Former Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Alani Akinrinade (retd.), and Brig.-Gen. Godwin Alabi-Isama (retd.), on Thursday faulted former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s Nigerian Civil War account.
Obasanjo’s story in his war memoirs, My Command, Akinrinade and Alabi-Isama said, was full of “serious and historical errors” and constituted a “self-glorification.”
The former President’s account, the retired military officers added, amounted to denying others, who helped to achieve Nigeria’s victory, the credit they deserved.
The civil war took place between 1967 and 1970.
The generals, who participated in the war, spoke in Lagos at the public presentation of Alabi-Isama’s book, Tragedy of Victory: on the spot account of Nigeria-Biafra Civil War in the Atlantic Theatre.
The author, in his book, claimed that Obasanjo, who was the last Commander of the Third Marine Commando that led the military campaigns against Biafra, did not participate in the real battle even as he committed many strategic blunders.
Alabi-Isama added that Obasanjo, in My Command, claimed glory for the victory even when he was not present to receive the instrument of surrender from Biafra when the war ended in 1970.
Alabi-Isama, who narrated how he faced persecution in the army, said his book was to celebrate others whose contributions during the war Obasanjo and others failed to acknowledge.
He said, “We neglected those who fought the Civil War and we have a glorified brother, who was as at the time Col. Obasanjo. He wrote a book entitled, My Command. In that book, he wrote about himself and every other person was demonised. That is why I have the Part 3 of this book as the expose.”
Commending Alabi-Isama’s work, Akinrinade said the author had “put the record straight”, particularly with documents and photographs.
The 601-page book has 36 maps, 20 documents and 450 photographs, which Alabi-Isama reportedly took during the war.
Akinrinade added that My Command failed “to do justice to all the good people who fought that war.”
The Executive Editor of The NEWS magazine, Mr. Kunle Ajibade, who reviewed the new book, said My Command was unlike Long Walk to Freedom, in which former South African President Nelson Mandela was full of praises for those who fought the anti-apartheid struggle with him.
Ajibade said, “The total lack of this kind of generous spirit in Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo” spurred Alabi-Isama to write The Tragedy of Victory, which “offers a ferocious and damning critique of Obasanjo’s vainglorious claims of his gallantry.”
Gen. Yakubu Gowon, who was the Head of State during the war, said Obasanjo, “as the Commanding Officer assigned to command the division, “was rightfully positioned to claim victory on behalf of the Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces.”
Gowon, who was unable to attend the event, stated in his foreword to the book.
According to him, Isama-Alabi’s book has made an “invaluable” contribution to understanding our nation’s history.
A former Minister of Defence, Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (retd.), who chaired the book presentation, denied the allegation that he conspired with Obasanjo to force the author out of the army.
Source: PUNCH NEWS
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has identified corruption, insecurity, and infrastructure decay as major problems confronting the Africa.
Obasanjo said this at the inauguration of newly-established Africa Institute at the Valparaiso University, Indiana, U.S.A, in his honour on Saturday.
The North America Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the institute would serve as a cultural exchange centre between it and Nigeria in particular and Africa at large.
It will also serve as an exchange and resource centre for professional studies of West Nigerian/African commerce and culture among students, artists, writers, educators and politicians.
Obasanjo said that almost every country in Africa had one form of security problem or the other, pointing out that insecurity would not allow development to thrive.
On the security challenges facing Nigeria, Obasanjo said that government must properly identify the remote causes of the activities of the Boko Haram sect.
Obasanjo stressed the need for more attention to be placed on the improvement of infrastructure within the continent.
He said the issue of human development should not be such that the individuals were allowed to leave the continent and be servicing other land.
The former president, however, called on Nigerians living abroad to return home where their knowledge would best be utilised.
``We must develop people and retain them, we must encourage most of them that are in Diaspora, to move back home,’’ Obasanjo said.
On corruption, the former Nigerian leader said that the issue of corruption was very serious that should not be undermined, adding that it was virtually in every aspect of life.
"If you pretend that there is no corruption, the world already knows there is corruption,’’ he said.
While commending the efforts of some African leaders in carrying out reforms that had made the continent an emerging economy in the 21st century, Obasanjo said Western economists earlier ruled out Africa as a living continent about 10 years ago.
He explained that some of the economists had even described the 21st century as the best for Africa.
