Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has denied reports that he has decided to be neutral over who emerges president in 2019.
Obasanjo, who lamented the level of “incompetence, corruption, lack of focus, insecurity, nepotism, brazen impunity and denial of the obvious” under President Muhammadu Buhari’s government, argued that only a fool will sit on the fence or be neutral when his or her country is being destroyed.
The report of Obasanjo’s neutrality was allegedly filed by News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) with the headline “Atiku: Obasanjo Shifts Political Gear to Neutral.”
But in a statement by his media aide, Kehinde Akinyemi, on Sunday, he said Obasanjo, who is in Cairo to attend the maiden edition of the Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF), of which he is chairman of the Advisory Council, never suggested he will be neutral.
“It is disingenuous, if not malicious, for anyone to suggest that Chief Obasanjo was being neutral when he chose not to use the Owu Convention as a platform for political campaign but instead adopt a communal and familial approach in talking to members of his Owu family.
“For the records, and as accurately reported by some media organisations, what the former president said at the convention in Iwo was that while he would not impress any candidates on them, Nigerians should vote for credible candidates who will drive growth and development and make their lives better than it is now,” Akinyemi said.
According to him, Obasanjo’s statement never suggested his neutrality, as he believes that, “only a fool will sit on the fence or be neutral when his or her country is being destroyed with incompetence, corruption, lack of focus, insecurity, nepotism, brazen impunity and denial of the obvious.
“Chief Obasanjo is no such fool nor is he so unwise,” he added.
Obasanjo, who had earlier declared his support for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, said he would never sit on the fence.
While he called on Nigerians to stop complaining about their current situation, he advised them to go out to get “beneficial change.”
He said Nigerians must know that such change will not come if they remain inactive just complaining and complacent and they allow themselves to be deceived by sycophants and enemies of Nigeria.
“If they do not become active and get much needed change of the current administration to a government that will improve the economy, regain the confidence of investors and generally drive growth, development and economic progress with security, what is coming will be much worse than what Nigerians currently suffer,” Obasanjo said.
The former President added that he would never refrain from speaking up against poor governance, warning that nobody should manipulate his stance on the 2019 presidential election.
Obasanjo had in 2015 given full support to Buhari’s presidential ambition against his own party’s presidential candidate and then incumbent president, Goodluck Jonathan.
However, Obasanjo had since dumped his support for Buhari and advised him not to seek re-election over his government’s alleged incompetence, corruption, nepotism and failure to secure lives and property of Nigerians.