Obasanjo advocates new system for election of president


*Drops Matthew from name

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has advocated the election of Vice President that would take over from incumbent President, rather than conducting presidential election.

Speaking at an event to mark his 80th birthday celebration by the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) in Abuja on Friday, Obasanjo sensationally dropped Matthew from his name.

The former President stressed that the system adopted by the NSE is one where election is held into the office of deputy president, who takes over from the incumbent president upon the expiration of his term, and is also referred to as President-elect.

He added: “The system of the NSE where the deputy president is president-elect will eliminate rancour and I wish we can bring that to politics in Nigeria.”

Obasanjo also used the occasion to announce that he has dropped Matthew from his name, saying: “People ask what is in a name? For me, there is so much in a name.

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“When I was born, my mother and father decided to name me Matthew. I grew up being called and addressed Matthew. What is the meaning of Matthew in The Bible? He was a tax collector.

“So, when I grew up, I dropped Matthew from my name. If anyone does not want to see my eyes red, no one should call me Matthew again.”

He also charged engineers to strive for perfection, as any act of imperfection of engineers often leads to monumental loss of lives, as compared to other professionals, such as doctors and lawyers.

“Doctor’s mistake often leads to the death of one patient. Lawyer’s mistake leads to the client going to jail. But if an engineer makes a mistake that leads to the collapse of a bridge or house, many people would lose their lives.

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“That is why engineers must be very careful and must be efficient not to allow mistakes to be made,” he said.

Obasanjo also debunked insinuations that there were five national chairmen of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during his time as President, insisting: “There were only four. That included Chief Solomon Lar, Audu Ogbe, Barnabas Gemade and Ahmadu Ali.

“I have met many Nigerians who are distinguished and I believe that if someone is found not good enough in one position, he may be useful in another. If I had not removed Gemade, he would probably not be a senator today and if Oyinlola (former governor of Osun State), who was part of the 93 military officers sacked after my assumption of office in 1999, he would probably not have been governor.

“So, where the issues concern Nigeria, I choose Nigeria above anybody and I don’t have apologies for that.”The former President urged NSE to ensure that professionalism is promoted amongst members for engineers to occupy a prime place in national development.

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On his part, president of NSE, Otis Anyaeji, lauded Obasanjo for promoting Nigerian content and leading by classic example while in office.”Whilst it will be pretty difficult to bring to the fore all the achievements of this world- acclaimed achiever, I wish to mention that Obasanjo initiated the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) in 2005 and directed by policy that Nigerian engineering firms must get at least 25 per cent of each project scope. “That was how out of 120 engineering firms that participated in NIPP, 83 of them were Nigerian firms. Nigerian content by example,” the NSE boss stated.

Source: The Guardian