He said this on Sunday while receiving a former governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa, who came to consult the former president on his (Bafarawa’s) presidential ambition.
Bafarawa came with members of his campaign organisation and political associates.
Obasanjo, who noted that no right-thinking Nigerian would be satisfied with the situation in the country currently, said he had made sacrifices for the nation, fighting to defend the country during the civil war and even being sent to jail over a phantom coup allegation. He said he would continue to make sacrifices.
The former president said he had been threatened and intimidated because of his conviction for a better Nigeria, but he said they had all amounted to nothing.
He called on Bafarawa, who is one of the presidential aspirants on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, to pursue his dream of making Nigeria better if elected president in 2019.
He said, “The situation of Nigeria today is not the one any right thinking Nigerian should applaud. And my own strong belief is that Nigeria deserves better than we have now. And we can get better than what we have.
“And so, you are to see what you can do, that is why you are aspiring to make Nigeria better than what it is today.
“Nobody who loves Nigeria will not want it to be better than it is today. I, definitely, have made personal sacrifices and I will make again. Talk of fighting in the battlefield and shedding of one’s blood, or even talk of going to prison, because I believe in democracy.
“I went to prison for doing nothing wrong. I have also been intimidated and threatened. What would you do to intimidate somebody like me? Whatever you are trying to do to me, people have tried to do it to me in the past, and it amounted to nothing and it will amount to nothing.
“Because before I act, I pray to God to guide me and I think of Nigeria first, particularly the majority of Nigerians who are underprivileged, whose situation we need to improve upon.”
He called on Nigerians to remain resolute in their quest for a better nation, advising that they should shun divisive tendencies.
Obasanjo added, “If we do not act together as we should act together, Nigeria will not be what it should be in 2019. Aspiration? Yes, but the objective must be clear. If the opposition starts going in different directions and pulling in different ways, Nigeria’s situation will not change.
“A population of 200 million, for us to continue to complain that things are not right, we are doing the same thing as we have done before. And if we keep doing the same thing, the result will not be different. If we want a different result, we must do things differently. And I believe we can do things differently.”
Obasanjo, who described Bafarawa as a detribalised Nigerian, said Nigerians should see themselves in this light if they really wanted a new Nigeria.
The former president noted that there were three attributes he wanted to see in a leader, which he claimed to have seen in Bafarawa. They include diligence, humility and non-discrimination against other people.
He said since Bafarawa had said he wanted to improve Nigeria, he would support him and his ambition, adding that though between 1999 and 2007 when they had interactions, as president and governor, they had their areas of genuine differences.
Bafarawa, on his own part, commended Obasanjo for his love for Nigeria, noting that if there was anyone fighting corruption today without recognising Obasanjo, that person was a joker.