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5 key takeaways from Obasanjo’s endorsement of Peter Obi

Here are some of the key points the ex-president made in his appeal to Nigerians.

Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo and Labour Party Presidential candidate, Peter Obi.
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The ex-president’s endorsement of Obi laid to rest, the debate about his position on the 2023 general election.

In his usual manner, Obasanjo announced his support for the LP candidate in a letter titled, “My appeal to all Nigerians particularly Young Nigerians.”

While Obasanjo’s endorsement of Obi has been a subject of debate, there are some key takeaways that can’t be overlooked in the letter.

Here are some of the key points in Obasanjo's appeal to Nigerians.

In 2022, some of the presidential candidates visited the former President in Abeokuta to receive his blessing. Hence, it’s safe to say that Obasanjo knows these candidates better than the electorate.

So, in his letter, the ex-president submitted that none of the three candidates — Atiku Abubakar, Bola Tinubu and Peter Obi — mentioned in his message to Nigerians is a saint.

The three presidential candidates have corruption allegations against them but the ex-president believes Obi has an edge over others in terms of character.

“None of the contestants is a saint but when one compares their character, antecedents, their understanding, knowledge, discipline, and vitality that they can bring to bear and the great efforts required to stay focused on the job, particularly looking at where the country is today and with the experience on the job that I personally had, Peter Obi as a mentee has an edge”. he said.

In May 2022, when Bola Tinubu was addressing APC members and delegates in Abeokuta, Ogun state capital, he urged them to support him at the party’s primary because it was his turn (Emi l'okan) to rule the country.

The claim which many Nigerian criticised as politics of selfishness would later become the campaign slogan that is used to promote Tinubu’s candidacy on social media and campaign grounds.

In the same vein, the former Head of State maintained that Atiku's claim that he deserves to lead the country after several failed attempts is a politics of self-interest and nepotism.

Atiku deputised Obasanjo from 1999 to 2007, but it is very clear that the former Vice-President is not in the good book of his former boss.

Obasanjo explained that since all the presidential candidates promise to solve the country’s problems, “the solution should be in ‘we’ and ‘us’ and not in ‘me’ and ‘I’.’’

He added that both Emi l’okan and Atiku’s claim to have paid his dues are wrong attitude and mentality for Nigeria’s leadership.

As the 2023 election draws close, the ex-president said there have been campaigners going up and down the country promising what is realistic and what is not.

So, while endorsing Obi, Obasanjo urged Nigerians to vote for a leader with “a track record of ability and performance; a vision that is authentic, honest and realistic; character and attributes of a lady and a gentleman who are children of God and obedient to God.”

He also said both Tinubu and Atiku may not be able to provide the vigour, energy, agility, dynamism and outreach that the job of leadership of Nigeria at the very top required.

In his submission, Obasanjo believes the youths have a vital role to play in the forthcoming general election.

The ex-president challenged young Nigerian men and women to rise, come together, and bring about a truly meaningful change in their lives.

He said if they fall prey again, they will have themselves to blame.

“I challenge the youth to arise. Let nobody pull wool over your eyes to divide you and/or segregate you to make you underlings. Nigerian youth, wherever they come from, North or South, East or West need education which is now denied to over 20 million children; Nigerian youth also need skills, empowerment, employment, reasonably good living conditions, welfare and well-being”, he said.

The ex-president concluded that the power is in the hands of the youths, adding that it’s their time and turn to produce the next president.

The former Head of State also appealed to the young Nigerians to stop inheriting other people’s prejudices and enemies and make their own friends.

He advised the youths to stop criminalising and demonising one another on the basis of the civil war, adding that no region can claim to be innocent or saintly.

"Just let us agree to move forward together in mutual forgiveness, one accord, inclusive society, equality and equity. Together and without bias and discrimination, fear or favour, we can have Nigeria of one nation in diversity, in truth and in practice. Let us honour, cherish, respect and even celebrate our diversity which is the basis of our potential greatness and strength". he said.

He concluded that Nigerians can't continue to play politics of ethnicity, religion, region, and money bags to the detriment of the country.

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