By Oji Odu
Aso Rock is rattled. Nigeria’s seat of power has murdered sleep. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has spoken on national political and economic issues under the Muhammadu Buhari administration. Like past Nigerian governments, it has caught a cold, which surprisingly, sometimes, usually leads to their outsting.
Wednesday, January 23, 2018, the elder statesman spoke to the President Muhammadu Buhari and his administration. The shock and fear this has thrown up on the government is so much that it is still trying to recover from the shock to proffer a good reply and alibi that will counter what Obasanjo said.
Is Obasanjo wrong in his advice? What is he trying to achieve by this? Should he be taken seriously, or is this another of his alleged ranting, according to some people? Should President Buhari and his government take the advice seriously, or should they take it as the ranting of a used force?
In his special press statement, entitled THE WAY OUT: A CLARION CALL FOR COALITION FOR NIGERIA MOVEMENT, the former President alleged gross incompetence of the Buhar-led government and advised him not to seek re-election in 2019, especially because the change mantra that he rode on to power cannot be felt. Therefore it will be another big mistake to allow him for another four years in power.
In a chat with the Magazine, Johnson Kaliwo, a political analyst, said: “ People have been speaking about the failure of this administration without much effect. Now that Baba has spoken, see the weight it has carried. People can criticise Obasanjo, but we have to really take him seriously.
“ Ask former President Goodluck Jonathan the outcome of the letter writing between him and Obsanjo. Is he still in office today? No. The same could happen to the Buhari administration if they do not quickly address this, and wisely too, because Obasanjo seems to be speaking the minds of a daily increasing number of angry and unhappy Nigerians who are disappointed with the present government.”
The Magazine’s findings reveal that just like under former President Jonathans administration, there are some trusted people by the president who are allegedly advising him wrongly, and never allowing him to know the real truth, hence, the questionable policies which even the First Lady, Aisha has severally cried out, against all odds.
With increasing anger and tension rising across the country on governments lackadaisical attitude and failure in dealing with the herdsmen problems, which has increased deep suspicion and hatred between the North and South, coupled with the unsettled peace as a result of last year’s “Kaduna Declaration” that gave Igbo’s in the North quit notice to leave the region, and the retaliation , by the South-South, many ask: Will Buhari survive this?
About this time under former President Goodluck Jonathan the administration was rocked by myriad problems, especially the Chibok girls issue which turned global. President Jonathan and his administration never slept again for they had murdered sleep. Calls for the government to step aside including Obasanjo’s open letter to Jonathan for the President Buhari- led government of “ Change” which claimed to have the answers reigned. Finally the President Jonathan administration bowed out.
With present happenings under the Buhari government, and with increasing criticisms on the administrations poor performance and blame game on former President Jonathans administration for it’s inability to deliver, which has given more room to people and groups resorting to personal help, especially to defend themselves against insecurity and life threats due to governments selective and lackadaisical attitude in dealing with sensitive issues that threaten the unity of the nation, Obasanjo’s recent advice may just be the tonic the people need to brave up and change the “Change” administration that has ended up increasing the sufferings of Nigerians.
Meanwhile, the Presidency has finally reacted to Obasanjo’s letter. Speaking through Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information in a seven-page letter, it said that it has taken the criticism in good faith.
“We have no reason to believe that former President Obasanjo has any motive beyond the well-being of the nation in issuing his Special Press Statement.
“We have also taken his admonition in good faith, and we thank him most sincerely for taking time off his busy schedule to pen such a long statement.
“On whether or not President Muhammadu Buhari should run for another term, it is true that many Nigerians have been calling on the President to run again, while others are opposed to his return.
“However, we believe this issue is a distraction for the President at this time.
“This is because Mr President spends every working hours tackling the enormous challenges facing the nation, most of which were bequeathed to his administration by successive past administrations.
“He is committed to fulfilling the mandate given to him by Nigerians in 2015.And that’s where we are right now.’’
Is this enough to control the damage done by Obasanjo’s letter and quench the anger it is brewing up among Nigerians against the Buhari administration? Only time will tell.