Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Thursday insisted that the formation of the Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM) was not a third force but a movement for all Nigerians to bring about “unity, cooperation, development, rule of law, employment, law and order, employment integration, peace and security”.
The former leader, who did not rule out the movement becoming a political party that may sponsor candidates for future elections, said he would quit it once it takes a partisan form.
The former president made these comments after registering as a member of the movement at NUJ Press Centre, Oke Ilewo, Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
Obasanjo lamented the worsening state of things in Nigeria since independence and declared that there was the need for the country to change its approach to governance.
He said, “If the instruments we have used so far in our nation building and governance since independence have not served us well, it is imperative that we should rethink and retool. Coalition for Nigeria Movement is proposed as the new direction to mobilise our population for unity.”
In apparent allusion to President Muhammadu Buhari’s government, Obasanjo said, “The federal character principle, as espoused in our constitution, was to guide the leadership to search for competent holders of major offices to be distributed within the entire nation and avoid the concentration in a few ethnic hands or geographical places as we currently have in the leadership of the security apparatus.”
Obasanjo, flanked by former Ogun State governor, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, and his Cross River State counterpart, Donald Duke, further stated that the present administration had not done enough in many critical areas of the nation’s life, hence the need for a movement that will be free for all Nigerians to join, especially the youth and women who he described as not getting adequate attention.
“The spate of violence, criminality, organised crime, insurgency, and terrorism has not received sufficient proactive ameliorative responses through transformational leadership,” he noted.
According to him, the movement would involve people from both within and outside the country, even as explained that its focus is not about personalities but about the Nigerian people.
“This Movement is not about personality or personalities but about platform and system. When the platform is formed and the new system is put in place, the Movement may decide to sponsor or support candidates or transform into a political machine for that purpose.
“If the Movement decides to transform itself and go into partisan politics, I will cease to be a member. And as a member for now, I accept all the conditions attached to the membership of the Coalition.
“It is necessary to make it clear that this Movement does not regard itself as a third force. It only sees itself as a popular Movement that can accommodate all Nigerians irrespective of their political interest or affiliations.”
LEADERSHIP Sunday recalls that Obasanjo had, last week, written a critical letter to President Buhari in which he accused the president of many ills, including economic mismanagement, inability to arrest the spate of violence in parts of the country by Fulani herdsmen and nepotism.
In the letter, he also dismissed the two main political parties in the country, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as lacking what it takes to rescue Nigeria, suggesting a Coalition in their place.