In an interview with Y! Magazine, the former president described the current situation in the country as toxic and called for a concerted effort to address it.
According to him, “We are in a situation in this country now, or if you like, in a state of insecurity. It’s a toxic situation. It does not matter how much blame on the leadership is unfair or unwarranted, the public won’t support the leader.”
“It’s like when a country is at war. Everything in the country must be dear to us in the war. After you have done the war, you can now start apportioning blame because there are many things going wrong in our country. There will be something wrong with our country or any country at any point. The question is how serious and what we are doing about it- and in this case it is serious.” he said.
He spoke of the tough decisions he had to make when he was president of the country, and berated the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Ghali Na’Abba for always threatening him with impeachment.
“By now, Na’abba or whatever you call that character who took a lorry to Abuja from Kano, became Speaker and was riding in strings of cars, would have been known for impeaching me after many threats. I said if this impeachment will come, let it come and I will go back to my farm but what I will not accept, I will not accept,” Obasanjo said defiantly.
He described his biggest achievement in office as preventing the break-up of the country. “I protected Nigeria from breaking up. When I became elected president, many Nigerians did not think that Nigeria would survive.
“For instance, there was still grief and a feeling of alienation by the Igbos although the war had long ended; they had not felt that they had fully reaped the benefits of the end of the war. Two, the Yorubas generally were feeling bad about the situation of Abiola and the June 12 election. Three, the Niger Deltans essentially were feeling bad about being rich and yet remaining very poor. Four, the Northerners were being accused of monopolising power and each of these group were looking at themselves and thinking, if the worst comes to the worst, they would go it alone. Each of them was getting its own militants in one form or the other; the OPC (O’odua People’s Congress) in the West, Egbesu in the Niger Delta, and the Arewa People’s Congress (in the North).
“That was the situation and that’s what made people to believe that after me, as president, there would be no other president again; that Nigeria will disintegrate on my head. But that wasn’t the case, and you cannot quantify what a huge achievement that was,” he stated.