[dropcap type=”2″]C[/dropcap]olombian security experts led by Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday to a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari.
Obasanjo, who spoke with State House correspondents at the end of the meeting, said Nigeria needed to learn how Colombia survived insurgency for more than 50 years.
He said: “Let me just let you know that I have come to see the president for two reasons. The first one is the one you have just seen. I brought a delegation of those of us who visited Colombia last year under the auspices of a foundation, which I am the chairman.
The parley was aimed at enabling the experts to share their experiences on combating terror.
Our journey to Colombia to see how all the Colombian authorities were handling the issue of insurgency, which had been with them for more than 50 years.
On the specific lessons Nigeria could learn from the insurgency in Colombia, he said: “The specific thing is that they have been fighting insurgency for 50 years. They celebrated their 50 years in existence in May last year. In fact, we went there in June. So, we want to see what has kept them going, what has kept insurgency going? What has made the government of Colombia to make three attempts to seek peace, to end the war and insurgency and they failed. What are the new efforts that they are making? How likely are those new efforts going to succeed?”
“As a result of that visit and the experience we had, a book was produced and I said to them that it would be interesting for us in Nigeria to learn as much as we can learn from the experience of Colombia.”
He said Buhari was interested in the presentation made to him.
“He was interested. You know that one thing you can say about the President is that he is anxious to learn and he has listening ears. Of course, nobody knows it all. A good leader must seek every opportunity to learn and to put what he learns into practice,” Obasanjo said.
[pull_quote_left]Stressing that Nigeria can win the war against terrorism, the former president said Nigeria could win the war without killing all the insurgents.[/pull_quote_left]
His words: “Oh yes. If we won the civil war, we can win this one. But like the Colombian said, we are not waiting until we kill off every insurgent to say we have won.
[quote_box_center]“I believe that once the military has the upper hand, other measures that have to be taken will be put in place.[/quote_box_center]
“There will be measures of socio-economic development, education and employment. All that has to go into the process of eventually winning the war and saying, ‘here is Uhuru’.”
Asked to comment on the possibility of the Nigerian Armed Forces not defeating Boko Haram at the end of the three months deadline issued to them, he explained that the deadline was not cast in stones, but merely to encourage them to crush the sect.
Obasanjo added that he briefed the president on his assignment as special envoy to Guinea Bissau.
“This time, we had also been able to resolve the issue of now forming a government. If nothing intervenes, I believe between today and tomorrow, a new government will be in place in Guinea Bissau.
“That cannot go on forever. So, I hope that the actions that we have taken over the weekend – I was there on Friday morning and I left early morning of Sunday – we might be in the process of putting that behind us,” he said
On how he is enjoying his retirement, Obasanjo said: “I am enjoying it wonderfully well. Otherwise, I will not be here with you.”