Balarabe Musa, one of the well-respected Elderstatesman from the north has reacted to the recent clash between Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and President Muhammadu Buhari.
Obasanjo had criticized Buhari’s administration, accusing it of turning Nigeria to a ‘Failed State’, a criticism that President Buhari’s camp didn’t take lightly has they countered with a series of attacks.
However, reacting to the back and forth attack in an interview from the weekend, Balarabe Musa who is a former Governor of Kaduna State faulted Obasanjo for having contributed to Nigeria becoming a Failed State under President Buhari.
His words: “Former President Obasanjo was not being honest and I’m not surprised about his dishonesty because he contributed to the situation that made it worse under Buhari.
“If he had done the right thing and those before him also had done the right thing, the situation would not have been so bad for Buhari.”
Balarabe added that all the leaders that ruled before Obasanjo and after him failed Nigeria.
He stated further that “it’s because he is dishonest as a former leader; after all, the situation was when he too found it.
“But he didn’t do the right thing to prevent what developed under him, and those who followed him, including Buhari, now bear the burden of the responsibility.”
Reacting to Obasanjo’s attack, the President had said that Obasanjo had fallen from the status of Nigeria’s commander-in-chief to its “divider-in-chief”.
In a speech titled, ‘Moving Nigeria Away from Tipping Over,’ which he delivered at a virtual consultative dialogue attended by various socio-cultural groups on last Thursday, Obasanjo has asserted that Nigeria is on course to becoming a failed, divided state and a basket case in urgent need of rescue from the brink of collapse.
The octogenarian noted that the problems Nigeria is confonted with nowadays stemmed directly from the serial mismanagement of its socio-economic development and diversity.
He said old fault lines that were disappearing have opened up under Buhari, adding that hatred, disintegration and separation are “being heard loud and clear almost everywhere”.
But reacting in a statement on Sunday, Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, proclaimed that Obasanjo has made several attempts to divide the nation while Buhari continues to promote unity and nation building.
“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 statement read.
He said Buhari’s recent remark urging ECOWAS leaders to guard against tenure elongation beyond constitutional limits has been consistent with the president’s views on the need to adhere to the rule of law.
Shehu added that “the recent uptick in the number of such leaders proposing to do, or actually carrying on in office beyond term limits is sufficient to cause concern among democrats in the sub-region given its prospects of destabilizing the states and the region.”
“President Buhari’s advocacy is consistent with his principles and in line with the current policies of his administration and indeed that of the ECOWAS Charter which is that term limits must be respected and that the change of government is only permissible through the ballot box,” he said.
“Having cleared this misperception, 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.”
The presidential spokesman advised Obasanjo to follow the advice of some commentators who argued that the ex-president, in accordance with his mantra as a statesman, should get involved with problems solving, when and where they exist, rather than promoting a poisonous atmosphere.
Shehu said Obasanjo disappointed 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”.
He said Buhari’s government has improved the country’s infrastructural development, adding that the president also repaired damaged relations with neighbours and traditional allies including the UK, US, China, Russia, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, among others.
“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,” he said.
“Nigeria, which other nations had mocked and ridiculed for so many things that were wrong is today progressing at a pace reflecting its size and potential.
“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.”