Former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, has rated the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan as below average, a move that is certain to worsen the apparent cold war between the former and the present government. Speaking at a book chat in the ongoing Ake Arts and Book Festival in Abeokuta, Obasanjo said he considers insecurity as the greatest challenge facing the nation.
The theme of the chat hosted by Patrick Okigbo was, “Defining a Legacy”. He recalled the efforts he had taken to end the insurgency in the country stoked by Boko Haram, especially after the UN bombing. According to him, he had succeeded in convincing members of the sect to lay down their arms after giving them assurances that grievances will be addressed.
He said it’s unfortunate that nothing was done to build on that. He also described the late Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu as a “patriot and nationalist”, but added that he was “naive”.
“Part of our problems in this country is that at independence, we did not have a national leader. We had leaders of three different countries within Nigeria,” he said. Asked whether he would describe the late Nzeowu as a hero or a villain, Obasanjo said: “There is nobody who knows him who will not tell you that he wasn’t a nationalist.
And in that my book I said that yes, Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu was a nationalist, a patriot, a committed Nigerian. But he was naive. “Whatever you want to take from that, you can say. But I know him: he was a good friend of mine. I came from a trip a day before the coup but he never told me that he was planning a coup.
“After the coup, he told me that (the question) whether to tell me or not was one of the hardest decisions he had to make, because if he told me and I said ‘no’, he shouldn’t, it was too late for him not to go ahead with it; if he told me and I said ‘yes good idea’, it was too late to find a role for me. So, he then decided not to tell me.”