Nigeria’s former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, on Tuesday, insisted that the continent of Africa has no alternative to democracy, good governance towards economic growth and development.
He made this submission in his remarks at a distinguished lecture and carnival organised by the Centre for Human Security and Dialogue of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library to commemorate his 82th birthday, in Abeokuta.
Obasanjo described individuals or leaders who keep mum over government policies not in the interest of the people as “accomplices in crime.”
The former President explained that criticism is an integral part of democracy and that democracy is not a family affair.
Obasanjo was reacting to a comment made by the Alake and Paramount ruler of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, who advised him to stop attacking his boss, President Muhammadu Buhari.
The monarch had in his goodwill message at the ceremony urged Obasanjo “to fight less at 82 rather than using it sword always.”
Alake said Obasanjo had fought corruption more than any other Nigeria leader especially with the establishment of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Obasanjo clearly told the gathering that he had no personal issue against Buhari.
” I believe that Africa has no alternative to democracy, good governance, and development and growth of our economy. We have none. And If that is not happening in any country, those who keep quiet about it, they are accomplices to the crime.
“That in a democracy you criticise a policy of a government is not a family affair, even if is my brother that is there and he is not doing the way he should do; he must be criticised. That is what democracy is all about, criticism and seeing the other side.
“So, if I say anybody in government is Nigeria or any government for that matter is not doing well, let that government prove that it is well. It’s not anything personal. So, Kabiyesi (referring to Alake of Egbaland) your boss, Buhari; there is nothing personal between me and him. Just as he is your boss, I am his boss, with all due respect.
“Now, the point is that I have been in that position longer than any Nigerian will ever be there. That’s true. If any Nigerian comes in and has two terms, he will not have almost four years of military rule. So, I have been there longer than any Nigerian would ever be there.
“So, when I say something I know what I am talking about. Kabiyesi (Alake) anytime you say, “leave my boss alone,” I say “he is your boss”. But I am also his (Buhari) boss. So, you might also ask your boss (Buhari) to leave his boss alone or do what it right that his boss wants him to do.
The guest lecturer, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, in a lecture with the theme ‘Colonialism, Apartheid, Freedom and South Africa rising’ also corroborated Obasanjo that Africa must promote democracy as a project.
The former Minister of Home Affairs of the Republic of South Africa expressed displeasure that his country is ranked poorly on the Corruption Perceptions Index of the Transparency International.
“There is a long-proven connection between the development of democratic institutions and social and economic development. We must, therefore, promote democracy as an African project. Across Africa, we need to become intransigent about human rights protection. And we must create the unity of purpose that makes it possible for us to rise, ” he added