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Obasanjo: I Have Not Fled The Country |The Republican News

                                 Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo

 

Tunji Bosun

 

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Friday said he has not fled Nigeria, contrary to a social media report that he had travelled out of the county ahead of the presidential election scheduled for Saturday.

Obasanjo spoke with newsmen at his Presidential Library, Abeokuta, describing the Social media post as “fake news.”

The former president was reacting to a Facebook post of one Gbenga Lawal who posted: “Breaking: Obasanjo jets out of Nigeria. He can’t even wait for the thief he is imposing on Nigerians.”

In his reaction, Obasanjo said “Why should I travel out of the country before the election?

“If not for anything, I believe I should be here to perform my civic responsibility, which is to vote according to the dictate of my heart tomorrow and on the second of March.

“Those who are carrying that type of rumour or fake news; I leave them in the hands of God; I am used to that kind of thing.

“In Yoruba land, if your head is hard, you don’t have to worry yourself.

“Let anybody tell lies against you, let anybody issue fake news against you, let anybody abuse you, God will deal with them rightly and appropriately.”    (Punch)

 

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Again, Obasanjo Slams Buhari, Says He’s Not A Saint |The Republican News

FormerPresident Olusegun Obasanjo has again taken President Muhammadu Buhari to the cleaners, rating him far below the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, in competence.

Obasanjo who made the declaration yesterday at the Lagos Island Club Quarterly Business lecture, said unlike Buhari who paraded himself as a saint while being contrived in corrupt practices, Atiku never lied about his personality.

He said he never retracted his words on Atiku but that the former vice president “has done three things which are absolutely imperative for a leader to be followed and believed.

“First, know who you are and present yourself as you are – a human being in blood and flesh and susceptible to human mistakes and human frailties.

“Don’t cover up with sanctimonious veneer of bogus integrity, incorruptibility, uprightness, goodness and false figures and statistics, all of which are contrived to deceive, to cheat, to plunder and to destroy.

“Atiku never claimed to be a saint and I never described him as such. I will never so describe any human being alive let alone calling him a Messiah.

“On an occasion in the past when I said that someone was not a Messiah, some Nigerians out of bad ‘belle’ were up in arms.

“For me, as a Christian, the only Messiah I know and have is Jesus Christ and even then, the man aspect of Him was imperfect while the divine aspect of Him was perfectly messianic.

“Secondly, a leader must be honest to himself and to the people he serves or he wants to serve. He must identify and acknowledge his situation, mistakes, shortcomings and inadequacy; show remorse where and when he has erred, seek forgiveness and repent; and not passing the bulk or keep blaming others and fail to accept responsibility.

“Atiku accepts responsibility for his mistakes, shows remorse and seeks forgiveness from his political party and subsequently from Nigerians.

“He asks for forgiveness from me and as a believer, a Christian as such, I forgave him in accordance with the teaching and instruction of my Saviour, ‘For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins’ (Matt 6:14-15 NIV).

“If anybody blames me for forgiving Atiku, I leave such a person with God Almighty, especially as both Christian and Islamic clerics joined Atiku to visit me to seek forgiveness.

“Anybody who does not forgive when forgiveness is sought with contrite heart cannot be a true believer and should not expect the forgiveness of God.

“Thirdly, as a leader, you must understand the fundamentals of the problems you have to solve and be courageous, visionary and ready to reach out sufficiently to build a credible team of experts, knowledgeable men and women, concerned and interested citizens and non-citizens to work hard and tirelessly for solutions that will benefit all Nigerians and indeed Africans and humanity.

“He must have ability to build a credible team, lead them, listen to them and give them enough leeway to achieve and make meaningful contribution without abdicating his responsibility. He must be accessible to them. From my personal knowledge of Atiku, he has these qualities.

“I must reiterate that Atiku is not a saint and who is? But from what I know of Atiku, he will be a performer in all respects. I can say that again from my personal experience. He knows the problems and he handled some of them or similar and in the past.

“We now know that both Buhari and Atiku have issues and all of us as human beings have one issue or the other in different magnitude.

“But judging both of them empirically and for the task at hand, Atiku will perform much better than Buhari and he will seek for good and able people around the country and beyond and make use of them to achieve his mission and vision for the general good of Nigerians and the country.

