Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Friday said the South-South geopolitical zone would reflect the performance of the immediate past President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, who is from the area.
Obasanjo stated this while fielding questions from members of the audience shortly after delivering a lecture at the 11th convocation of the Benson Idahosa University, Benin, Edo State.
He explained that the 2011 presidential election had presented the South-South an opportunity to produce the number one citizen of the country, as a minority zone, and would bear the consequences of his decisions as President for six years.
He also said what the former President did while in office was entirely his.
When asked whether he did not share any responsibility in the performance of Jonathan as an elder statesman and former chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, Obasanjo said, “I have also said that you can help anybody to get a job, but you cannot help him to do it. Let us get it clear, there is nobody who has got into any position who has not been helped by one person or more than one person.
“To become Nigeria’s head of state, it was first of all my performance in the war front. Now, if General Yakubu Gowon had not sent me to the war front, you won’t know whether I can perform or cannot perform.
“Now he sent me to the war front, I thank him for it. And because I performed, we shared the credit. If I have failed, Gowon would not have shared the credit; he would not have shared the condemnation with me. I will be alone.
“Yes as I have said, I believe that opportunity that afforded itself in 2010 to somebody from the minority tribe to become the President of Nigeria; he should never lose the opportunity.
“And don’t forget what he did or did not do with it will reflect for a long time on that part of the country and don’t take that lightly.
“What he did or did not do with it will reflect for a long time on that part of the country. But nobody will be there who will not be helped, but you voted for him, I was not the only one among 18 million voters who voted for him.”
On the leadership crisis rocking the 8th National Assembly, the former President said that the Assembly was experiencing “growing up hiccups” which he said was normal in a democratic system.
He said, “You know normally when you are growing up, you have what they call growing up hiccups. And that is nothing to worry about.
“It is part of growing up in our democracy.”
The former President, however, expressed concern over the high rate of youth unemployment in the country.
He said the challenge could leave Nigeria sitting on a keg of gunpowder if left unchecked.
Obasanjo said, “Whichever way you look at it, we have a large proportion of our youths who are unemployed. It doesn’t matter the statistics you use; at one time, they say it was 50 per cent. At another time, they say they rebased; we are never tired of rebasing in this country.
“They rebased and say it is 25 per cent. Even if it is 25 per cent, that will be about 25 million (unemployed) people.
“If we do not do something about it, we are all sitting on a keg of gunpowder because the youths that are unemployed will be angry and restless and any spark will set them off.”