Speaking at his Hilltop residence in Abeokuta when officials of the National Association of Nigerians Students (NANS) paid him a visit on Friday, the former President called for unalloyed support for the new government, adding, “in the last two and a half months, Nigerians have started to witness a Nigeria of their dreams,”
Noting that the country had tottered towards the precipice so many times but God had not allowed it to tumble, Obasanjo said, “When one takes a look at everything, the most crucial, and vital conclusion is that God loves Nigeria.”
He said: “We thank God for peace even after the election. No single individual is a paragon of perfection. There is no Messiah except Jesus Christ. But there are people who still stick out their neck for the good of Nigerians.
“Thank God we have such as a leader now. What we have witnessed in the last two and a half months is that our dreams are coming true. We must give unalloyed support to the government.”
Speaking further, he said: “Many had thought after the 2015 general elections, Nigeria would be no more. Some had sent their families abroad. Some know the NADECO route. I don’t know the NADECO route.
“I don’t have anywhere to go. But to the surprise of many of them, God did it in a miraculous way. The election took place, though some did not want it to take place. But let us thank God it took place. We must also thank those who conducted the elections.”
The former President said no matter what the critics of President Buhari might be saying, “I will work for the success of this current dispensation.”
He, however, said criticisms that were objective and positive were welcome where necessary.
Canvassing support for the Buhari government, he told the visiting students that there was no alternative to democracy adding, “the alternative to democracy is worse than democracy. I experienced that. Abacha put me in prison and I was about to be killed. If it was under democracy (democratic rule) that would not happen.”
He also spoke on the current campaign against terror, noting that President Buhari took the right decision by giving the military a November deadline to end the Boko Haram insurgency.
He said setting a target was part of military war strategy to measure the success or failure of a particular operation.
“President Muhammadu Buhari took a right decision by telling the military to quash the Boko Haram insurgents by November. It is not good to just leave everything open-ended. It is a strategy in the military to set a target for any operation. This will enable those concerned to work hard. Having a target is necessary. Even if that target was not met, the people concerned would have something to work with.”
Obasanjo who cited the Nigerian civil war as an example, said the military had set a six-month target to crush the Biafran renegades, but the war extended to 30 months.
He said: “For those of us who were involved in the Nigerian civil war, we set a six-month target to end the Nigeria-Biafra war, but it extended to 30 months.”
Vice President, NANS, Ogunkuade Oluwatosin, who spoke earlier, said the students’ body recognised the doggedness and contributions of the former president to the success of the 2015 general elections.
He said they wanted the Buhari administration to extend its anti-corruption war to the education sector.
Oluwatosin said: “Your fatherly contribution to the development of Nigeria is visible, even three months after the general elections.
“We need your contribution to move Nigeria to Nigeria of our dreams. We want student-youth inclusion in the government of President Muhammadu Buhari,” he added.