I won’t join any political party, again — OBJ

I won’t join any political party, again — OBJ

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Former president Olusegun Obasanjo has ruled out the possibility of joining any of the existing political parties in the country as a card-carrying member. Obasanjo has also decried the banning of the operations of commercial motorcycle riders, popularly called okada, by some state governments.
The former president said rather than becoming a member of any political party, he would continue to selflessly pursue the interest and greatness of the Nigerian nation.
He said these when the National President of the National Commercial Tricycle and Motorcycle Owners and Riders Association, Alhaji Muhammed Sanni and the Ogun State Chairman of the group, Lateef Yekini, led other members on a courtesy visit to him at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library in Abeokuta, the state capital.
The former president, who withdrew from partisan politics in the run-up to the 2015 general elections, when he suddenly quit the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party, however, warned the members of NACTOMORAS not to allow any politician to take advantage of them.
He said that they should not dabble in partisan politics collectively as an association or an organized body, saying they should not use NACTOMORAS as a platform to campaign for any politician.
The former president added that any official of the association interested in partisan politics should first resign from office to pursue his political ambition.
Obasanjo said, “Don’t get your organization involved in partisan politics. Be neutral. Any government that comes, of course, exercise your civic rights and responsibilities. Any government that comes is the government of the day. Don’t let anybody draw you into partisan politics that may destroy you and your organization and if any member wants to go into politics, there is nothing wrong in that. Let him leave the association. You are no longer an official. Once you are an official and you want to go into politics, you must resign your position as an official of the association.untitled “Don’t let anybody misuse you as an association to use as a stepping stone to become the candidate of this or that party. As an individual, you can, but as an association, you don’t belong to any party and if you belong to any party, individually, you are a card-carrying member but let there be separation between your association and the party.
“If you join any party as an association, I will cease to be your patron because, you know, as for me now, I don’t belong to any party. And I think I will not belong to any party. The only thing that is of concern to me is the greatness of Nigeria. If there is the need to tell anybody off, you know I’m not afraid of telling anybody off.”
Also condemning the usual practice, whereby officials of some state governments confiscate and destroy commercial motorcycles seized from riders, Obasanjo said that the laws made to check the activities of okada riders were too harsh and not helpful to the society.
Obasanjo, who is the patron of NACTOMORAS, said that the blanket ban placed on the operations of commercial motorcycles by some of the state governments, without providing alternative means for the riders to eke out a living, was “unacceptable.”
The former president stated that rather than destroying the means of livelihood of the class of Nigerians involved in the riding of okada for commercial purposes, the state governments could restrict their operations to certain areas of their states.
He described the emergence of the commercial motorcycle riders and the operators of the three-wheeler keke NAPEP as “a product of necessity.”
According to him, his administration came up with the idea of using motorcycles for commercial transport purposes with a view to creating employment for the army of jobless Nigerians roaming the streets then.
Obasanjo, however, stressed that both the commercial motorcycles and the keke NAPEP had become “extremely useful” in the transport sector, especially with the current economic recession being experienced in the country.
The former president said, “This idea of just taking okada and burning them is absolutely unacceptable. Some of our laws deliberately create criminals out of innocent people. You cannot make a law and you should not make a law that makes lawful people engaging in lawful pursuit of daily living and make them criminals, without finding alternatives. You can restrict them; you can say in certain areas, let okada operate, let three wheelers operate, but you cannot say a man or woman, who spent money made out of his or her sweat to buy okada, without compensating him or her, you cannot say the okada is no longer allowed and then when you say that, you then seize the okada and burn it. What do you do because that’s the means of livelihood of that person? It’s not accepted.
“The situation that we have now, the economic situation, is even worse than the one we had when we started introducing okada and keke NAPEP. So, what does that mean? That means that we may have more okadas. That means we may have more keke NAPEP. That means that we may have more bicycles or tricycles.”
Obasanjo also urged the members of NACTOMORAS to be law-abiding and maintain strict observance of the traffic code by not riding recklessly on the road.

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