Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo says he would commit suicide if he discovers that there is no hope for Nigeria.
He said this while speaking at the Ijaw National Academy (INA), Kaiama, Kolokuma-Opokuma local government area of Bayelsa state.
Seriake Dickson, the governor, had invited the former president to inaugurate some projects.
Among the projects were the Bayelsa Specialist Hospital, the Bayelsa Drug Mart and the Bayelsa Diagnostic Centre.
Obasanjo told the pupils not to give up on Nigeria. He stated the collective efforts of different generations in keeping the country together.
“If I believe that Nigeria has no hope, I will find a way of committing suicide immediately. Then what am I living for? I am an incurable optimist about Nigeria. Nigeria has hope,” he said.
“There are many things that we should have done that we have not done as we should have done them. There is no doubt about that. But that doesn’t mean that Nigeria has no hope. Hope is what drives human beings.
“If you are a person without hope, you are a person without life. How can I therefore say Nigeria has no hope? Nigeria has hope. And you are part of the hope of Nigeria. The question you have asked me is a very sensible question and that means with you asking me that type of question it heightens my own conviction that Nigeria has hope.
“My generation or the generation before me gave us independence. It doesn’t matter what you think about them. My generation fought for the unity of this country and laid the foundation of democracy.
“Then people of governor Dickson generation should be able to say they built on our foundation. That is how a nation continues to make progress. The governor is doing wonderfully well. Anybody coming after him will do something else. The person will not start building the INA from the scratch. The academy has already been established.
“In spite of our difficulties; I came back from Rome last night. Our ambassador there, who was a kind man, he was in the navy; he told me that his major problem is that there are 1,600 Nigerians in Italian prisons. That is a problem.
“But we shouldn’t because of that say there is no hope for Nigeria? No. I will say we have a problem that we have to address and if we don’t address it we are postponing the evil day. That doesn’t mean that Nigeria has no hope.
“Nigeria has great hope because of you; great hope because of what the governor is doing and great hope because I will not keep my mouth shut when I see anything wrong in Nigeria.”
Obasanjo also said he had no regrets for the actions he took while in power.
“With the knowledge, resources and facilities that I had, was there anything that I did not do? No,” he said.
“If I had more resources, then I think I would have done differently, but with what I had and the resources at my disposal, I would say no, I did all that is humanly possible when I was president. I was not perfect, only God is.
“Also bear in mind that people you work with will make sure you don’t see certain things. Some of them will do everything. What is important is that you should not have a regret. I do not have a regret when I was in government or in any leadership position I have held. No regret.”