President Muhammadu Buhari has finally break his silence on the strong-worded letter ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo wrote to him in January, 2018.
In the letter, Obasanjo asked the president to forget about contesting in 2019, saying doing so would amount to overstretching the tolerance of Nigerians.
He advised Buhari to retire from active public service and take his “role on the sidelines as a statesman”.
Recall that Femi Adesina, spokesman of the president, had said Buhari ordered his aides not to join issues with Obasanjo.
However, Lai Mohammed, minister of information, replied the ex-president by listing the achievements of the current administration.
Speaking in Bauchi during a state banquet in his honour on Thursday night, Buhari said he opted for silence but Mohammed convinced him that there ought to be a response from the federal government.
He said after his initial reluctance, he consented to Mohammed’s wish after an agreement had been reached that the minister would not mention Obasanjo’s name in his response.
“Tonight, I want to remind you people of what Lai Mohammed did when a letter was written on our failure as an administration. Lai Mohammed was agitated about replying but I said no. I said no for two resunks: one, he is much younger than the person who wrote the letter and myself; two, he is from the same constituency as the person who wrote the letter, Buhari said.
“But when Mohammed came again, I said he should go out but he said he won’t go. I asked why and he said let me give him a chance to say what he wanted, then I said go on. He said in what he would do, he would not mention names but only try to remind Nigerians what the country was when we came in, where we are now, and what we have done with the resources available to us.
“Eventually, I had to admit that he was right and I was wrong because a number of people who could get in touch with me have said that Lai did a good job. A lot of them are in the media… I am very happy with the performance of our party, the All Progressive Congress.”
Buhari also recount how the “betrayal” of some of his former political associates informed his insistence on finding credible platform that would enable him “rescue the country”.
“I will like to go down some historical antecedents so that people can assess. When we were in the APP, I went through an impartial primary and I won the ticket. I think for the third or fourth time and while I was in court, because I felt I was ready to be president, the person who was to be my vice-president, allowed himself to be appointed by the presidency,” he said.
“The chairman and vice-chairman of the party accepted; even when I was still in court as a presidential candidate. That’s why I got out and formed the CPC; when we realised that if we don’t work together, that is the opposition parties, and wrestle power from the PDP, this country would have sunk.”