President Muhammadu Buhari has warned his media aides against engaging or instigating attacks against former President Olusegun Obasanjo over his recent statement on his performance.
Obasanjo had last week issued a damning statement accusing President Buhari of incompetence and asked him not to seek re-election in 2019.
Following Obasanjo’s statement last week, Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, described Obasanjo as a patriot who meant well.
He, however, said the Buhari administration had performed well, even in the handling of the economy, which he said was the crunch of Obsanjo’s concern.
He listed some of the economic achievements of the president in the last two years, saying, perhaps, due to his busy schedule, Obasanjo may not have had the time to follow what was going on.
A Presidency source at the Presidential Villa told online portal, Premium Times, that immediately after Obasanjo issued his statement, President Buhari warned his aides not to attack or instigate any attack on the former President.
“You can see that is why everybody is very careful on this matter. Mr. President specifically warned against engaging Obasanjo negatively,” the aide, who declined to be named because he was not permitted to speak officially on the issue, said.
Shittu on his own
Asked why Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, was allowed to use the State House to attack Obasanjo, despite the warning from the President, our source said the minister was on his own.
Shittu, on Monday, attacked the former President, accusing him of “sensationalism.” He said as a minister for two years in the administration of Buhari, he considered it a patriotic duty to speak out.
He said he was speaking personally and as an APC member, because, according to him, the government had not been talking enough.
He said: “Obasanjo as a Nigerian has the right to hold an opinion. If Obasanjo holds an opinion that Mr. President has performed less than it should be, those of us who are in the position to know better have a right to also state the other side which perhaps Obasanjo is ignorant of.”
“You see, there are some people who enjoy engaging in sensationalism. With due respect to General Obasanjo, if you take his history over the last 30 years, there is hardly any regime other than his own that he did not criticise, except Sani Abacha, who didn’t wait for Obasanjo to criticise him before he was sent to the gulag.
“So many Nigerians know that Obasanjo enjoys this type of sensationalisation. In any case, no matter what impression you have of me, do you have a right to tell me not to contest an election? I mean we should talk like people who are educated, who know our left from the right,” Mr. Shittu said.
Mr. Shittu also recently opened a South West campaign office for Mr. Buhari and his vice, Yemi Osinbajo, ahead 2019 election in Ibadan Oyo state.
The Communications Minister also came to the meeting of the Federal executive Council, FEC, with bags full of Buhari/Osinbajo caps and began sharing to members of the cabinet before he was stopped by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Boss Mustapha.