Why should I not take Obasanjo's words serious? ~ Sheikh Gumi


When Olusegun Obasanjo was in power, I was among those who criticised him. And when Jonathan came to power, and Obasanjo wrote a letter to him, I told a congregation in the mosque that whatever I have said about Obasanjo or whatever I think Obasanjo did wrong to me particularly or the people, I have forgiven him. This was during the first letter he wrote to Jonathan.

So I have forgiven Obasanjo because I realised that the manner he is doing it is for the interest of Nigerians. When he saw Jonathan whom he brought to power was going off the track, he corrected him in a letter, saying this and that. So now, this same Obasanjo, when he sees President Buhari doing the same thing, wrecking the nation, he drew people’s attention to the drift. He has been consistent, if he sees that you are deviating from the mainstream or doing something that is so detrimental to the nation as a whole, he speaks. So why should I not take his words serious? A former Head of State, a security man, a man who fought the civil war and everything, he is supposed to know at least what is happening to everybody. What Nigeria needs now is stability, peace and tranquility. There are forces that are pragmatic, practical, not idealistic and full of propaganda. So this nation is made up of many tribes, and hundreds of different persuasions, even within the same division you have divisions and different ideas. With the same Bible, they fight each other or with the same Koran, the people will be fighting each other. So there is only one thing that can unite us; the desire for peaceful coexistence, that is what everybody needs. When we sit down on the same table and find the way out, whatever it is, we can resolve it. So if leaders will come together and negotiate our ways out, the problem will be less. When you win election, it doesn’t mean the nation is yours and you [can] do what you like, like if I am President now, Nigeria is my own, [and] I do what I like. It is not like that. You have to listen to the constituencies, you have to listen to Nigerians, and if you win an election, you have to tolerate all Nigerians. As the president, you got over 12 million votes (or let’s give him 20 million votes), for example, out of 80 million registered Nigerian voters. Out of eighty million, only 20 million voted for you and you are raising your shoulder––you are nobody, you are nobody in the question of Nigeria. You can’t do what you want; you have to be consultative, you have to bring all segments together. Why majority of voters did not vote is another reaction, you have to listen to them and find solution to what will unite Nigerians.

This is the kind of government we need. You can’t impose yourself, no way, you can’t use force. We need a government that brings everybody together, listens to people and obeys the rule of law, then we can have unity in this country. But force cannot do it. Let me tell you, when Nzeogwu did coup in 1966, they thought they have Nigeria, after six months, everything turned upside down. Force cannot do it. Major Orkar in 1990 thought he could change Nigeria by force. Force cannot do it. Only persuasion can do it. We have to sit down on the table for Nigeria to be readjusted. But we need a government that people can call and say, yes, they will do it for us.

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