‘You’re part of the problem’ — Bolaji Akinyemi tackles Obasanjo after Obi endorsement



Bolaji Akinyemi, a former minister of external affairs, has faulted the New Year message of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Akinyemi spoke on Sunday during an interview on Channels Television.

Obasanjo, in his New Year message, declared his support for Peter Obi, presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), ahead of the 2023 general election.

The former president urged youths to be more deliberate about the choices they make, adding that the 2023 elections should not be taken for granted.


Akinyemi, a professor of political science, said the former president is “part of the foundation of the problems” bedevilling the country, adding that Obasanjo should have stayed away from politics at end of his term as president.

The professor dismissed the comment that the focus should be on Obasanjo’s message rather than his personality or records while in office.

 “Some of us believe he (referring to Obasanjo) is also part of the foundation of the problems that we have in this country,” he said.

“One of the things I had said is once you have occupied the post of president and served your term, go home, be like General Gowon, General Abdulsalami. Just be quiet, you have had your term, you have had your innings, to use a cricket language. Let others get on.

“But for you to create problems for us and then you come back and present yourself as a problem solver, I find it difficult to swallow.

“I know there are people who say, ignore the messenger, focus on the message. I’m sorry, I’m a political scientist That doesn’t rub with me as a political scientist. I’m sure whoever came up with that must be a politician, who does not want people to look back into his own record.”


Also speaking, Usman Bugaje, a former member of the house of representatives, questioned Obasanjo’s probity to counsel Nigerians on who to vote for, stressing that the former president tried to extend his tenure by attempting to change the constitution during his time as president.

The former lawmaker said Nigerians should be advised on issues that must guide them to vote for a particular candidate, adding that the country needs serious leadership.

“First, former President Obasanjo is entitled to his opinion. All of us are entitled to our opinions. He is a free citizen. He can make his choices public and try to persuade those we want to persuade,” he said.

 “I would have been interested in his criteria — how he arrived at this. Objective criteria. But as Professor Akinyemi said, you don’t just look at what he is saying, you look at his own records.

“I’m afraid his record doesn’t quite encourage me to take whatever he says objectively. I was in the national assembly when he tried to extend his tenure by changing the constitution. We had to stand up to him in that respect.

 “I won’t find him as the kind of person who I can trust in some of the things that he says. But He is free to say those things.”


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