2015: We don’t know where we’re going, says Obasanjo

By IAfrica
In Nigeria
Aug 25th, 2014
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•Ex-President likens nation’s travails to Abacha’s era

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday likened the state of the nation to the late Gen. Sani Abacha’s military era, when he said the middle class was wiped out.

But he told visitors to his home in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, that “tough times don’t last but tough people do”.

The late Gen. Abacha was Nigerian Head of State between 1993 and 1998. He ruled with iron fist, sending many pro-democracy activists into exile.

He jailed the winner of the 1993 presidential election, the late Bashorun Moshood Abiola.

Obasanjo spoke when he hosted a delegation of the Nigerian Market/Traders’ Council, led by its National President, Yeye Osho.

The former President recalled that a recent short messaging service (SMS) he got from a Nigerian requesting for financial assistance showed that the nation’s middle class was disappearing.

The delegation of about 150 persons, including the Iyalode of Yorubaland, Chief Alaba Lawson, had representatives from the 36 states.

It sought Obasanjo’s elderly counselling on the direction to take in the 2015 general elections.

The former President read the message from his cell phone’s SM inbox to the delegation.

He assured them that Nigerians would survive the hard times, as they did in the past.

Obasanjo said: “As for me, we don’t know where we are going yet, may God show us the way. The way that will take this country and make it a great country, and when, for me ooo, I understand and (if) I see the way, I will tell you. I pray that God will show me the way. May God show you the way.

“Tough times do not last forever. When tough times come, tough people get going. We will keep going and we will survive this though time.

“I told him (the SMS sender) that we have experienced this period in time of Abacha. All the middle class were completely destroyed.”

The former President said he was surprised that such people could afford even basic necessities befitting their status.

He said: “I was surprised the day a Colonel in the Army complained to me that he and his family could not afford to buy a car.

“A friend of mine, Dr. Okoro, is a doctor and his wife is also a doctor. They have a daughter, who is also a doctor. Among the three of them, they could not afford a new car. They had to go to Saudi Arabia. I pray we will not have such a time in Nigeria again.

“We all have contributions to make and should not leave our responsibility to others. If we fail to participate in things that are meaningfully positive for this country, you will be a victim and we all become victims.”

Yeye Osho said the council supported Obasanjo during his eight-year administration.

She added: “We had tremendous support from you when you were in government. As such, we deem it necessary, and as a mark of respect, to find out on which direction we are going.”

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