By Jude Atupulazi
Former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has warned Nigerians to avoid conditions that encourage coups if they want to avert such
Obasanjo, who served as both a military and democratically elected leader, argued that the rising military coups in Africa was always caused by disenchantment with bad leadership, mostly by the youthful population.
Obasanjo was however quick to add that he was not in support of coups but that when it happened, there was usually not much that could be done.
The former President made the submission while speaking at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) in Abeokuta, Ogun State, during an interactive session with a group of youths from Africa for Africa Youth Initiative (A4A), a platform founded by Reverend Chris Oyakhilome.
According to him, he would not support a coup, considering his experience in the hands of former military dictator, the late General Sani Abacha.
Responding to questions on coups in Africa after speaking on “Fostering Sustainable Development through Pan Africanism”, Obasanjo explained that it was very important to prevent coups from happening.
He called on the government of various African countries, including Nigeria, to ensure they did not push the youths to the point of preferring a military takeover.
His words, ‘Having suffered in the hands of Abacha, I won’t support military coup. But if it has to come, what can we do?
‘The point is this, do we have conditions that encourage the type of things that are happening, because if we don’t have the conditions that encourage them, they may not happen. That doesn’t mean it should be encouraged. What it means is that we should make sure that we do everything to prevent coups from happening.
‘When you see things that happen in many countries, and I will not exclude Nigeria, then you wonder and don’t forget, don’t forget particularly the youth; they support most of these coups. The one in Gabon, the coup leader was being carried on the head by the youths, not by old wretched men and women like me.
‘So, the youth are looking for liberators and we must bear that in mind. Why do we have to allow the youth to start looking for liberators beyond the government of the day? Why?’