--> Former President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday denied calling for a revolution in Nigeria. Reacting to reports quoting him as saying that a revolution was imminent in the country, the former president said he was misquoted as he never made such comment. He said: “The person saying I talked about revolution taking place in Nigeria is talking nonsense; he doesn’t understand English.
“What I said was that as long as we
do not pay adequate attention to solving the problem of unemployment, we
are all sitting on a keg of gun powder. And it is a tickling time-bomb.
All of us must realise that it is a serious problem. Our leaders must
pay attention to this issue.
“That is not revolution. I never used the word revolution. Unemployment is a continental problem and indeed a global problem.
a state can have over 50 per cent of its population as unemployed, it
is a major problem that needs serious attention. “I didn’t mention
revolution in my speech. Who will write a cheque for us in Africa?
to clarify whether he spoke about a revolution happening in Nigeria, he
said: “I didn’t. And that is not what I want for Nigeria. What I want
for Nigeria is job creation for the youth not revolution.” Obasanjo was
said to have predicted that a revolution loomed in Nigeria unless the
government took urgent step to arrest youth unemployment and poverty.
prediction was reportedly made at the weekend in a speech at a West
African regional conference on youth employment in Senegal. Meanwhile,
former President Obasanjo has asked political parties to do more in
enforcing party discipline, proper implementation of their manifestoes,
service delivery and national integration in their quest for power
acquisition. Obasanjo spoke yesterday in Abuja as chairman of the first
session of a two-day roundtable conference on “Party Politics and
Election in Nigeria,” organised by the National Institute of Legislative
The former president expressed concern that in
Nigeria, political parties’ manifestoes are being abused because they
are only used to win elections and thereafter dumped by political
parties. He wondered how a party in office would be assessed if not
through the party’s manifestoes.
He observed that in the absence
of manifestoes, it becomes difficult to hold political parties
accountable in office. He said: “In Nigeria, manifestoes are prepared,
read and thereafter thrown away after elections.
Worse still, in
other instances, some political parties do not even have manifestoes.
How then do we hold political parties accountable?”
commenting on party discipline, Obasanjo stressed that no human
institution or organisation, not the least, political parties can endure
without party discipline, particularly under a multi-party democracy
like Nigeria. He noted that it is party discipline that subjects the
activities of members of the party to checks and ensures that the
ideologies of political parties are sustained. On service, the former
president implored political parties to do more because at the moment.
rarely find political parties delivering services to the people to
justify the confidence reposed in them by the electorate”, he said. The
conference, which was attended by the Senate President, David Mark, his
deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, former Vice President Alex Ekwueme,
Deputy Speaker of the House of representatives, Emeka Ihedioha; former
President, Ibrahim Babangida; former principal officers of the National
Assembly, chairmen of registered political parties in Nigeria, serving
members of the National Assembly and some visiting members of the United
States of America Congress.
In his keynote address while
declaring the event open, Mark explained that intra party squabbles
exist because political party affiliation in Nigeria is rarely anchored
on ideology or any uniting and defined philosophy, but rather largely on
crass opportunism. This, the Senate President said, undermines the
capacity of the political party to govern effectively, even after
gaining political power.
He expressed concerns that in reality,
most of the current political parties in the country are fledging and
hardly able to stand on their feet, while many others exists mainly on
paper, and were floated to attract the financial subventions, which the
1999 constitution hitherto guaranteed them.
According to him,
even the big parties, which control various executive and legislative
arms of government are often mired by internal convulsions, lack of
cohesion, indiscipline and glaring absence of internal democracy. These
problems, Mark said have been the bane of party politics in Nigeria.
described as unfortunate that the term lobbying has come to acquire a
pejorative connotation, despite its many inherent and positive benefits,
noting that this is due largely to the abuse to which it often liable.