President Obasanjo seeking 2nd Term


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Full Text of President Obasanjo's Abuja Second-Term


Thursday, April 25, 2002

By: President Olusegun Obasanjo
Abuja, Nigeria

Fellow Nigerians, we owe gratitude to the Almighty for seeing us
through so many years of the process of rebirth of democracy in our
nation. His divine wisdom has piloted us through rough and hard times
to this very day when we can proudly say we do have a nation with a
present that we are proud of, and a future that we look forward to.

I thank all Nigerians who have been patient with us. I thank you all
most profoundly for bearing with us, especially when the journey
towards the rebirth of our freedoms has seemed to be exceedingly
hazardous. I am indeed grateful for every contribution, no matter how
small, whether spiritual, moral or material, whether directly or
tacitly, that all Nigerians have made towards achieving the goals
that we all share.

Fellow Nigerians, you would all be aware by now of the debate and
speculations as to whether I should continue to make myself available
for second term of service to our great nation. Almost three years
ago when I took the oath of office, single or more terms never
crossed my mind. I had a job to do, and I faced that job. However,
soon after May 29, 1999, the question of the amount of the time
required for the rehabilitation and reconstruction work became a
general concern that kept coming up in one form or another; by myself
in prayer, by my friends who have shared with me the burden of
leadership, and of course, my critics who have exercised their
democratic rights to pass judgment on my leadership, favourably or
otherwise. The pitch of speculation has continued to rise higher as
my first term draws to a close.

Let me express my deep appreciation to all those, at home and abroad,
who is the last few months have variously communicated to me their
opinions and wishes on this matter. Whatever the form of these
opinions, solicited or otherwise, critical or flattering, they are
all expressions of profound concern for the democratic destiny of our
nation, and therefore worth it each time.

I sincerely appreciate the view of those who have found imperfection
in my leadership, and therefore think I should return. I have never
believed myself to be perfect, and it is helpful and instructive to
have someone else point out one's limitations. Each of us needs a
strong sense of security to make us big enough to identify and admit
our genuine mistakes, smart enough to learn and thereby gain from
them, and strong enough to correct them.

I am, quite naturally, particularly grateful to those who have
consistently expressed confidence in my leadership, and therefore are
of the view that I should seek a second term. This is indeed very
heartening, as I have always borne in mind the responsibility imposed
on me by the Nigerian electorate, who overwhelmingly voted for me
three years ago. At that time, I had asked my fellow countrymen and
women to trust me. I had pledged my total service and my total
commitment to them. I had promised to make a positive difference. I
have also vowed not to care whose goat is geared in our efforts to
make Nigeria great again.

I thank all those, who not only shared the vision with me, but have
since perceived and appreciated the changes, brought about through
our modest efforts. Most of all, I thank them for urging me to

Fellow Nigerians, I am aware that you are keenly expecting me to
declare my intention for the future, as the election year 2003
approaches., I have, on my part, been thinking long and hard about
which way to go. I have consulted widely with my family, with my
friends with my political associates, and with various leadership
classes of our country.

I have weighed every piece of advice, appeal and caution very cooly,
calmly and carefully. I have reflected. I have meditated. And I have
prayed to God. As a result of these personal and deep reflections on
the prevailing circumstances of our country and its future, so far as
God gives me the inspiration and wisdom to seek to influence for good
our future, I have decided that it is best that I make myself
available as a Presidential candidate in the 2003 Elections.

By this declaration, I will naturally be seeking re-nomination as
candidate of our great Party, the PDP, who together with me will be
going to the electorate to seek a fresh mandate in 2003. Three years
ago, Nigerians were sufficiently persuaded by the vision of the Party
to vote for it, and make it not only the largest in Africa, but also
the most successful party in any election in this country. In the
last three years, while going through the learning curve associated
with the rebirth of democracy, most of the elected officials of the
PDO have aimed to work together, both in the Legislative and
Executive arms of all levels of Government to push the vision for
which we campaigned in 1998.

I do not intend here to even attempt to answer the question sometimes
asked of me: "What does Obasanjo want again," implying that have
served for a term, it is time for me to step down, so that someone
else can also "enjoy" the Office of President. I shall ignore such
questions, because they appear to insinuate that I wanted rewards
that were merely personal by seeking the Office of President.

