‘Endorsement for LP presidential candidate inconsequential’
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo is frustrated, according to a statement from the Presidency yesterday.
In response to the former leader’s endorsement of Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate Peter Obi and his attacks on President Muhammadu Buhari, the Presidency stated that Obasanjo’s constant attacks were motivated by envy.
Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike also took exception to Obi’s endorsement, describing it as a stain on Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
Dr. Segun Abraham, a leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo State, stated that Obasanjo’s support for Obi is inconsequential.
Also, the APC Presidential Campaign Council (PCCAdvisor )’s for Media, Communications, and Public Affairs, Dele Alake, criticised Obasanjo for what he described as his false claim of mentorship.
In addition, he criticised the former president for prescribing a course of action for 2023 despite his disdain for democratic principles, promotion of garrison politics, and failed third-term agenda.
‘Obasanjo jealous of Buhari’
The Presidency ridiculed Obasanjo for attempting to disparage the Buhari administration, recalling his assaults on democracy and litany of administrative failures.
Obasanjo described the current administration as “hell on earth” in his New Year’s message, adding that Nigerians have “gone from frying pan to fire.”
However, in a statement released by Senior Special Assistant to the President for Media and Publicity Mallam Garba Shehu, the Presidency attributed Obasanjo’s remarks to jealousy, noting that Buhari has succeeded where Obasanjo failed.
In a statement titled “Morally Contemptible Obasanjo Attacks Leaders Out of Frustration,” the Presidency outlined four reasons why Obasanjo has been on the offensive against President Buhari for an extended period of time.
It was stated that Obasanjo is unhappy that Buhari has set a new national development benchmark.
The Presidency also stated that, unlike Obasanjo, Buhari has been honest, adhered to the constitution, and fought corruption.
It was alleged that the former president played politics with national development and, at one point, blatantly lied to Nigerians about several vital projects, including the recently completed Second Niger Bridge in the Southeast.
The statement reads, “Former President Obasanjo is so well-known that no explanation is necessary.
“But, four things we will like to say:
“One is that he will continue to attack President Muhammadu Buhari as long as his predecessor remains envious of anyone who surpasses him in the nation’s development process.
“President Buhari is ahead of Chief Obasanjo in all areas of national development, which is a cardinal sin to Obasanjo, who believes he is the best leader Nigeria has ever had and that no one will ever be better than him.
“After three decades of broken promises, President Buhari has just finished constructing the world-class Second Niger Bridge. Currently, it is awaiting commissioning.
“Obasanjo laid the cornerstone for the bridge during his first term as president, but construction never began.”
“When he ran for re-election for a second term, he returned to the site to turn the sod for the bridge a second time. When the forthright and learned Obi of Onitsha reminded him that he had done this in the past, Obasanjo told the foremost Southeast traditional ruler in the presence of the Chiefs and Oracles in his palace that he was lying.
“Obasanjo lied to the Southeast in order to gain their support. President Buhari did not receive their votes, but he constructed the bridge because he believed it was the right thing to do.
The Presidency also noted that Buhari has been recognised internationally as a true anti-corruption fighter, based on the track record of his anti-corruption campaigns since assuming office.
It recalled the failed projects associated with corrupt practises during the Obasanjo administration.
It stated: “President Buhari had been accumulating awards and accolades for attempting to do what the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria says a leader should do: serve one, or at most two terms, and then step down.
“President Buhari has repeatedly stated that he will oversee a better election than the one that brought him to office and that he will leave office when the time comes.
“Having attempted tenure extension and failed, Obasanjo’s fictitious mind must be telling him he is the target of an assault.
“However, he is not on President Buhari’s radar, as experience has shown, particularly in recent years in West Africa where there have been at least three successful coups and numerous failed attempts, that a third term or tenure extension is a recipe for political instability.
“Additionally, all African leaders have designated President Buhari as the continent’s Anti-Corruption Champion.
“You cannot be an anti-corruption champion if ‘you meddled and bent the rules,’ bearing the vile responsibility for what happened to national assets in the name of privatisation, as documented by the Nigerian Senate in 2011.
“As an example, the Aluminum Smelter Company of Nigeria, ALSCON, which was established with $3.2 billion, was sold to the Russian company Russal for a pitiful $130 million. Delta Steel, which was established in 2005 at a cost of $1.5 billion, was sold for $30 million to Global Infrastructure.
“ALSCON was reimbursed $120 million for the unauthorised dredging of the Imo River,” the source recalled.
The Presidency also recalled how Chief Obasanjo hindered the democratic process throughout his tenure, allegedly orchestrating the demotion of democratically elected governors who had dared to assert their executive rights.
“Third, and related to the preceding point, is the growing prominence of President Buhari as the Champion of Democracy not only in Nigeria and the West African subregion, but on the entire African continent.
“As president, Obasanjo undermined internal democracy by orchestrating the impeachment of governors who were not compliant with his highly autocratic administration.
“As stated previously, Mr. Obasanjo’s tenure, 1999-2007, represented the dark days of Nigeria’s democracy due to a multitude of constitutional violations.
“The former president utilised federal apparatus to remove from office Governors Joshua Dariye, Rashidi Ladoja, Peter Obi, Chris Ngige, and Ayo Fadose. The then-governors of Plateau, Oyo, Anambra, Anambra, and Ekiti were removed unjustly using the police and secret service that he controlled.
