Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo has explained his decision to rally behind Kenya’s Raila Odinga bid to become the next African Union Commission Chairperson.

According to Obasanjo, the African continent is facing numerous challenges that require someone with sufficient skills and knowledge to craft a way out of them for the benefit of the people. Looking through the continent, he says he sees Raila as the one that satisfactorily fits the bill.

“We are looking for somebody that will understand the situation and be able to manage the situation,”

“My support for Raila Odinga is for a good cause. I believe we have so many problems in Africa. Problems of peace, security, stability, food security, debt, etc. To deal with all these problems, you need somebody with experience and you can’t say Raila doesn’t have that,” he said during a TV interview Wednesday night

Obasanjo, who served as the Nigerian President between 1976 and 1979 and later between 1999 and 2007, said Kenya’s Former Prime Minister has also build a solid reputation as a leader in the region, earning great support.

“You need somebody who is not just a candidate for his own country but a candidate for the region. I believe Raila has been taken as a candidate for the region,” he said

“You need somebody who can build a team; a credible and efficient team. I believe Raila has that kind of experience,” added Obasanjo, who flanked Raila when he announced his intention to vie for the position back in February.

The former Nigerian head of state believes Raila stands a good chance to succeed Moussa Faki when his term comes to an end at the Commission next year.  He, however, says Raila and his campaign team must continue to engage widely to get everyone in the continent to understand what he brings to the table.

“By virtue of the position he (Raila Odinga) has reached, he can knock at anyone’s door; any President, and any Prime Minister. He has that experience, the outreach, and the support. For what I have seen and those I have talked to, it’s not looking bad, but it’s not over until it’s over,” said  Obasanjo


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