“He will be a team leader but will not allow the seizure of his mandate by a cabal. A system to prevent impunity and ‘I can do what I like’ attitude and action must be put in place for all concerned.

“One of the most ridiculous claims I have heard on these issues is that I did not give Atiku chance to preside over the Federal Executive Council because I did not trust him.

“That was not correct because he had occasions to preside on a few times that I was out of the country on duty. On those occasions, he was in charge of the Federal Executive Council meetings.

“No Nigerian Chief Executive has devolved to his deputy as much as I did to Atiku. I did not need to designate him Acting President because the Constitution is clear, once the President is not available, the Vice-President automatically acts with full powers and he consults where and if he considers it necessary.

“But since I was not absent from home for 104 days at a time, people may not know that Atiku actually stood in for me whenever I was out.”

Obasanjo, however, said Atiku could not do it alone, he urged that everyone should ensure he is voted as president.

He told Atiku that if voted as next president by majority of Nigerians, he should be the leader of all and not act like the incumbent “who is serving the interest of sectional groups.”

However, the Buhari Diaspora Support Organisation (BDSO), descended on Obasanjo over his continuous verbal attack on Buhari.

Its coordinator, Charles Sylvester, told newsmen in Owerri, Imo State, yesterday that the former president’s “public excoriation showed that he lacked the qualities befitting the status of a former president, such as self respect, decorum, discipline and restraint.”   (The Sun)

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Obasanjo Is Master Election Rigger, Says Tinubu |The Republican News

Chukwudi Nweje

 

 NationalLeader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has described former President Olusegun Obasanjo as an “election rigger without peer.”

Tinubu said this in a reply to Obasanjo’s Sunday letter, wherein he accused President Muhammadu Buhari of planning to rig the elections.

In the reply, which he personally signed, titled ‘Chief Obasanjo–At War Against His Own Deeds,’ Tinubu, who is co-chairman of the APC Presidential Campaign, said Obasanjo’s accusations depicts what he (Obasanjo) would have done if he were in power.

Tinubu also claimed Obasanjo never superintended over any credible election while in office.

He said: “There is no election which occurred under Obasanjo’s watch or in which he participated that did not involve cheating on his part.

“Yet, the ways of Obasanjo are not those of the APC. And, this difference has meant the better for Nigeria.

“…The worst of Obasanjo’s record, I have yet to describe.

“When it comes to elections, he has been a rigger without peer.

“There is no election which occurred under Obasanjo’s watch or in which he participated that did not involve cheating on his part.

“Even the late President Umaru Musa Yar ‘Adua admitted he was the beneficiary of a flawed election engineered by none other than today’s vociferous complainant. For Obasanjo to lament over electoral malpractice is tantamount to the ocean complaining that a few raindrops are causing it to get wet.”

Tinubu added that the 1999 presidential election was also handed over to Obasanjo “on a silver platter.”

He said rather than seize the opportunity to unite Nigeria, Obasanjo “lowered himself to being a divisive, vindictive conniver.

“This man should have positioned himself to be the father of the nation. All the goodwill that could be granted a political figure was bestowed on him.  The global economy was such that it fuelled our growth. Everyone wanted Nigeria to succeed after emerging from years of noxious military rule.

“Despite the flawed exercise that rendered him president, we all bit our tongues in hope that he would say and do the right things that would move Nigeria forward.

“Instead of being a unifying figure as Commander-in-chief, he lowered himself to being a divisive, vindictive conniver.

“There was no table which he neared that he did not upset and overturn. There was no one who came into his company for any period of time with whom he did not fall out; if he expresses a thought contrary to one of his.

“Obasanjo is many things to many people; but he is all things unto himself. His recent contribution to our political discourse wherein he alleges plots to steer the coming elections shows he benefits from an exceedingly faulty memory, is purely shameless or has a most wicked sense of humour. Perhaps all three are facets of his makeup and were equally on display in his latest prosaic display.

“The crux of his long tirade was the allegation that INEC is poised to cook the election results.

