By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
Nigeria cannot collapse whether President Muhammadu Buhari wins a second term or not, former President Olusegun Obasanjo has explained.
Rebuffing reports attributed to him that Nigeria will collapse if Buhari wins a second term, Obasanjo said after surviving the civil war and the bestial inclinations of the Sani Abacha military regime, nothing worse could happen to the country.
Obasanjo, the first President of the Fourth Republic, spoke in an exclusive interview with the online newspaper, Premium Times, from Azerbaijan where he is chairing a meeting of InterAction Council of Former Heads of State and Government.
Earlier reports had quoted him as saying in a speech reportedly delivered at Blavatnik School of Government, Oxford University, last Friday that Nigeria would collapse if Buhari wins a second term.
Obasanjo, who denied visiting London since January, said: “I won’t and can’t say that (that Nigeria will collapse if Buhari is re-elected). There will be nothing that will make Nigeria collapse. When Nigeria did not collapse under a civil war, it won’t collapse now.
“My faith and conviction about Nigeria is so strong that I don’t see the country either being dismembered or collapsing.
“The worst has passed on Nigeria. Once we were able to survive the civil war, once we were able to survive (Sani) Abacha, nothing can be worst than those two. And our democracy is waxing strong. Although there are a few things we need to get right.
“As far as I am concerned, the worst is over. What remains is for all of us and for our leadership to show good faith and commitment to do what is right. Then Nigeria will grow from strength to strength.”
President Obasanjo, who recently accused Buhari’s administration of corruption, incompetence and maladministration affirmed that even those issues were not enough to wreck the country.
He said: “I regard those as aberrations and they will pass away. Such aberrations will pass away with the regime that bring them.
“Don’t forget that Abacha did more than that. Of course Abacha’s regime was not a democracy, it was a military dictatorship. If we survived that, then we will survive any shenanigan against democracy. That’s the greatest advantage of democracy.”
Obasanjo had recently called on Buhari not to seek a second term on the basis of poor performance, clannishness, corruption among other reasons and called on him to “dismount from the horse” to join the league of the country’s former leaders whose “experience, influence, wisdom and outreach can be deployed on the side line for the good of the country.”