Following the recent backlash on former President Olusegun Obasanjo on his comment on ‘Fulanisation’ and ‘Islamisation’ of Nigeria, some former military administrators have warned the federal government to respect the status and views of the former president, instead of castigating him.
A former military administrator of Bauchi and Osun states, Col. Theophilus Bamigboye (retd), and a former governor of the defunct Western State, Maj.-Gen. David Jemibewon, (retd) made the call on Friday.
The duo said Obasanjo was in a vantage position to hold his opinion, having been a two-time leader of Nigeria, as Head of State and two-term President in Nigeria’s democracy.
According to Bamigboye, “This is the problem we have. Somebody who is of the standing of Obasanjo, people should respect his opinion and statement. He could not have made that statement anyhow.
“In any case, you do not expect me to lambast my former Command-In-Chief. I am not good at that. But people who are doing it, they should, for God’s sake, weigh it and then see reasons instead of castigating him. This is the way I look at him. This is a former Head of State and respected elder statesman; I think people should respect his opinion instead of castigating him.
“About his comment, I have no power, authority or knowledge about that. I cannot comment further on that.”
Jemibewon who is a former minister for Police Affairs said, “I think it is unfair to castigate an elderly person who is respected, in fact, beyond this country. I think it is unfair. People should be able to express their views. If you disagree, just simply say you disagree, rather than people castigating anybody.
“I think everybody who has reached the age of maturity should be able to express his opinion on a matter as long as he did not insult anybody. I think he should be able to express his view not to talk of somebody of the age of Obasanjo.
“If people claim he has no right to his personal opinion, who then will have right? As long as you do not insult people, everybody is entitled to his view on any matter. So he has expressed his view and, of course, anybody can subscribe to his view or disagree.”
On his reaction to Obasanjo’s comment, he said, “For me, I do not think I have any comment about his views or what he has expressed. I know that certainly, the situation in this country can be better, but it is very possible that when you think that certain people are involved in certain things, they may not all be involved. So I do not want to express opinion one way or the other but everybody has right to his opinion and views as long as it is not insulting.”