Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, says ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo has fallen from the status of Nigeria’s commander-in-chief to its “divider-in-chief”.
Speaking at a virtual meeting earlier in the week, Obasanjo accused the Buhari administration of mismanaging the country’s socio-economic development.
He said old fault lines that were disappearing have opened up under Buhari, adding that hatred, disintegration and separation are “being heard loud and clear almost everywhere”.
But reacting in a statement on Sunday, the presidential spokesman said Obasanjo has made several attempts to divide the nation while Buhari continues to promote unity and nation building.
“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),” the statement read.
He said Buhari’s recent remark urging ECOWAS leaders to guard against tenure elongation beyond constitutional limits has been consistent with the president’s views on the need to adhere to the rule of law.
Shehu added that: “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,” he said.
“Having cleared this misperception, we hope that Chief Obasanjo would once again sheath the sword and rest the pretentiousness about the Messiah that has (mis)led him to pronounce often wrongly, as he disastrously did in the 2019 elections, about the life and death of Nigerian governments.”
The presidential spokesman advised Obasanjo to follow the advice of some commentators who argued that the ex-president, in accordance with his mantra as a statesman, should get involved with problems solving, when and where they exist, rather than promoting a poisonous atmosphere.
Shehu said Obasanjo disappointed 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”.
He said Buhari’s government has improved the country’s infrastructural development, adding that the president also repaired damaged relations with neighbours and traditional allies including the UK, US, China, Russia, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, among others.
“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,” he said.
“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.”