by: Abiodun Onafuye/Abeokuta
Former Nigerian leader, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has drawn similarities in the present economic situation in the country under President Goodluck Jonathan with the one witnessed during the era of the military tyrant, Late General Sani Abacha.
The former President declared that after he got an SMS message from a Nigerian requesting for his financial assistance, he concluded that the middle-class era has been destroyed by the economic situation.
He spoke today when a group of traders visited him in Abeokuta, rummaging through his phone message file to read the SOS message from the unidentified Nigerian.
Obasanjo: decries economic downturn
He said that the development, notwithstanding, did not change his conviction that, “tough time does not last forever, and when tough times comes, tough people get going, we will keep going and we will survive this tough time”.
“I told him (the SMS sender) that we have experienced this period in the time of Abacha, all the members of the middle class were completely destroyed”,he said.
He informed his guests about a military officer who could not afford to buy a new brand car, declaring, that was a surprise to him.
“I was surprised the day a Colonel in the Army came to me complaining that he and his family could not afford to buy a car”.
Another example to buttress his assertion was about a medical doctor family that had to relocate to Saudi Arabia to survive. “A friend of mine, Dr. Okoro, a medical Doctor, his wife was also a medical doctor and they have a daughter too, who is also a medical doctor : between the three of them, they could not afford a new car. They had to go to Saudi Arabia, but I pray we will not have such a time in Nigeria”, Obasanjo prayed.
While responding to the request of the traders on the way forward ahead of the 2015 political dispensation, the former President said Nigerians have to be alert and vigilant to collectively battle the situation.
“We have to be at alert. To be forewarned is to be forearmed, if we will get ourselves out of the morass we find ourselves in, it has to be done by each and every one of us. We all have contribution to make and should not leave our responsibility for others to do for us. If we fail to participate in things that are meaningfully positive for this country, you will be a victim and we all become victims”, Obasanjo warned.
Obasanjo told the 150 traders from across the 36 States that visited him that,”as far as the next political dispensation is concerned, I can not decide yet,we should all resort to spiritual guidance for help.
“As for me, we don’t know where we are going yet, may God show us the way. The way that will take this country and make it a great country and well for me too. I understand and If I see the way, I will tell you. I pray that God will show me the way, may God show you the way”, the former President declared.
In her reaction, the leader of the delegation,who is also the National President of the Nigerian Market/Traders Council, Yeye (Mrs) Osho said the visit was meant to come and get the direction of the former President on the 2015 election.
She said the council had tremendous support of the former President during his eight year- rule.
“As such, we deem it necessary and as a mark of respect to come and find out on which direction we are going. He had told us to wait and we shall pass the message to our members throughout the country, that Baba is yet to decide”, the market leader said.
Among the dignitaries that were with the former President to welcome his guests were the Iyalode of Yorubaland, Alaba Lawson and one of the aides to President Olusegun Obasanjo while in office, Dr. Gbolade Osinowo.