“Chief Obasanjo should not get his dander up and waste good ink for nothing. This election will be a free and open exercise of the people’s right to choose their leaders. Obasanjo makes fiery allegations against this right but offers no corroborating evidence; he presents only reams of words.

“This is because Obasanjo is projecting onto the APC the misconduct he would wrought if still in power.”   (The Sun)

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Obasanjo Slams Buhari: ‘You’re sick In Spirit, Body, Soul |The Republican News

Romans UgwuAbuja, with agency report

 

Less than 24 hours after former President Olusegun Obasanjo President Muhammadu Buharia of behaving like late General Sani Abacha, he has fired yet another shot at the incumbent.

Obasanjo, in an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation, Yoruba, the former president said Buhari is sick in the spirit, body and soul. The elder statesman said Buhari needs to rest and allow another person to take charge of Nigeria, ahead of the February 16 presidential election.

“Buhari is sick in the spirit, body and soul. Let’s beg him to go and rest. He has tried his best. Let give chance to another person..

“When people ask me that, ‘what if the next person is not suitable?’ I tell them ‘that is the beauty of democracy.’”

In an open letter on Sunday, titled: Points for concern and action, Obasanjo specifically accused the president of taking the country back to the Abacha era and also, accused the Buhari government of derailing the country’s democracy by using security institutions to fight perceived critics.

“EFCC, Police and Code of Conduct Tribunal are also being equally misused to deal with those Buhari sees as enemies for criticising him or as those who may not do his bidding in manipulating election results. Criticism, choice and being different are inherent trade mark of democracy. If democracy is derailed or aborted, anarchy and authoritarianism will automatically follow,” Obasanjo said in the letter.

The interview was on its website (www.bbc.com/yoruba/afrika-46942779), yesterday evening, BBC Yoruba, with release of the full interview, today, at 6:00am.

In the interview, Obasanjo also said although he has reservations about Atiku, he would be a better alternative than Buhari.

In a swift reaction, the All Progressives Congress (APC) described Obasanjo as someone whose nuisance value is high.

Reacting to the latest attack on Buhari, from Obasanjo, APC National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, told Daily Sun, yesterday night, that everything that is supposed to be said about his attacks to Buhari has been said.

Insisting that Obasnjo’s utterances have become inconsequential, Issa-Onilu said Obasanjo should not forget that he has only one, un-influential vote.

“Whatever he is saying now is not different from what he said on Sunday. I have reacted enough to what he said. If mine was not enough, what Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and others said about him should be enough.

“We don’t want to give Obasanjo that privilege of replying to everything he says. APC is done with Obasanjo.

“He is not worth the attention the media is giving to him. It is not true that Nigerians want to hear from him.

“His nuisance value is becoming very high. APC has more important things to do than replying to Obasanjo. He has only one vote and can decide where to take it to.”  (The Sun)

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AGAIN: Obasanjo Hits Buhari Hard, Says He’s Desperate Like Abacha |RN

•Urges Nigerians to fight, safeguard their votes   •Your past haunting you, APC replies ex-president

ByIsmail Omipidan, Laide Raheem, Abeokuta & Romanus Ugwu, Abuja

 

FormerPresident Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday came hard on President Muhammadu Buhari, accusing him of allegedly plotting to rig the February 16 presidential election.

This is the third time Obasanjo would attack Buhari in less than one year.

The first major attack came through a formal letter to Buhari in January 2018, where he pointedly told a man he helped to power in 2015, not to bother seeking a re-election.

By April of the same year, Obasanjo again hit Buhari, asking him to stop giving Nigerians excuses, insisting that the attitude of always giving excuses was why Buhari had not achieved results.

Obasanjo, who described Buhari as a failure then, this time spoke at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta, Ogun State, while playing host to the New Nigeria 2019 Group, led by the convener, Chima Anyaso, in company with Moses Siasia.

Obasanjo, in a 4002-word letter, titled “Point for Concern and Action,” warned Nigerians never to allow Buhari deceive them the second time.

Obasanjo said: “What is happening under Buhari’s watch can be likened to what we witnessed under Gen. Sani Abacha in many ways. When Abacha decided that he must install himself as Nigerian President by all means and at all costs, he went for broke and surrounded himself with hatchet men who on his order and in his interest and at high costs to Nigeria and Nigerians maimed, tortured and killed for Abacha. Buhari has started on the same path in mad desperation.

