Like he did with his Special Statement in which he announced the formation of a third force – the Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM), former President Olusegun Obasanjo has stirred a fresh controversy by campaigning against returning President Muhammadu Buhari to office next year, reports TONY AKOWE.
For the second time in two months, former President Olusegun Obasanjo has stirred the hornets’ next with his scathing criticism of President Muhammadu Buhari’s style of administration.
Those who reacted to the former leader’s latest outburst said he lacked the moral latitude demarket the Buhari administration.
The former President was quoted as describing the Buhari government as a failure which should not be reinforced, but voted out of power.
Obasanjo had knocked Buhari at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), Abeokuta, Ogun State while hosting a joint delegation of Nigeria Young Professional Forum (NYPF) and New Nigeria 2019 at the weekend.
The former president called on Nigerians not to reinforce incompetence next year by voting out the Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) government.
He described the current administration as a failed government judging by the results of the last three years and the numerous excuses of the government for its non-performance.
Yesterday’s lawless leaders are Buhari’s critics, says Kalu
Former Abia State Governor Orji Uzor Kalu berated the critics of the President, describing them as persons who never obeyed the law when they were in power.
Faulting Buhari’s critics, he said notwithstanding the cynical and vitriolic attacks against him, the President deserves a second term in office to complete his good projects for Nigeria.
He spoke yesterday during a visit to the Alake of Egba Land, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo at the Ake Palace in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
Kalu, who is the coordinator of National Movement for Re-election of Muhammadu Buhari, declared that the President has done well to merit another term of four years in office.
The former governor’s comments came barely 24 hours after former President Obasanjo took a swipe at the Buhari-led government for allegedly being ineffective, incompetent and reeking of failure.
According to him, Buhari has unfinished job to do and needs another tenure to complete it thoroughly.
Kalu said: “The greatest challenge of our country is leaders not obeying the law. When they are leaders, they don’t want to obey the law; when they go out of leadership, they criticise everybody who wants to obey the law. This is the problem of the country.
“We have had leaders who disobeyed every law of the land. We’ve also had leaders who were reckless when they were leaders and when they go out, they call people all kinds of name. We have also seen leaders that have never seen anything good in other people’s leadership, they only know about themselves.
“So, we want to thank you for the support…I know you are close friend of President Muhammadu Buhari and I want you to maintain that friendship; don’t allow anybody to distract you whether people from here or from my area, stay in course.
“President Buhari has not finished the job he came to do. If God gives him good health and long life, he has not finished. He has to go for another four years to be able to finish.
“Despite people who are criticising and these people also took no criticism when they were in office. Despite the people who are writing letters; these people we also wrote letters to them, they didn’t reply to our own letters.”
Kalu, who lauded his host for his sterling military career, numerous community services and contributions to nation-building, declared that Nigeria’s unity is non-negotiable.
He urged the Alake and members of the Egba Traditional Council not to relent in their support for the president.
Kalu said: “In any democracy, there must be people for and against. We are for Buhari, some people are against and we wish them well. And we want to thank you for the key role of peace that you and other traditional rulers have been playing. Nigeria unity is non-negotiable.
“We are for oneness of this country, we are for leaders who are sincere to lead us well, we are for leaders who are equally committed to the rules and tenets of democracy, “ he said.
Why Buhari deserves another term, by Alake
In his remarks, Oba Gbadebo hailed the former Abia governor for his message of love and strong belief in Buhari’s capacity to deliver good governance for the country.
The Alake described Kalu as a great and detribalised Nigerian, whose tenure as governor was marked with monumental development of the state.
“As a key stakeholder of the Nigerian project, your patriotic contributions to nation-building are commendable.”
The monarch, who noted that the nation’s Presidency remains the birthright of every Nigerian, promised to support Kalu whenever the nation beckons on him to contest as president.
According to him, there is great hope for Nigeria when somebody from the Southeast could be mobilising support for a president who hails from the North.
The Alake pointed out that giving Buhari a second term in office would enable him to consolidate on the achievements already recorded by the present administration.
Said the monarch: “So, I am part of your team in campaigning that he be given a chance for another four years because those who made the tenure to be four by two know that while you are formulating your policies while you are thinking of what to do, you need time to now expect everything you have put in place in the first four years to germinate and to bring benefits to the people.
“And we know what happens in Nigeria; there is always policy somersault. If a person goes after four years, virtually everything he has done will be turned over by whoever comes after; he won’t want the person that has come to get the credit for what he is going to sit upon. So, he would rather have it killed than to go ahead and implement.
“So, as you are going around the country, we pray that God will be with you. That this effort you are putting in for the greatness of Nigeria, some other people will do the same thing for you because the headship and Presidency of this country is the birthright of every Nigerian and I pray that in your own time too, people will go round and solicit support for you. You have proved to be a great Nigerian totally devoid of tribal sentiment.”
He’s speaking for himself, says APC NEC member
A member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) National Executive Committee (NEC), Alhaji Nasiru Danu, said Chief Obasanjo was not speaking the mind of Nigerians in his assessment of the performance of President Buhari.
Danu told newsmen at the Abuja national headquarters of the APC that the former President was merely playing politics and should therefore not be taken seriously.
He said the fomer President was however entitled to his opinion.
