Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Wednesday said presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar was not infallible like every other human being, hence the need to be forgiven.
Obasanjo made the statement in Lagos while speaking at the 2019 Island Club Quarterly Business Lecture. Abubakar had earlier delivered his lecture themed: “My vision to get Nigeria Working again”.
Obasanjo, in his remark said he believed that Atiku had the experience, the capacity and passion to move the country forward.
He said Nigerians should no longer find his support for the former vice president strange going by what he said or wrote about him in the past.
He reiterated that he stood firmly by whatever he said in the past about Atiku and indeed President Buhari.
He, however, said the PDP candidate had demonstrated what was expected of a committed and sincere leader by owing up to his past mistakes and showing remorse.
Obasanjo added that Atiku had not only apologised to his political party and the nation, but also apologised to him for the past disagreements he made as his deputy.
He said that Atiku was not infallible like every other human being and that he, (Obasanjo) would be playing God by not forgiving the former Vice-President.
“I have been called names because of my position on Atiku Abubakar, the Waziri Adamawa.
“Everything I have said as far as I have knowledge of Atiku, I have not retracted and I stand firmly by them because they are to the best of my knowledge true.
“And neither has what I have said and written about Buhari been controverted, if anything, they have been confirmed and proved beyond any shadow of doubt.
“But Atiku has done things which are absolutely imperative for a leader to be followed and believed.
“First, know who you are and present yourself as you are – a human being in blood and flesh and susceptible to human mistakes and human frailties.
“Don’t cover up with sanctimonious veneer of bogus integrity, incorruptibility, uprightness, goodness and false figures and statistics, all of which are contrived to deceive, to cheat, to plunder and to destroy.
“Atiku never claimed to be a saint and I never described him as such. I will never so describe any human being alive let alone calling him a Messiah.
“On an occasion in the past when I said that someone was not a Messiah, some Nigerians out of bad “belle’’ were up in arms.
“For me, as a Christian, the only Messiah I know and have is Jesus Christ and even then, the man aspect of Him was imperfect while the divine aspect of Him was perfectly messianic.
“Secondly, a leader must be honest to himself and to the people he serves or he wants to serve.
“He must identify and acknowledge his situation, mistakes, shortcomings and inadequacy; show remorse where and when he has erred, seek forgiveness and repent; and not passing the bulk or keep blaming others and fail to accept responsibility.
“Atiku accepts responsibility for his mistakes, shows remorse and seeks forgiveness from his political party and subsequently from Nigerians.
“He asks for forgiveness from me and as a believer, a Christian as such, I forgave him in accordance with the teaching and instruction of my Saviour.
“For, if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly father will also forgive you.
“But if you do not forgive men their sins, your father will not forgive your sins (Matt 6:14-15 NIV).
“If anybody blames me for forgiving Atiku, I leave such a person with God Almighty, especially as both Christian and Islamic clerics joined Atiku to visit me to seek forgiveness.
“Anybody who does not forgive when forgiveness is sought with contrite heart cannot be a true believer and should not expect the forgiveness of God,” he said.
He said past disagreements notwithstanding, Atiku demonstrated great leadership qualities when he was in office as Vice-President.
Obasanjo said he believed with the experience and courage of Abubakar, he remained the best candidate to move the country forward.
“I must reiterate that Atiku is not a saint. Who is? But from what I know of Atiku, he will be a performer in all respect. I can say that again from my personal experience.
“He knows the problems and he handled some of them in the past.
“We now know that both Buhari and Atiku have issues and all of us as human beings have one issue or the other in different magnitudes.
“But judging both of them empirically and for the task at hand, Atiku will perform much better than Buhari.
“And he will seek for good and able people around the country and beyond and make use of them to achieve his mission and vision for the general good of Nigerians and the country,” he said.
Obasanjo claimed that the state of affairs under All Progressives Congress (APC) had been disappointing and called on the citizens to effect a change with their votes.
He also commended Island Club for providing the platform for leaders to articulate their visions for the country through the lecture.
He said the series of the Club’s lecture had helped enriched discourse on nation-building.
British Prime Minister to resign
British Prime Minister Theresa May has said she will quit as Conservative leader on 7 June, paving the way for a contest to decide a new prime minister. In an emotional statement in Downing Street, Mrs. May said she had “done my best” to honor the 2016 EU referendum result.
It would remain a matter of “deep regret” that she had been unable to deliver Brexit, she added.
May will not leave office immediately. She will step aside as leader of the Conservative Party on June 7, which will trigger a leadership contest to replace her on June 10. But she will stay on as prime minister until her successor is selected.
A new prime minister was “in the best interests of the country,” May said in a statement in front of London’s 10 Downing Street. “It is and always will remain a matter of deep regret to me that I have not been able to deliver Brexit.”
The countdown to May’s departure began the moment she brought back the Brexit deal negotiated with the EU late last year, which both her party and the opposition Labour Party hated. When she put the deal before Parliament in January, MPs defeated it by a stunning margin of 230 votes — the largest defeat for a prime minister in modern British history.
