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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, on Wednesday in Lagos, restated that he had forgiven Alhaji Abubakar based on instructions he received from God, directing who were not pleased with the step he had since taken to go and challenge God why he should give him such instruction.
Obasanjo who spoke at the 2019 Quarterly Island Club Business Lecture said that he remained a human being like every other person and not a saint or a pretender, described Atiku as the incoming president and the right person for the office, giving his experience, level of exposure and the various lessons he had learnt to made him deliver a true change for the country.
Former President Obasanjo restated that he since forgiven Alhaji Abubakar, but said even with the action, he had been called names by some people.
However, while maintaining that everything he had not retracted and I stood firmly by everything he had said about the former president “because they are to the best of my knowledge true,” Obasanjo contended that “neither has what I have said and written about Buhari been controverted, if anything, they have been confirmed and proved beyond any shadow of doubt.”
“But Atiku has done three things which are absolutely imperative for a leader to be followed and believed.
First, know who you are and present yourself as you are- a human being in blood and flesh and susceptible to human mistakes and human frailties. Don’t cover up with sanctimonious veneer of bogus integrity, incorruptibility, uprightness, goodness and false figures and statistics, all of which are contrived to deceive, to cheat, to plunder and to destroy.
“Atiku never claimed to be a saint and I never described him as such. I will never so describe any human being alive let alone calling him a Messiah. On an occasion in the past when I said that someone was not a Messiah, some Nigerians out of bad belle were up in arms. For me, as a Christian, the only Messiah I know and have is Jesus Christ and even then, the man aspect of Him was imperfect while the divine aspect of Him was perfectly messianic.
“Secondly, a leader must be honest to himself and to the people he serves or he wants to serve. He must identify and acknowledge his situation, mistakes, shortcomings and inadequacy; show remorse where and when he has erred, seek forgiveness and repent; and not passing the bulk or keep blaming others and fail to accept responsibility. Atiku accepts responsibility for his mistakes, shows remorse and seeks forgiveness from his political party and subsequently from Nigerians.
“He asks for forgiveness from me and as a believer, a Christian as such, I forgave him in accordance with the teaching and instruction of my Saviour, ‘For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins (Matt 6:14-15 NIV). If anybody blames me for forgiving Atiku, I leave such a person with God Almighty, especially as both Christian and Islamic clerics joined Atiku to visit me to seek forgiveness. Anybody who does not forgive when forgiveness is sought with contrite heart cannot be a true believer and should not expect the forgiveness of God.
“Thirdly, as a leader, you must understand the fundamentals of the problems you have to solve and be courageous, visionary and ready to reach out sufficiently to build a credible team of experts, knowledgeable men and women, concerned and interested citizens and non-citizens to work hard and tirelessly for solutions that will benefit all Nigerians and indeed Africans and humanity. He must have ability to build a credible team, lead them, listen to them and give them enough leeway to achieve and make meaningful contribution without abdicating his responsibility. He must be accessible to them. From my personal knowledge of Atiku, he has these qualities.
“I must reiterate that Atiku is not a saint and who is? But from what I know of Atiku, he will be a performer in all respects. I can say that again from my personal experience. He knows the problems and he handled some of them or similar and in the past,” Obasanjo said.
The former president, however, said even though both Buhari and Abubakar had issues, but judging both of them empirically and for the task at hand, Atiku would perform much better than Buhari and would seek for good and able people around the country and beyond to make them to deliver for the general good of Nigerians and the country.
“We now know that both Buhari and Atiku have issues and all of us as human beings have one issue or the other in different magnitude but judging both of them empirically and for the task at hand, Atiku will perform much better than Buhari and he will seek for good and able people around the country and beyond and make use of them to achieve his mission and vision for the general good of Nigerians and the country.
“He will be a team leader but will not allow the seizure of his mandate by a cabal. A system to prevent impunity and ‘I can do what I like’ attitude and action must be put in place for all concerned. It is more than check and balance, rather it is for the good of all stakeholders and equity-holders,” he said.
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