Nigeria’s former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, has said he made two mistakes which include the choice of his running mate ahead of the 1999 presidential election.
Obasanjo said his second mistake was not accepting an asylum when he was informed that the late Head of State, Sani Abacha, wanted to arrest him. According to him, the action could have led to his death.
Obasanjo became Nigeria’s democratically elected President in 1999 while the current Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, was his Vice President.
Though Obasanjo did not mention Atiku in his statement, he said it was a mistake he made in good faith, but he was saved by God.
He talked about his life and achievements both as Nigeria’s military Head of State and as civilian President.
Obasanjo made the statement while answering questions asked by students from selected secondary schools that took part in the final of the National Exhibition and Awards organized by Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship.
The event took place at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta, Ogun State, and featured presentations and exhibitions of some products manufactured by students of the participating schools.
While interacting with the students during a questions and answers session, the former President said he made many mistakes, which could be described by him as genuine mistakes in his life but God made him overcome them.
He said: “One of the mistakes I made was picking my number two when I wanted to become the President. But because it was a genuine mistake, God saved me.
“The second one was when Abacha wanted to arrest me. When Abacha wanted to arrest me, I was told by the American ambassador that they would arrest me and that America had asked that I should be given asylum. I said no. It could have been a mistake because I could have lost my life.
“I will say there are many things that could have been a mistake but God saved me from them all.”
While speaking about the chances youth have in taking over the mantle of leadership in the country, Obasanjo said the youth would never come into power if the current political trend continued.
He said: “With the “Not Too Young to Run” campaign, you can see that those that are contesting now are between 70 and 80 years old; how can the youth run?
“Another thing inhibiting youth from running is the amount of money involved in going into politics. I hope that things should not continue like this.
“I was 39 years old when I became the military Head of State. Twenty years later, I came back as civilian President, but those there now do not want to allow the youth. If things continue like this, I do not know how you can come in.”
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