Former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo has insisted that the country’s current president Muhammadu Buhari must be voted out when the West African nation goes to poll in 2019.
Obasanjo, who supported Buhari in 2015 against Goodluck Jonathan, said in a statement on Sunday that his former ally had done almost nothing to reposition the country.
Buhari rode into power in 2015 on the wings of populist promises of remodelling the economy, fighting biting insecurity, especially in northeast Nigeria and rein in the reign of corruption that has blighted the country for decades.
But critics like the former president said Buhari’s government has performed way below expectations.
In January, the former president accused Buhari of being nepotistic and said the president was lacking in the requisite capacity to make Nigeria better.
Obasanjo acknowledged his complicity in making a man who he said “is weak in the knowledge and understanding of the economy” the president. He said he thought that Buhari could make “use of good Nigerians in that area.”
“The lice of poor performance in government – poverty, insecurity, poor economic management, nepotism, gross dereliction of duty, condonation of misdeed – if not outright encouragement of it, lack of progress and hope for the future, lack of national cohesion and poor management of internal political dynamics and widening inequality – are very much with us today,” Obasanjo said in a 13-page statement titled ‘The Way Out: A Clarion Call for Coalition for Nigeria Movement’ at the beginning of the year.
He doubled down on those claims in the Sunday statement issued by his media aide Kehinde Akinyemi.
Akinyemi said his principal believes that “only a fool will sit on the fence or be neutral when his or her country is being destroyed with incompetence, corruption, lack of focus, insecurity, nepotism, brazen impunity and denial of the obvious.”
That Sunday statement came after a News Agency of Nigeria’s report said Obasanjo had chosen to be a neutral participant as Africa’s most populous nation prepares for general elections.
The report noted that Obasanjo had shifted “gear to neutral, from outright partisanship and endorsement of the opposition candidate.”
“It is disingenuous, if not malicious, for anyone to suggest that Chief Obasanjo was being neutral when he chose not to use the Owu Convention as a platform for political campaign but instead adopt a communal and familial approach in talking to members of his Owu family,” Akinyemi said.
“For the records, and as accurately reported by some media organisations, what the former president said at the convention in Iwo was that while he would not impress any candidates on them, Nigerians should vote for credible candidates who will drive growth and development and make their lives better than it is now.”