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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo faults Goodluck Jonathan’s Approach to Tackling Boko Haram in CNN Interview



Nigeria’s former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, in a recent interview with CNN has said the President Goodluck Jonathan administration had not been reaching out enough to the violent Islamic sect, Boko Haram. He said that Jonathan should adopt a a dual-track approach, using more of dialogue rather than just cracking down on the group.

To deal with a group like that, you need a carrot and stick. The carrot is finding out how to reach out to them. When you try to reach out to them and they are not amenable to being reached out to, you have to use the stick,” he said during the interview.

Obasanjo said President Jonathan was “just using the stick” in his efforts. “He’s doing one aspect of it well, but the other aspect must not be forgotten.”

Obasanjo told the CNN that he had tried to reach out to Boko Haram about one- year-and- a-half ago through a lawyer who was acting as the group’s proxy, and had asked if they had external backing. He said the lawyer told him that the group was receiving support from other Nigerians who have resources overseas or “other organizations from abroad”.

If they had 25 per cent support a year and a half ago, today that support must has doubled,” Obasanjo said.

He also said that resolving the issue was central to the country’s progress. “Boko Haram undermines security, and anything that undermines security undermines development, undermines education, undermines health, undermines agriculture and food and nutrition security,” he said.

In response to Obasanjo’s statement, Jonathan’s spokesman, Reuben Abati, told Punch that it was surprising that the same Obasanjo who said recently that his presidency applied force when he was confronted with similar situation in Odi, Rives State, has now turned round to accuse Jonathan of applying only the stick against Boko Haram.

He said that contrary to what Obasanjo wanted the world to believe, the Federal Government’s handling of the Boko Haram menace had been purposeful and that a lot of progress had been made.

Watch the full interview here and please share your thoughts

Photo Credit: Punch

Adeola Adeyemo is a graduate of Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from University of Lagos. However, her passion is writing and she worked as a reporter with NEXT Newspaper. She believes that anything can be written about; anything can be a story depending on the angle it is seen from and the writer's imagination. When she is not writing news or feature articles, she slips into her fantasies and creates interesting fiction pieces. She blogs at


  1. mayor

    January 9, 2013 at 5:59 am

    check it is hot than fire.

  2. Hmmmm....

    January 9, 2013 at 6:07 am

    Please why is the reporter looking at obj like that? and what is she wearing? even her seating position. OBJ!!! typical yoruba man – its so easy to change mouth. How much did you do in terms of security when you were president?

    • allen

      January 9, 2013 at 8:03 pm

      I wonder oooo, which kind skirt this woman come dey wear.

    • smartguy

      January 9, 2013 at 11:11 pm

      OBJ is far from a typical yoruba or even a typical nigerian or black man- like you, I criticized OBJ before i started working with the United Nations, which gave e a better understand of Africa from a non African point of view. It takes alot in a leader to rule a country -that is unique in terms of demographics, geographic landscape like Nigeria- it can be see as a small Africa with every problem in Africa in Nigeria. OBJ is what one would call a leader not only in Nigeria but Africa. He is among the few African leaders that is well respected. Under the obj administration Nigeria was seen as an African power. OBJ is/was involved in peace efforts in Congo,Liberia,South Sudan,Sierra leone, Somalia, Ivory coast and Rwanda. I dont see anyone as involved in African issues as Obasanjo. FAR FROM TYPICAL anything

  3. kazeem

    January 9, 2013 at 6:16 am

    obasanjo is right…jonathan is toooooo Slow!!!!

  4. sonaloves

    January 9, 2013 at 7:24 am

    @Hmmmm.. i dont mean this as an attack but i think u might a bit wrong about obj on the issue of security. He might not have been the strongest president but on the issue of security ,he wouldn’t have allowed it to degrade to this level.. he is a retired soldier.. once a soldier always a soldier and they lack the patience for this type of sect.. he might have wiped them out a long time a go…

  5. tony

    January 9, 2013 at 7:41 am

    This country belongs to all of us not GEJ alone, we need to put hands 2geda to fight d boko H rubbish, GEJ should. Mak way 4 pple lik OBJ 2 help him.

  6. olaoluwa

    January 9, 2013 at 7:56 am

    Boko Haram can try this in the days of OBJ.

  7. pynk

    January 9, 2013 at 8:16 am

    But OBJ self carrot & Stick?

