Jonathan Attacks Obasanjo

President Goodluck Jonathan Wednesday replied his critics, lashing out at “elder statesmen making provocative statements that could set the country ablaze”. He called them motor park touts.
Dr. Jonathan did not mention the names of such statesmen.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has severally attacked Jonathan’s administration. He, last week, accused the government of squandering Nigeria’s foreign reserves. Former military president Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, in an interview, spoke of corruption, saying compared to what he reads, his regime, which many describe as “very corrupt” was a saint.
Speaking while receiving the Northern Elders Council (NEC) at the Presidential Villa, Jonathan said: “Some people call themselves statesmen but they are not statesmen; they are just ordinary politicians. For you to be a statesman is not because you have occupied a big office before but the question is what are you bringing to bear? Are you building this country? Or are you a part of people who tell lies to destroy this country?”
“To create enmity and make people who ordinarily would have been living together to fight themselves. Are you planning to set the country ablaze because you did not get that particular thing you want?”
He went on: “At the appropriate time, Nigerians will know all of us, even though I know most of you know us but the younger ones do not know. Some people are hiding under some clogs, some big names and creating a lot of problems in this country.”
“Making provocative statements in this country, statements that will set this country ablaze and you tell me you are a senior citizen. You are not a senior citizen you can never be; you are ordinary motor park tout.
“Because if you are a senior citizen you will act like one. It is not because of the offices we occupy is by divine grace and providence that some of us occupy these offices. But what role are you playing to build this country?”
The President noted that without peace and unity, there can never be development.
He said: “I feel sad that our younger ones are beginning to see a Nigeria as if we are so divided. A Nigeria that a Muslim and a Christian cannot sit down together. I was told that even the driver of Tafawa Balewa was a Christian. Our people lived together in those days; why not now that we have even modern ways of life?
“Our children leave us and go abroad, they stay together and do a lot of things together. But when we come back home, we begin to build walls; this is a southerner, this is a northerner, this is a Muslim, this is a Christian, this is a Yoruba man, this is an Hausa man, this is an Ijaw man, this is a Nupe man. Is that the way we are going to develop our country?”
Jonathan-and-Obasanjo-3
According to Jonathan, America is great because it is made up of various cultural groups and ethnic lines have been so weakened that people think only about America.
He stressed that citizens of any country that begin to see themselves through their tribal enclaves cannot go anywhere.
His words: “If today I’m sick, if the best doctor that can treat me is from Zamfara or Enugu or Ekiti, they will bring that doctor to treat me. They will not ask if that doctor is an Ijaw man, Ogbia or any other tribe. And until we get to that level where we begin to use people based on their competences, yes there must be spread in political appointment and so on.”
Jonathan said that Nigeria will begin to develop when there is no discrimination based on primordial privileges.
“And that is what we stand for. I will continue to plead with you because from all of your activities you have been advocating for that,” he told the elders.
He also denied the allegation that he does not like Northerners.
He said: “Some people say Jonathan hates the North. I have heard that statement and I use to ask Namadi Sambo, they say I hate the North, but you are here. I asked the National Security Adviser and my Principal Secretary the same thing. In fact, my Principal Secretary has been my friend since I was the deputy governor. I never knew I was going to come here as Vice President not to talk of President.
“But I have known him since I was the deputy governor of Bayelsa State. My Chief Detail, Yusuf from Borno State has been with me since I was a deputy governor in Yenagoa and I see him as a good person and I have carried him along with me. So I had to ask, how can somebody wake up and say I hate the North?”
He went on: “I used to tell Nigerians I come from the down trodden, what you call the Talakawas; I come from that level ….. And I said the only thing that can liberate an individual or a group of individuals is education. If I did not go to school, I wouldn’t have been here to talk to big people like this.
“If you didn’t go to school, you wouldn’t have spoken the way you spoke; you would have looked for somebody to interpret. This is what I believe; I don’t play politics with it. It has been my policy that I don’t play politics with education.”
“When I came on board I said even though as a country we have the policy on paper, every state must get a Federal Government university. Out of the 12 federal universities created, nine were in the North while three were in southern Nigeria. The only three states that had no federal university were Bayelsa, Ebonyi and Ekiti.”
“Those who were in charge of the university establishment were not fair. For us to liberate ourselves we must go to school. If I hate the north would I have done that?”
Jonathan added: “We talk about Almajiri’s education; we felt we must change. Luckily, I initiated it but now state governments are keying into it because I know that it was education that liberated me I would have been a local canoe builder like my father and grandfather.”
“But I’m here because of education and I feel if we must liberate Nigerian children whether they are from Zamafara, Bayelsa, Kebbi and Delta they must be educated. I feel we must enter the north by aggression through education,” he said
The President said that he was always sad hearing of school dropouts in the North.
He said: “Today I saw a publication in Daily Trust showing projects that have been awarded by the Federal Government, the ones for the Northeast very small, Southsouth very many. I had to make photocopies and distributed to all the ministers and I asked, is it true this is how projects are skewed by this government because somebody wants to play politics?”
“Because I am a president from the South I have taken all the projects to the South? And I said all the ministers must come up and tell me how the projects are being distributed across the country and if it is skewed, you must tell me why it is so. One of the ministers, the North and she is in charge of water resources, said that publication cannot be true because the Kasambila Dam alone, the value is more than the amount quoted in that paper.”
“This is to show you how mischievous Nigerians are because you want to paint Jonathan bad. All lies that have been told about this government, I promise you that I am working with your son and I will not cheat any part of this country. ”
“For the people who want to paint us in all kinds of color, we will explain to Nigerians. There are a lot of documentation we will show Nigerians.” he said
The President promised that his administration would not exploit or cheat any part of the country.
NEC Chairman Tanko Yakasai, who led the delegation, said that the Council believes in the peaceful co-existence of the country.

Author: News Editor

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