– Says, stop blaming past govts, concentrate on governance

HONEYMOON between President Muhammadu Buhari and former President Olusegun Obasanjo seems to be over. For the one and a half years that President Buhari has been in power, former Nigerian leader, Obasanjo remained one of his staunchest backers, visiting him repeatedly and publicly defending most of his actions. But speaking in Lagos Wednesday, Obasanjo served signal that the era of being soft on the administration President Buhari leads is over. Delivering the keynote address at the First Akintola Williams Annual Lecture, Obasanjo lashed at the Buhari administration for repeatedly lumping the country’s three previous administrations (including the one he, Obasanjo led) together and then accusing them of misgovernance. He also advised Buhari to stop dwelling on the past, saying since he was elected to change the country, he should concentrate on clearing the mess he inherited. “Now that we have had change because the actors and the situation needed to be changed, let us move forward to have progress through a comprehensive economic policy and programme that is intellectually, strategically and philosophically based,” Obasanjo said. “It is easier to win an election than to right the wrongs of a badly fouled situation. When you are outside, what you see and know are nothing compared with the reality. “And yet once you are on seat, you have to clear the mess and put the nation on the path of rectitude, development and progress leaving no group or section out of your plan, programme and policy and efforts. The longer it takes, the more intractable the problem may become.” The former president also criticised plans by the present Nigerian leader to take about $30billion loan. He said: “I am sure that such a comprehensive policy and programme (that will move Nigeria forward) will not support borrowing US$30billion in less than three years. It will give us the short, medium and long-term picture. “Adhocry is not the answer but cold, hard headed planning that evinces confidence and trust is the answer. Economy neither obeys orders nor does it work according to wishes. It must be worked upon with all factors considered and most stakeholders involved. “The investors, domestic and foreign, are no fools and they know what is going on with the management of the economy including the foreign exchange and they are not amused. The Central Bank must be restored to its independence and integrity. We must be careful and watchful of the danger of shortermism. “Short-term may be the enemy of medium and long term. We must also make allowance for the lessons that most of us in democratic dispensation have learned and which the present administration seems to be just learning.” The former president did not spare the National Assembly which he says stinks to high heavens and the Nigerian military, which he said needed to be purged. According to Obasanjo, “The National Assembly cabal of today is worse than any cabal that anybody may find anywhere in our national governance system. “Members of the National Assembly pay themselves allowances for staff and officers they do not have or maintain. Constituency projects are a veritable source of corruption. These constituency projects are spread over the budget for members of the National Assembly for which they are the initiators and the contractors, directly or by proxy, and money would be fully drawn with the project only partially executed or not executed at all. We should not continue with the impunity and corruption in the National Assembly.” Obasanjo also took a swipe at the nation’s military over the corrupt disposition of its leaders. According to the former Nigerian leader, “when the military is corrupt, it affects its fighting ability in many ways. Poor, used and inappropriate equipment and materials are purchased by the military for the military, at the expense of fighting troops in the warfront. In some cases, nothing at all was purchased.”


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