By Elizabeth Chukwuma
Those who think that former President Olusegun Obasanjo and President Muhammadu Buhari, are sworn enemies because of the way they lambast each other in public may have to do a rethink before they are caught in the cross fire and become the victim.
This is because there is no deep animosity between them as they have made the people to believe while entertaining the public in their usual character.
They are both retired Army Generals who are guided by’’ the spirit de corps’’. The duo a had served at different times as former military Heads of State and equally as elected Presidents of the country, an indication that they have something in common , which people may not have known over the years.
Recall that penultimate week, the Ogun state born former Nigerian President had accused Buhari, of mismanaging the country, stating that It is drifting to’’ a failed state and badly divided’’. He had attributed the problem plaguing the country to lack of unity . Obasanjo ‘s emotional outburst may have forced the Presidency to fire back , labeling him as ‘’Nigeria’s Divider Commander –In-Chief’’.
In apparent response to the former President’s criticisms of the Buhari Administration of mismanagement of the country, the Presidency had Challenged him to proffer solutions to the problems plaguing the country as an elder Statesman.
But barely two weeks after the war of words between the Ogun state born politician and the Presidency as a result of his negative comment about Buhari, the tough talking former Nigerian President may have taken advantage of the recent visit of the Freelance and Independent Broadcasters Association of Nigeria, , FIBAN, led by Desmond Nwachukwu, the National President to him at his Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Pent House, Abeokuta, Capital of the south west state , to give kudos Buhari, for throwing his weight to see to the re-election of Akiwumi Adesina, a one -time minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, under former Presideent Goodluck Jonathan, of the then ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP, as the President of the African Development Bank, AfDB, an affiliate of the World Bank.
Note that Obasanjo never see anything good in the Buhari Administration,in his first term in office, that he was always attacking him on the pages of the Newspaperss. He had continued the attack on the Katsina state born Nigerian Prsident even in this his second term in office that people were getting worried whether he is not tired of criticising in order to give him time to fulfill his electioneering Campaign promises to the people.
The re-election of Akinwumi as AfDB President may have changed his opinion about the Daura politician going by his recent Comment on him. He may not have spoken on the Adesina re-election in the public and the support of the Buhari Administration to his victory but he had opportunity of doing so with the recent visit of the leadership of FIBAN to him. He stoped short at saying that the Nigerian President was instrumental to the re-election of the Adesina as the AfDB psident.
Given an insisder information on how Adesina found himself as the AfDB President, he had said that former President Jonathan had recommended him for the exalted office but could not complete what his government had started to install him as the first Nigerian to become the President of the Bank until his government was voted out of power in 2015, in the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, conducted Presidential election, won by Buhari, on the ticket of the All Progressive Congress, APC.
Obasanjo, who could not hide his feelings had said that the Buhari led APC government’’ could have rejected Adesina’s nomination by former President Jonathan, coming from the PDP’’ to support another Candidate vying for the office .
Instead he had continued from where his predecessor had stopped to ensure that Adesina wins the AfDB election as President of AfDB, in 2015.The support given to the former minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, without looking at the political differences between him and Jonathan that recommended him to the African Union to take up the position as Nigerian Candidate, may have informed why Obasanjo told FIBAN, officials ‘’I must commend the President for supporting Adesina all through in ensuring that he clinches the AfDB, President in 2015 and re-elected for another five –year term in 2020’’.
It would be recalled that that the former Nigerian President had started the Campaign for Adesina’s re-election bid to forestall any attempt by the Buhari government to withdraw their support from him. He had reached out to 14 other former African Presidents who were said to have joined him to mobilise support for Adesina.
He has his reason for doing so. This is because of his believe that did very well in his first term in office and therefore, by delivering on his promises to take Africa away from poverty, noting that if given another opportunity , he would be able to complete all the projects that he had started in his first term in office, expected to reposition the African Continent on the fast lane of development compared to Europe, China, United Kingdom and the North American country of the United states.
Unknown to Obasanjo, the Nigerian President had also reached out to other African leaders, urging them to support Adesina, the incumbent AfDB President and Nigerian Candidate , who is seeking re-election. This may have informed why he was endorsed by the African Union, AU, and subsequently given 100% vote on the day of the election at Abidjan, Capital of Cotede’Ivoire and the Bank Headquarters last month without any opposition last August.
Notwithstanding President Buhari’s government support to facilitate Adesina’s re-election bid, Obasanjo had said that his education qualifications played a vital role in making him and other Nigerians who are making the country proud in the global scene.
Worried that about 14 million Nigerian children are out of school due to the Wuhan Town in the Hebei Province of the Asian country of China emerged coronavirus, popular, COVID 19, resulting the lock down of the country since last March , 2020, he may have sent a message to Buhari that ’’the first thing to do now is how to get the 14 Children that are out of school back to school in order to prepare them to contribute to the development of the country in the future’’.
According to him, ‘’it is having good education that will make each one of them a good product to market in the global market like Adesina and Dr, Oramah, AFRISM President and several other Nigerians , who are where they are today in the Internationational scene.
Many believe that Obasanjo may have spoken well about Buhari before the FIBAN , officials , instead of seeing it as another opportunity to attack him because of the Presidency appeal to him ‘’to sheath his sword and stop criticizing the government but ‘’proffer solutions to the problem plaguing the country’’. He may have got the message loud and clear, to give a breather to Buhari, in order not to see him as a perpetual enemy of his government.
Political analysts believe that despite the government continuous shifting of the gold post for the reopening of schools including the tertiary Institutions in the country, Obasanjo’s passionate appeal to Buhari to act quickly to bring the over 14 million Children who would have been in school undergoing their education training back to school may force the government speed up the reopening of the schools soonest as the government may not want to keep the schools locked for too long.