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What Coalition for Nigerian Movement stands to achieve – Obasanjo

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Olusegun Obasanjo


• Ex-president, others register in Abeokuta
• It’s plot to achieve third term, group alleges

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said the newly formed Coalition for Nigerian Movement (CNM) is not a third force but a popular socio-economic movement working towards replacing the present leadership in the country with competent government.Obasanjo, who is the convener of the coalition, said: “This movement is not about personalities but about platform and system. Our system so far has not given us what we must have, and for the first time, we (CNM) are building a platform from bottom up.”

The former president, who spoke yesterday in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital insisted that the movement was yet to become a political party. But he quickly added that the membership would be free to collectively decide on whether CNM should become a political party.“If the movement decides to transform itself and go into partisan politics, I will cease to be a member,” he said.

The former president spoke after registering as a member of CNM at a ceremony held at the Ogun State Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Press Centre. Registration of the state chapter of the movement opened in Abeokuta yesterday.Among the top officials of the movement at the ceremony were the National Coordinator and former Osun State governor, Olagunsoye Oyinlola; former governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke and a former minister, Dupe Adelaja.

Obasanjo lamented the unserious manner the Federal Government has been handling the precarious security situation in the country. “The spate of violence, criminality, organised crime, insurgency and terrorism has not received sufficient proactive AND ameliorative responses through transformational leadership, a determined leadership that brings cohesion and wholesomeness to the polity.”To him, a popular socio-economic movement such as CNM needs to be the new vehicle to give hope to the youths, dignity and encouragement to women, confidence and a promising future to all Nigerians.

Obasanjo, in his three-page speech, stated: “If the instruments we have used so far in our nation-building and governance since independence have not served us well, it is imperative that we should rethink and retool.”He said only a fool would continue to do things the same way and expect different results.
That Nigeria has many challenges, he said, was not unusual but “what should matter is how, when and with what instruments we address or fail to address the challenges or create more problems.”

The areas Obasanjo would like the country’s leadership to give priority attention include nation building, saying “we seem to have taken nation building for granted.”He said nation building must be given continuous attention to give every citizen a feeling of belonging and a stake in his or her country.He was optimistic that the movement would bring about new democratic and efficient Nigeria.

“The CNM will also act collectively with political awareness, social responsibility, sustained and sustainable economic development and progress.“Timidity and cowardice must not be part of its (movement) make-up or culture and neither must there be an indifference,” Obasanjo said.He explained that his interactions with President Buhari when they met in Ethiopia should not be misinterpreted as he was only showing respect to the office of the presidency “as a well brought up Yoruba boy”.

According to Obasanjo, the CNM has neither direct nor indirect relationship with any other movement.At the well-attended ceremony, forms were distributed to interested members to register.

Meanwhile, a group, Coalition for Nigeria (CN) has accused Obasanjo of using the CNM to achieve his third term ambition.The CN claimed that the former president stole its idea and name by ‘criminally’ launching the CNM.The CNM was launched in Abuja on Wednesday at the Yar’Adua Centre. In its reaction, the CN described the Obasanjo-led coalition as a group of failed politicians and those that had made immense contributions towards wrecking Nigeria.

At a press conference yesterday, the National Coordinator of CN, Sabo Odeh, said the authentic coalition for Nigeria had noble intentions centered around galvanizing Nigerians for nation building around tenets that are long term without pandering to unnecessary drama and media hype.His words: “Our coalition is not limited to creating a backdoor for retired and tired politicians to install puppets in government for the purpose of continuing to loot the treasury while ruling by impunity as had been experienced in the past. Obasanjo coalition movement seeks to do the exact opposite while leveraging on our credible name to sell its lies to Nigerians.

“The coalition for Nigeria, having the best intentions of our dear nation at heart, is careful to go about effecting change in a way that does not jeopardize the stability and safety of Nigeria.“There is nothing to be gained in burning our country in the name of seeking improvement; the reforms we all desire are achievable through persuasion, consensus building and collaboration without resorting to inflammatory acts and utterances as we have seen with some people.

“Instead of pursuing peaceful growth and evolution, what we have seen the children of anger in the Obasanjo coalition movement is a situation where old politicians in their twilight are manipulating youths to be incendiary.”


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Olusegun Obasanjo
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