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Obasanjo mandates FALA recipients to aspire for life of hero, leadership



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  • Calls for Now-Too-Old-to-Run Bill in Nigeria


Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, hosting recipients of 2018 Future African Leaders Award (FALA) sponsored by Future African Leaders Foundation, Christ Embassy Church, Lagos, who were on tour of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), Abeokuta, Ogun State, last Thursday, gave them a post-award mandate to live the life of heroes and leaders in their respective countries.

Winners of the 2018 Future African Leaders Award (FALA), an initiative of Pastor Chris Oyakhilome, President of the Believers Loveworld Ministry, were selected from several African countries, which included Nigeria, the host country, South Sudan, Ghana, Senegal, Gambia, Tanzania, Malawi, Cameroon, Niger, etc.

Dr. Obasanjo taking them on a tutelage of transformation to greatness, told the FALA recipients who are in the age brackets of 17, 18 to 20 years that leadership is inbuilt in every human being, explaining that leadership is an innate thing but it is the individual that brings it to reality. The former Nigerian President maintained that there are leadership virtues in different individuals which every individual have the drive to bring to manifestation. “Leadership quality is inside you, you are the one who can bring it out. Nobody can bring out the leadership in you,” Obasanjo said.

Dr. Obasanjo, who is today widely celebrated as Baba across the country, including the African continent, encouraged the youths not to allow circumstances hinder them from actualizing who they are determined to be in life. He gave a brief history of his life how he had to farm to train himself in school when he was young before he enlisted in the Nigerian Army from where he rose to prominence and become an international personality.

The former Nigerian President recalled his prison experience in Yola, where he narrated how he watched the next man to his detention cell died slowly, thinking that it was over for him as well, during the late General Sani Abacha military regime. But destiny, he said, beckoned on him; he did not only regain his freedom, he was brought out from prison to become President of Nigeria.

Dr. Obasanjo remarked that when the opportunity beckoned on him to lead Nigeria for a second time, he realized that he made some mistakes in the past when he was Head of State, and the second chance has given him the privilege to correct those mistakes of the past. According to Obasanjo, “I realized a few things that we have not done well; I realized I made some mistakes in the past, I realized there were mistakes that I made after leaving office; and when the opportunity came for a second chance, I knew I had to correct the mistakes.”

The former President encouraged the youths never to allow their past or family background discourage them from achieving their dreams in life. He said that visiting the Presidential Library was a journey of knowledge and inspiration for all participants in the entourage, noting the symbol of the Library at the entrance point which stipulates:  Pursuing the Past; Capturing the Present and Inspiring the Future.

In an interaction with the FALA recipients, Dr. Obasanjo acknowledged that the development of Africa from within is possible but the continent needs to change its strategy and modify its foreign policies. The former President did not believe African countries can achieve meaningful development through aids from the international community. He advocated for partnership between African countries and the international system to foster development in Africa. He recalled that there were aids to African countries in the past that were detrimental to Africa’s determination to develop the continent from within.

“I prefer partnership, I prefer we trade with them and this trade must be on equitable terms, not the one they will take raw materials from us at cheap cost and return finished products to us at higher cost. There should be equitable terms of the trade” Obasanjo declared.

Dr. Obasanjo further clarified that the rejection of products from Africa in Europe and America is not because of hatred but because African leaders failed to do what they needed to do before those products are exported. He said that there must be certification centre in Nigeria, adding that products have to be certified before they are exported for the products to be acceptable in foreign countries.

Dr. Obasanjo further said that the Not-Too-Young-to-Run Bill that was signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari was not done in good faith. He challenged Buhari to lead by example. “If he is serious with the Not Too Young To Run law, why is he contesting re-election at an age close to 80 years. He should lead by example,” Obasanjo stated. He, then, asked, “When would we have Now-Too-Old-To-Run bill in Nigeria. Buhari is contesting second term election at 76 years, when will he be too old to run.”

The former Nigerian President narrated that he went late Dr. Nelson Mandela when he was President of South Africa and advised him that he needed to contest re-lection for second term after the dethronement of the Apartheid Regime which he fought for many years in order to stabilize the country and consolidate the independence, but Mandela told him, “check all over the world, where do you see an 80 years old man leading a country; at the election time, I will be 80.” Dr. Obasanjo then complained why won’t the Nigerian President learn from such experience.


The former Nigerian President noted, in brief, that the problem in Cameroon where the people in the Anglophone part of the country are being massacred by the leadership of the country dominated by the Francophone, is insensitivity of the Cameroonian President, Paul Biya, to the rights of the people.

Talking about having another opportunity in life to lead the country again, and what he can do differently, Obasanjo said that he would tell God to allow go through all the experiences he went through before, ending his conversation with: “I have no regret.”

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