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Wednesday, February 11, 2015


Former Nigerian President, General Olusegun Obasanjo, 77, for the first time has openly endorsed the candidacy of Major General Muhammadu Buhari, 72, a former military ruler and presidential candidate of the main opposition party, All Progressives Congress (APC), ahead of incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan, 57, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Ironically, Obasanjo and Jonathan belong to the same political party.

According to a report in the Financial Times of London, Obasanjo endorsed Buhari in Nairobi, Kenya, during the presentation of his controversial autobiography ‘MY WATCH’. Obasanjo, who helped President Jonathan get elected in 2011, has remained one of his strongest critics and their relations have since turned cold. He has accused the president severally of poor leadership, mismanaging the nation’s resources, as well as lacking the capacity to manage the military and the war against the Boko Haram.

Obasanjo himself, a former military ruler in the 70s before he returned as a democratic president in 1999, said Buhari, who was head of the military government that ruled Nigeria between December 31, 1983 – August 25, 1987, has the capacity to check corruption and effectively end the Boko Haram insurgency raving northern Nigeria.

Obasanjo further defended Buhari’s capacity to govern under a democratic government saying, “The circumstances (Buhari) will be working under if he wins the election are different from the one he worked under before, where he was both the executive and the legislature — he knows that,” said Gen Obasanjo. “He’s smart enough. He’s educated enough. He’s experienced enough. Why shouldn’t I support him?”
While commenting on the postponement of the presidential election, Obasanjo expressed reservations over the federal government’s advise to INEC which forced the six-week delay, warning President Jonathan against manipulating the process so as to remain in power.

Obasanjo unsuccessfully tried to amend the Nigerian Constitution to give himself a 3rd term and possibly 4th term in office, but the move was resisted by the National Assembly and majority of Nigerians.
“The signs are not auspicious… I don’t know whether a script is being played… I sincerely hope that the President is not going for broke and saying ‘look dammit, it’s either I have it or nobody has it’. I hope that we will not have a coup. I hope we can avoid it,” he said.

The President’s handling of the abduction of the Chibok schoolgirls last year by the terrorist group Boko Haram remains his biggest undoing followed closely by his seeming unwillingness to take on corruption.

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