Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, yesterday in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, described former Presidents Shehu Shagari and Olusegun Obasanjo and the incumbent, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, as leaders that were less prepared for the demands of the Office of President, before they assumed office.
Speaking to journalists at the Port Harcourt Internatio-nal Airport, Atiku, who was the presidential flag-bearer of the Action Congress (AC) in the 2007 general elections, said the ill-preparedness of the leaders was the bane of the nation’s under-development.
“Nigeria has not had a leadership that has told himself say look, I want to lead and this is the reason why I want to lead Nigeria; this is my plan and programmes of what to do based on which he was elected”.
“In the Second Republic, Shagari wanted to become a senator but he ended up becoming a president. In Obasanjo's case, I was one of those who led a delegation to him and it was clear he had no intention of becoming a President because he asked me, how many presidents you want to make out of me,” Atiku said.
As a wake up call, Atiku tasked Nigerians, particularly the electorate, to ensure that the country does not witness a repeat of the situations in which people who are not adequately equipped to lead get to leadership positions. He said the electorate should therefore ensure that only those who, according to him, have prepared themselves and have programmes for the people would ascend the leadership of the country.
He added that the ‘lack of preparedness’ situation had produced and continued to produce leaders without programmes.
He cited his former boss, Obasanjo and Shagari as such leaders who did not plan to lead the country as well as the incumbent, Yar’Adua, who he said had power thrust on him.
Atiku, however, said all hope was not lost as the current role of the judiciary was enough saving grace. He pleaded with Nigerians to work with the judiciary to ensure that the nation’s democracy was pulled out of the woods.
Asked if the proposed electoral reforms by the Yar’Adua administration would yield fruitful results, he answered in the affirmative but said stakeholders’ views should be incorporated in the reforms with the greater objective to solidify democracy.