Why we can’t respond to Obasanjo’s statement now — APC

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo [Photo credit: Ventures Africa]

The ruling All Progressives Congress says “at this time” it has no response to the blistering remarks by former President Olusegun Obasanjo asking President Muhammadu Buhari not to seek reelection.

Mr. Obasanjo, in the statement Tuesday entitled, “The Way Out: A Clarion Call for Coalition for Nigeria Movement”, said Mr. Buhari as well as his party, APC, had become a disappointment, faltering even in the major boast of his administration — anti-corruption campaign.

Citing the scandalous recall of  fugitive pension task force head, Abduralsheed Maina, to public service, Mr. Obasanjo accused Mr. Buhari of nepotism and inability to instill discipline “in his nepotistic court”.

He said the manner of the recall stank of “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.”

Mr. Obasanjo also slammed Mr. Buhari for his “poor understanding” of Nigeria’s social-political dynamics, saying his leadership has widened division and inequality in the country.

This has effect on general national security, the former president said.

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The third failure of Mr. Buhari, according to Mr. Obasanjo, is not accepting responsibility – “passing the buck”.

“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,” the former president said.

Mr. Obasanjo asked Mr. Buhari not to run in 2019, but rather join the league of former leaders whose “experience, influence, wisdom and outreach can be deployed on the side line for the good of the country.”

The former president also dismissed the ruling All Progressives Party, saying it is as worthless as the opposition Peoples Democratic Party.

He called instead for a “Coalition of Nigerians” which he offered to be a part of, to wrest power from the present ruling class and lead the country onto the path of rebirth.

However, while Mr. Obasanjo’s attack on both the APC and Mr. Buhari continue to dominate the media space, the ruling party told PREMIUM TIMES, Tuesday evening, it needed time to study Mr. Obasanjo’s statement to decide whether to react or not.

“The situation is that APC does not have a response at this time,” said Bolaji Abdullahi, the spokesperson for the party. “Maybe if we are given the opportunity to study the letter more closely, we will have a response.”

Mr. Abdullahi said the party had only “relied on what is being circulated in the media.”

When told the former president accused the APC government of nepotism, corruption and incapacity to promote national integration security, Mr. Abdullahi replied: “I will not be able to react to any content of the statement until we have the opportunity to study it.”

Mr. Obasanjo’s attacks coincided with growing criticism of the Buhari administration amid deadly farmer-herdsmen conflicts and petrol scarcity.

Meanwhile, as at the time of filing this report, telephone number of both Femi Adesina and Garba Shehu, both presidential spokesperson, appeared turned off. Repeated attempts to get through to them failed.

Mr. Obasanjo, a two-term president on the platform of People PDP had backed Mr Buhari to power in 2015, opposing then incumbent and candidate of his former party, Goodluck Jonathan.

Mr. Obasanjo had written a condemnatory open letter in December 2013 titled “Before it is Too Late” where he highlighted the numerous failings of the Jonathan administration.

Mr. Obasanjo is known to have become estranged with all his successors, despite his support for them.

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