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Obasanjo Says Boko Haram has “Legitimate Grievances”



Olusegun Obasanjo NEW

Former president of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo believes that Boko Haram has “legitimate grievances.”

He expressed this opinion during an interview with International Business Times UK, which was held on the sidelines of the Global Education Forum conference in Dubai.

Obasanjo stated his reasoning behind his belief, stating that “while 79% of Nigerians received education in the south west of the country and 77% in the south east, in the Boko Haram stronghold of the north east that figure was just 19%.”

“We don’t need [anyone] to tell [us] that that is a problem. A problem of disparity, a problem of marginalisation. A problem because education is fundamental to your employability, to your living conditions. If you are not educated you are handicapped,” he said.

He however stated that while education is important, President Jonathan’s failure to commence fighting the Boko Haram insurgency when it first emerged, had given the group confidence to spread their reign of terror.


  1. Reverse

    March 17, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    This man again! The reality of him losing hold on the leadership of this country has revealed him for the bigot he is. Such a shame that every possible tool is being used to discredit Jonathan, he’s the architect of everything wrong in Nigeria…

    • pre

      March 17, 2015 at 1:02 pm

      you said it all, he is the problem we have in this country, he know all these while didn’t he build schools for them and give them free education during his time

  2. @edDREAMZ

    March 17, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    Baba has spoken….

  3. Pcare

    March 17, 2015 at 12:35 pm

    shameless old man ………biggest hypocrite in Nigeria right now

  4. chic

    March 17, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    OBJ is very correct. All the northern leaders that have ruled us couldn’t help them with good education, They rather chose to send there children abroad. Baba thks for letting us atleast know that GEJ has now provider the almajiri schools we hope it will help them. VOTE GEJ

  5. ify

    March 17, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    Baba, biko mechizie onu, na ozugo, you cannot influence us with your derogatory statements. in 2011 we heard Buhari was contesting to come fight OBJ and Babangida, but now you are pointing condemned accusing fingers on Jona, simply bcos he didnt dance to your tune

  6. Naijababeii

    March 17, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    which legitimate grievance be dat, OBJ cos u don’t have a grip on GEJ again u have resorted in condemning him abi, let NIGERIANS choose who ever d want with their PVC, and mind u na only 1 vote u go put on dat day period!

  7. Beeeee

    March 17, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    They have legitimate grievances? Grievances that their own northern presidents couldn’t solve after their gazillion years of ruling? I have just lost the last grain of respect I had for this man. Because Jonathan has refused to be his “boy boy” now he wants to discredit him. Even if Jonathan loses this election, I will be happy that he refused to be a figure head to OBJ. OBJ wanted to start his 3rd term through Jonathan but he was pleasantly surprised. From what I have read, Boko Haram started during OBJs presidency…why didn’t he address their “grievances”?

  8. Ted Philips

    March 17, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    From this, we could deduce that OBJ is one of the sponsors of Boko Haram! Now that the military is winning the war, he has come out again to defend them Before u know it, he will be campaigning for amnesty for them! OBJ knows so much about BH. Why is that he was the only Nigerian that can see Shekau for negotiation? OBJ is an old frustrated fool. He has eaten his cake and wants to have it again. He still wants to feel relevant in the scheme of things in Nigeria. But it is a lie. His time has passed. He should go and rest!!

  9. Ebony

    March 17, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    Legitimate grievance is that they didn’t have schools? Aren’t they fighting education? I’m lost here

    • NaijaPikin

      March 17, 2015 at 5:58 pm

      Don’t mind the confused baba. Boko Haram is fighting against education, not for education. This man is just here talking rubbish

  10. ChiChiChilolo

    March 17, 2015 at 1:52 pm

    People that are supposed to leave politics for the younger ones yet they still want to be seen there. From Operation Feed The Nation to Obasanjo Farms. It is well. At least you make nothing less than N34 million a day from your farm. Please face your farming Oga!

  11. cullyv

    March 17, 2015 at 1:59 pm

    I tot “Boko Haram” means western education is a sin! Why should their griviances be based on the very thing they stand aginst. They said it all in their name Boko Haram? Baba pls do sit back and enjoy the outcome of the election Gods will must privail.

  12. Bandele

    March 17, 2015 at 2:20 pm

    Personally I’ve had enough of this man and his relentless pursuit of relevance. How can a two time (11 Years +) former president of the republic continue to shamelessly castigate past administrations as if he was a only a casual by-stander and had nothing to do with it. This is the only Nigerian alive that has had the privilege of leading the country on two different occasions yet he wouldn’t even accept responsibility for some of the mess we currently find ourselves today. What if I may ask was his contribution to the Northern folks during his illustrious time(s) in power? I’m NO fan of Goodluck Jonathan (in fact you won’t find a bigger critic), however, I think its time this elder statesman took several seats. At this stage in his life he should be offering sage advise and constructive insights instead of just spouting anything to garner attention.

