From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos
Former Nigeria President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday defied a court order stopping the released of his memoirs ‘My Watch’, and also blasted President Goodluck Jonathan for lacking “receptive ears.”
Obasanjo, who spoke at the public presentation of the book in Lagos, said that he decided to embark on public criticisms of President Jonathan because the president lacked listening ears.
“You will see a few letters I put in the book that were correspondence between me and the president and how I described my frustration of going privately to the president, taking up issues with him and getting no reaction.
“When I was president, I had my predecessors would come to me, some with written notes and I would give answers and react and if I cannot give answers and react there immediately, I will say: ‘give me time, let me do something’ and I would react.
“That’s the way I believe it should be. He should be able to come, talk to me and I give an answer. You would see in the book some of my reactions in the past.
“So if you have audience but you have no receptive ears, then you must have another way of communication. That’s what has happened.”
He confirmed that the country was not finding it easy but that he believed that there is a headway.
He said the youths of the country feel betrayed, just as he disclosed that someone had complained to him some time ago that Obasanjo’s generation had destroyed the chances in the country for the younger generation.
He said he understood the desperation to get things done, but that the youths must be patient.
“Things are bad, but don’t let us raise our hands in desperation. Things are bad but we must get over them,” he assured.
He however lamented that the youths in the country now lacked reading culture.
The former president blamed this problem on various channels on social media saying the use of these social media has now reduced interest in reading.
Advising them to take up the challenge of reading books, he warned that there was no way anyone could be a good leader if he does not read.
Obasanjo said he sometimes feels disappointed when people remind him of bringing late Umaru Yar’Adua and Jonathan to government at the centre, stressing that he does not regret being “part of the instruments that brought them, because as I have maintained, if they don’t do well, their not doing well should be an object that those who would come should try to learn from and do well.
Reacting to the injunction stopping the presentation of the book, Obasanjo chided the judge who had granted the injunction saying in saner climes, such a judge should have been sanctioned for going against the ethics of his profession.
“The book had been printed and published before that man went to court. I don’t regard that.
“Even the judge who gave him that order, in a normal society, a strong judiciary, he should be sanctioned and I hope something would happen.
Another thing you don’t know is that the man went to court and today (the day the book was presented) was fixed for hearing.
“After that, he went to another judge to get injunction at 5:00 p.m. on Friday. What is that?
“If there is anything illegal, you know I won’t be part of it. We are here lawfully, legally and we will continue to act lawfully and legally”, he stated.