How former leaders reject to co-author Obj’s letter
Typical of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, on Tuesday, in a special press statement he directed at President Muhammadu Buhari, he listed several allegations against the Nigerian leader on matters bothering on nepotism and and other indices where he scored the Buhari-led federal government low on performance.
In the release title: The way out: A clarion call for coalition for Nigeria, Obasanjo had listed among others, 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, as parts of his “lice of poor performance in government”.
Going further, the Otta based ex-president said, “The situation that made Nigerians to vote massively to get my brother Jonathan off the horse is playing itself out again. First, I thought I knew the point where President Buhari is weak and I spoke and wrote about it even before Nigerians voted for him and I also did vote for him because at that time it was a matter of “any option but Jonathan,” Obasanjo said.
Perhaps, Obasanjo’s letter would have ended up as one advisory concerns to jerk performance in the areas highlighted in his letter, but he went on to call for a coalition to oust Buhari, who he advised against seeking reelection in 2019.
“President Buhari needs a dignified and honourable dismount from the horse. He needs to have time to reflect, refurbish physically and recoup and after appropriate rest, once again, join the stock of Nigerian leaders whose experience, influence, wisdom and outreach can be deployed on the side line for the good of the country. His place in history is already assured. Without impaired health and strain of age, running the affairs of Nigeria is a 25/7 affair, not 24/7.
“I only appeal to brother Buhari to consider a deserved rest at this point in time and at this age. I continue to wish him robust health to enjoy his retirement from active public service,” he said.
However the undertone of Obasanjo’s letter, no matter how genuine, is the understanding that the former leader eventually decided to act alone after his overtures to his colleagues in the league of former leaders failed, to be joined as co-sponsors of his latest letter.
For about three weeks before its release, the former President, himself a former army General like Buhari, had made spirited efforts to enlist the support of his colleagues, especially within the ranks of those he felt nurse some discomfort with the leadership style of Buhari, TEMPO ONLINE was reliably informed.
According to our source, consulted ex leaders, while not totally in disagreement with some content in the letter, reportedly told him to reconsider the advise asking Buhari not to seek reelection, saying it could send a wrong signal of gang-up to the government.
TEMPO was told, that a particular northern military ruler advised, that since Obasanjo has unhindered access to the president, he should seize the opportunity to engage Buhari privately in order not to be misinterpreted and heat up the polity.
But the adamant Obasanjo reportedly told his advisers why he could not look away from the trends in government while the nation continued to drift.
He told them that as a statesman, his conscience would not permit him and other well-spirited citizens of this country to look away when it was becoming obvious that the Buhari’s government has nothing more to offer.
“Let us accept that the present administration has done what it can do to the limit of its ability, aptitude and understanding. Let the administration and its political party platform agree with the rest of us that what they have done and what they are capable of doing is not good enough for us.
“They have given as best as they have and as best as they can give. Nigeria deserves and urgently needs better than what they have given or what we know they are capable of giving. To ask them to give more will be unrealistic and will only sentence Nigeria to a prison term of four years if not destroy it beyond the possibility of an early recovery and substantial growth.”
In his response however, speaking on behalf of the Federal Government, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, while thank Obasanjo for the letter, stated, that the government was making every effort to rekindle the hope of Nigerians in the economy.
“We have no doubt that in the face of massive challenges in this area, this Administration has availed itself creditably. We believe that Chief Obasanjo, because of his very busy schedule, may not have been fully availed of developments in the government’s efforts to revamp the economy, which was battered by the consequences of over-dependence on a commodity as well as unprecedented pillaging of the treasury.
“Today, most of the indices by which an economy is measured are looking up. Permit me to say, however, that Nigeria would not have exited recession through a mere order or if the Administration had not made use of ”good Nigerians” who could help,” Mohammed said.
Regardless of this well articulated response which has been largely applauded as being presidential and decorous, critics of government still hold the view that government was yet to address some areas, especially on nepotism in Buhari’s appointments.
Pundits have also challenged, that the call on Buhari not to exercise his constitutional right, to seek or not seek reelection does not end with Obasanjo or anyone but the President himself and as such, as the 2019 general elections draw close, Nigerians will continue to see how the days ahead justifies either of Obasanjo or the president, especially in terms of delivery of good governance and change in government.