Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said that nobody can intimidate him on the third force, the Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM), that he has been promoting across the country in order to rescue the country from collapse.
He recalled how former Military Head of State, the late Gen Sani Abacha jailed him for an offence he did not commit, asking for the whereabouts of Abacha today.
Obasanjo disclosed this when he addressed thousands of CNM members during a town hall meeting held at the Trans Amusement Park, Bodija, Ibadan, yesterday.
National Coordinator of the movement, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, and former governor of Osun State, said that verifiable members of CNM have scaled over three million, adding that the movement would participate in all the elections scheduled to hold this year in the country.
The meeting was also attended by a former Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja; former secretary to Oyo State Government, Chief Olayiwola Olakojo, who is the Oyo State Coordinator of CNM; another ex-SSG in the state, Chief Ayodele Adigun; and one of Obasanjo’s close associates, Oyewole Fasawe; as well as a legal luminary, Hammed Raji (SAN), among others.
According to Obasanjo, “For me, I don’t think there is anyone that can intimidate me. Let me remind you, I have gone through many things. I have been jailed without committing any offence. Where is the person that jailed me?”
Obasanjo, who urged members of the movement, which he said would become a political party soon, not to give in to any form of intimidation from the powers that be either individually or collectively,
Though speaking in parables, he inferred that God that made it possible for a sitting president to be defeated in 2015, would also make it possible for another sitting president to be defeated again in 2019, saying it is time for the youths to take over.
His words: “Some people believe that those that are in position, whether they are doing well or not, they must continue to be there. But when we say they must not be there, they will want to fight back. They will hold many things to wreak havoc, but everybody must be prepared. It will not be easy to wrest powers from them. If you think it will be easy to liberate Nigeria, you are deceiving yourself. “But the God that did it yesterday, will do it again today. We have seen this before. In this Nigeria, we have had a situation that we had five political parties and the five parties nominated one person as the candidate for the presidency. If only his nuclear family has voted for him, he would have won.
“Our God is wonderful. God laughed. Now, God is laughing. When the time came, God revealed that He’s God. He is the omnipotent, omnipresent and eternal, who can do all things and who can make all things possible. But if we are leaving things to God, we have to do our own side.
“I want to repeat what I have always said and don’t get me wrong; once this movement becomes a political party, I will no longer be a member of that party. But my concerns for Nigeria will not diminish. My struggle for the good of Nigeria is the progress of Nigeria, unity of Nigeria, development of Nigeria will not diminish.
“Even now, I get people from other parties, coming to me to seek advice. I don’t belong to them. I don’t have anything to do with them, but I give them advice. So, that situation will continue. I will continue to look for the good of Nigeria wherever I am and whenever.
“The CNM, even when it becomes a political party, or it joins others, it cannot do it alone. There would have to be a grand alliance… But let me assure you of one thing, having got this far, I will not leave you high and dry, and I know God will continue to be with us. But don’t ever think that it will be easy. Men of valour don’t run away from challenges and it is the same thing with women of honour, except lazy men and women. But they said our youths are lazy.
“Recently, I was in the United States and I said our youths have gone through many things on the Sahara, in Libya and Mediterranean, and somebody would say they are lazy; their great, great grandfathers would never try to go that far.
“The opportunities and facilities that people like us enjoyed, including those that said it should not be like that, if we give these youths half of what we enjoyed, they will perform miracles. Education is the best gift that a nation can give to its youths. It is the best gift and preparation for life. Are we doing enough of that?
“The work has started. Some people may be laughing at you and make the jest of you, don’t be bothered with that. Listen, permanent voter’s cards (PVCs) are your instruments. If you have not collected yours, go and collect it. If you are not yet registered, go and register. Let us tell them in all urban and rural areas that PVCs are what we will use. They are the keys to open the doors.”
Obasanjo explained that the CNM could “only achieve its objectives by transforming and being part of whatever it is as a political party. I just want to join in assuring you that the philosophy of what we have is CNM, and what it will transform to will not be different.
“We have not had a political party in this country that is grounded in the grassroots. All our political parties are elitist. We have not got a party in this country that has given a pride of place to the youths.
“The youths under 40 years old form more than 65 percent of our population. Now, who will tell you that because you are under 40, you cannot play a very significant role in the affairs of your country?
“I was Head of State when I was under 40. Now, France has elected a president that at under 40 years old. Botswana has just a vice president at 32 years old. Now, what we are saying is that the youths must be given a pride of place.” (The Sun)