After weeks of what appeared to be an undeclared truce, former President Olusegun Obasanjo continued his verbal assault on President Goodluck Jonathan and his government, when he admitted in an interview aired on the Bloomberg Television Africa that he was disappointed in the government, noting that the president had not performed to his expectation.
Chief Obasanjo, who fielded questions from Ijeoma Ndukwe, did not hide his disavowal of the government, especially the lackadaisical manner, he believed President Jonathan handled the Boko Haram issue.
According to him, he had made intervention three years ago by visiting Borno State shortly after the sect bombed the United Nations building in Abuja, which he said was rebuffed by the government. He stated that if the government had acted on his recommendations, the Boko Haram menace would have ended.
Chief Obasanjo went ahead to criticise the manner the government is handling the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapping, saying the president thought it was a hoax.
“The president did not believe that those girls were abducted for almost 18 days,” said Obasanjo, adding that the president’s initial reaction affected the operation.
“If the president got the information within 12 hours of the act and he reacted immediately, I believe those girls would have been rescued within 24 hours, maximum 48 hours,” he stated.
When asked about terrorism in other African countries like Kenya, Mali, among others, and why he failed to rein in the sect in 2001 when he was in the saddle, Chief Obasanjo alluded to Nigeria’s multi-religious outlook but stated that terrorism must be tackled from the source by understanding the root cause of the agitation in the first instance.
When contacted, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, said he was not aware of the allegations since he was away from the country and therefore, could not comment.
He, however, promised to respond when he returns and becomes fully abreast of the former president’s statement.
However, a Presidency staff who craved anonymity, said Chief Obasanjo’s attack on the president was expected.
The former president, he said, had not hidden his distaste for the president since the two fell out after the internal rift in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which culminated in the defection of some loyalists of the former president to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“It is apparent why the former president is attacking President Jonathan. But we have decided not to join issues with him. We know how he resolved the Boko Haram issue under his watch and what he did at Odi, his arm-twisting politics in Ekiti, Plateau and others,” said the Presidency official, who declined to speak further on the issue.
In another development, Obasanjo, on Saturday, said the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, Chief MKO Abiola, sacrificed a lot for the development of the country.
Obasanjo made the remark while speaking as the Eminent Guest of Honour at the Fourth Founder’s Day Celebration and 85th Birthday Anniversary of the Founder/Patron of the Nobel House College, Chief Olatunde Abudu, in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
The former president acknowledged the contributions of the late business mogul to the development of Nigeria in all areas of human endeavours.
Obasanjo, who reechoed what was earlier said about Abiola by the Alake of Egbaland, Oba (Dr) Adedotun Gbadebo, that Ogun State and indeed Egbaland would have produced three presidents, attributed the failure to achieve this to “bad belle”.
This remark was coming some few days to the 24th anniversary of the annulled election, as he acknowledged the fact that the state had produced so many firsts in all spheres of life.
“Indeed, Abiola contributed to the development of this country. He sacrificed everything for the development of this country,” OBJ added.