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Obasanjo: I never wanted third term presidency

Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.

Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, denied yesterday that he desired to serve a third term as president of the nation, adding that if he had, he would have.

“I never requested for a third term,” remarked Obasanjo at a virtual engagement hosted by Africa Leadership Group with the topic “Leadership and nation-building” and anchored by Pastor Itua Ighodalo. “I would have gotten a third term if I had wanted one. I have the audacity to know how to acquire it.”

He stated that the fact that he “got it,” despite it being nearly impossible, was a sign.

However, he asserted that leadership, and the influence it has on governance and nation-building, is Africa’s biggest concern right now.

According to him, “Nigeria is where we are because of leadership. We must decisively look for men and women who have the character, attributes, skill and attitude that we need for leadership that will deliver this country.” When asked if he would mobilise former head of states to support the candidature of the Labour Party’s Peter Obi, having given him an open endorsement, Obasanjo said he would not go on campaign train for anybody.

I am not a member of his campaign team. I’m not a member of any political organization. I won’t board any campaign buses. I’ve already stated what is best for the nation.

Obasanjo demanded a modification when discussing the Nigerian Constitution, pointing out that no constitution is perfect. “Some claim that Nigeria’s constitution is to blame for everything. Of course, there are flaws in our constitution, and no constitution is infallible and cannot be changed.

Devolution of power, according to him, should be part of the new constitution.

Obasanjo questioned the distribution of salary among Nigerian politicians, adding that they go above and beyond the call of duty to pay themselves outrageous amounts.

“I am not a member of his campaign team. I’m not a member of any political organization. I won’t board any campaign buses. I’ve already stated what is best for the nation.”

Obasanjo demanded a modification when discussing the Nigerian Constitution, pointing out that no constitution is perfect. “Some claim that Nigeria’s constitution is to blame for everything. Of course, there are flaws in our constitution, and no constitution is infallible and cannot be changed.

Devolution of power, according to him, should be part of the new constitution.

Obasanjo questioned the distribution of salary among Nigerian politicians, adding that they go above and beyond the call of duty to pay themselves outrageous amounts.

“Lawmakers are not permitted to choose their own salaries. Our legislators took it upon themselves to fix their own salaries and bonuses, despite the fact that revenue mobilization was meant to do so. Where was that completed? Since I had to release the money while I was there, I didn’t release anything I thought shouldn’t be paid. They once expressed interest in impeaching me.

While bemoaning the staggering number of petroleum products being taken, he noted that the level of corruption, kidnapping, and banditry in the nation is concerning.

“With this type of situation, the economy will not grow the way it ought. People will not come and invest in a country that is not secure and safe. Unless there is investment there will not be growth.

“We cannot completely manage our energy business. We have continued to flare gas since the discovery of oil in commercial quantities in 1956. If we had only produced that gas for domestic consumption by this point, our situation would have been very different. The amount of money we are flaring in gas is enormous. Those who are exploring and exploiting our oil didn’t believe they needed the gas.”

While this is going on, Obasanjo has refuted claims that he intended to rig the 2023 presidential election in favor of Obi.

According to unverified media allegations, Obasanjo allegedly donated N5 billion to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to rig the presidential election scheduled for next month in Obi’s favor.

Olusegun Obasanjo, the former president, “is not responsible for the viral stories on some shady platforms regarding the impending general elections in Nigeria,” according to a statement released by his spokesman yesterday, Kehinde Akinyemi.

The former President’s special media assistant, Akinyemi, emphasized that the viral tale was entirely untrue.

In addition, the former president hasn’t sent anyone else a public or private letter since he wrote two letters on January 1, 2023, one to Nigerian youths and the other to Prof. Toyin Falola on his 70th birthday.

“The reading public is for the umpteenth time reminded that only a statement duly signed by His Excellency, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo or by his Media Assistant, Kehinde Akinyemi are to be allowed into the media space.

“If need be, necessary checks can be made to confirm the authenticity of such documents before publication to avoid any embarrassment,” the statement said.

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