Written by Mohammed S. Shehu, with agency report
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo said the recent transfer of power to Acting President Goodluck Jonathan should be a stopgap solution to the crisis that trailed the long absence of President Umaru Musa Yar’adua , who is currently receiving treatment in Saudi Arabia.
Obasanjo, who bared his mind on Nigeria and Africa in an interview he granted the Newsweek, said more actions needed to be taken on the stalemate.
Asked to explain if the appointment of Jonathan as Acting President has defused the crisis that followed the medical sojourn of Yar’adua , Obasanjo said: “The president was ill; anybody can be ill. I don’t believe a “permanent” acting president is a permanent solution, so I think more steps have to be taken.”
On the inability of previous governments in the country to development key infrastructure despite being an oil producing country, Obasanjo attributed it to over dependence on oil and the prolonged neglect of key sectors of the economy like agriculture.
“I believe God knew what he was doing when he put oil under our ground. It
should be a means to an end. [But] when we realized we were an oil-producing country, we neglected sectors like agriculture. Every Nigerian started to live on oil. We were not leaving anything for a rainy day. But for the first time since independence, our agricultural sector grew by 7 percent for four years [during my term].”
He said before he came to power in 1999, corruption was a way of life but he was able to remedy the menace by appointing the right people to lead the anti-corruption crusade.
“Eradicating corruption is not a one-day affair. Before I came in, corruption was a way of life, particularly in the ministries. But we cannot load the ministries with all party men. It’s a question of finding the right person for the job.”Obasanjo also dismissed concern that the failed Christmas day bomb attempt by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab would turn Nigeria into the next terrorist launchpad.
“That is absolutely false. A young, impressionable boy was captured and
brainwashed. That should be regarded as an aberration. But we were slow in
reacting. We should have condemned terrorism everywhere. The father of the boy was a minister when I was military head of state, a complete gentleman.
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