By Victor Oriola:

FORMER President Olusegun Obasanjo has taken a retrospective look at the sectarian crises the country has been facing over the last 10 years and given his verdict: They have not been properly managed.

President Olusegun Obasanjo

President Olusegun Obasanjo

And if this continues, he said in an exclusive interview with ‘The Westerner’, a sister publication of the Nigerian Compass, Nigeria may soon become another Rwanda, Burundi or the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where fratricidal wars have claimed over a million lives.
Nigeria has been enmeshed in sectarian and other crises in the last decade,  especially in Jos and other parts of the North, as well as the Niger Delta, resulting in the loss of over 13, 500 lives.
The former military Head of State between 1976 and 1979, in his first major interview since leaving office as Nigeria’s democratically-elected president between 1999 and 2007, said of the crises in the country and other  African countries, which he described as mostly self-inflicted: “But it is when these things are not properly managed that you have the situation that you have in Burundi, in Rwanda and which flowed into Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), or also went into Northern Uganda, and partly, it is the situation you now have in Jos. And if you remove the criminality, it is partly also the situation that you have in the Niger Delta.”
Lamenting that Nigeria has not been managing the crisis situation well, Obasanjo  said: “…We can do much better than we are doing. But I hope that the more we understand that whether it is in the Niger Delta or in Jos, the solution is not a military solution that will give us a permanent solution. When we realise this, then we will be on the way to solving the conflicts.
“We tried to manage Jos. I believe the situation in Jos is manageable. I believe that the Niger Delta, once you remove the criminality, it can be managed. The problem  started there with their criminality, abduction is spreading everywhere now.”
On the call by the Libyan leader, Col. Muammar Gaddafi, that Nigeria should be broken into two – North and South – to reflect its religious divides, Obasanjo said “(Muamar) Gaddafi is a man who has a number of ideas; some are right, some are probably not right. But you should give (Muammar) Gaddafi his right to express his ideas, the ones that are right, look at them and see how best you can utilise them. The ones that are not right, look at them… For instance, he wants a union government in Africa. Good idea! But when and how that will be possible is another thing.
“Gaddafi has done fairly well for his country, I want to commend him. But the management of Libya must not be viewed as the way Nigeria should be managed; or the management of India or Pakistan should not be viewed as the way Nigeria should be managed. Every country has its own peculiarities and Nigeria has its own peculiarities too.”
Like the United States (US), which warned that Nigeria may break up before 2020,   the former president was also asked whether he has any fears about the future of Nigeria.
“No”, he said in the interview with The Westerner, which is already on sale all over the country.
Obasanjo, a farmer, also spoke on the imminent food crisis, saying: “We shouldn’t be endangered, but we are. We are for a number of reasons. We are for the reason of inadequacy of production; we are also for the reason of affordability and we are for the reason of inadequacy of processing and storage.
“When you talk of food security, we talk of it from the point of view of availability to the people; affordability to the people and accessibility to the people.”
He stated that Africans and Nigerians have themselves to blame for the food crisis because of lack of foresight, adding: “We can’t blame the US. Don’t forget that bread is easy to consume. It is a ready-made meal, you can eat it with stew, you can eat it with butter and you can take it with ordinary water. The US just looked for a market and we fell into the nutritional trap. Every country tries to avoid being trapped. This is why, for example, Japan refused to consume rice from Thailand, even though it is cheaper than the rice, which they produce themselves. When we were young, I remember rice, for example, used to be taken during Christmas only. But today, the situation is different.
“You would be trapped if you allow yourself to be trapped. There is nowhere I go, I go in my African attire and I encouraged this when I was in government. When I appear in some places, some people say this man has come with his balloon dress.
“You know, my agbada is, of course, even more fitting and easier to wear and fitting on the body than your suits and tie, which can be used to strangle you.”
Speaking on the debt relief he obtained for the country as a civilian president, Obasanjo said he believes borrowing money is not a bad idea, after all, if it is profitably invested.
His words: “If you are running a business and you are a good businessman, you can borrow money to do your business. Of course, you do your calculations, if you borrow N100, you will make sure you add your interest, and if that is 50; that means you add your 100 and 50. That is the way people do business normally. “Again, you can do that in terms of running the affairs of this country. Do you need a particular road? Do you need a particular means or mode of transportation? Do you need a particular industry that can borrow money and make sure that it can pay itself? This is the time that you do the kind of things that we do. There was a particular case, somewhere in the South-East where $10 million was borrowed to build a carpet industry. That $10 million was drawn to the last cent without the site of the industry being cleared. That is the type of debt that you should never have.”
Asked his fears for the 2011 general election, the former president said: “Do I have fears about anything? I am an incurable optimist about this country and this project called Nigeria. It will survive, it will succeed and Nigeria will become not just a country, but a good country.”

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9 Thoughts on “Obasanjo: Nigeria may become Rwanda, Burundi

  1. obj should not be hard of, seen or even mention. why is it during his set as militry head of state and democratic elected president such idea did not come, it now. look if power will be given to for just 6 month i will personally make sure that embazelment is not even hard of in this country, because all this problem within this country is caused by it. If we as a nation can implement what currently an asian country is doing like sen tencing who eve, take, steal, borrow or any other means to suit he’s desire to deat. please we as a nation should not pray for the betterness of this country because we now the cause of it, pls god does answer prayers of always consistant sinner. remember the saying that god help does who help them self.