His words: “The truth is that everybody can have his opinion on an issue, but to me, this is a successful administration. Buhari never promised to be a miracle worker. In three years, the success of this administration in the economy and security are obvious.
“There is no nation that can progress or have meaningful development with the past levels of corruption. When somebody says he is a failure, failure in what? Are we talking about the railways connecting the country? The Port Harcourt – Maiduguri or Lagos-Kano rail line? The Mambilla project? Or the Second Niger Bridge, among others.
“In security, compared to what we had before, there are improvements. Before Buhari, we were having attacks even in Abuja, not Maiduguri. But, you can see the successes clearly. This is an election year. People are entitled to their own opinion. Obasanjo is an elder statesman and he is entitled to his own opinion. That is not the opinion of Nigerians.”
ANN backs ex-president
But Obasanjo got an ally in the Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN) in the campaign against President Buhari.
In a statement in Abuja by the Chairman of its Board of Trustees (BOT) Adekoya Adebola, the ANN corroborated the former president’s stance and called on Nigerians to ensure that next year’s presidential election is a test of competence and not sentiments or political blackmails typical of previous elections.
Adebola said that despite the noise of economic and political progress being made by the ruling party, the economy was still struggling without a clear strategic direction by Buhari to revamp the ailing economy inherited from its predecessors.
Adebola said in the statement: “The reality is, ‘how can we explain the continuous insecurity and the ravaging killer herdsmen?’ Even when the core of the government focus is to deliver security, but since inception of this administration, the country has witnessed more of security breaches and senseless killings in virtually every part of the country with no one apprehended, arrested or prosecuted.
“How can we explain the failure in fight against corruption even when the reason Nigerians voted for this government was essentially because of the stealing that was going on in government? And right now, the same is the order of the day in the nose of the current government. Monies are swallowed by monkeys and snakes; questionable list of looters. The list can go on and on,” Adebola said.
The chairman stated that in view of these blatant failures, therefore, Obasanjo’s assertion was not out of scope. He urged Nigerians to come out en masse in 2019 to vote out an incompetent APC and Buhari government.
Obasanjo’s plot to discredit PDP will fail, says party chieftain
A chieftain of the local chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Alexander Mwolwus yesterday took on the former President, whom he accused of plotting to discredit the opposition party for his personal interest.
But, Mwolwus, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Pankshin that Obasanjo’s pronouncement was “very unfortunate and selfish in nature’’.
He described PDP’s apology to Nigerians through its National Chairman as “a right step in the right direction’’, saying, “only great men own up to their mistakes.
“If PDP had apologised willfully, having owned up to its mistakes, I shouldn’t be castigated for that because every human organisation has its own limitations.
“Even though OBJ’s plots to discredit PDP for his own political party, he seems to have missed it and not knowing what he is doing.
“He is the most ungrateful Nigerian leader, who never knew how PDP was formed.
“But all the same, his party will not be anywhere close to having the confidence of Nigerians if that is the way he wants to go drumming for support to it.
“Obasanjo was never a member of the PDP but out of sheer pity and magnanimity, the party brought him out of prison and made him president on a platter of Gold.
“We made him who he is today, yet, he has the guts to spit and shout against us.’’
The PDP chieftain accused the ex-president of introducing corruption and corrutpting the National Assembly with his failed third-term ambition.
He urged Nigerians not to be bothered by the game plans of the APC and Obasanjo, but should keep faith with the PDP, which he said had realised its mistakes and offering to give them a purposeful leadership in 2019.
Nigerians’ destiny not in anybody’s hand, says Keyamo
Human rights crusader and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) Festus Keyamo said that those playing God in determining the tenant at the State House in Abuja, would be shocked next year.
The lawyer said Nigerians will determine who leads them with their ballot.
Keyamo said: “Since 1960, a few people have always determined who would govern all of us. They’re the ones now writing letters and inciting the people. Next year would be a defining moment as the people of this country will truly determine their own fate and put these self-conceited leaders to ultimate shame.
Let’s remember that during d first four years of Obasanjo (1999-2003), he kept blaming the ‘rot’ the military left behind as the reason for his abysmal performance and begged Nigerians to be patient with him.”
He’s part, parcel of the problem
A former General Secretary of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Kayode Ogundamisi, accused Obasanjo of playing the Ostrich.
He described as immoral for the former President to pretend as if he was not part of those who created the mess being cleared by the present administration.
Ogundamisi said: “Obasanjo has a reputation as a rabble rouser. He loves attention and reads the mind of the Nigerians. He plays it just as he did during the civil war when the Biafran side had already been secured by Nigerian fighters. Obasanjo posed himself as an opportunist and claimed victory.
“Over time in our history, Obasanjo has tried to play himself up as hero of the people when he is actually part and parcel of the problem. He is actually one of the problems because he gave the country a sick Yar’Adua and incompetent Jonathan that led us to an old Buhari who seems to be ineffective. Nigerians should be wary of this latter-day hero who should be dumped into the dustbin of history.
“Yes, the Buhari government has not performed to expectations, but who is Obasanjo to tell us when he is part of the problem? What he is saying is not new. If Obasanjo is not happy, he would say it, especially when his interest is at play. As a kingmaker, he wants to be relevant. If attacking Buhari makes him relevant, he would ignore the positives of the Buhari government and emphasise on the negative.”