    • Kendrick L

      January 9, 2013 at 9:37 am

      Carrot and stick is a term used in politics…carrot is the use of soft power..i.e (the ability to achieve political enda through attraction) diplomacy etc while sticks is hard power…i.e coercion and payment (military or economic power)sanctions etc.

    • julit

      January 9, 2013 at 1:54 pm

      Carrot and stick is a Human resources Motivation practice. Nigerians dont read. this is the beginning of our problems.

    • Kendrick L

      January 9, 2013 at 3:49 pm

      You do realise that its not only used in H.R but other disciplines as well.

  8. olaolu

    January 9, 2013 at 8:21 am

    OBJ is right.

  9. Trina

    January 9, 2013 at 8:25 am

    OBJ should go and sit down. He’s causing more distraction.How much did he do when he was there. Bunch of thieves. But cant he just quit politics and rest?. Old age sef!!!.

    • Hot Miii

      January 9, 2013 at 2:06 pm

      @Trina there is nothing like OBJ to sit down, if we can tell ourselves the truth the said OBJ could have gotten rid of all this long ago. Well right now is not the time to blame anyone but work as one to bring order to the country.

  10. ME

    January 9, 2013 at 8:49 am

    I totally agree withyou, “Hmmmm….”. She is one of my favorite CNN news anchor, but I don’t get the look on har face. She has this weird of “I don’t get u” or ” I am trying so hard to understand u”

  11. faith

    January 9, 2013 at 10:00 am

    I don’t understand the likeness apple have for obj….as for me o…he destroyed this nation….


      April 1, 2013 at 9:00 am

      u dont need to understand just look at the country from 10yrs back check out the rate of violence, crime and murder, also check out security and presidential speeches/comments u wil c 4 ur self if this hav been happening for the past 10-15yrs wil Nigerians or Christians still be remaining undead? ma dear, the different is clear.

  12. adamu

    January 9, 2013 at 10:25 am

    anybody who see the throught’and dosn’t work with the throught nor tell the throught in respect of whome ever the person is.nigeria would not forgive that person . and god would ask him/her in hereafter.

    • Person pikin

      January 9, 2013 at 3:07 pm

      No be small ‘throught’ o!

  13. Eye

    January 9, 2013 at 11:13 am

    passing by#

  14. Brandigest

    January 9, 2013 at 11:41 am

    Summary: Jonathan should use the STICK this time.

  15. Peaches

    January 9, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    Oby i tot GEJ is ur boy. y u no advise am b4?

  16. Benson

    January 9, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    As for me ooh.GEJ is trying his best.At least the activities of the sect has reduce a little bit.All Naija need is for our leaders past and present to fight the enemies of this great nation i.e if they want us to continue to leave in unity.How can Nigerians abroad be sponsoring the sect to fight their own beloved country people.God will catch them.And even the countries that are sponsoring the sect to destroy our country,God will catch up with them now or sooner.The people that are using their resources,that resources will soon dry and the country sponsoring them,curse shall follow that country.

  17. splendid...iyke

    January 9, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    I tink dis whole issue is undermined by both Gej n obJ…..bokoharam is not I big issue 4 nigeria……n is not a problem 2 d FG………..I tink dey hav suddebly woken up fr dr slEeps……good mornin sir’s…………..they know what 2 do when dey r ready 2 send dis terrorist packin………..

  18. Ada di ora

    January 9, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    I still say if Nigerians knew what would happen, we would have opted for a 3rd term instead…#makewetalktrue

  19. Ugiagbe Jonathan

    January 12, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    I think this Boko Haram issue is out to frustrate the government of President Goodluck Jonathan…

  20. kennie mack useni

    January 12, 2013 at 11:08 pm

    i like Jonathan bt pls someone should tell him nt to forget old man advice.if tomorrow he is impeached,d record of Niger delta struggles goes sour.

  21. Cynthy

    January 14, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    Am with u on dis ugiagbe.i suspect that obj,he is a sheep in wolf’s clothing.if am not mistaken,i’ll say that he knows everything about d so called BH:::::
    he is just pretending 2 be nice .dont underestimate him ooooo!!

  22. Ekpo friday

    January 29, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    Runing 2geda and killing our selves is off no use,,it’s better we divided and’ve peace!!

  23. peter

    February 23, 2013 at 8:24 am

    obj is complete fool,late them nigeria,obj you have finish our money,you dont want to die,we are waiting for your died,a fool of 120 years you just come and disturb jonathan ,what did you do for nigeria in during your terms,a fool of 120

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