By Abbas Jimoh
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has urged the old generation of Nigerians, especially politicians to give way for the younger breeds in the building of a prosperous Nigeria.
He said this at the 2022 annual lecture of the Murtala Muhammed Foundation (MMF).
The programme, which held on Monday, had as its theme, “Beyond Boko Haram: Addressing Insurgency, Banditry and Kidnapping across Nigeria”.
Former Head of State, Murtala Muhammed, was killed, aged 37, along with his aide-de-camp, Lieut. Akintunde Akinsehinwa, on February 13, 1976, in a failed coup.
Obasanjo said rather than compete, the older generation should collaborate with the younger ones and provide them with the requisite knowledge and experience to transform the country for the better.
Obasanjo was responding to a comment in the keynote address by Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi, who said he was in primary school when the late Murtala and Obasanjo directed the affairs of the country.
“We need to have an intergenerational collaboration. Fayemi said he was in primary school when Murtala-Obasanjo were there. So, if people of Murtala-Obasanjo are competing with you, as governor then something is wrong.
“Murtala-Obasanjo group should be stepping aside. Whatever experience and knowledge you have, we should be able to give it to you and should be able to give it to those coming after you, so that whatever you have you are passing it down to those of you who are coming behind not to start competing with you but make you have access to what would make you Nigeria better you find it,” Obasanjo said.
On her part, the Chief Executive Officer of the foundation and daughter of the late military Head of State, Dr. Aisha Muhammed Oyewole, pledged the commitment of the organisation to improving the socio-economic development of Africa in line with the ideals of her late father.
She said, “We have made notable impacts in the lives of people, especially the marginalized, disadvantaged, and vulnerable in addition to contributing to promoting good governance and empowerment.”
Delivering the keynote, Fayemi said an all-encompassing social compact had become an urgent imperative in Nigeria’s quest to look beyond Boko Haram towards an all-around national rebirth.
“Looking beyond Boko Haram, the clarion call to us as Nigerians is clear: In the face of a broken socio-economic fabric that has generated so much anguish, despair, and distrust among us, we must step back and summon that Nigerian genius that is innate in us in order to reimagine our country and reinvent our vision of oneness.
“To do this, it is evident to me that the time has come, and it cannot be postponed, for a new compact to be forged between state and society whose centerpiece must be an inclusive and expansive project of human security in our land.
“Clearly, the leadership in the most affected state in the North East has been up to the task in terms of its response to forging a new compact between state and society. Yet, in spite of the best efforts of my brother, Governor Babagana Zulum and his government following in the footsteps of former Governor Kashim Shettima, it’s clear that what is required is a comprehensive national response, not an isolated state strategy,” Fayemi said.