Former President Olusegun Obasanjo ever since he left the confines of the nation’s presidential seat, Aso Rock for his Ota residence in Ogun state have been known or regarded by many as a divisive figure chiefly because of his recent roles and comments on the administration of the government and politics of the nation. While many has believed that the powers and relevance of the Ogun born and bred Elder Statesman is fast diminishing politically, the former president of Nigeria under the aegis of the People’s Democractic Party which was regarded then as the largest party in the nation and the South western Nigeria has resorted in making seldom comments to the Nigerian Political cum social discourse. The Former president has popularly been noted for his Letters which he always writes whenever he has something cogent to say regarding the Nigerian Nation. Former President Good luck Jonathan and the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari has been recipient of the numerous letters from Former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
The latest of his comment regarding the state of the Nigerian nation is not a letter but actually a direct statement from him in which he poured out his hearts on various issues as relating to the management and the sustenance of the Nigerian system which is majorly addressed to the incumbent president, Muhammadu Buhari.
His recent statement was made by him in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory at a consultative dialogue which was attended by different socio-cultural groups which included the Afenifere, Northern Elders Forum, Middle Belt Forum, Pan Niger Delta Forum and the Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo, there he stated that in his years in the nation he has never seen the nation Nigeria in such a bad State as it is at the moment, blaming the Muhammadu Buhari led administration in the Nation as the causal factor behind the current woes of the nation Nigeria while also warning that if no drastic measures are employed to curtail the situation the Nation Nigeria is gradually moving on a slippery slope to becoming a failed state.
Faulting the current administration he explained that these woes are currently caused by the inability of the current government to effectively manage the nation Nigeria and its diversified outlooks. According to him, these manifestations are the products of recent mismanagement of diversity and socio-economic development of our country. Old fault lines that were disappearing have opened up in greater fissures and with drums of hatred, disintegration and separation and accompanying choruses being heard loud and clear almost everywhere.
According to him one of the major challenge plaguing the Nigerian Nation is its inability to see to the execution of the much talked about Constitutional Review, a task which he regarded as a waste without end as it’s done nothing but to waste the nation’s resources without something tangible to show for it. Explaining further the former president revealed that the inability of the various groups in Nigeria to have a sincere dialogue and interaction is militating against the unity of the nation which is a necessary factor for national development. He said that while many of the leaders from the various Nigeria groups under its diversified outlook claim to have national dialogue they still go back with prejudices and a biased mind at the end of such dialogue.
He also explained that he believes that the Nation Nigeria can actually overcome its current woes if it truly sets its priorities well, this he said because he believes that instead of more focus on good governance and development in the nation which should be the bane of all the policies and activities of the government, most of the active players in the nation’s political discourse are more focused on the next general elections in the country. He explained that 2030 power tussle is what is mostly on the minds of most Nigeria leaders at the moment. In his words some people are obsessed with 2023, I believe that with death, destruction, debt, disease, deceit, disbelief, disenchantment, doubt and suspicion around, we need to see our way through to 2023 and beyond in some form of unity of purpose, reasonable security, shared values, true democratic practice, inclusiveness and shared society. That is why we are here. No constitution is even permanent; it is dynamic with time and experience.
These harsh criticisms by former President Olusegun Obasanjo have been met with various responses and reactions from various quarters in the nation, from the elites to the masses. While some has praised him for his honest review and absolute critique of the nation’s current situation, others has chosen to take the former President to the slaughter house for his comments which they believe are nothing but another attempt to create distractions for the current administration and also pitch the masses against the current administration.
Reacting to the statement by Olusegun Obasanjo, the presidency through its spokesman has stated that former President Olusegun Obasanjo is nothing but a distraction and he lacks the moral authority to address the nation state of affairs or condemn the current administration.
In my opinion, while it can be objectively agreed that the Muhammadu Buhari led administration in Nigeria upon inception met a wobbling economy and a harsh realities is current doing all its best to ensure the nation is steered away from hitting the iceberg, it s has a long way to go.
Comparing the manifesto of the Buhari led administration which was designed on the nation’s realities when it was written and the current scorecard of President Muhammadu Buhari led administration in Nigeria, it still has a long way to go especially for a government in its second term.
Also former President Olusegun Obasanjo in recent times has not really contributed much to the development of the nation since he left Aso rock for his Ota home, choosing only to at will write letters or make comments regarding the state of the nation, however he must do more than just letter writings or making random comments to help the nation and the current government thrive. Former presidents in the nation has a duty to serve as advisors to the incumbent on various nation issues, and this must be done one with no ulterior motives to cause disruption.
Also the Buhari led administration must learn to embrace criticisms and not always resort to personality attacks anytime there’s a criticism that is aimed against it. It must learn to address issues and not persons in cases like this as criticisms are valid features of a democratic government.
By Marcus Amudipe