“Under him, a five-member legislature convened at 6:00 a.m. and ‘impeached’ Governor Dariye of Plateau; 18 out of 32 members removed Governor Ladoja of Oyo from office; in Anambra, APGA’s Governor Obi was similarly impeached at 5:00 a.m. by members who did not meet the two-thirds constitutional requirement.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) transferred the legislative powers of the Rivers State legislature to the federal parliament in order to punish Governor Amaechi for changing his political alliance.
In addition, Obasanjo insulted the Supreme Court and unlawfully withheld revenues owed to Lagos State from federal sources due to his pettiness toward Governor Bola Tinubu.
In a meeting with African Heads of State and Government a few weeks ago in Washington, US Vice President Joe Biden described President Buhari as a champion of democracy and role model for the leaders of African states.
“Clearly, Obasanjo’s vindictive disposition has made him even more envious.
“”Four, to say that the current situation in Nigeria is “frying pan to fire” should be interpreted as referring to his personal experience, and we know what that means.
“For Obasanjo, ‘Hell’ is when a President, any President that comes after him, refuses to be his own puppet, to do as he wishes on all matters and at all times.
“He continues to attack out of frustration.
“Obasanjo’s vengeful attitude toward President Buhari is the epitome of egotism and verges on immorality.”
Alake wrote in an article titled “Lest Nigerian Youths Be Deceived by Obasanjo’s Sanctimony and Revisionism” that while Obasanjo was a wasteful leader, Buhari has been fiscally responsible.
In addition, he accused Obasanjo of institutionalising corruption by convincing federal lawmakers to implement his third-term initiative.
Wike stated in Rivers State that the endorsement of Obi by Obasanjo demonstrated that Atiku was fundamentally flawed.
The governor requested that Atiku, who served as Obasanjo’s vice president for eight years, and his companions leave him and other G-5 members out of their problems.
Wike spoke yesterday at Itu Bridge Head, where the Akpabu – Odido Road in Emohua Local Government Area was inaugurated.
He said: “I was praying that Obasanjo should not say anything. I was moved when I saw the letter last night. If your principal is unable to recommend you, something is fundamentally wrong.
“After all, you visited your principal to lobby for a recommendation,” It took your principal a long time to write a letter to all Nigerians in which he stated, “Look, I’m not very comfortable.
“I am unconcerned with other people, but this one worked with you and he knows,” she said.
He argued that a bad product is always difficult to sell, which is why Obasanjo could not endorse Atiku for the country’s highest office.
Wike urged Atiku to be more concerned about his former boss’s loss of confidence and the upcoming election.
Also yesterday, Tinubu, via the Director of Media and Publicity of the APC Presidential Campaign Council, Bayo Onanuga, stated that he felt sorry for Obi because of Obasanjo’s endorsement.
Tinubu stated that Obasanjo cannot win his polling unit; therefore, Obi’s association with the former president puts him at risk.
In a statement by Onanuga, he added that nobody in Ogun State could rely on Obasanjo to be elected governor or councilmember.
According to Onanuga’s statement, President Obasanjo has not influenced the outcome of an election in Nigeria since then.
“Not even in Ogun State can a candidate for governor or council rely on his support or endorsement.
“We feel sorry for Peter Obi, as we are confident that Chief Obasanjo will not be able to win his polling unit and ward in Abeokuta for Obi in the upcoming presidential election on 25 February 2023,” the authors write.
Obasanjo’s endorsement of Obi, according to Tinubu, is not “political currency” that the LP presidential candidate can spend in the country.
He emphasised that the former president of Nigeria was not “a political force.”
Four APC leaders, Adamu Garba, Dr. Segun Abraham, Ade Adetimehin, and Taofeeq Salah, also criticised Obasanjo’s stance, claiming that he was envious of Tinubu.
Garba stated in a blog post that Tinubu worked tirelessly for democracy and earned his position, in contrast to Obasanjo.
Abraham, Adetimehin, and Salam stated that people must understand that Tinubu’s records cannot be removed.
The Atiku/Okowa Presidential Campaign Council stated, however, that Obasanjo’s support for Obi would encourage the team to work harder.
The council emphasised that Atiku was unfazed by the development and that the PDP would not resent Obasanjo for announcing his candidate preference.
Charles Aniagwu, a spokesman for the council, stated this on the AIT public affairs programme Kakaaki.
Aniagwu stated, “The PDP presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar, his running mate Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, and our presidential campaign council are not perturbed, as we are aware from the outset that we are in a contest.
“Because we knew it wouldn’t be a roller coaster, we have continued to interact with Nigerians in all six geopolitical zones.
“In this contest, nobody is the underdog, and we have respect for all candidates running for this election, but we believe we are the most qualified.”
“We are confident that Nigerians will look in our direction because our presidential candidate and his running mate have the credentials to position our country and bring it back from where it is currently.
“Therefore, the fact that a former President of the PDP has decided to form a coalition with another person will not faze us; rather, it will only encourage us to deepen our relationship with Nigerians, so that they realise that Atiku-Okowa is the only pair with the ability to lead Nigeria out of the woods.
“Atiku has the national and international clout to unite Nigeria and elevate it to a prominent position in the community of nations.
“We are extremely confident that Atiku stands head and shoulders above all other presidential candidates, which is why we look forward to Nigerians endorsing us because theirs is the best.”