The Alake and paramount ruler of Egbaland Oba Aremu Gbadebo Tuesday said former President Olusegun Obasanjo should desist from his ceaseless attacks on President Muhammadu Buhari.
The monarch said this in his goodwill message to mark the 82nd birthday anniversary of Obasanjo at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta, Ogun state capital.
Gbadebo, who said Obasanjo had all his life being ‘‘a warrior’’ asked the former leader to rest, fight less and take a position of a consultant at his new age.
“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,” said Gbadebo, who served as a military officer during the military administration of Buhari between 1984 and 1985.
But in a response to a deluge of goodwill messages from friends, family members and well wishers at the event, Obasanjo said the issues between him and Buhari were not personal.
Obasanjo said: “There is nothing personal between President Buhari and I. In a democracy, there is always room to criticise a policy, government or a leader if (they are) not doing well.”
“In a democracy, you criticise a policy, a government or a leader. Democracy is not a family affair, even if it’s my brother that is there, and he is not doing what I believe he should do, he must be criticised that is what democracy is all about-criticism.”
The former president prided himself as the “only longest serving Nigerian leader who has seen it all,” saying: “So, when I say something, I know what I am saying. So if I say anybody in government in Nigeria is not doing well, let that government prove that it is doing well.
“It’s not anything personal, so Kabiyesi (king), your boss Buhari, there is nothing personal between him and me. Just as you say, he is your boss; I am his boss with all due respect. Now, the point is that I have been in that position longer than any Nigerian will ever be there.
“So when I say something, I know what I am saying. Kabiyesi, any time you say, leave my boss alone, I say he is your boss, but I am also his boss so you can also ask your boss to leave his boss alone and do the right thing.”
Earlier, former Minister of Home Affairs of the Republic of South Africa, Mr. Mangosuthu Buthelezi, had in a lecture; ‘‘Colonialism, Apartheid, Freedom and South Africa Rising,’’ said corruption remained the biggest challenge facing the African continent.
He said South Africa currently ranked so poorly on the Corruption Perceptions Index of the Transparency International.
The former South-African minister attributed the development to ‘‘the mistakes we have made, allowing resources to be consumed by greed and abuse.’’
Buthelezi, who said only six countries in the African Union had ranked above 50 on the corruption index, stated that ‘‘corruption is pervasive throughout the region.
‘‘This is difficult to hear and perhaps, it stirs our anger. We must, however, accept the facts and fix them.
‘‘When we consider countries like Seychelles and Botswana who have become paragons of excellence, we need to ask what they did to achieve this.
‘‘We know that Botswana, for instance, reinforced its legal and institutional frameworks and made resources available specifically to fight corruption.
‘‘There are measures we can take and we must take them. If we can overcome these challenges in Africa, we will open the possibilities for growth, development and social justice that were the dreams of my generation,’’ he said.
He said Obasanjo’s legacies in Nigeria and beyond would outlive him
Atiku extols virtues
Meanwhile; former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has said Obasanjo had contributed more to the nation’s development than any Nigerian leader.
Atiku, who was the nation’s number two person under Obasanjo, said this while felicitating with his former boss at 82.
He said the former president had given to Nigeria both in peace and war times more than what any other Nigerian gave the country.
Atiku, who said this via his twitter handle, also prayed God to grant the former president many more years in good health.
“A very happy 82nd birthday to you, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. No living Nigerian has given as much to Nigeria in peacetime and in war as you have. May almighty God grant you many more years in good health and continued service to Nigeria and the world at large.