As part of reforms to Nigeria's economy while in office, Obasanjo disclosed that when he took over in 1999, the country owed close to 35 billion dollars.
He also said that the country was spending about 3 billion dollars annually to service debts.
"I decided that we should seek debts relief. I also decided that we would go for deep reforms. Our creditors took us very serious and granted us debts relief.
"The reserve of 3.7 billion dollars that I met in 1999 grow to well over 45 billion dollars by the time I left office.
"After we paid over 12 billion dollars, we cleared the debts slate. Nigeria was not the only country moving in that direction,’’ he said.
Obasanjo commended the university for honouring him, saying that the establishment of the institute was quite timely in view of global development.
He also said that the situation around the globe called for nations to work together.
Earlier, the President of the university, Dr. Mark Heckler, said the exemplary leadership of Obasanjo in Africa and in Nigeria was a driving force for the choice of honouring him.
Heckler said that the university was established in 1859, stressing that the establishment of the Africa Institute was a dream fulfilled.
Prof. Ade Adefuye, the Nigeria Ambassador to the U.S, also commended the University "for giving honour to whom honour is due’’.
Adefuye described Obasanjo as someone who had contributed greatly to the development of Nigeria.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s multi-billion naira hill-top mansion in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital was Thursday evening gutted by fire.
The mysterious fire was reported to have started from the kitchen section of the mansion at about 5 pm which later spread to other sections within the premises.
photo: African spotlight
An eye witness disclosed that Ogun State Fire Service truck marked OG 122 AO9 was seen at the compound even as men Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, the Nigeria Police Force, State Security Service have joined the fire fighters to contain the fire from spreading to other parts of the sprawling estate.
Obasanjo who expressed appreciation to God said that, ” You have seen that it is only the office of my secretary that is burnt.” He added in Yoruba, “Ile Obasanjo to jo Ewa lobu kun,ile Obasanjo to jo ewa lobu kun. This is translated, ” A king’s house gutted by fire can only add beauty to it.
Henry Kissinger, the global geo-political icon furthered the thesis on what was called "Big Talk" and with Nigeria's growing insecurity the joint statement by former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida can be rated in that important category.
Big talks can be consequential and when managed properly with necessary implementation it can bear fruit. Henry Kissinger's big talks pioneered the policy on Détente with fruitful results on SALT (strategic arms limitation talks) and the Helsinki Accords. It even gave birth to the President Nixon's opening of China and Henry Kissinger as the United States Secretary of States and the chief facilitating strategist.
It is important to give these instances to buttress that words can have consequential meaning when executed properly and given the opportunity to germinate on a fertile ground.
Nigeria is in a delicate trajectory point but has not reached what physicist calls an "Escape velocity" which literally means a point of no return. Not yet! Nigeria can be salvaged even make whole again when patriots and lovers of stability vow to restore the country to her lost glory of 1970s and early 80s.
The former leaders of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida may be up to something that maybe the beginning of the solution to the eradication of the ills of insecurity and terrorism engulfing Nigeria. But only time will measure the efficacy and effectiveness of their commitments to their words.
Words are powerful and initiation of any viable project starts with words and in this case "big talk" that could produce big result. The joint statement highlighted an important statement below that cannot be divorced from a nation in quest for progress and development:
"We need to reiterate that no meaningful development can ever occur in an atmosphere of violence and hatred. History has shown that any society that is built on the structures of violence and intolerance cannot prosper. We need to appreciate that, God in His infinite mercy, has blessed our country with abundant resources and talents, but we need peace and harmony to harness them not just for our own well being but also that of our children and grandchildren. We owe this future generations of Nigerians this much."
This is the truth about nature and on the progress of a nation: without peace and stability no nation can rise to become a developed entity. Without doubt, Nigeria is resources rich including natural and human capitals but without stability her quest of joining the family of industrial nations will become a mirage.
Truth must be told, the most important function of government is the protection of life and property and when those are found wanting the potential of a nation cannot be realized.
Nigeria has formed the habit of begging foreign investors to send their capitals especially in the non-oil sector of the economy. Inspite of the public relation and campaigning which is anchored on rebranding by Federal government of Nigeria, investors do their feasibility studies before sending their precious capital to the country.
