by Isi Esene

Former president Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday threw a challenge at president Goodluck Jonathan urging him to act decisively to stem the tide of corruption in the country.

Speaking on the Cable News Network (CNN), Obasanjo said corruption is rising at an alarming rate in the country and the Jonathan administration is doing too little to face the challenge head-on.

He said that President Goodluck Jonathan “can do more” to make Nigeria a better place. Nigeria, he said, is a great nation with law-abiding citizens and the government can improve on that.

The former president spoke on the challenge of Boko Haram and proffered solutions to the menace of terrorism. He urged the Jonathan administration to use the carrot-and-stick mechanism where members of the sect will be given incentives to leave the group and those who refuse will be punished accordingly.

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

Obasanjo reportedly 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,” he advised.

Obasanjo stated that he had once tried to reach out to the group through a lawyer and he was able to gather that the sect was receiving support from other Nigerians who have resources overseas or “other organizations from abroad.

“If they had 25% support a year and a half ago, today that support has doubled,” the former president declared.

He insisted that resolving the Boko Haram issue is key to the development of the country.

“Boko Haram undermines security, and anything that undermines security undermines development, undermines education, undermines health, undermines agriculture and food and nutrition security,” he said.