“From available intelligence, we have heard of how Buhari and his party are going about his own self-succession project.  They have started recruiting collation officers who are already awarding results based on their projects to actualise the perpetuation agenda in which the people will not matter and the votes will not count.  It is the sole reason he has blatantly refused to sign the revised Electoral Reform Bill into law.

“His henchmen are working round the clock in cahoots with security and election officials to perfect their plan by computing results right from the ward to local government, state and national levels to allot him what will look like a landslide victory irrespective of the true situation for a candidate who might have carried out by proxy presidential debate and campaigns.

“The current plan is to drape the pre-determined results with a toga of credibility.  It is also planned that violence of unimaginable proportion will be unleashed in high voting population areas across the country to precipitate re-run elections and where he will be returned duly elected after concentration of security officials as it happened in Osun State. 

“We are monitoring them and we call on all democrats across the world to keep an eye on the unfolding anti-democratic agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari.  This is the time for preventive measures to be taken otherwise Nigeria may be presented with a fait accompli with impunity and total disregard of all pleas.

“His scheme bears eloquent testimony to this road similar to Abacha whom he has praised to high heavens and as an arch-supporter and beneficiary from Abacha, he has seen nothing wrong done by him. 

“Buhari has intimidated and harassed the private sector, attacked the National Assembly and now unconstitutionally and recklessly attacked and intimidated the Judiciary to cow them to submission.

“Today, another Abacha era is here.  The security institutions are being misused to fight all critics and opponents of Buhari and to derail our fledgling democracy. 

“EFCC, police and Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) are also being equally misused to deal with those Buhari sees as enemies for criticising him or as those who may not do his bidding in manipulating election results.  Criticism, choice and being different are inherent trademark of democracy.  If democracy is derailed or aborted, anarchy and authoritarianism will automatically follow.

“Today, as in the day of Abacha, Nigerians must rise up and do what they did in the time of Abacha.  Churches and Mosques prayed.  International community stood by us Nigerians. I was a beneficiary and my life was saved.

“Well-meaning Nigerians took appropriate actions and made sacrifices, some supreme, some less than supreme but God had the final say and He took the ultimate action.

“Buhari has succeeded in deceiving us the first time and we will be fools to allow ourselves to be deceived the second time.  Buba Galadima, who knows Buhari very well as a confidant and has warned us this time around that no matter what he promises, he cannot change his character and attitude. 

“Even when figures, facts and statistics are made clear to Buhari, he keeps repeating what is untrue, either because he cannot understand or for mischief purposes and that places him on the level of a pathological liar.  He believes he can get away with impunity and deceit as he seems to have done on many occasions in the past.

“Galadima’s position is well complemented by Dr. Auwalu Anwar on the APC, CPC, TBO and Buhari’s character and attitude in his yet to be launched book, ‘Politics As Dashed Hopes in Nigeria’.  It is also a stunning revelation. Anwar clearly pointed out, ‘the brazen display of incompetence, insensitivity and irresponsiveness by delusional party, CPC, leadership at all levels’.  Buhari was the leader of the party.“Bola Tinubu’s statement about Buhari in 2003 is fairly prophetic, ‘Muhammadu Buhari is an agent of destabilisation, ethnic bigot and religious fanatic who, if given the chance, would ensure the disintegration of the country.  His ethnocentrism would jeopardise Nigeria’s national unity.’

“Junaid Mohammed was eloquent on the issue of nepotism.  But if as we were told that Buhari is nepotistic because he does not trust others, why should others trust him to continue to put their fate and life in his hand? 

The All Progressives Congress (APC),however,  reacted saying Obasanjo’s “past is actually hunting.” Its National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, said:

“When you are adept at a particular thing, that is, what you know how to do well, for eight years of president Obasanjo, all the elections he held and government policies were determined by whatever mood he finds himself. All the institutions of government were brought under his wings and what he did for those eight years is what is hunting him.

“We have conducted over 93 elections since the APC came to power and you can be sure that all those elections were conducted without any interference from this government.

