By Gift Osaze
Those who think that Former President Olusegun Obasanjo would not attend the Council of State meeting at the Presidential Villa were disappointed. This is because of the recent emotional outburst of the former President against Buhari and Yemi Osinbajo, the Vice President.
Indeed, Obasanjo , had picked on the Katsina born Nigerian President in the last one year describing his government as a failure . Dissecting the Administration,Obasanjo said Buhari lacks the capacity to offer the country what it deserves at this point of the nation political development.
Many had expected the Presidency to fire back at Obasanjo but they kept sealed lips. The Presidency may have kept sealed lips to avoid hitting up the polity because of the Council of State scheduled at the Villa on Tuesday January 22, 2019.
True to the plan, on the said date, the Council of State members gathered at the Villa which has Bukola Saraki , Senate President ,Abdulsallami Abubakar, a former head of state, including former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan in attendance among others.
Buhari, who was beaming with smiles was said to have shook hand with the Council of State members in the Villa including Obasanjo, his former boss, . Those who watched the scene of the encounter on Channel Television said Buhari paid much attention to Obasanjo who had released a bombshell on him last Sunday, forcing the presidency to say Obasanjo needed a medical attention. .
Many had expected the President to lose his temper on citing the Ogun state born former Nigeria President at the Villa but remain calm. Presiding over the meeting, he was said to have given Obasanjo the opportunity to give the opening prayer of the meeting while Muhammed Uwais, a former CJN, said the closing prayer. Obasanjo was never short of words for Buhari said,” he is sick in mind, spirit and soul”.
The President ,according to sources, may have called the all important meeting to seek the advice of the past leaders on burning national issues such as the national minimum wage, forth coming general election, security and Confirmation of Mohammed Abubakar Adamu, acting Inspector General of Police, IGP. It could not be ascertained whether the President complained about the recent open letter of former President Obasanjo to him to the Council for discussion and intervention to force him to put a stop to his criticisms of the government. It was the third Council of State meeting organised by Buhari since he assumed office in 2015. The Council may have saved the country from a major crisis as they looked at the state of the economy and found out that it cannot accommodate a N30,000.00 minimum wage. They were said to have approved N27,000.00 minimum wage for the country.
Following the approval, Buhari is expected to transmit a minimum wage bill to the National Assembly on Wednesday, January 23, 2019, to beat the labour threat of dragging its members on Strike until the government accede to their demand.
Note that prior to the Council of State meeting, Yemi Osinbajo, the Vice President had hit back at Obasanjo over his criticism of Trader Moni Scheme to help petty traders.
According to Laolu Akande, the Media Aide to Osinbajo, he goes to the markets to” assess the progress of the implementation and to create awareness for a programme designed to meet the financing need of N2.2 million petty traders across the country in the first instance” and not to distribute N10,000.00 each to traders as alleged by Obasanjo.
Akande maintained that the TraderMoni Scheme is being actively implemented across all the states of the Federation including the FCT , noting that it is only Lagos and Abuja as being speculated. He disclosed that the beneficiaries of the TraderMoni Scheme are traders at the bottom of the economic ladder with an inventory often less than N5,000.00, stressing that the Scheme provides N10,000.00 Collateral/free interest loans to them, an empowerment that had gone a long way to improve their small businesses.
An aggrieve Osinbajo noted that to describe such a people oriented Scheme as idiotic is ”not only an absurdity but it is an affront to the sensibilities of these hard working Nigerians”. Osibanjo appears to have sent a signal to Obasanjo that he has gotten a match in him as his pen would never run dry to respond to his attacks any time. The attack on Obasanjo by the former President may have drawn out close allies of the Vice President both in the Redeem Christian Church of God, RCCG and political circles to give it back to Obasanjo.
Many believe that the calling of the Council of State by Buhari at this point in time was very timely to douse the tension in the country. They believe that Buhari may have used the opportunity to plead with Obasajo to spare his government. The former President who is used to speaking to Journalists was said to have avoided them after the meeting despite the ambush laid for him in the Villa.
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