Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo has said that Nigeria needs a leader who is “mad” about the country. The one-time military Head of State made the declaration when he received Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential aspirant, Mohammed Hayatu- Deen at his Abeokuta residence yesterday. Obasanjo said he has the passion he described as “madness” for Nigeria and he has no apology for being mad about the country “because I have no other country I can call my own and I have no other country I can go to and say yes, I have come to live here.”
He lamented the rapidly deteriorating security situation in the nation, saying it is not only agonising for him but for other Nigerians who also desire a better country. Obasanjo said the situation in the country requires a leader who has knowledge, vision, passion and innovation. The former Nigerian leader insisted the country can overcome its security challenges within two years with a willingness to make tough decisions. Obasanjo therefore urged Nigerians to be ready to make sacrifices to put the country back on the right path.
The former soldier said: “Some people say the human memories are short,maybe they are right because if human memories are not shot, some of the mistakes that we are making, we will not be making them. “Yes, we have a record which some people may find a little bit not what they want to hear, but whatever people want to hear, I believe as you (Hayatu- Deen) have rightly said, that this period is not like any other period in the history of Nigeria and you used two words, decomposing and dissolving. I can’t find any better words to describe the situation we have found ourselves in. “It is an agonising situation for you obviously and also for me.
I want to emphasise the point that the Nigerian situation, bad as it is, will only be put right by Nigerians at the forefront of our situation. So, Nigerians have to do what needs to be done to put Nigeria back on the right path. “And you are right in saying that wherever you go now, one of the things you hear is that Nigeria is not on the table, but why shouldn’t Nigeria be on the table? What does it cost Nigeria to be on the table? “I will say four things, of which I was reminded this morning. One is knowledge. If Nigeria is not at the table, maybe the knowledge that we should have of ourselves, of our situation, of our continent and indeed of the world is not that adequate, if that knowledge is adequate, we will do what is right, when it is right and how it is right.
“The second is vision, what is the vision that we have? And if you have no vision, you may have eyes, but you are blind. And I believe that is part of our situation. “The third is passion. And when you said, that you are involved in this, with a passion and I was telling some people this morning that, passion means madness, that you are mad about Nigeria, I am and I have no apologies for that because I have no other country I can call my own and I have no other country I can go to and say yes, I have come to live here. “Passion means being mad about Nigeria, having a touch of madness and I look at you (Hayatu-Deen) and say yes, you are mad about Nigeria too.
“Fourth is innovation. We cannot be doing the same thing that we have done in the past that did not pay us and continue to repeat it and expect any change, we have to move out of it, we have to innovate, we have to restrategise. “And you talk about security and people ask me about it and I said I know that we can put all insecurity in Nigeria behind us within a space of two years. That we have not done or that we are still in the situation we are in is a choice that has been made by our leaders, not the way God wants us to be.” Hayatu-Deen lamented that Nigeria is “decomposing and dissolving very fast”. The former Managing Director of FSB International Bank described Obasanjo as a father of modern Nigeria whose administration recorded tremendous achievements.