His past is actually hunting him and he must be imaging that perhaps the way he did it remains the same.”

“The 2003 and 2007 elections were nothing to write home about and it happened under former president Obasanjo. He has carried himself about as the dispenser of our destiny and God is showing him clearly that he has just only been lucky and he has considered the favours God has done to him as coming from himself.

credible election.  And if the INEC is willing, will the ruling party and government allow it? 

“From what we saw and knew about Osun State gubernatorial election, what was conclusive was declared inconclusive despite all advice to the contrary.  The unnecessary rerun, if viewed as a test-run for a larger general election, would lead people to expect incidences of deliberately contrived, broken or non-working voting machines or card readers, confusion of voters as to their voting stations, inadequate supply of voting materials to designated places, long line to discourage voters and turning blind eyes to favour the blue-eye political party of INEC because the commission’s hands will be tied to enable hatchet men and women to perform their unwholesome assignment. 

“The transmission and collation of results are subject to interference, manipulation and meddling.  If the INEC’s favourite political party wins with all the above infractions, the result will be conclusively declared and if not, there will be a ‘rerun’, the result of which is known before it is carried out.

“I know that I am not alone in being skeptical about the integrity of INEC and its ability to act creditably and above board.  But we are open to be convinced otherwise.”

He also did not spare INEC’s National Commissioner, Amina Zakari either. Obasanjo held that since both the families of Amina Zakari and Buhari have accepted that there was indeed a marriage relationship between both families, she should have excused herself from the election exercise.

Doing otherwise, Obasanjo said, would suggest that she may deliberately have been “assigned to Collation Centre for one duty only – to write out figures that are not results of the voting in the field on fake results sheets without water mark or on genuine results sheets which she will have access to as a commissioner. 

“Amina Zakari is not the only commissioner that can be in the Collation Centre.  Let the INEC chairman act boldly and impartially and prove his absolute neutrality and responsiveness to contribute to make the election peacefully free, fair and credible.  His integrity needs to be transparently demonstrated.”

The former president also took Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to the cleaners for leading the Trader Moni campaign, saying it is “outrightly idiotic” for a person of his status, to lead such a campaign.

“It is no use, at this juncture, to keep lamenting about the failure, incompetence, divisiveness, nepotism, encouragement and condonation of corruption by Buhari administration as there is neither redeeming feature nor personality to salvage the situation within that hierarchy. 

“You cannot give what you don’t have.  Bode George put it bluntly in his statement of December 3, 2018 when he said: ‘The other day, the Vice-President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo – a learned man, an enlightened person in all parameters – was seen at various markets in Lagos State and Abuja distributing N10,000 each to market women.  What an absurdity!  It was indeed an obscene display of executive recklessness and abuse of office.  Pray, where did the money come from?  Was it budgeted for in the appropriation law? In more civilised nations, Osinbajo would have been impeached and prosecuted for gutting our collective treasury.’

“What an act by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria lawyer, number two man in the executive hierarchy; and what is more, a pastor of one of the Christian movements led by a revered, respected and upright church leader, Pastor E. A. Adeboye. 

“Osinbajo must have gone for, ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’.  A great pity indeed and which makes people ask the questions, ‘any hope?’  Yes, for me, there is hope. 

“Osinbajo has shown the human weakness and proved the saying that the corruption of the best is the worst form of corruption. His explanation that it was their government programme can only be construed to be very shallow and lopsided, if not an outrightly idiotic programme.”     (The Sun)

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Obasanjo Slams FG, Says Nigeria Left Behind For Not Signing Trade Pact |RN

Says Nigeria’ll be left behind for non-signing of trade pact

Obasanjo expressed optimism that the government would sign the AfCFTA in order to help its vibrant private sector benefit from the integration programme.

Amechi Ogbonna, Cairo, Egypt

Former president, Olusegun Obasanjo and Chairman, Advisory Board of the First Intra-African Trade Fair holding in Cairo, Egypt, yesterday, lamented Nigeria’s failure to sign the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), despite its leadership role in the continent.

He said it was absurd for Nigeria that had played many leadership roles on the continent from 1963 not to be part of the AfCFTA deal.

He said the rest of Africa countries was ready to proceed with the implementation of pact without Nigeria.

