Former President Olusegun Obasanjo says he has no candidates for political offices in 2019 but prefers to remain an elder statesman with passion for greater Nigeria.
Mr. Obasanjo convened the Coalition for Nigeria Movement as a “third force” or an alternative to the ruling All Progressives Congress and opposition Peoples Democratic Party after issuing a press statement last month in which he accused President Muhammadu Buhari of performing below expectation and urged him not to seek re-election so that a younger person can become president in 2019.
But on Wednesday while receiving a youth group from Delta State led by a governorship aspirant, Frank Esanubi on a courtesy visit at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta, Ogun State, the former president said the coalition will not present candidates at the next general elections.
He said he convened the coalition to galvanise Nigerians to appreciate their interests and power, noting that transitions that had taken place in the country since independence neglected the people at the grassroots.
Mr. Obasanjo explained that his letter to President Buhari was not meant to disrespect the office of the president or embarrass the president but to articulate his 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, stressing that as a former president, he could not hold the office of the president in contempt.
Mr. Obasanjo reiterated that CNM would remain a socio-political movement, stressing that he would cease to be a member if the coalition becomes partisan.
“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 different result,” Mr. Obasanjo said.
“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 opportunity to appreciate their interests and power. Unlike before, I believe we must put the horse before the cart,” he added.
“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,” Mr. Obasanjo stated.
The leader of the visiting team, Mr. Esanubi said his group’s visit to the former president was to pay homage to him and intimate him on their resolve to heed his clarion call for Nigerians to come together under the CNM for a better Nigeria.