Special Press Statement by Former Nigeria President Ret. Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo
“.....I am constrained to issue this special statement at this time considering the situation of the country. Some of you may be asking, “What has brought about this special occasion of Obasanjo issuing a Special Statement?” You will be right to ask such a question. ……
Wherever I go, I hear Nigerians complaining, murmuring in anguish and anger..... 
.. And yet Nigerians love life. We must not continue to reinforce failure and hope that all will be well. It is self-deceit and self-defeat and another aspect of folly.
What has emerged from the opposition has shown no better promise from their antecedents. As the leader of that Party for eight years as President of Nigeria, I can categorically say there is nothing to write home about in their new team. We have only one choice left to take us out of Egypt to the promised land. And that is the coalition of the concerned and the willing – ready for positive and drastic change, progress and involvement. ......
We need a Coalition for Nigeria, CN. Such a Movement at this juncture needs not be a political party but one to which all well-meaning Nigerians can belong. …….
This Coalition for Nigeria will be a Movement that will drive Nigeria up and forward..........
I, therefore, will gladly join such a Movement when one is established as Coalition for Nigeria, CN, taking Nigeria to the height God has created it to be. ........May God continue to lead, guide and protect us. Amen”

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The above is an extract from recent press statement by former Nigeria President, Ret. Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo. We in Nigerians For Referendum feel the need to respond to this statement and invite others to pass their own judgment.
The time spent by Mr Obasanjo at the helm of Nigeria administration has been the longest of any known Nigerian since independence and the role played by Mr Obasanjo has been notable and as such his latest statement needs to be critically analysed.
Mr Obasanjo was involved in the civil war that engulfed the country in 1967 - 1970 and played a major role in making sure that the Nigeria government emerged victorious in the war and kept Nigeria as a single entity. And over the years, when it appears the country was tilting at the edge of collapse, he has been the one that has been mostly called upon to wave his magic wand and keep the country together. It is therefore incumbent on us to take note of his speech and comment accordingly.
While we welcome Mr Obasanjo’s latest assessment and comment on the current state of Nigeria but it is also vital to analyse Mr Obasanjo’s role in getting the country to the state where it is today.
We have mentioned above the role played by Mr Obasanjo during the Biafra civil war. We should also mention the role he played in the return to civil rule in 1979 when as a result of his untoward intervention, the government of Shehu Shagari was foisted on the country and we know what followed – mismanagement of the economy which resulted in the country going to the IMF with a cap in hand begging for loan. Without any doubt, the economic mismanagement by the Shagari government and the ensuing political problem precipitated the intervention of the military regime that followed.
In 1999, when the country was going to be returned to civil rule, again Mr Obasanjo was called upon and we all know what followed – the corruption that characterized his reign: spending billions of dollars of public money without following due process and being personally implicated in the Halliburton Bribery Affair to the tunes of millions of dollars. In 2007, we cannot forget the role played again by Mr Obasanjo in ensuring who should succeed him by bringing together the Yar ‘adua and Jonathan team and tirelessly campaigning for their election victory even when Mr Yar Adua was suffering from ill health. The Yar Adua-Jonathan team governed the country until 2011. Mr Jonathan contested and won the 2011 Presidential Election and was the President until 2015 when at the intervention of Mr Obasanjo in recommending Buhari to Nigerian voters, Mr Obasanjo decisively tilted the election in favour of Mr Buhari.

Here comes Mr Obasanjo again, telling Nigerians how badly the Buhari’s government has performed and recommending that the people should not vote for Buhari for the second term. Mr Obasanjo has called for a coalition of people to take Nigeria to the height God wants it to be. Isn’t it an irony that a man who spent such long years at the helm of Nigeria administration and had more opportunities than any other person to get Nigeria to the height God wants it to be that he is now calling for a coalition of Nigerians to perform that task.
We understand that some have heeded his call and joined his so-called Movement. This is definitely a coalition of the gullibles (CG) led by a master con artist (MCA).


We cannot forget a similar call in 1999 when Mr Obasanjo appeared to be leading a coalition government. Alliance for Democracy (AD) led by Bola Ige heeded his call. Little did Mr Ige know that heeding such a call would decimate the AD and cost him his life. Mr Obasanjo is at it again and unfortunately some hapless Nigerians are heeding his call. Those who fail to learn from their past will become a victim of their future.


