A group of senior citizens, under the aegis of the Katsina State Senior Citizens’ Forum, has dismissed former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s criticism of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, saying his assertion that the administration has failed was unsubstantiated.
The response of the senior citizens from President Buhari’s home state was contained in an advertorial published in some national dailies yesterday and signed by the group’s Chairman, Hon. Justice Mamman Nasir and Secretary/Coordinator Alh. Aliyu Sani Mohammed.
The group said Obasanjo had become a compulsive letter writer after he vacated power in 1979 and that he succeeded in the past because people believed he was honest in his advice. But this time around, the statement said the former President’s words do not count, because he got it wrong.
The statement said: “Ordinarily, we wouldn’t have bothered commenting on the letter, considering the writer’s personality. However, we feel it is our duty to put the records straight for the sake of posterity.”
The group said Buhari would win the 2019 presidential election, if he decides to contest, because Nigerians are happy that he has restored the dignity of the country. It said: “Nigerians have realised that they have never had it so good. They have a serious and honest President who has restored the dignity of Nigeria and Nigerians. Above all, we want to make it categorically clear that Mr. Obasanjo is not what he claims to be and has no right to decide for Nigerians who to vote for, in that we are wiser now and this is democracy.”
The senior citizens insinuated that Obasanjo is not the right person to talk about corruption, because his record while in office does not give him the moral right to do so. The statement said: “It is still fresh in our memory the $16 billion claimed to have been spent on power during Obasanjo’s tenure without any improvement. Again, the source of the over seven billion naira library built by Obasanjo is not known, talk less of his renovated hill top residence in Abeokuta.
“Meanwhile, we want to assure Mr. Obasanjo and his co-travellers that the Nigerian masses are satisfied with the present administration and have absolute confidence in President Muhammadu Buhari. We have compared achievements with the meagre resources that accrued to this government from May 2015 to April 2017 with that of the PDP administration spanning 16 years and are convinced that corruption has been scrapped from the system.”
The forum said Buhari’s administration realised only $52 billion from May 2015 to April 2017 as against PDP’s over $440 billion in five years, 2010 to 2015, and that the developmental projects executed by the APC within two years surpassed PDP’s 16 years in office, including Obasanjo’s tenure.
The group said Obasanjo ruled for eight years, with nothing to show for it, “except large scale corruption and mass killings in Odi, Zaki Biam etc”.
On the allegation that President Buhari failed to contain the incessant clashes between herdsmen and farmers, the senior citizens said the issue appeared to be another battle line drawn by those under investigation and prosecution for corruption.
It added: “Even the Northern Governors at one of their meetings in 2017 contested the possibility of herdsmen creating all the atrocities, convinced that a lot of what was alleged is not true. How do you explain a Fulani man with 100 heads of cattle attacking and killing communities and vanishing? Is it really practically possible to commit such an atrocity and disappear in the thin air with his 100 heads of cattle in tow undetected?
“It is no surprise a lot of corrupt people surrounding Mr. Obasanjo, some of whom have been indicted for corruption, are shamelessly flaunting their stolen wealth and are even gearing to contest election.”
The group said it was encouraging that Obasanjo admitted that Buhari achieved some successes in his fight against corruption and the Boko Haram insurgency, considering that the administration “inherited the most corrupt government this country has ever experienced”.
Buhari, it said, evidently stepped on toes in his effort to fight corruption, adding that could be why people like Obasanjo were trying to hit back to protect their ill-gotten wealth.