May failed again on the second attempt in March. Before making her third attempt, she tried a new tactic to get her deal passed: promising to resign if it succeeded. Conservatives who disliked her more than they disliked her deal went along with it, but May still couldn’t muster the votes to pass the plan that would take the UK out of the EU.
The political stalemate forced her to twice seek an extension of the original March 29 Brexit deadline to avoid a no-deal Brexit. That new deadline is now set for October 31, 2019, months after the original departure date.
Lagos governor-elect promises to run transparent government
The Governor-elect of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has pledged to be more transparent and accountable to Lagos citizens when he assumes office. Sanwo-Olu, who said this during a media briefing in Lagos yesterday, pledged to institute a quarterly interactive session on the state’s budget in order to give Lagosians updates and progress report on public expenditure.
The incoming governor also vowed to make the environment more conducive to attract foreign investments into the state. Responding to a question on how to make the budget transparent and procurement open, he said: “The state government still publicizes its budget on a year-on-year basis. We intend to continue, but beyond that, we would also do a quarterly review of our budget performance so that people can ask questions and we are accountable.
“In terms of transparency, we have a procurement law and we have a procurement agency. It is important for people to access them more. The ones that need to be published in terms of who gets the procurement, we would do it if it is not currently being done.”
He added: “So we would let people know on a quarterly basis how you are running your budget and how well you are doing and issues around transparency reduce.”
Commenting on his intention to ensure that increased foreign investments are attracted to Lagos state, Sanwo-Olu added: “Investments are just moving around and if you don’t take them and the opportunities, they move to some other jurisdiction. That is because money is always moving around the world.
Osinbajo charges outgoing governors on public service
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo Thursday urged outgoing governors not to see their exit from power as an opportunity to run personal businesses or sleeping for long hours.
Instead, they should see their exit from power as another opportunity to further serve the country in various capacities, using their influence, for instance, to contribute to healthcare and education.
Osinbajo said at a valedictory session of the National Economic Council (NEC) in Abuja that donor agencies would be glad to work with some of the outgoing governors, especially those with records of accomplishment of healthcare provision and other humanitarian needs.
Membership of the NEC, statutorily chaired by the vice-president, comprises governors of the 36 states of the federation and select federal government officials.
The vice-president, who thanked the governors for the encomiums showered on him by various speakers at the meeting, said of Nigeria’s population of about 200 million, only 74 persons, comprising the president, vice-president, 36 governors, and their deputies, were given the responsibilities of formulating policies and executing projects to improve people’s living conditions.
He sought more commitment from the governors to better the lots of the citizenry.
According to him, having led their various states for some years, the governors do not need anyone to advise them any longer on the imperative of unity or security of lives and property just as he identified the availability of food and water as the main priorities of citizens.
However, the vice-president lamented that most people dissipate energy to stoke the embers of disunity and ethnicity, advising the governors to condemn those who engage in such acts and resist them because the country does not belong to them only.
He reiterated the need for the outgoing governors to be challenged by the enormity of problems at stake and consequently use their influence as former governors, when the time comes, to contribute to continued efforts to address such problems.
He said: “In the next few years, our population will double with the attendant challenges of jobs, education, healthcare, security, and infrastructure. Every nation that has moved its people from misery to prosperity has depended heavily in fact almost completely on the political elite. Our people have nowhere else to look or to go, it is as they say, at the collective table that the buck stops.
“I should advise that you should use your influence and reach to the advantage of Nigerian people. You have seen and heard for yourselves the enormity of our national problems. Very few people have the advantage to see closely as we do, the issues that concern our country – issues that even concern our different states. We here have that unique advantage. So, I think that we can help in one way or the other; we can do something in our states and other states in a way of advocacy or action on education and healthcare in particular, and jobs.
Abiodun assures Ogun people of good governance
Ogun State Governor-elect Prince Dapo Abiodun on Thursday pledged to “submit himself to the will of the people and agenda of the state” when sworn-in on May 29 next week as next executive governor.
Abiodun also assured that he would be “humble” in governance, saying since “humility” has taken him far in life, there would be no reason to change when he is in power.
The successful entrepreneur and oil magnate gave the assurance in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, in an apparent response to the remarks by Nigerian businessman and politician, Afolabi Adeola, during Abiodun’s pre-inauguration lecture.
Adeola, who was the chairman of the occasion, had lamented that politicians while seeking the people’s votes, always wear the garb of humility and which tends to make the citizens have a feeling of a new dawn.
But, he said once such politicians were elected and sworn-in, the whole thing turned to an illusion.
The co-founders of Guaranty Trust Bank(GTB) said Abiodun ran a difficult race and emerged victorious, advising him not to toe the path of others, who would set up committee after committee only to treat the recommendations of such committees with disdain.
He also advised the governor-elect to “submit himself” and his “cronies” to the agenda of the state and interest of the people.
However, Abiodun said that his administration would be different.