I know of one God ordained sense of power, and it is to service the
people zealously and to please God. The issue for me has always been
service to the country. In 1998, I declared that I was taking up the
challenge of service, and in the last three years I have tried to
gave service with all the resources of intellect and body that
Almighty God has given me. Service was my only purpose, service has
remained my only purpose, and service is still my only purpose.
Service to Nigeria, service to humankind, and service to God. And so
this declaration expresses my own deep conviction that there is still
a lot of work to do, and for this, I am still able and willing to
offer my service.

Ladies and gentlemen, we were elected on the basis of a vision, a and
we have done our best to keep faith with that vision, and there is
evidence that we have moved towards that vision. However, we are not
there yet. I am hoping to seek the support of Nigerian voters for our
brand of leadership to advance further towards that vision in the
next four years, beginning from 2003, at the end of which we hop to
have consolidated the gains, the orientation and the progress which
we would proudly pass on as worthy legacies to succeeding generations
of leadership, to build upon.


Let us cast our minds back to the way things were when we came in, if
only to be able to gauge how far we have advanced on the road to our
vision. The Nigeria of May 1999, that inherited, was a nation in
despair, to say the least. After fifteen years of uninterrupted
undemocratic rule, with attendant misgovernance and maladminstration,
virtually all our social institutions were in distress, with their
purposes compromised all round. Our infrastructure were in ruins.
Most public services had practically ceased to function, the few that
managed to keep ticking were plagued with numerous ills. Insecurity,
corruption, bureaucratic tardiness and pervasive indiscipline had
taken over everywhere. Our social values had plummeted. Our own self-
pride had diminished. And our image had so deteriorated that many
Nigerians were strongly inclined to be ashamed to be identified with
their own country.

We inherited a nation tormented by the spectre of ethnic militias
apparently emboldened to divide the country because of perceived
injustices. We met a nation of traumatised people who deeply
distrusted and despised authority and leadership. In short, things
had so fallen apart that the worst predictions were being made about
our future, including the demise of the nation!

In answering the call to service, our assignment was based on the
proposition that ultimately, only Nigerians can save Nigeria, and
that there is only one country we can properly call our own. Apart
from the possibility of acquiring citizenship through naturalisation,
we do not have any choice in respect of the country of our birth, or
the country of which we are citizens. We consequently have little
choice but to accept the divine purpose that brought us to this space
called Nigeria. And if God in His infinite wisdom destined us to be
brothers and sisters, common sense, if not the instinct for survival,
would seem to impose a historic and moral duty on us to make the best
of our circumstances.

Such is the consciousness that fires a leadership that is worth its
name. This was the spirit we carried into office on May 29, 1990,
after you handed us the mandate to serve. We never had the illusion
that we were headed for a cocktail party.

We know, now, that we had grossly underestimated the extent of the
demage, the depth of the decay into which our nation has sunk. I have
come to appreciate with greater clarity the views of many, concerned
well wishers and even detractors alike, who suggested to me that it
is one thing to desire to save a situation, but that it is another
matter altogether to prescribe a remedy that would be effective. I
was constantly asked, "where would you begin?" But rather than
retreat in selfdefeat, I chose to accept the situation as a
challenge. I have never once regretted that choice.


The task of reconstructing Nigeria would have been a lot easier if
Nigeria were a mere mechanical contraption that could be put on a
block, its useful parts salvaged, and its useless parts thrown away.
But Nigeria happens to be a living vital and dynamic antity. It has
consequently been a formidable task to reconstruct what it took
nearly two decades to destroy, and the challenge has been all-
pervasive, economic, political, social, moral and cultural.

Our main strategy was to quickly take stock and move purposefully
towards our goal of reviving the nation. We put Nigeria as the only
item on the agenda of leadership, while we sought to meet as much as
possible, the expectations of the electorate based mainly on our
election promises. We saw that the system needed to be rationalised,
and that the organisation of our society needed to be made wholesome.

