The former head of state, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has clarified issues pertaining to his purported withdrawal of support for the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Mr. Atiku Abubakar saying he (Obasanjo) is not neutral as far as the 2019 election is concerned.
Obasanjo who made the clarification in a statement issued by his media aide, Kehinde Akinyemi in Abeokuta on Sunday also debunked reports that he had no preferred presidential candidate.
In a statement entitled ‘2019 elections and reports of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s neutrality’ the former president said “only a fool will sit on the fence or be neutral when his or her country is being destroyed with incompetence, corruption, lack of focus, insecurity, nepotism, brazen impunity and denial of the obvious.”
He added: “Chief Obasanjo is no such fool nor is he so unwise.”
For Nigerians go get any beneficial change, Obasanjo said “they must know that such change will not come if they remain inactive just complaining and complacent and they allow themselves to be deceived by sycophants and enemies of Nigeria.”
The statement reads: “While Chief Olusegun Obasanjo is in Cairo to attend the maiden edition of the Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF), of which he is chairman of the Advisory Council, his attention has been drawn to a report by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) with the headline ‘Atiku: Obasanjo Shifts Political Gear to Neutral’.
“It is disingenuous, if not malicious, for anyone to suggest that Chief Obasanjo was being neutral when he chose not to use the Owu convention as a platform for political campaign but instead adopted a communal and familial approach in talking to members of his Owu family.
“For the records, and as accurately reported by some media organisations, what the former president said at the convention in Iwo was that while he would not impose any candidates on them, Nigerians should vote for credible candidates who would drive growth and development and make their lives better than it is now.
“Chief Obasanjo’s statement did not suggest his neutrality. In fact, the former president believes that only a fool will sit on the fence or be neutral when his or her country is being destroyed. Chief Obasanjo is no such fool nor is he so unwise.
“The former president reassures Nigerians that he will not sit on the fence when he needs to be out and active for people to know where he stands in the best interest of Nigeria.
“Chief Obasanjo reaffirms that he is on the side of what is best for Nigeria and what we have currently, at the helm of affairs of Nigeria, is not the best for Nigeria, so nobody should fool himself or deceive others about Chief Obasanjo’s position.
“The former president further urges Nigerians, who are victims of what we have for now, to stop just complaining and go out to get beneficial change.
“They must know that such change will not come if they remain inactive, just complaining and complacent and allow themselves to be deceived by sycophants and enemies of Nigeria.
“If they do not become active and get the much-needed change of the current administration to a government that will improve the economy, regain the confidence of investors and generally drive growth, development and economic progress with security, what is coming will be much worse than what Nigerians currently suffer.
“On his part, Chief Obasanjo will remain consistent in speaking out whenever and wherever he sees evil as he is known to do no matter whose ox is gored. Nobody should manipulate Chief Obasanjo’s position, particularly on the 2019 presidential election and what he said in Iwo, to perpetrate or perpetuate continued destruction of our country.”
It would be recalled that Obasanjo had in January 2018 written off the president and called on him not to present himself for re-election in 2019.
In a 3, 573-word letter entitled ‘The way out: A clarion call for coalition for Nigeria movement’ Obasanjo accused the president of condoning wrong-doings in his administration as well as blaming others for his inability to fix things.
“If things were good, President Buhari would not need to come in. He was voted to fix things that were bad and not engage in the blame game…For instance, blaming the governor of the Central Bank for devaluation of the naira by 70% or so and blaming past governments for it, is to say the least, not accepting one’s own responsibility. Let nobody deceive us, economy feeds on politics and because our politics is depressing, our economy is even more depressing today,” he said.
Besides, Obasanjo accused the president of nepotism, a situation he said, “has led to wittingly or unwittingly making the nation more divided and inequality has widened and become more pronounced. It also has effect on general national security”
“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.
“There were serious allegations of round-tripping against some inner caucus of the Presidency which would seem to have been condoned. 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,” he said.
“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?
He urged the president to take a deserved rest and not to push his luck too far or over-tax the patience of Nigerians no matter what his; praise-singers tell him.
“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. President Buhari does not necessarily need to heed my advice. But whether or not he heeds it, Nigeria needs to move on and move forward,” said Obasanjo.