Former Nigeria’s president, Olusegun Obasanjo, says Nigeria is at a “critical moment” in her political history and needs a leader with the right character and capacity to turn things around.
Mr Obasanjo said he was working with other elder statesmen to enthrone a new Nigeria, where everyone would have a sense of belonging and there would be justice for all.
The former president spoke, on Monday, at the Ohanaeze Ndigbo National Secretariat, Enugu, where he signed a condolence register for the First Republic Minister of Aviation, Mbazulike Amaechi, according to a report by ThisDay newspaper.
Mr Amaechi died on 1 November.
The leader of the apex Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, Ayo Adebanjo, and the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, also signed the register as a mark of respect for the deceased.
Speaking during the event, Mr Obasanjo said the major problem with Nigeria was the dearth of leaders with the right type of character, who could be trusted with the leadership role in the country.
“So, if I put my hand on someone, it means that comparing with the other, I see that there is a merit that will be of benefit to Nigeria,” he said.
“And I believe that Chief Adebanjo stands for the same thing.”
Mr Adebanjo, has repeatedly expressed his support and that of the Yoruba group, Afenifere, for the LP candidate, Mr Obi, explaining that the group’s position was on the basis of equity, fairness and justice for Igbo ethnic group which has not occupied the presidency before.
Mr Obi hails from Agulu, an Igbo speaking community in Anaocha Local Government Area of Anambra State, south-east Nigeria.
Continuing, Mr Obasanjo said although he had paid his dues in Nigeria, he would not relent in pushing for justice, adding that the problem with the country is not ethnic but national.
He added, “I have shed my blood for this country. I have gone to prison for this country. So, what are you going to frighten or threaten me with? The only thing that my senior brother (Adebanjo) hasn’t done is that he hasn’t shed his blood, but he has gone to prison.
“What I believe and what I think Pa Ayo Adebanjo believes is not ethnic, it’s not sectional, it is not religious, it is Nigeria. I believe in equity, I believe in justice, I believe in one Nigeria.”
The former president described Mr Amaechi as an “authentic Nigerian patriot and the last of the titans,” regretting that the foremost nationalist would not be around to witness the new Nigeria that he laboured for.
The Secretary-General of the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Okey Emuchay, received the leaders on behalf of the group’s President-General, George Obiozor, a professor.
Mr Emuchay said the group would continue to seek justice, fairness, equity and inclusion in Nigeria, as the late Mr Amaechi did while he was alive.
He thanked the leaders for honouring the late former minister and the entire Ndigbo, stressing that the Ohanaeze remains committed to its support for Mr Obi in the interest of fairness and equity.