*Buhari stopped Nigeria from becoming a failed state – Lai Mohammed
*Avoid setting Nigeria on fire – VON D-G
* Obasanjo, Atiku midwifed Nigeria’s rot, says APC
By Chesa Chesa, Ezeocha Nzeh, Adelola Amihere and Myke Uzendu
President Muhammadu Buhari has labeled former President Olusegun Obasanjo as ‘Nigeria’s Divider-in-Chief’ in strong objections to Obasanjo describing the country as a failed nation under the present administration.
This is as the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Director-General, Voice of Nigeria (VON), Mr. Osita Okechukwu in separate statements expressed shock that former Obasanjo and his former Vice, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, could say so, describing them as “political actors that midwifed and institutionalised the national rot, corruption, impunity and eroding of Nigeria’s value systems”.
In a statement by issued Sunday by the APC Acting National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, said it is unimaginable that same characters posing as voices on the way forward are now posing as champions of progress whereas they led a terribly damaged nation while in office.
The federal government insisted that Obasanjo had failed the test of statesmanship by supporting groups that have announced a boycott of on-going parliamentary efforts to amend the constitution for a better Nigeria.
The statement issued by Buhari’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, recalled that Obasanjo did not have his wish of pronouncing death to the Buhari presidency in 2019, and is probably still nursing a grudge over a failed Third term bid when he was Nigeria’s president.
It further advised the former President to seek ways that unite Nigerians instead of fanning the members of ethnicism and disunity.
Garba said: “Chief 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.
“Surely, he 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.”
The statement highlighted the achievements of the Buhari government, saying that it had revamped the economy, elevated Nigeria’s status in the comity of nations and recently exhibited courage in removing petrol subsidies, which it said past governments, including Obasanjo’s used as corruption templates.
“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.”
“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 a another waste of time and resources.
“To the credit of the All Progressives Congress-led 8th Assembly, the process of constitutional amendment was kick-started 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,” Shehu sadi.
*Buhari prevented Nigeria from becoming a failed state – Lai Mohammed
Meanwhile, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said that President Buhari’s assumption of office in 2015 “prevented Nigeria from becoming a failed state, after a long stretch of rapacious and rudderless leadership”.
In a statement yesterday by his Special Assistant, Segun Adeyemi, the minister said “Buhari came into office at a time that a swathe of the country’s territory was under occupation, a period when many Nigerian towns and cities, including the capital city of Abuja, were a playground for
insurgents and a moment that the nation’s wealth had been looted dry, with little or nothing to show for the nation’s huge earnings, especially in the area of infrastructure”.
He described as “a cruel irony” that those who “frittered away opportunity to put Nigeria on a sound socio-economic footing, at a time of financial buoyancy, and those who planted the seed of the
insecurity in some parts of the country today, are the same ones pointing an accusing finger at a reformist government.
”Nigeria today faces a lot of challenges. But whatever situation the country has found itself in, things would have been much worse but for the deft management of resources, unprecedented fight against corruption, determined battle against insurgency and banditry as well as the abiding courage of Mr. President in piloting the ship of state,
”Nigeria today is not a failed state, but a nation that is courageously tackling its challenges and building a solid infrastructure that will serve as the basis for socio-economic development, a nation that is unrelenting in battling insecurity and working hard to ensure greatest prosperity for the greatest number of people,’.
He noted that even with 60% less national income, the Administration is making progress on all fronts and setting the country on the path of sustainable growth and development.
He noted that Buhari not rallied regional and international allies to tackle Boko Haram and other forms of insecurity, but even with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing a global shutdown and a drastic fall in global oil demand, “the administration has ensured that not a single worker has been
retrenched, has paid salaries as and when due and has continued to build infrastructures like roads, rails, bridges and power, among others, that will serve many generations”.
*Okechukwu appeals to Obasanjo to avoid setting Nigeria on fire
On his part, the Director-General of the Voice of Nigeria (VON) and chieftain of All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Osita Okechukwu, appealed to Obasanjo to keep to Utopian Solutions Distancing, so as to avoid setting Nigeria on fire.
According to him, “Nigeria needs credible inputs now, and not fueling of angst by those who by commission, or omission, planted the reprehensible seeds that are manifesting today in the country”.
The foundation member of APC stated these while addressing journalists in Enugu on Sunday on Obasanjo’s statement titled: “Moving Nigeria away from Tipping Over.”
He appealed to the elder statesman and other patriots to join President Buhari in building pragmatic-consensus solutions by adhering to the imperative of Utopian Solutions Distancing.
Okechukwu said: “True! True! Things are hard, no doubt. I wholeheartedly agree with our elder statesman, Chief Obasanjo that things are tough for us Nigerians, and ground is not level.
“But the truth is that the President Buhari I know is not happy about the insecurity in the land or happy that Nigeria scored the infamous position of World Poverty Capital.
“His efforts may not be the best. However, he is working round the clock on how best to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years, hence the unprecedented Buhari’s Agrarian Revolution, one of his pragmatic-consensus solution, fixing of physical infrastructure and his effort release monies accruing to local councils and state judiciary nationwide directly.
“I mean that we are in a liberal democracy and as such, one appeals to eminent patriots like our revered Chief Obasanjo and the leadership of Afenifere, Middle Belt Forum, Northern Elders’ Forum, Ohaneze Ndigbo, Pan Niger Delta Forum and their clan, to as a matter urgent national importance, adhere strictly to the imperative of Utopian Solutions Distancing and cultivate fate in our fledgling democracy.
“One, is it not utopian to make laws in Nigeria today in isolation of the extant provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria?
“Our constitutional democracy has engrained provisions for periodic elections and subversion of this maxim may set Nigeria on fire.”
Okechukwu wondered how we will avert the tipping over when Chief Obasanjo, instead of prodding, persuading and lobbying the National Assembly to do the needful, was hailing the Northern Elders Forum and Yoruba Summit Group for disparaging the same National Assembly’s push towards amending the constitution.
When reminded that what Obasanjo said was that it amounted to a waste of fund for previous National Assembly to amend the constitution that failed woefully, Okechukwu explained: “I agree, but maintain that change in democracy throughout history has been incremental and not a quickie.
Okechukwu stressed that “aside blame games, it would amount to self denial or selective amnesia to distant Boko Haram from gross unemployment arising from planlessness and squanermania of past decades and the mishandling of Sharia declaration”.