Pro-democracy group slams Obasanjo over attack on Jonathan, says his outburst a threat to peace
A pro- democracy group, Centre for Democratic Renaissance (CDR) has condemned the verbal attack on former President Goodluck Jonathan by ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo describing it as an unwarranted and demeaning provocations capable of endangering the nation’s fledgling democracy.
The group which noted that Obasanjo had alleged that some of the actions of Jonathan, especially in appointing Diezani Allison-Madueke as Petroleum minister, showed lack of capacity to make the right decisions as president on Jonathan’s part, insisted that such attacks are shocking and unnecessary at the level of former Presidents.
In a statement issued by its Executive Director, Dr Mustapha Idris, the group accused Obasanjo of behaving as if he is perpetually nursing a grudge against Jonathan and always expressing it in such a manner that could promote ethnic tensions.
The group however urged Jonathan not to descend to the same level by responding, a development it said could pose a threat to the nation’s democracy.
The statement said: “Given the nation’s delicate ethnic balancing and the fragile nature of our polity we are inclined to describe Obasanjo’s intervention as insensitive, unwarranted, destructive, undemocratic and self-serving. This is because such careless comparisons are capable of unnecessarily heating up the already troubled polity, should Jonathan decide to reply him in equal measure or ethnic jingoists rise up on both sides in defense of their champions.”
The statement further said: “We have been following media reviews of Segun Adeniyi’s new book ‘Against the Run of Play’ and are now constrained to make this intervention in view of what former President Olusegun Obasanjo was quoted to have said about another ex-President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.
“The media reported that Obasanjo in an interview with the author had said that some of the actions of Jonathan, especially in appointing Diezani Allison-Madueke as Petroleum minister, showed lack of capacity to make the right decisions as president on Jonathan’s part.
“As a pro-democracy group, we are not interested in the dialectics of who functioned better or achieved more in office but are worried by the danger such strongly worded demeaning comments about a fellow President pose for our fledgling democracy.
“This is arguably the most denigrating and shocking comment that has ever been made of an ex-President by another in the history of our nation, and as promoters of our democratic enterprise we rise quickly to say that it is not healthy for our quest for national rebirth.
“Given the nation’s delicate ethnic balancing and the fragile nature of our polity we are inclined to describe Obasanjo’s intervention as insensitive, unwarranted, destructive, undemocratic and self-serving. This is because such careless comparisons are capable of unnecessarily heating up the already troubled polity, should Jonathan decide to reply him in equal measure or ethnic jingoists rise up on both sides in defense of their champions.
“While we encourage Jonathan to ignore the unceasing provocations from Obasanjo, we urge the later to put a check on his never-ending ambitions and tempestuous vocalizations because they are quite unbecoming of a statesman.”
It said further: “It is not clear what may have motivated this particular outburst but what is obvious is that Obasanjo has established a predilection to always cash in on every opportunity to huff and puff at Jonathan, and in the process break the rule by hitting below the belt.
“The problem of corruption as it relates to governance in this country has always been amplified by the antics of insatiable godfathers like Obasanjo who would want to take full control of the official activities of their successors, simply because, in his own words, he assisted Jonathan to come to office.
“What is deducible from Obasanjo’s own confessions is that the only crime Jonathan seem to have committed was his decision to forge a path for his administration without recourse to his self-appointed godfather, in making his key appointments.
As a pro-democracy group well aware of the constitutional requirements for the office of the President, we make bold to say that Jonathan came into office with elevated democratic credentials, having diligently climbed the political ladder of Deputy Governor, Governor, Vice President, acting President and President.
“ We have observed that while Obasanjo has always tactically avoided a confrontation with other former leaders, he has never held back from attacking Jonathan, apparently because of his obvious disdain for people from the minority tribes.
“Obasanjo is still probably wallowing in the delusion that people from the minority tribes like Jonathan who is an ijaw man from the South South have no place in the nation’s governance system, and should continue to owe him and his big ego eternal debt of gratitude whenever they are assisted to come to office.
“No assumption can be more undemocratic. Recent experience has shown that politicians from small towns can rule big nations so long as they possess the necessary credentials. If the whole world thinks like Obasanjo, people like Bill Clinton from the small state of Arkansas and Barack Obama of the minority black extraction wouldn’t have become Presidents of the United States of America.
“Or did Obasanjo, who is of the old martail brigade, consider the youthful age of Jonathan as a disadvantage, which formed the basis for his conclusions? If so, he is grossly mistaken because the leadership age of the World’s most progressive and enduring democracies is increasingly becoming youthful. There are ample examples around the world in Canada, Gambia, the United Kingdom and France where Emmanuel Macro, the front runner after the first round of the country’s Presidential elections is just 39.”