FORMER President Olusegun Obasanjo has come hard on African leaders who hold tight to political offices despite constitutional provisions and age and health factors, saying that any leader who wishes to die in office is free to do so as the country would still move on while he goes down to the grave.
Obasanjo stated this in a monitored programme during an interaction with a foreign media in London.
The former Nigerian President was of the view that Africa must change the way it conducts its affairs, adding that for Africa to become an emerging economy, African leaders must work for the development of the continent and formulate new strategies to get the continent our from the woods.
“Africa faces a ticking bomb if Africa doesn’t change its ways of doing things” Obasanjo warned.
He said that African leaders must begin to think out of the box, conjecture new ideas, new strategies and new policies for transforming the continent, so that it can become the long awaited economic and social destination for the world.
“If we do not do anything right, if we continue business as usual, all we we are saying is it cannot be business as usual. We must think out of the box and we must act out of the box”.
He argued that while he was in government, he was involved in the fight against corruption and to straighten the fight, he established anti-graft agencies which has remained the tool for the war against corruption in the country.
“When I came in, there was no EFCC to fight corruption, there was no ICPC to fight corruption. Those institutions today are the institutions that Nigeria is using to fight corruption. You may not see that but we have started”.
The former President said that President Muhammadu Buhari has taken a step further in the fight against corruption and terrorism although he scored some low marks when it comes to the economy and foreign relations.
Despite insinuations from the programme presenter that Nigeria’s economy is battered yet the former leader is still in support of Buhari, Obasanjo in a quick interjection said that Buhari has done well in some areas and should be given the credit.
“I don’t know what you mean by old status quo, Buhari has just been there for two and a half years and what I said about Buhari before he got there has not changed.
“I have said that Buhari is not strong on the economy and it has not changed. I have said that Buhari is not strong on foreign affairs, it has not changed. I said that Buhari will fight corruption, Buhari has made attempt to fight corruption. I said Buhari will fight insurgency, Buhari has tried to fight insurgency. Please give him that credit.
“Now,if you see only pessimism, then I do not see only pessimism.”
Recall that Africa has been highly criticized for parading some of the oldest leaders in the world. Some of such leaders include Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe 91, Beji Caid Essebsi of Tunisia 88, Paul Biya of Cameroun 82, Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria 78, Manuel Pinto da Cosata of Sao Tome and Prinicpe 77, Alpha Conde of Guinea 77, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia 76, Peter Mutharika of Malawi 74, Alassane Ouattara of Ivory Coast 73 and Jacob uma of South Africa 73.
Some of such leaders have received some knocks as they spent some substantial parts of their days in office on medical vacation while others lack the capacity to stretch the economy and evolve and implement innovative ideas due to some natural causes like age.