•Urges president to heed advice on retirement
Job Osazuwa, Laide Raheem, Abeokuta and Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Daughter of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Senator Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello, has backed her father’s letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, which advised him not to seek re-election in 2019.
Last week, Obasanjo wrote to Buhari, where he outlined the failure of his government and its inaction in the face of killings perpetrated by rampaging Fulani herdsmen, especially in Benue State, among others.
In a statement last Saturday night, the former senator criticised supporters of president Buhari for circulating an open letter directed she wrote to her father in 2013, as a fresh correspondence.
She expressed surprise over the publication, and slammed the ‘cheap tactics.’
Said senator Obasanjo-Bello: “To say that Nigeria has problems is to make an understatement. The wise should listen, wherever help and advice come from. Those who republished the old letter should have spent time to respond to the content of the said statement which, among other things, called on President Buhari to join the rank of retired elder statesmen in 2019.
“I would think this was appropriate and even unnecessary advice, given the serious medical problems he has had over the last few years. I have had no connection with his administration or to the previous one after I left the Senate in 2011, and to try and use me and my name as some excuse is shameful.
“I agree with the contents of the open letter and, like all people who wish Africa well, hope that Nigeria someday comes out of its death spiral to become a leading nation in the world.
“It is tiring to continue to be part of the Nigerian conversation when there is no positive impact to it. I really do not want to be part of it as I have found over and over again, that, speech and words are wasted on people who have no understanding of the responsibility on us as black people on this planet.”
But, the Youth Lead National Movement (YLNM) is backing Obasanjo’s call for a coalition of a national movement that will rescue Nigeria from the hands of “bad” leaders.
YLNM National Coordinator, Pelumi Olajengbesi, who addressed a press conference in Abuja, at the weekend, appreciated Obasanjo’s courage in advising Buhari not to seek re-election in 2019.
“We are ready to join the ‘Third Force’ being championed by Obasanjo, to liberate our country from those holding it to ransom. We shall soon begin mobilisation and sensitisation of youths across Nigeria; to make the agenda a reality…”
Meanwhile, two-time governorship candidate in Ogun State, Gboyega Nasir Isiaka, has described Obasanjo’s call for a national coalition as a welcome development.
Isiaka said OBJ’s call is vindication and semblance of the objectives of his socio-political movement,The Believe Movement
Isiaka, also known as GNI, made this known in a statement made available to newsmen in Abeokuta, yesterday.
GNI, who was the state’s People’s Democratic Party governorship candidates in 2011 and 2015 elections, lauded “Obasanjo for the courage in speaking truth to power and his vision on what the country needs to arrest a fast drift towards socio-economic backwardness and continuous human carnage.”
Buhari, Obasanjo meet after ‘scud missile’ at AU summit
President Muhammadu Buhari and former President Olusegun Obasanjo were all smiles, yesterday, when they met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at the opening session of the 30th African Union summit.
This came five days after Obasanjo issued a scathing statement asking Buhari not to seek re-election in 2019.
They shook hands and, although they spoke for about two minutes, their encounter caused excitement inside the Nelson Mandela Hall.
Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, alongside others members of the Nigerian delegation, smiled as they watched from a distance.
Photojournalists scrambled to take shots of the moment.
Former Head of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar, later joined Buhari and Obasanjo for photographs.
Although the federal government said it took Obasanjo’s admonition in good faith, it warned the elder statesman against distracting Buhari.
In a statement by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the federal government said Buhari’s focus, at the moment, is to fulfil the mandate which Nigerians gave to him.
“On whether or not President Muhammadu Buhari should run for another term, it is true that many Nigerians have been calling on the President to run again, while others are opposed to his return,” the statement read.
“However, we believe this issue is a distraction for the president at this time. This is because Mr President spends every waking hour tackling the enormous challenges facing the nation, most of which were bequeathed to his administration by successive past administrations.”
On Friday, Buhari’s deputy, Yemi Osinbajo, said Buhari is not thinking about a second term “at the moment.”