Nigeria must deal with this perception that the country is unstable, for it is not good for business. Nigeria is losing billions of dollars to tourists who have the desire to visit Nigeria but are deter by the insecurity and fear that is checkmating the country's progress and development.
Obsanjo and Babangida are right on the money to re-engage citizens of Nigeria on this emerging trend: "A deeply worrying trend that is emerging from this terrible situation is that a pervasive cynicism is beginning to set in, so much so that millions of true Nigerian patriots are starting to question the platform upon which the unity of this country rests. This is simply untenable. The people of this country must not allow whatever sense of frustration, fear and despair we are experiencing now to supersede our hopes for a collective destiny which lies in our continued existence as a nation. For us, and we believe for millions of other Nigerians, the continued unity of this nation is not only priceless but non-negotiable."
Nigerians as citizens should and be able to live in any part of country without fear of being look as an intruder and unacceptable. When we lose that bond and glue that hold us together the saltiness will lose its taste.
It is imperative that men and women of goodwill must come together and take a stand on the state of the nation. By this joint statement, former presidents Obsanjo and Babangida have started the "big talk" and the rest is on Nigerians to listen without being cynical and produce affirmative results.
Emeka Chiakwelu, Analyst and Strategist at Afripol.
Is it right to claim that corruption, massive looting of public funds, armed robbery, youth banditry and gangsterism as well as militancy are queer attitudes that have crept into our lives? I remember my old mother used to tell me that the worst crime a family feared for its members was stealing peoples’ property which was likened to armed robbery.
So any family whose member was identified as a thief was cursed by the whole village and no one would marry from or be married to the family. Such thieving family would never be trusted or entrusted in the society until they repented and displayed otherwise openly for a long time. Because of the gravity of similar social vices, culprits were buried alive in big mould of sand or forced to drown in the river by tying heavy stones to them. This was in the good olden days.
“You be thief. I no be thief…” the famous Nigerian musician Fela Kuti, inferring the political characteristics of Nigerian leadership at a time not any better than the recent.
But now some Nigerians openly parade themselves as corruption agents, militants and bandits massively looting public funds and causing mayhem to the society that they are supposed to assist in building. They easily forget that some people genuinely put in their lives for the victory they claim in elections. What have the governments made up of these politicians at the three levels done for the families of those who died while ensuring that the politicians won their elections or relections, or putting it rightly, in defence of the nation’s democracy?
It is not new the statement accredited to former president of Nigeria, Chief Matthew Olusegun Obasanjo, popularly called Baba where he described the National Assembly as being made up of rogues. Obasanjo is such a leader that can be seen to possess faceless, fearless and considerably unassuming costume when corruption is talked about in Nigeria. At least, even if the other four of his fingers may be pointing towards his direction, he could be sure of what he says.
Whether it is accepted or not, Obasanjo is the pioneer in the making of NIGERIA TODAY. He is, and even while gradually losing grip of the rope hanging down from the Aso Rock, the godfather of many of those in power today. So, it is to be doubted that he may have put up a total falsehood for mere relevance – such relevance that he has maintained since Nigeria returned to democratic governance in 1999. After all, he can claim untouchability!
Obasanjo cannot be unaware of all the probes conducted and being conducted by the assemblymen. He cannot be unaware of the executive bills which are often imposed on the people through the national chambers and the financial efforts it takes to make such bills sail through the chambers. He had practically experienced and successfully enforced such in the past. Obasanjo cannot be unaware of the current bribery allegation of N44 million involving an assemblyman and the director general of Security and Exchange Commission (SEC). Obasanjo, having been too long in government at that highest level, remains an insider in government and therefore cannot just open his mouth to make frivolous accusations. After all, he also accused the judiciary and the police. He even acknowledged that some justices were sacked on bribery and corruption related matters during the hard democratic experiment of his tenures.
For the national chambers to find a soft landing for themselves and for Obasanjo is an attempt to cover the fawning ass of the foul. It is either they accept what Obasanjo has said and then swallow the shame or challenge the relevance Obasanjo is searching for and vindicate themselves.
What does the House Committee on Information, Hon. Zakari Mohammed imply by proclaiming not to join issues with former President Obasanjo who accused them of being rogues? Accused of being rogues! Is this accusation not enough – even if it is believed to be mere allegation – to sue the accuser to court for character assassination of the distinguished and honourable assemblymen? A whole assembly accused!
