Boko Haram: Jonathan believed it was sponsored to remove him — Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has revealed that former President Goodluck Jonathan did not take the insurgency seriously in the belief that the terror group was a device by the North to torpedo his government.

Obasanjo noted in an interview with the BBC why the war against the Boko Haram insurgency has remained intractable, noting that the country needed to treat the root of the problem and not the symptoms.

He recalled his visit to Maiduguri in 2011 where he learnt about the sect’s grievances which he took to Jonathan expecting him to address the issues.

He said, “I went out in 2011 to Maiduguri. I took great risk to find out what is really happening. Boko Haram, do they have grievances, if they have grievances, what are their grievances and I brought all that to Jonathan.


“Jonathan didn’t believe that Boko Haram was a serious issue. He thought that it was a device by the North to prevent him from continuing as president of Nigeria which was rather unfortunate.”

Obasanjo added, “Even when Chibok girls were abducted, it took a while for the government to believe. Now if that is the situation, you can understand why the right attention was not paid to the issue of Boko Haram when it should have been paid.”

The former President observed that Boko Haram insurgency might not end soon, noting that it stemmed from underdevelopment, unemployment and youth frustration in the North-East.

“Boko Haram will not be over. It started from a position of gross underdevelopment, unemployment, youth frustration in the North-East. So, we must be treating the disease not the symptom,” Obasanjo submitted.

He also urged Togolese President, Faure Gnassingbe, to introduce limits on presidential terms, after huge waves of anti-government protests across the country.

Obasanjo did not respond to questions about whether Gnassingbe should step down 12 years after he became president shortly after his father, Gnassingbe Eyadema, died.

“I believe he should have a new constitution that will have a limit to the number of terms that anybody can be president and he should abide by that; I believe whatever he has to do in terms of development, whatever ideas he has, he must have exhausted them by now, unless he has something new that we don’t know,” he added.


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