By Chibuike Nwabuko
Abuja (Sundiata Post) – All eyes are now on former Heads of State, Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar and Gen Yakubu Gowon to bare their minds on the current trend of events in the country and what they expect as 2019 general election beckons as Obasanjo and IBB have made their stands known.
It has become imperative for these statesmen who have maintained sealed lips while their counterparts are speaking out to state their position. There is an Igbo proverb which says that “An adult does not stay in the house and watch the female goat go through the pains of parturition on its tether”, and it is on account of this that Abdulsalami and Gowon are expected to break their silence and explain to Nigerians the side of the divide they belong.
Sundiata Post recalls that the former President Olusegun Obasanjo had in his letter to President Mohammadu Buhari, expressed his views on wide range of issues as they affect actions and inactions of Buhari-led All Progressives governmnet and summarily admonished President Buhari not to seek re-election in 2019 but to offer advice from the sideline like other past leaders.
Also, former military President, Ibrahim Babangida who insisted that his own is not an open letter, but a “share of his thought with Nigerians” arisng from playing host to many patriotic Nigerians who worry and agonize about turn of events and why we have not gotten our leadership compass right as a country, called on Nigerians to vote out President Buhari in 2019 and elect new generation leaders to assume the mantle of leadership of the country. He further urged Nigerians to endure their agonizing situation till the president’s tenure ends in May 29th, 2019.
Recall that former President Obasanjo was in no small measure instrumental to the coming to power of President Muhammadu Buhari in May 29, 2015 as he openly declared support for him during the campaign days of the All Progressives Congress. Obasanjo did not only destroyed publicly his People Democratic Party’s membership card, he had prior to that, written a similar letter to the then President Goodluck Jonathan and literally passed a vote of no confidence on him through his letter wherein he asked President Jonathan not to run for second term.
In his non-support letter to Buhari, Obasanjo said among other things:
“Herdsmen/crop farmers issue is being wittingly or unwittingly allowed to turn sour and messy. It is no credit to the Federal Government that the herdsmen rampage continues with careless abandon and without finding an effective solution to it. And it is a sad symptom of insensitivity and callousness that some Governors, a day after 73 victims were being buried in a mass grave in Benue State without condolence, were jubilantly endorsing President Buhari for a second term! The timing was most unfortunate. The issue of herdsmen/crop farmers dichotomy should not be left on the political platform of blame game.
Obasanjo further reminded of three other areas where President Buhari has come out more glaringly than most of them (statesmen) thought we knew about him.
According to him, “One is nepotic deployment bordering on clannishness and inability to bring discipline to bear on errant members of his nepotic court. This has grave consequences on performance of his government to the detriment of the nation. It would appear that national interest was being sacrificed on the altar of nepotic interest. What does one make of a case like that of Maina: collusion, condonation, ineptitude, incompetence, dereliction of responsibility or kinship and friendship on the part of those who should have taken visible and deterrent disciplinary action? How many similar cases are buried, ignored or covered up and not yet in the glare of the media and the public?
“The second is his poor understanding of the dynamics of internal politics. This has led to wittingly or unwittingly making the nation more divided and inequality has widened and become more pronounced. It also has effect on general national security.
“The third is passing the buck. For instance, blaming the Governor of the Central Bank for devaluation of the naira by 70% or so and blaming past governments for it, is to say the least, not accepting one’s own responsibility. Let nobody deceive us, economy feeds on politics and because our politics is depressing, our economy is even more depressing today”.
On his part, the military President, Ibrahim Babangida while expressing lost of confidence on the competence of the present administration said among other things:
“In 2019 and beyond, we should come to a national consensus that we need new breed leadership with requisite capacity to manage our diversities and jump-start a process of launching the country on the super highway of technology-driven leadership in line with the dynamics of modern governance.
“I do not intend to deny President Buhari his inalienable right to vote and be voted for, but there comes a time in the life of a nation, when personal ambition should not override national interest. This is the time for us to reinvent the will and tap into the resourcefulness of the younger generation, stimulate their entrepreneurial initiatives and provoke a conduce environment to grow national economy both at the micro and macro levels.
On modern leadership and what it entails as well as fight against corruption by Buhari government, IBB said:
“Modern leadership is not just about “fighting” corruption, it is about plugging the leakages and building systems that will militate against corruption. Accountability in leadership should flow from copious examples. It goes beyond mere sloganeering. My support for a new breed leadership derives from the understanding that it will show a marked departure from recycled leadership to creating new paradigms that will breathe fresh air into our present polluted leadership actuality”.
IBB who, like Obasanjo, frowned at the growing insecurity and threat it poses for our unity as a country also said:
“The unchecked activities of the herdsmen have continued to raise doubt on the capacity of this government to handle with dispatch, security concerns that continue to threaten our dear nation; suicide bombings, kidnappings, armed banditry, ethnic clashes and other divisive tendencies.
“In the past few months also, I have taken time to reflect on a number of issues plaguing the country. I get frightened by their dimensions. I get worried by their colourations. I get perplexed by their gory themes. From Southern Kaduna to Taraba state, from Benue state to Rivers, from Edo state to Zamfara, it has been a theatre of blood with cake of crimson.
Adding that, “The pogrom in Benue state has left me wondering if truly this is the same country some of us fought to keep together. I am alarmed by the amount of blood-letting across the land. Nigeria is now being described as a land where blood flows like river, where tears have refused to dry up. Almost on a daily basis, we are both mourning and grieving, and often times left helpless by the sophistication of crimes. The Boko Haram challenge has remained unabated even though there has been commendable effort by government to maximally downgrade them.
While admitting the failure in leadership of APC, the former military leader sounded thus:
“When the ruling party campaigned with the change mantra, I had thought they would device new methods, provoke new initiatives and proffer new ways to addressing some of our developmental problems. By now, in line with her manifesto, one would have thought that the APC will give fillip to the idea of devolution of powers and tinker with processes that would strengthen and reform the various sectors of the economy.
He stressed that devolution of power or restructuring is an idea whose time has come if we must be honest with ourselves.
IBB used the occasion and called on the political parties not to exploit this all important restructuring or devolution of power as a decoy to woo voters because election time is here.
Therefore, Now that Obasanjo and Babangida have de-emphasized personal relationships and selfish gains to speak what they see as truth to power, the eyes of all Nigerians are now on Abdulsalami and Gowon.