Nigeria’s former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, on Saturday, hinted that he made a mistake picking his number two when he wanted to become the nation’s democratically elected president in 1999.
Obasanjo said this on Saturday during questions and answers session at a programme by Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship (SAGE) for selected secondary schools that participated in the final of the National Exhibition and Awards.
At the event held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), the former president said he had made many mistakes in his life, saying his picking of his number two was a genuine mistake which God made him to overcome.
“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. Abacha wanted to arrest me, I was told by the American ambassador that they will arrest me and that America has 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”, he said.
Obasanjo urged the youths to embrace good virtues such as selflessness, honesty, integrity among others to be able to wrestle power from the older generation.
He insisted that the youths are not too young to rule, saying that they can never come to power if they continue to sit on the fence.
While also calling on the youths to imbibe the spirit of religious tolerance, advising them not to see a particular religion above other.
“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.
“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.
“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 made it so, no person should attempt to make it so.
“Young people should learn at a very early get 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 want it. All religions originate from the same source.
“If you are a Muslim and you did not live the way the God wants you to live, you cannot enter Aljannah. Of 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 is doing the right thing for the benefits of mankind, you don’t have to condemn any person because of what he believed.
“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 to my religion and will not do same for another person. Practice your religion the way God wants you to do it and dont condemn another person”, former President Obasanjo counseled.
The Chairman of SAGE Nigeria, Agwu Amogu, said the programme offers secondary school aged young people a hands-on learning process on how to create wealth, help others and their communities.
“SAGE is about CREATING value. Students are encouraged to create something of value in their communities by applying what they learn in the classroom and testing it in the ultimate laboratory the free market”, he said.