Femi Ogbonnikan in Abeokuta
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo wednesday declared that he had no candidate for any political office in the 2019 general elections, saying he would remain an elder statesman with a passion for a greater Nigeria.
Obasanjo, who shed more light on his Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM) at his Abeokuta home, Ogun State capital, noted that the group’s mission is to galvanize the people to appreciate their interests and power.
The former president, who spoke during a courtesy visit by a youth group from Delta State, led by a governorship aspirant, Mr. Frank Esanubi, at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta, said the transitions that had taken place in the country since independence neglected the people at the grassroots.
According to Obasanjo, his statement on President Muhammadu Buhari was not meant to disrespect the office of the president or embarrass him, but rather to articulate his (Obasanjoâ€™s) views about the situation in the country and offer his candid advice.
He added that his statement was thoroughly thought out and not frivolously issued, saying as a former president he could not hold the office of the president in contempt.
Obasanjo, however, reiterated that CNM would remain a socio-political movement, insisting that he would cease to be a member of the coalition the moment it derails and ventures into partisan politics.
He said: “In the year 2015, I said I would no longer participate in partisan politics. And I still stand by my decision. Everybody, irrespective of his or her political affiliation is free to come here for advice. I will gladly do that. I have no candidate, whatsoever, for any political office. I just believe that things must be done differently in Nigeria to get a different result.
“If you study our transitions since the colonial era, they have all taken place without taking the people of the grassroots into consideration. So, CNM is about the people at the grassroots. It is a socio-economic movement where youth and women, especially, will be given the opportunity to appreciate their interests and power. Unlike before, I believe we must put the horse before the cart.
“If the system and the platform sync, I believe Nigeria will get there. And like I said, the moment the coalition gets involved in candidate sponsoring or participates in partisan politics, I will opt out of it.”
Earlier, Esanubi said his group’s visit to Obasanjo was to pay homage to him and intimate him of their resolve to heed his clarion call for Nigerians to come together under the CNM for a better Nigeria.