BY SIMON EBEGBULEM
I’m not responsible for his failure
FORMER President Olusegun Obasanjo Friday said the perceived failure of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan in office amounted to a betrayal of the collective aspiration of the South-South geopolitical zone.
He also noted that Jonathan’s record in the estimation of Nigerians, would hunt the zone for a long time.
Obasanjo, who said this in Benin at the eleventh convocation ceremony of Benson Idahosa University, said even though he assisted Jonathan in becoming president, the latter should be held responsible for alleged under performance.
The former President who delivered a speech titled: Effective Education, a Panacea for Societal Development and Transformation, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to use education to sustain the progress made so far in the war against Boko Haram insurgents.
His words: ‘’I have also said that you can help anybody to get a job, but you cannot help him to do it. Let us get it clear, there is nobody who has got into any position who has not been helped by one person or more.
“To become Nigeria’s Head of State, it was my performance at the war front that earned me the position. Now if General Gowon had not sent me to the war front, you would not have known whether I could perform or not. He sent me to the war front and I thank him for that. And because I performed we share the credit. If I had failed, Gowon would not have shared the credit, he would not have shared the commendation with me, I would be alone.
“I believe that the opportunity that presented itself in 2010 for somebody from the minority to become the president of Nigeria, was such that should not have been misplaced. He should never lose the opportunity but what he did with it is entirely known to him. And don’t forget that what he did or did not do with it, will reflect for a long time on that part of the country. And don’t take that lightly, what he did or did not do with it, will reflect for a long time on that part of the country. For those blaming me, was I the only person who supported him?
“I was not the 18 million voters who voted for him. You that asked the question who did you vote for, is it not Jonathan?’’
Spread of insurgency
He further identified the alleged refusal of governors in the North East geo-political zone to pay their counterpart funds to the Universal Basic Education ,UBE, as one of the factors responsible for the spread of insurgency in the region.
Obasanjo noted that had the governors paid their funds, children in the zone would have had free and compulsory education rather than engaging terrorism acts.
His words: “Education is a moral enterprise which we need to re-engage the issue of Boko Haram. President Buhari should also tackle it from the angle of morale education. If we are able to tackle Boko Haram with education in our schools, both in the social media that they use, we will dilute their messages and positively win their hearts and others who have been swayed by the terrorists.
“To succeed with counter messages, we need to be more appealing, and truthful and as intense as those of Boko Haram. The capacity of all teachers should be strengthened to deliver such messages. Morning and afternoon assemblies of our primary and secondary schools should have a strong dose of such messages. Our airwaves and social media should also be saturated with such positive messages. Even if we defeat Boko Haram, we need education to sustain the victory.
Defeating Boko Haram
“In 2010 there was a survey of education in Nigeria and among the six geo political zones. In the South-West, it was 79 per cent that are educated. In the South-East, it was about 78 per cent. The North East, where Boko Haram operates, it was 19 percent and that is one of the reasons people believe that Boko Haram was a menace waiting to happen. It doesn’t matter what we do, we have to reverse that trend. Maybe the situation has even gone worse in the last five years because people have moved out of school. Some schools have been destroyed and we cannot fold our arms and say it is up to the North East.
“It is up to all of us. In Nigeria, we have to do what should be done to bring parity in the area of education across the length and breadth of the country. The Boko Haram insurgency is a serious problem which we pray will be a thing of the past soon. I am sure that President Buhari will do the needful to exterminate this scourge.
“That is one of the reasons President Buhari is travelling to the US next week to secure the support of the American government in fighting terrorism in Nigeria. As we tackle it from the military front and other angles, we should also tackle it through the power of education which is what you have asked me to talk about today.’’