Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has lent his voice to the call for a younger Nigerian president in 2023, to marshall a comprehensive and cohesive onslaught on insecurity in the country.
Obasanjo stated this at the 2022 Murtala Mohammed Foundation annual lecture, which took place at the Shehu Musa Yar’ Adua Centre, Abuja.
Obasanjo said the older generation should concern itself with providing guidance and knowledge to younger national leaders than be in a competitive race with them to make Nigeria better.
He emphasised that old age comes with a wealth of experience and a reservoir of knowledge that can be tapped into by the younger energetic leaders.
The former president, who joined the lecture online, said Nigeria’s insecurity challenge can be solved by deliberately working towards the elimination of Boko Haram, kidnapping, hostage-taking and other forms of insecurities when it works towards the 2030 date.
This, he said, could be actualised by determination, in order to stop insecurities – particularly, Boko Haram in 2030 – with the power of education and social inclusion.
The former President said one of the inhibitions Nigeria has suffered in tackling Boko Haram, was the fact that the weapon supplying nation had insisted that certain weapons could only be used internally and not outside of Nigeria.
He told the participants at the lecture that, insecurities started immediately after the civil war because of the ease people could have access to weapons and Nigeria never come out of it since then, and has been suffering from it. He further said efforts were made to prevent external support to the insurgency. However, the Boko Haram linkage with the Al-Qaeda movement was poorly handled.
Obasanjo, who said insecurities must be dealt with in Nigeria, emphasised that he believes the emphasis that should be placed on education was not made.
“With the population of Nigeria today standing at 215m, and having a population of 15m children who are not in school, it has to be by carrot or by a stick. Those 15 million children not in school are Boko Haram in the next 10 to fifteen years. We must say that we do not want Boko Haram by 2030.
“If we do not do anything about those 15 million children that are not in school, we are already nurturing the Boko Haram of tomorrow.
“The nation must emphasise the collective approach to solve this challenge with education and social-inclusion at all levels of government”, Obasanjo counseled.
He blamed the seeming poor result in fighting insurgency in the repeated strategy lacking new initiative as he said “why we are not succeeding with fighting or Boko Haram is because. We are doing the same thing all the time.
In his Keynote address, Ekiti State governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, pointed out that the Boko Haram and other associated insecurity issues of kidnapping, terrorism, hostage-taking, farmer-herder conflicts in the context of insecurity was the nation’s severest test of national security since the civil war.
Fayemi, whose keynote addressed the theme: “Beyond Boko Haram, Addressing, Insurgency, Banditry and Kidnapping, Across Nigeria“, said it would be a historic betrayal for Nigeria to succumb to pressure and sentiments of division and dismemberment on a count of many difficulties that Nigeria has had to grapple with.
Fayemi called on Nigerians to confront the threat to national security and unity and urged the private sector to be alive to its shared responsibility of job creation for employment of the army of youths, to be able to douse the social tension which leads to vices among Nigerian, jobless able-bodied persons.
During her introductory remarks, the Chief Executive Officer, Murtala Mohammed Foundation (MMF), Mrs. A’isha Mohammed-Oyebode, said the Foundation’s 20 years journey has witnessed incredible work done with all partners to impact Nigerian lives.