Our primary objectives were simple and clear:

*  to restore the rule of law;

*  to institutionalise the principles of equality, justice and
peaceful co-existance;

* to enshrine an ethnic of transparency, accountability, and
responsibility in leadership; and

* to install an efficient economic regime that would help reduce
poverty and bring about a visible improvement in the quality of the
lives of our citizens.

We have put in our best to ensure that all our policies have
manifested these elements in one form or another. And to the best of
my knowledge we have remained true and faithful to the direction
which we sat ourselves at the beginning. We have retained our vision,
and we have been consistent in making sure that our vision remained
the focus for all our thoughts and actions.


Opinions may differ as to the details and the extent of our
achievements, but there have indeed been objectively measurable
improvements in the last three years. Not least is the general
feeling that things are getting better, far which there are visible
indicators. There are today, more cars plying our roads, out motor-
parks are beehives of activity, more aircrafts land and take off from
our airports, and out ports are busier. There are more jobs. The
employed earn more, and living conditions continues to improve.

There is certainly much less despair in the air. Hope in a brighter
future has been rekindled. There has been a quantum leap in the
amount of faith Nigerians have in their country.

In specific terms, we can, without being immodest, claim to have
changed things for the better in the following areas:


We have rationalised and improved the management of the mainstay of
our economy, the oil and gas sector, with positive results such as
massive increase of investment in the sector, plus an end too the
embarrassment and frustration of long queues at our petrol stations;

There has been a noticeable increase of interest in investing in

We have markedly improved the conditions of service of the public
sector employee; and

The private sector is reporting significant increase in business
activity and profits.


We have pursued a vigorous policy of investment in our
infrastructure, especially in road, energy and water supply, with
results which are increasingly being felt by the general public in
both urban and rural areas.


One of the commitments of our Party is to provide opportunity for the
education of our citizens, especially the youth, in order to develop
their innate abilities and potential to the optimum, and to empower
all to take full part in the development or their country. Thus, the
first measure that our Government took after coming to office, was
the introduction of the UBE.

We have also put effort into stabilising our tertiary institutions to
the extent that students are spending more time learning, rather than
staying at home doing nothing. At the secondary level, there has been
marked qualitative improvement in education.


Agriculture and food production are key elements in the manifesto of
PDP, and are of great personal interest to me. We have developed a
new agricultural policy that will ensure food security for this
nation, through increased crop production, impoved livestock
husbandry, and through new marketing strategies which will ensure
better prices for the farmer. We have embarked on a number of
specific areas of intervention in agricultural production, from land
and water management to buyer of last resort.


For so many years, Nigeria was governed more through the instruments
of intimidation and coercion, than through participation and
adherence to the rule of law. We have changed all that. And Nigerians
are relishing it!

Today there are no political prisoners in Nigeria;

Today, our media is as free as can possibly be;

Today, our courts are free and independent enough to delivery
judgement that are respected both at home and abroad. There can be no
better testimony to this assertion than the most recent judgements
delivered by our Supreme Court on very fundamental issues which
determine for good, the very existence and survival of our country;

We note also with considerable satisfaction, the public enthusiasm
that greeted the proceedings of the Oputa Panel of Inquiry into Human
Rights Abuses, a measure which was primarily intended to commence the
healing process for traumatised and brutalised Nigerians.

The democratic process which commenced with the transition on May 29,
1999, has more than survived, with out democratic institutions
maturing at various stages of development. The Executive, in
particular, with its regular Council meeting s, has demonstrated the
merits of collective and transparent decision-making as vital to good


At the inception of our Administration, the image of our country
could hardly be worse. Today, however, we have resumed our
traditional place of honour in the international arena. Our counsel
is now highly regarded by the rest of the world. Even, The Economist
of London, which hardly ever has anything good to say about Nigeria,
now is of the opinion that Nigeria "is taken most seriously abroad."
Nigerians abroad no longer feel ashamed of their country, and are
increasingly offering their services to help in our quest for
development. We have hosted many world summits here in Abuja, and
will be hosting both the All African Games and the Meeting of
Commonwealth Heads of Government in the year 2003.


