Former President Olusegun Obasanjo issued a 'special press release' on Tuesday, took President Muhammadu Buhari to the cleaners and listed his 'sins'.
Buhari and Obasanjo
Buhari discussing with Babachir Lawal, who was sacked as secretary to the government of the federations over corruption allegations
Obasanjo accused the president of “condoning corruption” within the presidency.
According to him, even though Buhari should be given some credit in his fight against insurgency and corruption, such act of condoning “corrupt” practices also amounts to corruption itself
“There were serious allegations of round-tripping against some inner caucus of the presidency which would seem to have been condoned,” he added.
“I wonder if such actions do not amount to corruption and financial crime, then what is it? Culture of condonation and turning blind eye will cover up rather than clean up. And going to justice must be with clean hands.
“I thought President Buhari would fight corruption and insurgency and he must be given some credit for his achievement so far in these two areas although it is not yet Uhuru!”
INABILITY TO HANDLE THE ECONOMY
Obasanjo’s “issues” with Buhari also arose from his claim that apart from the fact that the president lacks the knowledge of how the economy works, he has “failed” to employ capable hands in this area.
He also said the president had failed to make up for his “weakness” in the workings of the foreign affairs sector.
“I knew President Buhari before he became president and said that he is weak in the knowledge and understanding of the economy but I thought that he could make use of good Nigerians in that area that could help,” he said.
“I know his weakness in understanding and playing in the foreign affairs sector and again, there are many Nigerians that could be used in that area as well. They have knowledge and experience that could be deployed for the good of Nigeria.”
Obasanjo further accused Buhari of “wittingly or unwittingly” allowing the clashes between farmers and herdsmen in the country to turn “sour and messy.”
He said it is a minus for the federal government that the herdsmen rampage “continues with careless abandon and without finding an effective solution to it.”
The former president berated “blame game” in which the issue has been embroidered in.
“The federal government must take the lead in bringing about solution that protects life and properties of herdsmen and crop farmers alike and for them to live amicably in the same community,” he said.
Ahmed Abubakar is the latest appointee of Buhari. The former presidential aide was named head of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) earlier in the month. The appointment sparked controversies because he is from the north like most heads of security agencies in the current administration
Another sin of Buhari, according to Obasanjo, is the “clannishness” that has characterised his administration.
According to him, the president has also been unable to bring discipline to bear on “errant members of his nepotic court”.
While noting that it appears “national interest was being sacrificed on the altar of nepotic interest,” the former president listed the case of Abdulrasheed Maina, former pension boss, to fore: “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?”
The former president also accused Buhari of having a “poor understanding” of the dynamics of internal politics.
He said such “weakness” from the president has cost the nation its unity.
“This (‘poor understanding’ of the dynamics of internal politics) has led to wittingly or unwittingly making the nation more divided and inequality has widened and become more pronounced,” he said.
“It also has effect on general national security.”
REPEATING JONATHAN’S MISTAKE
The former president accused Buhari of repeating the “mistakes” of Jonathan.
According to him, he and other Nigerians voted “brother” Jonathan out because in 2015, it was a matter of “any option but Jonathan”.
He, however, expressed worry that “the situation that made Nigerians to vote massively to get my brother Jonathan off the horse is playing itself out again. My letter to President Jonathan titled: ‘Before It Is Too Late’ was meant for him to act before it was too late. He ignored it and it was too late for him and those who goaded him into ignoring the voice of caution.
“I know that praise-singers and hired attackers may be raised up against me for verbal or even physical attack but if I can withstand undeserved imprisonment and was ready to shed my blood by standing for Nigeria, I will consider no sacrifice too great to make for the good of Nigeria at any time,” he wrote.
“No human leader is expected to be personally strong or self-sufficient in all aspects of governance.”
Obasanjo’s grouse with the president also includes his attitude of “passing the buck.”
He cited an instance where the president blamed the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria “for devaluation of the naira by 70% or so and blaming past governments for it.”
While saying that such blame is, “to say the least, not accepting one’s own responsibility,” the former president added that the president was “voted to fix things that were bad and not engage in the blame game.”
“Let nobody deceive us, economy feeds on politics and because our politics is depressing, our economy is even more depressing today. If things were good, President Buhari would not need to come in,” he added.
TAKING NIGERIA BACK TO 1999
The graduate of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) further accused Buhari of taking Nigeira back to the situation it was in, in 1999.
He recalled that at the time, “the nation was tottering. People became hopeless and saw no bright future in the horizon. It was all a dark cloud politically, economically and socially. The price of oil at that time was nine dollars per barrel and we had a debt overhang of about $35 billion.”
“Wherever I go, I hear Nigerians complaining, murmuring in anguish and anger,” he said, adding: “But our anger should not be like the anger of the cripple. We can collectively save ourselves from the position we find ourselves.
“Nigeria deserves and urgently needs better than what they (the current administration) 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.”