ABUJA – Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Monday stated that the December deadline given to the military by President Mohammadu Buhari to rout out insurgency in the country was realisable.
He however stated that Nigeria does not have to wait until the last of the terrorist was killed before declaring victory.
According to him, evidence of victory comes immediately the military had exerted its authority over the terrorists.
The former president spoke to the State House Correspondents on Monday after submitting the report of a study on how Nigeria could win the war against Boko Haram.
Obasanjo said that the ugly situation in the north east had compelled his team to embark on a mission to Columbia to study the country’s strategy, efforts and experience in its 50-year battle against the FARC rebels.
Leading the Copenhagen Foundation team to brief president, the former president posited that if Nigeria won the civil war, it would still get victory over Boko Hara.
He said: “Let me just let you know that I have come to see the President for two reasons. The first one is the one you have just seen. I brought a delegation of those of us who visited Columbia last year under the auspices of a foundation which I am the chairman.
“We went to Columbia to see how all the Columbian authorities were handling the issue of insurgency which had been with them for more than 50 years.
“As a result of that visit and the experience we had, a book was produced and I said to them that it will be interesting for us in Nigeria to learn as much as we can learn from the experience of Columbia.
“The specific thing is that they have been fighting insurgency for 50 years. They celebrated their 50 years in existence in May last year, in fact, we went there in June.
“So, we want to see what has kept them going, what has kept insurgency going? What has made the government of Columbia to make three attempts to seek peace, to end the war and insurgency and they failed. What is the new efforts that they are making? How likely are those new efforts going to succeed?
“Oh yes. If we won the civil war, we can win this one. But like the Columbian said, we are not waiting until we kill off every insurgent to say we have won.
“I believe that once the military has the upper hand, other measures that have to be taken will be put in place.
“There will be measures of socio-economic development, education, employment. All that has to go into the process of eventually winning the war and saying, ‘here is Uhuru.’
“The president must give a target. When you give somebody a target, you give him something to aspire to, giving him an objective. Target is not cast in stone.
“I believe that if you are talking of getting the upper hand, gradually, we are getting the upper hand.
“We are not there yet but we are getting close. And once we are getting upper hand, we move on and do other things.”
Obasanjo who was also accompanied to the presidential Villa by Columbia’s Chief of Defence Staff revealed that president Buhari whom he said had a listening ear showed more than fleeting interest in both the book and presentation.
“He was interested. You know that one thing you can say about the President is that he is anxious to learn and he has listening ears. Of course, nobody knows it all. A good leader must seek every opportunity to learn and to put what he learns into practice”, he said.
The former President also stated that another reason that brought him to the Villa was to present the report of his journey to crisis-engulfed Guinea-Bissau.
He explained that their trip was successful as peace was gradually returning to the country.
“The second aspect of my visit was the work that both the President and the ECOWAS gave me in Guinea Bissau.
“The last time, we were able to resolve all the issues of getting a new Prime Minister. This time, we had also been able to resolve the issue of now forming a government.
“If nothing intervenes, I believe between today and tomorrow, a new government will be in place in Guinea Bissau. They have been without government for almost two months.
“When I was there, I praised the restraint of the general public and particularly the military because the military leaders hold me that for two months, they have not gotten salary. They could not even buy fuel into military vehicles and yet they continue to maintain restraints.
“That cannot go on forever. So, I hope that the actions that we have taken over the weekend (I was there on Friday morning and I left early morning of Sunday), we might be in the process of putting that behind us”, he explained.
Culled from: Vanguard