By Mukwuzi Joseph
The Presidency has carpeted former President Olusegun Obasanjo for describing Nigeria as “almost a failed state” under the current administration.
It dismissed the former President as a divisive element, saying his recent criticisms have shown his descend “from the lofty heights of Commander-in-Chief to the lowly level of Divider-in-Chief (to adapt the coinage of Time
recalls that Obasanjo had said on Thursday that Nigeria was slowly becoming a failed state and a basket case that urgently needs to be pulled from the brink of collapse.
Speaking while delivering a speech titled “Moving Nigeria away from tipping over” at a consultative dialogue in Abuja,Nigeria’s capital, Obasanjo said he had never seen Nigeria so divided, adding that many of the problems plaguing the country today were due to the recent mismanagement of Nigeria’s diversity.
But the Nigerian Government on Sunday said the former leader has become a divisive figure. Buhari spokesman accused Obasanjo of praising “extremist groups,” who have vowed to shun the invitation to the National Assembly to participate in the process of constitutional amendment.
Shehu insisted that Obasanjo’s criticisms of President Buhari were devoid of good intentions, claiming that the former Nigerian leader is jealous of Buhari’s achievements.
“Chief Obasanjo should, in accordance with his mantra as a statesman, get involved with problems solving, when and where they exist instead of helping the mushrooming of a poisonous atmosphere of ethnic and religious nationalism,” Shehu said.
“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.”
“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).
“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.
“As some commentators are already suggesting, Chief Obasanjo should, in accordance with his mantra as a statesman, get involved with problems solving, when and where they exist instead of helping the mushrooming of a poisonous atmosphere of ethnic and religious nationalism.
“Surely, he must have disappointed many of 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.”
It added: “No doubt, he must have left those admirers confused in announcing the support for the boycott of a democratic process of changing the constitution, at the same time calling for dialogue and engagement.
“The fact that the process he ushered in under his administration with the dubious intention of amendments that sought tenure elongation failed-as did two other attempts by the successive administration of the same political party- does not in any way justify his dismissal of the exercise by the 9th Assembly as another waste of time and resources.
“To the credit of the All Progressives Congress-led 8th Assembly, the process of constitutional amendment was kick-started and carried through, paving the way for, among other benefits, the financial independence of local government councils, States Houses of Assembly and the country’s Judiciary. These changes have already been signed into laws by the President as mandated by the constitution.
“The recent decisions by the administration as they relate to subsidy withdrawal, helping to plug some of the most horrendous notorious holes and release of scarce resources for the more pressing needs of the people has also not escaped the ire of the former president.
“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.