The minister of information and culture, Mr. Lai Mohammed has reacted to Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s denial of neutrality in the 2019 election saying the former president is at liberty to support the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Atiku Abubakar or any other candidate of his choice.
It would be recalled that Obasanjo stirred the hornet’s nest on Sunday when he debunked a report that he had withdrawn his support for Atiku and adopted neutrality as a policy.
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 said: “Chief Obasanjo is no such fool nor is he so unwise” and proffered that for Nigerian go get any beneficial change “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.”
Mohammed said despite Obasanjo’s endorsement of and support for any candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari had achieved a lot garner the overwhelming support to win in 2019.
“With due respect to Obasanjo, it is his fundamental right to support any candidate of his choice and we hereby encourage and urge him to go all out and campaign vigorously for Atiku Abubakar and we wish him the best of luck in his choice and political pursuit. But we assure him that his candidate will be roundly and comprehensively defeated by Buhari.
“We want to place it on record that the Buhari government has done the best for this country in virtually all facets of governance and for this reason, we believe strongly that we have enough achievements to flaunt and win the forthcoming election with ease. We have it on record that the opposition is already jittery of Buhari’s imminent victory and has consequently resorted to using fake news to blackmail the president and our party in order to give excuse for the looming defeat. One of the fake news being propagated by the opposition, which is now very confused, is that Buhari cannot speak Fulfulde, his mother tongue and cannot open the main door to his conference room in the Presidential Villa having undergone cloning, despite having openly been made clear that there was nothing like that. This is clearly the fake news and handiwork of the opposition in serious distress and confusion.
“It is not true that Buhari has not been able to access his main office as a result of being cloned. Anybody who says so is a purveyor of fake news and should be ignored. Let this campaign be issue-based and not on sentiments, silly and idiotic fake news.
“But I want to put the media on the alert that as we approach the election, they should be more cautious as the opposition is determined to dish out more and more fake news in order to confuse them and create tension and dissonance in the system all in their desperate bid the win the election. They know they have nothing to offer the Nigerian people,” said Mohammed.
On corruption, the minister said that the government had put in place institution reforms which confirmed its sincerity and commitment to fighting the menace.
“It is not about putting people in jail but what are the things put in place to address this endemic problem.
“Take the example of Treasury Single Account, which was not initiated by this government. It is only the Buhari administration that has the political will to implement it.
“Before we came in, there were over 22,000 government accounts in various banks.
“Since we came, we reduced it to one account and from 2015 to date N8.9 trillion has passed through the TSA which is as a result of transparency and accountability,” he said.