I stand by my letter, Obasanjo insists

Olusegun Obasanjo - Africa Progress Panel - World Economic ForumFormer President Olusegun Obasanjo issued another five-paragraph letter in Abeokuta, Ogun State, on Monday to reiterate the contents of his earlier controversial letter to President Goodluck Jonathan, insisting, “I will maintain my serenity, because by this letter, I have done my duty to you as I have always done, to your government, to the party, PDP, and to our dear country, Nigeria”.

Obasanjo was reacting to the widely publicised reply of Jonathan to the said letter on Monday in which the President sought to disclaim all the accusations levelled against him by Obasajo.

Media Officer to the former President, Tunde Oladunjoye, read the terse letter to the media at the conference centre of the former President Hilltop residence in Abeokuta.

Obasanjo said by his current stand on the imbroglio between himself and Jonathan he has thrown the challenge to Nigerians to make informed decision in the aftermath of the claims and counter-claims.

He added that his tacit reaction to Jonathan could not have come but for “several requests from local and international media asking to know Chief Obasanjo’s reaction to Mr. President’s response”.

Obasanjo restated that he has “tremendous respect for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”, just as he appreciated the press, which he described as “very upright, ethical and robust on the subject matter”.

Oladunjoye said Obasanjo does not wish, let alone make further comments beyond the contents of his last letter.

And commenting on the letters between the two leaders, former Governor of Abia State, Orji Kalu, advised both of them to find solutions to the challenges facing the country instead of exchanging letters.

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Kalu, who gave the advice while speaking with journalists at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMA), Lagos, on Monday urged the two leaders stop the exchange of correspondence, as that could further heat up the nation’s polity.

According to him, “Both former President Olusegun Obasanjo and President Goodluck Jonathan must face the realities of today, they should realise the suffering of the citizens.

“Both leaders do not have to be exchanging letters that will only make newspapers headlines especially during this festive period,” Kalu said.

He added: “I expected them to be able to think about the Nigerian people, proffer solutions to their problems”.

Kalu said he also wrote a letter in 2005, but his letter was not replied but that he decided to take it in good fate.

He added that since both leaders are Christians and that the development coincides with the time Christians are celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, they should amicably resolve the matter.

Also commenting on the matter, former old Kaduna State Governor and National Chairman of Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), Balarabe Musa, condemned Jonathan’s reply to Olusegun Obasanjo’s letter.

Musa believes that Jonathan’s reply to Obasanjo’s letter was unwise, unnecessary and retrogressive in nature.

According to him, Obasanjo as a former President deserves some level of respect and has the right to speak on national matters, especially at crucial moment like this when corruption and insecurity are threatening Nigeria’s democracy.

Spokesman of the pan-Yoruba socio-politica group, Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, also spoke on the issues, saying the former President should be invited by security forces to provide evidence for some of the allegations he levelled against the President in his letter.

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Speaking on Jonathan’s letter in which he challenged Obasanjo to come up with facts and evidence to back up his allegations, especially on placing over 1,000 Nigerians on political watch-list and training snipers for that purpose, Odumakin said the President has done his best to address the issues.

The onus, according to him, now lies on the former President to back up his claims with fact.

In his own reaction, Lagos based lawyer and human rights activist, Bamidele Aturu, said both Obasanjo and Jonathan have clearly shown to Nigerians that the ruling class has seriously failed to address the myriad of problems confronting Nigeria as a country.

He added that Jonathan’s claim that there were political assassinations under Obasanjo and the former President’s claim that Jonathan has failed to address the issue of insecurity which has claimed the lives of thousands of Nigerians is an admittance of failure on the part of both leaders.

He, therefore, urged Nigerians to unite and kick them out of power and put in place sincere leaders who are genuinely interested in the transformation of the country.

“The truth of the matter is that both President Jonathan and former President Obasanjo and members of the ruling class in Nigeria are incapable of addressing the key issues raised in those letters.

“And that is what Nigerians must insist upon that we are saddled with leadership across boards that is incapable of making this country progress in any way,” Aturu said.

Also commenting, Ebonyi State chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Jerry Obasi demanded that Obasanjo should be investigated and called to prove his allegations against Jonathan.

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He explained that Obasanjo failed in his bid to control the Jonathan-led administration from outside, and that was why he resorted to expressing his frustration in various ways.

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