The immediate past governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, has tongue-lashed Olusegun Obasanjo over the former Nigerian president’s recent open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari.
Mr Obasanjo on Monday released a letter to Mr Buhari, warning him of issues around national security and unity.
Mr Obasanjo accused the president of negligence and not rising to the contemporary challenges bedevilling the country.
But Mr Yari in a statement by his media aide, Ibrahim Dosara, lampooned Mr Obasanjo and unnamed “Yoruba leaders” for recent criticism of Mr Buhari’s handling of security issues.
The former governor accused Mr Obasanjo of using the opportunity to pour “encapsulated anger” on Mr Buhari, saying the former president has no better records.
“It was on record that President Olusegun Obasanjo superintended the massacres in Zaki Biam in Benue State and Odi in Bayelsa state.
“The murderous Sharia riots of Kaduna occurred during his tenure. It was also during his regime that the seeds of carnage on the Plateau was planted. He seems to have forgotten all these ‘remarkable’ feats he recorded as president. This is apart from the high profile assassinations of a serving minister, Bola Ige, and opposition stalwart Harry Marshall,” he said.
He said though it was “justifiable” to express outrage over the murder of Mrs Funke Olakunrin, daughter of Afenifere leader, Reuben Fasoranti, he condemned “the sensationalisation of the murder by the media, which quickly labelled the criminals as Fulani herdsmen”.
Mr Yari, who was chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), lamented that “prominent Yoruba political leaders used the opportunity to make some divisive comments and called for the dismemberment of Nigeria over the murder of the lady.”
He said Nigeria was not the only country to experience security challenges, adding that the problem would not be solved through passing blames.
“My keen observation of recent political development across the country is pointing to a series of needless efforts by some elements across the country aimed at destroying our rich diversity and heritage for obvious political reasons.
“These efforts are targeted at reducing the country into the feckless North-South divide, first-class/second-class citizens, or Muslim/Christian dichotomy. This is indeed worrisome and pointless at this time of Nigeria’s history and stage of development,” the former governor noted.
Mr Yari, who has been accused of mismanaging Zamfara funds while he was governor, urged leaders to avoid comments capable of deepening the divisions in the country.
He did not state how Zamfara, initially considered one of the most peaceful states in Nigeria, became a killing field during his tenure.
He, however, called on political leaders to eschew bitterness.
“It is high time for all political leaders to eschew bitterness and avoid using our fellow citizens as guinea pigs in our ambitious political laboratories.”
He also called for support for security agencies to enable them to perform the duties of maintenance of law and order effectively.