Former President Olusegun Obasanjo says for Nigeria to move forward, it requires “more rebels,” who are bold to speak truth to power not minding whose ox is gored.
The former President spoke on Saturday in Abeokuta, Ogun State, while unveiling the autobiography of the Babanla Adinni of Egbaland, Chief Tayo Sowunmi, titled, ‘Footprints of a Rebel’.
Obasanjo added that having such rebels remained one of the greatest steps towards rebuilding Nigeria.
The autobiography, which was reviewed by the founder of the Kudirat Initiative for Democracy, Hafsat Abiola-Costello, was unveiled as part of activities marking the 80th birthday of Sowunmi, a former activist and elder statesman.
Obasanjo submitted that whoever must lead a life of honesty and integrity had to be a rebel.
He said, “Looking at the title of the book, I ask myself, why would someone call himself a rebel? But it is good.
“The truth is that if you have to lead a life of honesty and integrity, you have to become a rebel. There will be some time you will be asked to do something, but you will say no, this is not right. And when you say that, you will become a rebel. You may even become a persona non grata.
“There is no other country that we can call our own except Nigeria. Our country, Nigeria, needs more rebels. Those who will look at things straight in the face and say, ‘This is not right’, ‘This, I will not be part of’, ‘This is not good for Nigeria.’”
Obasanjo lauded the octogenarian for leading “an exemplary life worthy of emulation by the younger generation.”
Earlier in his speech, the Serving Overseer of the Citadel Global Community Church, Pastor Tunde Bakare, had called for inter-generational reintegration between the older and younger generations to rebuild Nigeria.
Bakare spoke on the topic, ‘Worthy nation building legacies by the older generation of Nigerians’, said it was a shame that while the younger generations were taking over leadership in other countries, the older generation refused to leave the stage in Nigeria.
According to Bakare, the nation rebuilding development has suffered because of the marginalisation of the youth and the progressives, who abandoned politics.
He also blamed the nation’s challenges on those he called “moneybags and bullion van politicians.”
Bakare called for generational reintegration, beginning from the households, embracing of cultural values that foster nation building as well as mentoring and leadership development for the younger generation.