Former President Obasanjo interacting with President Buhari.
President Buhari and his ruling All Progressive Congress party (APC) received heavy knocks from former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Tuesday,after he gave a blistering and excoriating 13-page statement asking President Muhammadu Buhari not to seek re-election in 2019.
Former President Obasanjo, in a special press statement entitled, “The Way Out: A Clarion Call for Coalition for Nigeria Movement” said Mr Buhari has performed far below expectation and should honourably “dismount from the horse” to join the league of the country’s former leaders whose “experience, influence, wisdom and outreach can be deployed on the side line for the good of the country.”
The two-term president on the platform of People Democratic Party (PDP), former President Obasanjo said he feels disappointed by Mr Buhari, whom he supported during the 2015 election over then incumbent and candidate of his former party, Goodluck Jonathan.
The former President had written a condemnatory open letter in December 2013 titled “Before it is Too Late” where he highlighted the numerous failings of the Mr Jonathan administration.
Mr Obasanjo argued that his decision to go against Mr Jonathan, at the time was the right one as events in the last three years have since proved, was for the good of the nation and nothing personal.
“Even the horse rider then, with whom I maintain very cordial, happy and social relationship today has come to realise his mistakes and regretted it publicly and I admire his courage and forthrightness in this regard,” Mr. Obasanjo said.
“He has a role to play on the side line for the good of Nigeria, Africa and humanity and I will see him as a partner in playing such a role nationally and internationally, but not as a horse rider in Nigeria again.”
Likening the state of the nation to lice-invested clothes, he said the country’s fingernails is stained with blood as it tries to kill the lice by pressing them in-between two fingernails. According to him, in other to make sure that our fingernails remains blood-free we must do what it takes rid our clothes of lice.
“The lice of poor performance in government – poverty, insecurity, poor economic management, nepotism, gross dereliction of duty, condonation of misdeed – if not outright encouragement of it, lack of progress and hope for the future, lack of national cohesion and poor management of internal political dynamics and widening inequality – are very much with us today,” he wrote.
“With such lice of general and specific poor performance and crying poverty with us, our fingers will not be dry of ‘blood’,” he added.
While thanking Mr Buhari for the effort of his administration in rolling back the Boko Haram insurgency and his fight against corruption, Mr Obasanjo said Mr Buhari has ultimately failed in other areas where he had thought he would be efficient.
The octogenarian, who bagged a PhD over the weekend, admitted he knew Mr Buhari was weak in handling the economy, he went ahead and voted for him because at the time “it was a matter of ‘any option but Jonathan'” and because he thought Mr Buhari would appoint qualified Nigerians to help out in that area.
He slammed Mr Buhari for turning a blind eye to corruption within his government saying it amounted to condonation and cover-up saying whoever is “going to justice must be with clean hands.”
He also berated Mr Buhari for allowing the clashes between herdsmen and farmers to go “sour” and messy saying the endorsement of the President by some governors to seek re-election barely 24 hours after 73 people who were killed by herdsmen in Benue State were given mass burial was “a sad symptom of insensitivity and callousness.”
But Mr Obasanjo reserved his harshest words for what he described as Mr Buhari’s clannishness, lack of understanding of the dynamics of politics, and his tendencies to pass the buck of his government’s inadequacies to the immediate past administration.
“But there are three other areas where President Buhari has come out more glaringly than most of us thought we knew about him. One is nepotic deployment bordering on clannishness and inability to bring discipline to bear on errant members of his nepotic court. This has grave consequences on performance of his government to the detriment of the nation. It would appear that national interest was being sacrificed on the altar of nepotic interest. What does one make of a case like that of Maina: collusion, condonation, ineptitude, incompetence, dereliction of responsibility or kinship and friendship on the part of those who should have taken visible and deterrent disciplinary action? How many similar cases are buried, ignored or covered up and not yet in the glare of the media and the public? Continue reading