‘I won’t support military coup but if it happens, what can we do?’ – Obasanjo
Former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has declared that any conditions that encourage coups to happen should be avoided as much as possible in Nigeria.
Obasanjo who served as both a military and democratically elected leader argued that the rising military coups in Africa show that the youths are tired of some things and in need of a liberator.
Obasanjo was however quick to add that he is not in support of coups but when it happens, there is usually not much that can be done.
The former President made the submission while speaking at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) in Abeokuta, Ogun State, during an interactive session with a group of youths from Africa for Africa Youth Initiative (A4A), a platform founded by Reverend Chris Oyakhilome.
According to him, he would not support a coup considering his experience in the hands of former Military dictator, late General Sanni Abacha.
During the questions and answers segment on coups in Africa after speaking on “Fostering Sustainable Development Through Pan Africanism,” Obasanjo explained that it is very important to prevent coups from happening.
He called on the government of various African countries including Nigeria to ensure they don’t push the youths to the point of preferring a military takeover.
He said, “Having suffered at the hands of Abacha, I won’t support a 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, if we don’t have the conditions that encourage them, they may not happen.
“That does 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 called on African leaders with a sit-tight mentality to have a change of heart, adding that democracy that works for everyone should be encouraged.
“And if you have been in government for 40 years and you are not tired, maybe you need retirement,” he said.
He added “One, let me make it clear, I don’t support a coup because personally, I have been a victim of a coup. Two, the good thing about democracy, if it works and 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 favouritism.”
Obasanjo also called on African youths to wake up and take leadership positions because the tomorrow they are waiting for may never come.