Zakari, in playing down this great accusation, could only find such words as, “…I think it is wrong for an elder to stand outside and pee into the house”. There are two sided revelations from this. It is either that the elder has become mentally weak that he can no more differentiate his position of being outside the house or he is sure that it makes no difference peeing into the house because the house has the similitude of a urinary. It is really a confusing scenario. The assemblymen should go further to clarify and reclaim their dignity within this context and challenge Obasanjo on this.
One startling revelation from Zakari’s defence was, “Since I came here as a legislator, I have not heard stories of Ghana-must-go bags but when former President Obasanjo was in charge, nocturnal visits of Ghana-must-go bags were a routine in an attempt to buy over the legislature and having failed especially with the last one over his third term agenda during which several MILLIONS OF DOLLARS were involved, I don’t think it is right for anybody to have headache over whatever he says”.
For the avoidance of doubt, it has been established by the assemblymen themselves that Obasanjo squandered public funds (millions of dollars) in pursuit of his then pet project codenamed ‘tenure elongation’. Has any action been taken by the assemblymen to unveil and punish the originators, proponents, distributors and collectors of the acknowledged millions of dollars? Obasanjo surely knows those who collected the money in full but refused to deliver their promises to him. Are there no more nocturnal visits within the political sphere?
Can Hon. Zakari patriotically and religiously authenticate his claim that since 2007 when Obasanjo left office as the President of Nigeria or at least from May 2011, that Ghana-must-go bags have ceased to come the ways of politicians, including the assemblymen? Why has Obasanjo not been investigated despite all the glaring indices that his regime was believed to be administratively corrupt? A regime of unequalled squandermania, power-throttling force, socio-economic vandalization and religio-political victimization!!
In the same vein, the Deputy Minority leader of the House, Hon. Suleiman Kawu postulates, “Obasanjo does not have credibility in Nigeria. Remember he was dragged to court by his own son accusing him of sleeping with his wife”
The Senate also swiftly responded to Obasanjo’s claims, however, urging Obasanjo to move a step further and name the “rogues and robbers” that are members of the National Assembly.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Information, Media and Public Affairs, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, while at a press conference in Abuja challenged Obasanjo, “in the new spirit of transparency and openness Obasanjo should assist the National Assembly by naming those that he knows in the National Assembly as either rogues or criminals. That would help us to be able to sanitize the polity and we sincerely thank him for his role in Nigeria, someone who cares very deeply about the Nigerian State and how it is at the moment”, adding, “the National Assembly can never engage in any talk back to the president.”
Is Obasanjo a Rock that he cannot be summoned to the National Assembly for interrogations? Remember that harmless Muhammadu Buhari has severally been verbally drilled over his misquoted statement on the 2015 elections. Buhari has been subjected to merciless tongue-lashings by Nigerians most of whom he is capable of fathering even in the political sphere. Poor Buhari!
Nonetheless, we should not forget that Obasanjo started behaving like a born-again Christian after leaving office as the president of Nigeria. Those who watch African Independent Television (AIT) may have seen when he appears to sing a gospel song saying, “I have decided to follow Jesus…” To this, one of my nieghbours burst into a wild laughter saying, “Is it our Lord Jesus whom we Christians worship that Obasanjo means?”
Recently addressing a group of Christian youths in Lagos at an event themed “The Building Blocks of Effective Leadership”, Professor Pat Utomi revealed some dysfunctions he had witnessed in the Nigerian system and x-rayed the difficulties of changing the system. Speaking under a topic, “Towards Creating a Network of Corruption-Intolerant Youth Leaders”, he narrated several instances of corruption involving government officials and the aftermath of underdevelopment and disclosed that a man who once duped him was now a senator.
He said, “A man who had 419ed [duped] me in the past is now in the Senate. And I called the attention of a senior senator who is from the same state with the dupe, and who also knew about my dupe story with the man before, that this man is a thief and he was aware. The senior senator wanted me to keep quiet, and he said that is the problem with me, and that after all, seventy percent of government people are 419ers”. Unbelievable!!
In somewhat affirmation of Obasanjo’s claims, Leadership Newspapers of Monday, May 28 2012 reported Sani Shu’aibu Teidi, one of the suspects standing trial before the Federal High Court, Abuja, for massively looting the pension treasury to have alleged that he and his accomplices paid Senator Aloysius Etuk-led Senate Committee a 3 billion Naira bribe in dollars. Akwu achaa n’ike mbe!!
