The nation once again received with mixed feelings another “strong message” coming from former president Obasanjo as evening falls yesterday being on Sunday
But the Development has since been meeting with strong reaction coming from the presidential spokesmen, Garba Shehu who describes the “strong message” as Puerile Attack, and that which were “because the former leader could not control president Buhari
“It is a notorious fact that in dealing with any leader that he failed to control, he resorted to these puerile attacks,” presidential spokesman Garba Shehu said in a statement.
“As the grand patron, more correctly the grandfather of corruption as described by the National Assembly, Chief Obasanjo released today’s letter purely for the reason of rescuing his thriving corruption establishment.”
Obasanjo, earlier on Sunday, described his former ally Buhari as a reincarnate of Nigeria’s former despot General Sani Abacha, accusing him of planning to perpetuate himself in office beyond May 29 by rigging the presidential elections holding next month.
But the government said its first message to the former leader was for him to get “a good doctor”.
Part of the “strong message” was of the former Nigerian president is that Buhari could not be trusted to allow the Independent Electoral Commission oversee free and fair general elections.
Pointing to the alleged familial relationship between the president and an INEC official Amina Zakari in spite of the government’s denial of such, Obasanjo said Buhari’s “mad desperation” has cast doubt on the electoral body’s integrity.
“I personally have serious doubt about the present INEC’s integrity, impartiality and competence to conduct a fair, free and credible election,” Obasanjo noted.
“And if the INEC is willing, will the ruling party and government allow it?”
President Buhari, on multiple occasions, promised free and fair elections. He reiterated that promise in his New Year message to the country, noting that winning an election is not a “do or die affair”.
Probing further, the presidential spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu said “The elections starting in February will be free and fair as promised the nation and the international community by President Buhari
“What Chief Obasanjo and his co-travellers in the PDP should expect is that from the outcome, we will teach them a political lesson that they will never forget. This margin will be much bigger than we had in 2015.”
The Special Adviser to the President Mohammadu on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, while featuring on Sunday Politics, a news and current affairs programme of Channels Television, said thousands of lives were lost under the administration of Obasanjo.
Responding to Obasanjo’s allegation that Buhari and the APC planned to rig the general elections, Adesina said, “Imagine that kind of allegation coming from somebody who told us in 2007 that the election would be a ‘do-or-die affair. If somebody had said the election would be a ‘do-or-die’ affair and it was ‘do- or- die’ affair and the beneficiary of that election came out to say that the election that brought him to power was marred; now for that person to allege that elections were not going to be free and fair, were they free and fair when he conducted his own?”
On the allegation that the security crisis in the country was deteriorating, Adeshina said, “Under Obasanjo was when we had the Odi massacre; under him was when we had the Zaki Biam massacre; under him there were lots of clashes involving the OPC and other ethnic groups, there were Shari’ah riots under him, and thousands of lives were lost even under his administration.”
Part of Obasanjo arguments was that those who were using probes as threats should remember that he had been probed four times by the EFCC, the ICPC, the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Obasanjo stated, “Buhari has access to reports of these probes. But I have also challenged Buhari and the criminals around him to set up a probe on the same allegations and I will face such a probe in public. But I know that these criminals cannot withstand a police inquiry let alone clinical probe on the past public offices they held. My fervent prayer is that President Buhari may live to see the will and purpose of God for Nigeria.”
He, however, commended the President for yielding to popular outcry “to let the former Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, go.”
On electoral violence, Obasanjo recommended stiffer punishments such as withdrawal of culprits’ visas and taking them to the International Criminal Court among others.
Obasanjo also faulted the Federal Government’s loan scheme, otherwise known as Tradermoni, describing it as a sinister move to buy votes of the people.
Obasanjo, who quoted a former Deputy Chairman, South-West of the Peoples Democratic Party, Olabode George, as saying, “You cannot give what you don’t have.
“The other day, the Vice-President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo – a learned man, an enlightened person in all parameters – was seen at various markets in Lagos State and Abuja distributing N10,000 each to market women. What an absurdity!”
Obasanjo said, “It was indeed an obscene display of executive recklessness and abuse of office. Pray, where did the money come from? Was it budgeted for in the appropriation law? In more civilised nations, Osinbajo would have been impeached and prosecuted for gutting our collective treasury.
“What an act by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, number two man in the Executive hierarchy; and what is more, a pastor of one of the Christian movements led by a revered, respected and upright church leader, Pastor E. A. Adeboye. Osinbajo must have gone for, ‘if you can’t beat them, join them.’