Dont divide Nigeria, Presidency cautions Obasanjo
By Akintolu Ojo
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s latest utterances is an attempt to divide Nigeria, the Presidency said on Sunday.
Obasanjo had accused the government of President Mohammadu Buhari to running a regime that further polarise the country.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a statement titled “Obasanjo is Nigeria’s Divider-in-Chief” accused the former President of mischief.
On Thursday Obasanjo said Nigeria was gradually becoming a failed state that should be reversed.
Obasanjo spoke on the theme “Moving Nigeria away from tipping over” at a consultative dialogue in Abuja attended by leaders of ethnic based groups.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media Shehu Garba said Obasanjo was the “divider in chief”
“In his most recent statement, former President Olusegun Obasanjo attempts to divide the nation while President Muhammadu Buhari continues to promote nation building and the unity of Nigeria.
“The difference is clear. From the lofty heights of Commander-in-Chief, General Obasanjo has descended to the lowly level of Divider-in-Chief (to adapt the coinage of Time).” Garba said
He said Obasanjo was fueling the mushrooming of a poisonous atmosphere of ethnic and religious divide.
Garba said “The fact that the process he ushered in under his administration with the dubious intention of amendments that sought tenure elongation failed-as did two other attempts by the successor administrations of the same political party- does not in any way justify his dismissal of the exercise by the 9th Assembly as another waste of time and resources.
“To the credit of the All Progressives Congress-led 8th Assembly, the process of constitutional amendment was kickstarted and carried through, paving the way for, among other benefits, the financial independence of local government councils, states Houses of Assembly and the country’s judiciary. These changes have already been signed into laws by the President as mandated by the constitution.
“The recent decisions by the administration as they relate to subsidy withdrawal, helping to plug some of the most horrendous notorious holes and release of scarce resources for the more pressing needs of the people has also not escaped the ire of the former President.
“It’s a known fact that the withdrawal of subsidies had been on the wish list of the Obasanjo-led Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. They failed in achieving these measures because, one there was a shared greed. They plundered the treasury as much as anyone could in the name of either subsidy or waiver with reckless impunity.
According to him “Two, is to say it takes courage and rare statesmanship on the part of a leader to do as President Buhari to shun populism and seek the best interest of the people and the state, providing the kind of reform and development that Nigeria urgently needs.”
Garba said further “He leads a government that has liberalised the investment climate and market access by achieving reforms that have placed the country in the list of the world’s top reforming economies.
“Nigeria, which other nations had mocked and ridiculed for so many things that were wrong is today progressing at a pace reflecting its size and potential.
“With so much to show and many more coming, it is little surprise that President Buhari would be the object of envy and harsh unfair challenges by politicians who failed to deliver, but continue to nurse ambitions of delighting the audience long after their curtain has been drawn.”
Shehu also faulted the views of some analysts on Buhari’s recent advice to West African leaders to avoid tenure elongation.
He said contrary to the assertions by the few analysts, Buhari’s recent speech in which he advised West African Presidents against tenure elongation beyond constitutional limits has been consistent with his long-held views on the need to adhere to the rule of law.
He added, “Even though he tried it and failed, the recent uptick in the number of such leaders proposing to do, or actually carrying on in office beyond term limits is sufficient to cause concern among democrats in the sub-region given its prospects of destabilizing the states and the region.
“President Buhari’s advocacy is consistent with his principles and in line with the current policies of his administration and indeed that of the ECOWAS Charter which is that term limits must be respected and that the change of government is only permissible through the ballot box.”
He urged Obasanjo to sheath the sword and “rest the pretentiousness about the Messiah that has (mis)led him to pronounce often wrongly, as he disastrously did in the 2019 elections, about the life and death of Nigerian governments.”