On March 21, 2018, 44 of the 55 African Union (AU) member states gathered in Kigali, Rwanda, to sign the AfCFTA with a view to creating a single market in the continent. Once the agreement is ratified by all signatories, the trade bloc to be created would encompass 1.2 billion people and over USD $2 trillion in combined (Gross Domestic Product (GDP.)

Obasanjo who featured at one of the closing sessions of the first Intra Africa Trade Fair and Exhibitions titled “Conversation with former Nigerian president” and moderated by Nigerian journalist, Mark Eddo, regretted that at a time the country was needed to provide leadership by being on the table to sign the AfCFTA, even after debating it at the highest policy making organ of the Federal Government, the Federal Executive Council (FEC), the leadership suddenly developed cold feet thereby leaving other nations who were looking up to it for direction in quandary.

“I just sincerely hope and pray that Nigeria will be at the table before the implementation of the scheme begins. But the truth is that whether Nigeria is there or not, Africa has started to move forward and it cannot stop the rest of continent that have already signed the agreement.

He added: “We started it from 1963. From there we had the Lagos Plan of Action, then NEPAD, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and several others. But what has gone wrong today that Nigeria is taking the back stage in Africa’s economic integration initiative?”

Obasanjo, who also reminded his audience that Nigeria, as the largest economy in Africa, with one third of its the population living in virtually all parts of the world, expressed optimism that the government would comply and sign the agreement in order to help its vibrant private sector benefit from the integration programme. He expressed satisfaction with the heavy presence of the Nigerian private sector at the Fair and urged the Nigerian authorities not to allow the opportunity to slip off their hands.

According to him, the AfCTA is the economic salvation that Africa needs to redeem the wrong perceptions of it left by colonialism.

“I don’t care what people say about me but I believe this is the time that we need to rise together and prove to world leaders that go with the perception that Africans live in huts and that we are shit holes, that we are human beings and the only way we can do this is by improving the standard of living of Africans.”

He, however, called on the Afreximbank leadership to continue with its effort and commitment to changing Africa, stressing that it was high time the colonial structures left by Europe and America were dismantled.

According to him, it’s only when we do that that we can be seen as human beings and not “shit holes”.

Meanwhile, Obasanjo has called on African leaders to commit more to infrastructure development, stressing that such investment would help the private sector expand its operations.  (The Sun)

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2019: Obasanjo Slams Buhari Again, Refutes Having No Preferred Candidate |RN

                                                   Buhari, Obasanjo

Niyi Odebode  and Tunji Bosun 

 

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Sunday denied a report which indicated that he had dropped his support for the Peoples Democratic Party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.

He faulted the report which also stated that he had no preferred presidential candidate. Obasanjo said only a fool would sit on the fence.

The ex-President said these in a statement by his media aide, Kehinde Akinyemi, made available to journalists in Abeokuta.

In  the  statement titled,  “2019 elections and reports of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s neutrality”, Obasanjo said he was in Cairo to attend the maiden edition of the Intra-African Trade Fair  where  he acted as  the Chairman of the Advisory Council when his attention was drawn to the report (not in The PUNCH) with the headline, “Atiku: Obasanjo shifts political gear to neutral”

Obasanjo said in the statement that Nigeria was being destroyed by incompetence, lack of focus and nepotism.

He said while he chose not to use the Owu convention in Iwo, Osun State on Saturday as a platform for a  political campaign, he adopted a communal and familial approach in talking to members of his Owu sub-ethnic group.

According to the statement, the former President “ believes that only a fool will sit on the fence or be neutral when his or her country is being destroyed with incompetence, corruption, lack of focus, insecurity, nepotism, brazen impunity and denial of the obvious. Chief Obasanjo is no such fool nor is he so unwise”.

The statement said,  “It is disingenuous, if not malicious, for anyone to suggest that Chief Obasanjo was being neutral when he chose not to use the Owu convention as a platform for political campaign but instead adopted a communal and familial approach in talking to members of his Owu family.

“For the records, and as accurately reported by some media organisations, what the former President said at the convention in Iwo was that while he would not impose any candidates on them, Nigerians should vote for credible candidates who would drive growth and development and make their lives better than it is now.

