Picking Atiku as my running mate a great mistake, Obasanjo laments

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Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, has said one of his greatest mistakes in 1999 political dispensation was picking Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as his running mate, as the man made his regime a hell after they won the election.

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Stating this, Saturday, while mentoring some students at the 2022 National Exhibition and Awards of the Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneuship (SAGE) held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta, the former president said, working with Atiku was, indeed, one helluva moment on account of gross insubordination and all-time cantankerous disposition.

He, however, described Atiku’s choice as one of his genuine mistakes, saying despite making the mistake, God still saved him in the end.

 Recall that, at Nigeria’s return to democratic regime in 1999, Obasanjo had become the nation’s president with Atiku as his vice, during which the country was repeatedly entertained with cat-and-mouse game from the seat of power, especially towards the twilight of that tenure.

Speaking further about his mistakes for posterity, Obasanjo also said:  “The second one (mistake) was when Abacha wanted to arrest me. When Abacha wanted to arrest me, I was told by the American Ambassador that they will arrest me and that America has asked that I should be given an asylum. I said no. It could have been a costly mistake because I could have lost my life,” adding, “I will say there are many things that could have been a mistake but God saved me from them all.”

Obasanjo who lamented the current trend of recycling old politicians in elective positions, noted if that continues, young Nigerians would not have the opportunity to prove their mettle.

While speaking on opportunities for the youths to take over the mantle of leadership in the country, Obasanjo begrudged the trend of money politics in the country, which, according to him, would make it difficult for young Nigerians to participate in politics, urging them to remain hopeful even in the face of money politics.

He said the “Not Too Young to Run” campaign initiated not long ago was, indeed, apt as one can easily see that those contesting now are between 70 and 80 years old, wondering “how can the youths then run?”

He continued: “Another thing inhibiting the youth from running is the amount of money involved in going into politics. I hope that things should not continue like this.

“I was 39 years old when I became the Military Head of State. Twenty years later, I came back as civilian president, but those there now do not want to allow the youths. If things continue like this, I do not know how you can come in.”

The former President, also tutored the students that they should imbibe religious tolerance at all times, advising them not to see their own religion as superior to those of others.

Obasanjo said, “I have no right to say what another man believes in is inferior to mine. If God had wanted all of us to be of the same religion, He would have made it so and since He did not make it so, no person should attempt to make it so./SHARE THIS

  • Tags: OBJ, SAGE, leadership
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