- You Are The Divider-in-Chief, Presidency Reacts To Obasanjo’s Accusation
By Gbenga Abulude (Politics & General Desk)
The Presidency on Sunday carpeted former President Olusegun Obasanjo for criticizing President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, saying contrary to his claim that Buhari’s administration is dividing the country, it is in fact Obasanjo who is truly and really the ‘Divider-in-chief’ of the country.
Presidential Spokesperson, Mallam Garba Shehu, in a statement titled “Obasanjo is Nigeria’s Divider-in-Chief, said Obasanjo had descended from the lofty heights of Commander-in-Chief, to the lowly level of ‘Divider-in-Chief’.
Recall that Obasanjo had last week while delivering a speech entitled, ‘Moving Nigeria Away from Tipping Over’, said Nigeria was gradually becoming a divided country under President Buhari.
The former President who spoke at a consultative forum attended by various socio-cultural groups including Afenifere, Middle Belt Forum, Northern Elders Forum, Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo, and Pan Niger Delta Forum, lamented that he has never seen Nigeria under a very divisive atmosphere and the challenges besetting the country need to be resolved urgently in order to pull the country from the brink of collapse.
But Shehu described Obasanjo’s comments as an unfair attack on the President, considering the current challenges facing the present administration.
He said, “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).”
Berating the former president on some excesses during his administration, particularly his plan to review the constitution in order to elongate his tenure in office, Shehu added, “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.
“Surely, he must have disappointed many of his local and foreign admirers by showering commendations on a few extremist groups who have vowed to shun the invitation to the National Assembly to participate in the process of constitutional amendment.
“No doubt, he must have left those admirers confused in announcing the support for the boycott of a democratic process of changing the constitution, at the same time calling for dialogue and engagement.
“To the credit of the All Progressives Congress-led 8th Assembly, the process of constitutional amendment was kickstarted and carried through, paving the way for, among other benefits, the financial independence of local government councils, states Houses of Assembly and the country’s judiciary. These changes have already been signed into laws by the President as mandated by the constitution.
“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.”
Shehu stated that Buhari’s administration was focused on safeguarding the nation and economy as well as investing in infrastructural development.
He noted that with the achievements of the incumbent administration of President Buhari, it was not a surprise that Buhari would continue to be an object of envy and attack from politicians who have failed to deliver in the past.