A few days after he attended the wedding ceremony of President Goodluck Jonathan’s niece, former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said he would not compromise on his criticism of the president, insisting that he (Jonathan) has failed in his performance.
Mr. Obasanjo showed up at the wedding ceremony of Mr. Jonathan’s niece in Abuja five days after he accused the president of squandering $35 billion crude oil savings left behind by his administration.
He also alleged that the president, who is the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the February 14 election, had depleted the nation’s foreign reserves account from $60 left by late President Umaru Yar’Adua to $40 billion.
The former president told PREMIUM TIMES in an exclusive telephone interview on Monday that he would not stop criticising Mr. Jonathan despite attending the wedding because the issues had to do with the progress of Nigeria.
“There is no personal issue between me and him,” Mr. Obasanjo said. “He invited me to his daughter’s wedding, I had time and I attended. So, there is no issue of reconciliation or un-reconciliation. You people don’t understand. The wedding was a social event,” Mr. Obasanjo said.
“He (Jonathan) has failed in his performance and that I have made clear. No compromise about that. There is no compromise about anything that has to do with the progress of Nigeria. If I have an event I will invite him, if he has time he can attend.”
“You people don’t understand this matter. I have nothing against him. I am not fighting him but I won’t compromise on serious matters about Nigeria.”
While hosting South West women in his Abeokuta home on December 4, Mr. Obasanjo, who ruled the nation democratically between 1999 and 2007, launched a fresh attack against Mr. Jonathan alleging that the president squandered $35 billion Excess Crude money left by his administration.
He told the women that his administration left $25 billion to his successor, late President Umaru Yar’Adua, who subsequently raised the sum to $35 billion.
Mr. Obasanjo also said he left $40 billion in Nigeria’s foreign reserves account after paying the outstanding debt at the time and that Mr. Yar’Adua raised the reserves to $60 billion.
He lamented that the Jonathan administration depleted the reserves to $40 billion.
The former president however said he had no grudges against the president.
“I have no grudges against Jonathan and I think Jonathan has no grudges against me. I’m not quarrelling with Jonathan but all I know is that whatever is good for Nigeria, that I’m ready to die for.”
Before the visit of the southwest women, Mr. Obasanjo had repeatedly accused the president of promoting and tolerating corruption.
Speaking at a book launch in honour of the pioneer Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, Mustapha Akanbi in November last year, Mr. Obasanjo, who nominated Mr. Jonathan as running mate to Mr. Yar’Adua in 2007, had rated the president’s performance as “below average”.
He also stated at that event that the nation’s economy “is in doldrums, if not in reverse”.
In his new book, “My Watch” which he released last month, the former president, lambasted the president, describing him as a self-centred politician who thinks less of the country and fraternise with corrupt and questionable characters.
The former president’s most scathing criticisms against Mr. Jonathan are contained in his famous 18-page letter to the president in December 2013 in which he criticised his style of administration. He also accused Mr. Jonathan of failure to deliver on his electoral promises, strengthen national unity and arrest corruption.
Mr. Obasanjo also accused the president of reneging on his promise of spending just a term in office and of training a killer squad ahead of this year’s general elections.