Mr Obasanjo for all the atrocities he had wrought on this country can only be regarded as the most dangerous Nigerian walking freely on Nigeria streets.
Nigeria does not need a call for a coalition and particularly not from a man who has inflicted so much havoc on Nigeria. What Nigeria needs today is action from genuinely concerned Nigerians particularly those wary of the role Mr Obasanjo had played in getting Nigeria to where it is today. The country has been led the wrong path for too long, we need to admit that changing from regional governments to what we have today was a wrong move and we need to retrace our steps and any Nigerian who has the courage to admit this and suggest another way is the one Nigerians should heed his/her call not a call from a retired general whose hands are not clean and who has played a devastating role in the history of Nigeria.
Nigeria today is a failure. We have a country where lives are being wasted everyday and the country cannot even pay for the education of her children. Our youths are leaving the country in droves in search of better life that are being denied them in Nigeria. Many have lost their lives in an effort to get to Europe in search of hope and many have been taken captives and sold as slaves in a foreign land. The truth is Nigeria has failed and the current system has perpetuated the failure. We in Nigerians For Referendum highlighted this in an article in 2011 titled: Whatever Happen to Nigeria. We recommended that the only way out of this mess is to retrace our steps and return to regional government. Since then nothing has changed and as a matter of fact, things have got worse. We are still saying the same thing that the only way out is to return to regional government. The current set up in Nigeria today has been a complete shamble. We are practicing a system where we have been unable to conduct a credible census because the only way to boost state’s allocation from the central government is to lie about the size of the population in your state and an even effective way is to create more local governments regardless of the pressure it is going to put on administrative costs. How can a country make an effective development plan without knowing the actual number of people it is catering for or their demographic composition? This is just only one of the problems created by the current set up which we have been unable to resolve. I was in Nigeria recently and visited my old secondary school – Ilora Baptist Grammar School in Ilora, Oyo State. What I saw was depressing – many of the school buildings are in a state of disrepair. Many of us old students of the school are now helping with donations to support in renovating the school. Yet I was informed that the town Ilora has been given a local government of its own. Isn’t it an irony that now that the town has been given a local government of its own, it is unable to fund its famous secondary school. This is not an isolated incident. It is the trend in Nigeria today where increasing the allowances of members of the National Assembly is more important than providing an affordable health care for the people.

We in Nigerians For Referendum believe it is time not only to take Mr Obasanjo’s recommendation with a pinch of salt but also to recommend to every progress-loving Nigerians to distance themselves from his kind and the politics they have played over the years in ruining Nigeria. A country so blessed that at independence in 1960, everyone across the globe looked upon it with great hope and admiration. Today, Nigeria is not only a shadow of itself but a ruin thanks to the roles played by these army generals particularly Obasanjo. No one has played more destructive role in Nigeria than Obasanjo. He was part of the army generals that changed the course of the Nigeria set up from the regions to federation with the creation of states which have been the curse of Nigeria today. Mr Obasanjo not only ensured the continuation along this destructive path but also helped in consolidating it. We all know that the beginning of Nigeria problem is the abolishment of the regions and embarking upon a structure which not only causing great distress to the country in terms of increasing administrative costs but also giving birth to other evils that have made Nigeria unsustainable.
What Nigeria need and in fact the only way out of this mess is to retrace our steps and return to regional governments and the mode of constitution that allows each region to control their own resources but only allows the federal government to play a designated role in specified areas like defence, external affairs, currency, banking, shipping, navigation and communications. 
At independence, the whole country was divided into three regions with each having its own parliament and premier. There were numerous differences of detail among the regional governments and there were wide differences in the conduct of public affairs among the regions. The only similarity was that all the three regions adhered to a parliamentary form of government but each was autonomous in relation to the federal government at Lagos. The federal government had specified powers, which included responsibility for defence, external affairs, currency, banking, shipping, navigation, and communications, but real political power resided in the regions and significantly, it was the regional governments that controlled public expenditures derived from revenues raised within their regions.
This was the prevailing system that the then politicians inherited when Nigeria became independent in 1960 - a system whereby there were three distinct autonomous regions and each with its own parliament but with a federal government at the centre. The benefits of these arrangements were there for everyone to see - each region follow their own ways of life and determine their own pace of development whilst the role of the federal government was limited to the areas where it was most needed and beneficial to the country as a whole - namely defence, external affairs, currency, banking, shipping, navigation, and communications.
This is what we had at independence and this is what we need to return to. We in Nigerians For Referendum believe without any doubt that this is achievable but only require those who are in position of authority and responsibilities to take active steps to actualize this. We have governors in the regions and their leadership role at this crucial time is needed. The governors in each region can form themselves into a council of governors e.g. Governors in the states that made up the old western Nigeria can form themselves into Western Nigeria Council of Governors and organise a referendum throughout western Nigeria to obtain the mandate of their citizens. The question is simple: Do you want the continuation of the current set up or a return to the old set up of regions as laid down in the Nigeria constitution at independence? The referendum is also an opportunity for the people to vote on the constitution that has been imposed on them without them having any say. The proposed referendum is to give the people a say and the outcome will either give legitimacy to the current imposed constitution or a rejection of it. If the outcome is a rejection of the current imposed constitution and a vote for a return to the old system, the council of governors can use this mandate to return the country to regional government that we once had. We do not need to wait for another election to determine what we can do or what we should do. It does not require rocket science to come to the realization that the current system is not working and it is never going to work. Such referendum would kick-start the process of re-negotiating a new relationship between the constituents that make up Nigeria. To wait for the 2019 general election is to condemn our people to another four years of misery when it is within our democratic right to change the life of our people for the better. What we should be doing in 2019 is to consolidate our return to regional government by electing a premier but not participating in the election of a president of Nigeria under the current imposed system. The current constitution was never voted for by Nigerians. It was imposed and if the governors can obtain a mandate of their people through a referendum, they will have the democratic authority to make a meaningful change to our set up and give the people back the control of their own destiny.

Step by Step Guide to Achieving a Return to Regionalisation
1. Governors within the regions forming themselves into Council of Governors
2. Organising a Referendum of their Citizens on the Question of Changing the Current System
3. Use the Mandate obtained to Organise a Return to Regional Government
4. Use the Mandate to Negotiate with other Regions on the final status of the central government
5. Current Elected National Assembly Members will be meeting at Regional Assembly during the period of negotiation
6. Organise the Next General Election Based on the New System

Folorunso Makinde
Nigerians For Referendum (NFR)
Tel. + 44 – 7467 741026