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General News of Sunday, 26 June 2022

Source: www.mynigeria.com

Picking Atiku as my vice president was a mistake - Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo Former President Olusegun Obasanjo

Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, has said that he made a mistake choosing his running mate in 1999 presidential election.

He also mentioned that the second mistake he made was refusing to accept asylum when he was informed that the late Head of State, Sani Abacha, wanted to arrest him, the action, he said, could have led to his death.

However, he said the mistakes were made in good faith and God saved him.

The former president said these when he answered questions posed by students from selected secondary schools that participated in the finals of the National Exhibition and Awards organised by Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship.

Speaking about his life and achievements both as a military Head of State and as a civilian President, he told the students that he had many mistakes, which he could describe as genuine mistakes in his life but God made him to overcome.

He said, “One of the mistakes I made was picking my number two when I wanted to become the President. But because it was a genuine mistake, God saved me.

“The second one was when Abacha wanted to arrest me. When he wanted to arrest me, I was told by the American ambassador that they would arrest me and that America had asked that I should be given an asylum. I said ‘No’. It could have been a mistake because I could have lost my life.

“I will say there are many things that could have been a mistake but God saved me from them all.”

Obasanjo noted that due to the current trend of older politicians contesting for president, the youths can never come to power.

He said with the “Not Too Young to Run campaign, and you can see that those that are contesting now are between 70 and 80 years old, how can the youths run?”

Adding that, “Another thing inhibiting youth from running is the amount of money involved in going into politics. I hope that things should not continue like this.

“I was 39 years old when I became the Military Head of State. Twenty years later, I came back as civilian president, but those there now do not want to allow the youths. If things continue like this, I do not know how you can come in.”

Speaking to the youth on religion tolerance, Obasanjo advised them not to see their own religion as superior to others.

“I have no right to say what another man believes in is inferior to mine. If God had wanted all of us to be of the same religion, he would have made it so, and since He did not make it so, no person should attempt to make it so.

“Young people should learn at a very early stage in life that if there are five religions in the world, that is how God wants it to be. If there are ten, that is how God wants it. All religions originate from the same source.

“If you are a Muslim and you did not live the way God wants you to live, you cannot enter Aljannah. If you are a Christian and you did not live the way God wants you to live, the same thing, you will not enter paradise.

“If this is the basis of religion, it is doing the right thing for the benefits of mankind, you don’t have to condemn any person because of what he believes.

“I do not believe that any religion is superior to mine and I don’t believe that mine is superior to another person’s beliefs. I will not allow any person to cast aspersions on my religion and will not do same for another person. Practise your religion the way God wants you to do it and don’t condemn another person,” Obasanjo said.