Obasanjo, Fayemi Meet Gov Wike In Port Harcourt

Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo and ex-governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi met with the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike on Thursday.

Governor Wike received the former President at his country home in Rumuepirikom, Obio Akpor local government area of the State.

Obasanjo was in the state to speak at the 2023 Port Harcourt International Conference in Port Harcourt which was held at the Dr Obi Wali International Conference Center in Port Harcourt.

The conference was titled, “Deepening Democratic Culture And Institutions For Sustainable Development And Security in Nigeria”.

The former president while speaking at the event condemned the style of political campaigns in the country ahead of the 2023 general elections, he called for a change in orientation.

Obasanjo while addressing attendees at the event laments how Nigerians are dragged into the directionless, meaningless and opportunistic personal or narrow ambitions of leaders.

He said, “Political campaigns are taken over by insults, lies, self and selfish interest and diversions, not on issues of national interest and progress. Party platforms are developed, launched with fanfare and promptly discarded.

“Critical issues are discarded as intellectuals and technocrats are sidelined while minions, gatekeepers and job hunters take over the campaign and build iron rings around candidates at all levels. Candidates are caged and milked opportunistically.”

The ex-president noted that politics is not a dirty game, adding that the rules and principles are all there and known to most actors.

He said when actors confuse the beginning with the end or adopt the infamous Machiavellian dictum that the end justifies the means, they get set for a race without boundaries, where anything goes.

Obasanjo claimed politics and political competition get imprisoned as the actors invent new rules of engagement as they go along and seek to outdo one another in non-beneficial issues to the ordinary citizen.

Speaking on governance, Obasanjo said each new government behaves as if Nigeria is a newly found country.

He further stated, “During campaigns, some leaders sound as if they plan to reinvent Nigeria and create new Nigerians overnight. That is because they miss the aspect of democracy that emphasizes continuity, stability and predictability.”

Obasanjo called on Nigeria urgently get back to the basics and rebuild our commitment to democratic practice.

He added, “We must take some time for introspection and ask if we have been doing the right things for ourselves and future generations. It is not rocket science to get back on the path of democracy and social justice. It begins with self-commitment, then leadership commitment.”

The former President also hailed Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State for his courage and desire to ensure Nigeria’s democracy is not truncated.

The former President said the courage of the Rivers governor to speak truth to power and challenge any leader was essential for the survival of democracy in the country.

Obasanjo, who delivered the Keynote address titled: ”Respecting the Principles of Democracy”, commended the organizers of the conference and Wike for putting his weight behind the intellectual discourse at this critical time.

He said: “Wike’s courage ‘is one of the things’ he believed were essential for the survival of democracy in Nigeria.”

Speaking further, Obasanjo advised the country’s leadership to deal with deep cultural and physiological problems to deepen democracy, adding that Nigeria had gone through twists, dives, and turns since its political independence.

Obasanjo said a nation that does not engage in conversation, self-analysis, self-criticism, regular reading and interactions cannot make meaningful and sustainable progress.

He said true democracy would promote patriotism and nationalism, build confidence in leaders and government and encourages the citizenry to reach a high point of their creative and production ability.

Obasanjo said that democracy when properly practised in the interest of peace, inclusion, national growth development, security and sustainability would address the nation’s problem.

According to him, no two democracies are exactly alike because democratic parties and institutions are shaped by the specifics of history, society, culture, nature of production and exchange, orientation, special balancing and the character of the government and the ruling elites.

Obasanjo said that as governing is completely open, the governing and ruling elites not anchored in production would not have the urge to invest in research and development, science and technology and good governance.

According to him, citizens that live in a democracy share common perspectives, petitions and commitments in the basic terms of democratic practice, and they may turn out to be beneficiaries or victims depending on the cause of the process and practice of democracy.

“If after six decades of political independence, our leaders are not showing clear capacities to provide a transformative leadership that unites Nigerians and contains ethnic, religious, regional, selfish and class proclivities then there is a problem,” he said.

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Ilesanmi Adekanbi

Ilesanmi Adekanbi, writers and loves writing the story of politics, He is a movie addict. Adekanbi is a Senior Content Creator at Newsflash Nigeria contact me on email: ilesanmiadekanbi980@gmail.com

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