The storm ignited by former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s “special statement” in which he castigated the Muhammadu Buhari administration is yet to subside.
The reactions have been mixed, with some hailing him and others knocking him for advising the president not to run for a second term.
Former Abia State Governor Orji Uzor Kalu and Senate Committee on Police Affairs Chairman Senator Abu Ibrahim rejected Obasanjo’s stand.
Kalu questioned Obasanjo’s achievements and said it would be unfair to the Southeast, the Southsouth and the Southwest not to support Buhari’s second term bid, given the need to return power to the South after the completion of his two terms.
Kalu told reporters at the airport in Lagos: “I think Obasanjo’s letter is not in the best interest of Nigeria. There are three express roads Obasanjo refused to build when he was the President. Port Harcourt, Okigwe, Umuahia, Enugu expressway. It is being built now by the Buhari administration.
“Another one is the Enugu-Awka-Onitsha expressway. It is being built now by the Buhari administration. Obasanjo did not build it. Then there is the Onitsha-Owerri and Aba expressway. The Buhari administration is building it now.
“Between Obasanjo and Buhari, who should I call my friend in real terms? It is Buhari who is developing our region. With the roads, trailers loaded with manufactured goods in Aba will be able to get to their various destinations from the city. So, Buhari is my friend; so he is a better President.
Why the former President is not qualified to write is because he is the cause of many of the things happening in this country today. Obasanjo is not a worthy person to write that letter. Under the Obasanjo administration, $16 billion was spent on power plants but that money was wasted. Where we are now at the privately-owned domestic airport, you can hear the sound of generator. The electricity in the facility is being powered by generator. Where is the $16 billion spent on electricity?
“It is just that governments are not serious. If the different tiers of government are serious, they would address where the $16 billion meant for provision of power has gone.
“Before June this year, I will write my own letter to President Buhari and that letter will be explosive. Nigerians will see my letter to Buhari and that will be explosive.”
Kalu added: “Buhari is fighting corruption. It is those who don’t know Buhari that will not be saying that. You know that I supported Buhari in 2003 even when I was a PDP governor.”
He asked Nigerians to ignore Obasanjo and focus attention on the quantum lift on the country had made under Buhari.
He said: “Obasanjo is always himself. He always wants to be seen as the best president the country has had. He should however be advised not to always do things that are subjective.”
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chairman Uche Secondus said “the government of APC has become a lame duck after the former President Olusegun Obasanjo released a political tsunami and verdict on it.”
He said the PDP would save the nation from collapse.
Secondus spoke in Abuja during a meeting with the league of former ministers who served under the various PDP administrations since 1999.
He said: “Our nation is in a situation where PDP must save this nation from total collapse.
“We shall be engaging most of you even at emergency level. As we move, it will be so dynamic in nature. Feel free, this party belongs to all of us.
“We have opened the party up; no one single person owns this party. No one single individual can direct; it must be collective leadership. That is what is going to give us victory.
“Very soon, we shall roll out our programme; we are going to embark on online membership drive and it is going to be aggressive.
“We also want to assure you that members of the NWC are not ready to sit at Wadata in the confines of air-conditioner.
“We want to roll out our suites and move to the states and the local government and we will get to the wards and, if possible the units, to seek for membership. So you will join us in your states”.
The party chair described the former ministers as men and women of integrity who have worked for the nation, assuring them that the National Working Committee (NWC) was ready to work closely with them.
In his reaction, former Jigawa State Governor Sule Lamido praised Obasanjo “for speaking the minds of Nigerians.”
He said: “APC and the president have no capacity, they have no knowledge, no political sagacity; they can’t lead Nigeria. If we allow APC to continue, this country will perish.”
Lamido said President Buhari would have been impeached for allegedly declaring that he would only work for regions that voted him into power.
His words: “For a government which says I can only work where I got my own votes, which means from the beginning, the culture of hate has been there. Nigeria is for all Nigerians. In saner countries, the president would have been impeached for declaring that he would work in areas where he got votes.”
To the former governor, the Buhari administration is intolerant of divergent views. Critics are often “maligned, demonized and blackmailed,” he said.
Lamido spoke in Asaba, the Delta State capital while soliciting the support of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and PDP members for his presidential ambition.
But a chieftain of the APC in Delta State, Chief Ovo Ofigo, said the Obasanjo statement should rather be seen as a wakeup call to the President, to live up to his campaign promises.
He said, “Failure is an opportunity for determined people to succeed. Thus, President Buhari is determined to have a second term, then he has to take the former President’s outburst as a welcome and healthy development.”