Former president Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday said he would not stop criticising the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari until it begins to do the right things.
Obasanjo said he has held the nation’s mantle of leadership longer than any past or present leader, advising those pressuring him to give up criticising Buhari to also tell the President to run the country the right way.
The ex – Head of State spoke at a public lecture to mark his 82nd birthday. The venue was at the sprawling Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
The elder statesman was reacting to comments by the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, during the ceremony, that he should leave President Buhari to concentrate on the onerous business of governance.
Oba Gbadebo at the lecture organised by the Center For Human Security and Dialogue, an arm of the OOPL, to mark Obasanjo’s birthday, pleaded with the ex – President to relax his criticisms of Buhari’s government, reminding him that Buhari was his(Alake) boss in the military.
“You all know that I was an officer under General Buhari so each time Obasanjo criticises my boss, I always stand to say my senior (OBJ), please leave the President alone! At 82, baba is still fighting on, please fight less and be a consultant to everybody,” Oba Gbadebo had said.
But replying, Obasanjo urged the Egba monarch to tell his boss (Buhari) to do the right thing in the way he governs the country lest he keeps getting bashing from him.
Obasanjo, who noted that he was also a boss to President Buhari, said there was nothing personal in all his criticisms of the president.
Noting that governments in African continent have no alternative to democracy, the Octogenarian stated that criticisms and “saying the other side” of any government’s policies are part of the beauties of democracy.
Obasanjo said: “I believe that Africa has no alternative to democracy, good governance and development, growth and progress of our economy. We have none and if that is not happening in any country, those who keep quiet about it are accomplices to the crime.
“You see, in a democracy, you criticise a policy of government because it is not a family affair. Even if it is my brother that is there and he is not doing what I think he should do, he must be criticised. That is what democracy is all about: criticisms; saying the other side.
“So, if I say anybody in government in Nigeria or any government for that matter is not doing well, let that government prove that he is doing well. So, Kabiyesi, your boss, Buhari; there is nothing personal between me and him. Just as he is your boss, I am also his boss with due respect.
“The point is that I have been in that position longer than any Nigerian could ever be there. That is the truth because if any Nigerian comes in now and have two terms, he will not have almost four (4) years of military rule.
“I have been there longer than any Nigerian will ever be there. So, when I say something, I know what I am talking about. So, Kabiyesi, anytime you say ‘leave my boss alone’; I agree, he is your boss, but I am also his boss. So, you might also ask your boss to leave his boss alone or do what is right that his boss wants him to do.”
However, at the lecture titled: “Colonialism, Apartheid, Freedom and South Africa Rising”, the guest lecturer and who is the President of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) in South Africa, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi (MP) eulogised Obasanjo, saying his legacies are all written in gold for present and future generation of Africans.
Buthelezi, who is also the traditional Prime minister for the Zulu Monarch and Nation, said Obasanjo has continued to offer his vast experience, wisdom and insight for the sake of freedom, democracy, social justice and economic growth of humanity.
“And who is better to write on a subject of such central importance to Africa than former President Olusegun Obasanjo?
“Under his leadership as President of Nigeria, the GDP of Nigeria grew phenomenally. Any President who can secure economic growth for their country, provides their people with the two things most needed: development and hope,” Buthelezi said.