According to Teidi, the huge bribe was to stall the prosecution of the accused persons. He alleged that the Senator Aloysius Etuk-led committee failed to fulfill an earlier promise of helping to stall their prosecution after collecting the 3 billion Naira contributory bribes. Trouble burst out over the sharing of the bribe. Teidi said Senator Etuk attempted to outsmart his colleagues by declaring 500 million Naira only i.e. a one-sixth of the actual bribe.
Feeling betrayed by the Senate committee leadership’s greed and inability to properly handle the corruption matter, Teidi resolved to make public all information on the botched agreement. “In fact, the N3bn bribe offered the senate committee was contributed by all the accused persons, each with the amount of 500 million Naira. The committee made us believe that when we give the money being demanded, it will give us a safe landing, thereby escaping prosecution, but, to our greatest dismay, they only succeeded in cutting their own share,” Teidi claimed.
All in all, this is a case that should not be ignored. It is either Obasanjo is right or he is openly summoned to explain if he spoke in rhetoric or was misquoted. This theory of allegation and denial in Nigeria should stop henceforth. On the other hand, what joy and results have the several probes carried out by the assemblymen brought us? Are these exposures just a tip in the iceberg?
He also accused African leaders of conniving with international agencies to impoverish their peoples.
Obasanjo said this at the public presentation of the Africa Human Development Report 2012 in Abuja.
He said, “I don’t like that word, Structural Adjustment, because it was one of the things that killed our agriculture, when the World Bank said we should be structurally adjusted even when we had no structure to adjust.”
He also explained that the report re-echoed what was already public knowledge among Africans.
Obasanjo said, “This report is a damning condemnation of decades of governance in sub-Saharan Africa.
“It tells us what we know that the poverty of Africa is the making of African leaders over the years.
“African leaders have made the option of taking us along the route or path of poverty; we don’t need to be told.”
The former President added, “It also repeats what many of us have said over and over again that the prescription given to us by the International Community is like force feeding a diabetic patient in coma with concentrated liquid sugar.
“I know that because I am a diabetic patient and I run away from sugar.
“In short, this report is an indictment of African and International leadership in the area of African economic development generally but particularly in the area of food production and food and nutrition security in Africa.”
He said for too long, Africa seemed to have encouraged laziness, inefficiency, waste, corruption and leaders at all levels “have got away with murder through poor, inadequate and incompetent performance, what this report is saying is enough is enough Africa”.
Earlier, in his address of welcome, the UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Daouda Toure, said the report pointed out two disturbing paradoxes in sub-saharan Africa.
He said, “The paradox is that Africa is not predestined to hunger and malnutrition. Our continent has the lowest occupation of arable land, yet one quarter of the African population is affected by hunger.”
Obasanjo wearing two caps as ECOWAS and African Union peace envoy believes the proposal will ease tension in Senegal. Under the country’s amended constitution, the elected president has a term of seven years, but Obasanjo now wants Wade, 86 years old, to step down after two years. He is expected to win tomorrow’s contentious poll, as he is seeking to earn a third term in office. He had already spent 12 years.
Wade’s bid for third term after manipulating the nation’s constitution has sparked weeks of protests that left six people dead.Speaking in Zambia, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he was “concerned” by the pre-poll violence and urged “peaceful and transparent” elections.Nigeria’s ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo “introduced a new element, a roadmap which states Abdoulaye Wade will only stay in power for two years if he wins,” said Abdoul Aziz Diop, spokesman for the opposition June 23 Movement (M23).
“Our wish remains that Abdoulaye Wade loses the election,” he said, noting that Wade has not promised to resign after two years.”It is these guarantees which will carry the coming negotiations with Obasanjo.”Obasanjo’s deal also calls for creating a new constitutional court and independent electoral commission, M23 co-ordinator Alioune Tine told RFM radio, saying the opposition movement was “open to negotiations…to conserve peace.”
Obasanjo arrived in Dakar on Tuesday as head of a joint mission launched by the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and has met with Wade, the opposition and diplomats.His arrival came after days of riots over Wade’s candidacy that turned parts of Dakar into a no-go zone as police fired teargas at rock-throwing protesters who had set up flaming barricades.
