Former president Olusegun Obasanjo has blamed the younger generation of leaders in the country for the poor political and socio-economic development of the country, saying they had poor performance record in terms of integrity and probity.
Obasanjo stated this in Ibadan yesterday as the keynote speaker at the 4th Annual Ibadan Sustainable Development Summit organised by the Centre for Sustainable Development, University of Ibadan, in collaboration with African Sustainable Development Network.
Obasanjo also made specific references to former vice-president Atiku Abubakar, former Lagos State governor Bola Tinubu, former speaker of the House of Representatives Alhaji Salisu Buhari, former Bayelsa State governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha and others as the younger generation of leaders who had failed the country.
The ex-president spoke while responding to issues of poor leadership in Africa. He said that Nigeria was jinxed and cursed, adding “we should all go to hell”.
He said, “We had some people who were under 50 years in leadership positions. One of them was James Ibori; where is he today? One of them was Alamieyeseigha; where is he today? Lucky Igbinedion, where is he today?
“The youngest was the speaker, Buhari — you can still recall what happened to him. You said Bola Tinubu is your master. What Buhari did was not anything worse than what Bola Tinubu did. We got him impeached. But in this part of the world, some people covered up the other man. The man claimed he went to Government College, Ibadan, but the governor (of Oyo State) went to Government College and packed all the documents so that they would not know that he did not go there.
“I wanted someone who would succeed me, so I took Atiku. Within a year, I started seeing the type of man Atiku is. And you want me to get him there? I once went to Tanzania because Julius Nyerere recognized Biafra. He told me not to mind his aides and others in government. They would say they have one house in town but their five-year-old sons and daughters would have houses all over.”
According to him, the whole thing is not just about leadership. “If we talk about good leadership, you should also talk about good followers. If you talk about human right, you should also talk about human duties and obligations.”
He said it was sad that after 53 years of independence, we have no leader that we can commend, adding: “Then we are jinxed and cursed; we should all go to hell. The problem in Africa is that when one person takes over he would not see any good thing that his predecessor did. Let us condemn but with caution.”
On the topic, “Leadership in Africa’s quest for sustainable development”, the former president said it came at a time when humanity as a whole was in search of innovative ways of managing globally shared challenges.
The vice-chancellor, University of Ibadan, Prof. Isaac Adewole, said, “We have not raised a question about the scenario where 35 people found it difficult to conduct a credible election in this country. I then have concern about how 2015 election would be.”
A discussant from the Institute of Sustainability and Peace, United Nations University, Tokyo, Dr Obijiofor Aginam, said, “Unemployment is a bomb that has exploded and manifested itself in hunger, violent attacks, crimes and killings.”
Another discussant, Prof. Mojeed Alabi, said, “The task of leadership in Africa has been quite challenging. Africans have been so unfortunate. The question is whether our leaders wanted development or power.”
But he got to know Atiku as defender of democracy
– Ex-VP’s spokesman
Meanwhile, Atiku’s spokesperson, Mallam Garba Shehu, has reacted to the claim of Obasanjo , saying: “Yes, President Obasanjo is right. He didn’t know Atiku well. It was later he got to know him as a fighter for democracy and defender of the constitution.”