Former President Olusegun Obasanjo says the mistakes of his administration were not out of selfishness.
The ex-president served for two terms between 1999 and 2007, and he was military head of state from 1976 to 1979.
Obasanjo made the comment in an interview with The Point newspaper, published in the tabloid’s Monday edition.
He said his administration’s mistakes were genuine, and that his government was devoid of personal interests.
“People who worked with me, it doesn’t matter where they come from, they remember what we did together. There is no question of favouritism, there is no question of, yes, this is my kith and kin. There is no question of this is my personal interest,” he said.
“I never say that we didn’t make mistake or we are perfect, but whatever mistake we made was a genuine mistake. It wasn’t a mistake we made as a result of selfishness.”
Obasanjo dismissed the claim he did not do enough for Yoruba land while president, saying his focus was on Nigeria as a whole.
He said his non-partisanship currently is a reflection of his focus and commitment to Nigeria.
“Some Yoruba have come to me and said you didn’t do enough for the Yoruba. I said, ‘Yes, did I do for Nigeria?’ They said, ‘You did?’ I asked, is Yoruba not part of Nigeria? If I did as I could for Nigeria and Yoruba are part of Nigeria, then I have done for the Yoruba as well as I have done for Igbo, Hausa and so on. I think that must guide us,” he said.
“Yes the question is what is my guiding principle? Nigeria. You know it is true I became the President on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Now I am not a PDP man, I am not an APC (All Progressives Congress) man, even I am not an ADC (African Democratic Congress) man. But if you ask for my party, I will say Nigeria is my party.”
The former president said Nigeria can be great with generational consistency in good leadership.
He asked incumbent leaders to look beyond the moment because their actions will be a reference point later in the future.
“The point you must bear in mind is that this country can be a great country. We have everything to make this country great. And that is what always worries me. When you see what we can do, how to do it, and we are not doing it. That is really unfortunate,” he said.
“Can we get there? I believe we can. All we need is one generation of consistency in leadership, we will be there. That is what we need. We need one generation of right leadership consistently.
“When you are in a position of leadership, don’t think only of today, think of tomorrow, because, look, you would be a reference point. How did he perform? How did he do? What did he do? In future, people would refer to it. For one thing, I have no mind for malice. I cannot even think of malice. And when I have a job to do, I sink myself into it.”