With polls set to open, the rapper-led youth movement “Fed Up” urged voters against boycotting, encouraging them to get their voter cards and vote massively against the incumbent.”The struggle must continue and will continue at the ballot box. We have been sharpening our weapons, your voters cards. The time has come to use them,” the movement said in a statement late Friday.Wade has already served two terms in office, but argues the changes to the constitution in 2008 extending term lengths to seven years allow him to serve two more mandates.
Music star and political activist Youssou Ndour attended an opposition protest in Dakar on Tuesday. The opposition condemned Wade but still failed to unite behind one candidate to challenge the incumbent [EPA]
The country’s top legal body validated his candidacy on January 27, sparking riots around the country and clashes in downtown Dakar.Observers say Wade needs to secure a first-round victory because he would fare badly in the second-round when the field contracts to two candidates.Thirteen opposition candidates are on the first round ballot, including three former prime ministers, but no clear front-runner has emerged.Foreign partners have voiced concern over the unsettled campaign — uncharacteristic for Senegal, which boasts an unbroken series of elections since independence in 1960 and has never suffered a coup.
The United States has sent its top Africa diplomat Johnnie Carson to Senegal to underline its “desire to see calm, free, fair elections,” the State Department said Friday.Some worry that more than 450,000 unclaimed voter cards boost the prospect of fraud, but the elections body insists it is ready to manage the polls.Roughly 5.3 million people are registered to vote.Paul Melly, an analyst with London-based Chatham House, told AFP that a Wade first-round win could “could produce a further upsurge in protest and anger on the streets.”Wade was first elected in 2000 to great euphoria after unseating the Socialist Party that had been in power for 40 years.His supporters praise him for an infrastructure boom, but his detractors say he has focused on prestige projects while the average Senegalese battles rising food prices and crippling power cuts.Infuriating the opposition are signs he is lining up his son Karim Wade to succeed him.
"Mr President, we are here because we believe in what I call Nigerian dream. Mr President, we from the South West we were the first to collectively stick out our head to say this is the way, and what is the way? "The way of Goodluck Jonathan for Nigeria. A Nigerian dream entails collective aspiration, collective hope, collective objective, collective target and collective fulfilment . It also entails our communality. And what is our communality in Nigeria? What is the communality between me and my brother from Sokoto? What is the communality between me and even my brother from Yenagoa? What is the Communality between me and my brother from Maiduguri? What is the communality between me and my brother from Badagry or even from Ekiti? It is Nigerian identity. Nigerian Identity! That is our communality.
"If you say the communality is that we belong to the human race, so do the Europeans, so the Americans, so the Asians. But we are one communality, one identity, Nigerian identity. If we have a common identity, then we can have a common Nigerian dream.
For me I see a Nigeria dream of land of unity in diversity. For me, I see the Nigerian dream in equal opportunities for all Nigerians; land of freedom and choices; land of prosperity, fairness, peace and justice; land of love, care, harmony among its people; land respected internationally and playing its rightful role within the comity of nations and land where no one is oppressed, discriminated against, enslaved or disadvantaged.
"For instance, let me go to an element of one of the aspects of the dream. When I was a young man, leaving secondary school, there was only one University in Nigeria. The opportunity for young men to go to university in Nigeria was then limited. Today there are 117 Universities in Nigeria expanded and enhanced opportunities. We have to match that with opportunity to access to employment and to good living standard. Your excellencies, this I believe is attainable and as a political party we in PDP have dreams. "We have set about actualizing our Nigerian dream. You will see this in the formation of PDP. The history of the PDP speaks for its self. The constitution of PDP, the manifesto of our party and the performance of our party so far. We have set our hands on the plough and there is no looking back for PDP.
"Drawing from our national Constitution which upholds Federal Character, we are the only political party that enshrines Federal Character in our Constitution through zoning and rotation.
And we should be proud of that. For us and for the foreseeable future that remains sacrosanct, I am an apostle of Federal Character under Murtala/Obasanjo administration and I cannot now preach anything different. The accident of history of the recent past must be understood for what it is, an unexpected situation and PDP as a party has addressed that issue.
Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala of Oyo State, President Goodluck Johnathan, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, vice President Nnamdi Sambo and PDP Ag. National Chairman, Alhaji Bello Mohammed at the PDP South West Rally in Ibadan.
