Why coups are becoming norm again in Africa – Obasanjo

  • Obasanjo asserted that the toppling of civilian government by military junta in Africa was not unconnected to the search for liberators by the youths.

    Former President Olusegun Obasanjo says the spate of coups in Africa in recent time is not unconnected to the failings of democratically elected government.

    Africa has witnessed seven coups since August 2020, the latest which happened in Gabon earlier in the month.

    Niger, Burkina Faso, Sudan, Guinea, Mali are all under military rule.

    Reacting to the trend, Obasanjo asserted that the toppling of civilian government by military junta in Africa was not unconnected to the search for liberators by the youths.

    He spoke at the 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), a platform founded by Reverend Chris Oyakhilome.

    The public service and good governance engaged was titled “Fostering Sustainable Development Through Pan Africanism.”

    Obasanjo, who said he would not support a coup because of his travails in the hands of former Military dictator, late General Sanni Abacha, noted that issues that necessitate coup must be addressed.

    Responding to questions on the coups in Africa, Obasanjo, who has ruled Nigeria both and military and democratically elected leader, said certain conditions engender the military takeovers across the continent.

    He said, “Having suffered in the hand of Abacha, I won’t support military coup. But if it has to come, what can we do?

    “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 not 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.

    “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?”

    Obasanjo called for the entrenchment of true democratic principles with God-given attributes as a way of discouraging coups in the continent.

    “And if you have been in government for 40 years and you are not tired, maybe you need retirement,” he said.

    The former President added that “One, let me make it clear, I don’t support coup because personally I have been a victim of coup. Two, the good thing about democracy, if it works and it delivers, is that you can sit down and dialogue and debate and discuss. But your democracy must take integrity along with it.

    “Your democracy must take honesty along with it. Your democracy must take character along with it. Your democracy must take those attributes, God-given attributes, inclusive society, no marginalization, no exclusion, no favoritism.”

    He called on the African youths to brace up and take leadership positions today and not tomorrow, according to him, may never come.