In its usual way of shooting the messenger and ignoring the message, the Nigerian Government has responded to former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s harsh criticism of the Buhari administration, calling the ex President, the Divider-in-Chief of Nigeria.
While delivering a speech on Thursday, the former President warned that Nigeria was becoming a divided and failed state and something needed to be don’t to salvage the situation.
Obasanjo said he had never seen Nigeria so divided and blamed the current administration of Muhammadu Buhari of mismanaging the affairs of the country.
The leader of the Presidency attack team, and senior media aide to President Buhari, Shehu Garba however responded to the harsh criticism of his boss, saying it was rather unfair.
Excerpts from the Shehu Garba’s statement read,
“In his most recent statement, former President Olusegun Obasanjo attempts to divide the nation while President Muhammadu Buhari continues to promote nation building and the unity of Nigeria.
“The difference is clear. From the lofty heights of Commander-in-Chief, General Obasanjo has descended to the lowly level of Divider-in-Chief (to adapt the coinage of Time).”
Garba Shehu advised former President Obasanjo to help to solve the problems where they exist instead of drumming up a poisonous atmosphere of ethnic and religious nationalism.
He said Obasanjo’s supporters must be disappointed in the fact that he expressed support for a few extremist groups. Whom he said have refused the government’s invitation to participate in a constitutional amendment process while pretending to call for dialogue.
“The fact that the process he ushered in under his administration with the dubious intention of amendments that sought tenure elongation failed-as did two other attempts by the successor administrations of the same political party- does not in any way justify his dismissal of the exercise by the 9th Assembly as another waste of time and resources.”
The President’s aide said further;
“The recent decisions by the administration as they relate to subsidy withdrawal, helping to plug some of the most horrendous notorious holes and release of scarce resources for the more pressing needs of the people has also not escaped the ire of the former President.
“It’s a known fact that the withdrawal of subsidies had been on the wish list of the Obasanjo-led Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. They failed in achieving these measures because, one there was a shared greed. They plundered the treasury as much as anyone could in the name of either subsidy or waiver with reckless impunity.
“Two, is to say it takes courage and rare statesmanship on the part of a leader to do as President Buhari to shun populism and seek the best interest of the people and the state, providing the kind of reform and development that Nigeria urgently needs.”
Garba Shehu boasted that Buhari’s administration has been filled with successes with infrastructure and repairing of relations with international partners like China and Saudi Arabia.
He said Nigeria now had the respect of the world where it used to be ridiculed under the PDP.
“It (Buhari’s) is a pro-business administration that has used diplomacy to unlock bilateral trade and investment.
“He leads a government that has liberalised the investment climate and market access by achieving reforms that have placed the country in the list of the world’s top reforming economies.”
“Nigeria, which other nations had mocked and ridiculed for so many things that were wrong is today progressing at a pace reflecting its size and potential.
“With so much to show and many more coming, it is little surprise that President Buhari would be the object of envy and harsh unfair challenges by politicians who failed to deliver, but continue to nurse ambitions of delighting the audience long after their curtain
has been drawn.”
The President’s aide did not miss the opportunity to lash out at critics of Buhari’s statement on tenure elongation by West African leaders.
He said the President has always held the same view from the beginning despite having removed a democratically elected government himself when he was a military head of state.
“Even though he tried it and failed, the recent uptick in the number of such leaders proposing to do, or actually carrying on in office beyond term limits is sufficient to cause concern among democrats in the sub-region given its prospects of destabilizing the states and the region.”
“President Buhari’s advocacy is consistent with his principles and in line with the current policies of his administration and indeed that of the ECOWAS Charter which is that term limits must be respected and that the change of government is only permissible through the ballot box.”
Returning to Obasanjo, Garba Shehu said the former President should stop seeing himself as a political Messiah and a self acclaimed prophet for the life and death of governments.