The Nigerian Government Sunday said former President Olusegun Obasanjo is a “lowly…Divider-in-Chief” after he criticised President Muhammadu Buhari of running the country aground.
“From the lofty heights of Commander-in-Chief, General Obasanjo has descended to the lowly level of Divider-in-Chief,” Buhari’s spokesman Garba Shehu said in a statement.
Obasanjo and Buhari were former allies in the run-up to the 2015 general elections when Buhari was the candidate of the then opposition party All Progressives Congress.
But their relationship soured about three years after Buhari was sworn in as president in May 2015, having defeated Goodluck Jonathan at the polls.
In 2018, Obasanjo labelled Buhari incompetent and accused him of nepotism. Obasanjo doubled down on the criticism of his former ally in subsequent statements and open letters.
Weeks before Nigeria’s last general elections, he accused Buhari of desperation to retain power, comparing him to the late Nigerian despot General Sani Abacha.
In his latest criticism of the Nigerian president, Obasanjo said Nigeria was tilting towards failure, describing the country as a “basket case”.
“Nigeria is fast drifting to a failed and badly divided state; economically our country is becoming a basket case and poverty capital of the world, and socially, we are firming up as an unwholesome and insecure country,” he said.
But the Nigerian Government on Sunday said the former leader has become a divisive figure. Buhari spokesman accused Obasanjo of praising “extremist groups,” who have vowed to shun the invitation to the National Assembly to participate in the process of the constitutional amendment.
Shehu insisted that Obasanjo’s criticisms of President Buhari were devoid of good intentions, claiming that the former Nigerian leader is jealous of Buhari’s achievements.
“Chief Obasanjo should, in accordance with his mantra as a statesman, get involved with problems solving, when and where they exist instead of helping the mushrooming of a poisonous atmosphere of ethnic and religious nationalism,” Shehu said.
“With so much to show and many more coming, it is little surprise that President Buhari would be the object of envy and harsh unfair challenges by politicians who failed to deliver, but continue to nurse ambitions of delighting the audience long after their curtain has been drawn.”