Although President Muhammadu Buhari and former President Olusegun Obasanjo shook hands and exchanged banter during the weekend, the effect of the “letter bomb” of the ex-president is yet to die down, at least in the camp of Buhari’s supporters.
On Monday, Adebayo Shittu, minister of communications and the main leader of the president’s reelection in the south-west, came down hard on Obasanjo.
Accusing the elder statesman of engaging in sensationalism, Shittu said if he were ignorant of Buhari’s achievements, those “who know” could enlighten him.
He asked Obasanjo to allow members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) decide Buhari’s fate, saying the Nigerian leader is not in the position to advise Buhari on the next election year.
Shittu spoke while addressing state house correspondents at the presidential villa in Abuja on Monday.
“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,” he said.
“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. Sani Abacha didn’t wait for Obasanjo to criticise him before sending him 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.
“There are procedures for elections. President Buhari is a member of the APC and the APC has its rules and regulations as to how candidates will emerge, if members of the party feel that the president has not performed well enough, it is for them to show that during the primary election. It’s not for anybody to shortchange Nigerians and prevent people from offering themselves for an election.
“In any case, since Obasanjo is no more a member of a party, with due respect, it doesn’t lie in his mouth to tell us who among our party members or leaders to contest or not to contest. I think Nigerians should concede this privilege to we the members of APC to decide the fate of Mr President when the next round of primary comes.”