There is high public expectation to see corupt officials prosecuted
and, if found guilty, jailed. The Anti-Corruption Commission is still
working to consolidate its structures. But we recognise that it would
be counter productive if the commission were to indulge in commencing
prosecutions in the Courts without having conducted exhaustice

And besides this, the commission is now facing unexpected constraints
arising from as yet undisposed applications to the courts questioning
the constitutionality of the commission;

We have managed to recover huge amounts of illegally acquired public

Besides, here have been sixteen cases of people being prosecuted for
corruption in the last two years, compared with zero in the twenty
years between 1979 and 1999. Although we are not there yet, but there
is doubt that the process of sanitising the society has begun in


The task of nation building is never completed. It is continous and
perpetual. Thus, our Administration can only perform such tasks in
this regard as fall upon us at this moment in our . After nearly tree
years in office, we recognise in all humility, that we still have to
put in more effort in order to achieve our ultimate goals. There are
still many aspects of our material conditions that require careful

We have to construct more new roads and men more old ones;

Our hospitals and healthcare delivery need more improvement to stop
preventable deaths and raise the national average of life expectancy;

Our educational institutions are not yet fully operational,
quantitatively and quantitatively, definitely not to my satifaction
nor for the full educational needs of our society;

We are far from attaining the level of food security when we can
comfortably claim that the average Nigerian is eating enough balanced
diet because there is enough food available at affordable prices;

The national economy, particularly the productive sector, is still
performing well below the potential of what is possible through
effective management of our natural resources; and

Sadly, poverty is still endemic in our society.

There are policies in place for administratively tackling these
issues of material well-being of Nigerians. The existing policies
need fine-tuning and new ones need to be formulated to advance the
prosperity of the nation.

But many of these policies are not likely to achieve good results,
and if they do, Nigerians cannot enjoy them, if we do not reorientate
our attitudes in our responsibilities as members of our communities
and citizens of a socially organised Nigeria. Physical and material
provisions are a means to enjoying life in decent and orderly
society. It is our attitudes that determine the quality and
effectiveness of the stuctural content of our social organisation.

The supreme law for the organisation of our society in Nigeria
remains the constitution of the Federal Republic. It is not a perfect
document, and we have embarked on rectifying some of its more obvious
inadequacies. But the most perfect constitution can never in itself
bring the peace and harmoney we soly desire, if it is not underscored
by a general spirit of commitment to the rule of law.

Thus, we note with serious concern, the fact that farm too many
Nigerian put themselves first before the common good. Far too many
amongst us still apply the ectremely selfish criterion of 'What is in
it for me?' to determine their choice of action of action when their
sense of duty and service is called upon. The consewuences of these
are far reaching, and lead to such negative social tendencies as
corruptibility, ethncity, lack of patriotism, lawlessness,
inefficiency, dimished sense of justice, and lack of dignity and
mutual respect for fellow citizens.

It is imperative that we cultivate and imbibe the correct societal
attitudes before we can seriously envisage success of our efforts at
building a strong, united, just and viable nation. All our
developmental efforts need to be fully supported by the appropriate
sense of service, before we can begin to harvest in full, the benefit
of democracy as the most durable base for organising our society on
an equitable and just basis. Re-orientation is essential for
enhancing the social capital that must complement the material input
into our policies, if they are to be successful.

There is an urgent need to change the orientation and attitude of
most Nigerians from selfishness to selflessness, from greed to
caruing and sharing, from hatred to love, from indolence to industry
and hardwork, from bigotry to mutual tolernance, from corruption
decay and non-accountability to probity, integrity, honesty and

For action in the immediate future

*  We propose to vastly improve on the quality of our public services

*  We are determined to ensure that Nigerians feel a greater sense of
security in themselves and in their property;

*  We intend to ensure that all Nigerians feel at home in any part of
our country, without regard to their ethnic origin, religious
beliefs, or political persuasion.


