Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo has once again taken a shot at President Muhammadu Buhari for his administration’s handling of the fight against corruption.
In an explosive interview with Deutsche Welle, Germany‘s international broadcaster, expected to be published on Tuesday, February 13, Obasanjo said the president’s anti-corruption fight has been polluted by people in his inner circle being smeared in corruption allegations themselves.
According to him, the president could do better in how he goes about the war that’s been one of the centrepieces of his administration.
He said, “I would make sure people in charge of anti-corruption institutions are people of integrity. There is no point in fighting corruption beyond you and you have corruption on your nose.”
Coalition for Nigeria is a new movement
The former president also reiterated the sanctity of the Coalition for Nigeria movement that he recently created after issuing a public statement that heavily criticised Buhari’s leadership.
During his interview with Deutsche Welle, Obasanjo said the movement will truly help Nigerians to move away from the old order of politics and into a new age where the interests of the citizens are truly represented.
He said, “It (Coalition for Nigeria) is not an old wine in a new bottle, but a new wine in a new bottle. I will not stand in the way of that movement if it decides to become a party. But in that case, I will withdraw.”
What is Obasanjo’s Coalition for Nigeria?
In a statement issued by Obasanjo on January 23, 2018, titled, “The Way Out: A Clarion Call for Coalition for Nigeria Movement”, he pointed out major failings of President Buhari’s administration and urged him to not consider reelection in 2019.
He also expressed his lost hope in the ability of the ruling All Progressives’ Congress (APC) and opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in providing Nigeria with the initiative it needs to progress.
The former president’s solution to being free of the dominance of both parties was what he called the Coalition for Nigeria movement.
According to him, the coalition will be a movement of all well-meaning Nigerians that will engage in democratic practices that will drive Nigeria forward and be a source of hope for all Nigerians for speedy, quality and equal development, security, unity, prosperity and progress.
He said, “Coalition for Nigeria must be a Movement to break new ground in building a united country, a socially cohesive and moderately prosperous society with equity, equality of opportunity, justice and a dynamic and progressive economy that is self-reliant and takes active part in global division of labour and international decision-making.
“The Movement must work out the path of development and the trajectory of development in speed, quality and equality in the short, medium, and long-term for Nigeria on the basis of sustainability, stability, predictability, credibility, security, cooperation and prosperity with diminishing inequality.
“What is called for is love, commitment and interest in our country, not in self, friends and kinship alone but particularly love, compassion and interest in the poor, underprivileged and downtrodden.
“It is our human duty and responsibility so to do. Failure to do this will amount to a sin against God and a crime against humanity.”
Despite his backing for the group, the former president also made it known that he’ll cease to be a part of the movement the minute it becomes a political platform that sponsors candidates for elections.
On February 1, Obasanjo filled a membership registration form at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) secretariat in Abeokuta, Ogun State to officially signify his membership with the movement.
He was accompanied by former Osun State governor, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, and former Cross River State governor, Donald Duke, who were both present at the official launching of the group in Abuja on January 31.
No hard feelings between Obasanjo and Buhari
Despite the public storm that Obasanjo’s initial statement created, the presidency responded to him in a measured statement issued by Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed.
The former president also met with Buhari briefly at the 30th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU), in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia only a few days later.