"At the last meeting of BoT of our party last Saturday, the issue was tabled by the president as it was raised by three distinguished members of our party a day before that BoT meeting with the President. I was mandated to take up the position of the party with the three distinguished members of our party who raised the issue. They are General Ibrahim Babangida, General Aliyu Muhammed and Alhaji Abubakar Atiku.
The following day, that was last Sunday, I took up the matter with General Ibrahim Babangida who expressed to me that the issue is not the accident of history but rather it is the issue of perception in some quarter that Federal Character, zoning and rotation as established and practiced by PDP have been jettisoned and permanently cancelled.
"I on behalf of the BoT allay the fear and I promised a public report while he briefs the other two party members with whom we saw the president on the eve of the BoT meeting.
"What am I saying? What am saying simply is that Federal Character, zoning and rotation in our party is alive and kicking. I personally see the practice of Federal Character, zoning and rotation of key political and governmental positions and offices by the PDP, if it will continue to be the ruling party in Nigeria, I see that position beyond my life time. It will only happen when unity, stability and democracy have been established with full confidence and trust by every body in the system and within the polity and among the participants for factors of competence, performance and track record to become predominant. PDP should be praised for being the only party that enshrined Federal Character, zoning and rotation in its constitution and also practicing it.
"PDP has brought stability and substantial predictability to the polity and to the system. I do not know who will be the President of Nigeria after Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. That is in the hand of God. But with the PDP policy and practice, I can reasonably guess from where in terms of section of the country from where the successor to President Goodluck Jonathan will come and no internal democracy or competition will be hereby destroyed.
"The recent resort to sentiments and emotions of religion and regionalism is self serving, unpatriotic and mischievous to say the least. It is also playing on dangerous emotive issues that ignite uncontrollable passion and can destabilize if not destroy our country. It is oblivious of the sacrifices others have made in the past for unity stability and democracy in Nigeria in giving out their lives, shedding their blood and in going to prison. I personally have done two out of these three sacrifices and I am ready to do the third if it will serve the best interest of Nigerian dream.
"Let me appeal to those who have embarked on those dangerous roles to desist from taking us on a perishable journey. A common identity as Nigerians there is more that binds us than separate us.
"I am a Nigerian born a Yoruba man and I am proud of those identities, as they are for me complimentary. Our duties, responsibilities and obligations to our country and citizens and indeed as leaders must go side by side in our likes and demands. There must be certain values and virtues that would go concomitantly with our dream.
"Thomas Payne said and I quote " my country is a world." For me my country I hold dear. On two occasions I have had the opportunity, thanks to God and thanks to the people of Nigeria, to work for my successors in the government of Nigeria. On both occasions, I never took the easy and destabilizing route of ethnic, regional or religious consideration rather I took the enduring route of national, uniting and stabilizing route. I worked for both President Shagari and President Yar'Adua to succeed me. Not just because they are Muslims, northerners or Hausa /Fulani, but because they could strengthen the unity, stability and democracy of Nigeria. We of course, with all the displeasure of ethnic chauvinists for doing what is right for our country, that is in the nature of the burden of leadership. A leader must lead no matter whose ox is gored.
"In the present circumstance, let me reiterate what I have said on a number of occasions, electing Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in his own right and on its own merit which is there to be seen as the President of Nigeria will enhance and strengthen our unity, stability and democracy and it will lead us towards achievement of the Nigerian dream.
"We are impressed with the report that Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has already taken a unique and unprecedented step of declaring that he would only want to be a one term President. If so whether he knows it or not, that is a sacrifice and it is statesmanly. Rather than vilify him and pull him down, we as a party should applaud and commend him and Nigerians should reward and venerate him. He has taken the first good step, let us encourage him to take more good steps to achieve what we need to achieve for this country by voting for him in landslide victory as the first elected president of Nigeria on basis of our common Nigerian identity and for the purpose of actualizing the Nigerian dream. God bless you all."
FORMER president and chairman, Board of Trustees, BoT, of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo speaking in Abuja during the campaign 2011 grand finale of the President Jonathan/ Vice -President Namadi Sambo ticket. Theme of the speech was on the calling on Nigerians to vote the PDP presidential ticket, Nigerian dream and zoning.