Democracy is about freedom, including the freedom of political
choice. This freedom, ideally, is often exercised through
participation in a political party of one's choice. It is within the
party system that viable political visions are conceived and
propagated. A democratic dispensation needs, as its engine, properly
organiseed and disciplined political parties. Our constitution
recognises political parties as the only instruments through which
citizens may vote or be voted for. It does not permit independent
candidacies in elections. Political parties are usually formed by
people who share the same views about how society should be
organised. But unfortunately, our parties for now appear to be
congregations of persons who are exclusively concerned with achieving
electoral victory, almost exclusively for the purpose of personal
aggrandisement and with little regard for public service. Quite
often, therefore, internal conflicts abound, and indiscipline is
poervasive, with all the adverse effects it has on the general
political well-being of the country.

We salute the ordinary Nigeria for their patience with the learning
process in governance within the brief but eventful period since the
transition. Let us not grant these Nigerians the right to expect that
the leadership of our political parties should, by now, have gained
sufficient experience to be alert and to avert the imminent dangers,
if parties and their member continue to lack discipline, unity,
decent politial behaviour and respect for political and government
leadership. So far, the parties have not convincingly shown that they
are equipped to perform a much needed role, namely, to restore sanity
to our socety!

It is imperative that the parties begin bow to reform themselves, in
order to avoid the potential dangers that we all face when the next
elections come. Many observers, basing their passimism on our
previous electoral history, are already predicing violence and
general chaos, with the ugly prospect of the democratic process being
derailed. We cannot afford such retrogession again.

The general apprehension is because of the high record of failure
with most previous civilian-to-civilian electorl transitions. We have
witnessed that it is at this point of transition that our electoral
processes are tested to the limit. This is the moment where our
spirit of contest and fair play is brough to the fore, as we face he
reality of the fact that in any election, there are bound to be
losers, and there can only be one winner at any given moment. Any
attempt to win at all costs and by all means can only lead to
disaster. We must never allow ourselves the use of such provocative
language as "We will match thuggery for thuggery. We will match
rigging for rigging." We must never try to bend the rules, if we
resort to such dishonourable tactics, the process would no longer be
free and and fair, and the results would neither be respected nor
accepted here at home or abroad.

Let us never forget that democracy is also about persuasion, and you
can only persuade on the basis of good argument, and a good argument
is about issues. It is most unfortunate that our politics, as at
present, is short on argument and is excessively long on posturing
and coering with either inducements or violence. We must, in the name
of democratic ideals, and in the interest of our corporate existence,
beging to improve our arguments. Anything else is deceitful and
tantamount to insuling the intelligence of the electorate. And anyone
who aspires to leadership role must never do that. We must learn to
believe in the judgement of the electorate, It is only then that we
can expect them to be believe and respect, and trust our leadership.

It has been rumoured that the Presidency has a hit of currently
elected officials whose electoral prospects I am supposed to be
planning to interfere with. There is no truth whatsoever in this. Nor
do I have favorites among elected officials. My only favorites will
be those men and women who have been freedly and fairly elected by
their political parties at the grassroots, and subsequently elected
by their various constitutencies. Such men and women would have
democratically earned their leadership role in this country. And I
will be glad to work with such men and women, for the survival of a
Nigeria that is united, powerful, democratic, progressive, prosperous
and respected by her citizens at home, as well as by people globally.

Ladies and Gentlemen, my fundamental commitment is to help to bring
about a revolution of ideals in Nigeria, ideals that are ethical
moral and social. I am fully committed to moving Nigeria, gradually
but totally, away from the fate of a nation before of idela, a
society deficient in enduring moral and social values, and
communities lacking soul and spiritual underpining. At the same time
I will continue to work to increase our self-confidence, self-
reliance, self-sufficiency, self-pride, seof-worth and sense of
dignity. To move the nation forward, we must collectively as well as
individually abandon the culture of 'what we can get' for the culture
of 'what we can give.'

Fellow Nigerians, I have absolutely no intention to impose myself on
this country. When it was fashionable, and I was in a position to do
so, I did not. While seeking the mandate to offer my service to the
nation, I fully recognise the right of any qualified Nigerian to do
the same. I will only fight a clean electoral battle, and if God
wills it, and the Nigerian people choose me, I will be honoured and
proud to use every ounce of my energy to serve our fatherland. But
whatever may be the outcome of clean electoral battle, for as long as
I live in good health, in formal public office or out of it, I will
serve my Party, our nation, and my God.

I thank you all.


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This page was last updated on 10/27/07.