“Chief Obasanjo’s statement did not suggest his neutrality. In fact, the former President believes that only a fool will sit on the fence or be neutral when his or her country is being destroyed. Chief Obasanjo is no such fool nor is he so unwise.

“The former President reassures Nigerians that he will not sit on the fence when he needs to be out and active for people to know where he stands in the best interest of Nigeria.

“Chief Obasanjo reaffirms that he is on the side of what is best for Nigeria and what we have currently, at the helm of affairs of Nigeria,   is not the best for Nigeria, so nobody should fool himself or deceive others about Chief Obasanjo’s position.

“The former President further urges Nigerians, who are victims of what we have for now, to stop just complaining and go out to get beneficial change.

“They must know that such change will not come if they remain inactive, just complaining and complacent and allow themselves to be deceived by sycophants and enemies of Nigeria.

“If they do not become active and get the much-needed change of the current administration to a government that will improve the economy, regain the confidence of investors and generally drive growth, development and economic progress with security, what is coming will be much worse than what Nigerians currently suffer.

“On his part, Chief Obasanjo will remain consistent in speaking out whenever and wherever he sees evil as he is known to do no matter whose ox is gored. Nobody should manipulate Chief Obasanjo’s position, particularly on the 2019 presidential election and what he said in Iwo,  to perpetrate or perpetuate continued destruction of our country, “the statement said.

Obasanjo, had in a letter to the President in January this year, urged Buhari not to seek re-election. He had accused the President of incompetence in many areas, including the economy.

The ex-President had stated, “There are other areas where President Buhari has come out more glaringly than most of us thought we knew about him. One is nepotic deployment bordering on clannishness and inability to bring discipline to bear on errant members of his nepotic court. This has grave consequences on the 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.”

Urging the President to shelve his 2019 presidential ambition, he stated, “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.”

After the emergence of his former deputy, Atiku Abubakar as the PDP presidential candidate, Obasanjo in October endorsed the ex-vice-president.

The endorsement followed a peace meeting brokered by the founder of the Living Faith Church, Bishop David Oyedepo; an Islamic preacher,  Ahmed Gumi; the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Matthew Kukah;   a  chieftain of the pan-Yoruba group, Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo and the PDP National Chairman,  Uche Secondus.

The relationship between  Obasanjo and Atiku had become frosty towards the twilight of the Obasanjo administration which ran from 1999 till 2007.

There were allegations that Atiku had worked against the third term agenda purportedly mooted by his then boss. Obasanjo too had since not supported all Atiku’s earlier efforts at becoming the president.

Obasanjo, had in an exclusive interview with Premium Times on August 3 after his arrival from Kigali, said God would not forgive him if he supported Atiku.

“How can I be on the same side with Atiku?”  Obasanjo was quoted to have asked. “To do what?  If I support Atiku for anything, God will not forgive me. If I do not know, yes. But once I know, Atiku can never enjoy my support,” he said.

But on October 11, 2018, after the peace meeting, Obasanjo said he forgave Atiku in the interest of the nation.

He stated, “Let me start by congratulating President-to-be, Atiku Abubakar, on his success at the recent PDP primary and I took note of his gracious remarks in his acceptance speech that it all started here.

“Yes, when it started, it was meant for Atiku to succeed Obasanjo.  In the presence of these distinguished leaders of goodwill today, let me say it openly that we have reviewed what went wrong on the side of Atiku.

“And in all honesty, my former Vice-President has rediscovered and repositioned himself. As I have repeatedly said, it is not so much what you did against me that was the issue but what you did against the party, the government and the country.

“I took the stand I had taken based on the character and attributes you exhibited in the position you found yourself. I strongly believe that I was right. It was in the overall interest of everyone and everything to take such a position.

“From what transpired in the last couple of hours or so, you have shown remorse; you have asked for forgiveness and you have indicated that you have learnt some good lessons and you will mend fences and make amends as necessary and as desirable.

“Whenever or wherever you might have offended me, as a Christian who asks for God’s forgiveness of my sins and inadequacies on a daily basis, I forgive and I sincerely advise you to learn from the past and do what is right and it will be well with you.” (Punch)

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