From Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has called on the political class to prioritize unity, peace and progress of Nigeria before shifting their attention on 2023 general elections.
Obasanjo declared that 2023 “is important, but not as important as the peace and unity of Nigeria.”
He sated this on Thursday in Abeokuta, Ogun State, at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), when playing host to the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) , Uche Secondus and some other members of the NWC, including the National Secretary, Senator Ibrahim Tsauri, National Treasurer, Aribisala Adewale and the Ogun State Chairman of PDP, Sirikullahi Ogundele.
Addressing newsmen after about two hours closed door meeting, Obasanjo said the visit was non partisan, saying the challenges in the country require all hands on deck to salvage the nation.
Obasanjo noted that though the situation of Nigeria is very bad, it is not irredeemable.
According to him, “every right-thinking individual knows that the Nigeria situation is very bad, but it is not irredeemable”.
The former President expressed concerns that the nation was not where it was supposed to be.
“We do not have the luxury of time; some people are talking about 2023. 2023 is important, but it is not as important as being able to package Nigeria as a wholesome peace, the unity up to and beyond 2023 with security and understanding, with development and progress.
“And I couldn’t agree with you more, every right-thinking Nigerian and every lover of Nigeria will agree that Nigeria is not what it should be today, unless there is something else wrong with them.
“The situation is bad, very bad, but the situation is not irredeemable. That is where the hope lies. The situation is very bad, but it is not hopelessly irredeemable. Therefore we need all hands on deck. Let’s put partisan politics apart and think of what we can do to get Nigeria to where it is supposed to be and move Nigeria forward”. Obasanjo stated.
On his part, the PDP national Chairman said he came to Obasanjo as an elder statesman to advise the present government.
“I am here with the members of my team and as well as the PDP executives in Ogun State to tap from the wealth of Baba’s knowledge as a statesman. It has been very difficult lately because Baba is a global personality, resolving issues across the world. In fact, the last place I learnt Baba visited was Afghanistan, despite the situation in that country, he went there and came back alive.
“ So, my team and I are very grateful and we give glory to God. We have discussed Nigeria. Nigeria first before any other thing. Yes, we belong to a political party, but if we don’t have a country, where do we practice the democracy? We need to have a peaceful country where democracy can thrive and at this point we need Chief Obasanjo to come in with solutions.
“We are aware of the insecurity, the poor economy, banditry, kidnapping all over the country; and we can’t continue to watch without reaching out to the elders, so that they can come together and advise the present government. That is the duty of a statesman” Secondus submitted.