Former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo has attributed the cause of recent coup d’etat sweeping through some African countries to bad governance.
Obasanjo disclosed this on Tuesday at an interactive session on public service and governance held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library with members of Africa for Africa Youth Initiative from different African countries.
He said African leaders’ style of practicing of democracy without integrity, with nepotism, and sit-tight syndrome was fuelling the coup d’etat across Africa nations.
Having suffered untold hardship under the late military despot, General Sanni Abacha, when he was incarcerated for the 1995 phantom coup, Obasanjo said he disliked military rule.
He also said the bad leadership style of African leaders forced the citizens seek alternative liberators beyond the government of the day, hence the gale of military coup.
Speaking on how to curb the tide of incessant coups and ensure political stability on the continent, the former military Head of State hinted the citizens prefer the coups because the affected nations might not have been independent after all.
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“If some of the things coming out from these former French colonial countries are true like the Malians saying they don’t want to have anything to do with France again, one might really be asking if France has ever granted these countries full independence.
“Secondly, we are told that democracy is the government of the people by the people and for the people, but you may ask which people? And what does this democracy deliver?
He further said that sometimes military coups were necessary, especially if the conditions in Africa are not favourable for the average citizen.
“On one occasion, I got about a dozen or two boys and girls who have attempted to go across the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean. When they told me their story, I wept. When you see and hear that kind of thing, what do you do? Yes, I love democracy, having suffered in the hands of Abacha, I will never love military rule; but if it has to come, what can we do?
“However, we should ask ourselves this question: Do we have conditions that are encouraging these coups on our continent? “Because if we don’t have the conditions that encourage them, it will not happen, though this does not mean that we must encourage them.”
He expressed worry at the youth population who have found liberators in the military.
“Why are we allowing the youths to begin the search for liberators beyond the government of the day?,” he asked.
The former President finally noted that the governance in Aftica was indeed poor but he was not in support of the coups.
“When I left secondary school, I got five jobs. How many of you will finish university now and have five jobs waiting? You will be lucky to have even one or two. Think of a situation where somebody said there will be job creation, there will be employment, there will be wealth creation, you will say, this sounds interesting, but can it be done? Let me make it clear that I don’t support coups because personally, I have been a victim,” he said.
Between July and August, the military toppled democratically elected governments in Niger Republic and Gabon, citing poor leadership and mismanagement of the countries’ resources as reasons for the coup.
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