The Presidency on Sunday came down hard on former President Olusegun Obasanjo over his Thursday’s comment on the state of the nation, describing him as the country’s ‘Divider-in-Chief.’
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said this in a statement titled “Obasanjo is Nigeria’s Divider-in-Chief.”
Obasanjo had on Thursday said 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, the former President 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 Shehu said with his comment which he described as unfair attacks on the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), and his regime, Obasanjo had descended from the lofty heights of a Commander-Chief.
“In his most recent statement, former President Olusegun Obasanjo attempts to divide the nation while President Muhammadu Buhari continues to promote nation building and the unity of Nigeria.
“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 presidential aide said as some commentators were already suggesting, 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.”
He said the former President 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.
Shehu added that Obasanjo must have left his 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 statement added, “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 successor administrations 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 kickstarted 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.