Former president Olusegun Obasanjo on Tuesday, January 23, wrote an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari on the state of the nation which he titled “The Way Out: A Clarion Call for Coalition for Nigeria Movement.”
The Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government has also issued a formal response to the explosive letter.
The federal government gave its response on Wednesday, January 24, via the minister of information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
1. “For the record, Chief Obasanjo is a patriot, and he has proven this time and time again. We appreciate what he said concerning the administration’s performance in two out of the three key issues that formed the plank of its campaign: Fighting corruption and tackling insurgency.”
2. “We believe that Chief Obasanjo, because of his very busy schedule, may not have been fully availed of developments in the government’s efforts to revamp the economy, which was battered by the consequences of over-dependence on a commodity as well as unprecedented pillaging of the treasury.”
3. “Today, most of the indices by which an economy is measured are looking up. Permit me to say, however, that Nigeria would not have exited recession through a mere order or if the administration had not made use of good Nigerians who could help.”
4. “This Administration is making steady progress in its determined effort to revamp the economy, and the results are showing…”
5. “Foreign Reserves have peaked at $40b, the highest level in about four years, and up from $24 billion just a year ago, even though when we came in, the price of oil had crashed woefully.”
6. “Our determined implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) has stopped the hemorrhaging of the treasury. Some 108 billion Naira has been saved from removal of maintenance fees payable to banks, pre-TSA. The nation is being saved 24.7 billion Naira monthly with the full implementation of the TSA.”
7. “Government agencies such as the Nigeria Customs Service are reporting highest-ever revenue collection, while JAMB, under the new management appointed by President Buhari in 2016, remitted N7.8 billion to the coffers of the federal government. The total amount remitted by JAMB between 2010 and 2016 was a paltry N51 million!”
8. “When we assumed office in 2015, some 6 million farmers were involved in rice production. Thanks to the Anchor Borrowers’ programme of this administration, we have grown that number to over 12 million farmers.”
9. “Our Social Investment Programme is Nigeria’s most ambitious social welfare programme ever. Currently, 5.2 million primary school children in 28,249 schools in 19 states are being fed daily; 200,000 unemployed graduates have enlisted into the N-power Job Scheme, and a quarter of a million loans already distributed to artisans, traders, and farmers.”
10. “On the herders/farmers’ clashes, this administration is determined to end the crisis resulting from this once and for all, not minding the fact that the clashes predate us. We urge Nigerians to have faith in the Administration’s ability to resolve the crisis, and to watch out for concrete measures in this regard.”
11. “On whether or not President Muhammadu Buhari should run for another term, it is true that many Nigerians have been calling on the president to run again, while others are opposed to his return. However, we believe this issue is a distraction for the president at this time. This is because Mr President spends every waking hour tackling the enormous challenges facing the nation, most of which were bequeathed to his administration by successive past administrations. He is committed to fulfilling the mandate given to him by Nigerians in 2015. And that’s where we are right now.”
An earlier report had provided the full text of former president Obasanjo’s statement where he said that President Buhari had performed far below expectation and added that the All Progressives Congress (APC) was not the solution to the country’s challenges.
Obasanjo asked Buhari to honourably dismount from the horse and join the league of former leaders whose experience, influence, wisdom and outreach can be deployed on the sideline for the good of the country.