Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has weighed in on the rising military coups in Africa, saying the development shows that young people are in search of liberators.
In recent years, there have been seven coups across Africa, with the latest happening in Gabon on August 30. Niger, Burkina Faso, Sudan, Guinea, and Mali are all under military rule.
Speaking at Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) in Abeokuta, Ogun State, during an interactive session with a group of youths from Africa for Africa Youth Initiative (A4A), the former President said he would not support a coup considering his experience in the hands of former military dictator, late General Sanni Abacha.
He said, “So, the youth are looking for liberators, and we must bear that in mind. Why do we have to allow the youth to start looking for liberators beyond the government of the day? Why?”
According to Obasanjo, certain conditions have been encouraging military takeovers across the continent.
“Having suffered at the hand of Abacha, I will not want a military rule, but if it has to come, what can we do? I will just say okay.
“The point is this, do we have conditions that encourage the type of things that are happening, because if we don’t have the conditions that encourage them, they may not happen. That doesn’t mean it should be encouraged. What it means is that we should make sure that we do everything to prevent coups from happening.
“When you see things that happen in many countries, and I will not exclude Nigeria, then you wonder and don’t forget, don’t forget particularly the youth, they support most of these coups. The one in Gabon, the Coup Leader was being carried on the head by the youths, not by old wretched men and women like me,” he added.
While calling for the entrenchment of true democratic principles with God-given attributes as a way of discouraging coups in the continent, Obasanjo urged African youths to brace up and take leadership positions today and not tomorrow, which may never come.