Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, on Thursday, said Nigeria required a leader driven by passion and ‘madness’ to rule the country and put it on the right footing.
Obasanjo said he had no other country he could call his own and had no other country he could go to.
Obasanjo stated this when he played host to a presidential aspirant under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, Mohammed Hayatu-Deen, at his penthouse residence in the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
The former President also played host to Godswill Akpabio who is running for the presidency on the platform of the All Progressives Congress.
Our correspondent gathered that Hayatu – Deen in the company of his team first arrived at about 12:30 pm and went straight into a closed-door meeting with Obasanjo which lasted for about an hour.
Obasanjo and Hayatu-Deen after the meeting spoke before the newsmen briefly, describing the visit as a friendly one.
It was also gathered that Akpabio arrived at exactly 2:20 pm while the Hayatu Deen team was exiting the Obasanjo’s residence.
Akpabio recently resigned his appointment as the Minister of Niger Delta to allow him to contest for the APC presidential ticket.
Obasanjo, in his remarks, lamented that the current situation in Nigeria was not only agonising for him, but for other Nigerians who also desired a better Nigeria.
According to him, Nigeria requires a leader who has a passion, innovation, and vision for Nigeria and some who possess adequate knowledge about the challenges confronting the country.
He insisted that Nigeria can overcome its security challenges within two years with the right leader who would be willing to make tough decisions.
Obasanjo, therefore, urged Nigerians to brace up and be ready to make sacrifices to put the country back on the right path.
He said, “It is an agonising situation for you, obviously, and also for me. I want to emphasise the point that the Nigerian situation, as bad as it is, will only be put right by Nigerians at the forefront of our situation. So, Nigerians have to brace themselves up to do what needs to be done to put Nigeria back on the right path.
“And you are right in saying that, wherever you go now, one of the things you hear is that Nigeria is not on the table, but why shouldn’t Nigeria be on the table? What does it cost Nigeria to be on the table?
I will say four things, of which I was reminded this morning. One is knowledge. If Nigeria is not at the table, maybe the knowledge that we should have of ourselves, of our situation, of our continent, and indeed of the world is not that adequate, if that knowledge is adequate, we will do what is right, when it is right and how it is right.
“The second is vision, what is the vision that we have? And if you have no vision, you may have eyes, but you are blind. And I believe that is part of our situation.
“The third is passion. And when you said, that you are involved in this, with a passion and I was telling some people this morning that, passion means madness, that you are mad about Nigeria, I am and I have no apologies for that because I have no other country I can call my own and I have no other country I can go to and say yes, I have come to live here.
“Passion means being mad about Nigeria, having a touch of madness, and I look at you (Hayatu-Deen) and say yes, you are mad about Nigeria too.
“Fourth one is innovation. We cannot be doing the same thing that we have done in the past that did not pay us and continue to repeat it and expect any change, we have to move out it, we have to innovate, we have to re-strategise.”
Earlier in his remarks, Hayatu-Deen declared that Nigeria was “decomposing and dissolving very fast”, and there was a need to urgently rescue the country.
Hayatu-Deen, a former Managing Director of FSB International Bank, later met with the PDP delegates at the party secretariat in Abeokuta and sought their support in the forthcoming presidential primaries.
In his remarks, Akpabio said he visited Obasanjo to intimate him of his presidential bid, saying the former president remained “partyless’ and whose elderly advice is required at all times.”
He urged Nigerians to judge him by his records of achievement and not based on religion or ethnicity.
The former minister promised to replicate his “uncommon achievements” in Akwa Ibom State as the governor if elected president.