Socio-political groups in the country have differed on the Presidency’s Sunday attack on former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
While the pan-northern socio-political group, Arewa Consultative Forum, advised Obasanjo to stop presenting himself as a saint, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo said the former President’s administration was more credible the current one led by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Backing Ohanaeze Ndigbo’s stance, pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, described Obasanjo as more pan-Nigerian than Buhari, whom it accused of dividing Nigeria along religious and ethnic lines.
“OBASANJO ENJOYS GOING ABOUT, PRESENTING HIMSELF AS A SAINT, BUT HE IS NOT THE SAINT HE PRETENDS TO BE. HIS ACTIONS AND UTTERANCES ARE MOTIVATED BY SELF-INTEREST MASQUERADING AS NATIONAL INTEREST”
Former president Obasanjo had last Thursday raised the alarm that Nigeria was slowly becoming a failed state and a basket case that urgently needed to be pulled from the brink of collapse.
Obasanjo, who spoke while delivering a speech titled, “Moving Nigeria away from tipping over” at a consultative dialogue in Abuja, said he had never seen Nigeria so divided, blaming the Buhari administration for worsening the myriad problems confronting the country by allegedly mismanaging Nigeria’s diversity.
But ACF National Publicity Secretary, Emmanuel Yawe, argued that Obasanjo should learn to accord respect to his successors in the nation’s number one political office.
According to the Forum, Obasanjo’s sins include the invasion of Odi and Zaki Biam communities as well as his purported third term attempt at the presidency.
ACF’s spokesman said, “Obasanjo enjoys going about, presenting himself as a saint, but he is not the saint he pretends to be. His actions and utterances are motivated by self-interest masquerading as national interest.”
But Divider-in-chief: Presidency must be referring to Buhari, says Afenifere
Afenifere spokesman, Yinka Odumakin, however said Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, must have been referring to Buhari when he called Obasanjo a “divider-in-chief.”
Odumakin stated, “They must be referencing their boss. You can say anything about Obasanjo but you can’t accuse him of dividing Nigerians the way this government has been setting herdsmen against farmers, north against south or Muslims against Christians.”
On its part, the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, said Buhari’s regime lacked the ears to listen to and hear the voice of wisdom.
“THERE WAS SECURITY IN NIGERIA DURING OBASANJO’S ADMINISTRATION BUT THIS GOVERNMENT CONDONES INSECURITY. HIS (BUHARI) KINSMEN ARE ENCOURAGED TO TERRORISE THE REST OF NIGERIANS WHY UNARMED NIGERIANS ARE HOUNDED BY SECURITY AGENTS”
National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze, Prince Uche Achi-Okpaga, said Obasanjo as a former head of state and ex-President knows where the shoes pinch.
Condemning the Presidency for its constant attack on Nigerians for voicing their concerns about the survival of the country, he asked, “What has this government offered Nigerians? This government is a government that took over in 2015 with deception.”
He noted that everything about Buhari had been pro-North.
On the Presidency’s declaration of Obasanjo as a “divider-in-chief,” the Ohanaeze spokesman said, “The administration of Obasanjo and the present one are incomparable.
“There was security in Nigeria during Obasanjo’s administration but this government condones insecurity. His (Buhari) kinsmen are encouraged to terrorise the rest of Nigerians why unarmed Nigerians are hounded by security agents.
“Was it not Obasanjo that brought technocrats, irrespective of where they came from? Is Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala from Yorubaland? She is Igbo. He brought Mrs Oby Ezekwesili. He brought Professor Chukwuma Soludo. These are Igbo. He knew that they could deliver and he went for them. Was it not Okonjo-Iweala that got debt relief for Nigeria? Was it not Ezekwesili that introduced due process? During Soludo (time at the CBN) you could put your money in the bank and go home to sleep, before then it wasn’t so.
“Obasanjo brought the best brains, irrespective of where they were coming from. Didn’t he have his kinsmen from Yorubaland who would have done the same thing? But he appointed Nuhu Ribadu as the EFCC chairman. Is he from Yorubaland? He is a northerner. Nasir Ahmad El-Fufai was the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory. He is a northerner. He is not from Yorubaland. You can’t compare. Obasanjo is a Nigerian but they are not.
“Look at Buhari’s ministerial appointments, the choice positions were allotted to his kinsmen. Military and para-military agencies are headed by the North. Everything in Buhari’s regime government is pro-North.”