The former President of Nigeria Dr Olusegun Obasanjo has yesterday advised President Muhammadu Buhari not to run for a second term.
He accused the President of nepotism, having a poor understanding of politics and engaging in blame games rather than accepting responsibility for his failure.
Obasanjo said he worked against his former party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to help the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Buhari win the last presidential election.
But, the situation that made Nigerians to vote, massively for Buhari, he said, is playing itself out again.
The former President, who recently bagged a doctorate degree in Christian Theology from the National Open University (NOUN), issued a “Special Press Statement”, titled: The way out: A clarion call for Coalition for Nigeria MovemeNigeriaich he gave the media in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
Obasanjo said: “The lice of poor performance in government – poverty, insecurity, poor economic management, nepotism, gross dereliction of duty, condoning of misdeed – If not outright encouragement of it; lack of progress and hope for the future, lack of national cohesion and poor management of internal political dynamics and widening inequality – are very much with us today.”
“With such lice of general and specific poor performance and crying poverty with us, our fingers will not be dry of ‘blood’,” He said.
The former President urged Buhari not to run for a second term, saying the President needs “a dignified dismount from the horse”.
“Whatever may be the state of President Buhari’s health today, he should neither over-push his luck nor over-tax the patience and tolerance of Nigerians for him, no matter what his self-serving, so-called advisers, who would claim that they love him more than God loves him and that without him, there would be no Nigeria say.
“President Buhari needs a dignified and honourable dismount from the horse. He needs to have time to reflect, refurbish physically and recoup and after appropriate rest, once again, join the stock of Nigerian leaders whose experience, influence, wisdom and outreach can be deployed on the side line for the good of the country.”
Obasanjo said Buhari should consider taking a deserved rest, considering his age.
“His place in history is already assured. Without impaired health and strain of age, running the affairs of Nigeria is a 25/7 affair, not 24/7…I only appeal to brother Buhari to consider a deserved rest at this point in time and at this age. I continue to wish him robust health to enjoy his retirement from active public service.
“President Buhari does not necessarily need to heed my advice. But whether or not he heeds it, Nigeria needs to move on and move forward,” he said.
Obasanjo believes neither the APC nor the PDP can rescue Nigeria, adding that both parties were “wobbling”.
“I have had occasion in the past to say that the
main political parties – APC and PDP – were wobbling. I must reiterate that nothing has happened to convince me otherwise. If anything, I am reinforced in my conviction.
“If neither APC nor PDP is a worthy horse to ride to lead Nigeria at this crucial and critical time, what then do we do?
“We cannot just sit down lamenting and wringing our hands desperately and hopelessly,” he said.
Obasanjo slammed the PDP, saying it was nothing to “write home about”.
He proposed what he called a Coalition for Nigeria (CN), which he described as a movement that would “drive Nigeria up and forward” and give hope and future to all youth and dignity and full participation to all women.
“We need a Coalition for Nigeria, CN. Such a movement at this juncture needs not be a political party but one to which all well-meaning Nigerians can belong. That movement must be a coalition for democracy, good governance, social and economic well-being and progress; a coalition to salvage and redeem our country,” he said.
Obasanjo dismissed PDP as a better alternative.
“What has emerged from the opposition has shown no better promise from their antecedents. As the leader of that party for eight years as President of Nigeria, I can categorically say there is nothing to write home about in their new team.
“We have only one choice left to take us out of Egypt to the Promised Land. And that is the coalition of the concerned and the willing – ready for positive and drastic change, progress and involvement,” he said.
”You can count me with such a Movement. Last time, we asked, prayed and worked for change and God granted our request. This time, we must ask, pray and work for change with unity, security and progress. And God will again grant us,” he said.
Obasanjo said having quit partisan politics, he would not support any candidate should the coalition eventually decide to back someone.
“Of course, nothing should stop such a Movement from satisfying conditions for fielding candidates for elections. But if at any stage the Movement wishes to metamorphose into candidate-sponsoring Movement for elections, I will bow out of the Movement because I will continue to maintain my non-partisan position. Coalition for Nigeria must have its headquarters in Abuja,” he said.
The former president criticised the APC government over what he called serious allegations of round-tripping against some “inner caucus” of the Presidency “which would seem to have been condoned”.
“I wonder if such actions do not amount to corruption and financial crime, then what is it? Culture of condonation (sic) and turning blind eye will cover up rather than clean up. And going to justice must be with clean hands,” he said.
while Buhari must be given “some credit” for his successes in his fight against corruption and insurgency, “it is not yet uhuru!”
Obasanjo spanked some governors endorsing Buhari for second term on the day that victims of Benue State killings were buried.
“The herdsmen/crop farmers issue is being wittingly or unwittingly allowed to turn sour and messy. It is no credit to the Federal Government that the herdsmen rampage continues with careless abandon and without finding an effective solution to it.
“And it is a sad symptom of insensitivity and callousness that some governors, a day after 73 victims were being buried in a mass grave in Benue State without condolence, were jubilantly endorsing President Buhari for a second term! The timing was most unfortunate.
“The issue of herdsmen/crop farmers dichotomy should not be left on the political platform of blame game; the Federal Government must take the lead in bringing about solution that protects life and properties of herdsmen and crop farmers alike and for them to live amicably in the same community,” he said.
The former President highlighted three areas he thinks Buhari has failed, including the reinstatement of former chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Abdulrasheed Maina.
“One is nepotic (sic) deployment bordering on clannishness and inability to bring discipline to bear on errant members of his nepotic court. This has grave consequences on performance of his government to the detriment of the nation. It would appear that national interest was being sacrificed on the altar of nepotic interest.
“What does one make of a case like that of Maina: collusion, condonation, ineptitude, and incompetence, dereliction of responsibility or kinship and friendship on the part of those who should have taken visible and deterrent disciplinary action? How many similar cases are buried, ignored or covered up and not yet in the glare of the media and the public?
“The second is his poor understanding of the dynamics of internal politics. This has led to wittingly or unwittingly making the nation more divided and inequality has widened and become more pronounced. It also has effect on general national security.
“The third is passing the buck. For instance, blaming the Governor of the Central Bank for devaluation of the naira by 70 per cent or so and blaming past governments for it is to say the least, not accepting one’s own responsibility.
“Let nobody deceive us, economy feeds on politics and because our politics is depressing, our economy is even more depressing today. 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.
“Our Constitution is very clear; one of the cardinal responsibilities of the President is the management of the economy of which the value of the naira for freems an integral part. Kinship and friendship that place responsibility for governance in the hands of the unelected can only be deleterious to good government and to the nation,” Obasanjo said.
The former president said his intervention was in Nigeria’s interest.
“Some may ask, what does Obasanjo want again? Obasanjo has wanted nothing other than the best for Nigeria and Nigerians and he will continue to want nothing less,” Obasanjo said.