    How in the world would anyone in their right minds even remotely justify the activities of the murderous Boko Haram sect. What “legitimate grievances” could possibly justify killing innocent people and turning a country upside down. Many groups ‘feel’ marginalized the world over; that hasn’t caused them to start blowing up innocent people and abducting girls. These types of utterances only serve to embolden the sect into believing they have some sort of rationalization for their actions and this can only serve to spur them on further. So a word of advice to the much revered Baba: please sir, kindly stop encouraging these Boko folks by rationalizing their activities.. Thank you

    • Kimmy

      March 17, 2015 at 3:48 pm

      Sponsor Identified

    • chichi

      March 17, 2015 at 4:09 pm


  13. Umoh

    March 17, 2015 at 3:35 pm

    For all Nigerians still trying to understand the real meaning of a senile old man, well, I say you now have a practical manifestation in the person of OBJ. It is actually sad to see him regress so badly in the public eyes. These utterances are unbecoming of anyone with any faculty left in him/her. He is now a caricature and a laughing stock before the very youths that he is supposed to espouse wisdom to. OBJ is now a true national liability; it can no longer be viewed as political vengeance. The family must do something to keep what is left of his legacy…Sorry folks, OBJ has a serious problem. At 70+ years he should be dispensing wisdom to youths and leaders, but it appears he is stock in the wheel of tasteless hate mongering.

  14. N.M

    March 17, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    This man has just opened our eyes to the reality that he is in support of Boko Haram. How can he say that they have legitimate reasons for killing people? I have had it up to here ….with this man, he should go and rest abeg.

  15. tunmi

    March 17, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    He isn’t incorrect either. Now do we have the percentage of Nigerians who received an education in all regions during his presidency, and that of the successors till date?

  16. Bia Mensah

    March 17, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    This Obasanjo guy is a bigot. Does he understand the word “Boko Haram” at all? So, if if he thinks it’s education the insurgents want for their communities…why all the destruction of life and property including schools? I think Mr. Obasanjo is metamorphosing into an idiot because he neither understands the Boko Haram creed nor rejects their violence against humanity….the very people Obasanjo claims these imbeciles are fighting for. Shame onto African Leaders!!!

  17. NagosBigBoi

    March 17, 2015 at 6:09 pm

    Please let us not get carried away with the headline that the UK paper may have used to get attention. I am not a apologist for OBJ since IMO he gave up any right to a good legacy a long time ago.
    The substance of what he said was: now that BH is being pounded by the military, they may be more open to negotiations. He advocates a carrot and stick approach. The pounding by the army is the stick. The carrot should address why they can get their recruits. For the recruits (not core BH), he proposes that the key is “education” and subsequently jobs. Just like any other “youths” in Nigeria.
    I may be wrong in my interpretation, but that is what i got from the article.

  18. nnenne

    March 18, 2015 at 12:15 am

    Am confused.
    The North is marginalized?
    By who?
    Probably the Igbos. Who ;
    1).have intermittently lost their lives and properties to violence in the North.
    2. Who have never ruled Nigeria since how long?
    3.Must make higher grades to be admitted in universities
    4).Must have higher qualifications to get hired due to quota system.
    5).Who narrowly survived a civil war and had their currency devalued and had to star all over again.

    The North has to realize that their life is in their hands. Every village in my town has at least an elementary school. None of these schools was built by the government. The first pipe born water initiative in my village was said to have been launched in the 60s by women, who gathered together and levied themselves. Till date, every August, women in my town come together in a meeting after which they start or finish a project. Every Christmas the men do the same. They give scholarships, pay for selected needy youths to learn trades.
    Look around the world, Igbo people are everywhere trying to survive. You can not sit in one spot and then turn around and blame others.
    The North need to sit down and tell each other the truth.
    Meanwhile the richest Nigerians are from the North. They owe 80% of our oil rigs. They ruled the country more than anyone. Look how much money Abacha alone took.
    Yet they keep complaining.

    OBJ is not the only one who is saying this. These stupid foreigners, who do really understand Nigeria, help to fuel this ideology.

  19. nnenne

    March 18, 2015 at 12:18 am

    “Foreigners who do not”

  20. NG

    March 18, 2015 at 9:51 am

    Agbaya ti o mo ara e l’agba. Old….. i dont know what to call him. Well that is Nigeria for you. This old rogue has used our resorces to revamp his life and now commands centre stage on natonal affairs. Fani-Kayode that is trying to rehabilitate himself via PDP told the tale of the ruins to riches story of Obasanjo Farms. The story of the library and how it was funded and all manners of srealing activities have ensured for this old man that he can die without want, a fate he has denied many Nigerians. Now he wants to tell the Chibok fathers/mothers including the many who have died from heart ache, the families of killed soldirs, including those butchered on camera by Boko Haram and numerous others whose lives have been destroyed forever that there is reason for ventilating grievances through such dastardly acts. Obasanjo, if there is God, the manner of your end will comfort many in this country.

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