Former President Olusegun Obasanjo got a bloody nose yesterday for his blistering criticism of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo led the way with a defence of his integrity over the TraderMoni, saying Obasanjo was either ignorant of the workings of the scheme of just been mischievous.
The former president should be ignored, All Progressives Congress (APC) stalwart Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu said.
The scathing remarks by Obasanjo on the Buhari administration were in bad faith, Tinubu, who is co-Chairman of the APC Presidential Campaign Council, told a crowd of party faithful in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
APC National Chairman Adams Oshiomhole described the Obasanjo years as an era of impunity, impeachment of governors and bickering between him (Obasanjo) and his deputy, Atiku Abubakar.
Tinubu spoke at the inauguration of the President Buhari re-election campaign in the Northeast—on a day more Nigerians knocked Obasanjo for his statement.
Many of those who reacted said the former leader lacked the moral latitude to criticise the incumbent who, according to them, has been trying to clean up the mess left behind by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) between 1999 and 2015.
Obasanjo, who was president on the PDP’s platform between 1999 and 2017, alleged in a 16-page statement on Sunday that President Buhari was executing a succession plan like the late Head of State Gen. Sani Abacha.
Among those who commented on the Obasanjo remarks are: Former Alliance for Democracy (AD) National Chairman AbdulKarim Daiyabu; the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO); the Osun State chapter of the APC; Yoruba Ronu Leadership Forum and the Katsina State Commissioner for Information, Culture & Home Affairs, Hamza Brodo.
They said the former president is not being truthful.
According to Tinubu, Obasanjo was not happy with the feat attained by the APC government in the clean-up of the 16-year mess created by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He said such criticisms from Obasanjo, who he described as an “expired politician”, will not stop the electorate from renewing President Buhari’s mandate for another four years.
Tinubu said: “When we came on board in 2015, we promised Nigerians that we were going to turn the ship of this country to the right direction and we have done that.
“We are sweeping webs of collateral corruption to give Nigerians a new life, new home, and a solid foundation; that is what President Buhari is doing and we are 100 percent behind him.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has been upright, firm and has been steady, focused with a great vision for the betterment and progress of this country.
”I can hear the other expired leaders like Obasanjo, ranting, and lying; don’t believe him, don’t trust him; he is expired.
”We can recall the rigging in the 2003 general elections under Obasanjo. We also knew what happened in 2007 under President Obasanjo.
“Ninety-five percent of you must come out and vote en masse for Buhari because no other President has upheld democratic principles like President Buhari.
“In 1999, we gave it to him but he could not one day recognise MKO’s mandate of June 12. Again, when he came back into power, we asked him for the recognition, he failed. Who did it? President Buhari declared June 12 as national Democracy Day to honor the late MKO Abiola.”
Tinubu added that Buhari was committed to upholding the rule of law and entrenching democratic principles. He urged the electorate to give him their mandate for the second time.
Oshiomhole scored Buhari’s administration very high in security, saying, “under the past administration, 24 local governments were under the control of Boko Haram”, noting that under Buhari, all the local governments had been liberated.
“No local government area is under the control of the insurgents. You have gain control of the 774 councils. We still have security challenges but the arrogance, impunity that Nigeria is wallowing in had become a thing of the past.
“Everything that we are in today started in Obasanjo’s regime. Do-or-die politics was Obasanjo’s legacies. Today, the era of impeaching state governors is over. The era of quarrelling with vice president and fighting in the market place is gone.
“The era of withholding funds meant for council areas as it was done to monthly allocations of Lagos State local government areas is over. These are the legacies of the Obasanjo-led administration,” Oshiomhole said.
The APC chair accused Obasanjo of introducing corruption into the polity.
According to Oshomole, members of the National Assembly were bribed into supporting the botched third term agenda under Obasanjo.
He urged President Buhari to probe what transpired in that era when re-elected.
Residents brushed aside security challenges in Borno and Yobe states to turn out in their large numbers to join the APC presidential campaign train that stopped over in Maiduguri and Damaturu.
Hordes of APC supporters in the two states converged on the Ramat Square in Maiduguri and the August 27 Stadium in Damaturu where President Muhammadu Buhari presented his scorecard and solicited support for re-election on February 16.
President Buhari’s campaign train drove into Maiduguri some few minutes after 10am, greeted by a mammoth crowd on the major streets.
In Damaturu, the Yobe State capital, the President’s convoy was impeded by an army of supporters who took over the roads.
Supporters at the jammed August 27 stadium broke into cheers, singing as the President alighted from a black Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV).
In Maiduguri, President Buhari was received by Governor Kashim Shettima in the company of former governors and National Assembly members.
The presidential train drove to Shehu of Borno’s palace for the traditional homage before proceeding to the Ramat Square, where party leaders addressed supporters.
A welcome remark by the APC chairman in the state, Ali Bukar Dalori, opened the floodgate of goodwill messages.
Shettima noted that Borno is the President’s natural habitat, stressing that he had always gathered more votes in the state than any other presidential candidate.
He said stakeholders remained resolute to give the President the highest votes in the February 16 election.
Tinubu, Oshiomhole and the Director of the Buhari Presidential Camapaign Council, Rotimi Amaechi, all took turns to address the supporters.
They expressed confidence that the President will be returned on February 16.
Buhari promised to sustain the fight against corruption and Boko Haram.
Buhari, who spoke in Hausa, said: “In 2015, I promised you that I will fight graft, Boko Haram insurgency; and transform the economy for self-reliance, instead of massive importation of food.
”As your President, I want to assure you that our government will reciprocate all the support you have been rendering to this administration and APC.
“On the security situation, it is glaring that the government has done well; we will not relent, but strive to ensure total restoration of peace in the country.
“All of you have attested to it that this government is committed to ending Boko Haram and other criminal activities.”
In Damaturu, the President met with traditional rulers privately at the Presidential Lodge. He was asked to consider their teeming farming population for assistance.
Governor Ibrahim Gaidam promised that Yobe would give the President 100 per cent votes as it had always done.
The governor said: “In 2011, Mr. President, Ibrahim Shekarau was our presidential candidate in ANPP, but you in the Congress for Progressives Change (CPC) got the highest votes in Yobe State. In 2015, you had 96 percent votes in Yobe; this time around, we are going to close that gap by giving you 100 per cent votes in Yobe State.”
Gaidam said the PDP had no stake votes in Yobe, stressing: “The last soul of PDP in zone B, Ibrahim Talba, a retired Federal Permanent Secretary, has defected to the APC with Hajiya Mairo Amshi with their supporters.”
One of the high points of the event was the symbolic presentation of APC flags to the party’s governorship candidates of Borno and Yobe, Prof Babagana Umara Zulum and Mai Mala Buni.
Some PDP chieftains, led by former Borno State Governor Mohammed Goni, were received into the APC.
A spokesman for the defectors said their exit marked the burial of PDP in Borno.