What Nigeria must do to defeat Boko Haram – Obasanjo advises Buhari



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Despite the 'technical defeat' of the Boko Haram Islamist sect was announced on December 23, 2015, the killings continue.

Probably, the solutions proffered by the former president of Nigeria Olusegun Obasanjo would be useful and lead to the total victory in the war against terrorism.
Chief Obasanjo spoke with the editor-in-chief of NAIJ.com's sister news portal, TUKO.co.ke, in an exclusive interview in Kenya, where he attended the Africa Governance, Leadership and Management Convention organised by the Kenya Institute of Management, October 7-9, 2015.

He said military might alone cannot win the war against terrorism. The ex leader of the nation advised the government to deal with genuine issues of socio-economic development which have created the fertile ground for domestic terrorism to thrive.

The former president also spoke on an array of issues in Nigeria ranging from President Buhari's government and his choice of ministers to how he felt when a court restrained him from publishing his autobiography titled 'My Watch', among others.
About the Buhari administration
President Buhari came with good intentions, and so far he is on the right track, and we should be praying for him and be helping him to remain on the right track, but I think little down the road people may then be looking at how he has performed.

He is dealing with the issue of Boko Haram; he is dealing with the issue of corruption, he said he will do that; he is giving Nigeria a new image, and Nigeria is now being seen at the table in the international arena. I think those are good things, and we should be encouraging him to keep on doing that.
About the Buhari cabinet
Well, he [President Buhari] has chosen his ministers; for me they are no surprises. He has to pay some political debt, and I think some of the people he has chosen were meant to pay political debt, and that is understandable in party political life. I think what will matter more is the kind of leadership he himself gives, because some ministers who would normally have behaved badly if they will be caught by the head of government they will behave not badly but properly.
About own legacy as the president of Nigeria
Oh, one, the legacy that Nigeria remains a country; two, that I started democracy and it continues; three, that we were able to move from one regime to another regime and now we have been able to move to an opposition defeating the incumbent government. I think our democracy has come to stay and that is very important. There will be a number of other things that you need to do. There will always be challenges for government but once the basic and fundamental things are taken care of — today we have challenge of Boko Haram; it was not there in my time as a challenge — but once the stability of government is assured — democracy and good governance, that is very important — all other challenges can be faced and be dealt with.
About the most difficult task while in office
I think power, because we did not have money. For the first three-four years I did not have money to put into power like I would have wanted to, and the oil companies, I tried to encourage them but they did not see the point of view that I was pressing, and, by the time we had money, we were going into power in the way that I would want to see us going into it.

We started the foundation and the successor government held back for almost two and a half years and that has had adverse effect on the energy or power in Nigeria. But it is an issue that of course is tied up with all aspect of infrastructure. But power has a source of energy to drive the economy, to drive even the social life to make for the welfare and well-being of the people is very crucial.
About being a proud Nigerian
When Nigeria became independent both our colonial masters and some Nigerians said that Nigeria was a geographical expression that will not last, but we have lasted for 55 years and we are going strong. We have had ups and downs, maybe a little bit more ups than downs, but I believe we are also learning from our experiences, some mistakes unintentional some maybe intentional by leaders.

We are also improving in the quality of leadership at every level and quantum of leadership. Today, if we have to talk about leaders in Nigeria at the national level, you will not be zeroing on only one or two; we have about half a dozen you will zero on. That's not bad. There was a time when there will only be two you will be talking about; now you will be talking about half a dozen. So that is also very important, that in all walks of life we are increasing and improving in leadership, in governance, in management. We are not there yet. We are not there yet, but we are making progress.
About the latest book, 'My Watch'

I won't say it was banned; it was the machination of one who is more of a criminal than anything else. He got the support of a judge and the judge reversed himself and said he had been misinformed and misadvised by the one who brought the case before him. But it has made the book more popular. You know, when you write a book you want people to read it, and the more popular a book, is the more people want to buy and read it.

So for me, as an author or a writer, I want whatever I write to be read, and people are reading and then the temporary stop put on it also wet the appetite of people who want to read. Now people are reading it that we are printing it in large quantities so that the price can be reduced and it can be within the reach of school children.
About solving the issue of Boko Haram
Boko Haram is a matter of socio-economic development, but for domestic terrorism to have hold of the people they must tie it up to something, and they tie it up to some form of religious agitation. So what do I see? I see a situation where, first of all, the government must have the upper hand militarily, then, after you have had the upper hand militarily, you have to deal with the genuine issues of socio-economic development. And I believe that if that is well-handled such issues will disappear.
About the future of Africa

I see Africa in 20-25 years from now will be more integrated; will be more democratic; will be better governed. I believe that 20-25 years from now there will be no sit-tight African leader. They will have either parliamentary or presidential — whatever term they have — either they are voted out, if it's parliamentary, and then they go out, or if it's presidential. They will have a limit to the number of terms they can use. I see Africa loyally opening itself more and more for private investment from every corner of the world. I see Africa becoming a food basket of the world.
Chief Olusegun Obasanjo at a glance
Chief Olusegun Obasanjo visits the 'birthplace' of Boko Haram, Maiduguri, Borno state
Chief Olusegun Obasanjo paid a special two-day visit to Maiduguri on March 28-29, 2016.
The former president was on a familiarization visit at the University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID). On his arrival, he was received by Governor Kashim Shettima, the digital vice-chancellor of UNIMAID, alongside other principal officers of the institution.

The experience and expertise of the former president would help bring peace to the north-east for sure!
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