no favoritism.”
Obasanjo urged African youngsters to embrace leadership roles and wake up because the tomorrow they are yearning for might never arrive.
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