The controversy caused by former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s letter in which he castigated the Muhammadu Buhari administration is yet to subside.
The reactions have been mixed, with some people hailing him and others knocking him for advising the president not to run for a second term.
Former Abia State Governor Orji Uzor Kalu and Senate Committee on Police Affairs Chairman Senator Abu Ibrahim rejected Obasanjo’s stand.
Kalu questioned Obasanjo’s achievements and said it would be unfair to the Southeast, the Southsouth and the Southwest not to support Buhari’s second term bid, given the need to return power to the South after the completion of his two terms.
Kalu told reporters at the airport in Lagos:”I think Obasanjo’s letter is not in the best interest of Nigeria. There are three express roads Obasanjo refused to build when he was the President. Port Harcourt, Okigwe, Umuahia, Enugu expressway. It is being built now by the Buhari administration.
“Another one is the Enugu-Awka-Onitsha expressway. It is being built now by the Buhari administration. Obasanjo did not build it. Then there is the Onitsha-Owerri and Aba expressway. The Buhari administration is building it now.
“Between Obasanjo and Buhari, who should I call my friend in real terms? It is Buhari who is developing our region. With the roads, trailers loaded with manufactured goods in Aba will be able to get to their various destinations from the city. So, Buhari is my friend; so he is a better President.
Why the former President is not qualified to write is because he is the cause of many of the things happening in this country today. Obasanjo is not a worthy person to write that letter. Under the Obasanjo administration, $16 billion was spent on power plants but that money was wasted. Where we are now at the privately-owned domestic airport, you can hear the sound of generator. The electricity in the facility is being powered by generator. Where is the $16 billion spent on electricity?
“It is just that governments are not serious. If the different tiers of government are serious, they would address where the $16 billion meant for provision of power has gone.
“Before June this year, I will write my own letter to President Buhari and that letter will be explosive. Nigerians will see my letter to Buhari and that will be explosive.”
Kalu added: “Buhari is fighting corruption. It is those who don’t know Buhari that will not be saying that. You know that I supported Buhari in 2003 even when I was a PDP governor. Senator Ibrahim said Nigerians should judge Buhari by his achievements rather than “the sentiments” expressed by Obasanjo.
He asked Nigerians to ignore Obasanjo and focus attention on the quantum lift on the country had made under Buhari.
He said: “Obasanjo is always himself. He always wants to be seen as the best president the country has had. He should however be advised not to always do things that are subjective.”
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chairman Uche Secondus said “the government of APC has become a lame duck after the former President Olusegun Obasanjo released a political tsunami and verdict on it”
He said the PDP would save the nation from collapse
Secondus spoke in Abuja during a meeting with the league of former ministers who served under the various PDP administrations since 1999.
He said: “Our nation is in a situation where PDP must save this nation from total collapse.
“We shall be engaging most of you even at emergency level. As we move, it will be so dynamic in nature. Feel free, this party belongs to all of us.
“We have opened the party up; no one single person owns this party. No one single individual can direct; it must be collective leadership. That is what is going to give us victory.
“Very soon, we shall roll out our programme; we are going to embark on online membership drive and it is going to be aggressive.
“We also want to assure you that members of the NWC are not ready to sit at Wadata in the confines of air-conditioner.
“We want to roll out our suites and move to the states and the local government and we will get to the wards and, if possible the units, to seek for membership. So you will join us in your states”.
The party chair described the former ministers as men and women of integrity who have worked for the nation, assuring them that the National Working Committee (NWC) was ready to work closely with them.
Former Jigawa State Governor Sule Lamido praised Obasanjo ”for speaking the minds of Nigerians.”
He said: “APC and the president have no capacity, they have no knowledge, no political sagacity; they can’t lead Nigeria. If we allow APC to continue, this country will perish.”
Lamido said President Buhari would have been impeached for allegedly declaring that he would only work for regions that voted him into power.
His words: “For a government which says I can only work where I got my own votes, which means from the beginning, the culture of hate has been there. Nigeria is for all Nigerians. In saner countries, the president would have been impeached for declaring that he would work in areas where he got votes.”
To the former governor, the Buhari administration is intolerant of divergent views. Critics are often “maligned, demonized and blackmailed,” he said.
Lamido spoke in Asaba, the Delta State capital while soliciting the support of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and PDP members for his presidential ambition.
A pro-Buhari youth group, the Democratic Youths Congress for Buhari 2019 described former Obasanjo’s statement as “an open confrontation against the North that made him what he is”
Its National Chairman, Hon Kassim Mohammad Kassim told reporters in Owerri, the Imo State capital, that Obasanjo’s “outburst” was not in the interest of the nation as he claimed cbut a ploy to relaunch himself into relevance ahead of the 2019 general elections.
Kassim, who is also a member of the Nasarawa State House of Assembly representing Akwanga South Constituency, said: ”As a lawmaker and the national chairman of a youths support group for Buhari, I want to categorically say that, not because I am a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) or running a campaign team for Buhari, but as a matter of fact, Nigerians will agree with me that some of our past leaders are the problem of this country.
”Why I am saying this is that I want to specifically respond to former President Olusegun Obasanjo because Nigerians will agree that when Obasanjo was President, all his activities were centred on himself alone and that was why he wanted the third term to remain in power and die in power but since that plan was truncated, he became demoralised and felt so bad that Nigerians rejected him to that extent because he was not having any agenda that could promote this country. But because he has seen that with what is happening and the way things are moving, Nigerians won’t mind to ask Buhari to continue for even more than two terms and that is why he is raising issues to create more confusion and to add more crisis to the existing crisis. Nobody would wish to see the system collapsing; so, as good citizens, we say ‘no’ to that but we condemn Obasanjo’s ploy to create relevance for himself by creating tension in the polity.”
A chieftain of the APC in Delta State, Chief Ovo Ofigo, said the Obasanjo statement should rather be seen as a wakeup call to the President, to live up to his campaign promises.
Ofigo, who is the National Coordinator of the Buhari Solidarity Movement (BSM),urged Buhari to remain focused and use the remaining period of his administration to focus of doing what made Nigerians to vote for him in 201.
“Failure is an opportunity for determined people to succeed. Thus, President Buhari is determined to have a second term, then he has to take the former President’s outburst as a welcome and healthy development,” he said.
He added that “President Buhari should not forgo his second term ambition. Instead he should study critically the Obasanjo outburst and make amends.”
“If power and energy are properly put in place, every other thing will follow-including sound economy that Obasanjo himself will vote for Buhari in 2019,” Ofigo said.
He advised Nigerians to give Buhari 10 calendar months to give us the desired change, stressing that “he should be encouraged to transform Nigeria”.
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