Says former President entitled to his opinion
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA – THE Presidency Sunday night said it will not join issues with former President Olusegun Obasanjo over his allegations of increasing rate of insecurity, impunity in the system and the alleged plot by the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, to collaborate with the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to rig the forthcoming elections.
The Presidency in a live television programme on Politics Today by Channels Television also asked President Obasanjo to explain to Nigerians whether elections under his administration was free and fair.
According to the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Chief Femi Adesina, “Let me start by saying that President Muhammadu Buhari has abiding respect for former President Olusegun Obasanjo. You know they come from a constituency in which seniority is forever.
“President Obasanjo was superior to President Buhari in the military. President Buhari served under him for three and a quarter years as oil Minister. So, former President Obasanjo is a senior to President Buhari any day any time and President gives him due courtesies whenever they meet.
“So President Buhari will never be rude, that respect is abiding and enduring. Talking if the statement today, I can only say that what the former President had said is opinion of a man. There are about 196 million Nigerians. If one man says anything it is as best his opinion, it does not mean that is the gospel.
“What the former President has said is his opinion and this is a democracy, he has a right to it.
“You also forget that in this country when when former President Obasanjo was in power there were many things that constituted impunity in that government. So like they said the onlooker sees more of the game than the player.
“It is so easy for the former President to sit back in his chair reclining and criticise a government but many things that constitute impunity would have happened under his government.
“Like I said and like you have observed it is just an opinion of one man and it doesn’t constitute the gospel.”
On allegation of increasing rate of insecurity he said, “There are security challenges but I tell you that these security challenges are being tackled.
“Even under the time of Obasanjo, there had been Odi killings. Under him was when we had Zaki Biam massacre, under him there were lots OPC clashes, under him there Sharia riot, OPC ethnic clashes, lots of lives lost. So nobody can just come and sit in judgment over another government. When worst things happen under his government.”
Also on the allegation that the ruling APC was planning to rig the forthcoming elections in collaboration with the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, he said, “Yes INEC can always defend itself and I am sure they would.
“But then imagine that kind of allegation coming from somebody who told us in 2007 that the election will be do-or-die and the beneficiary of that election came out to tell us that the election that brought him to power was marred in all respect.
“Now for that kind of a person to come out and tell us that the election will not be going to be free and fair, was there free and fair election when he conducted his own? That is the question Nigerians should be asking.”