Former President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday charged democratically elected African leaders to avoid policies that would make the youths see military coup d’etat as a better option to democratic governance.
Obasanjo specifically warned African leaders, particularly those with a sit-tight mentality to have a change of heart and encourage the type of democracy that works for all and sundry in their respective countries.
The former president gave the charge while speaking at a mentorship programme organised for students from the Africa for Africa School of Government; an educational initiative powered by the founder and president of LoveWorld Incorporated, also known as Christ Embassy Church, Pastor Chris Oyakhilome.
The over 200 African youths, drawn from across six African countries had converged on Obasanjo’s Penthouses residence locate within the precinct of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital for a mentorship programme on “Good Governance through Public Service”.
Obasanjo, who tutored his mentee, under the aegis of Africa for African Youths Initiative (A4AYI), had spoken on the programme themed: “Fostering Sustainable Development Through Pan Africanism ‘’.
In his lecture, the former president noted that failures of African leaders to faithfully and sincerely present democratic governance to the people were responsible for the military takeover of some African countries as witnessed in the Republic of Niger and Gabon among other countries in the continent.
He explained that the rising military coups in some African countries were an indication that the people were tired of some things in their countries and needed liberators.
Charging politicians to let aspirations to serve their people be their watchwords, Obasanjo declared that any conditions that encourage coups in the continent should be avoided as much as possible.
“Politics is about service, you must give service and nobody is too old or too young or too poor to give service. When we begin to give quality service, then we shall have qualitative governance,” he said.
He called on the government of various African countries including Nigeria, to ensure they don’t push the youths to the point of preferring a military takeover with their policies.
He said, “Having suffered in the hands of Abacha, I won’t support a military coup. But if it has to come, what can we do?”
Meanwhile, the executive director of Africa for African Youth Initiative, Henry Akasili noted that their visit to the former President has greatly rekindled their passion and drive to take the African continent to the next level.
“Our visit to former President Obasanjo has been a major eye opener, we have seen things. It is re-awakening Africa has a lot of resources, Africa has the brain, Africa is filled and full of intelligent minds,” he said.