  2. Angry Nigerian on August 12, 2010 at 3:37 pm said:

    OBJ, let the Law of karma visit you and your entire generation, you can preach that to those who doesn’t know you, you ruled Nigeria for 8 good year without nothing to show, soon death will visit you and your entire generation, all the billions of money you stole from the nation resources will be wasted just your colleague Abacha, OBJ, your entire generations will never no peace, you OBJ, IBB and the rest of you, God knows if I am opportune to meet you people face – face I throw bomb on you idiot, useless leaders. The only solution to this country is to accept what Libyan leader, Col. Muammar Gaddafi said. We are tied of these leaders, President Good Luck Jonathan the only thing you can do to this country is to follow the initiation of what the Libyan leader said. Angry Nigerian.

  3. kelly c c owori on March 29, 2010 at 10:06 pm said:

    OBJ IS AN IDIOT OF HIS DAYS, WHY HE CALLING NIGER DELTA CRIMINALS BECAUSE THEY ARE FIGHTING FOR THERE RIGHT, OBJ YOU ARE NOW COMMENTING CRISES IN NIGERIA WAS NOT WELL MANAGED, AND YOU SAID MILITARY INTERVENTION WAS NOT AN OPTION, BUT WHEN YOU WAS A HEAD OF STATE YOU COMMAND MILITARY TO GO AN CLEARED UDI IN BEYELSEA STATE THE SAME OBJ COMMAND ANOTHER TROOPS TO GO TO KASTINA-ALA TO SHOOT AN KILLS ANY LIVING THINGS THEY SEE AROUND, WELL OBJ THE BLOOD AT YOUR HANDS NOW WILL SURELY DISGRACE YOU SOON OR LATER YOU WILL SURELY PAY THE PRICE, I COULD REMEMBER THE SAME OBJ VISITED QATAR WHEN HE WAS HEAD OF STATE AN OPENLY SAID THAT THE OIL QATAR PRODUCE IN 6MONTH THAT NIGERIA CAN PRODUCE IT IN ONE DAY , YES I AGREE WITH OBJ BUT WHERE IS NIGERIA ITERM OF DEVELOPMENT NO ROAD,ELECTRICITY,NO GOOD EDUCTION, SO NOTHING IS WORKING IN NIGERIA , BUT COME HERE IN QATAR ONCE A DESERT AREA NOW LOOKS LIKE HEAVEN, GOOD ROAD,GOOD WATER,ELECTRICITY 24/7 SINCE I WAS LIVING HERE FOR 4YEARS NOW NEVER A DAY LIGHT GO OFF, THEY ARE BRINGING IN BEST INSTITUTION AROUND THE WORLD TO THERE COUNTRY, THERE CITIZEN IS FIRST BEFORE ANY OTHER THINGS, ALL THERE CITIZEN HAVE BENEFICIARY IN THERE OIL MONEY WEHTHER YOU ARE YOUNG OR OLDER YOUR MONEY WILL BE CREDITED ON YOUR BANK ACCOUNT, BUT NIGERIA NO WAY, IOL MONEY IN NIGERIA MET TO POLITICIALS THATS ALL, SOLUTION TO OUR PROBLEM LET US GO BACK TO REGIONS .

  4. let every nigerians be ready for the time when all our bad leaders we all be ****** to restore nigeria back on track, just the same did to bad leaders in ghana,very soon my people it will come to pass,is just a matter of time,every body can say any thing with his mouth. Question time is coming and answer will be given.

  5. Very well said Mr. President! One never really understand the complexities of power. It seems you only see clearly when you are out. Having read your books ‘this animal called man’, women of virtues’ ‘eve’ and ‘my command’ I have no doubts that you mean well for Nigeria. But one fails to understand where national interest really begins and ends, and where real leadership, patriotism and the determination to do what is right starts. One can only wish that Nigeria will find the right path and soon.

  6. This idiot that was talking here has ruled Nigeria two times and has no good record so far.When he was on throne,what has he done to ease the situation of those pesant farmers or health for the poors or free education? No work for the graduates .The truth has been said by Col. Muammar Gaddafi.How do you expect a man with very weak intellectual and lack of wisdom like our ex-presidents to solve the problems Nigeria.All they know is to kill and steal what belongs to me and you.Nigeria need prayer.

  7. A speech well spoken but spoken too late. He’s out and he’s out sorry mate.

  8. Raw Justice - DK on March 29, 2010 at 7:25 am said:

    Confession of the devil, in human skin… the millions of innocent Biafra children’s blood in this hands are cluttering his vision and I am sure he never sleep well at nights!
    Until this man and his gangs submit themselves to the Genocide and War crime tribunal for crimes against humanity, their lives will never know peace, and the confession Obasanjo is making is prelude to what he will soon tell the world about his part in years of genocide of Igbos’ and other minority groups from 60s to date.
    In Igbo tradition, such a confession is not done voluntarily, but a final cotton call, where the evil person gradually confesses all his crimes before dying… When such person dies, his corpse is never buried at home, but thrown to the evil forest..
    RIDE ON BABA IYABO (DE KILLER), TRUTH WILL BE COMING OUT GRADUALLY..

  9. Obj, as head of state from 2001-2007 if you had been very keen you would have solved the problem in Jos. You are now coming to say it is not properly managed, a confession of failure of your regime. OK if your prophesy comes true it is you and the Plateau authority that history will blacklist!

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