Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has called on President Muhammadu Buhari not to seek re-election in 2019.

Obasanjo in a blistering and excoriating 13-page statement said Buhari has performed below expectation.

In the letter, entitled “The Wat Out: A Clarion Call for Coalition for Nigeria Movement,” Obasanjo said instead of seeking a second term, Buhari should step back and join the league of the country’s former leaders whose "experience, influence, wisdom and outreach can be deployed on the side line for the good of the country."

Obasanjo said Buhari’s government have been infected with “lice of poor performance in government – poverty, insecurity, poor economic management, nepotism, gross dereliction of duty, condonation of misdeed – if not outright encouragement of it, lack of progress and hope for the future, lack of national cohesion and poor management of internal political dynamics and widening inequality.

“With such lice of general and specific poor performance and crying poverty with us, our fingers will not be dry of ‘blood’,” he added.

While he acknowledged that Buhari has succeeded in rolling back the Boko Haram insurgency and in the fight against corruption, Obasanjo said the President has failed in other areas.

He admitted that though he knew Buhari was weak in handling the economy, he thought the President would appoint qualified Nigerians to help out in that area.

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He also accused Buhari of turning blind eye to corruption within his government saying it amounted to condoning and cover-up.

The former President lamented that Buhari allowed clashes between herdsmen and farmers to go “sour” and messy, even as he noted that the President allowed some governors to endorse him for re-election barely 24 hours after 73 people killed by herdsmen in Benue State were given mass burial, an action he described as “a sad symptom of insensitivity and callousness.”

“President Buhari needs a dignified and honourable dismount from the horse. He needs to have time to reflect, refurbish physically and recoup and after appropriate rest, once again, join the stock of Nigerian leaders whose experience, influence, wisdom and outreach can be deployed on the side line for the good of the country.  His place in history is already assured.  Without impaired health and strain of age, running the affairs of Nigeria is a 25/7 affair, not 24/7.

“I only appeal to Brother Buhari to consider a deserved rest at this point in time and at this age.  I continue to wish him robust health to enjoy his retirement from active public service.  President Buhari does not necessarily need to heed my advice.  But whether or not he heeds it, Nigeria needs to move on and move forward,” he said.

“I have had occasion in the past to say that the two main political parties – APC and PDP – were wobbling.  I must reiterate that nothing has happened to convince me otherwise.  If anything, I am reinforced in my conviction.  The recent show of PDP must give grave and great concern to lovers of Nigeria.

ALSO READ: Obasanjo Describes APC, PDP As Wobbling Parties

To claim, as has been credited to the chief kingmaker of PDP, that for procuring the Supreme Court judgement for his faction of the Party, he must dictate the tune all the way and this is indeed fraught with danger.

“If neither APC nor PDP is a worthy horse to ride to lead Nigeria at this crucial and critical time, what then do we do?  Remember Farooq Kperogi, an Associate Professor at the Kennesaw State University, Georgia, United States, calls it “a cruel Hobson’s choice; it’s like a choice between six and half a dozen, between evil and evil. Any selection or deflection would be a distinction without a difference.”  We cannot just sit down lamenting and wringing our hands desperately and hopelessly.

Having ruled out the PDP and the ruling APC of possessing the panacea to the malaise that ails the country, Obasanjo therefore called for a movement he termed Coalition of Nigeria, which he offered to be a part of, to wrest power from the present ruling class and lead the country into the path of rebirth.

“We can collectively save ourselves from the position we find ourselves.  It will not come through self-pity, fruitless complaint or protest but through constructive and positive engagement and collective action for the good of our nation and ourselves and our children and their children. We need moral re-armament and engaging togetherness of people of like-mind and goodwill to come solidly together to lift Nigeria up. 

"This is no time for trading blames or embarking on futile argument and neither should we accept untenable excuses for non-performance," he added.

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