By Mathew Onwuasoanya
FORMER President Olusegun Obasanjo’s public letter to President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday has drawn a caustic reaction from the federal government, dismissing it as an insult.
Making the administration’s stance on the letter known yesterday in a press release, Minister of Information and Communication, Lai Mohammed, thanked Obasanjo describing it as “positive comments,” enthused that the government received the statement in good faith.
He however added that Obasanjo was “too busy to see the gains being recorded by Nigeria in all sectors from the president’s performance.”
The minister explained that these gains are evident of a better life that lies ahead for Nigerians under the Buhari government, adding that any talk of re-election at this time is a distraction.
Mohammed further stated that Buhari’s tenure has turned out a huge success in its two years, but kept mum on whether the president would seek re-election in 2019.
It will be recalled that Obasanjo, in his letter, had advised Buhari to step down for coming thin policy thrusts especially the president’s poor grasp of economics, foreign affairs and Nigeria’s complex internal politics.
But Mohammed dismissed Obasanjo’s claims insisting that every index of economic development and growth has continued to look good and always improving, since Buhari assumed office on May 29, 2015.
“For the record, Chief Obasanjo is a patriot, and he has proven this time and time again. We appreciate what he said concerning the Administration’s performance in two out of the three key issues that formed the plank of its campaign: Fighting corruption and tackling insurgency. Specifically, the former President said President Buhari must be given credit for his achievement so far in these two areas. We thank him for this,” he said.
“Apparently, the former President believes that the Administration does not deserve a pass mark in the area of the economy, which is the third of our three-pronged campaign promises.
We have no doubt that in the face of massive challenges in this area, this Administration has availed itself creditably. We believe that Chief Obasanjo, because of his very busy schedule, may not have been fully availed of developments in the government’s efforts to revamp the economy, which was battered by the consequences of over-dependence on a commodity as well as unprecedented pillaging of the treasury. Today, most of the indices by which an economy is measured are looking up. Permit me to say, however, that Nigeria would not have exited recession through a mere order or if the Administration had not made use of ”good Nigerians” who could help. This Administration is making steady progress in its determined effort to revamp the economy, and the results are showing,” Mohammed continued.
Meanwhile, some individual have thrown their weight behind Obasanjo, calling on Buhari to heed the former president’s advice by going home to rest after his current tenure.
One of such groups is Action Democratic Party (ADP) which said that those endorsing Buhari for a second term are insensitive to the plights of Nigerians and do not mean well.
A spokesman of ADP in Lagos, Adelaja Adeoye made the party’s stand known in a statement yesterday.
“Nigerians must avoid playing into the hands of some sycophants and praise singers encouraging Buhari that all is well and that he can run again,” Adeoyo said.